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i Wir OK %il La illig ; I Ai J fq id ,s, 0-..11.1nrs_ ……” ’41 1 I” 9 I n ib , Till TXAS 1111111 server A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. SINCE 1954 Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: Allan Freedman Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Editorial Intern: Karen Speed Calendar: Elisa Lyles Washington Correspondent: Mary Anne Reilly Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, John Henry Faulk, Terry FitzPatrick, Gregg Franzwa, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Mary Lenz, Dana Loy, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Greg Moses, Debbie Nathan, Gary Pomerantz, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh Editorial Advisory Board: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana; Susan Reid, Austin; Geoffrey Rips, Schmidt, Fredericksburg; Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. Layout and Design: Layne Jackson Typesetter: Lana Kaupp Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Special Projects Director: Bill Simmons Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year S27, two years $48, three years $69. Fulltime students S15 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time; no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. between Texas Observer Publishing Co., 307 West 7th Street, Austin, paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, P.O. Box 49019, Austin, Texas 78765 Intellectual Wilderness I am always appreciative of the Texas Observer for bringing the truth about public matters when the daily and weekly press often ignore their responsibilities. Out here in the intellectual wilderness of West Texas, the Observer is as welcome as a fresh rain. I wanted to give my special thanks to the reporting on Texas flag burning in the August 4 issue. So many get caught up in the emotion of flag waving that they miss the significance of our Bill of Rights or really don’t appreciate the first ten amendments to our Constitution. I am enclosing a clipping from our local weekly which usually takes a position to the right of Ron Paul and Phil Gramm. I am surprised that Wes Burnet is still in town after publishing the enclosed Post Notes. On the same August 4 issue of the Observer, when will there be accountability from Speaker Gib Lewis for defeating workers comp reform in two sessions of the Legislature this year? Your editorial should be sent special to every country weekly in the State. Sorry that I can not do more to support the Texas Observer. Lewis H. Earl Post King Commended I must commend Michael King on his review of sex, lies and videotape \(TO, After having had already seen Spike Lee’s brilliant Do The Right Thing in Europe, I was looking forward to the film which snagged the Grand Prize at Cannes. I found sex, lies to be an impressive yet hardly ballsy first effort. I left the theater thinking about Wim Wenders’s assessment of the film “sex,lies and videotape shows there’s a future in cinema.” I greatly admire Wenders but if he thinks Soderbergh and not Lee is paving the future of American cinema, he’s been dealing with angels for too long. Kayhan Parsi Longview We Stand Corrected Although there are times when I do not agree with the Observer on issues, I have always felt that I could count on it for its statements of fact. Ronnie [Dugger] instituted a grand tradition of careful journalism and checking on factual assertions. In the October 13th issue the following two paragraphs appear in your editorial about the school financing case. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit that bears Demetrio Rodriquez’s name would prevail in a three-judge federal court, see their decision affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, then ultimately see it reversed by the Supreme Court in 1973. Although Justice Potter Stewart described the system of financing schools in Texas as chaotic and unfair, the Court decided that it did not have jurisdiction in the dispute. The irony of the Court’s 1973 decision, Herrera said, was that had it been heard a few months earlier the plaintiffs would have prevailed. The Court heard the case shortly after Abe Fortas, whose vote the plaintiffs had counted on, had resigned. Fortas’ replacement, Harry Blackmun, voted to reverse the appeals court decision. The final vote was 5-4. It is hard to believe that so many factual errors could be made in such a short space. The decision of the three-judge federal court in the Rodriquez case was not “affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.” Decisions of three-judge courts are reviewed directly by the Supreme Court. The Fifth Circuit never heard the case. The Supreme Court did not decide “that it did not have jurisdiction in dispute.” There was never the slightest question about jurisdiction. The Supreme Court held on the merits that the Texas school finance system was consistent with the federal Constitution. The Court did not hear the case “shortly after” Abe Fortas resigned. Justice Fortas resigned May 14, 1969. The Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case on October 12, 1972, and decided it on March 21, 1973. One would have to take a very long view of history to think that three-and-half years is “shortly after.” Mr. Herrera’s notion that if “it had been heard a few months earlier plaintiffs would have prevailed” has no basis in fact. Charles Alan Wright University of Texas School of Law Austin Editor’s Note: The editor, who wrote the story, stands corrected and assumes responsibility for the factual errors noted by Mr. Wright. And in fairness to Mr. Herrera, it should be noted that he offered up a recollection of what-happened more than 20 years ago and suggested “you should check on it. ” In an effort to beat a deadline and piece together one part of the story we obviously failed. Our thanks to Mr. Wright for his interest in The Observer and for setting the record straight. DIALOGUE 2 NOVEMBER 24, 1989