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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 human-kind 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 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: James Cullen Production: Peter Szymczak Copy Editor: Roxanne Bogucka Editorial Interns: Todd Basch, Mike Daecher, Ophelia Richter, Darvyn Spagnolly. Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Brett Campbell, Peter Cassidy, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Terry FitzPatrick, Richard Fricker, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Jim Hightower, Ellen Hosmer, Molly Ivins, Steven Keliman, Michael King, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, James McCarty Yeager. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; 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, Jackson, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Fort Worth; James Presley, Texarkana; Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Poetry Consultant: Thomas B. Whitbread Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowly, Gary Oliver, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Business Manager: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom . Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 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. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals: Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981 ,The Texas Observer Index. entire contents copyrighted, 0 1994, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues in January and July \(25 issues per 477-0746. E-mail: [email protected] Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. e %4 ea Horse Inn 0 0 Kitchenettes Cable TV Heated Pool West Texas Waste Dumps Ann Richards has been appearing with her grandchildren in recent campaign ads and it is a comforting, touching portrait. How fortunate for all of them that her grandchildren, unlike the children of Sierra Blanca, don’t have to grow up in the shadow of adjacent sewer sludge from New York and nuclear waste from Texas and our first compact partners, Maine and Vermont. [See “Balancing Nuclear Waste, TO 9/2/94.] The sludge, which zipped through the state licensing process in a record 23 days after its hauler made a $1.5 million sludge research grant to Texas Tech, contains pathogens and heavy metals. The Surgeon General’s battle cry of Zero Tolerance for lead \(because of its disastrous branches of the EPA save onethe Sludge Risk Assessment Division. They have a number for safe lead levels. The nuclear waste en route will contain, along with the medical gloves and booties touted by Gov. Richards’ minions, plutonium and cesium137, among other horrors. The idea is to take a thousand-year toxic, pack it in a hundred-year container and bury it in a 40-foot trench near an isolated, poor, minority-heavy community in an area of recent seismic activity. Now, the big Texas utilities want the cheaper dumping rates that will result from the increased volume that waste importationperhaps massive waste importationwill provide. So Ann beside the 0/dg/Mexio on Mustang island Available kw private parties Unique Elll’OpecIll C11\(11111 & /111110.Spilt’le V I corionliciii Spring mai Suinincr Rate ,, 41Pets Welcome \(e a r 1423 11th Street** .611” Port Aransas, TX 78373 1 call for Rcsertm ions ,j tells us that, in order to avoid having to accept nuclear waste from other states, we fffst must accept nuclear waste from other states. Well, this is Texas, so you expect to hear politicians saying wild things like that, and people even vote them into office afterwards, amazing as that may seem to the denizens of the less-colorful world outside our borders. It is tough, though, to understand how such a sweet grandmother, who seems to care so much for her own grandchildren, could do such a thing to the little children of Sierra Blanca. Gary Oliver, Marfa. Mexican Lit Lives For someone like myself who lived in years, Mr. Kellman’s article in the September 30 issue, “Literary Free Market,” [on the Eighth Annual Inter-American Bookfair and Literary Festival in San Antonio] was confusing: “… NAFTA has put Mexican governments out of the business of publishing imaginative literature. … bookfair guests … Abraham Nuncio … Andres Huerta come from Nuevo Leon and can offer evidence of the benefits and banes [?] of socialized publishing.” I know both columnist Nuncio and poet Huerta and they know as well as I that Mexican publishing is alive and kicking, be it in the publication by the federally sponsored CULTURA DE FONDO ECONOMICO, by the privately owned Monterrey’s IXTLACIHATL, or the University of Vera Cruz’s output. Remarks like this about the “effect of NAFTA” are as unfounded as the fears by Northamerican labor that their factories, because of NAFTA, will dash off to Mexico. Anyone with any knowledge of the production infrastructure of the latter can easily verify that such apprehension is equally groundless. Sarah P. Simon, Houston Spare That Snake When Jim Hightower \(“Ban Dioxin,” TO you have to wonder what brand of poison he’s been into. Listen, Jim, the real cowboy code teaches that when you’re confronted by a big, coiled snake you mind your own damn business, which is all the snake asks you to do. Snakes are here to help the earth maintain a healthy balance of species, so let’s be sure to place the blame where it belongs: man-made dioxin, not snakes, are a plague on the natural environment. A.C. Hall, Dallas DIALOGUE 2 NOVEMBER 11, 1994