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Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE MORE UNINSURED. While Congress failed to act on health insurance reform this past year, the number of Americans without health insurance rose by 2.3 million, according to a new study of Census Bureau data by Physicians for a National Health Program, the Center for a National Health Program Studies at Harvard and Public Citizen. The number of uninsured representing families of the working poor is higher than at any time since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s and represents 15.3 percent of the population. Texas, with 21.8 percent of its residents uninsured, had the fourth-highest rate of uninsured, behind Louisiana’s 23.9 percent, Oklahoma’s 23.6 percent and New Mexico’s 22 percent. In Texas, 3,980,000 people were uninsured, an increase of 210,000 over the past five years. Only two statesWisconsin and Iowahad more than 90 percent of their residents insured. Two states often cited as models of health care reformHawaii, with its employer mandate, and Minnesota, with its competitive health care market and expansion of HMOsshowed sharp growths in uninsured. The highest rates of uninsurance by uninsurance \(except for legislators, all of tions and utilities/sanitation \(7.3 percent Canadian-style single-payer reform can assure universal coverage and contain costs. ST. ELSEWHERE. George W. Bush’s children will not attend St. Stephen’s high school in Austin, as was incorrectly reported in this space in the Dec. 9 issue. “It was Ann Richards children who attended St. Stephen’s, the ” most expensive private school in the city,” Republican consultant Karl Rove reminds us. Governor elect George Bush’s children, according to Rove, will probably attend St. Andrew’s in Austin. KOOP COUP. In its second day of programming, Austin’s new communityowned KOOP \(91.7, a frequency shared with the sort of news programming a small underbudgeted radio station can achieveinter viewing live via telephone Amado Avendailo Figueroa, the leader of a rump government the Mexican state of Chiapas. \(See pg. ment account of continuing conflicts between the large landowners and indigenous small farmers in Chiapas. “All of Mexico is watching Chiapas,” Avendafio said. “Send office supplies,” he also suggested to KOOP interviewer Eduardo Vera, since the rump government has no desks, no paper, none of the things needed to conduct the business of government. KOOP finds itself in a similar position and is looking for money and volunteers to do noncommercial, communityCONCURRING OPINION. Over the course of 16 years Trini Gamez has altered the political and social justice landscape of the Texas High Plains and in early December the national legal-services community recognized her. Gamez, who as a Texas Rural Legal Aid paralegal since 1978 has advanced the causes of farmworkers and electoral democracy, was the 1994 recipient of “The Denny.” The award is named after attorney Denison Ray \(one of the early leadawarded by the national Project Advisory Groupa Washington, D.C.-based organization of legal services programs. According to an excerpt from her nominating letter: “There are a million reasons why Trini Gamez is a deserving recipient of the Denison Ray Awarda million ways in which she distinguishes herself as a paralegal, community worker, and warrior in the struggle for justice and equality.” Those who know Gamez’s work know that the nominating letter includes not a line of hyperbole. STATE OF WELFARE. Hispanic magazine, in its on-going attempt to confront the anti-Mexican sentiment that helped pass California’s anti-immigrant Proposition 187, cites U.S. News & World Report’s analysis of census data. “The Real Welfare Numbers,” foreign-born recipients by place of birth, according to the December issue of Hispanic, are: Cambodia, 28 percent; Laos, 27 percent; Former Soviet Union, 20 percent; Vietnam, 16 percent; Cuba, 10 percent; Dominican Republic, 9 percent; China, 6 percent, Philippines, 4 percent; South Korea, 4 percent; and Mexico, 2 percent. STARVE THE WATCHDOG. Sen. Phil Gramm will be fighting efforts to expand the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulatory activities. The New York Times on Dec. 12 reported that Gramm, who is in line to head the Banking Committee’s securities subcommittee, opposes any increase in funding for the SEC as well as a proposal to allow the agency to keep the fines it generates to cover its own budget. The SEC turns over roughly $2 for every $1 it spends, but a Gramm spokesman said the securities litigation process “has been distorted by greedy lawyers into a form of piracy.” Gramm and Rep. Jack Fields, RHouston, who will head the House subcommittee that oversees the SEC, also are promoting a system in which the loser in a lawsuit would have to pay all the costs, which would deter small investors from going to court. But after the recent bankruptcy of a Southern California county that lost $1.5 billion in an aggressively marketed fund, some Democrats wondered if Republicans would cool their zeal to limit securities lawsuits. “They say a conservative is a liberal who has just been mugged,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said. “Perhaps a liberal is a conservative who has just been defrauded out of $1.5 billion.” SPREADING THE CHOICE. With the defeat of Rep. Jack Brooks, D-Beaumont, the dean of the Texas Congressional Delegation and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, the new dean of the delegation, Henry B. Gonzalez, has proposed to spread the power to pick nominees for federal judgeships. According to the Houston Post, Gonzalez proposed giving the choice to the senior Democrat from each of the state’s four judicial districts. Asked why Gonzalez didn’t just make the pick himself, he said, “I never have worked that way.” V JUDICIAL CREDENTIALS. Senate Republicans, led by Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch, are likely to give President Clinton’s judicial appointees a hard time in the next two years, but People For the American Way found his appointments during the first two Continued on pg. 18 24 DECEMBER 30, 1994