Page 10


44 ment is Ronnie, regal and editorial; he hews hard to the truth as he finds it and the right as he sees it. Fuck everybody else. Which, I now learn, is basically what he told the group that hired him in the first place. Geoff Rips tells us in the 10/14/94 issue that the group of people who hired Ronnie … decided to found a journal, this very Texas Observer, as part of their efforts to take over Texas politics.” Is that still the agenda? If the masthead statement only relates to editorial independence, does either the Texas Democracy Foundation or The Texas Observer intend to develop a collective statement of principle? Why is the Texas Democracy Foundation a bunch of white folks? I haven’t subscribed to the Observer in years. Please enter my subscription at the address below. John Muir Austin Dugger replies Dear John Muir: The editors at the Observer kindly sent me a copy of your letter and invited me to reply. I’m sure the staff and the new publisher are glad to have you back as a subscriber, and, if I may venture to say it, so am I. I remember March 1968. I was preparing for what turned out to be the last of my series of interviews with Lyndon Johnson for my book on him, which I was closing pell-mell with my publisher, Norton, committed to get it in the stores before the general election. My last interview with Johnson occurred on March 23, 1968. The rest of the month I was holed up in a garret at Bob and Mary Sherrill’s house in Washington, writing like hell. As you say, Johnson withdrew from his re-election campaign on the 31st. I did not recall that either Greg or Martin told or asked me anything about the conference that Greg had agreed and announced the Observer would co-sponsor with the Rag. I don’t remember that anyone invited me to the conference, either. So I phoned our friend Greg and he told me, about your statement that I had hidden out and never explained why I hadn’t spoken, “I don’t think that happened. I know you were out of town a good deal in that period, 1966 to 1968. I don’t think it was ever put to you to participate and I certainly know that you didn’t refuse.” As to the Observer masthead and speaking only to them, yes, I meant by the policy statement I wrote that the editor, not the liberal Democrats who had wanted a party organ or anybody else, including the publisher, would control the editorial content of the Observer. Only the editor would. During the eight years or so when I was editor, I did. During the 32 years when different people were editor and I was publisher, they did. That’s common knowledge. This didn’t mean the publisher couldn’t fire an editor; that was the right Mrs. Randolph had concerning me and that was the right I specifically reserved as publisher when I hired editors. That’s common knowledge too. As for what the TDF or the editor or publisher should do now, please ask them. Greg says he hasn’t seen you for a while; maybe you all should have a beer together. I’m going to look him up too next time I’m in Austin. I’d heard and he told me again on the phone that a gall bladder operation kept him from coming to the 40th anniversary banquet, but he’s all recovered from it now. I’m not sure from your letter what you’re angry about 27 years after these events. It must be something serious, and I don’t mean to pass off your letter by referring only to its specifics; if you’d like to continue this discussion I’d be glad, if invited, to try to respond again. Ronnie Dugger Nose for News Perhaps because my community “backyards” the City of Los Angeles’ primary household waste dump, Louis Dubose’s my feelings of empathy and frustration in a special, waifs-in-the-same-lifeboat way. However, the main peeve about our Lopez merely that its date of closing keeps being deferred farther into the 21st century; Ferris, as presented by Dubose, is a story with plot, scene and characters, heroes, villains, and schlumps, and plenty of victims. It’s live history, well told and visually, aurally, and, yes, olfactorily evocative. I couldn’t help but contrast the style of the Ferris saga with that of J.C.’s editorial, “Business Closes the Courts,” in the same issue. Here was an intelligent and earnest call to action which defined a complex issue in a compact space, but somewhere in the laundry list of Senate Bills, my eyes began to droop, and I had to back up to refresh my short-term memory circuits. I suspect that many issues could be presented in the same list-prone format, which reminds me of articles in the ACLU Forum newsletter. I wish you more great stories. Peter Larsen Lake View Terrace California rft , Till TEXAS 101 server MARCH 10, 1995 VOLUME 87, No. 5 FEATURES Internet: Freeway or Cul-de-Sac? By James Cullen 5 Tort Relief for Polluters: The 20 Percenters Win By Jo Clifton 8 Bush League Tort Reform: Replacement Fans Strike Back By Robert Bryce 12 A Tale of Two Bail-Outs By James K. Galbraith 1 DEPARTMENTS Editorial Ride the Electronic Range 4 Texas on the Potomac The Press and Phil Gramm By Louis Dubose 1 0 Jim Hightower: Shrub Bush Plays the Money Game, The Bailout’s Big Lie, $3 Million Coffee Spill, Eye on Newt: Golden Rule Insurance 13 Molly Ivins Affirmative Action Wedge 14 Potomac Observer Primacy of Property By James McCarty Yeager 16 Books and the Culture Bought and Sold Bit by Bit Book review by Rod Davis 18 Atomic Inquisitors Book review by A. Gayle Hudgens 19 Cuba, See Movie review by Steven G. Kellman 20 Ballet With Attitude Dance review by Ann Daly 21 Afterword If You Were a Carpenter By Dagoberto Gilb 23 Political Intelligence 24 Cover art by Dan Hubig THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3