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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 Publisher: Geoff Rips Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: Michael King Production: Harrison Saunders Copy Editor: Mimi Bardagjy Editorial Interns: Amanda Toering Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Brett Campbell, Peter Cassidy, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Terry FitzPatrick, Richard L. Fricker, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Jim Hightower, Ellen Hosmer, Molly Ivins, Steven Kellman, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Brad Tyer, 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 Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye 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 Lowry, Gary Oliver, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Business Manager: Cliff Olofson Subscription and Office Manager: Douglas Falls 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. copyrighted, 1995, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 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. NOW HE TELLS US I regret I will not be able to renew my subscription. In past twenty years [sic], you have become more liberal and radical and as a retired county office holder I don’t need to waste time reading the Observer. C. Ray Holbrook Santa Fe, Texas REMEMBERING THE BOPPER Re Brad Tyer’s review of Buddy Holly: A Biography, At least Lubbock acknowledges its own. At least Holly has his fame and remembrance. I have a vague childhood memory of hearing J.P. Richardson on KTRM-AM in Beaumont. Last Yule I went searching for his grave. The good and helpful people at Forest Lawn had to go look it up in the files, at which point it was very easy to find. \(They gave me wrong directions to tire memory is a bronze plaque, oh, call it 15″ x 30″; the vase goes into the “headstone” upside down and may only be in use at certain times of year. The four corsure of music, and a microphone. The inscription reads: “In loving memory / Jilts Oct. 24, 1930Feb 3, 1959.” The plaque is recessed into the ground slightly, for the lawnmower’s convenience. As to the matter of pilot malpractice, which Amburn raises, let me offer a quote from Village Creek, by Gordon Baxter Jape’s fellow DJ at KTRM, and had taken up flying. Jape asked for a ride, and then asked about crashes in bad weather \(Bax put the Cessna into a “graveyard spiral” to With his eyes closed J.P. said it felt like we were climbing. I told him that if a noninstrument pilot flew into weather where he could not see the horizon, he would have about ninety seconds to live before he lost it. We had just rehearsed the Big Bopper’s death. The little plane that he and Buddy Holly and Richie Valens chartered that night climbed into the dark and light snow; the pilot was not instrumentrated. From where they winked out of sight into the night to where the plane augered into the corn rows at full throttle was about ninety seconds of flight. Wondering if J.P. knew has haunted me ever since…. \(Village Creek, Many thanks, Bax, for all the music that informed my childhood: Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Moody Blues and all…. Debbie Huffman Houston CRITICS PASS BY I was going to pass up comment on Don Graham’s sour little remembrance of Larry McMurtry \(“Anything for Larry,” SeptemObserver letters along the same lines. Given his enormous commercial success, McMurtry the writer makes an easy target for would-be, wannabe and never-were “home-growns,” but he’s doing fine without defending from me. I do want to say a word about McMurtry the person, with whom I was fortunate to work for a year or two when he was the President of the American Center of PEN, the international writers organization, and I was directing its freedom-to-write program. He’s a very fine, principled and thoughtful person, but one so shy that he makes once again an easy targetif, like Graham and some of your correspondents, you’re looking to score a few cheap points on the basis of a cocktail party or a panel discussion. Gara LaMarche New York BIOPROPERTY Is it possible that these folks; Midge and Woody Erskine \(“Whose Property property as a “Texas Wildscape” as promoted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife, and possibly gain some sympathy from the city officials in Midland? After all, our state is trying to promote biodiversity through this program. I feel for these people. This is definitely a property-rights test case. Clark Walker Victoria EDITOR’S NOTE Because of production schedules that conflict with the upcoming Thanksgiving Holidayand several developing news storiesthis issue of the Observer arrives one week early. Our next issue, with a Decem-, ber 8 cover date, will be mailed in three weeks, as we resume what resembles a nor, mal mailing schedule. DIALOGUE 2 NOVEMBER 17, 1995