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Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V GRAMM’S REVOLTING. What’s the difference, New York Times columnist Frank Rich asked, between a revolutionary who shuts the government down by bombing a building and a revolutionary who stops the government by shutting it down? The answer, according to Rich, is that one of them gets a congressional paycheck. Rich laid the blame for the government shutdown at the feet of Republican radicals who have been pounding an anti-government message into the public’s head for years, citing, as one example, Texas Senator Phil Gramm. “Have you missed the government?” Gramm asked rhetorically, assuming, according to Rich, that the public’s answer would be a resounding “No!” Gramm’s public position, Rich wrote, might as well have been lifted from the pages of a secret memo sent to members of the far-right Council for National Policy, which featured an interview with House freshman Republican class president Mark Souder of Indiana. Asked to speculate on what would happen if the government closed its doors, Souder’s response was, “We don’t really care.” For Gramm, Souder, and the rest of the radical right in Congress, the government shutdown and furloughs of employees was not a tactic for prodding Bill Clinton, but an end in itself. TOM DELAY, the former exterminator from Rosenberg who now serves as House Majority Whip, also made Rich’s column on the budget. DeLay, also a member of the “far-right CNP,” has laid out a new strategy for dealing with the budget impasse, which DeLay calls “line-item appropriations,” by which the House will approve funding only for programs with broad public support. In bills written so far, Rich notes, “this means the FBI \(but not national park’s visitors’ centers \(but not park preservation or environmental en\(but not the National Endowment for the Arts, which supports less visible museums gets its passports and tourist sites; the poor fend for themselves, Rich concluded. Earlier in the month, when asked by a reporter why Congressmen were still accepting their own salaries during the government shutdown, when so many federal employees had been laid off, DeLay responded, “I’m not an employee. I’m a constitutional officer.” V EX PARTE MANSFIELD. It is the “Steve Mansfield Syndrome,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. The field of sixteen Republicans and seven Democrats who have filed for the Court of Criminal Appealsthe state’s court of last resort for criminal caseshave been inspired by the 1994 election of Steve Mansfield. Insurance company lawyer Steve Mansfield, with no experience in criminal law, the Statesman reminded readers, defeated a respected Democratic judge after spending almost no money and despite the fact that he had virtually no criminal law experience. Mansfield also had a problem telling the truth, as was revealed in a series of articles by Texas Lawyer reporter Bob Elder. “If Steve Mansfield can get elected,” said one court observer, “anyone can.” NAME THAT TUNE. Houston gossip columnists have confirmed the recent sighting of mega-developers Walter Mischer and Vincent Kickerillo gathered around the piano in Mayor Bob Lanier’s River Oaks apartment, listening to His Honor singing his favorite song, “Amazing Grace.” Perhaps Mayor Bob was just expressing his gratitude for a recent gift from WashingtonHUD’s approval for the demolition of most of the public housing units in Allen Parkway Village. The approval is the result of the Republican-controlled Congress vote to repeal the FrostLeland Act, which had prohibited the use of federal funds to tear down the landmark federal housing. Lanier’s sentiments were quickly echoed by the Houston Chronicle, in an editorial, “Hasten the Bulldozers to Allen Parkway Village.” For Lanier and his choir, HUD’s action signals a green light for their decades-long quest to deliver up the city’s Fourth Ward neighborhooda prime piece of real estate just west of downtownto a small group of private developers. Allen Parkway Village, according to a senior HUD official, “represents a major disincentive for private sector investment in the Fourth Ward.” The developers fear that the public housing project could interfere with their plans to sell upscale housing to those whose enthusiasm for the inner-city lifestyle does not extend to living next to poor people. For Lenwood Johnson, leader of the Allen Parkway Village Residents Council, it’s the same old song. Johnson is currently working with local lawyers to get the residents’ case before a judge. “They’ve violated the law over and over again to get this far. It’s just a matter of getting the facts before a court.” V MOSES RELENTS. Following consultation with the heavens and a decent interlude of bureaucratic meditation, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Moses finally backed down from his earlier refusal of 1.35 million dollars in federal funds for AIDS education in Texas schools. As reported in the Observer Continued on p. 11 . 24 JANUARY 26, 1996