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VOLUME 88, NO. 17 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 Managing Publisher: Rebecca Melancon Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: Michael King Production: Harrison Saunders Copy Editor: Mimi Bardagjy Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Circulation Manager: Amanda Toering Editorial Interns: Katy Adams, Carrie Evans, Karen Olsson Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Brett Campbell, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Lars Eighner, James Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, James Harrington, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Paul Jennings, Steven Kellman, Torn McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Brad Tyer, James McCarty Yeager. Contributing Photographers: Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Arlington, Mass.; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; 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; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Development Consultant: Frances Barton Business Manager: Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 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 MicroINDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index ro Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981.The Texas Observer Index. copyrighted, \(0 1996, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. E-mail: . World Wide Web Downllome page: http://www.hyperweb.eurnitxobserver Periodicals postage paid at Attain, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. DEPARTMENTS Dialogue 2 Editorial 4 When is Race not Race? Molly Ivins 18 Freedom is a Volleyball Infomercial Norman Solomon 20 Made-for-TV Convention Political Intelligence 32 Cover photo by Alan Pogue DIALOGUE FEED READING My dog didn’t know she had been missing real food \(as opposed to the pellets of vegtasted meat. I didn’t know how much I missed the real thing in the Observer \(or Thank God, somebody noticed and spoke up about the sorry state of the printed word. Texas writers and writers all over the country are an endangered species. It is largely a function or dysfunction of economics, the kind of system we have. I’ have almost given up reading as I have given up expecting reform from the political process or integrity from politicians. Writers have nothing to sell, a fatal flaw in capitalist culture. The truth is not a commodity. Writers are not good managers, not good followers, not team players. In short, exactly the kind of troublemakers \(I call BOOKS AND THE CULTURE Texas Summer & Sunflowers 23 Poetry by Robert Trammell Missing the Bus 24 by Lars Eighner Lying is Good for Us! 27 Book Review by Ben Terrall Smoking Gun 28 Book Review by James W. Kunetka Reloaded Pistols in Houston 30 Music Review by Brad Tyer AFTERWORD Doctors R U! 31 By Karen Olsson out of balance, create havoc with their words, generating what an old Zapatista friend of mine used to call “creative disorder.” Davis’ article is a brilliant beginning. More, please. Jim Simons Austin Texas isn’t the only place where writing has been a colonial enterprise. Even here in “mighty” California \(now at 32 million population, sixth largest economy in the writers must still answer to the Northeastlishment. The same is true in most electronic media where one must bow to the corporate “Big Three”NBC, ABC and CBS, firmly headquartered in New York City, for most TV/radio reporting jobs either live in the Northeastthe center of THIS ISSUE FEATURES Dole Takes Control by Louis Dubose Cheerleaders, Christians, and CEOs Aplenty in San Diego. Guess Who’s Throwing the Party? We All Live in Sierra Blanca by Karen Olsson and Carrie Evans 10 Sierra Blancans and supporters from across the state and across the border bear witness against the nuclear dump. Is anybody listening? Blitzing Houston with the SEIU by Ann Walton Sieber 14 This Labor Day, there’s a new wind blowing across the South, and these union blitzers brought it to Texas. Air Force Major Defeats “the Pajama Police” by Robert Bryce 17 The Air Force asked Major Debra Meeks to abandon her career and disappear. Instead, she beat them in their own court. AUGUST 30, 1996 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER