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CI-L8L Xi wisnv -171I L 10d 00V 1V1H3S S3IEIVE19111VEOND9 SVX3.1d0 AlISEIDAINn 3I-11 Z 9L839 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE WE’RE GROWING! If your Observer feels a little more weighty this week, that’s because it is. We’ve added eight pages to our standard issue lengthbumping up to thirty-two pagesto make more room for additional reportage and the best in Texas writing. \(Please note bookstore distribution across the state, so we should be easier to find, from Abilene to Humble, Arlington to El Paso. And if you still can’t get enough of the Observer’s eyes on Texas, please visit our spruced-up DownHome Page on the World Wide Web: http://www.hyperweb.comAxobserver . HIGHTOWER CALLING. Readers who’ve missed Jim Hightower’s voice since he was kicked off ABC Radio Network last fall should keep their ears peeled, beginning Labor Day. That’s when Hightower Radio re-takes the airwaveslive from the “Chat & Chew Cafe” at Threadgill’s World Headquarters in Austin. The two-hour show will air weekdays at noon, EST; to find Hightower on your local dial, call NOW MUCH JUSTICE? Providers of legal services to the poor were spared the axe last month, when the House passed an amendment setting the Legal Services million, down from last year’s $278 million but up from the $141 million originally proposed by the Republican leadership. The Senate Appropriations Committee even recommended increased funding $288 millionfor LSC on August 1, and the final figure will be determined when Congress reconvenes in September. Still, said Texas Rural Legal Services’ Bill Beardall, “It’s a sign of the peril Legal Services is in, that everyone’s breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of a mere 10 percent cut.” Spurred on by the Christian Coalition and agribusiness, Congress last year cut funding for LSC by $122 million, with plans to phase out the agency in three years. In Texas, total federal funding for legal services agencies went down 25 percent; cuts in border states were particularly crippling because Congress eliminated . additional funds for the legal defense of migrant workers. ‘ Last year’s Congress also imposed a pile of restrictions on recipients of LSC funds, including a ban on class-action’ suits. Scrambling to get out of six remaining class-actions by the federally mandated August 1 deadline, TRLA found itself pleading with other lawyers to take over its cases. In Laredo, for example, a class-action suit in which 1,300 migrant workers are suing for unpaid wages has been transferred to a Dallas firm, but whether anyone at that firm will be able to handle the case remains unclear. “There is no dumping ground for these cases,” TRLA director David Hall told Texas Lawyer. “We are the dumping ground. It’s a pretty grim situation.” BATTLEGROUND TEXAS. What do Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Calvin Coolidge have in common? They are the last three candidates to win the White House without winning Texas. Clinton lost the state in 1992 to former president George Bush. Nixon narrowly lost the state to Hubert. Humphrey in 1968. And Coolidge lost Texas in 1924 to John W. Davis, but still managed to win the race. Why does this matter? Well, Clinton has already proved that he can win without the Lone Star State. If he wins California again, as he did four years ago, and wins Texas, he will have more than a third of the votes needed for a return trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Thus, Bob Dole simply must win Texas if he is to have any chance of beating Clinton. The Democratic National Committee plans to spend some $3 million in Texas this year, but the GOP has won six of the last seven Texas elections. GOP leaders are optimistic. On the last day of the GOP convention in San Diego, Governor George W. Bush told Ken Herman of the Austin American-Statesman, “We are not. in danger of losing Texas.” Polls taken in August -of 1988 and 1992 both showed the Democratic candidates to be ten points ahead of their Republican counterparts in Texas, yet in both races, the Democrats lost. At the f beginning of the GOP convention, polls showed Dole and Clinton each getting 38 percent of the Texas vote \(with Ross Perot Perot. “As long as Perot doesn’t emerge with his money and draw votes away from Dole,” says Earl Black, a professor of political science at Rice University, “the Republicans should win Texas.” Clinton lost Texas in 1992 by just three percentage points. At a meeting of Austin Democrats last week, State Chairman Bill White predicted that the Republicans would soon have to concede California, leaving Florida and Texas as “the battlegrounds.” SOME BOATS RISE. “Republicans are for a minimum wagethe minimum possible.” That was Harry S. Truman, quoted by Ted Kennedy during the July Senate debate over raising the minimum wage. According to the Washington Spectator, last year’s average pay for a U.S. CEO was $12,000 a day; the annual minimum wage, under the new law, will rise next summer from $8,500 to $10,300. Currently the minimum wage is $4.25 an hour; in 1968 it was $1.60. In case you’re wondering, members of Congress earn $64 an hour; in 1968 it was $15. AUGUST 30, 1996 32 THE TEXAS OBSERVER