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VOLUME 89, NO. 6 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 Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Business Manager: Amanda Toering Special Correspondent: Karen Olsson Editorial Intern: Mark Murray Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Brett Campbell, Jo Clifton, Lars Eighner, James Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, James Harrington, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Paul Jennings, Steven Kellman, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Brad Tyer, James McCarty Yeager. Contributing Photographers: Vic Hinterlang, Patricia Moore, 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 copyrighted, 1997, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval racy Foundation, a 501\(03 non-profit corporation. 307 West 7th Street, Austin, World Wide Web DownHome page: httpd/www.hyperweb.coni/txobserver Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas. SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years S59, 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. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 198 I,The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. DEPARTMENTS Dialogue Editorial The Factsand the Truth 5 Bad Bills 7 Legislation To Look Forward To Political Intelligence 16 Molly Ivins 18 Rappin’ on Rapoport Jim Hightower 19 Mickey El Raton, Welfare Scam and Wall Street Bonuses The Back Page 32 Thousand-Dollar-Man Rob Junell PAY AT THE DOOR Some of President Reagan’s and President Bush’s wealthy friends and Hollywood stars visited them in the White House. But I am sure none ever contributed to Republican campaigns. That would have been absolutely scandalous! Is it possible that some of Speaker Gingrich’s or Senate Majority Leader Lott’s well-to-do friends visited them at their taxsupported congressional offices? If they also contributed to Republican campaigns, somebody might think they were trying to buy legislative favors! Tom Burtis Lubbock TAXING QUESTION Thank you for Jim Hightower’s piece 90 percent of stock sales are pure gambling, not genuine investments. The stock exchange runs gambling dens, not “investAFTERWORD Real Country Life By Brad Tyer Cover photos by Alan Pogue federal tax when I buy five dollars’ worth of gas for my car. A gambler pays zero sales tax on a $5,000 gamble on stock. Some seventy-five years ago, such sales were taxed. Why not now? Samuel Schiffer Los Angeles, CA WHY BOTHER First, thanks to the Observer for covering the confirmation process for Barry McBee, the chairman of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission \(“Wild About Barry,” February 28; see also pages state’s major daily papers have not given this, or other gubernatorial appointments, the coverage they deserve. But, having attended the Senate Nomi nations Committee hearings regarding Mr. McBee’s confirmation, I think your edito rial misses one of the major points about the whole process: Senators Barrientos, Gallegos or Truan at least were interested enough to ask questions and explore some THIS ISSUE / FEATURES The West Texas Waste Wars by Nate Blakeslee 8 For more than a decade, the nuclear waste industry has been in retreat. As they make their last stand in Texas, the radioactive lobbyists have laid siege to Austin. The Cyber-Hammer: Tom DeLay Online by Mark Murray 14 Most Congressmen use their Web pages for legislative info and constituent service. Not the Majority Whip: his “D-Files” pour partisan venom on the Enemy. BOOKS AND THE CULTURE 2 Plain Talk of the Deepest Kind Poetry by Karen Fiser Journeys Into Madness Book Review by Lars Eighner Texas Monthly’s Blue Period Media Observer by Rod Davis The South Has Risen Again Book Review by Ron Nixon 20 21 25 28 29 DIALOGUE I 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 28, 1997