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VOLUME 89, NO. 14 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 pbwelful 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 Circulation Assistant: Jeff Mandell Editorial Interns: Erica C. Barnett, Jeff Mandell Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Brett Campbell, Lars Eighner, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, ,James Harrington, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Paul Jennings, Steven G. Kellman, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Carol Stall, Brad Tyer, James McCarty Yeager. Staff Photographer: Alan Pogue Contributing Photographers: Vic Hinterlang, Patricia . Moore. Contributing Artists: 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 In Memoriam: Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 copyrighted, 0 1997, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval World Wide Web DownHome page: Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas. SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. 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. DIALOGUE / PUZZLE ME THIS In an Otherwise fine review of Robert Barsky’s biography of Noam Chomsky Sledd poses and leaves several questions unanswered, ones moreover that someone as familiar with Chomsky’s work \(as swer easily. This is partictilarly true since moSt, if not all, of the answers can be found in Barsky’s-book itself \(Noam Chomsky: A Life:ofDts’sent; The first concerns Sledd’s’Puzilement that Chomsky “seems -a totalrationalist, with rio trace of religious conVictiOn” despite Chomsky’s young immersion in Jewish religious culture. Sledd should have known that Chomsky was close to his was also deeply immersed in other politi cal rationalist traditions besides-Jewish religion as a yOung b4. As; Barsky: mentions bringing included much more than Jewish religion, including, exposure to other fam-, ily members with a great “diversity of political affiliation” which in turn exposed Chomsky “to a wide range of opinion.” Fi nally, that. someone who was raised within . an intensely religious community should reject the principle of irrational belief on which religion is based is hardly surprising or uncommon. Alexander Cockburn, a pa,. litical comrade-in-arms to Chomsky, once wrote that he felt his own religious upbringing had provided him a sort. of inoculation against. it… The second question Sledd asks leaves him again puzzled, but it is constructed on a false premise. He asks’how Chomsky,.a “total rationalist” who as an anarchist must have “faith in:hunian goodness,” could false premise is that Chomsky is some sort THIS ISSUE FEATURES The Revenge of Robert West by Michael King 6 Nearly fifteen years ago, Robert Wallace West, Jr. murdered DeAnna Klaus. West will soon become the twenty-fifth man executed by Texas this year. Multiplying the Victims by Erica C. Barnett 10 The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty brought the fight against capital punishment to Houston and the Harris County D.A. Remember the Alamo…and Nothing Else by Jeff Mandell 12 The state of Texas has just announced a Texas History Museum, to be built by the year 2000. Here’s a sneak preview of the state’s notion of history. Picking Bones in the Legislature by Steve Russell 15 Once again, Texas Indians came to the Legislature hoping to stop graverobbing, and once again they were defeated. The bones talk, and so does the process. DEPARTMENTS BOOKS AND THE CULTURE Dialogue Activist and Poet 24 Editorial Poetry by Susan Rich & David Bowen The Ways of Smith County Injustice 4 MLK’s Unfulfilled Legacy 25 Molly Ivins Book Review by Nate Blakeslee In Memory of Cynthia Chavez Wall 18 Comanches and Colored Girls 29 Jim Hightower Book Review by Lars Eighner Minimum Wage Success, Social 19 Afterword 31 Security Raiders, & Banker Welfare The Empty Echo of the Death Penalty Political Intelligence 20 by Henry B. Gonzalez Las Americas Cover art by Kevin Kreneck Mexico Elections by John Ross 21 Observations by David Montejano 22 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER bidirt$61111811111101….. AUGUST . 41997 1101111R………..