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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE ONE STORY ENDED. As reported in the August 1 Observer \(“The Revenge of Robert deed executed at Huntsville by the State of Texas, about 6:30 p.m. on July 29. There was a brief delay due to an Austin district court review of West’s final, unsuccessful appeal, but otherwise the execution by lethal injection proceeded as scheduled. According to press reports, in his last words West addressed the family of the victim, DeAnna Klaus, saying, “I would like to apologize for all of the pain and suffering I put you all through. I hope this will give you cl6sure now and later on down the road.” He also thanked the friends who had come to see him pass. West told the Observer last month that he had readied himself for death, although he had no certain religious convictions and did not claim to know what awaited him. He suggested that the authorities would be killing the wrong man, because he was not really “Robert Wallace West, Jr.” He was adopted and raised as Robert Hicks by his grandparents, but when he was arrested for murder he had taken the name of the father he never knew. West became the twenty-fifth person executed by Texas this year; several more people are scheduled to die in August, September and October. Asked his thoughts about capital punishment, West began describing vividly one evening on death row, and then said, “There’s a story in every cell, sixty people in one cell block, ten or eleven cell blocks, full of people: 450 folks down here. Four hundred and fifty different, individual worlds, every one of those unique and different as night and day. This is the immensity of the death penalty.” BUSH vs. XENA? The Wall Street Journal recently did a round of short interviews with Texas political insiders, asking the University of Houston’s Richard Murray, the Texas Freedom Network’s Cecile Richards, Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, former Texas Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower, among others, what it would take to defeat George Bush in the governor’s race two years from now. Their observations read like “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” Professor and pollster Murray earns his living polling and says money is A Robert West, Jr. the only thing that could defeat the incumbent Republican; Richards has created an organization to take on the Christian right and says the social conservatives who control the Texas Republican Party will drag Bush down; Bob Lanier, who has become a cult figure among the Houston Business Establishment, predicts that a charismatic candidate running a campaign like his own first successful run for mayor in Houston could win; and populist radio commentator Jim Hightower said that the way to beat Bush is for a candidate to “go to the people with an economic message that would rally the nonvoters, occasional voters and the agin’ voters.” The most pessimistic Democrat quoted is Mark McKinnon, “a former Democratic political consultant who now works for corporate clients.” The Democrat’s best strategy, McKinnon says, is to “nominate George Bush as our nominee.” And T.J. Johnson, president of Third Planet Sci-Fi & Fantasy Superstore in Houston, suggests Xend, “a television and comic character from mythical times. ‘She’s not a god or goddess or anything but she’s sharp, athletic and loyal.’ NO CHARITY. No sooner was United Way’s monopoly on workplace eleemosy nary affairs threatened \(by alternative funding groups like Another Way, which cers started using indirect attacks on competing funders to defend their own marketshare. Austin’s Capital Area United Way President Gary Godsey sent out a press release warning businesses that allowing employees to contribute to United Way competitors could result in “more work, a drop in giving,” and “no accountability.” He suggests employers opening their workplace to alternative funding organizations will be “faced with pressure from multitudes of federations.” DON’T BUY IT. On the AFL-CIO’s “National Boycott List” this Labor Day are: Master Apparel, maker of Botany 500, Hills and Archer, and Blair men’s and boys’ clothing; Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing, which produces machine tools and pumps; Rome Cable, which produces cables used in construction and mining; Southwire Company, the maker of Do-ItYourself brand homewire and industrial cable; California table grapes not marked with the United Farm Workers label; Diamond Walnut Company; Farmland Dairy, producer of milk sold in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York; Tyson/Holly Farms Chicken; Alitalia Airlines; Best 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 29, 1997