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York Times article ran, Senator Phil Gramm showed up in El Paso, where he spoke more candidly than usual about his designs on Social Security. In a Saturday news conference held at an Office Furniture USA store, Gramm whipped off his earthling costume and revealed himself to be a visitor from Planet Wall Street, explaining to El Pasoans that the government ought to insure stocks against losses. As reported in the El Paso Times, the Senator from Another Planet and fellow Republican Pete Domenici of New Mexico plan to introduce Social Security legislation next month. In their bill, workers may opt to put 3 percent out of their 12.4 percent Social Security deduction into an investment account, while the remaining 9.4 percent would continue to pay for benefits under the current system. Workers could, if they wished, remain under the current system, but that would be silly since, in Gramm’s proposal, the government would guarantee that workers in the new system never receive less than in the old system. “There is risk, because these are investments,” Gramm said. “But the current system is risky, too. And remember, we will guarantee benefits.” Gramm didn’t bother to explain that as he described it, his plan amounts to a direct state subsidy to brokerage firms, who can freely spend their clients’ money with Gramm’s “guarantee” that they can’t lose a dime. This is apparently the Senator’s version of “free enterprise”: privatize the profits, socialize the losses. WAITING FOR HENRY. On June 30, the most notorious would-be serial killer in history, Henry Lee Lucas, is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville. In 1984, based on his confession, Lucas was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering a young woman in 1979 and dumping her body near Georgetown. The so-called “orange socks” murder was only one of many claimed by the garrulous Lucas, whose implausible stories of mayhem from Florida to California were eagerly embraced by credulous law enforcement officers hoping to clear their desks of unsolved homicide cases. The cooperative Henry Lee, plied by jailhouse favors and special treatment including Blowing smoke? Alan Pogue “investigation” tours in then-Governor Mark White’s personal plane, and hired limousines eventually pushed his alleged total to over 600 murders \(including After some time, more skeptical authorities began to doubt that the semi-employed drifter could really have been in several places at once, committing murders simultaneously by the bucketload. Lucas later recanted almost all of his confessions, and the suspicious totals were quickly whittled down to about 200 that police forces remained desperate to “solve.” Authorities now say Lucas is most likely connected only to three murders, for which he was duly convicted and is serving long sentences. Unfortunately, the Georgetown murder isn’t one of them, and the state is poised to execute Lucas this month for a crime that both current Attorney General Dan Morales, and his predecessor Jim Mattox, acknowledge that he almost certainly did not commit. In April 1986, Mattox issued the “Lucas Report,” which addresses at length the glaring contradictions of Lucas’ stories about murder, and specifically documents that Lucas was in Florida at the time of the Georgetown murder. Morales’ office also looked into the case, and spokesman Ron Dusek told the Houston Chronicle in May, “We became convinced that it was highly unlikely that [Lucas] did that one…. It wouldn’t have been impossible for him to have been in Texas that day, but he would have had to have flown here.” \(Since Lucas seldom had enough money in his pocket to buy beef jerky at the local Get-It-And-Go, Dusek’ s airplane qualificaIt’s not at all certain, of course, that official documentation of Lucas’ innocence will have any effect on his date with death. State appeals courts have made it abundantly clear that once a death sentence is in the works, technicalities like innocence are not necessarily germane, and the federal courts are increasingly following suit. There remains, however, the repeated assertion of Governor Bush that evidence of innocence is the only standard he will apply in appeals for clemency. Will the testimony of two Attorneys General of actual innocence be enough to move the Governor’s hand? Lucas, a hapless loser who apparently saw criminal notoriety as his only hope of glory, shouldn’t hold his breath. HOPWOOD HUSTLERS. Hopwood v. Texas, the reverse-discrimination lawsuit that \(helped by a broad interpretation by Dan grams at the state’s universities, has been a financial boon for the Center for Individual Rights, a right-wing legal foundation based in Washington, D. C. The C.I.R. did much of the work on Hopwood and is also involved in similar suits against Washington State School of Law and the University of Michigan. In the wake of Hopwood, contributions to the C.I.R. are up, according to Texas Lawyer. Who’s giving? Archer Daniels Midland, Chevron, the Adolph Coors Foundation, Philip Morris, the USX Corporation and in Texas, the Dallas law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. And as Hopwood-related litigation continues, right-wing policy litigators are lining up to participate. Stephen Wayne Smith, the Austin lawyer who filed the original case, is appealing the reverse discrimination case of a student denied admission to graduate school at U.T. Joining him in the appeal is Theodore Olson, a former law partner of Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. JUNE 19, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17