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.1 al 4:!;:60:61.Iliii1C .Iiii valZACJOILZA3C0 The Supreme Court upholds -the fades’ right to restrict women’, freedom of choice…./NA 5eitAtt8E MOVE TN EsE IMMO ATE AIM OWED 70 APPLY 70 fite &NES. ReVetts fog INTEKCour4e A geRtngs, uN WRtUN AND NEW 10 LSE Kerr ON fti.E folk AWOL AuDir4 $mir 1114topi of PELVI CoNTRol. DIALOGUE FRESH AIR IN LAREDO Thought that Debbie Nathan, whose description of Laredo’s “Birthday Bash” for George Washington \(“Pocahontas on the Rio Grande,” African Americans, might be interested in the following anecdote told to me in 1960 by Attorney John Ryan. \(I lived in Laredo from duced me to the Observer. According to him, several of the Laredo Air Force base’s finest, while at a bar in Nuevo Laredo \(directly across the Rio Grande, on the dressed black men. To their surprise, a burly Laredoan, a trucking firm owner, informed “the Air Force boys” that they were no longer in the States and ordered them to leave the AfricanAmerican patrons alone. They quickly left. The burly Anglo wanted to know if the four men were musicians. And when he heard that indeed they were, he offered them a gig for a barbecue he was planning provided, of course, that their fee would be reasonable. They offered to play without charge. When asked what the name of their group was, they answered, “They call us the Ink Spots.” Apparently not everyone in Laredo was/is infected with racism. Although I did not approve of the George Washington Birthday Balls because of the exclusivity involved in the choice of the participating youngsters, I, along with any Laredoan who went to those balls, was quite aware that the snobbery involved in their selection was not tainted with racism: both Anglos and Hispanics were chosen to participate. Those of us originally from the North found Laredo to be a breath of fresh air \(albeit at 100 Sara P. Simon Houston MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE Steven Kellman \(“Screening Communists,” gious errors contained in Ken Billingsley’s account of Hollywood’s brief flirtation with the Left, but then manages to perpetuate one of them himself: namely, the myth that once upon a time Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s U.S.S.R. were allies. Not so. In 1939 the foreign ministers von Ribbentrop and Molotov signed a treaty that divvied up a good deal of Central European real estate between them, and guaranteed that, should one of their respective nations enter hostilities with a third party, the other would refrain from attacking it. This nonaggression pact no more resembled an alliance than a restraining order resembles a marriage certificate. Anyone who believes otherwise lends credence to a pernicious canard that should have been laid to rest with the Cold War. A.C. Hall Dallas BEHIND UHER I found your article on Representative Uher disrespectful and uni-dimensional. My environmental friends tell me that while he disagrees with them on some issues, he has listened to them and incorporated positive changes in his bill on environmental permits. Many representatives are not so approachable and open. Furthermore, in the area where I have been lobbying, for state campaign finance reform, Representative Uher has been the most supportive member in the House. His bill, HB 2225, is the only serious, meaningful bill introduced to limit campaign contributions to House and Senate candidates. Some of the so-called progressive Democratic legislators you consistently laud are the most hostile to campaign finance reform even conservative Republicans are more supportive. The world, alas, is not monochromatic. Fred Lewis Austin IN DEFENSE OF CHARTERS Voucher and charter schools are not the answer, but they serve as the only viable leverage to force public schools to improve when they won’t, despite gigantic funding increases in the last three decades \(“School’s in Session,” March teachers’ unions, but I am an advocate for lowincome families. The real obstacles to higher salaries for teachers are the bureaucracies collapsing with the weight of useless Ph.D. administrators, not vouchers. You might not see teachers as victims if you read Bad Teachers by Guy As for funding private interests, you overlooked the fact that public schooling is a very profitable industry, most beneficial to private interests who benefit from the detestable status quo. This includes textbook companies, building contractors, school supply and equipment manufacturers, curriculum and standardized test developers, teachers’ colleges, food suppliers, computer technology companies, etc. “Strip Mall” voucher schools may not sound right, but I’m more appalled with thirty-plus million dollars being paid by the Austin Independent School District to a management firm to mismanage a $300 million school bond package, and by their manipulation of TAAS scores…. A greater evil exists than the religious right agenda, and that is the corporate agenda: to nurture materialistic consumers, obedient workers, and complacent citizens in a totalitarian environment, so that students don’t learn what democracy is all about. But the real question is, Whose children are they? Raul Flandes Austin HITS THE SPOT To think I’ve visited Austin so many times in the past few years but never knew you existed! Found your magazine online [texasobserver. org ] and am now a frequent “hitter” of your site. Please keep it coming; we have nothing to rival you in Mississippi! Cheers! John Nielsen Jackson, Mississippi For an exchange on “What Ever Happened to 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER APRIL 2, 1999