THIS ISSUE DEPARTMENTS Dialogue Editorial Buying School Vouchers by Louis Dubose James Galbraith Booming Economies Left Field George W. ‘s New Hampshire Letter, First Person Shooters, & Paper Enterprises Capital Offenses On the Chisum Trail by Louis Dubose 2 3 5 6 14 Poesia Tejana 26 Poetry Review by Paul Christensen Good Times Rolling 28 Book Review by Chris Garlock Afterword 30 Spelling Beez by Debbie Nathan The Back Page 32 Chris Harris’ Timely Withdrawal Cover Photo by Jana Birchum, with a little help from Harrison Saunders, and George Bush as Thomas More FEATURE The Last Puritan by Michael King 8 In 1990, Marvin Olasky was an obscure Texas professor with a crackpot theory of abolishing welfare. Then Newt Gingrich made him a star, and now he’s George Bush’s expert on compassion. Bad Bills 16 Political Intelligence 17 Molly Ivins 20 Protecting Bush Jim Hightower 21 Executive Compensation, Stock Market Gaines, & Hemp Beer Observations 22 Questions for George W. by Ronnie Dugger BOOKS AND THE CULTURE Tejana Prize Winners 24 Poetry by Victoria Garcia-Zapata, Nicole Pollentier, Celeste Guzman & Mary Grace Rodriguez EDITORIAL Caveat Emptor What do you get out of a legislature for $3.8 million? At the very least, anyone who writes that big a check should get two or three bills passed. Thus far this session, the state’s biggest right-wing Christian funder, Dr. James Leininger, hasn’t exactly gotten what he paid for: a voucher program that would move tax money from public to private schools \(and additional tort reform legislation that would further limit the rights of individuals filing suits against corThe fault doesn’t lie with Dr. Leininger or his stars but with Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry who can’t seem to move the Leininger bills. As has been reported in this publication and elsewhere, Leininger provided Perry the $1.1 million loan that allowed him to make a last-minute media buy that quite likely provided the narrow margin by which he defeated Democrat John Sharp. Dr. Leininger and his extended family also provided Perry with $191,577 in campaign contributions, according to an exhaustive study of voucher funding recently released by the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based non-profit group that monitors the extreme right. When Texas Freedom Network researchers looked beyond Leininger, they found other Christian right funders who Gail Woods \(with the San Antonio physician and med$5.2 million that the voucher proponents spent on last year’s elections. “That doesn’t take into account the $1 million-plus spent by voucher proponents on public relations and lobbying during each of the last two legislative sessions, the $10 million spent by Dr. James Leininger to acquire a statewide cable news network, TXN, which broadcasts into seventeen of Texas’ nineteen media markets, or the $50 million spent on the nation’s largest private voucher program in Edgewood I.S.D.,” the T.F.N. reported. “In San Antonio [location of Edgewood], $45 million of that $50 million is pledged by Dr. Leininger.” Despite all that ungodly freespending, the session’s one big voucher bill remains bottled up in the Senate, where eleven Democrats have signed a statement promising they will vote against bringing the bill to the floor. So Amarillo Republican Teel Bivins cannot muster the required two-thirds vote to bring his bill to the floor despite intense pressure from Perry. The pressure is growing, as the session winds down and more senators are willing to cut deals to move their own bills. To make a deal easier, Bivins has reduced the scope of his once ambitious voucher plan and allowed the management of the bill to be given over to the Lieutenant Governor and his staff. Perry, in fact, is telling the press the bill should be more widely acceptable now that it is limited to two smaller school districts rather than four large urban districts. And the latest version of the bill has no income cap, a change that Perry says he always supported. MAY 14, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3 .411011,1,61,011118P,W0W18.104.22.168.1,..e4AW*NepreopoWya
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