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the Chronicle of Higher Education. “I guess I was naive.” Not only did rumors of the production spark angry protests from local fundamentalists including one lawyer who tried in vain to buy up most of the tickets for opening night but the Gregg County Commissioners have threatened to withhold future funding from Kilgore’s Texas Shakespeare Festival, which Caldwell also directs. Much to the credit of the college, the trustees and President William Holda refused demands by the county, the mayor, and other major funders to cancel the production. “We could have stopped the production, but it would have been a sad legacy,” Holda said. “To me, the whole issue boils down to academic and artistic freedom.” City and county politicians had threatened to pull a total of $65,000 from the college if it went ahead with the production. News of the censorship battle has spread across the country, and playwright Kushner sent a ringing statement of support for the Kilgore College administration and teachers. He described a mob assault on a Romanian production of the play, and wrote, “Those who wish to silence us have learned that they can attempt an end-run around the Constitution’s mighty edict against censorship by simply using money, from the state or from foundations and individuals, to force compliance with their convictions and beliefs…. What they seek is no different from what that mob in Bucharest sought: a world in which people are afraid to make art that challenges convention, that says what may not have been spoken before.” BURNING MAN. On November 4, Colorado City attorney Pat Barber burned his “Just Say No” billboard on 1-20, about sixty-five miles west of Abilene. Barber erected the billboard on his own property, facing westbound traffic on the highway, to inform motorists that they have the right to refuse highway patrolmen who, without probable cause, ask to search their vehicles for drugs or other contraband. The Texas Department of Transportation claims the sign is a violation of the Highway Beautification Act, while Barber a Republican who recently declared his candidacy for a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals insists it is protected free speech under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. Barber burned the homemade billboard \(which read, “Just Say No To Searches” and gave District Judge had announced her intention to rule in favor of TXDOT and its threatened $1,000 a day fine. “It’s obvious to me we need more judges who take their oath to support and defend the Constitution more seriously,” Barber told reporters. “Our lawyers will appeal, but for now the sign must go.” GUN NUMBERS. Cliff Pearson of the Dallas Peace Center provided Political Intelligence with some interesting statistics picked up from the Sixth Annual Citizens Conference to Stop Gun Violence in D.C. earlier this month. According to The Violence Policy Center, a U.S. resident is fortythree times more likely to be killed by his or her own handgun than by one owned by someone else. A woman is twelve times more likely to be killed by someone she knows than by a stranger. A long-term study at the University of Miami showed that over 90 percent of all unintentional shootings involve “family handguns” in homes. Less than 2 percent of all home handgun owners have had military training, and less than 29 percent have had any gun use training at all. Massachusetts gun violence expert John Rosenthal said that in Massachusetts, of the 960 registered gun dealers in their state, more than 800 dealt out of their homes prior to a state law requiring retailers to have a commercial address. Three hundred eighty-nine of these home dealers were the suppliers of more than 50 percent of the handguns used in violent crimes last year in Massachusetts. ROCKET ON THEIR DOOM’. Some day, Texas Civil Rights Project legal director Jim Harrington will hold a press conference in front of Johnny Rocket’s retro-theme restaurant in Austin’s Barton Creek Mall. Harrington is representing a group of young MexicanAmerican plaintiffs who allege they were denied entrance to the restaurant because of their ethnicity. Harrington filed a public-accommodations lawsuit and held a press conference in front of the restaurant to announce the suit at which time the mall management had him arrested. \(He reportedly was reHarrington then went to Travis County Distinct Judge Mary Pearl Williams with a request that she order the mall management to comply with an injunction handed down by Travis County Judge Joe Hart in 1983. Hart’s injunction seemed to be on point: it applied specifically to Barton Creek Mall, and declared the mall a quasi-public space, where no limits could be imposed on free speech. And it had been in place for sixteen years. Harrington rescheduled his press conference, only to discover that Judge Williams’ order enforcing Judge Hart’s injunction had been appealed by Thompson & Knight the attorneys representing the mall and the restaurant. When the Third Court of Appeals in Austin affirmed Judge Williams’ ruling, the Civil Rights Project prepared to hold its press conference at the mall. Late on the afternoon of Friday, November 12, Thompson & Knight went to the Texas Supreme Court with a request that it block the press conference Harrington had scheduled for noon the following Monday. The temporary order, shutting Harrington and his plaintiffs out of the mall. “When you choose not to appeal a case [in 1983], and sixteen years later you are trying to get around it and the Supreme Court helps you out, I can’t figure it out,” Harrington said. \(A Political Intelligence Guess: Thompson & Knight’s partners are major givers to Texas judicial candidates including Supremes have scheduled a hearing on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, to issue a final ruling on free speech in an Austin mall. Harrington and his clients will schedule their press conference after the ruling if the Court so ordains. Photo Manipulation in Photoshop Make your photos more spectacular through digital enhancement, photo montage, colorizing, creative new compositions or simply digital cleaning. I can also digitize your favorite photos for safer, long-lasting archiving. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17 NOVEMBER 26, 1999