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FEBRUARY 2, 2001 DIALOGUE DEPARTMENTS BOOKS & THE CULTURE Texas Observer BORDER WAR 6 Life in Del Rio hasn’t been the same since the federal drug war came to town. by Nate Blakeslee FREE AT LAST 8 Wrongful convictions highlight the need for criminal justice reform by Karen Olsson GRAFFITI IN AUSTIN 12 Photography by Shannon Young DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Belejack Returns LEFT FIELD 4 The Rule of the Razor MOLLY IVINS The W Thing: It Could Be Worse JIM HIGHTOWER The Pentagon Peddlers POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE POETRY 17 Three by Lee Robinson FAULKNERIAN ROAD TRIP 18 Book review by Michael Miller PAID IN FULL 20 Book review by Andrew Wheat AFTERWORD 22 Lucius Lomax goes to Africa, gets sick, and lives to tell the tale. Cover photograph by Shannon Young GALBRAITH, GORE AND MORE Re: “Corporate Democracy, Civic Disrespect,” January 19 James Galbraith nails the analysis when he says the Supreme Court coup reveals our system of government as Corporate Democracy. He is right on the mark in calling for civic disrespect as our response to the stolen election. He is right that we should not refer to Dubya as President, but President-designate or some such. But, he goes seriously awry when he tries to explain the Gore concession speech and discusses a possible Democratic legislative response. His condescension toward the Greens reveals that he is seriously out of touch. Gore’s concession: what he saw as “grace and humor” I saw as a servile dog rolling over and showing his belly to his corporate masters. Let’s not fool ourselves \(and othmuch of Gore’s agenda as well as most of Bush’s. This is not to claim that there was no difference between the two, but to acknowledge that Gore as President would have campaign debts to many of the same corporate interests. Congressional Democrats: why does Galbraith suppose that “Senate Democrats” would block Bush’s judicial picks? Did they block Clarence Thomas? Did they block the rabid Antonin Scalia? Recall that Gore voted for Scalia. Who let the dogs out? Greens: sorry, Professor, there was no “Nader defection”. The Democratic Party defected from its base. Thus, enough folks were disgusted enough to vote for what they actually wanted. That trend will continue and accelerate until the Democrats wake up or merge with the Republican Party. Tony Switzer Austin, TX GRAHAM GETS HIS SHARE, PART II I’m writing in response to Don Graham’s wife’s letter last month. I’ll try to bring you up to speed on this feud. Don Graham wrote a sarcastic personal attack on Mary Karr in Texas Monthly thin veneer of a book review of her new book, Cherry, as his justification. He whined about how his agent couldn’t get his memoir sold, then went so far as to accuse Mary of making things up. More like “I’m not worth anything so it must be Mary Karr’s fault” than an actual book review. I got mad because Mary’s a very honest and cool lady, and she did not deserve that. I wrote Don Graham a rather nasty letter, not intending for it to be published, just my way of saying “Hey, Mary’s trying to work here!” She doesn’t go down to the sperm bank and knock the magazines out of your hand when you’re trying to work Mr. Don. The funny part was when Graham’s wife writes to The Texas Observer and has to drop she’s a Doctor of English. Hey I’m a PhD.professional holedigger. Is it me? Or if you call yourself doctor and you can’t write a prescription that’s like being a general in the Salvation Army? In my letter there was a political slant. I’m a hard-core Republican and Mary’s a Democrat. From the review Graham wrote of Cherry I felt like he was attacking Mary because of her political views. In my opinion that’s not only foolish but counterproductive. Our party’s biggest challenge is to lose that negative sourpuss image. The thing that made me mad is, I grew up with Mary. Nobody gave her anything. She sobered up as I did, has worked her ass off, and made a good career of writing. She’s been a good mother and a great friend. I think I speak for all the surfers from Meacom’s Pier when I say Mary, we love you and when you gonna break us off a piece of that Kit Kat bar. You go girl. Doonie Scott Carlsbad, CA GANG OF FIVE James K. Galbraith’s protest of George W Bush’s misbegotten administration is wellfounded in the best tradition of American democracy. By selecting the nation’s 43rd “President,” the politicized Supreme Court Five’s cynical misappropriation of the people’s sovereign authority was an act of official hooliganisma blind-siding of our Constitution; which brings to mind the prophetic wisdom of Founding Father and President, John Adams, who wrote, “Remember, democracy never lasts long….There never was a democracy yet that didn’t commit suicide.” Georgia and Ted Corin Austin, TX 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER