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DIALOGUE immumuzumm= Texas Observer FEATURE ALL RODNEY, ALL THE TIME Senate Finance Chairman Rodney Ellis had an outstanding legislative session. But don’t quote him on that. by Karen Olsson 7 DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 How a bad bill becatne a terrible law DATELINE TEXAS Good grades, no papers in the Valley by Belle Zars 4 MOLLY IVINS Roundup Ready: The 2001 Lege ANDREW WHEAT 12 In Memory of Campaign Finance Reform JAMES K. GALBRAITH 13 The Immoral Imperative of Missile Defense POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 14 BOOKS & THE CULTURE POETRY by Robert Burlingame GRACIELA ITURBIDE Review by Jake Miller FAST FOOD NATION Review by James McWilliams AFTERWORD A citizen’s encounter with the Border Patrol by Maria Eugenia Guerra 20 16 22 17 EXPLODING METH LABS Regarding Karen Olsson’s excellent article dangers posed by both exploding meth labs and drug laws, unregulated drug labs are akin to the deadly exploding liquor stills that sprung up everywhere during alcohol prohibition. Shameless politicians routinely used the drug war’s negative consequences to justify its continuation. The crime, corruption, and overdose deaths attributed to drugs are all direct results of drug prohibition. With prohibition repealed, alcohol producers no longer gun each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin. It’s time to stop wasting the taxpayer’s money on drug policies that do more harm than good. There are cost-effective alternatives. Taxing and regulating marijuana would effectively undermine the black market. Illegal marijuana provides the black market contacts that introduce users to drugs like meth:This “gateway” is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. In Europe, the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation. Dutch rates of drug use are significantly lower than U.S. rates in every category. Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing age controls for marijuana has proven more effective than zero tolerance for drugs. Robert Sharpe Program Officer The Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation Washington, DC LAST-MINUTE BILL BASH Molly Ivins weakens the force of her critique of the Bush policies by her continued apologia for Clinton \(“101 Days and that Clinton’s last minute actions on the ergonomics standard was “10 years in the making,” on reducing arsenic in water was “eight years in the making,” and reduction in logging roads in national forest represented “years of work.” Amazing coincidence that all these things matured so late, and not when Bill Clinton would have had to confront powerful people who may have slept in the Lincoln bedroom. Reminds me of the “error” Bill made in signing the “salvage” logging amendment clearing the ground for the timber companies working over those national forests, which he never cleared up during his term of office \(quietly refusing to support legislation that would Molly doesn’t pretend that Bush’s action on global warming and Kyoto cancelled any “last-minute” Clinton initiatives, but she doesn’t mention that smart Bill betrayed the Kyoto principles and promises quite completely, but with a less heavy hand. And terrible as Bush is, will his Secretary of State ever say on national TV that a U.S. policy “worth it”? In fact, Bush is showing signs of relenting on Iraq sanctions, an action which Clinton couldn’t even contemplate at the “last minute.” Edward S. Herman Penn Valley, PA PLEASE, NOT ON OUR ACCOUNT I nearly barfed when I saw the latest issue of The Texas Observer. I can’t believe you have fallen for that Tony Sanchez shit! \(“Tony the officials have been told I’ll not send another penny to them as long as they are pushing that damned Bush-loving Brown man from South Texas down our throats! IfJohn Sharp thinks he is his key to victory, perhaps he should remember all of us who still grieve over Ann Richards’ defeat. We are expected to embrace someone who helped finance her defeat? If a brown face is required at the top of the ticket, why not one of the Hispanic women who has served with honor in the statehouse? Be reminded that the bloom is off the rosebush. The more Dumbya shows his true agenda, the more the voters are regretting having voted for him. And who can ever forget that he is a pretenderthe election was stolen from Al Gore, and no one can deny it. Take your editorials in support of the Bush-lover and cram them where the sun don’t shine before you see a huge decline in readers. Clara Lou Sawyer Via e-mail 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 6/8/01 dr..111011 SorMilyell,M..