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FEATURES BOOKS & THE CULTURE JANUARY 18,2002 Texas Observer THE INSIDER David Halberstam’s reports from Vietnam defeathered the hawks and made him a hero of the doves. Has life in Washington made him a pigeon? by Robert Sherrill FREE RADICALS 28 Fiction by Beatrice Edwards DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Read ’til the Cows Come Home SLOUCHING TOWARDS DUBYA 8 by Michael Miller THE PORTABLE PROPHET 10 by Cathy Corman EVILS WE KNOW NOT OF 12 by Char Miller SECOND TO NONE? 14 by Sanford Levinson REAL PROBLEMS, REEL PRESIDENTS 18 by Ann Daly PICTURING AFGHANISTAN 20 by Jake Miller POETRY 23 by Rachel Barenblat AN UNDERSTATED WIZARD 24 by Karen Olsson NEWS FROM THE VAN ALLEN BELT 26 by Paul Christensen CABEZA DE MCMURTRY 30 by Dick Holland AFTERWORD 38 Apparent Illusions by Barbara Belejack Cover art by Julia Austin DIALOGUE WE LOVE THIS NEW YORKER, TOO I am a NewYorker who quit her job just days before the tragedy at the WTC, not knowing, of course, that it was going to happen, and that I would find myself competing with over 100,000 other people to get a new job. Needless to say, I’ve had to trim many things from my life, and considered dropping my sub scription to The Texas Observer. However, when push came to shove, I just couldn’t make myself do it. I’ll never forget how I felt reading your first issue after the disaster. I was thinking as I picked it up,”Well, here’s something else that’s gonna have to go,” and then I started reading the articles. And let me tell you, even living in one of the most “liberal” cities in the nation, the words printed in your magazine out of reac tionary ol’Texasthe state that brought us Dubya and so much morewere like balm to my soul. I realized then that this was love, and that I would never be able to separate myself from your tough, funny, surprising, COURAGEOUS magazine. And every issue since has confirmed that feeling. So as I renew my subscription, I announce it shamelessly: I can’t live without The Texas Observer. Donna Lamb Via e-mail FOXY FINANCING The whole Enron story is the biggest scam on America yet. When you start seeing , who is pushing to get some of these Enron folks hired into state or national “fox” positions \(the old fox eral names that continually keep popping up. Recently I read a blurb about the Texas Teachers Retirement fund as well as The Texas State Workers retirement fund, indicating that a large part of those funds are tied to Enron stock. It would be very interesting to see who “helped” select Enron as “the stock of choice.” Anyone looking to be a responsible financial advisor would never invest in such a lopsided manner in any one stock.This is a classic case of financial irresponsibility. Sandy Wittff McGregor NO OPEC? Maybe James K. Galbraith should rethink his scenario \(“The future Oil between now and the 1970s is our relationship to Russia. I. am a chemical engineer who has worked with the Russians. I ” also worked for two years with Arabian American Oil Co. in the matter is that there is no OPEC, just Saudi Arabia. Only Saudi Arabia has enough slack in their productiOn to influence prices significantly. TOmmy Riines Via e-mail SPANNING THE GLOBE Molly Ivins’ columns, which I read in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are right on the money. We have created a poster child with bin Laden, which has diverted our attention from the real source of the problem. You have, of course, pointed that out, but I wonder whether our politicians will sincerely address it. With terrorist organizations in 60 countries, where will we send the 82nd Airborne next? John Corbett Via e-mail JAMES AND JIM Just a quick note on Jim Hightower. He is one of the most anti-American people I have ever heard. I listen to his commentaries to see how far he can push the edge. Even though he is not worth my time, I feel it only fair to give everyone a chance to speak their mind. I generally take the information he gives out and check it to see what is fact or fiction. If he isn’t just bold-face lying, he is giving out half truths. Is this the kind of person we want to influence our ideas? I guess if you believe in the communist or socialist way of life, he makes a good point. I am a redblooded American who believes in Capitalism and can see the freedoms Capitalism brings to every nation. I will never support Jim Hightower or any organization that does. James Barnes Via e-mail 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 1/18/02