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DIALOGUE AUGUST 30, 2002 Texas Observer COMINGS AND GOINGS With this issue we say a bittersweet farewell to Candace “Candle” Carpenter, our office and circulation manager. For the past three years, Candace has been the glue that holds TO together: working with the editors to get the issue to press every other week, with the publisher to get the bills and the staff paid, and, most publicly and importantly, with you, our readers and subscribers, to answer questions, renew subscriptions, and to relay to us your advice and concerns. We will miss Candle’s plainspoken perspective, her Southern charm, and her quiet ability to get things done. We wish her success in school and beyond. Former Observer intern Rosie Bamberger will be taking over the role, and we welcome her to the staff. FEATURES TEST.CASE 4 From TARS to TAKS,.education in Texas is all about testing. Now even the students are wondering: will we ever learn? by Jake Bernstein HISTORY 101: IGNORANCE AS POWER 8 Do you know who’s vetting your children’s textbooks? by James McWilliams DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Katy Bar the Back Door OPEN FORUM 10 Domestic Partner Benefits at UT by John Rundin POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 12 MOLLY IVINS 14 The Dubya & Dick Show JIM HIGHTOWER 15 Hypocrisy on Steroids LAS AMERICAS 16 Photo Essay by . Bill Kennedy, text by Barbara Belejack BOOKS & THE CULTURE DISPUTED Very solid work documenting the unjust treatment of Shadi Khufash \(“Soul on Ice,” by Nate Blakeslee, June tutional and human rights to non-citizens is a dangerous trend, and it has nothing to do with protecting the security of people here or abroad. I want to make a couple of friendly amendments with regard to some indelicate ways in which you refer to the land of Israel and Palestine. In one place you correctly refer to the territories as occupied, as is consistent with international law on the matter, and I have no quibble with that. But in other cases you use phrases that imply that the West Bank is part of Israel, which it is not. So, for instance, you say: “When Khufash left Israel in May of 2000, there was relative quiet in the West Bank.” Since Shadi is from Nablus, located in the West Bank, obviously, he left Palestine, not Israel, even though the fact of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and denial of Palestinian national rights means that Shadi may have had to fly out of the Tel Aviv airport. You also report that “The situation had begun to deteriorate in Israel, and the prospect of open warfare between the Israeli military and the Palestinian security forces was very real.” If you mean by this that things have gotten bad for those living with Israel’s pre-1967 borders, I would say you’re ignoring the much greater suffering of Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal dictatorship. While the Israelis worry about not being able to drink their coffee at cafes, Palestinians suffer 50-percent unemployment, worry that their homes will be demolished by bulldozers, and fear being gunned down by the fourth or fifth most powerful military in the world. The fact that three Palestinians have been killed for every Israeli since the beginning of the Intifada makes it clear whose conditions have deteriorated. But it’s hard for me not to read this sentence as not saying that the West Bank is part of Israel. It ain’t. And you should be clear about that. What exactly are internal and external borders? \(“Thus, the chances of Israel, which vigilantly controls the nation’s internal and external borders, voluntarily accepting any Palestinian much less someone they consider a solAs far as I know, states only have one set of borders, not two. What Israel controls are its own borders \(the Green which is what it means to say that Palestine is occupied. Israel’s whole strategy to colonize the West Bank relies upon convincing people internationally that the territories are “disputed,” not occupied, or part of greater Israel. If we want to avoid playing into their language, we have to be very careful about the way we discuss topics like “Israel’s borders.” If our media accepts Israel’s claims that the West Bank is part of Israel, we can kiss a Palestinian state and a just resolution to the conflict goodbye. Harty Khalil Via e-mail continued on page 11 POETRY by John Randolph Carter MISSING THE STORY by Debbie Nathan sidebar by Molly Molloy AFTERWORD The Man Who Shaved Off the Beard of Poetry by Julie Ardery Cover illustration by Sam Hurt 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 8/30/02 21 22 30