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DIALOGUE OCTOBER 25, 2002 FEATURES DEPARTMENTS BOOKS & THE CULTURE Texas Observer LAMAR’S ALIEN AGENDA Lamar Smith’s legacy is heartbreak for thousands of immigrant families. But lucky for him and the Republican Party, it’s not an issue in District 21. by Jake Bernstein MEXICO’S LAWYER Sandra Babcock battles the death penalty and legal incompetence north of the border. Interview by Patrick Timmons DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 A Two-Unit Election DATELINE TEXAS 6 A New Travesty in Tulia by Liliana Ibara POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 10 MOLLY IVINS 12 Hedge Hogs JIM HIGHTOWER 13 Chickenhawks ANDREW WHEAT 14 Stop Lawsuit AbuseOr I’ll Sue LAS AMERICAS 15 Skeletal Justice by John Ross POETRY 21 by Carolyn Banks C’EST TRES GODARD, Y’ALL 22 by Kirk Lynn LONE RANGERS 24 by Paul Christensen KAEL’S FINAL CUT 26 by Steven G. Kellman AFTERWORD 30 Missed Epiphanies by James McWilliams Cover Image by Julia Austin. 19 AND COUNTING Hi y’all. Wanted to let you know that I go to bed eternally grateful every night for the nineteen known liberals you maintain are still left in Texas. And I have a curiosity about something: Other day, don’t ask me where now, I was reading something about Geedubya’s mangling of the mother tongue in which he said he wants to make sure that whatever he says would be easily understood by “the boys in Lubbock.” Well, forgive an old Yankee’s ignorance of such things, but just who exactly are these boys from Lubbock, and how did they become the poster children for the profound ignorance Geedubya insists on projecting to his core constituents? Seriously, though, after reading about the textbook wars I wonder if public education nationwide will survive the inquisitional assault of the Texas Taliban upon freedom of thought and anything intellectual \(“History 101: Ignorance as Power,” ies teacher up here in the deep north, I can’t help but wonder if anyone else sees through Geedubya’s hypocrisy on education. Here’s a guy who is openly contemptuous of anything intellectual lecturing us on leaving children behind? Fortunately I’ll probably be retired by the close of Geedubya’s second term, by which time education expenses will have plummeted. After all, how much would schools need to spend if the only per-pupil outlay went for a piece of chalk, a slate, and a Bible? Down your way, I suppose, you could use some of the savings for frivolous things, like indoor plumbing for parts of Houston. Keep the faith. David Siegle Via e-mail AWARDS Congratulations to Observer Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye, whose 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East has been nominated for a National Book Award. STUDENT WARRIORS The Observer and others have begun to call attention to the lack of military experience in the high levels of the Bush Administration, but without many specifics. Here are some specifics: RICHARD PERLE: Head of the Defense Policy Board. Known during the Cold War as the “Prince of Darkness” for his advocacy of a firststrike against the Soviets. Perle spent the Vietnam War years as a student at the University of London, Southern California, and Princeton. PAUL WOLFOWITZ: Deputy Secretary of Defense. Said to be the “first and loudest hawk” on Iraq. Had student deferments during Vietnam while earning degrees at Cornell, Princeton, and University of Chicago. DICK CHENEY: Vice President of the U.S. At Yale and Wyoming in midSixties, earning B.A. and M.A. degrees in Political Science. GEORGE W. BUSH: President of the United States of America and Commander-in-Chief. Student at Yale in mid-1960s. Joined Texas Air National Guard in 1968, at height of Vietnam War. Q: Where was George Bush during Vietnam? A: He was flying patrols over the Red River Valley, protecting Texas against those evildoers from Oklahoma. I went to war in Korea as a volunteer and there I learned the sad wisdom of an old Latin proverb: Dulce bellum inexpertis. Sweet is war to those who never experienced it. I fear these students of strategy, these ferocious fraternity boys and weekend warriors, now middle-aged men sitting safely behind their desks in Washington, prophesying and planning war, preparing to send our children and grandchildren into a premature war which may not be necessary and whichafter they “win” itwill leave problems which will plague us for decades. Write these men, call them, e-mail them, fax them.Tell them to go back to continued on page 29 4 8 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 10/25/02