with witnesses. The team has already filed 17 motions since the appellate order came down, according to TLDP member Vanita Gupta, who is with the NAACP in New York. If Self continues to act as a blocking back for the district attorney, the record of his actions will create a good due process argument in federal court, should it come to that. For now, though, the goal is to gain new trials for each of the thirteen, one at a time. “When we started this we all agreed this would be a long term campaign’ ,’ Blackburn said. After two-plus years of work, Blackburn said recent developments have actually put the team further along than they thought they would be. “We’re only about half-way through chronologically but about three-quarters of the way through morally:’ he said. “We’re in this to the end, and we’re going to win.” QUOTE OF THE WEEK It’s official: even racism’s professional apologists are now embarrassed by Tulia. Jeff Blackburn took time out from his Tulia advocacy, last month to debate UT law professor Lino Graglia \(rememtime opponent of affirmative action, Graglia made national news a few years ago with his comments about the poor performance of black and Hispanic law students. The affirmative action debate was at its height, and Gragliawho refused to back down in the national spotlightbriefly became the country’s leading curmudgeon, even earning a visit to UT from Jesse Jackson. In Lubbock, Graglia covered familiar territory: racism as earlier generations understood it has been all but eradicated from American society, and efforts to combat the vestiges of it do more harm than good. Fresh from his Tulia writ-writing, Blackburn countered with the story of Jason Williams, currently serving 45 years for allegedly dealing about the same amount of cocaine that Noelle Bush \(the First Graglia’s response to Tulia: “Admittedly, that’s a bad situation.” When Lino Graglia concedes a point in a debate on racism, Blackburn said, “you know you’re winning the war of hearts and minds.” CENSORSHIP SCORES A VICTORY Textbook publishers knuckled under to the fundamentalist flat earth crowd recently. In response to comments from Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy and Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a number of companies have changed their social studies text books. \(See “History 101: Ignorance As Power” by promote Christianity in the face of accepted science, to attack Islam, and to de-emphasize the horrors of slavery. Some highlights brought to you by the Texas Freedom Network: Publisher agreed to “eliminate the references to fossil fuels being formed millions of years ago” so as not to Publisher agreed to DELETE a sentence reading “[M]any other teachings in the Quran, such as the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for their families, govern their daily lives.” The critic called the statement “more propaganPublisher agreed to DELETE “entire box called ‘Changing the Earth’s Environment” because critic objected to the discussion of global warming as a fact. Publishers agreed to DELETE a sentence reading “Christians would later accept slavery in other con texts’ ,” because critics thought discussions of U.S. slav ery were too negative, were anti-Christian and empha The state board of education will vote on which textbooks to adopt on November 14 and 15. The Texas Freedom Network is distributing postcards to be sent to the board, the education commissioner, and legislators. “We still have time to get the message to publishers that the majority of Texans don’t agree with this’ ,’ says Ashley Mcllvain, TFN political director. Send your requests for postcards to [email protected] . PHONE TAG If you think the Perry-Sanchez slanderama is ugly, check out the war of words currently underway between the telephone companies over local phone service. Thanks to some federal anti-trust reforms, SBC \(forto allow some competitors, mainly AT&T and MCI, to sell local phone service over its lines. In a new marketing campaign, SBC is claiming that the reforms are killing the company and forcing thousands of layoffs. The competition has responded with a series of ads \(signed Voices for foul at the first sign of lost market share. Both sides have spared no expense, spending freely on TV and print ads. SBC’s commercials feature the voice of Texas actor Tommy Lee Jones, waxing on admiringly about trenches and lines and how hard it is to be an honest phone company these days. Most recently, dueling full page ads appeared in the Austin American-Statesman on October 28. The anti-SBC ad features a wolf dressed as a sheep with the tagline: “What if the company crying wolf is the wolf?” SBC counters a few pages later with a grim-faced technician with the rugged name of Dave Clark, who complains that “good, union jobs” are disappearing because of the new laws. Funny, then, that officials from the Communication Workers of America didn’t show up at a rally organized by SBC at its San Antonio headquarters on October 16, according to the San Antonio Express News. The layoffs continued on page 28 11/8102 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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