Maxey, entitled “Bush’s prudent proposal to cut mercury pollution.” She praised the president’s cap-and-trade plan that would impose a national limit on mercury pollution but allow plants to trade emissions within that ceiling. As environmentalists have pointed out, while cap-and-trade can work well for air pollutants that travel, it could prove disastrous with a heavy, localized toxin like mercury. But that’s not a concern you’re likely to hear from Maxey, who was identified at the end of her commentary as a “professor emeritus of medical bioethics.” It seems that Maxey also failed to tell her readers a little something about herself. In addition to being a professor emeritus, she’s also a member of the board of directors of TXU, which operates guess what? two of the nation’s biggest mercury-emitting plants. FADING STARR It was amusing to hear Kenneth Starr, in an April 13 speech before the conservative FederalistSocietyatthe University of Texas law school, lament the loss of judicial restraint. The former special prosecutor’s four-year, $70 million quest to up-turn every skirt in Bill Clinton’s personal life won’t go down as the most “judicial;’ or restrained, moment in American legal history. Of course, Starr had a different notion of judicial restraint in mind as he railed against the cabal of liberal, activist judges who are undermining what he termed the grand tradition of American jurisprudence. According to Starr, it’s a crisis of biblical proportions. “The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years;’ he said. “How long will we wander in this wilderness?” Starr has moved on from searching for stained blue dresses. These days he is a partner at the powerful law firm Kirkland & Ellis and was recently named dean of Pepperdine law school in California. His latest target is gay marriage. In his UT speech, Starr denounced the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s recent gay marriage ruling as an example of a disturbing trend of judges writing public policy instead of interpreting the law. “I’ll be brief,” he said, “as we now march through a century of American constitutional law!’ And on he marched, offering a detailed argument for strict legal interpretation of the Constitution. He quoted and praised Oliver Wendell Holmes, Learned Hand, and Antonin Scalia for carrying on the grand tradition. \(Apparently, Starr’s notion of strict interpretation and separation of powers doesn’t preclude duck hunting with After his speech, Starr indulged in a brief question and answer session. The seemingly omnipresent Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond rose to ask if Starr would support a constitutional convention to overturn the Supreme Court’s support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law last year. McCain-Feingold restricts the kind of corporate-funded issue ads that TAB used in the 2002 electionsads that may result in Hammond’s indictment \(TAB’s campaign is the subject of wide-ranging Travis County clear of constitutional conventions,” said Starr, managing to keep a straight face. “Who knows what could come out of that!’ How restrained of him. FUZZY ON CLEAR CHANNEL Anyone who read S. C. Gwynne’s analysis of Clear Channel Communications in the April issue of Texas Monthly only got the North Dallas fur-coatset version of a much bigger, more complex story. The subhead of the story “The Voice of America,” asked the question, “Has the company that everyone loves to hate gotten a bum rap?” Well, has it? The articlewhich determines that consumers should “blame Congress” for the San Antonio-based behemoth’s chokehold on American radiofails to mention the lawsuit filed by Denver-based concert promoter, Nobody in Particular Presents, against Clear Channel in 2001. The suit, which was covered by almost every major news outlet in America, alleged that the radio giant’s subsidiaries, Clear Channel Radio and Clear Channel Entertainment \(which own dozens rival promoters and threatened recording artists who worked with promoters outside the Clear Channel orbit. According to Harper’s magazine, Clear Channel won a protective order in the case, a move that has hamstrung Nobody in Particular Presents. Gwynne’s story doesn’t mention the many connections between George W. Bush and the big shots at Clear Channel. Clear Channel’s founder and CEO, Lowry Mays, has been a major Republican donor for years. Tom Hicks, a director of Clear Channel and one of its biggest individual shareholders, was the man who made Bush into a multimillionaire when he bought the Texas Rangers from Bush and his fellow investors in 1998. Furthermore, while Bush was governor, Hicks was chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Co., the venture capital entity that was investing the university’s money in various ventures, some of which Hicks controlled. Clear Channel’s considerable stroke in Washington is also ignored. The Monthly omitted that super-lobbyist and former Clinton White House insider Vernon Jordan was, until very recently, on Clear Channel’s board. Nor does it mention that Jordan’s spot on the board was taken by former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, a conservative black politico who was one of the Republican Party’s rising stars until he quit Congress last year. Finally, the magazine glossed over Clear Channel’s considerable involvement in supporting several pro-Iraq war rallies in March of 2003. The rallies, supported by Clear Channel stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Cincinnati, and other cities, attracted as many as 20,000 people. They were designed to counter the many anti-war rallies being held around the country. While the Clear Channel stations were promoting patriotism, flag waving, and the invasion of Iraq, they bounced a pair of talk show hosts who opposed the war. Charles Goyette, a conservative talk show host at Phoenix radio station KFYI, was demoted from his drive-time afternoon talk show after he repeatedly questioned the motives behind the war. Goyette wrote about his fight with Clear Channel in the February issue of The American Conservative magazine. Goyette is now looking for a new job. Another talk show host, Roxanne Walker, who identifies herself as a liberal, lost her job at WMYI, a Clear Channel station in South Carolina, shortly after the war began. Walker had gone on the air repeatedly arguing against the war. In July of 2003, she told CNN that she believes she lost her job because of Clear Channel’s conservative politics. “The company feltthatit was okay to have political discussions that were pro-war and pro-Bush but wanted to restrict any opposing viewpoints!’ Walker, who was named the 2002 Radio Personality of the Year by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, has filed a lawsuit against the radio giant. None of these issues would have been difficult to research or discuss. But then again, you wouldn’t want to ruffle those minks. 4/23/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11
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