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SAVE THE DATE! The 21st Century Observer: A celebration of recent work by Texas Observer artists, photographers, and cartoonists Reception and Fundraiser Thursday, May 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. With Observer editors and friends at Las Manitas Avenue Cafe 211 Congress, Austin Music by members of Grupo Fantasma Suggested donation at the door: $15 For more information, call: 477-0746 21 24 28 FEATURES DEPARTMENTS BOOKS & THE CULTURE Texas Observer SHERIFF, INTERRUPTED After years of police misconduct, voters in Chambers County polish off the top brass by Felix Gillette THE MAYOR’S SILK UNDERWEAR Fear, loathing, macro-history, and metaphysics at the El Paso-Judrez International Bridge by David Romo DIALOGUE EDITORIAL An F for Leadership POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE LAS AMERICAS Scenes from the VIP Room by Gabriela Bocagrande MOLLY IVINS House of Bush, House of Cards JIM HIGHTOWER Hiding the Bad News DIALOGUE GOVERNMENT ABETS POLLUTERS Thanks for enlightening me about the legal onslaught against Greenpeace which poses the question: “Is there a government-industry conspiracy to clamp down on peaceful protests of the Bush administration’s pro-corporate policies?” The Dallas DA’s threat of prosecuting Greenpeace activists for felony charges arising out of the costumed protest at ExxonMobil headquarters reminds me of House area legislator in the 78th Legislature’s regular session. The purpose of HB 1516 was to enhance criminal punishments for certain offenses, if the offense was motivated by the offender’s objection to an “activity involving natural resources,” such as mining, foresting, petrochemical refining, etc. For example, the bill would have made opposition to ExxonMobil’s contribution to global warming an egregiously bad motive for trespassing on the company’s property, increasing the maximum punishment for the misdemeanor from a $500 fine to a $2,000 fine and 180 days of jail confinement. The Texas legislation may have died in committee, but nevertheless King George and his corporate lords appear determined to impose oppressive laws, persecute activists, and stifle dissent against polluters. Nancy L. Stone Houston It does amaze me that these so-called \(\(compassionate conservative” Leges believe that cutting this program is in the best interest of the taxpayers of this I herewith want it be known I do support the CHIP program and am willing to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to provide these children of families living in poverty, decent, elemental, and preventive health care. I don’t quite understand how families living in or at the poverty level, sacrificing their cable TV or “inheritances from mom and dad,” would give them back health insurance! Robert Seltzer Via e-mail David Mann began his editorial in the April 9 Observer by saying, “It takes a certain Ebenezer Scrooge psychology to deprive children of health care.” I protest. This is unfair to Mr. Scrooge. Shown the error of his ways, he earnestly repented and changed his life and opinions. Samuel Hudson Fort Worth 4 6 2 3 10 12 14 15 POETRY by Robert Sund WATER WORKS by Jake Miller TANGLED UP BLUES by Karl Hagstrom Miller Cover photograph: Terry Evans, Frankfort, Illinois 2003 from the FotoFest2004 Catalogue 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5/7/04