Texas Observer FEATURES IN SEARCH OF THE NEXT CRUSADE 4 Republicans discover its easier to be an up-and-comer by Jake Bernstein and Dave Mann TEXAS’ DEADLY $16 BILLION BOONDOGGLE 6 Even Dick Cheney couldn’t kill the V-22 helicopter by Robert Bryce DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE EDITORIAL Taken for a Ride POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE MOLLY IVINS Let Them Eat Lettuce JIM HIGHTOWER Push for Real Reform LAS AMERICAS Mexicanizing the Mara by John Ross BOOKS & THE CULTURE 2 3 12 14 15 16 CONGRATULATIONS We’re proud to congratulate two of our extended Observer family winners of the Playboy Foundation Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards! To Nate Blakeslee, formerObserver editor and reporter, for chronicling prosecutorial economic disparity in drug sentencing into the national spotlight;” and To Molly Ivins, former Observer editor and president of our publisher, the Texas Democracy Foundation, who won a lifetime achievement award for “nearly 25 years of keeping the First Amendment alive through her unflagging dedication, energy and humor while informing the public of erosions to freedom.” OOPS In our June 4 issue the Table of Contents did not include James K. Galbraith’s page 16 column, “A Few Words on Iraq,” and Rashid Khalidi’s name was misspelled in the photo caption on page 26 in “The Empire’s New Clothes!’ Our apologies. DIALOGUE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF AUSTIN The section on the Ethical Society of Austin contained an error which I and other members have frequently corrected when the Statesman made it. We are NOT an atheist group. Existence or nonexistence of a creator is not something we address at all, except to observe that it is a matter of individual conscience. Positions that are represented in our congregation on that matter include ism, agnosticism, and polytheism. Other churches our members are also active in include Christian, Jewish, Pagan, and Buddhist churches. \(Ethical Culture is like many eastern religions, in that it Strayhorn has attempted to paint us as defined by an absence of belief in God, but that’s political grandstanding, not truth. Lisa J. Harris Via e-mail TROUBLES FOR TRAVELING TEXANS It’s odd for a “populist” magazine to endorse the facile equation of a people with its government. But that’s precisely the assumption underlying Peter LaSalle’s guilt over American foreign policy I share his sense of outrage and desire for change, but guilt is inappropriate. We Texans have it doubly hard abroad. In my travels I have found my foreign hosts to be occasionally misinformed about America, but nearly always ignorant about Texas and Texans. For many “Shrub” represents the state even more completely than he does the union. However hard we try to purify the morals of every government actor on earth, civilized people must always insist that human beings be treated as individuals. If some idiot is bound and determined to deny your individuality and judge you by your passport, that’s cause for caution and contempt, not apologies. The literal translation of “malheureusement” is not “unfortunately” but “unhappily.” I would never insult common sense by telling a foreigner that I’m unfortunate to be American, but if I were truly unhappy to be so I suppose I might do like many a spineless speciround the globe today: pretend to be Canadian! I’m glad that at least LaSalle’s guilt didn’t sink him that low. J.S. Maloy Cambridge, MA JUNE 18, 2004 POETRY by Pamela Bosman by Varsha Shah HEFTY BUSINESS by John DeFore UP FROM THE SIDEWALKS by Lorenzo Thomas THE RETURN OF PROTEST MUSIC by Karl Hagstrom Miller RISKY BUSINESS by David Theis AFTERWORD Shooting Skeet by James Hoggard Cover by Sam Hurt 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 6/18 /04 21 22 24 26 28 30
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.