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DIALOGUE OCTOBER 8, 2004 t. FEATURES DEPARTMENTS BOOKS & THE CULTURE Texas Observer CLEAN UP OR COVER UP? Will El Paso finally confront a century-old toxic legacy? by Jake Bernstein PATRIOTIC LIBRARIANS Interview with American Library Association Director Carol A. Brey-Casiano by Lauri Apple DIALOGUE EDITORIAL Ending Pay to Play POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE MOLLY WINS Live From Mason County JIM HIGHTOWER If It Ain’t Broke .. . POETRY Rich Levy TIPPING CROWDS ON THE INTERNET by Scott Henson GULF COAST GOTHIC by Diana Anhalt MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU by James E. McWilliams AFTERWORD At the Foot of the Pole by James Hoggard MORE ABOUT MONTAGUE Thank you for helping to get the gambling out of Montague, but don’t just stop with the money. I got a copy of your article “Texas Hold ’em” by Felix stars for that. I love to play the machines but am so glad they are on their way out. I hope you do a follow-up on this. Thanks again for your support. Martha Johnson Nocona Editors reply: For more on gambling and Montague County, see the follow-up, “Texas Fold ‘Em” in this issue’s Political Intelligence. LONG-TERM “VISION THING”? I want the same peace, freedom and democracy in the mid east that President Bush speaks of, yet I also see much nonsense and scare tactics coming from the GOP. My biggest question of the candidates is this: What is your longrange vision related to the future of international law? Bush used faulty intelligence to get big-stick authority from Congress for Iraq, then made false WMD claims to the world before striking Iraq. In the process, the international community has become confused about helping us. We need the UN to help resolve the mess in Iraq, yet many communities throughout the world see Bush as having broken international law. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan recently declared that the U.S.-led war on Iraq was illegal. Annan, who until now kept a tactful silence said, “the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter.” Is international law to be based on treaty agreements and a revitalized UNor are we in for a new American Century where the GOP’s pre-emptive strike politics continually appoint our U.S. resident in charge of \(and absoluteare not safer now than four years ago! William A. Self Redwood Valley, CA LEGE MALAISE Now that our officials once again are forcing the courts to make educational financing decisions for them and are pushing toll roads on residents who don’t want them, Texans need to revamp their legislature. Approximately 80-percent of the incumbents should be voted out during the next election. We have a wonderful group of freshman legislators who are eager, bright and have new ideas, but they, just like Texas taxpayers, can’t do anything with the current horde ruling at the state Capitol. Our Legislature has “operational difficulty.” From the governor on down, most of our elected officials have forgotten the reason they are serving the people of Texas, and voters must remind them. The future of our children’s children depends on us. Arnold Starr Austin 1984 2004 George Orwell was a prophet. His doublespeak in 1984 has become Bushspeak in 2004. continued on page 20 4 10 2 3 12 14 15 Cover photo by Alan Pogue 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 10/8/04 Correction We goofed. In our September 10 cover story entitled “Power Players,” about shady financial dealings at TXU, we listed Virginia-based energy firm AES Corp. among companies allegedly guilty of securities fraud in 2001 and 2002. AES did experience financial troubles that led its CEO, Dennis Bakke, to step down. But the company’s problems were caused by depressed energy markets, not unethical dealings. AES didn’t utilize shame trades, inflated profits or off-the-books partnerships, as several other energy companies did. The Observer regrets the error. 21 22 24 26 29