Page 29


AWARDS The Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors recently honored Jake Bernstein and Dave Mann’s coverage of Republican efforts to funnel corporate money into the 2002 campaign with an Excellence in State Government Reporting award. The stories [“Rise of the Machine,” August 29, 2003; “Scandal in the Speaker’s Office,” February 27, 2004; and “Rate of Exchange,” March 12, 2004] won first place in the magazine in-depth reporting category. The contest judges wrote, “A captivating report on the inter workings of state government….Shed great insight on what has been covered briefly by national media.” The entire series, as well as other reporting on the corporate money scandal, is available at www. FEATURES NO PICNIC AT SPEAKING ROCK Washington lobbyists shakedown Indian casinos by Lou Dubose THE WHITE STUFF The Observer talks with Houston Mayor Bill White by Jake Bernstein DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE EDITORIAL Grinchy Nation DATELINE LUBBOCK Oh, Bury Me Not by Emily Pyle POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE MOLLY IVINS Torture, American Style JIM HIGHTOWER Bankruptcy Scams ANDREW WHEAT Texas’ First Postmodern Lobbyist 2 3 8 12 14 15 16 BOOKS & THE CULTURE 4 10 DECEMBER 17, 2004 Texas Observer POST, POST-ELECTION President Bush’s heady re-election victory after a dismal first-term is like that classic: A gentleman who had been very unhappy in marriage, married immediately after his wife diedit was a “triumph of hope over experience.” Ted Corin Austin After reading your interview with James Aldrete \(“The Road Back to Power,” viewed. I am a Republican \(“That means taking on the bastards but doing it in a a bastard. Don’t forget to call me ignorant, homophobic, and racist. Then there was, “We also need a true realization of how low the Republicans can go.” I guess, “Your party’s insistence that young people will be drafted, that blacks are being systematically denied the right to vote, and that your disabled relatives won’t be able to walk again if Bush is reelected constitute the sort of sunny, upbeat, inclusive politics of enough in the gutter for you. And don’t forget to remind the old people that their Social Security checks will be cut 45 percent. Enjoy your years in the wilderness. Harry Oburn Via e-mail TURNING 50 Happy 50th! Your service is invaluable and greatly appreciated out here in the slush of lies from the mainstream media GOP corporatist propaganda machine. Keep on keepin’ on. Happy holidays and thank you. Robert von Tobel Bellevue, WA As a devotee, I read their excerpts from your “observations.” So, today I send you best wishes for continued output and a HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY!! Kathleen McKenna Via e-mail Happy birthday and thanks for Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, and Ronnie Dugger. Michael Cassaro Via e-mail Congratulations, Texas Observer, on 50 years of dissecting life in Texas. As native Oklahomans, we love seeing Texans getting deflated occasionally. However, this note is for Molly Ivins, whom we have enjoyed over many, many years. You’re just as salty as ever. Thank you for your humor and storytelling ability. We respect the power of the word. Keep on keeping on, Molly. Violet and Ronald Cauthon POETRY by K.N. Wheatley ON THE ROAD WITH CHE AND AL by Barbara Belejack ART-Y-FACTS by David Theis AFTERWORD Wonderful People by Kate Hill Cantrill THE BACKPAGE Cry Fowl Cover Illustration by Doug Potter 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 12/17/04 21 22 24 29 32