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BOOKS 6 THE CULTURE CORRECTION In the December 17, 2004 issue of the Observer, poet K.B. Whitley of Marfa was incorrectly identified as K.N. Whitley. We apologize to Mr. Whitley and are publishing his fine poems, “Old Cowboy” and “Please Do Not Disturb,” in this issue with his correct byline. In the long list of Gala thank yous, we omitted the name of Craig Barker, who, at the very last minute, spent several hours over three days to obtain, set up and run the sound system for Willie Nelson’s performance. We so appreciate your time, work and skill. Thank you! FEATURES JANUARY 21 2005 Texas Observer MIXING IT UP The New Freshmen Class Adds Spice to the 79th Legislature by Dave Mann and Jake Bernstein THINKING OUTSIDE THE TEXAS BOX How Other States Handle Some of the Problems Facing Texas by Paul Sweeney DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE EDITORIAL Craddick Term II Begins OPEN FORUM Extreme Water Authorities BAD BILLS POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE MOLLY IVINS It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It JIM HIGHTOWER LAS AMERICAS Undocumented Art by John Ross DIALOGUE 50 AND COUNTING Congratulations to Ronnie Dugger et al for your strength and courage over all these years. I worked at the Observer for a time in 1969 or ’70 when the office was in a house on \(I forget the name were there at the time. Before that I wrote some stories you used while I was editing Ya Mero for the farm workers movement in McAllen. One of them told how I was arrested in Pharr for taking pictures of a picket line. Picketing was illegal in Pharr. The reason for the protest was because the city council didn’t let anyone know when or where they were meeting. That was legal in those days. Happier New Year. Keep on. David Giffey Arena, WI I just read Matthew Rothschild’s note on your paper on The Progressive online. I didn’t realize that there were still newspapers that weren’t afraid of the issues. I’m sending letters to Rubert Murdoch, Sinclair, Bloomberg, and others hoping someone will buy you out before you continue to spill the can of beans in front of the American public. We can’t have free thinkers questioning the reality imposed by our government. Your actions could cause people to seek the truth and think for themselves. No, seriously, you people give credibility to the image of professional journalism, which is pretty non-existent in the eyes of most people I know. Your publication is actually worth reading, an island of reality in the murky swamp of today’s journalism. Thank you for your integrity. I am almost daily sending “deadtree journalists” scathing, demeaning letters that state my opinion of their boughtand-paid for performances. I am polite and always challenge them to a thoughtful reply. It’s really nice to be able to send a spoof instead of my usual admonishing rant! Phil Heid Via e-mail ALABAMA OR COUSHATTA? In your article on Indian casinos, the Texas Coushatta are somewhat confusingly referred to as the “Alabama Coushatta” \(“No Picnic at Speaking Rock,” December A clarification: The Coushatta people who live on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation near Livingston, Texas, speak the Coushatta language, as do the Coushatta in Louisiana. The Texas Coushatta share a single reservation with members of the Alabama tribe, who speak Alabama, a distinct language related to Coushatta. William Pulte Southern Methodist University 4 8 2 3 10 12 13 14 15 16 THANK YOU! POETRY by K.B. Whitley CHRISTMAS DAY, CEDAR HILL by Steve Satterwhite CIELITO UNDO by Barbara Belejack AFTERWORD The Politics of La Memoria by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez Cover Photograph by Polly Chandler 21 22 24 31 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 1/21/05