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Illustration by Teddy Munoz 38 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 22, 2005 Conversations is a good book that talks about the transition between ordinary conversation and persuasion. It shows you how to be more diplomatic in conversations or business negotiations. So I think it will help me in the Legislature. State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa represents Texas District 20. JIM HIGHTOWER Spice: The History of a Temptation I probably should be reading the complete works of Madison, Jefferson, or Thomas Paine, but in fact I’m reading about food. There’s a big revolution taking place on the farm, in kitchens, and in markets. It’s all about local sustainable production. This is happening with very little participation by government and often despite government. It’s rather exciting. I’m reading Spice, by Jack Turner, which basically tracks nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, mace, and pepper around the world, and how the pursuit of these spices altered history or made history. I’m also just reading some wonderful articles in food magazines, like Gourmet and Saveur not about how to put a beautiful arrangement on the table, but about farmers who are changing the way we eat in very positive ways that are environmentally sound, economically sustainable, and supportive of communities. The current issue of Gourmet has two articles. One is called “Redesigning the Pig,” about a black entrepreneur in North Carolina who is working with farmers, particularly AfricanAmerican farmers, to really return to the past and develop a pig that’s not designed for industry but designed for superior flavor. They are relying on organic feed, non-confinement, and dealing with some of the old breeds. The second article, “A Grand Experiment,” is by Bill McKibben, who wrote about spending last winter up in Vermont eating only foods that were produced within a few miles from where he lives. That can be a challenge, but it was a remarkable experience. Former Observer editor Jim Hightower was twice elected Texas is Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back RONNIE DUGGER My Life as a German and Jew Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 1 The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction All the King’s Men I’m reading Jakob Wassermann’s last book. He was a German Jew who died in the early 1930s. Also the first volume of everything Gandhi ever wrote. His autobiography is just short of pitiful, and the biographies–I mean, not one of them is worth a damn. So I decided to read everything he wrote. It might be two years before I’m finished with that project. You should get it at the library. I recommend a book by Glenn W. Smith, a Texan, called The Politics of Deceit. Texans would find it interesting because of the analyses of the Tony Sanchez gubernatorial campaign and Ron Kirk senatorial campaign. Namely, that Democrats have to stand for something and when they don’t, people don’t go out to vote. Currently the question is, something happened to the Democratic Party, what do we do now? There’s also a Huey Long biography by Robert Penn Warren called All the King’s Men, a fictionalized account about the foreshortened assault on “politics as usual?’ Huey Long was a fascist and a thief, [and the brother of Earl Long]. But he was also a populist who became governor of Louisiana. Later he was