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The Texas Observer is proud to host a book signing and panel discussion featuring Joe Conason And his new book The Raw Deal: How the Bush Republicans Plan to Destroy Social Security Joe Conason is the bestselling author of Big Lies: The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How it Distorts the Truth. The Raw Deal examines the most well financed, and determined effort to undo the Social Security Act since its inception in 1935. Joining Conason on the panel will be economist and columnist James K. Galbraith and Kenneth S. Apfel, of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Aus tin. Apfel served as Commissioner of Social Security during the Clinton administration. Wednesday October 19, 2006 7:00 9:00 P.M. The AFL-CIO Hall 1106 Lavaca Austin TX 78701 Admission is free. charges they had already filed. On firstdegree felony money-laundering charges, the grand jury re-indicted John Colyandro, the former executive director of TRMPAC, and Jim Ellis, the director DeLay’s national PAC, Americans for a Republican Majority. The charges carry a 5to 99-year sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. The grand jury also added lesser felony charges of making a corporate contribution to a political party within 60 days of an election and indicted TRMPAC as an organization. While Tom DeLay is still not an official target of the grand jury, the majority leader \(apparently wishing to avoid informal meeting with Ronnie Earle on August 31. DeLay’s office released a subsequent statement insisting that his role in TRMPAC was “limited.” BLACKLISTED Bill Black is no stranger to dirty politics. In the 1980s, he helped to expose the thieves in suits who raided $125 billion from the savings and loan industry. In the process, Black himself became a target of a group of U.S. senators and their wellheeled patrons in the industry. Black, former litigation director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, moved on to an academic career. Meanwhile, the criminals went to jail, and the senators were mildly chastised. Now, in the age of Enron and WorldCom, the wages of Black’s righteous crusade is petty revenge. At the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, Black developed a novel interdisciplinary theory that explains how CEOs, or “control frauds,” can make off with millions in an industry without proper regulation \(see “Trash for Cash,” ing spent nine years as an assistant professor, Black has been denied tenure by the university. Fourteen of the 15 external reviews solicited from academics around the country were positive, including one from George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who wrote, “Black is an unusually fine scholar” who “defines what an excellent academic should be.” A committee of LBJ faculty members recommended Black in 2004, but “the Tower,” as Black wryly calls the phallic UT administrative building, decided not to give him tenure. The President’s Committee on Tenure and Promotion, which consists of top UT administrators, has full veto power over all tenure candidates. No records were kept of the meeting in which the decision was madeno minutes, no tally of the votes, no reasons offered. Black didn’t learn that he had been denied tenure until he received an e-mail from a colleague during the 2004 Christmas break with his apologies. Black was shocked. “I’m exactly the kind of person they say they want,” he says. “This is a multidisciplinary school where they hire professionals who have done things in the real world.” The only negative item in Black’s tenure file was a hostile letter from Black’s old boss, James Pierce, at the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement the federal commission empowered to investigate the causes of the S&L crisis. Now an economics professor at Berkeley, Pierce attacked Black in the letter for being “ignorant of economics” and called him a “whistleblower,” not an academic. “Many economists just cannot look at people in nice suits and see criminals,” said Black. “[Pierce] has such faith in the market that he unerringly believes it prevents fraud, but that is not what the world is showing.” Ex-LBJ Dean Ed Dorn declined to speculate on the reasons for the Tower’s decision, citing privacy concerns, and insisted he didn’t recall whether he was present for the vote. WRITE DIALOGUE 307. W 7th Street Austin, TX 78701 [email protected] SEPTEMBER 23, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5