Page 11


EDITORIAL Tying It Together Here at the Observer we devote much of our reporting to the news of the day and reviews of what is contemporary in the literary world, so naturally the magazine is heavily marked by current events. If those events come fast and furious, as they have recentlyKatrina, Rita, Tom DeLay, Harriet Mierswe might not know the full flavor of the Observer you have in your hands until we’ve begun production and all the stories are assembled. In that spirit of serendipity, we discovered a hopeful themeone of resistance of the individual in the face of injusticethat runs through this current issue. It connects most of the articles and its strength is surprising even to us. It’s our distinct pleasure that Bill Moyers is the one to set the tone. A crusading journalist whose eloquence is matched only by his compassion, Moyers spoke at an Observer fundraiser in Austin on September 30. We have reprinted his speech for readers who were unable to attend. Moyers singled out some of our favorite Texas heroes, people like Ronnie Dugger and Maury Maverick, Jr. Men and women who didn’t stop to count heads before standing up; the force of their convictions propelled them out of their seats. Moyers noted that such people have long populated the pages of the Observer. “You’ve been reporting on men and women struggling against much larger forces, sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of others, knowing that whether they succeed or not, they had to make a fight for it, had to take a stand, for Texas to yield to justice.” These are people like Robert and Jo Cervenka, a ranching couple who Forrest Wilder writes about in his Dateline from Riesel, Texas. The Cervenkas are struggling to defeat a proposed power plant coveted by Big Coal and its political allies. They fight for justice because it’s the only way they can preserve their land and their way of life. We also feature the amazing story of Diane Wilson, who proudly proclaims herself “an unreasonable woman” in her new memoir. The book traces her journey from Gulf Coast shrimper to international activist battling against the toxic filth polluting our environment from billion-dollar multinationals like Formosa Plastics and Union Carbide. Wilson is living testimony to something noted author and environmentalist Bill McKibben mentions in this issue. We tracked McKibben down to talk about global warming, the Gulf Coast, and the ferocious hurricane season that’s still underway. Expecting to find doom and gloom, McKibben instead lifted our spirits. Despite hostility from the Bush administration, he reports, states and local communities are tackling global warming on their own. “It doesn’t take 50 percent of the people to have an unstoppable political force,” he says. “It’s more like 10 or 12 percent of people who are willing to do the work,” especially when the opposition doesn’t come from average citizens but from oil and coal barons. Molly Ivins seems to be channeling the mood too in a column that takes on the topic “How Do We Fix This Mess?” It’s going to be a long slog and the answers probably won’t be coming from national Democratic leaders, but few are better than Molly at reminding us that there is joy and humor in the fight. Admittedly, it’s odd to offer the promise of a spring-like renewal at the onset of winter, and yet, some of it seems to be in the air. May it linger. One last thought: During the previous two issues we highlighted both sides on Proposition 2, a constitutional ban on gay marriage \(or owing to poor Election day is November 8. Don’t forget to vote! THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 97, NO. 21 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Editor Barbara Belejack Associate Editor Dave Mann Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation Manager Lara George Art Director/Webmaster Matt Omohundro Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editors Roxanne Bogucka, Laurie Baker Staff Writer Forrest Wilder Editorial Interns Kelly Sharp, Sofia Resnick, Elizabeth L. Taylor Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Andrew Wheat Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid Texas Democracy Foundation Board Lou Dubose, Molly Ivins, Susan Hays, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocarias, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Sharron Rush, Ronnie Dugger In Memoriam Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001, Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040-4519/ righted 102005, is published biweekly except during January and August when there is a 4 week break between non-profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone E-mail World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Books & the Culture is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. NOVEMBER 4, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3