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.THE 5TH ANNUAL. RABBLE ROUSER ROUNDUP FAT CAT SCHMONEFEST MARK YOUR CALENDARS For the 5th annual Rabble Rouser Roundup & Fat Cat Schmoozefest and Silent Auction! Sunday January 15, oo5 @La Zona Rosa Music by: Grupo Fantasma and more! Be on the lookout for more details. Dialogue BIG THICKET I enjoyed Char Miller’s review of Saving the Big Thicket: From Exploration to Preservation: 1685 2003 [“All We Had Was Nuisance Power”] in the October 21, 2005 issue of The Texas Observer. There are two points I want to make. First, Dr. Miller states that, “the author’s evidence indicates that by assault” he means mere presence, for neither the native peoples nor the Spanish modified in a sustained way the lands they inhabited.” In some areas of the Big Thicket, Caddo Indians did have a significant impact for a sustained amount of time. In other parts of the Big Thicket, where native peoples like the Atakapan tribes \(the Bidai, Deadose, Patiri, and relatively small. Spanish impact was much greater, in a different way, than the fort and mission system that was set up. The accidental or purposeful release of cattle and pigs by the Spanish began about 500 years of impacts to native East Texas forests, flora, and fauna that continue to this day. Although free-range cattle are relatively rare today, feral hogs are proliferating and damaging sensitive ecological areas like seeps, stream-sides, and lower slopes. Feral hogs also compete with deer and other native wildlife for acorns and other natural foods. Second, Dr. Miller states that the size of the Big Thicket is about 2 million acres. The Parks and Cory study in 1938 gave a best estimate of the size of the Big Thicket as being about 3.5 million acres. The Sierra Club appreciates The Texas Observer’s longtime and continued interest in the Big Thicket. We look forward to future articles on threats to that threadbare, but still important ecosystem. Brandt Mannchen Chair, Big Thicket Committee Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club Houston The Houston Tria1 Lawyers AssOciati its 10th annual First Amendment Awa The association annually awards five individua s but this year presented all five First Amendment Awl Observer in recognition of what the association deemed 50 yea -f cantankerous journalism.” All of us at the Observer thank the on for the recognition. cr NOVEMBER 18, 2005 The Texas Observer FEATURES THE UNTOUCHABLE NARCO-STATE 6 Guatemala’s military defies the DEA by Frank Smyth DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Courting Embarrassment POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 ANDREW WHEAT 10 DeLay’s Corporate Defenders OPEN FORUM 12 The Fatal Flaw by Robert Bryce MOLLY IVINS 14 Exiting the Pickle Factory JIM HIGHTOWER 15 Economic Disconnect BOOKS & CULTURE POETRY21 by Mary Ellen Branan MAD E TEJAS 4 22 photo phs by John Dyer text by uan Tejeda INTERVIEW WITH A HERETICAL 28 PREACHER by Ameni Rozsa AFTERWORD 31 Investing in America by Molly Ivins Cover photo by John Dyer of Santiago Jimenez Jr., son of the late, great Santiago Jimenez and brother of Flaco. From Conjunto: Voz del pueblo, canciones del corazon. Voice of the People, Songs from the Heart 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 18, 2005