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*THE 5TH ANNUAL. RABBLE ROUSER ROUNDUP FAT CAT SCHMOOZEFEST MARK YOUR CALENDARS For the 5th annual Rabble Rouser Roundup & Fat Cat Schmoozefest and Silent Auction! Sunday January 15, zoos @La Zona Rosa Music by: Grupo Fantasma The Marcia Ball Band & The Horsies! Dialogue JOHN HENRY Tears fell as I read Molly’s piece on John Henry Faulk [“Investing in America,” November 4]. Sadness, for sure, but also pride and happiness that there were Faulks and Murrows to stand against that most pernicious form of persecution, persecution of ideas and words and affiliation. The O’Reillys and Hannitys of today are hard enough to deal with. It is hard to imagine a state-sanctioned witch hunt, though. And that is, in large, because of the actions of the few that stood up and refused to play along. I am proud to say that I met John Henry Faulk once. It was in 1974 or 1975. He had come to KPFT, the Pacifica station in Houston to give an interview. While I drew a lot of water as an interviewer in those days, it was not in the cards for me to have that honor. Instead, I was assigned to be Mr. Faulk’s shepherd, showing him around and seeing to his coffee, water, etc. Prior to the interview, we were in the studio adjacent to the control room waiting for the scheduled interview time. There was more than a little awe running through me as I stood there with the man who was such a hero to me. Wondering what to say next, I was relieved when the great man turned to me and, joking about KPFT’s leftist reputation, he looked around with an exaggerated air of conspiracy and then right at me, asking, “So, are you a Communist?” At first, I didn’t know what to say as he continued to look into my eyes with his own both twinkling in mischief and, finally, I replied dryly, “Well, I’m pretty common.” He burst into laughter and slapped me on the back saying, “Well, thank you, son. You have made my day! That is the best answer I’ve ever heard for that one.” It was all I could do to tell him to feel free to use it as his own whenever he felt like it. We laughed a bit more made some small talk about the radio business and then he was called into the studio for his interview. While I still wish I had been assigned that interview, I’ll never forget having a good laugh with John Henry Faulk and about the very thing for which I held him in such esteem. Thanks for reminding me in your excellent piece about the man and the evil he stood up to so long ago. R. Sam Smith Las Cruces, NM P.S. I enjoyed “Hee Haw” quite a bit, especially Johnny’s segments. But then I always was pretty common. CHECK OUT PAGE 16 FOR HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FROM THE OBSERVER! DECEMBER 2, 2005 TheTexas Observer FEATURES DON’T DRINK THE WATER 6 In the urban colonias of the Greater Houston area, the water stinks Text by Jake Bernstein Photos by Steve Satterwhite DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Poets and Prisoners POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 DATELINE 12 Storm Warnings in Beaumont by Dave Mann MOLLY IVINS 14 Spot the Next Brownie JIM HIGHTOWER 15 The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread BOOKS & CULTURE POETRY 21 by David Ruiz LUCK OF THE IRISH 22 by Barbara Belejack GOD’S LITTLE ARMY 24 by James E. McWilliams AFTERWORD 29 Take 7: The World According to Marsh by Geoff Rips BACK PAGE 32 The Next Scooter Scandal Cover photo by Steve Satterwhite 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 2, 2005