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w -OU a. 4446′.Z41.` Cover by Matt Omohundro SOUTH TOWARDS HOME 24 by Sterry Butcher AFTERWORD 29 Confessions of a Counterculture Past by Gregg Barrios Photos by Alan Pogue BACKPAGE 32 by Alec Dubro POETRY 21 by Robert Wrigley THE THIRD-PARTY DYNAMIC 22 by Dave Denison THE BOYS WITH THE BANDS 20 by Joe Nick Patoski DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Med Mal -aise POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 MOLLY IVINS 14 Dubya’s Dubai Deal JIM HIGHTOWER 15 How to Clean Up Elections THE REDISTRICTING THICKET 6 What the Supremes will be looking at \(after they’ve finished with by Dave Denison SEARCHING FOR WILLIE 10 An excerpt from In Search of Willie Morris by Larry L. King TheTexas Observer BOOKS & CULTURE MARCH 10, 2006 Dialogue STILL BATTLING IN SAN JACINTO I have resided in San Jacinto County for several years. I am one of those Houston transplants Mr. Mann refer enced in his facilesome might say puffpiece on the troubles currently paralyzing progress in one of the poor est counties in the least progressive state in the union \(“The Battle for San with scurrilous politicians, faulty and often larcenous economic develop ment programs, good old boy no bid contracts, and a cultural paralysis that sets neighbor against neighbor. I truly suspect this county has been “red lined” [a technique employed by banks to stagnate neighborhood growth until an insider land-grabber can claim it for peanuts] by grantawarding state agencies of government simply because the county has never defined its plan to escape the inherited poverty that currently defines a population claiming an average income of less than $20,000 per family per year; along with an educational system that produces few college acceptable aspirants. Mr. Mann devoted too little space to comments offered by Messrs. Nunn and MaGeeboth are capable of rendering the most cogent oral history of the county in question. Nor did he take the time to examine Mr. Rogers’ references to a display of his “mug shot” by a county official. Had he visited the office he would have seen, displayed on his office door, an equally embarrassing report concerning pending litigation involving Mr. Nunn. These barbs have been exchanged ever since, as Mr. Mann noted, the county judge was indicted for abusing his office. Nor did Mr. Mann mention the fact that the county judge’s trial had been delayed several times because of alleged medical problemsa device frequently employed to avoid the inevitable. I don’t read your paper, but then I seldom read our own San Jacinto News Times. I did, however, devote more than a hundred hours, pro bono, trying to drag this county into the 21st century when I first took up residence. My efforts were refuted \(they don’t This is a county controlled by the lumber industry and a few land-hungry ranchers. They don’t want to diversify and create better paying jobs for continued on page 19 DEPARTMENTS FEATURES 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 10, 2006