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Do you have an service, artwork, gift certificate, or other valuable item you would like to donate to The Texas Observer Silent Auction? If so, please contact Julia Austin at [email protected] , or 512.477.0746 The auction will be held at our 6th Annual Rabble Rouser & Fat Cat Schmoozefest, Sunday, Jan. 14, at La Zona Rosa. We are also looking for refreshment donations for our reception. Dialogue SPIES AND TURNCOATS Congratulations for publishing Thorne Dreyer’s fascinating article As a native of Austin and an occasional participant in some of the scenes and events he describes in those years, I found the article unusually balanced and insightful. I hope he will write a sequel, which would focus on the counter-cultural and “values” aspect of the conflict more than on politics. As the picturesque and notorious Burt Gerding himself said, the real issue for many of those guys \(and for many of would later be called the “culture war.” Joseph Rowe Paris, France We always knew [John] Economidy was not “one of us.” I worked on The Daily Texan all my college career at UT and loved every minute of it. General John was universally disliked and mistrusted. I ran into him at Mike Quinn’s funeral recently. He said he was surprised that anyone spoke to him. Now I’m sorry I did. He’s living in San Antonio now. Maybe we should track him down and toilet paper his house. Are we too old to do that? Pamela Baggett-Wallis Austin HIGH ON JIM I’ve been a staunch admirer of the fortitude that Jim Hightower has shown over the past decades. His messages, articles and books are invaluable to in the past 20 years, as we well know. Why is there no greater outcry by the common folks to stop these transgressions by our elected officials, to stop the slide into a fascistic government? Yes, we have a Democratic lead in government now, but will the reps be courageous enough to implement the necessary changes? How can they put an educated and liberal democracy in the mind of people? Education at an early age, awareness of self and respect of others, community national unity not partisan disparity? Jim Hightower rises above the median to keep us aware and concerned. Thank you, Jim. I look forward to your next disclosure of wrongdoings with a wary eye. I wish there was better news. Hans-Peter Otto Via e-mail DECEMBER 15, 2006 TheTexas Observer FEATURES HIRED GUN GIFTS 6 And lo, lobby wise men came, bearing arms, drugs and divot tools by Andrew Wheat THE HIGHWAYMEN 8 Even the losers win as Texas rushes to privatize its roads by Eileen Welsome DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 CAPITOL OFFENSE 12 Craddickism by Dave Mann and Jake Bernstein MOLLY IVINS 14 Thanks No, Seriously JIM HIGHTOWER 15 Ignorance is Power LAS AMERICAS 16 The Many Mexicos de Don Felipe by Barbara Belejack BOOKS & CULTURE POETRY 21 by Dennis L. Forrest THE ZYDECO CORRIDOR 22 text by Roger Wood photos by James Fraher AFTERWORD 30 Drop the Bomb! by James E. McWilliams Cover photo by Mike Osborne \(www. osbornephotography. net 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 15, 2006