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SPECIAL ORDER THE MOLLY TRIBUTE ISSUE The Observer published and mailed to our subscribers a special issue on February 9 that includes tributes from Molly’s friends and colleagues, and photos from her life. Many readers have requested additional copies, and Molly fans have asked how they can obtain one. through our web site: HAWKINS’ FIASCO Brilliantly researched with an immaculately detailed timeline and intelligently written. \(“What Hawkins Knew,” who did not leave while this fiasco was occurring, I can tell you that this writer knew his subject well and relayed the information well. He didn’t miss a beat as far as I am concerned. Bravo!! Shirley Huffman Via e-mail I appreciate the article but wanted to correct something you stated. You said: “HHSC scrambled for a backup plan, rehiring thousands of state workers and paying out “retention bonuses” to keep temporary screeners.” The retention bonus part is correct, but they have not rehired thousands of state workers. They have hired a lot of temps, some of whom are former state workers, but they have not begun a mass rehiring effort. I was one of the folks who went to another state agency. Now that this deal is dead, I would like to go back, but thus far they have only started posting entry level positions, and that just started about a month ago. It will take them years to undo the damage that they have done, and they should aggressively try to get back as many tenured staff as they can because what they have right now is a skeleton of a skeleton of what they use to have only three years ago. Fr. John Whiteford St. Jonah Orthodox Church Houston POISONING THE KIDS After reading “Separate but Toxic,” profound irony and folly of “too many people” who “worked for too many years” to build an environmental magnet school within spitting distance of three petrochemical plants in east Houston -plants that spew thousands of pounds of toxins into the air annually which cause asthma, cancer, infertility, and other afflictions. No doubt it is a wonderful school otherwise. I am also angry that Congressman Gene Green wrote a scathing letter to the EPA in September, 2001, criticizing the EPA for aiding an “uninformed, non-community group” like Mothers for Clean Air, as I was a member of the organization’s board then. I wonder if Green would have lodged the same complaint if the “non-community group” had been, say, the Greater Houston Partnership, the American Lung Association, the Girl Scouts of America, or the Vatican? Since the time he held a “clean air” press conference on the Katy Freeway with U.S. Senator Phil Gramm to the writing of continued on page 16 APRIL 20, 2007 TheTexas Observer FEATURES THE GOVERNOR’S DATABASE 6 Texas is amassing an unprecedented amount of information on its citizens by Jake Bernstein WHAT, ME WORRY? 10 For Teflon Pete, a Dallas divorce case is a political problem by Allen Pusey DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 The Imperial Governor POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 CAPITOL OFFENSE 12 Trail of TIERS by Dave Mann BAD BILLS 14 JIM HIGHTOWER 15 A Surge Too Far BOOKS & CULTURE POETRY 23 by Dan Patterson TORTURE AMERICAN STYLE 24 by James E. McWilliams TRUTH COMES A BIT CLOSER 26 by Emily DePrang AFTERWORD 29 One Year Bolder by Barbara Belejack Cover illustration by Mike Krone. 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER APRIL 20, 2007