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Dialogue A CRY UNHEEDED Laela Threadgill was my sister, and explains everything. Emily, you are an amazing writer, and more messages like this need to be brought to people’s attention to let them know how unprotected women really are. Laela was extremely afraid. I remember one time she stood outside the police station calling for help, but no one came to help her! Megan Threadgill via e-mail MEMORY LANE I really enjoyed the piece about the early years of the ACLU in Texas \(“The ACLU in TexasThe Early Years,” Such glimpses into the history of progressive activism in a regressive state like Texas are fascinating. The fact that people have been willing to struggle against such difficult odds is reassuring, and somehow offers hope that we may one day emerge into the 20th century. The 21st century may remain beyond reach for some time yet. Bill Cowan Beaumont victims navigate the legal system in the process of obtaining protective orders, divorces, child support, and additional resources. Through our unique Legal Access to Rural Shelters initiative, TRLA works closely with shelters in our service area to provide domestic violence victims with legal assistance from the moment they seek outside help. We strongly encourage people needing legal assistance in the Austin area to contact us at 512-374-2777. More information on our services and contact information for our other offices is available at . Kevin Dietz Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Austin GRINGO MADE GOOD Mr. Hoinski writes in a way that just pulls you into the music and wraps you up in the border tensions that face many in Texas \(“Tear Down the Wall,” March As an Hispanic American, it’s nice to see a “gringo” like Mr. Hoinski really get into this important issue. I’d love to see more from him in the Observer. Daniel Galaburda via e-mail Thanks, Dave Richards, for helping us remember those who have made a difference … including you! Tom Green via e-mail MORE HELPING HANDS Texas RioGrande Legal Aid commends The Texas Observer for its recent look into the resources available for victims of domestic violence in the Austin area \(“The Safe Place,” March Victims of domestic violence often face numerous legal difficulties in separating from their abuser, protecting their children, and rebuilding their lives. TRLA is proud to offer its services, both in Travis County and throughout Central, South, and West Texas, to help domestic violence NO WALL HIGH ENOUGH Excellent report, Melissa del Bosque Thank you for pointing out the financial and political innuendos, and for punching holes in the myth that this wall was spearheaded by people who care about illegal immigration. Couldn’t our tax dollars be spent more wisely than having so much money go toward a wall? Allissa Chambers via e-mail Thanks for your excellent article on the border fence. I hope some national newspaper picks up the story to make it more widely known. Bob Baker Los Angeles, California APRIL 4, 2008 The Texas Observer FEATURES WAR OF THE WELLS 6 The Railroad Commission has failed to protect Texans from oil and gas drillers, so citizens are learning to fight back on their own. by Rusty Middleton GOOD TO GLOW 10 Despite its own scientists’ objections, state regulators are greenlighting a massive nuclear waste dump in West Texas. by Forrest Wilder BITE BACK! 16 How Americans can reclaim their food. An excerpt from Swim Against the Current. by Jim Hightower with Susan DeMarco DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 BOOKS & THE CULTURE POETRY 20 by Jorge Antonio Renaud SINO EYES 21 This year’s FotoFest explores the ironies and intricacies of China. by David Theis THE RIGHT WAY, RECLAIMED 26 by Emily DePrang AFTERWORD 29 by Michael Erard Cover photo by Steve Satterwhite 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER APRIL 4, 2008