Page 22


CLARIFYING CREOSOTE Regarding “Creosote Blues that the jury decision is supported by the scientific evidence. Based on the findings published in 2005 of the largest mortality study to date of workers employed in creosote woodtreating plants, there is no evidence that employment at wood-treating plants or exposure to creosote-based preservatives was associated with any significant mortality increase from either site-specific cancers or nonmalignant diseases. The study consisted of 2,179 employees at 11 plants in the United States where wood was treated with creosote preservatives. In addition, correcting an error: Creosote is not banned in the European Union. It is still widely used, but cannot be purchased by members of the general public. David Webb Administrative Director Creosote Council Valencia, Penn. ALL IS WELLS Ouch! No one wants a rig in their backyard! \(“War of the Wells,” April Whoever sold the subdivisions and kept the minerals doesn’t give a rip about the surface owners now. Otherwise, there could be some negotiation about rig/well placement. Can responsible development occur in a respectful and environmentally sound manner? I hope the answer is yes; otherwise, please send all your money to OPEC, and get ready for state income taxes. Dave Johnson via e-mail Natural gas prices, utility bills, gasoline prices, and just about all other energy prices are going through the roof and we want more regulation on the industry so they have to jack up their rates and pass them on to me? No thanks, Mr. Henry, Mr. Middleton, or anyone else unable to see the forest for the trees. This article is overly emotional and short on facts. Very disappointing, Observer, and very unlike a typically smart publication. Edward Jenkins via e-mail THE LADY IS A CHAMP I loved this article! \(“Politics and Prose with Elizabeth Halley,” April I’ve always loved her writing, and I love Robert Leleux on her writing! Jay Phillips via e-mail ROY MERSKY, 1925-2008 The Texas Observer family, the First Amendment, the Constitution, legal scholarship, and basic human decency have lost a valued friend. The legendary Roy Mersky, “probably the most famous law librarian in the history of legal education” according to University of Texas Law School Dean Larry Sager, died May 6 in Austin. The Harry Reasoner Regents Chair in Law and Director of the Jamail Center for Legal Research at the law school where he taught for more than four decades, Professor Mersky was a longtime friend of The Texas Observer. He was a generous spirit, a compleat gentleman, and a tireless combatant on behalf of religious and civil liberties. His family asked that Professor Mersky be remembered with contributions to The Texas Observer \(click “Donate ” on our homepage, www.texasobserver. org , or mail your gift to The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, MAY 16, 2008 TheTexas Observer FEATURES LICENSE TO VOTE 6 The U.S. Supreme Court gives new life to the Texas GOP’s effort to pass a voter identification bill. by Anthony Zurcher CHILDREN OF THE STATE 10 The feds and Texas quarrel over custody of undocumented kids. by Melissa del Bosque HIGHWAY ROBBERY 16 One man’s painful journey through South Texas’ addiction to asset forfeiture. by Jan Reid DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 JIM HIGHTOWER 22 If terrorists had matches… BOOKS & THE CULTURE POETRY 23 by Zara Houshmand DIGGING A HOLE 24 Kevin Phillips’ Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by James K. Galbraith GIVE PEACE A CHANCE 26 Mark Kurlansky’s Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea. by Steven G. Kellman AFTERWORD 28 by Emily DePrang Cover illustration by Ken Garduno 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MAY 16, 2008