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Dialogue RECOMMENDED READING This is one of the best pieces of investigative journalism that I’ve read in a long time \(“Systemic Neglect:’ May zens is an issue that deserves more and better attention than it has received. Unfortunately, the tendency has been to simplify the problems, either by sensationalizing or minimizing them. Your article avoids these mistakes by explaining the complexities of delivering these services. Unfortunately, state leaders at the highest level have failed to understand these complexities. In some cases, the failure has been benign, in others willful, but the result has been the same: a woeful lack of resources. Policymakers considering ways to improve services at state schools would do well to begin by reading this article. Will H. Rogers Texas State Employees Union Austin When I saw the cover saying “Inside Texas’ troubled institutions for the mentally retarded,” I thought you were doing another story on the Texas Legislature! Randy Eubanks Richardson THE END OF OIL This was an excellent example of letting the facts lead to the conclusion must make changes in our society like Europe and Japan and reduce oil con sumption by 30 percent over 10 years. William Paul via e-mail Robert Bryce describes U.S. peak oil in 1972 very well, but then omits the elephant in the room: world peak oil. If oil cannot be produced any faster than now, energy consumption cannot grow. As oil production declines, so will energy consumption. That is a geological reality, never mind what neoclassical economists may think. If the impact of peak oil were limited to “pain at the pump,” that would be OK. Unfortunately it isn’t. Oil is soaked throughout our economy. If you think we will smoothly switch from crude oil to any combination of coal, renewables, nuclear, wave, or used french fry oil, I’m afraid that you’re deluded. Rod Campbell-Ross via e-mail PIGGING OUT Thanks for the great story on the Pig insight into a simple way of life and a simple kind of pleasure was moving. Best hopes for at least the one Pig Stand surviving. Fran Sage Alpine As the Observer may or may not know, I’ve been trying to establish a Texas Food Museum. New Orleans is opening SoFAB \(Southern Food and an embarrassment that Texas does not celebrate its food history in any way. The Pig Stand is a part of that glorious food history that is Texas. Barry Popik Austin TOO MUCH CREDIT This is a well-considered review of a provocative book by an intriguing and estimable American author \(“A there is little basis for characterizing Wendy Yoshimura as “the Symbionese Liberation Army bomber!’ Multiple historical accounts, as well as FBI, police, and court records \(and even Susan Chas novel make clear that “SLA babysitter” would be more apt. When the SLA finally managed to make devices that would actually explode, Patty Hearst says, they were dubbed “Kilgore bombs,” because fellow fugitive Jim Kilgore showed them how it was done. Hilarie Lang via e-mail MAY 30, 2008 TheTexas Observer FEATURES JOHN MCCAIN’S GRAMM GAMBLE 4 The GOP presidential nominee is relying on the ex-senator who helped bring you the mortgage crisis and Rick Perry. by Patricia Kilday Hart REIGNMAKERS 12 Control of the Texas House rests on these races. by Texas Observer staff FIGHTING CHANCES 23 Two Texas Senate races to watch. by Texas Observer staff POLL POSITION 26 How McCain supporters skewed the Democratic Primary results. by Leland Beatty CHOICE WORDS 28 How we talk when we talk about politics.. by James W. Pennebaker DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 JIM HIGHTOWER 30 Cleaning Up with the Filthy Rich BOOKS & THE CULTURE POETRY 31 by Richard Doyle NEVER LOOK BACK 32 David Milne’s America’s Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War by Tom Palaima AFTERWORD 36 by Susan DuQuesnay Bankston Cover illustration by Matt Wuerker 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MAY 30, 2008