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II lope A SWIFT REACTION Well, I read every word of this and it makes me want to read every word that Edward Swift ever wrote. Thank you for introducing me to a new treasure. Elaine Allen via e-mail WHAT A PICTURE IS WORTH When I see Julian Cardona’s photos \(“Movement of the People:’ excerpts from Exodus/Exodo, fill with tears, and my heart races with indignation and sadness. These men and women who expose themselves to such danger are human beings seeking survival that is denied them in their own country. Most are deported and return to the border with no money, and then to their villages and cities to sell whatever they own and pay thou sands of dollars to corrupt smugglers. Women are raped, men are humiliated. Someattacked by racists at the borderfind their American dream turned into a nightmare. Those who find work often get paid less than minimum wage. They abandon their families, their lives, and their dead. The United States is a country of immigrants. Put yourselves in the place of these who leave everything for the dream of a better life for themselves and their children. They are working people, not criminals. Most of the people of the U.S. support new immigration laws. When you look at Julian’s marvelous photographs, see in the faces of the migrants those of your own sisters, mothers, fathers, and brothers. I cannot wait to read this book. Esther Chavez Cano Ciudad Juarez, Mexico THANKS, JAKE The July 11 issue of the Observer included Jake Bernstein’s valedictory as editor as he moves on to the verdant investigative pastures of ProPublica. We don’t want him to leave, however, without our thanks for leading the Observer as it garnered all kinds of recognition for its investigative work. Jake served as editor of the Observer for four years, following two years as a reporter here. He led the Observer as it got to the bottomand we’re talking about the lower depthsof Tom DeLay’s work to undo democracy, winning awards for its coverage. He exposed the governor’s database and oversaw Nate Blakeslee’s eye-opening coverage of the unfolding tragedy at the Texas Youth Commission. Both those stories, broken by the Observer, led to legislative scrutiny and action. With Jake as editor, this publication keenly observed the border with Mexico, particularly through stories by Mary Jo McConahay and Melissa del Bosque. Under his leadership, you saw Patti Kilday Hart get there first with the close connection between John McCain and Phil Grammbefore we heard Gramm whine about whiners. Add to that the Observer’s 50thanniversary issue and our award-winning Molly Ivins memorial issue, and Jake’s got a lot to be proud of. And we’ve got a lot to be grateful for. We hope to run future work Jake produces for the investigative reporting group, ProPublica. Meanwhile, the Observer continues in the capable hands of our editorial staffDave Mann, Brad Tyer, Melissa del Bosque, Forrest Wilder and Leah Ball. As we interview a very promising group of candidates for the next head editor job, Geoff Rips and a few other old hands will work with the staff as visiting editors. Rips was an editor in the mid-1980s, when we thought Ronald Reagan was as bad as it could get. AUGUST 8, 2008 TheTexas Observer FEATURES BIG BLAND JOHN 8 How John Cornyn’s dull exterior masks one of the most conservative records in the U.S. Senate. by Dave Mann LET THERE BE LIGHT 14 A long-suffering border colonia powers up with renewable energy. by Forrest Wilder DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 JIM HIGHTOWER 18 Vets, or lab rats? BOOKS & THE CULTURE POETRY 19 by Doc Kiley GOLDEN DAYS AND OLDEN WAYS 20 Thad Sitton er C.E. Hunt’s Big Thicket People: Larry Jene Fisher’s Photographs of the Last Southern Frontier. by Stayton Bonner A POET WITHOUT BORDERS 24 Houston’s Fady Joudah makes his mark. by David Theis THE LONG WAY HOME 28 Sam Quinones’ Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration. by Shea Serrano AFTERWORD 30 by Dan Oko Cover photo by Karen Bleier/ AFP/Getty Images 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 8, 2008