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Dialogue THEY’VE GOT HIGH HOPES Don’t forget what’s happening in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties \(“Turning efforts by Democrats, coupled with new voter registrations and get-outthe-vote efforts, are portending major gains in those areas as well. We are anticipating a virtual sweep of county and statewide races in Brazoria, and I know that expectations are high in Fort Bend as well. It’s a good time to be a Democrat. Sam Davis Posted at SWEET ON MURPHY Your magazine has once again overlooked what is shaping up to be a hotly contested House race in District 29 between Democrat Kevin Murphy and Republican Randy Weber \(“House has leaned Republican the last few years, Murphy received more votes in the primary than the three Republican contenders combined. He currently has more cash on hand than Weber. Murphy is a local attorney who is running on the issues of school finance reform, transportation, and economic issues. With new and increasingly diverse voters moving into the Pearland area, coupled with the general distrust of Republicans these days, I like Murphy’s chances. And not just because I’m his wife. See www.murphyfortexas. com for more info on this campaign. Darcy Murphy Posted at www. texasobserver. org NOT EVEN A CHICKEN IN IT Our family land grants in Polk County go back to the Republic of Texas, so I’m not a newcomer \(“The The fading of “Yellow Dog Democrats” started long before the Escapees became a “voting bloc” in Polk County. As the Democratic Party became more the party of socialists, the radical left, and liberals, it no longer reflected the values of East Texans. In short, it’s not your grandfather’s party anymore. Many local races were still decided in the Democratic primary, because everybody still just signed up to run as Democrats, whether they supported the national party and its ideas or not. Finally, as the party moved further and further left, the “Solid South” became “Solid Republican,” no longer wishing to be identified with the platform of the national party. Our voting box is in the Republican majority column. About 75 percent of the voters in the Segno area have had roots in Polk County for well over 150 years. As far as the Escapees, I recall the first disagreements concerning their status. I believe it was eventually settled by the courts. I see no reason for you to be stirring a pot that boiled over years ago. It is empty now Twila J. Ramsey Posted at WALLEYED PRIORITIES I think Jake Miller’s last paragraph is exactly correct \(“Fever Dreams,” companies, defense contractors, and operating without oversight or interference. The border fence enriches defense contractors, devastates wildlife injures Valley residents who are not going to vote Republican. The damage will scar our valley far beyond the time that humans will remain on this Earth. Jo Ann Duman Posted at LETTERS TO THE EDITORS: Dialogue, The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, TX 78701 or [email protected] . Include full name and contact e-mail/ phone number. OCTOBER 31, 2008 TheTexas Observer FEATURES DIRTY MONEY 8 The fight to control one of the biggest polluters in U.S. history, and what it means for Texas. by Melissa del Bosque THE WRONG OF WAY 14 Texas highways for lease. by Pat Choate DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE 2 EDITORIAL 3 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE 4 JIM HIGHTOWER 18 Name that bank. BOOKS & THE CULTURE POETRY 19 by Kent Wheatcroft -Pardue SHRIMPING AND SAVING 20 Diane Wilson’s religious experience. by Emily DePrang MISFORTUNATE SON 24 Oliver Stone’s W. by David Theis PALE WRITER 26 Collected Stories and Other Writings by Katherine Anne Porter. by Steven G. Kellman INSTRUMENTS OF PEACE 28 Three Texas fiddlers celebrate the spirit of murdered reporter Daniel Pearl. by Michael Hoinski AFTERWORD 30 by Michael Hurd Cover design by Leah Ball 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 31, 2008