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Molly Ivins


John Simkin
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I see Molly Ivins died this week. Does anyone know if she ever wrote anything about the JFK assassination?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story...2004164,00.html

Michael Carlson

Friday February 2, 2007

The Guardian

Rightwingers, particularly those prone to fits of vitriolic hyperbole, often assert that the left has no sense of humour. Molly Ivins, who has died aged 62 after a long battle with breast cancer, was a one-woman proof of the vacuousness of that accusation.

America's funniest political columnist - and one of the staunchest and most sensible voices of what passes for the American left - she gave her audience everyday reasons to fight for issues of equality and peace, while ruthlessly deflating political pomposity and skewering hypocrisy. And all in a folksy Texas style that she could turn on and off at will. After Pat Buchanan's rabid speech at the 1992 Republican convention, it was Ivins who quipped, "It probably sounded better in its original German."

Although she already had a following in national magazines like the Progressive and the Nation, she rose to prominence along with George Bush. It was Ivins who gave the president the nickname Shrub after he had called one of his failed oil companies "arbusto", thinking it was Spanish for bush. The acquiescence of the American press to the less pejorative Dubya, granting Bush a downhome quality, was one of the first signs he would be the media's favourite in the 2000 election.

Ivins was born in Monterey, California, but her association with Bush began in high school in Houston, Texas. Her background was also one of oil privilege; her father, Jim Ivins, was an executive with the Tenneco Corporation. He instilled in his daughter a love of the outdoors, but they clashed over his conservative politics. Molly once attributed her strength to learning to stand up to her father, whom she described as a "martinet". He shot himself while facing terminal cancer in 1999, the year she herself was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

After the posh St John's school in Houston, Ivins became a third-generation alumna of Smith College, Massachusetts, one of America's elite women's universities. She worked at the Houston Chronicle during her holidays, studied at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris, and took an MA at Columbia school of journalism, New York. She started at the Minneapolis Tribune as a local reporter - on what she termed "the sewer beat" - before becoming the paper's first female police reporter. The Minneapolis police called their mascot, a pig, Molly.

Ivins returned to Texas in 1970 with the bi-weekly Texas Observer, a doggedly liberal magazine based in the state capital, Austin. Covering the legislature was her watershed. "Whee, here we go, the lege is back in session! And many a village is missing its idiot." Ronnie Dugger, then the Observer's publisher, said Ivins "started laughing ... she was set loose as a free person and a free journalist." Her style attracted bigger papers, and in 1976 she joined the New York Times, then looking for fresh voices, particularly those of women.

But she never fitted in with the paper's hierarchical corporate atmosphere. "I was miserable for five times my previous salary," she said. After feeling stifled on the city desk, where working barefoot or in jeans shocked her editors, she covered the state capital, Albany, but it did not have Austin's liberating effect. She became Denver bureau chief and, in 1980, filed a story from an annual chicken slaughter in Corrales, New Mexico, which she called a "gang-pluck". The Times executive editor Abe Rosenthal was so offended that both the phrase and Ivins were edited out. Twenty-seven years later, the Times was still in shock, and again resorted to euphemism in her obituary.

In 1982 she became a columnist on the Dallas Times-Herald. When she opined of one Texas legislator that, "If his IQ were any lower, they'd have to water him twice a day," a reader complained, "Molly Ivins can't say that, can she?" - which became the paper's catchphrase for marketing her, and the title of a collection of her journalism. When the Times-Herald folded, she moved, in 1993, to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but with the ascent of Bush her column got national syndication in 2001, eventually being carried in nearly 400 papers.

Ivins took a relatively benign approach to the first President Bush, finding his attempts at playing the Texan amusing - "real Texans do not use summer as a verb". After noting in 1999 that "If you think his daddy had trouble with 'the vision thing', wait'll you meet this one," she and Lou Dubose produced an early warning, Shrub: the Short But Happy Political Life of George W Bush, before the 2000 election. Their follow-up, Bushwhacked! (2003), noted that they had been proved right. Ivins was often accused of bias, but You Gotta Dance With Them Who Brung You was unsparing of Bill Clinton, particularly his "welfare deform", calling him "weaker than bus-station chili".

Ivins fought her cancer publicly through two remissions. "First, they mutilate you, then they poison you, then they burn you," she wrote. "I have been on blind dates better than that." She was matter of fact about it. "I'm sorry to say cancer can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person." Her final column, dictated from her sick bed, ran two weeks ago. It poked fun at Bush calling himself "the decider" and ended urging people to do what she had always done. "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous."

· Mary Tyler 'Molly' Ivins, journalist, born August 30 1944; died January 31 2007

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I see Molly Ivins died this week. Does anyone know if she ever wrote anything about the JFK assassination?

John, she's made references to it, but doesn't appear to have taken a deep interest.

In her column of Jan 20, 1994 about the ongoing media bashing of Hilary Clinton, she wrote: That Hilary-bashing has grown to be a recognizable genre on the fax circuit [sic] is more ominous. I say this because of a good point made recently by the New Republic. It concerned the media's failure to address the culture of hatred in a small portion of the black community that almost certainly influenced the man who decided to mow down a carful of people on the Long Island Rail Road. That sorry citizen was dismissed, by me among others, as a hopeless head case, your classic lone-nutter with a gun. Very few of us bothered to look at the man's connection to a small circle of white-hating blacks who have a not inconsiderable media voice in New York. All of us who are pre-Republican Texans can remember the endless stories of hate in Dallas after President Kennedy's assassination. Climate of hate, culture of hatred, culture of contempt, all of it hiding... what? Fear? And all of it leading inevitably to violence.

In October, 1973, she was among a few Texan liberals interviewed together about the prospect of John Connally replacing Agnew as VP, and possibly even becoming a presidential candidate:

Q: Now, almost ten years later, how significant is it that John Connally was wounded during the assassination of President Kennedy?

Ivins: John Connally was originally not that popular as governor. But ever since he was hit by that bullet in Dallas, nobody's been able to touch him.

Gonzales: Just imagine what might appen if he ran for President against Ted Kennedy. They'd be saying that Connally was shot alongside President Kennedy while Teddy was at Chappaquiddick.

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I see Molly Ivins died this week. Does anyone know if she ever wrote anything about the JFK assassination?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story...2004164,00.html

Michael Carlson

Friday February 2, 2007

The Guardian

Rightwingers, particularly those prone to fits of vitriolic hyperbole, often assert that the left has no sense of humour. Molly Ivins, who has died aged 62 after a long battle with breast cancer, was a one-woman proof of the vacuousness of that accusation.

America's funniest political columnist - and one of the staunchest and most sensible voices of what passes for the American left - she gave her audience everyday reasons to fight for issues of equality and peace, while ruthlessly deflating political pomposity and skewering hypocrisy. And all in a folksy Texas style that she could turn on and off at will. After Pat Buchanan's rabid speech at the 1992 Republican convention, it was Ivins who quipped, "It probably sounded better in its original German."

Although she already had a following in national magazines like the Progressive and the Nation, she rose to prominence along with George Bush. It was Ivins who gave the president the nickname Shrub after he had called one of his failed oil companies "arbusto", thinking it was Spanish for bush. The acquiescence of the American press to the less pejorative Dubya, granting Bush a downhome quality, was one of the first signs he would be the media's favourite in the 2000 election.

Ivins was born in Monterey, California, but her association with Bush began in high school in Houston, Texas. Her background was also one of oil privilege; her father, Jim Ivins, was an executive with the Tenneco Corporation. He instilled in his daughter a love of the outdoors, but they clashed over his conservative politics. Molly once attributed her strength to learning to stand up to her father, whom she described as a "martinet". He shot himself while facing terminal cancer in 1999, the year she herself was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

After the posh St John's school in Houston, Ivins became a third-generation alumna of Smith College, Massachusetts, one of America's elite women's universities. She worked at the Houston Chronicle during her holidays, studied at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris, and took an MA at Columbia school of journalism, New York. She started at the Minneapolis Tribune as a local reporter - on what she termed "the sewer beat" - before becoming the paper's first female police reporter. The Minneapolis police called their mascot, a pig, Molly.

Ivins returned to Texas in 1970 with the bi-weekly Texas Observer, a doggedly liberal magazine based in the state capital, Austin. Covering the legislature was her watershed. "Whee, here we go, the lege is back in session! And many a village is missing its idiot." Ronnie Dugger, then the Observer's publisher, said Ivins "started laughing ... she was set loose as a free person and a free journalist." Her style attracted bigger papers, and in 1976 she joined the New York Times, then looking for fresh voices, particularly those of women.

But she never fitted in with the paper's hierarchical corporate atmosphere. "I was miserable for five times my previous salary," she said. After feeling stifled on the city desk, where working barefoot or in jeans shocked her editors, she covered the state capital, Albany, but it did not have Austin's liberating effect. She became Denver bureau chief and, in 1980, filed a story from an annual chicken slaughter in Corrales, New Mexico, which she called a "gang-pluck". The Times executive editor Abe Rosenthal was so offended that both the phrase and Ivins were edited out. Twenty-seven years later, the Times was still in shock, and again resorted to euphemism in her obituary.

In 1982 she became a columnist on the Dallas Times-Herald. When she opined of one Texas legislator that, "If his IQ were any lower, they'd have to water him twice a day," a reader complained, "Molly Ivins can't say that, can she?" - which became the paper's catchphrase for marketing her, and the title of a collection of her journalism. When the Times-Herald folded, she moved, in 1993, to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but with the ascent of Bush her column got national syndication in 2001, eventually being carried in nearly 400 papers.

Ivins took a relatively benign approach to the first President Bush, finding his attempts at playing the Texan amusing - "real Texans do not use summer as a verb". After noting in 1999 that "If you think his daddy had trouble with 'the vision thing', wait'll you meet this one," she and Lou Dubose produced an early warning, Shrub: the Short But Happy Political Life of George W Bush, before the 2000 election. Their follow-up, Bushwhacked! (2003), noted that they had been proved right. Ivins was often accused of bias, but You Gotta Dance With Them Who Brung You was unsparing of Bill Clinton, particularly his "welfare deform", calling him "weaker than bus-station chili".

Ivins fought her cancer publicly through two remissions. "First, they mutilate you, then they poison you, then they burn you," she wrote. "I have been on blind dates better than that." She was matter of fact about it. "I'm sorry to say cancer can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person." Her final column, dictated from her sick bed, ran two weeks ago. It poked fun at Bush calling himself "the decider" and ended urging people to do what she had always done. "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous."

· Mary Tyler 'Molly' Ivins, journalist, born August 30 1944; died January 31 2007

Molly Ivins was a very good person, who did not hesitate to voice what she had witnessed regarding the near-death, or at least the attempted murder of the Democratic Party in Texas;

It would be overly simplistic to lump her in with other Southerner's [both journalist's and current/former politicians Jim Hightower, Karl W.B. Schwartz (Rep/AR) One-Way Ticket to Crawford, Texas because she was her own woman, and no shrinking violet, either. I do not know if she ever wrote any material concerning JFK's assassination, but, even if she didn't, I can assure you she probably knew as much about Texas "Deep Politics" as some Forum members.

What follows are "probably" some of the issues and events that made Molly Ivins a tad upset, as many of the dis-enfranchised non-Republican's/Dem's have been ever since?........

The onslaught of everything bad a Texan can possibly imagine since the pre-1963 era of "Landslide-Lyndon" to the darkest day on 11-22-63 in Dallas.....the Connally/Yarborough epoch and "41's" vote against the Civil Right's Bill of 1964, [yes those were the good ole day's, he said sarcastically) to the Sharpstown Scandal......

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpstown_scandal

Texas Democrats, defensively, charged that the whole scandal atmosphere in Texas at the time was a national Republican plot, originated in the Nixon administration's Department of Justice.

Fast Forward to the Reagan Revolution.... as....Bill Clements became the first Republican Governor since the day's of RECONSTRUCTION, as in post Civil-War....

Then on up to Southern Methodist University's "Death Penalty" which was at the time the harshest penalty ever imposed against a NCAA Football program, with a generous assist courtesy Gov. Bill Clement's [a member of the Board of Trustees] rubber stamping payoff's to the SMU Mustang's in the Erick Dickerson/Craig James Pony Express Era

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clements.

Texans of the Bubba ilk showed their intellectual capacity for priorities by re-electing "Governor [Fire-Marshall?] Bill, Clements," in 1986, who was buoyed by the Bubba's and Bubbette's of Texas who felt that Democratic Governor Mark White had committed.....the sin of which there is no forgiveness in instituting the "no-pass, no-play policy" involving high school athletics. I can hear them know...... Imagine an acting Governor placing education on the same category as the "holy of holies" HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL!!!!

Despite Governor Rick Perry's massive "war chest," there were signs all was not well in the Republic of Texas...so Texans witnessed.....

Rick Perry, the Republican incumbent

'Kinky' Friedman, a country music singer and mystery author, running as an independent.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Grandmother...& a Republican choosing to face Perry as an independent instead of during the Republican primary

and a not very mesmerizing Chris Bell, the Democratic Party candidate

What seems to have been conveniently forgotten by the Perry "opposition," is...since the ground rules stipulated there would be no runoff, as in some elections Perry needed less than 50% of the vote to win, so arguably Perry must have felt like writing a thank you note when the "election" ended with the anybody but Perry electorate potentially asking "Why didn't somebody think about that?"

Now Texan's have the good fortune to endure a veritable clone of our former Governor now President Bush......

As they say "No place but Texas."

We will definitely miss The Unsinkable Molly Ivins..

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[quote name='Robert Howard' date='Feb 3 2007, 04:10 AM' post='92449']

·We will definitely miss The Unsinkable Molly Ivins..

Oh yes!! I was so saddened yesterday to learn of her death. She was virtually the only reason to read the local rag.

Dawn

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In October, 1973, she was among a few Texan liberals interviewed together about the prospect of John Connally replacing Agnew as VP, and possibly even becoming a presidential candidate:

Q: Now, almost ten years later, how significant is it that John Connally was wounded during the assassination of President Kennedy?

Ivins: John Connally was originally not that popular as governor. But ever since he was hit by that bullet in Dallas, nobody's been able to touch him.

Gonzales: Just imagine what might appen if he ran for President against Ted Kennedy. They'd be saying that Connally was shot alongside President Kennedy while Teddy was at Chappaquiddick.

Very good point. Molly Ivins final column, dictated from her sick bed, appeared two weeks ago. It included the following: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." It seemed to me that this was a good way to sign off. I once asked the British politician what his greatest achievement was. He replied, the ability to inspire others to take political action against injustice. That was the ability that Molly Ivins had. Let us hope she continues to do that from her grave. That is what a writer can do. That is why they are important.

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In October, 1973, she was among a few Texan liberals interviewed together about the prospect of John Connally replacing Agnew as VP, and possibly even becoming a presidential candidate:

Q: Now, almost ten years later, how significant is it that John Connally was wounded during the assassination of President Kennedy?

Ivins: John Connally was originally not that popular as governor. But ever since he was hit by that bullet in Dallas, nobody's been able to touch him.

Gonzales: Just imagine what might appen if he ran for President against Ted Kennedy. They'd be saying that Connally was shot alongside President Kennedy while Teddy was at Chappaquiddick.

Very good point. Molly Ivins final column, dictated from her sick bed, appeared two weeks ago. It included the following: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." It seemed to me that this was a good way to sign off. I once asked the British politician what his greatest achievement was. He replied, the ability to inspire others to take political action against injustice. That was the ability that Molly Ivins had. Let us hope she continues to do that from her grave. That is what a writer can do. That is why they are important.

The US is a totalitarian democracy by proxy, having outsourced a major portion of its psychological/political warfare against its own citizens to the private sector. Unfortunately, it is dragging other western democracies down the same path, whilst combining psyops with conventional military means to enforce its will in other parts of the world.

I'll pre-empt complaints about this analysis by saying the majority of Americans I've met have been terrific individuals, and those I consider friends (though never met personally) through assassination research, are without doubt, the friendliest, most helpful people imaginable. The amount of help and sharing of information (sometimes at some expense) on their part, has at times, almost choked me up.

I hope you're right... that Molly's voice continues to be heard.

And I'm neither left or right

I'm just staying home tonight,

getting lost in that hopeless little screen.

But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags

that Time cannot decay,

I'm junk but I'm still holding up

this little wild bouquet:

Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Democracy - Leonard Cohen

Edited by Greg Parker
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The US is a totalitarian democracy by proxy, having outsourced a major portion of its psychological/political warfare against its own citizens to the private sector. Unfortunately, it is dragging other western democracies down the same path, whilst combining psyops with conventional military means to enforce its will in other parts of the world.

I'll pre-empt complaints about this analysis by saying the majority of Americans I've met have been terrific individuals, and those I consider friends (though never met personally) through assassination research, are without doubt, the friendliest, most helpful people imaginable. The amount of help and sharing of information (sometimes at some expense) on their part, has at times, almost choked me up.

The British Empire came to end because of the resistance from within and without. Hopefully, the same thing will happen to the American Empire.

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The US is a totalitarian democracy by proxy, having outsourced a major portion of its psychological/political warfare against its own citizens to the private sector. Unfortunately, it is dragging other western democracies down the same path, whilst combining psyops with conventional military means to enforce its will in other parts of the world.

I'll pre-empt complaints about this analysis by saying the majority of Americans I've met have been terrific individuals, and those I consider friends (though never met personally) through assassination research, are without doubt, the friendliest, most helpful people imaginable. The amount of help and sharing of information (sometimes at some expense) on their part, has at times, almost choked me up.

The British Empire came to end because of the resistance from within and without. Hopefully, the same thing will happen to the American Empire.

Re; Empire

What greater observation than this could have been made?

H.J.Dean

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The US is a totalitarian democracy by proxy, having outsourced a major portion of its psychological/political warfare against its own citizens to the private sector. Unfortunately, it is dragging other western democracies down the same path, whilst combining psyops with conventional military means to enforce its will in other parts of the world.

I'll pre-empt complaints about this analysis by saying the majority of Americans I've met have been terrific individuals, and those I consider friends (though never met personally) through assassination research, are without doubt, the friendliest, most helpful people imaginable. The amount of help and sharing of information (sometimes at some expense) on their part, has at times, almost choked me up.

The British Empire came to end because of the resistance from within and without. Hopefully, the same thing will happen to the American Empire.

Re; Empire

What greater observation than this could have been made?

H.J.Dean

One Thing About You

by Ronnie Dugger

Lou Dubose let me know, from his visits with her in January, that Molly was failing. I was kept in the East by a medical situation, but two days before she died I sat down for lunch in a bar in Cambridge and wrote her a letter, which was delivered to her home on Alta Vista Avenue in South Austin and read to her the day before she died. She opened her eyes to listen and smiled.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A bar in Cambridge

Dear Molly,

From Lou I learn you are back home where you’re comfortable after the stay in the hospital. Pat’s and my thoughts are very much with you. She sends bundles of love to you.

I have been searching my mind this morning for any other columnist and journalist in my lifetime who has done as much good as you have for the people through the press. Woodward and Bernstein, perhaps, in their one glorious series of exposes—Watergate, ridding us of Nixon and his gang. But I can’t think of anyone to hold up against your achievement. My memory runs back to only three others, Marquis Childs, Walter Lippman, and James Reston, each very different from each other and from you. Childs was a voice for justice like yours, national, but so much less heard or read than you that there is no real comparison. Lippman and Reston, also during my time, did more, each in his own way, to thwart Lyndon on Vietnam and drive him out, than any two others; but the first had no compassion, and Reston was too much of the Times. No one, least of all Abe Rosenthal, could or would ever say that of you.

The thing about your achievement, Molly, is, yes, the excellent writing; yes, the hilarious and habitual nose-thumbing; yes, your rare (these days rare) close attention to the absurdities and hypocrisies of Congress and the Texas Legislature; yes, the wide lens of your compassionate mirth, from the homeless to the four-homed, from Austin to Washington to Baghdad. But the thing about it that makes it the largest achievement for humanity of any American journalist in my lifetime is what happens when one puts it on a scale: the weight of it. Your being syndicated in 350 or 400 newspapers is without parallel among progressive, liberal columnists of your range and quality. Take, for example, the penetrating and always germane Robert Kuttner. The last time I asked him, perhaps a decade ago, he had 20 newspapers. Add in your raucous, best-selling books, and the liberating effects of your swing-from-the-hip speeches to huge movement and non-movement audiences starting in the ’70s—why hell, Molly, the only comparison among humorists that holds up is to Will Rogers. Your achievements for compassion and common sense among Americans exceeds any other by a working journalist in my lifetime known to me, taking account together of both its passion and its sheer gross weight.

This happened because of who you are, but also of one thing about you. Do you remember the only criticism I gave you when you were on the Observer, once when we ran into each other at Matt Martinez’s El Rancho down on—was it East First? I said to you, “Molly, I have only one question: when are you gonna get serious?” and you replied at once: “When we have a chance to win.” And this you have been doing, now that we either win really or lose our beloved great country. Your answer reflected what you knew, as Jon Stewart knows in action now also: The way to people’s sense of justice is through their sense of humor.

Everybody had said so much about you by the time I embraced you at the big-do Observer benefit, all I remember being able to manage was, congratulations. So this here is what I have to say to you about you, at too great a length, as is my custom: in short, that you are the most effective journalist for compassion and justice known to me near or far across the whole of my lifetime.

Love, Ronnie

As usual, when we had an opening for editor or associate editor at the Observer, in 1970 about 30 or 40 applications arrived at our offices, five or six of them from journalists good enough for the job. The two strongest of all, though, clearly, were from someone named Molly Ivins, applying from Minneapolis, but hailing from Houston, and Billy Porterfield, the reporter and distinguished Texas writer. The decision fell to me.

Porterfield was appealing. He was and is one of the best writers working in Texas. He was an experienced reporter on Texas papers; he knew the ropes and the rogues. Under Porterfield, too, the journal’s literary side would have been transformed into the equal of the rest of it. Bill let me know, however, that he did not like politics.

I was dazzled by Molly Ivins’ clippings of her stories in the Minneapolis Tribune that accompanied her application. I hardly realized, because her reporting was so mature, that she was only three years out of college (Smith, Columbia, a school in Paris). The stories were energetically researched, pithy, well written, and ethically salient; as the reporter, Ivins was right there in the middle of them as a real reporter should be. Since there was no showing at all of a sense of humor in them, I could not have foreseen her blossoming into a humorist and a satirist of politicians; it was the boldness and fairness of her reporting that settled the matter in my mind. Kaye Northcott was in place as our associate editor, and with something approaching grief at not choosing Porterfield, I decided on Molly if Kaye would agree to their being co-editors. Kaye leapt at that, and the Observer became, as far as I know, the only all-woman-editorial-staff journal in the country at the time.

The New York Times hired Molly away from the Observer, but a story she sent in from the Rocky Mountain Bureau did her in with Abe Rosenthal, then the executive editor of the Times. In due course Molly, based first in Dallas, then in Fort Worth while working out of Austin, became the only funny and the most widely read liberal columnist in the United States. Her best-selling six books include the two she wrote with Lou Dubose on George W. Bush. She also established herself as one of the leading public speakers from the liberal point of view, while frequently speaking free before groups and for causes that she believed in. She was a great woman, and she became a great force for good.

She was presiding during a meeting of the Texas Civil Liberties Union in a palatial home out on Lake Austin during which I, being the speaker for the evening, berated the ACLU for upholding corporations’ historic and successful contention that they, being persons just like other people, have the legal and constitutional rights of persons, and for the ACLU’s opposition to limiting election campaign contributions on the argument that money is speech protected by the First Amendment. Closing the festivities, Molly said softly, “Well, I’m glad Ronnie’s not in charge of our fundraising.” In 1996, when we held the founding convention of an organization I founded, the Alliance of Democracy, at a ranch near Kerrville, Molly, one of our speakers, arrived in a bright red pickup. Her message to us was that while we were striving to subordinate giant corporations to democracy, we should have a lot of fun along the way.

Molly became the guiding force on the board of the Texas Democracy Foundation, which has published the Observer since 1994, and one of nine or 10 or so individuals across half a century without whom The Texas Observer very well might not have been able to continue. As the Times said the day after her death, the Observer was her spiritual home. Her Final Friday open-house parties at her home in a small jungle on in South Austin surely must have been one of the gayest, happiest traditions in the entire American liberal movement, teeming with reformers, tamales, ne’er-do-wells, beer, editors, chips and salsa, do-gooders of all styles, causes, and fashions, and loud, soft, and robust talk. Sporadically some of us suggested that Molly run for governor, but she did not take up the hints. In 1999 she was struck with breast cancer, but she continued writing, traveling, and speaking.

In a column last summer she gave some ground, but not much, to those who insist one must fight for what one believes with good manners. “I am still lamentably stuck in the middle,” she wrote, “—not that I hold with hating the haters ... we can all see where that leads—but I am always tempted to shout them down. ‘One, two, three, four, we don’t want your xxxxing war.’” Last October, at a celebration of her in Austin, more than $400,000 was raised for the Observer. During a lecture at the University of Texas last November, she said, “I think that to be involved in politics is simply to be alive. ... This is about our lives, and this country is our deal. We own this country.” In her last column she continued: “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush’s proposed surge.”

Gary Keith, Bob Eckhardt’s biographer, sent me Molly’s New Year’s missive to some of her Austin friends, which was dated last January 3:

Dearly Beloveds,

Two zero zero seven and I’m stayin’ alive, that’s the main thing. The doctors continue to find new ways to torture me. I’m in pretty weak shape now but planning to get better. A round of physical therapy may help me get my strength back. I’ve certainly kept up my weight. For that I owe a considerable debt and countless pounds to Blue Bell Cookies and Cream and a better than average appetite.

Being an invalid means you can almost always have your way when it comes to daily desires. That’s why I invited almost 50 people to help trim my Christmas tree in early December.

For Christmas I hauled out many cookbooks and made a menu with Sara Speights and Marilyn Schultz. This included Mare’s prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, Sara’s ginger-carrot soup, Kaye Northcott’s potatoes with heavy cream and gruyere, Courtenay Anderson’s spinach with artichoke caps at the bottom, and my sister-in-law Carla’s unsurpassed pecan pie. In addition to Carla, my sister Sara, brother Andy, niece Darby, and nephew Drew were on hand—a seated dinner for 12.

This might not seem like a big whup until you understand that my stove was on the blink and couldn’t be fixed in time because all of NASA’s engineers were otherwise occupied for the holiday.

Lo, came the miracle of Alta Vista Avenue. Ovens to the left of me, ovens across the street, as well as their owners, opened their doors to the elves. Andy said he liked carting things from house to house. It put him in the holiday spirit.

I visited some and rested some as the preparers prepared. It was lovely hearing the bustle of my friends and family getting a great meal together. My only regret is that I couldn’t smell the prime rib as it roasted across the street.

Meanwhile, I’ve taken up a new sport—shooting BBs from my lounge chair at the squirrels trying to rob the bird feeders in my back yard.

So now it’s the New Year and I want to give each and every one of you a hug and wishes for more good news on the political front. May the Ds avoid making bigger fools of themselves than the Rs, which seems like a doable deal.

From your as yet unsinkable Molly.

Ronnie Dugger is the founding editor of The Texas Observer.

FWIW Ronnie Dugger is "as good as it gets," I wonder if Peter Dale Scott knows that Ronnie wrote an article about Peter's 1952 book of poems........

Edited by Robert Howard
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