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Columnist & Humorist Molly Ivins 1944-2007
M ary Tyler “Molly” Ivins (August 30, 1944–January 31, 2007) was a U.S. newspaper columnist, political commentator, and bestselling author from Austin, Texas. Ivins was born in Monterey, California, raised in Houston, Texas and attended St. John’s School in Houston.
She went on to study at Smith College, earning a BA in 1966, and at Columbia University’s journalism school, where she received a master’s degree. She then studied at the Institute of Political Science in Paris.
Her first newspaper job was in the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle , followed by the position of, as she put it, “sewer editor,” responsible for reporting on the nuts-and-bolts of local city life. She went on to the Minneapolis Tribune where she was the first woman police reporter in that city and, later, the reporter who covered a beat called Movements for Social Change where she wrote about “militant blacks, angry Indians, radical students, uppity women, and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers.”
She left the Tribune to write for the Texas Observer from 1970 to 1976. The New York Times , concerned that its prevailing writing style was too staid and lifeless, hired her away from the Observer in 1976 and she wrote for the Times until 1982. During her run at the Times , Ivins became Rocky Mountain bureau chief, covering nine western states, although the writer was known to say she was named chief because there was no one else in the bureau.
Her more colorful style clashed with the editors’ expectations and in 1982, after she wrote about a “community chicken-killing festival” and called it a “gang-pluck,” she was dismissed. She then wrote for the Dallas Times Herald from 1982 until the paper’s demise in 1992, moving in that year to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram , until 2001 when she became an independent journalist. Her column, distributed by Creators Syndicate, appeared in nearly 400 papers nationwide. She was also a member of the Texas Democracy Foundation Board, which operates the Texas Observer.
Ivins’s style consisted of downhome homilies, peppered with colorful phrases to create the “feel” of Texas. When outraged by instances of what she considered malfeasance or stupidity on the part of public officials, she couched her argument in an air of stunned amusement. She enjoyed telling stories about the Texas legislature, which she called “the Lege.” She contended that it is one of the most corrupt, incompetent, and funniest governing bodies in the nation.
In 2003 she coined the term “Great Liberal Backlash of 2003,” and was a passionate critic of the 2003 Iraq War. She is also credited with applying the nickname “Shrub” to George W. Bush.
She received many awards over her lifetime, including the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service (2003), the Pringle Prize for Washington Journalism from Columbia University (2003), the Eugene V. Debs Award in the field of journalism (2003), the David Brower Award for journalism from the Sierra Club (2004), the David Nyhan Prize for Political Journalism from the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University (2006). In addition to these formal awards, Ivins was particularly proud of having the Minneapolis police force’s mascot pig named after her and of being banned from the Texas A&M campus.
In 1999 Ivins was diagnosed with stage III inflammatory breast cancer. The cancer recurred in 2003 and again in late 2005. Ivins died at her Austin, Texas home in hospice care on January 31, 2007 at age 62.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.