Truly one of my favorite columnists and political writers, Molly Ivins will be missed by many. I only met her once, in Austin, and didn't really have much to say, other than thanks.
Her long time employer, The Texas Observer has an obit, which includes this:
Tax-deductible contributions in her honor may be made to The Texas Observer, 307 West Seventh Street, Austin,TX 78701 or the American Civil Liberties Union,127 Broad Street,18th floor, New York, NY 10004, www.aclu.org.
John Nichols: Remembering Molly IvinsThe warmest-hearted populist ever to pick up a pen with the purpose of calling the rabble to the battlements, Ivins understood that change came only when some citizen in some off-the-map town passed a petition, called a Congressman or cast an angry vote to throw the bums out. The nation's mostly widely syndicated progressive columnist, who died January 31 at age 62 after a long battle with what she referred to as a “scorching case of cancer,” adored the activists she celebrated from the time in the late 1960s when she created her own “Movements for Social Change” beat at the old Minneapolis Tribune and started making heroes of “militant blacks, angry Indians, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers.” ... Molly Ivins could have played in the league of the big boys. They invited her in, giving her a bureau chief job with the New York Times--which she wrote her way out of when she referred to a “community chicken-killing festival” in a small town as a “gang-pluck.” Leaving the Times in 1982 was the best thing that ever happened to Molly. She settled back in her home state of Texas, where her friend Jim Hightower was about to get elected as agricultural commissioner and another friend named Ann Richards was striding toward the governorship. As a newspaper columnist for the old Dallas Times Herald--and, after that paper's demise, for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram--Molly began writing a political column drenched in the good humor and fighting spirit of that populist moment. It appealed beyond Texas, and within a decade she was writing for 400 papers nationwide.
As it happened, the populist fires faded in Texas, and the state started spewing out the byproducts of an uglier political tradition--the oil-money plutocracy--in the form of George Bush and Dick Cheney.
...When Washington pundits started counseling bipartisanship after voters routed the Republicans in the 2006 elections, Molly wrote, “The sheer pleasure of getting lessons in etiquette from Karl Rove and the right-wing media passeth all understanding. Ever since 1994, the Republican Party has gone after Democrats with the frenzy of a foaming mad dog. There was the impeachment of Bill Clinton, not to mention the trashing of both Clinton and his wife--accused of everything from selling drugs to murder--all orchestrated by that paragon of manners, Tom DeLay.... So after 12 years of tolerating lying, cheating and corruption, the press is prepared to lecture Democrats on how to behave with bipartisan manners.
The WaPo adds:
In an Austin speech last year, former President Clinton described Ivins as someone who was ”good when she praised me and who was painfully good when she criticized me.“
Ivins counted as her highest honors the Minneapolis police force's decision to name its mascot pig after her and her getting banned from the campus of Texas A&M University, according to a biography on the Creators Syndicate Web site.
In the late 1960s, according to the syndicate, she was assigned to a beat called ”Movements for Social Change“ and wrote about ”angry blacks, radical students, uppity women and a motley assortment of other misfits and troublemakers.“
Ivins later became co-editor of The Texas Observer, a liberal Austin-based biweekly publication of politics and literature.
She joined The New York Times in 1976, working first as a political reporter in New York and later as Rocky Mountain bureau chief.
But Ivins' use of salty language and her habit of going barefoot in the office were too much for the Times, said longtime friend Ben Sargent, editorial cartoonist with the Austin American-Statesman.
”She was just like a force of nature,“ Sargent said. ”She was just always on and sharp and witty and funny and was one of a kind.“
the NYT writes:
Molly Ivins, Columnist, Dies at 62
The liberal writer derided those who she thought acted too big for their britches.
In 1976, her writing, which she said was often fueled by ”truly impressive amounts of beer,“ landed her a job at The New York Times. She cut an unusual figure in The Times newsroom, wearing blue jeans, going barefoot and bringing in her dog, whose name was an expletive. [shithead?]
While she drew important writing assignments, like covering the Son of Sam killings and Elvis Presley’s death, she sensed she did not fit in and complained that Times editors drained the life from her prose. ”Naturally, I was miserable, at five times my previous salary,“ she later wrote. ”The New York Times is a great newspaper: it is also No Fun.“
After a stint in Albany, she was transferred to Denver to cover the Rocky Mountain States, where she continued to challenge her editors’ tolerance for prankish writing.
Covering an annual chicken slaughter in New Mexico in 1980, she used a sexually suggestive phrase, which her editors deleted from the final article [gang-pluck]. But her effort to use it angered the executive editor, A. M. Rosenthal, who ordered her back to New York and assigned her to City Hall, where she covered routine matters with little flair.
She quit The Times in 1982 after The Dallas Times Herald offered to make her a columnist. She took the job even though she loathed Dallas, once describing it as the kind of town ”that would have rooted for Goliath to beat David.“