Columnist Molly Ivins dies

Molly Ivins

We will honor Molly Ivin's marching orders:


"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 are trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge."

Molly Ivin's last speech



By JOHN MORITZ
STAR-TELEGRAM AUSTIN BUREAU

Star-Telegram archive / Carolyn Mary Bauman
Molly Ivins poses in her backyard in Austin on May 12, 2001. Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as "Shrub," died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.
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AUSTIN — Molly Ivins, whose biting columns mixed liberal populism with an irreverent Texas wit, died at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at her home in Austin after an up-and-down battle with breast cancer she had waged for seven years. She was 62.

Ms. Ivins, the Star-Telegram's political columnist for nine years ending in 2001, had written for the New York Times, the Dallas Times-Herald and Time magazine and had long been a sought-after pundit on the television talk-show circuit to provide a Texas slant on issues ranging from President Bush’s pedigree to the culture wars rooted in the 1960s.

"She was magical in her writing," said Mike Blackman, a former Star-Telegram executive editor who hired Ms. Ivins at the newspaper’s Austin bureau in 1992, a few months after the Times-Herald ceased publication. "She could turn a phrase in such a way that a pretty hard-hitting point didn’t hurt so bad."

A California native who moved to Houston as a young child with her family, Ms. Ivins was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Two years later after enduring a radical mastectomy and rounds of chemotherapy, Ms. Ivins was given a 70 percent chance of remaining cancer-free for five years. At the time, she said she liked the odds.

But the cancer recurred in 2003, and again last year. In recent weeks, she had suspended her twice-weekly syndicated column, allowing guest writers to use the space while she underwent further treatment. She made a brief return to writing in mid-January, urging readers to resist President Bush’s plan to increase the number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq. She likened her call to an old-fashioned "newspaper crusade."

"We are the people who run this country," Ms Ivins said in the column published in the Jan. 14 edition of the Star-Telegram. "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," she continued. "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and are trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge."

She ended the piece by endorsing the peace march in Washington scheduled for Saturday. 01-27 "We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!' " she wrote.

The spice of Texas

Born Mary Tyler Ivins on Aug. 30, 1944, in Monterey, Calif., Ms. Ivins was raised in the upscale River Oaks section of Houston. She earned her journalism degree at elite Smith College in Massachusetts in 1965. From there she ventured to Minnesota, taking a job as a police reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune.

Growing weary of the winters in the Upper Great Lakes and missing the spice of Texas food and its politics, Ms. Ivins moved to Austin to become co-editor of the Texas Observer, long considered the state’s liberal conscience.

Nadine Eckhardt, the former wife of the late Texas novelist Billy Lee Brame

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