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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCEI KAY BAILEY, QUE PASO? California Governor Pete Wilson, who bowed out of the Republican presidential race even before Phil Gramm spent his first ten million, is again attacking the Texas Senatorand his junior Colleague Kay Bailey Hutchison. In a July 11 New York Times op-ed piece, Wilson complained that the Texas Senators’ opposition to his proposal to deny public education to children of undocumented immigrants sounded like “a pious pronouncement.” The two Texans, according to Wilson, support the principle of states’ rights but “cavalierly” ignore them on the immigration issue. Gramm suggested that Wilson keep reading the Constitution. “until he finishes the 14th Amendment…a state has no right to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Hutchison warned against jeopardizing immigration legislation “because of one provision on which there was honest but intense disagreement.” The disagreement foreshadows next month, when the party convenes on the Mexican border in San Diego and Pat Buchanan warms up the convention crowd with his nativist rant. And Hutchison, who was almost barred by Texas fundamentalist Christians from even attending the convention because of her liberal position on abortion rights, could be involved in two fights in San Diego. In both cases she will be defending a position more progressive than the Texas delegation’swhich holds that the only right for undocumented immigrants is the right to a speedy deportation and that life begins at foreplay and is sacred, inviolate, and protected by the 14th Amendment thereafter. STARR FADING? An observant reader, Jim Nelson, writes that Texas Tech University recently announced that Kenneth Stan, independent counsel for Whitewater and everything else, has written an article, “Christian Life and the Law,” for a forthcoming issue of the Texas Tech Law Review. Adds Nelson, “Some of us are not sure if matching Kenneth Starr with Texas Tech is more reflective of the possible downward spiral in Kenneth Starr’s career, or the law school journal’s dubious hopes for national recognition.” WINDBAGS, WEAK SPINES, and “freshman all stars” was what the Washingtonian found when it asked congressional staffers to rate members of Congress. Austin workaholic Democrat Lloyd Doggett topped the House Freshman “All Star List,” while Friendswood Republican Steve Stockman was described as a “freshman flop.” Irving Republican Dick Armey had the “strongest backbone” but couldn’t save primary election loser Greg Laughlin, the House member with the “weakest spine.” Phil Gramm made three categories: “Showhorse,” “Biggest Windbag” and “Meanest,” while Kay Bailey Hutchison was described as well-dressed but “No Rocket Scientist.” DIVINE COMEDY? When the father of two students in an honors program at an East Texas high school went looking for the source of an English curriculum purge that threw out works by Shakespeare, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, and others, he ended upno surprise hereat the local Baptist Church. Alan Jackson, an assistant U.S. attorney living in Lindale who had been assigned to a Lindale High School parent-teacher committee revising the English reading list, became suspicious when the school board abruptly halted the committee’s work. Jackson told the Dallas Morning News that he suspected the curriculum was in jeopardy when a schoolboard member’s wife also on the committee said she found many of the books unacceptable. “She said there was not a book on the list that she would hand to Jesus Christ and ask him to read,” Jackson said. Jackson then attended a church service at the Prairie Creek Baptist Church, where senior pastor \(and school board presmembers would vote to throw out the entire book list at the board meeting the following week. The Texas Open Meetings Act was thus treated as if it were as subversive as Of Mice and Men or as salacious as Romeo and Juliet. Gary Camp, a member of Offut’s congregation and the school board, stood up to support his pastor and president. The following week the reading list was eliminated. \(The Texas Freedom Network, a statewide coalition of churches, civic groups, and individuals that monitors activities of the Christian Right, can be reached TREES SUCK? At last we know the root cause of our state’s water shortage crisis. Writing on the opinion page of the June 30 Dallas Morning News, San Angelo resident James Scott pinpoints the problem: “Too many trees of a certain type in various areas of the state.” Now, we all know that junipers and mesquites have a history of invasive behavior and suck up a lot of moisture. But compared to Sea World? Compared to Fiesta Texas? Compared to housing developments with green fertilized lawns and neighboring strip centers surrounded by impervious cover and miles of roads to connect the strip centers to the new homes? It turns out that all that pavement is actually saving us water by eliminating the biggest water consumer of all: trees. Had we but known. All that expanding consumption of Edwards Aquifer water is caused by trees. We could be watering our lawns and our golf courses every afternoon See “Trees,” page 20 CLOSING TIME: Twice a year we skip a week to allow for staff vacations. It’s that time again. Your next issue will be dated August 16. 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 26, 1996