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VO:re% Austin’s Largest Selection of international Folk Art, Silver Jewelry and Textiles FOLK ART & OTHER TREASURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 209 CONGRESS AVEAUSTIN 512/479-8377 -\\\\IOPEN DAILY 10-6 m after his first marriage ended. Ten days before the runoff, Darby filed a libel suit against Campbell. Darby’s win was another success for the Texas Parent PAC, the group of mostly Parent Teacher Association moms who dived into the GOP primary to challenge members of Craddick’s leadership team over education policy [see “Wrath of the Soccer Moms,” March 24, 2006]. In the runoff, three of the four Republican candidates backed by Parent PAC won their elections, including Darby. Including the March 7 primary, eight of the 15 House candidates backed by Parent PAC won the GOP nominationnot bad for a first election. iSi, SE PUEDE! Earlier this month another wave of massive rallies for immigrant rights took place across the state and throughout the nationevidence of a new civil rights movement. On April 9, 500,000 marched in Dallasa city not exactly known for protest marches. On April 10 \(the anniversary of the death of Mexican revodreds of thousands marched around the nation in over 100 cities, including 500,000 in Washington, D.C., 125,000 in Phoenix, and smaller protests everywhere from heartland locales such as Boise, Idaho, and Des Moines, Iowa, to Waco, Texas, where an estimated 3,500 people took to the streets. Driving all those marches was a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives late last year that would criminalize illegal immigrants. Juan Ortega, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras who is helping to build an Austin bank, took time off from work to join an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people at the Capitol waving flagsAmerican, Mexican, Honduran, Salvadoran, and Cubanand listening to speeches in English and Spanish. “We are here to work, nothing more,” said Ortega, dressed in a cowboy hat and dust-spattered jeans. “We are not criminals, just people who do the hard work.” Against the backdrop of thousands chanting “Si, se puede” \(Yes, we said that he fears that he and 12 mil lion other illegal immigrants will soon be branded criminals and sent home. For an Austin high school student, who introduced himself to a youthful crowd at UT-Austin as Ruiz Orozco, there was an additional motivation to march: “We need to show we can not only do the hard jobs,” he said. An immigrant from Mexico, Ruiz Orozco was one of hundreds of middleand high-school students from the Austin area who left class to join the rally and march, risking fines and suspension. “We can do the good jobs because we are good enough to do it.” A sign behind him echoed his call: “My father was an undocumented worker I’m a law studentlet us all live the dream.” Messages such as these are seeking an audience in D.C. as the Senate tears through draft after draft of an immigration reform bill. A bipartisan effort to pass a compromise bill in the Senate was announced with great fanfare on April 7, but fell apart later that day. According to Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C., there was “overwhelming support” for the compromise bill, which would have legalized some roughly 10 million people, while another group would have been able to adjust their status “with additional hurdles” in two to five years. “We have been urging both sides of the aisle to get to an agreement … and to protect it throughout the [legislative] process.” Congress is expected to take up the immigration issue again when it reconvenes on April 24. Expect more protests. CRASHING TO THE RIGHT Sen. John McCain has some work to do before he can run for president. McCain’s problem is that too many right-wingers, the grassroots voters so important in the GOP presidential primary, see the Arizona Republican as being too liberal. In response, McCain has taken to the roadincluding a recent stop in Texasto prove his conservatism. In an April 3 speech at the George Foundation at Texas A&M University, McCain sucked up to “41” and wowed the crowd of students and older people with decidedly conservative rhetoric and praise for the former president, his wife, and their son. McCain has at times put forth somewhat conservationist stances on environmental issues. In his A&M speech, however, he went so far as to support President George W. Bush’s 2001 decision to opt out of the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement under which industrialized countries agreed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. McCain told the crowd at Rudder Auditorium on the College Station campus that he opposed the Kyoto accord because it exempted India and China. OK, so McCain gave a technicalalbeit lamejustification for the Kyoto pullout. But he has an even harder time explaining some other recent moves to appease the country’s influential right-wing voters. For example, McCain has announced his support for extending the Bush tax cuts that he fiercely opposed when they were passed. In his most extreme effort to shed his moderate image, McCain has agreed to speak at an institution of higher learning that makes A&M look like a liberal think-tank. In May, he plans to deliver the commencement address at, of all places, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. McCain once described Falwell as an “agent of intolerance.” That should send the desired message to the hyper-conservative Republicans across the country that McCain is no moderate. 21, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5