Texas

Texas GOP Board Of Education Candidate: 'We Know We Didn't Come From Monkeys!'

At a debate in Fort Worth on Monday, a Republican candidate for the Texas state board of education warned that the board is currently “using your tax dollars to brainwash our children into socialist issues and ideas.”

The candidate, Lady Theresa Thombs, also decried “people from socialist higher education” who support the teaching of evolution, a subject still hotly debated in the Texas Education Agency.

“We know we didn’t come from monkeys!” she exclaimed.

Thombs made her remarks at a debate hosted by a Tea Party group, the 912 Project Fort Worth.

Bud Kennedy of the Star-Telegram reports that Thombs considers herself an “international evangelist” who is “running to fight — her spellings — ‘adgendas and ideoligies.’”

She also believes she is running to defeat “Devil worshipers”:

The multi-talented Thombs also serves as a singer at right-wing rallies.

Warriors For Christmas: Texas State Rep. Pat Fallon Leads The Battle In The 'War On Christmas'

Texas state Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, co-author the the state's "Merry Christmas" bill was a guest on "Wallbuilders Live" today where he told host Rick Green that if people get offended by public schools hosting "Christmas" parties, well, that is their problem and they ought to "look into your heart and ask why."

Meet Steve Stockman (R-WorldNetDaily)

Despite our disappointment that pseudo-historian David Barton decided against a run for US Senate in Texas, we are taking solace in the fact that Rep. Steve Stockman announced yesterday that he would challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the Texas GOP primary. Cornyn is hardly a moderate, but Tea Party groups have been itching to oust him.

Stockman’s entry into the race comes just weeks after the Houston Chronicle investigated his murky finances, but the far-right congressman has much more going for him than questionable financial dealings. Here are five of Stockman’s most extreme and outlandish political ploys:

1. Birther & Election Trutherism

It’s no wonder that WorldNetDaily is positively giddy about Stockman’s Senate campaign, as the congressman shares the website’s birther views and has worked with birther activists. Stockman even suggested that President Obama stole the 2012 election, calling it a “scam.”

2. Impeachment

Stockman endorsed a WorldNetDaily book, “Impeachable Offenses: The Case For Removing Barack Obama From Office,” and even sent copies to every member of Congress. He followed up with WorldNetDaily by telling the pro-impeachment “news” site that he is working with a Religious Right law firm to investigate President Obama and make the case for impeachment.

Even before Obama was sworn in for a second term, Stockman floated the idea of impeaching the president for his executive actions targeting gun violence in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, likening the president to Saddam Hussein.

3. Guns

In a letter on behalf of the radical National Association for Gun Rights, Stockman alleged -- completely falsely -- that President Obama is working with the United Nations to implement gun “confiscation on a global scale” and an “international gun registry.” But Stockman’s extremist views don’t end there. “If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted,” he famously quipped on Twitter. He also once organized an AR-15 giveaway.

In July, Stockman teamed up with a group led by a prominent neo-Confederate activist to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court challenging the government’s authority to prosecute straw purchases of firearms.

4. Anti-LGBT

Stockman denounced the 2012 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, from which he wanted to exclude protections for LGBT people: “This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers — it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that — how is that a woman?” In an interview with a conservative talk show host, he made fun of transgender women by speaking in a high-pitched voice.

5. Immigration

The congressman has said that immigration reform is a tool “to destroy America,” calling the Senate reform bill a “joke” that will “destroy our country” and bring down the GOP. He even claimed that the Senate bill isunconstitutional and insisted [PDF] that the House refuse to vote on any bill regarding immigration.

Bonus:

After NRA board member Ted Nugent threatened the life of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Stockman rewarded him with a ticket to the State of the Union Address.

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/25/13

Texas School Board Adopts Accurate Biology Books, Rebuffing Last-Ditch Campaign By Creationists

This afternoon, the Texas State Board of Education gave its final approval to a set of biology textbooks that include scientifically sound teachings about evolution, rebuffing a campaign by creationists to include “biblical principles” in science texts. However, the board delayed its approval of one of the books until a board of experts reviews the complaints of anti-evolutionists.

The Texas Freedom Network, which has been fighting to keep science in the state’s science textbooks, called the vote a “huge win for science education” and noted that “throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks.” People For the American Way joined TFN earlier this year to deliver 300,000 petitions to the school board urging them to reject attempts to insert creationism into science texts.

Creationists on the school board, in a last-ditch attempt to delay the process, are still holding up one biology book. TFN reported yesterday:

The adoption of the Pearson textbook was held up because an anti-evolution activist appointed to serve as an official state reviewer alleged that it included nearly two dozen factual errors. Some of the alleged “errors” focused on relatively small and almost trivial details — such as whether scientists estimate the age of Earth as 4 billion or 4.2 billion years old. But most dealt with evolution or related concepts and essentially repeated many discredited claims anti-evolution activists have been pushing for decades.

One Republican school board member accused his anti-evolution colleagues of attempting to “hijack” the process by causing the last-minute delay, according to the AP:

Pearson and many other major publishers weren't willing to make suggested major edits and changes, however.

That prompted some of the board's socially conservative members to call for delaying approval of the book because of concerns including how long it took Earth to cool and objection to lessons about natural selection because "selection operates as a selective but not a creative force."

Members outside the socially conservative bloc claimed their colleagues waited until the dead of night to try to impose ideological edits.

"To ask me — a business degree major from Texas Tech University — to distinguish whether the Earth cooled 4 billion years ago or 4.2 billion years ago for purposes of approving a textbook at 10:15 on a Thursday night is laughable," said Thomas Ratliff, a Republican from Mount Pleasant.

He added: "I believe this process is being hijacked, this book is being held hostage to make political changes."

On Wednesday, an oil and gas industry representative objected to another science textbook’s treatment of the harms of fracking and carbon emissions; she gained some allies on the board, but the board ultimately approved the text.

Texas School Board To Decide This Week on Creationism in Science Texts

Back in September, we reported on attempts by non-biologist members of the Texas State Board of Education’s biology-textbook review committee to require textbook publishers to insert “creation science based on biblical principles” into high school textbooks used in the state.

People For the American Way joined a campaign led by the Texas Freedom Network to deliver 300,000 petitions to the state board urging them to keep creationism out of science classes.

The next month, TFN reported that none of the 14 major textbook publishers had bowed to pressure to include biblical lessons in the science textbooks they submitted for review to the school board. But the board of education still has to vote to adopt these textbooks, and as TFN notes, “In past years, ideologues on the state board have refused to adopt textbooks simply because they have political objections to factual content.”

The state board will hold hearings on the issue starting this afternoon, leading up to a final vote on the textbooks on Friday. We’re following along via livestream and TFN’s live blog, but in the meantime you can enjoy this video from September’s hearing of former Texas board of education chairman Don McLeroy explaining that including evolution in biology textbooks will actually “strike the final blow to the teaching of evolution” because students will see through the “weak” scientific argument:
 

Religious Right Groups Scandalized By Effort To Protect Houston's LGBT Inmates

The Associated Press reported last week on the efforts of Sheriff Adrian Garcia of Harris County, Texas, to prevent violence against the Houston county jail’s estimated 250 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inmates. The AP notes that while a number of major cities have taken similar steps, Harris County will be the first in Texas to implement such a program.

Naturally, the American Family Association and Eagle Forum are scandalized.

Under the headline, “Deputy, Ronnie is now called Regina: Jail enacts sexual orientation policy,” Charlie Butts, a reporter for the AFA’s OneNewsNow, interviews Texas Eagle Forum president and former Texas Republican Party chairwoman Cathie Adams, who claims that Houston’s mayor Annise Parker – who is openly gay – is behind the new policy.

Adams claims that Parker actually wants to leave LGBT people “more vulnerable to abuse” and that the policy “will eke into the community and set up a very tragic situation.” She suggests instead of allowing transgender people to identify as they choose, that the jail offer conversion therapy to transgender inmates;  Butts claims, “The mental health field has an excellent track record in treating transgendered people to conform to their biological gender.” In fact, major medical groups including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association oppose the practice of reparative therapy.

Cathie Adams, with Texas Eagle Forum, says Houston is being influenced by its mayor, Annise D. Parker, an open lesbian. The city needs a better role model, she says.

"Not a person who is going to leave them more vulnerable to abuse," says Adams. "And I'm very sorry to say, I think that is exactly what this policy will do, not just in the prison but of course it will eke into the community and set up a very tragic situation."

The policy also suggests that transgendered people can choose between male and female sections of the prison.

Adams calls that allowance "tragic," noting that a "man is born as a man."

Jailers must address the transgendered by their "chosen name" and include it on the bracelet, the AP also reported.

The mental health field has an excellent track record in treating transgendered people to conform to their biological gender. So Adams wonders why, if Houston wants to help jail inmates, they don't offer counseling instead of affirming their gender confusion.

Jailers fall under a "zero tolerance" rule for sexual misconduct or harassment toward LGBT inmates, which could include firing and criminal charges. It was unclear from The Associated Press story if those rules only apply to homosexuals.
 

Texas Conservative Student Group Hosting 'Catch An Illegal Immigrant Game'

UPDATE 11/19: YCT head Lorenzo Garcia has cancelled the “game” due to concerns “the university will retailate against [YCT] and the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.” He said in a statement that he is “shocked” by the “truly disgraceful” protests against the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game,” adding that he will not be “silenced.”

On Wednesday the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) plans to host a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game.” According to its Facebook page, students will have to find a person “walking around the UT campus with the label ‘illegal immigrant’ on their clothing” and then turn that person in to a YCT table for a $25 gift card reward.

YCT will be having a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" event this upcoming Wednesday. The details of the game goes as follows:

There will be several people walking around the UT campus with the label "illegal immigrant" on their clothing. Any UT student who catches one of these "illegal immigrants" and brings them back to our table will receive a $25 gift card.

The purpose of this event is to spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives.

Last month, the same group hosted an Affirmative Action bake sale which charged students different prices based on their race and gender. Think Progress notes that other right-wing youth groups have hosted similar events in the past.

HT: Latino Rebels.

Ted Cruz's Weekend Plans: Puppy Bombs, Islamophobia, Junk History & Glenn Beck

Sen. Ted Cruz has a busy weekend planned. Not only is he confirmed to headline a Texas conference for state legislators hosted by fake historian David Barton, he is also confirmed to speak at a conference of anti-Muslim activists and right-wing muckrakers in Florida hosted by leading Islamophobe David Horowitz .

Warren Throckmorton reports that Cruz is scheduled to speak at David Barton’s “ProFamily Legislators Conference” along with effusive conspiracy thoerist Glenn Beck, master voter suppressor and now Family Research Council bigwig Ken Blackwell, FRC vice president and radical anti-Islam activist General Jerry Boykin, and anti-gay, anti-Islam activist Rabbi Daniel Lapin. But perhaps the most questions for Cruz should come around accepting an invitation from Barton, who routinely pushes junk science and history and who just this week found himself in hot water among conservatives for telling veterans that it’s unbiblical to have PTSD.

Cruz is also set to join Rep. Louie Gohmert at “David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend,” along with Horowitz’s fellow anti-Islam activists Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelbeck and Daniel Pipes; right-wing pundits Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro; “voter fraud” truther Catherine Engelbrecht ; erstwhile Christian Coalition leader and Jack Abramoff pal Ralph Reed; prankster/martyr James O’Keefe; and rising right-wing star Dr. Ben Carson.

Previous “restoration weekends” have similarly allowed sitting members of Congress – including Sen. Jeff Sessions, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michelle Bachmann -- to mingle with anti-Islam leaders inluding Geert Wilders, Frank Gaffney, Andrew McCarthy and Pastor John Hagee.

While Horowitz’s summit includes a wide variety of far-right activists, its real star power comes from its Islamophobe coalition.

Horowitz himself has built his career on tying American progressives and mainstream Muslims to radical Islam. He's the editor of FrontPage magazine and has reportedly funded Robert Spencer's JihadWatch website. Horowitz was a leader of the smear campaign against former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who anti-Islam activists accused of being a Muslim Brotherhood agent sent to "penetrate" the US government . Horowitz alleged that Abedin, who is married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, was a "Muslim Brotherhood operative" and "been given a special dispensation to marry a Jew so she can infiltrate our government.” He has also accused anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, whose wife is Muslim, of secretly practicing Islam and leading a Muslim Brotherhood "infiltration" of the Republican Party, and believes that teachers' unions are pushing an “infiltration of Islamic Jihadist doctrines” in the public schools.

Geller is also one of the most vocal figures on the anti-Muslim right. It was Geller who dreamed up and drove the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy in the summer of 2010. Like Horowitz, Geller sees Islamist infiltration wherever she looks, including theWhite House, public schools, the media, and even the Conservative Political Action Committee (thanks, of course to Norquist). Geller frequently suggests that President Obama is secretly Muslim and has even theorized that the president is the love child of Malcolm X.

Geller even attempted to justify Anders Breivik’s massacre at a Norwegian summer camp (which she initially, of course, blamed on Muslims), writing that the victims would have become “future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole.” Breivik had extensively cited Geller’s work in his anti-Islam manifesto.

Spencer is another one of the anti-Muslim movement’s leading lights, and also sees sneaking radical Islam in in the “Sharia-compliant” CPAC , the Obama administration,the media, TLC reality shows and progressives, whom he argues are “in league with Islamic supremacists” because of their shared dislike of America and western civilization.

To give you an idea of just how willing Spencer and Geller are to run with any anti-Muslim conspiracy theory, no matter how ridiculous, this month both gleefully picked up a story from New York’s local CBS station that alleged that members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were dipping puppies in gasoline and lighting them on fire in order to make puppy bombs. CBS quickly retracted the story, which was sourced to a Facebook message. But the story so perfectly fit Geller and Spencer’s hysterical anti-Muslim narrative that neither has updated their blog post.

We hope that Cruz at least won’t fall for the puppy bombs story. It’s sad enough to ruin what could have been great weekend.

David Barton Announces That He Will Not Run For Senate

After a week of speculation amid effort to recruit David Barton to launch a primary challenge in Texas against Senator John Cornyn, Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's radio program today to announce his decision.

After telling Beck that he had done polling and consulted with trusted advisers, Barton announced even though he believes that it would be a winnable race, he has concluded that "the time is just not right for me."

But there remains a glimmer of hope, because when Beck asked Barton if he might make a Senate run at some point in the future, Barton said "that's definitely a possibility, yes sir":

Barton issued an official statement to The Blaze:

I am deeply honored and humbled by the heartfelt efforts of thousands of people encouraging me to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Citizens in Texas and across America know that our nation’s fiscal, moral, and constitutional deficits must be reversed.

I agree with the millions who say we need more constitutionally conservative leaders serving in Congress. The detailed polling data as well as the outpouring of immediate support from across the state indicate this is a race that could be won.

But as important as one seat in the U. S. Senate is, we also have generations of citizens that need to know our constitutional principles and rich heritage. Such education will result in the election of many more constitutionally-minded common-sense patriots in coming years.

As I travel the nation speaking about the founding principles of America, I have noticed a definite growth in the depth of interest regarding our moral and constitutional foundations. People are not only becoming more active in the political process but are becoming more principled and informed about how to restore our constitutional republic.

The solution to our current American crisis will come from the basic actions of our citizens studying the Constitution, voting and campaigning for good candidates, and helping reduce the size of government by personally helping those around us who are in need.

My family and I have carefully prayed about and seriously weighed the encouragement from so many people we respect who have asked me to run for the Senate. But right now, I believe my role is to continue educating, equipping, and inspiring citizens through the work we do at WallBuilders.

I thank all of you who encouraged me to enter this race. I ask you to take the time, energy, and money you so generously offered on my behalf and invest it in electing other constitutional conservatives at every level of government. Our involvement is needed now more than ever before. Our goal hasn’t changed. We each have a role to play to build a winning coalition of citizens who share a commitment to put the country on a sustainable and constitutionally sound trajectory. At this specific time my role will not be as a candidate, but I will continue to work side-by-side with you in the trenches to educate the nation, while also recruiting, training, and electing a new generation of conservative leaders.

Rafael Cruz Tries To Disprove Evolution, Suggests Obama Thinks He Is God

Yesterday, we posted clips of Sen. Ted Cruz’s father Rafael Cruz attacking evolution and warning of Satanic control of America. Now, a reader has alerted us to a speech the elder Cruz gave to a Republican gathering in Texas in March, in which he claimed that he could disprove evolution to the “brainwashed” students in attendance.

After making his usual claim that evolution and gay rights are communist plots, Cruz warned, “We are being brainwashed by the school system and you’re called a ‘retrograde,’ you’re called an ‘idiot’ if you fight evolution. Evolution is not a fact, there is nothing factual about evolution.”

Let me just say something for you kids, evolution is based on jumping from one species to another through mutations. How many of you had biology in high school? Mutations normally go in reverse order, they go backwards, when something mutates it mutates into something worse than it was before. So if evolution moves from species to species by mutation, you’re going backwards, not forwards, it doesn’t make sense. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than to believe in the first two chapters of Genesis. Understand, it is a tool to destroy loyalty to God.

Later in the address, Cruz alleged that President Obama wants people to worship him. “Obama needs for you to see him as God,” Cruz said. “The concept is make government your god. It’s done by evolution, it’s done by destroying the concept of religion and God, and secondly by destroying the family.”

“That’s what this whole thing about homosexual marriage is about,” he added. “It has nothing to do with ‘homosexual rights,’ It has to do with the destruction of the traditional family so that there is no loyalty to the family, loyalty is to the government and government is your god.”

Rafael Cruz: Evolution Is A Communist Lie, Gay Rights Endanger Children

Rafael Cruz, the father of Ted Cruz and the Texas Senator’s number one surrogate, is a favorite among Tea Party and Religious Right activists with his birther, Christian Nationalist and End Times-focused speeches.

15 Things You Need To Know About David Barton, The Man Who Could Be Texas's Next Senator

David Barton’s dishonest and discredited pseudo-history hasn’t stopped him from becoming a star within the Republican Party. Despite the glaring flaws and political bias found in his work, not to mention the fact that actual conservative Christian scholars are among his most vocal critics, GOP candidates for office consistently seek Barton’s advice, counsel and endorsements.

Now, Barton’s WallBuilders deputy and radio show co-host Rick Green has launched a Facebook page to draft Barton run for U.S. Senate against the Republican incumbent John Cornyn.

On October 30, Green wrote that “if the draft page gets 5k likes in just a few days, then we’ll know people want him to run.” As of today, the page currently has fewer than half that number of “likes,” but Barton’s possible run has garnered publicity and made Glenn Beck giddy. Barton recently told Beck that “if the Lord tells me to do it, I’ll do it.”

In anticipation of Barton’s possible run for office, we decided to look through our voluminous Barton archive and pull out the highlights of his radical record.

1. God Is Rightfully Blocking A Cure For HIV/AIDS

Barton is delighted by the fact that God is preventing researchers from finding a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. According to Barton, HIV/AIDS is a punishment for sin and therefore God will block a potential cure: “God says, ‘Hey you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.’” He argues that HIV/AIDS is a divine “penalty” for gay people’s “shameful sexual acts.” On a similar note, Barton has called homosexuality “absolutely reprehensible and disgusting” and said that marriage equality means we “are going down as a nation.”

2. “We Had To Destroy Indian Tribes”

Barton justified the slaughter of Native Americans as a defensive war against tribes who “declared war on all the white guys.” “We had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said ‘Oh, got the point,’” Barton said, claiming that the tactics were only necessary because Native Americans were resisting missionaries who were trying to “civilize” them.

3. Demons Control Parts Of The Capitol

If Barton runs for US Senate and is elected, he will have to be careful to avoid the demon-controlled parts of Capitol Hill. Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that demonic principalities have control over different government bodies and that is why politicians “think really goofy.”

4. The Bible Opposes Net Neutrality

Did you know that the Founding Fathers, Pilgrims, Puritans and the Bible all opposed Net Neutrality? According to Barton they did. He also argues that Net Neutrality is a “wicked” policy.

5. Founding Fathers Refuted The Theory of Evolution

While the nation’s founders lived long before Charles Darwin published his seminal works, Barton contends that the founders “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution” and sided with Creationism.

6. Evolution Should Be Banned In School Due To Separation Of Church And State

Barton maintains that evolution, secular humanism and atheism are all religions that should be banned in public school because of the separation of church and state. “Darwinism and evolution is a religion. Why don’t we say, ‘Hey, we can’t teach Darwinism in school. That affects the way people behave. I demand separation of church and state. Get Darwinism out of the classroom.’”

7. Government Should Regulate Gay Sex

After comparing homosexuality to cigarette smoking and eating unhealthy foods, Barton proposed: “Why don’t we regulate homosexuality?” He warned that nations that “rejected sexual regulation like with homosexuality” collapse “past the third generation from the time that they embraced it.”

“Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to five hundred or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime,” he added. Barton also claims that a nation will have a spiritual revival once it stops tolerating homosexuality and has “chased the sodomites” out.

8. Schools Turn Kids Gay

Barton “guaranteed ” listeners that if they have children going to public schools “they are getting homosexual indoctrination.” He even said that public schools will “ force them to be homosexual.” Barton’s gay rights conspiracy theories don’t end there: Before the passage of the 2009 Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Barton said the law was “designed to single out preachers in the pulpit” and would put pastors in prison if they condemn homosexuality. Of course, that never happened.

9. Country Needs More Hate

Barton considered writing a book entitled, “When tolerance is a sin and hate is a virtue,” telling listeners of his radio show that nowadays “tolerance is a bad thing and hate is a good thing.” “We’re tolerating a lot stuff that destroys our families, that destroys our own character and we can’t tolerate that stuff. We have to get back to the point where hate is a virtue, at least certain kinds of hate.”

10. Bible Opposes Minimum Wage

Many of Barton’s lectures rail against progressive economic policy as unbiblical, arguing that the Bible condemns the capital gains tax, estate tax, progressive income tax and the minimum wage. “Jesus did not like the minimum wage,” Barton contends.

11. Constitution Quotes The Bible ‘Verbatim’

Even though Barton can’t find a single actually verbatim quote from the Bible in the Constitution, he consistently claims that the Constitution quotes the Bible “verbatim.” It is no wonder that he also asserts that God established America’s system of elections. It is no surprise then that Barton advocates the theocratic Seven Mountains Dominionism.

12. Life Begins Before Conception

Barton has said that life doesn’t begin at conception, but actually “life begins before conception.” Not surprisingly, Barton believes that abortion rights will lead to socialism and that abortion is banned under the Seventh Amendment. The Seventh Amendment reads: “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re–examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”

13. No Limits On Second Amendment

According to Barton, under the Second Amendment there is no limit to what type of weapons people could possess, including tanks, bazookas and fighter jets.

14. Abortion Rights Leads To Divine Punishment

Barton recently claimed that inclement weather linked to climate change isn’t a result of climate change at all, but is actually God’s judgment on America for abortion rights.

15. Prayer Stopped BP Oil Spill, Drought

During a Religious Right conference call, Barton maintained that state declarations of prayer ended a drought in Georgia and also prevented damage on the Gulf Coast from the BP oil spill.

Glenn Beck Can Barely Contain Himself At The Idea Of 'Senator David Barton'

A few weeks ago, Glenn Beck set out on a mission to convince Rep. Louie Gohmert to launch a primary challenge to Sen. John Cornyn; an endeavor that Gohmert was clearly reluctant to undertake.

But now Beck has moved on, predicting that Gohmert will remain in the House where he will run for Speaker, which leaves open the position of primary challenger to Cornyn.  So who does Beck want to see fill that slot?  None other than his best friend David Barton.

"Senator David Barton," Beck just kept repeating on his radio program today, unable to keep the elated smile off of his face just thinking about it:

Texas Voter ID Law Disenfranchises Women Who Have Changed Their Names

In June, the Supreme Court struck down the key enforcement mechanism of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which mandated Justice Department review of election law changes in states and counties with a history of voting discrimination.

The state of Texas responded almost immediately by going ahead with an arduous photo ID requirement that had until the Supreme Court’s decision been blocked by federal courts.

As the Justice Department and voting rights advocates feared, Texas’ law, which went into effect on Monday, is already keeping qualified people from registering to vote. So far, only 41 of the 1.4 million people who lack an eligible voter ID have obtained a substitute “election identification certificate.” But the new requirement isn’t just preventing people who don’t have certain forms of ID from registering to vote – it’s also threatening to disenfranchise women who changed their names when they married.

Policy Mic notes that the Texas law “requires all voters to provide a photo ID that reflects their current name. If they cannot, voters must provide any of a series of other acceptable forms of identification all of which must match exactly and match the name on their birth certificate." This presents a problem for the 34 percent of women who lack an ID that shows their current name, including those who changed their names when they married:

In fact, only 66% of women have an ID that reflects their current name. If any voter is using name different than what appears on their birth certificate, the voter is required to show proof of name change by providing an original or certified copy of their marriage license, divorce decree, or court ordered name change. Photocopies aren’t accepted.

Now ask a woman who’s been married for years where her original marriage certificate is. Ask a woman who’s been divorced — maybe more than once — where all the divorce decrees are. Ask elderly women where their original birth certificate is.

Today, Think Progress reports on one Texas woman caught in this trap: a state district court judge who has been voting for nearly 50 years but whose registration was almost blocked because her drivers’ license lists her maiden name as her middle name, while her voter registration form did not:

As she told local channel Kiii News, 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts was flagged for possible voter fraud because her driver’s license lists her maiden name as her middle name, while her voter registration form has her real middle name. This was the first time she has ever had a problem voting in 49 years. “What I have used for voter registration and for identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote,” she said.

Watts worried that women who use maiden names or hyphenated names may be surprised at the polls. “I don’t think most women know that this is going to create a problem,” the judge said. “That their maiden name is on their driver’s license, which was mandated in 1964 when I got married, and this. And so why would I want to use a provisional ballot when I’ve been voting regular ballot for the last 49 years?"

The Justice Department is currently suing Texas over the law  and asking a federal court to require preclearance in the future, under a section of the Voting Rights Act not affected by its recent ruling.

PFAW

Houston Chronicle’s Buyer's Remorse Over Ted Cruz Endorsement

Even the conservative Houston Chronicle thinks Cruz has gone too far.
PFAW

Texas School Board Chair Hails Creationist Dietitian And Businessman As Biology Experts

At a Texas State Board of Education meeting last month, the Republican head of the school board defended the qualifications of a biology textbook review panelist who said that “creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”

SBOE chair Barbara Cargill defended the panelist, who is not a biologist but… a dietitian. Cargill defended another Creationism advocate on the panel, a businessman, because he has a degree in chemical engineering, saying that not enough biology teachers wanted to serve on the panel reviewing textbooks.

“They might be well-qualified in their own professional fields, but they are no more qualified to review biology textbooks than a biologist would be qualified to review a mathematics or engineering textbook,” Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network points out.

He also notes that Cargill’s claim that teachers didn’t step up to serve on the panels is baloney, as 140 of the 183 of the “individuals who applied or were nominated by State Board of Education members to serve as biology textbook reviewers” were educators, and the “vast majority of them have degrees and teaching experience specifically in biology.”

“Some of them are among the 28 individuals appointed as biology textbook reviewers. But all of the others were passed over for the dietician, business and finance professionals, and various chemical, mechanical, systems and civil engineers who used their positions on the review teams to promote completely discredited junk science attacking evolution (or simply to call for teaching “creation science based on biblical principles” in biology textbooks).”

GOP Official Who Backs White Supremacist And Violent Groups Wants To Be Next Texas Attorney General

A Republican official who is running to be Texas’ next attorney general has defended white supremacists, Mormon fundamentalists and a militant Jewish group that plotted the assassination of a US congressman, the Texas Observer has found.

The Texas Observer reports that Texas Railroad Commission chairman Barry Smitherman penned a letter to his daughter’s school last year criticizing them for using literature from the Southern Poverty Law Center in a lesson on intolerance in conjunction with the book “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

In the letter, Smitherman accused the SPLC of “intolerance” specifically because of its opposition to the Crusaders for Yahweh, the Jewish Defense League, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), Border Guardians and the Oath Keepers. So who are these innocent, patriotic groups?

  • Crusaders for Yahweh, officially known as the Crusaders For Yahweh-Aryan Nations, is a neo-Nazi group that advocates “pro-white Christian identity [and] white nationalism.” Its founder Paul Mullet has criticized the “Jewish media,” called Obama “the Antichrist,” and railed against “nigger behavior.” CrusadersForYahweh.org redirects to a Ku Klux Klan website. 

Here’s Smitherman’s letter, courtesy of Forrest Wilder:

This is Barry Smitherman, [name omitted]’s dad. I am presently helping [name omitted] with this project. While I’m incredibly supportive of reading and analyzing “To Kill a Mockingbird,” an American Classic set in the early part of the 20th century in the rural south, I’m troubled by the “Us and Them” study material provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “To Kill a Mockingbird” not only shows us the tragedy of the Jim Crow south of 60 years ago, played out horribly in the conviction of Tom Robinson for a rape that he didn’t commit, the book also highlights the strength and integrity of Atticus Finch, some of the townspeople of Maycomb, and even apparently a few of the jury members who struggled with their verdict. At the conclusion of the book, Harper Lee has given us hope that the South is moving away from discrimination based upon skin color and toward judging a man (or woman), as Dr. King would say, “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, however, has a more radical view of racism, hate, and intolerance. A quick review of their website shows that the SPLC considers many patriot, mormon, and judeo-christian religious groups across America, including some in Texas, to be hate groups. For example, the group “Crusaders for Yahweh” is labeled by the SPLC to be a “Christian identity” group and is placed on the SPLC’s national “hate map.” The same with the “Evangelical Latter Day Saints” (mormons), the Jewish Defense League, which SPLC calls “anti-Arab”, and the Border Guardians, which is labeled by the SPLC as “anti-immigration.” Equally disturbing, the SPLC calls out groups like “We the People”, “patriots”, The “Constitution Party,” and “oath keepers” as groups which subscribe to unfounded conspiracy theories and are “opposed to one world order”.

I identify myself as a Christian and find it intolerant for the SPLC to label me as intolerant. Same with many of the patriot groups that have organized in Texas over the last several years. I personally know members of these groups and they are focused not on racism, but on balancing the federal budget and reducing or eliminating our $16 trillion national debt.

Perhaps you are unaware of the tenants of the SPLC; I encourage you to research it thoroughly during this exercise and to explain to your students that SPLC, which allegedly fights intolerance, is itself often intolerant. Thanks for your consideration of this issue. Barry

Glenn Beck Tries To Convince Louie Gohmert That God Wants Him To Run For Senate

For several days now, Glenn Beck has been leading a campaign to convince Rep. Louie Gohmert to launch a primary challenge against Republican Senator John Cornyn in Texas. Today, Gohmert called into Beck's radio program where Beck told Gohmert that he had been praying on the question and the answer that he heard from God is that Gohmert should run.

Ghomert demurred, saying that he'd need to raise millions of dollars to launch such a challenge, which prompted Beck to tell him that he should not worry about that since God will provide all the funding he would need because "we live in a time of miracles."

"You are the guy," Beck assured him. "As long as we're on God's side, who could stand against us?"

Glenn Beck Vows To Camp Outside Of Louie Gohmert's House Until He Agrees To Run For US Senate

Last week, Glenn Beck became very excited over the idea that Congressman Louie Gohmert would launch a primary challenge against Republican Senator John Cornyn in Texas and today he announced on his radio program that he will be camping outside of Gohmert's house if necessary in order to make his fantasy come true.

"Last night, I made up my mind," Beck declared. "I am going to camp outside of Louie Gohmert's house if I have to, and I mean it.  I am going to be Louie Gohmert's worst nightmare until he says 'yes, I'm going to run for Senate."

Beck went on to call upon his listening audience to take over the various government institutions in their respective hometowns in order to "make sure there is not a single progressive that is running our towns, there's not a single progressive on our city councils, there's not a single progressive in our school boards ... Zero tolerance!"

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