Texas

After Heroic All-Day Filibuster Foils Anti-Choice Bill, TX Gov. Rick Perry Calls ANOTHER Special Session to Continue Attack on Women

It’s been a chaotic week for the Texas legislature, but the drama isn’t over. Following state Senator Wendy Davis’ epic filibuster of a bill that would limit Texas women’s access to abortion, Governor Rick Perry has called yet another special session to push the legislation through.

The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy – with no exceptions – and would place burdensome requirements on abortion providers, effectively shutting down all but five clinics in the state.

Sen. Davis filibustered the legislation for more than twelve hours and, with the aid of hundreds of protesters, effectively blocked Senate Bill 5 from passing the Senate and reaching the governor’s desk before midnight. Davis was championed around the country as a political celebrity standing, quite literally, for women’s rights. People For the American Way recognized Davis’ efforts, encouraging members to sign a note of appreciation and support.

However, her victory may be short lived.

Perry called the first special session to give the legislature more time to consider anti-choice legislation that failed to advance during the regular legislative period. A special session follows different rules than the normal session, as the governor has sole discretion over what the legislature can work on. Perry said that the legislature also failed to pass bills on infrastructure funding and mandatory life sentences for 17 year-olds committing capital felonies, providing convenient additional justifications for the necessity of a second session. Perry said,

"Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do."

Davis refused to let Perry’s affront go unanswered, firing back that it was Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst who had “led the charge” in the breakdown of decorum and “made a mockery of all of the rules we run by in this state.”

As the New York Times reported yesterday, it is unlikely that the Democrats will manage to block the bill for another 30-day session. It will probably pass. But as the governor can call as many special sessions as he likes, even a successful second filibuster may not be enough to stop the Republicans’ anti-choice agenda.

The second session begins July 1st. The war on women rages on.

PFAW

Heroic Filibuster in TX Stops Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill

A sweeping anti-abortion bill that would have decimated women’s rights in Texas was defeated thanks to Sen. Wendy Davis’s 13-hour filibuster.

Demand Answers from Judge Edith Jones

Investigate reports of bias and racism from a federal judge.

Texas African American Ministers Praise Fifth Circuit Action on Judge’s Racist Comments

HOUSTON -- Texas members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council praised a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week, made public today, to call for an investigation into comments reportedly made by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones indicating a racial bias in her judging. The Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit determined that this matter would be more effectively investigated by another circuit’s Judicial Council rather than his (and Judge Jones’s) own.  We learned today that Chief Justice Roberts had selected the D.C. Circuit’s Judicial Council for this task.

Judge Jones reportedly stated at an event at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in February that Black and Latino people are “predisposed to crime” and “prone to commit acts of violence.” In addition, Judge Jones reportedly said that those who receive the death penalty are done a favor and that arguments of mental retardation and systemic racism amount to “red herrings” in capital trials.

Rev. Dr. Rolen Womack of Houston, Co-Chair of the African American Ministers Leadership Council, said:

We commend the Fifth Circuit’s prompt action in requesting the next step of investigating Judge Jones’ alleged remarks and urge the District of Columbia Circuit to conduct a full and fair investigation.

Throughout American history, African Americans have faced systemic discrimination in the courts. To this day, African Americans are more likely to be arrested for certain crimes and face disproportionately harsh sentences, including being more likely to be sentenced to death. This systemic discrimination stems from the very attitude that Judge Jones reportedly put into words: that Black people and other people of color are “predisposed to crime.”

Americans rely on our federal judges to apply the law fairly and without bias. These recent alleged remarks have called Judge Jones’ impartiality into question. We urge the D.C. Circuit’s Judicial Council to promptly begin its investigation to consider whether Judge Jones should continue to serve on the federal bench.


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Cathie Adams Finds Proof Grover Norquist is a Secret Muslim: 'As You See, He Has a Beard'

The Far North Dallas Tea Party posted a video this week of a PowerPoint presentation that Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, gave recently on “Radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Unsurprisingly, Adams sees the influence of “stealth jihad” everywhere in American society – including in the Republican Party. In her speech, Adams claimed credit for personally bringing down the candidacy of Amir Omar, an Iranian-American Republican who ran for Congress in Texas in 2006. She also railed against former Bush administration official and conservative activist Suhail Khan, wondering, “Where did he come from? How did this man get here? Did he overstay a visa?” (The short answer, if she really wants to know, is that he was born in Colorado, so no.)

But Adams saved her true vitriol for anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, who has provoked the wrath of anti-Muslim activists for his marriage to a Muslim woman and his efforts to reach out to Muslim conservatives. Adams warned that although “oftentimes we like what he says about economic issues,” Norquist is in fact “Trouble with a capital T” and is “showing signs of converting to Islam himself.”

Her evidence for Norquist’s secret conversion? “As you see, he has a beard.”

Ted Cruz Won't 'Throw Rocks'

Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, has spent his first few months in office making enemies on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps this is because the Tea Party hero employs a potent mix of of sanctimonious rhetoric and hatchet-job politics that led one of his fellow GOP senators to call him “Jim DeMint without the charm.” His particular brand of smarminess was on display, for instance, when he delivered a condescending, elementary school-level lecture about the Constitution to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Or when he explained that he was for gun sales background checks but opposed a bill to expand them because the very real gun-show loophole “doesn’t exist.” Or when he mocked his Republicans colleagues who did support the background check bill, calling them weak “squishes.”

So it was a treat today to stumble across this interview that Cruz gave earlier this month to Red State, in which he explains that if anybody has a problem with him it’s their own fault because, “When others have chosen to insult me, to throw rocks at me, I have not and will not respond in kind.”

“Washington is a place where people often shy away from speaking the truth,” he explained. “And so my focus will remain on the substance...and I think there’s some that don’t like a consistent and explicit focus on the substance of the issue.”
 

We thought we’d help Sen. Cruz out by highlighting just a few examples of times when he has refrained from throwing rocks and displayed “a consistent and explicit focus on the substance of the issue”:

Cornyn Blames Obama For Gridlock Cornyn Created

The Huffington Post clips this exchange from yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday, which pretty much encapsulates the gridlock that Republicans have inflicted on the Senate during the Obama administration:

 

 

HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery summarizes the exchange between Texas Republican John Cornyn and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee:

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cornyn was arguing for more immigration judge slots in Texas when he got called out by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) for gumming up the district court nomination process. Immigration judges are different from district court judges, but Whitehouse questioned why the Senate should add more immigration judgeships in Texas if Cornyn isn't trying to fill empty district court slots there.

"I don't see why you need additional judges when there have been multiple vacancies that have been left without nominees for years," Whitehouse said. "I have an issue with that."

Cornyn said his answer to that was "simple:" It's Obama's fault.

"The president's got to nominate somebody before the Senate can act on it," Cornyn said.

But the process for approving a new district court judge, per longstanding tradition, begins with a senator making recommendations from his or her state to the president. The president then works with that senator to get at least some of the nominees confirmed -- the idea being that those senators, regardless of party, are motivated to advocate for nominees from their states. The White House may look at other nominees on its own, but typically won't move forward without input from home state senators.

That's when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stepped in to remind Cornyn what he already knows: that if he wants to see movement on district court nominees, he needs to make recommendations to the president.

"Based on 38 years experience here, every judgeship I've seen come through this committee during that time has followed recommendations by the senators from the state," Leahy said. "You have to have recommendations from the senators, especially since I've been chairman, because ... as the senator from Texas knows, if senators have cooperated with the White House and the White House sends somebody they disagree with ... I have not brought the person forward, even when it's been importune to do so by the White House."

Cruz tried to absolve himself of the matter altogether, saying he just got to the Senate in January.

In short, Cornyn was blaming President Obama for gridlock that Cornyn himself has created. In fact, Texas has eight current federal judicial vacancies, one dating back as far as 2008.  All  are on courts so overworked that they have been labeled “judicial emergencies.” Thanks to Cornyn and Cruz, not one of those vacancies has a nominee.

And in July, one more vacancy will open up in a district court seat based in Fort Worth. When it comes open, Fort Worth will be reduced to just one active federal judge for the first time in over two decades.

PFAW

Texas Education Official to Investigate Whether Schools Teach 'Roles of Men and Women in a Traditional Way'

The Texas Board of Education member who is leading the committee to review CSCOPE, a curriculum that has been the target of several right-wing conspiracy theories, told a Republican women’s group that his committee will “look at whether or not [CSCOPE lessons] treat the roles of men and women in a traditional way.”

Republican Marty Rowley also told the group that CSCOPE had “a definite leftist bent” but that it is not as left-wing as Common Core, promising to block “any opening or opportunity for Common Core to weasel its way into Texas.”

Like CSCOPE, Common Core has come under attack from conservative figures.

The comments were first spotted by Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, who notes that right-wing activists in Texas have consistently criticized textbooks “for including information on birth control, line drawings of self-exams for breast cancer and other content they found morally objectionable.”

“As folks began to look at those lessons what they began to see was there was a definite leftist bent to some of those lessons, particularly in the area of social studies and it became of great concern to folks, myself included,” said Rowley, R-Amarillo, during the Midland County Republican Women meeting Wednesday.

Rowley represents Midland as the District 15 SBOE member and was recently appointed chairman of an ad hoc committee to review the CSCOPE social studies curriculum this summer.



“We have some specific criteria that we’re looking at (regarding the CSCOPE lessons). We’re going to look at whether or not they treat the roles of men and women in a traditional way. That’s part of the operating rules and things that we’re looking at,” Rowley said. “We’re going to look at whether or not they treat American exceptionalism in a particular way and whether they enforce the belief that America is an exceptional nation.”



“I’ve looked through (the Common Core Standards) and it’ll curl your eyebrows. It’s not something you’ll enjoy reading. You think CSCOPE’s to the left, you ought to read Common Core,” Rowley said. “My concern is if we just say do away with this entire curriculum that 75 percent of our school districts use, they’re going to go shopping for something else. I don’t want to create any opening or opportunity for Common Core to weasel its way into Texas.”

'As A Journalist,' Glenn Beck Wants To Know If Airport Shooter 'Ever Attended Any Occupy Wall Street Stuff'

Glenn Beck kicked off his radio program this morning by reiterating his theory that the shooting that occurred at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX yesterday was some sort of Reichstag-like false flag operation orchestrated by the "uber-left" to undermine the NRA convention taking place in the same city.

"As a journalist and somebody that runs a journalistic organization," Beck explained, "I want to find out if this guy has been unemployed, if he was a union worker, if he's ever attend any Occupy Wall Street stuff."

Beck then tied this theory to his other theory involving the Boston Marathon bombing, saying that just as the Tsarnaev brothers were supposedly guided into carrying out the bombing by their Saudi national/al Qaeda "control agent," this shooter may likewise have been guided into this act by some "uber-left" revolutionary he met at an Occupy Wall Street rally.

"I only jumped to that conclusion that it needs to be looked into," Beck said, "because I've studied revolutions and this happens all the time in the beginning of revolutions. In Germany, it was the Reichstag fire and something happens, everybody goes into a panic and then laws are passed and all of a sudden, it's lights out":

Cruz Claims Credit for Blocking Background Checks, Mocks GOP Colleagues, Derides Sandy Hook Families in Speech

In remarks to the FreedomWorks Texas Summit on Friday, Senator Ted Cruz credited himself for blocking recent background checks legislation, mocked his Senate GOP colleagues and derided the families of Sandy Hook victims as “political props.” In response, People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Senator Cruz’s remarks make clear that he’s more interested in representing the Tea Party than ordinary Texas voters.

“In a single speech, Cruz managed to insult Newtown families, mock his Republican colleagues and take credit for blocking background checks backed by over 90% of Americans. His remarks prove that Tea Partiers in Congress will work to block any gun safety legislation, no matter what it is or how many Americans support it.

“Senator Cruz is working overtime to alienate senators on both sides of the aisle. He may be a darling of the Tea Party, but he’s a growing political liability for the GOP.”

Watch Cruz’s speech:

Ted Cruz ridicules and criticizes his GOP Senate colleagues
http://youtu.be/84rpWU_fL3U

Ted Cruz says Obama is using Newtown families as 'political props'
http://youtu.be/iqDI9EHU7qE

Ted Cruz takes credit for blocking background check legislation
http://youtu.be/dvt94Fg4Dw8

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Inside the Supreme Court, Bearing Witness to History

Yesterday, I was privileged to have been able to get a seat at the Supreme Court and witness a historic moment for equality.
PFAW

Jeffress: Most Catholics Going to Hell, Obama Paving the Way for the Antichrist

First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, who made headlines when Tim Tebow backed out of an upcoming appearance at his new $130 million megachurch campus, spoke at length about the controversy during a recent appearance on the Alan Colmes Radio Show. Jeffress complained that he had been taken out of context and tried to downplay and sidestep some of his most explosive remarks. But for the most part, he just cemented his reputation as an extremist.

Jeffress began his defense on an inauspicious note, noting that he has a Jewish friend in New York so he can’t possibly be anti-Semitic. While we’ve never called him anti-Semitic, we have noted that Jeffress believes Jews are destined for hell – along with Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and gays, so at least they’ll have company.

Colmes asked Jeffress about many of his most contentious remarks, such as whether he ever said that “Roman Catholicism is Satanic.” “I never used the term ‘Satanic,’” Jeffress responded. That’s technically true but highly misleading: Jeffress has said Satan is behind the Catholic Church. It only got more disingenuous from there. 

Jeffress relegated the overwhelming majority of the world’s Catholics to hell while trying to make it sound like he was doing no such thing:

I believe today that there are millions of Catholics who are gonna be in heaven because of the relationship with Christ. I work with Catholic priests in our community. We march together on the pro-life issues. I think there are millions of Catholics who are in heaven. 

There are over one billion Catholics alive today around the world, and there have been countless more over the course of nearly two millennia. Jeffress wants to assure us that he’s not an extremist who would just assign all Catholics to hell. So instead he damned about 99% and saved “millions” from eternal damnation. Lucky for Jeffress, they’re the same ones that show up for anti-abortion rallies. What are the odds?

Jeffress also tried to clear up a misunderstanding about President Obama and the Antichrist. He does not believe that Obama is the Antichrist per se, as some have reported, but merely believes that Obama is paving the way for the Antichrist, as we first reported. Gee, I can't imagine why there was confusion.

Jeffress was only willing to fully own up to one of his comments. “Mormonism, you said, Islam, is from the pit of hell?” Colmes asked. “Yes, now that one they actually got right Al,” responded Jeffress.

Watch:

Texas Attorney General to Receive an Honor from Far-Right Texas Pastors Council

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is to be honored by a far-right group whose leader has a history of comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler and attacking gays and lesbians.

Abbot is to receive an honor from two local affiliates of the U.S. Pastor’s Council, the Texas Pastor Council and the Houston Area Pastor Council. It’s unclear to what extent the groups are “groups”: all three share a website and are led by a single man, extremist pastor Dave Welch.

The groups are also planning to honor Paul Pressler, who helped lead the “conservative resurgence” within the Southern Baptist Convention. Former Clinton inquisitor Ken Starr, who now works for Baylor University, is delivering the keynote address.

The Texas Freedom Network first noticed the event and highlighted Welch’s extreme rhetoric.

For example, Welch has:

  • Likened pastors who vouch for Obama’s Christian faith to Nazis and asserted that “Obama’s anti-Christian, anti-life, anti-marriage, anti-constitutional and anti-American policies” prove he only seeks to “use the church in the same way as a previous leader on a different continent,” Hitler. 
  • Claimed the judge who ruled that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is unconstitutional is a treasonous “domestic enemy.”

But working with radicals like Welch is just part of the game for Texas Republicans, who continue to compete with each other to see who can be farthest to the right.

The Perils of Teaching the Bible in Public Schools

Rob Boston at Americans United notes that the Arkansas House just voted to require the state’s Education Board to approve elective classes about the Bible if they meet appropriate standards.  The Supreme Court has said the Bible may be taught about in public schools when “presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.”

But teaching about the Bible without teaching it religiously is not an easy thing to do. It requires carefully designed curricula, well-intentioned and well-trained educators, and a commitment to meaningful oversight.  People For the American Way was part of a religiously and politically diverse group of organizations that worked together to produce the 1999 publication The Bible in Public Schools, a First Amendment Guide. That guide emphasized that how any such course is taught will determine whether it passes constitutional muster:

When teaching about the Bible in a public school, teachers must understand the important distinction between advocacy, indoctrination, proselytizing, and the practice of religion – which is unconstitutional – and teaching about religion that is objective, nonjudgmental, academic, neutral, balanced, and fair – which is constitutional.

But that’s not how if often works in practice. In 2000, People For the American Way Foundation published a scathing expose, The Good Book Taught Wrong: Bible History Classes in Florida Public Schools. The PFAW Foundation investigation found that “Bible History” classes were often being taught more like Christian Sunday School classes from a sectarian, Protestant perspective. Bible stories were treated as literal history. Among lessons and exam questions asked of students:

  • "If you had a Jewish friend who wanted to know if Jesus might be the expectant [sic] Messiah, which book [of the Gospels] would you give him?"
  • "Compose an explanation of who Jesus is for someone who has never heard of Him."  
  • "Why is it hard for a non-Christian to understand things about God?"
  • "What is Jesus Christ's relationship to God, to creation, and to you?"
  • "Who, according to Jesus, is the father of the Jews? The devil."

That expose led Florida officials to yank those classes and revamp the curricula.

But more than a decade later, similar problems persist, as the Texas Freedom Network documented in a January report that found classes designed more to evangelize students to a literalist, fundamentalist view of the Bible rather than to teach about its role in literature and history. Included in the lesson plans examined by TFN were characterizations of Judaism as a flawed and incomplete religion, Christian-nation approaches to US history, and material “explaining” racial origins via the sons of Noah.

Are Arkansas legislators and education officials prepared to invest in the development of curricula, the training of educators, and meaningful oversight into how the classes are taught?

The Perils of Teaching About the Bible in Public Schools

Rob Boston at Americans United notes that the Arkansas House just voted to require the state’s Education Board to approve elective classes about the Bible if they meet appropriate standards.  The Supreme Court has said the Bible may be taught about in public schools when “presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.”

But teaching about the Bible without teaching it religiously is not an easy thing to do. It requires carefully designed curricula, well-intentioned and well-trained educators, and a commitment to meaningful oversight.  People For the American Way was part of a religiously and politically diverse group of organizations that worked together to produce the 1999 publication The Bible in Public Schools, a First Amendment Guide. That guide emphasized that how any such course is taught will determine whether it passes constitutional muster:

When teaching about the Bible in a public school, teachers must understand the important distinction between advocacy, indoctrination, proselytizing, and the practice of religion – which is unconstitutional – and teaching about religion that is objective, nonjudgmental, academic, neutral, balanced, and fair – which is constitutional.

But that’s not how if often works in practice. In 2000, People For the American Way Foundation published a scathing expose, The Good Book Taught Wrong: Bible History Classes in Florida Public Schools. The PFAW Foundation investigation found that “Bible History” classes were often being taught more like Christian Sunday School classes from a sectarian, Protestant perspective. Bible stories were treated as literal history. Among lessons and exam questions asked of students:

  • "If you had a Jewish friend who wanted to know if Jesus might be the expectant [sic] Messiah, which book [of the Gospels] would you give him?"
  • "Compose an explanation of who Jesus is for someone who has never heard of Him."  
  • "Why is it hard for a non-Christian to understand things about God?"
  • "What is Jesus Christ's relationship to God, to creation, and to you?"
  • "Who, according to Jesus, is the father of the Jews? The devil."

That expose led Florida officials to yank those classes and revamp the curricula.

But more than a decade later, similar problems persist, as the Texas Freedom Network documented in a January report that found classes designed more to evangelize students to a literalist, fundamentalist view of the Bible rather than to teach about its role in literature and history. Included in the lesson plans examined by TFN were characterizations of Judaism as a flawed and incomplete religion, Christian-nation approaches to US history, and material “explaining” racial origins via the sons of Noah.

Are Arkansas legislators and education officials prepared to invest in the development of curricula, the training of educators, and meaningful oversight into how the classes are taught?

PFAW Foundation

Texas Board of Education Chair Suggests Schools Teach 'Another Side to the Theory of Evolution'

Barbara Cargill, whom Rick Perry picked to chair the State Board of Education, is upset that a curriculum used by several Texas schools called CSCOPE, which has been at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories, doesn’t teach students about alternative theories to evolution. As first reported by the Texas Freedom Network, Cargill said that publishers and CSCOPE should teach “another side to the theory of evolution.”

Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations…. But when I went on [to the CSCOPE website] last night, I couldn’t see anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson, everything, you know, was taught as ‘this is how the origin of life happened, this is what the fossil record proves,’ and all that’s fine, but that’s only one side.

As we’ve pointed out before, a biology textbook that includes creationism as a “balance” to evolution would be no different than a geology textbook that includes the views of the Flat Earth Society.

Texas Public School Course Teaches the 'Racial Origins Traced from Noah'

A new report put out by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund reveals that in several public school classes on the impact of the Bible on history have found classes teaching from a right-wing, fundamentalist Christian standpoint.

A Southern Methodist University religious studies professor Mark Chancey found instances of students learning a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old and that Judaism is a “flawed and incomplete religion” with materials “designed to evangelize rather than provide an objective study of the Bible’s influence.”

TFN also found a lesson explaining “racial origins traced from Noah.”

The claim that Africans are descendants of Ham, whom Noah curses in Genesis 9 after he “saw the nakedness of his father,” has long been used as a biblical justification for anti-black racism and slavery.

The report [PDF] even found courses that embrace the Christian nationalist ideology of the Religious Right, including inauthentic quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers:

In a few districts, Bible courses echo claims made within the Religious Right that the Founding Fathers were largely orthodox Protestant Christians who intended for the United States to be a distinctively Christian nation with laws and a form of government based on the Bible. This logic is implied, for example, in a Dalhart ISD daily lesson plan: “The student understands the beliefs, and principles taken from the Biblical texts and applied to elements of the American system of government.” These claims are problematic not only because they are historically inaccurate but also because they figure prominently in attempts by the Religious Right to guarantee a privileged position in the public square for their own religious beliefs above those of others.



Lubbock and Prosper ISDs are among the districts that relied on material from the NCBCPS [National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools] course on this topic. Since at least 2005, the NCBCPS curriculum has included a 10-page selection of isolated quotations (at least five of them spurious) praising the Bible, God and Christianity set against a blurry backdrop depicting soldiers carrying an American flag.

PFAWF Releases Reports on Outside Election Spending in 21 States, Organizes ‘Money Out/Voters In’ Events Across the U.S.

Out of State Money Floods Contests in 2012

Washington, DC –  Today People For the American Way Foundation unveiled new state-by-state fact sheets detailing outside spending in U.S. Senate and House races in 21 states.  Each report analyzes the outside spending totals from Super PACs, dark money groups, and out-of-state spenders in the down ballot federal races from the 2012 election cycle.  The fact sheets reveal that, on average, a majority of outside election money in these states came from Super PACs.  And in every case, a vast majority came from organizations registered outside of the state.

The release of the “Outside Spending, Outsized Influence” reports coincide with the weekend marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the third anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC  to draw attention to the dual threats of voter suppression and unlimited corporate and special interest money in politics. The reports – a partnership between PFAWF and U.S. PIRG – are part of the Money Out/Voters In campaign.  As part of that campaign, People For the American Way Foundation, its affiliate People For the American Way, and other organizers across the country are hosting “Day of Action” events in more than 76 cities in 33 states this weekend. Members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council will be leading Money Out/Voters In events in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.

“Last year’s elections were far and away the most expensive in history,” said People For the American Way Foundation Executive Vice President Marge Baker.  “A major reason was the influx of outside, special interest spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision. When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard. Just as important, when politicians push laws to suppress the vote, we turn back the clock on decades on progress to expand and improve our democracy. We need to pursue the full range of remedies to address the problem of too much money in politics, including amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United, and we need to stand up against the growing threat of voter suppression.  This weekend we are joining with allies across the country to call for a democracy that gets Money Out and Voters In.”

The states featured in the reports are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

For links to each report, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/issues/outside-spending-outsized-influence-big-and-s...

For more information about the Money Out/Voters In campaign or the Days of Action, please visit: http://www.moneyout-votersin.org

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Right Wing Round-Up - 1/16/13

Will the Texas GOP Fall for a Chain Email Warning of 'Islamic Indoctrination' in Schools?

After a chain email sparked rumors that Texas was “indoctrinating children with Islam” and anti-American views, the Irving school district launched an investigation. But the examination of the school curriculum, called CSCOPE, found that the charges were bogus. That didn’t stop WorldNetDaily, which often reads like an amalgam of erroneous chain emails, from running with the story.

WND is out with a new article, “Obama Interested in ‘Allah-is-God’ Curriculum,” which claims the Obama administration is using CSCOPE as part of a plan to “nationalize education.” It includes an interview with Texas Republican State Senator Dan Patrick, who says he might launch an investigation into CSCOPE as chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

CSCOPE, the controversial online curriculum that taught “Allah is God” and currently is used in 80 percent of Texas school districts, has caught the attention of the Obama administration’s Department of Education.

A source in the Texas education system has told WND that Common Core operatives in the U.S. Department of Education are actively pursuing CSCOPE as a way around the Texas legislative process.

Texas is one of the few states still resisting implementation of Common Core, Obama’s national standards initiative, which many feel is a transparent attempt to nationalize education and progressively control classroom content with minimal parental oversight.

Implementation of Common Core is known to have been made a condition of school systems’ receipt of federal dollars under Obama’s “Race to the Top” program. CSCOPE recently has come under fire for evidence of what sources claim to be radical content and secrecy. Now new information of such a radical agenda has surfaced showing CSCOPE connections to Obama mentor and self-acknowledged terror group member Bill Ayers.



Speaking with WND, Texas Sen. Dan Patrick, new chairman of the education committee, communicated his intent to hold high-profile hearings and investigate CSCOPE.

Sen. Patrick noted, “Any system where the chairman of the state board can’t get a password to explore their site in detail for six months, requires teachers to sign an agreement that could subject them to criminal penalties, and is not easily transparent to parents, needs to be closely examined by the legislature.”

When asked if he would support placing CSCOPE under state oversight and/or local school board oversight, Sen. Patrick answered carefully, explaining, “We will make that decision after our hearings. However, I have concerns of any curriculum program that is in the majority of our school districts without some level of oversight by either the SBOE, TEA, or the legislature.”
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