The Texas State Board of Education approved several dozen social studies textbooks after a contentious battle over their treatment of subjects including climate change, the role of slavery in the Civil War, Islam, and biblical influence in America’s founding. One major publisher, however, withdrew a book from consideration, saying that it was unable to meet all the standards set by the school board.
The Texas Freedom Network, which live-blogged today’s vote, said that much problematic material had been removed from the proposed textbooks, including climate denial and “offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens,” but that references to Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy remained. But TFN notes that publishers posted a number of last-minute changes to the textbooks yesterday, leaving board members and observers without time to figure out exactly what was in the approved texts:
The Texas Education Agency posted scores of pages of publisher comments and textbook revisions after the last public hearing on Tuesday. Miller said scholars did not have an opportunity to review and comment on the numerous changes publishers have submitted since the last public hearing on Tuesday. Some of those changes appeared to have been negotiated with state board members behind closed doors.
During a months-long process, publishers made a number of improvements to their textbooks. Those improvements included removing inaccurate information promoting climate change denialism; deleting offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens; making clearer that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War; and revising passages that had promoted unfair negative stereotypes of Muslims. Scholars and the general public had ample opportunity to review and comment on those revisions.
However, the new textbooks also include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of democracy can be found in the Old Testament. Scholars from across the country have said such claims are inaccurate and mislead students about the historical record.
The textbooks were approved despite a last-minute attempt by Truth in Texas Textbooks, a group with ties to the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America, to remove accurate information about Islam, reduce coverage of civil rights (which it found to promote unsavory “racial politics”), and insert information about Young Earth Creationism sourced to the conservative website Conservapedia. [TFN’s summary of Truth In Texas Textbooks’ complains is in this pdf.]
The Texas Tribune adds that the group’s last-minute request also included downplaying the environmental impact of coal mining and noting in a chapter about colonization that Native Americans already discriminated against and oppressed each other:
The Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition, all but unheard from for months while new social studies textbooks and instructional materials were being vetted, submitted a 469-page report in late October identifying more than 1,500 “factual errors, omission of facts, half-truths and agenda biases” in proposed materials.
Among its objections: A passage on coal mining should say it has “minimal effect on the environment"; a chapter on Spanish colonization of Latin America should point out the “continuous discrimination and oppression practiced by the native American peoples on each other”; and a statement that Shariah law requires religious tolerance of non-Muslims should be removed.
The group was formed by retired Lt. Col. Roy White, a Tea Party activist who also leads the Bexar County Chapter of ACT! for America, an organization dedicated to fighting extremist Islam. Its founder, Brigitte Gabriel, is known for her views that Muslims in the United States pose a danger to national security.
TFN tells us that it appears that Truth in Texas Textbooks did not succeed in getting any "substantive changes" into the books.
Last week, Glenn Beck hosted an hour-long, commercial-free television special during which he discussed the myriad health problems he had faced in recent years, with the big takeaway being that he has decided to shift the focus of his company toward telling stories in an effort to change the culture.
To that end, Beck's company has announced that it is producing on a family program called "History House" and a scripted drama about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, as well a film about a warrior Santa tasked with protecting Jesus Christ and another super-secret Spanish-language film called "The Revolutionary" that will also apparently be about Jesus.
In order to fund all of these projects, Beck is selling t-shirts and various pieces of artwork, as well as tickets to a "Keys to the Kingdom" event where, for $5000, attendees will get to spend an entire day at Beck's studio where they will have an opportunity to look behind the scenes at all of the projects that Beck has in the works.
Beck spent the last segment of his radio broadcast promoting these fundraising efforts along with Ben McPherson, whom Beck has hired to bring all of his visions to life, and the two explained that the fundamental purpose behind every project they do is to turn Beck and his The Blaze network into the Walt Disney of Jesus stories.
"I'm modeling everything on Disney," Beck said, explaining that his network was built in order to have a platform from which to spread his vision and stories, all of which are going to be about Jesus in one way or another. "We are driven by telling the story of Christ in every way we possibly can."
"It shouldn't be overt," McPherson added, "but it should always point to him in some way."
"You will always see in everything that we do, there will always be something that you go 'oh my gosh, look at that, I wonder if they knew [that was a reference to Jesus]?'" Beck said. "Yes. Yes we did. Yes we did."
In an interview on Newsmax TV today, Rick Santorum argued that Obama’s actions on deportation relief represent “something that we’ve never dealt with in American history” — despite the fact that several recent GOP presidents also used executive action on immigration.
“The president has acted like a tyrant and he has acted against the Constitution and he has thrown the Republicans and he has thrown the country a curveball, we’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” Santorum said. “That has to be not just backing Republicans in a corner, it’s backing Americans in a corner of a president who thinks he is above the law and above the Constitution.”
Tony Perkins, back from the interfaith conference at the Vatican which he attended along with American anti-gay religious leaders including Rick Warren and Russell Moore, gave an interview reflecting on the experience to the National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez yesterday.
The Family Research Council president told Lopez that at the conference, “Apart from the pope, almost all of the standing ovations were received by American evangelicals.” When Lopez pressed him on whether the Religious Right should soften its stance on gay rights and marriage equality in order to build a movement going forward, Perkins disagreed.
“It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals” from marriage, Perkins said, “it is that those who reject such complementarity [between men and women] are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.”
He added that it's not insulting to imply that homosexuality is "unnatural" because "when it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.”
Q: It seems difficult if not near impossible these days to talk about men and women and marriage without sounding like you’re excluding those who are attracted to the same sex. Is it in fact an impossible task?
A: I believe this is why the focus of the colloquium was on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals; it is that those who reject such complementarity are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.
Q: When you talk about a natural order, isn’t there a danger of making it seem some are unnatural? That could seem the case with those with same-sex attraction and those who are not married.
A: When it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.
Q: It still escapes a lot of people why same-sex marriage is a threat to any man and woman’s marriage or marriage itself. If marriage and family are in crisis, why not open it up to more?
A: The crisis in marriage has grown in proportion to the degree to which society has allowed it to deviate from what it was designed to be, a life-long monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.
Pat Buchanan used his syndicated column today to rail against “Caesar Obama,” warning that the president’s executive action on immigration is reminiscent of King George III’s abuses “which sparked the American Revolution.”
After making the patently absurd claim that the U.S. had few racial divisions until recently, Buchanan writes that Obama has “accelerated and ensured the remaking of America” in keeping with his role as a “community organizer [who] did not much like that old America.”
Latino immigration, Buchanan writes, will turn America into “the Third World country of Obama’s dream, no more a Western nation.”
Our rogue president has crossed an historic line, and so has the republic. Future presidents will cite the “Obama precedent” when they declare they will henceforth not enforce this or that law, because of a prior commitment to some noisy constituency.
We have just taken a monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism. For this is rule by diktat, the rejection of which sparked the American Revolution.
If this amnesty is followed by a new invasion across the border America cannot control, that, too, will be Obama’s gift to his countrymen.
One wonders. Will poor and working class blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians, welcome this unleashed competition from the amnestied illegals, for jobs where the wages never seem to rise?
In the four decades before JFK, the nation had a pause in legal immigration. During that pause, the Germans, Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, Greeks and Slav immigrants who had come in from 1890-1920, and their children and grandchildren, were fully assimilated. They had become not only U.S. citizens, but also identifiably American.
The Melting Pot had worked. We had become one nation and one people, almost all speaking the same language, and steeped in the same history, heroes, culture, literature and faiths.
Today, in 2014, after an influx of perhaps 50 million in 50 years, legal and illegal, no longer from Northwest Europe, or Europe at all, but Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, of every race, color, creed, culture and language, we seem less a nation than some mammoth Mall of America. An economy, but not a country.
Running in 2008, Obama said he intended to become a “transformational president.” With this decision, he succeeds.
He has accelerated and ensured the remaking of America. Now when the wives and children of the illegals arrive, and their extended families apply for and receive visas, and bring their wives and children, we will become the Third World country of Obama’s dream, no more a Western nation.
But then, the community organizer did not much like that old America.
On Wedesnday’s edition of “Savage Nation,” Michael Savage connected President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform back to Adolf Hitler’s implementation of his Lebensraum policies.
“He’s in a long line of others who have taken the law onto themselves and said they’re not taking the law onto themselves, others who have said they’re acting within the law while they’re acting clearly outside of the law,” he said. “When Hitler invaded a neighboring country, he said he was simply taking back German land on Lebensraum, ‘living room.’”
Hitler, Savage explained, “took a neighbor’s countries away, but he didn’t do it illegally, he said he was doing it perfectly legally, like Obama.”
In the same radio program in which he considered the possibility that the Obama administration had opened the door to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites by Latino immigrants and called President Obama an underachieving product of “affirmative action culture,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach cited a racist meme to mock people who didn’t vote in the 2014 elections, saying that nonvoters were just “sitting in front of the TV all day talking on their Obama Phones.”
Kobach made the remarks on his Sunday radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO after taking a call from a listener who told him he had taken a bike to the polls because his truck was in the shop.
His voice dripping with sarcasm, Kobach told the listener: “Thank you so much for taking your rickety bike to vote, because I believe that your voice should be heard because you cared enough to vote. But President Obama thinks that the people who were sitting in front of the TV all day talking on their Obama Phones who didn’t vote, he speaks for those people. And I’m not saying any particular people, but I’m just saying someone who didn’t vote has an equal voice than you who actually got on your bike because you didn’t have a motor vehicle to get to the polls.”
Kobach, a former advisor to Mitt Romney and a driving force behind anti-immigrant laws and voting restrictions throughout the country, has been using his own state as a laboratory for restrictive voting laws, recently implementing a strict ID requirement that left about 20 percent of the state’s voter registration applications in limbo before election day.
On Tuesday, Cliff Kincaid of the right-wing group Accuracy In Media stopped by “Trunews” where he spoke with host Rick Wiles about their dreams of the military arresting President Obama.
After Kincaid lamented that congressional Republicans “don’t want to talk impeachment,” Wiles wondered “why aren’t they saying we’re going to put handcuffs on this guy.”
“Yeah, well, that’s the meaning of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Kincaid replied, while cautioning that such an arrest will probably never happen.
“This is the only way you deal with a hooligan, you tell him we’re coming with handcuffs, we’re going to lock you up,” Wiles said. “I don’t think you can impeach Obama because he’s not a legitimate president, you and I both know he’s a foreign plant, he’s always been a communist agent inside this country and you don’t impeach somebody who went into that office through false pretense. It’s never happened in the republic, but the way you deal with that person is you arrest them.”
Wiles elaborated that he is pulling for the Marines to raid the White House: “It’s time that they recognize that he’s an imposter who is destroying the republic. My greatest, my most wonderful dream is seeing helicopters hovering over the White House with Marines repelling down on the roof and going in there and getting that rascal.”
“It’s a dream, it’s not going to happen, but that’s what should happen and it’s what would’ve happened many years ago in this country because God-fearing, patriotic men would never have permitted this criminal to get away with this stuff. So we are to blame as a people for allowing this criminal to pull off this crime,” he said.
Kincaid also repeated his call for the NSA to monitor Obama as a potential spy, telling Wiles that “we need a Venona Project modern day that’s going to monitor whether from the top on down, from Obama on down, who in our government is working with the enemy.”
He added that the government needs to use the NSA and other surveillance programs “against Obama” and “foreign onslaughts.”
In an interview yesterday with Dan Cofall, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, accused President Obama of using immigration and the Ferguson case to provoke violence.
When Cofall asked Gohmert about Sen. Tom Coburn’s claim that Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of some immigrants could result in violence, Gohmert replied that Obama’s critics would never resort to violence since only liberals do that.
“Civil disobedience comes from the left,” he said. “They’re the ones that loot and shoot up and shoot up stores and do all kinds of things like that. If you look at the conservative gatherings, we even pick up our own trash. But it could be that this president is doing all he can to get conservatives who remember the country when presidents didn’t exceed their bounds and wish we would go back to those days, it may be enough to make them that angry. But I hope not, I hope there’s no violence.”
Gohmert also weighed in on the Ferguson case, accusing Obama of inciting violence: “Obviously the president and the attorney general have done all they could to help stir up animosity and fuel the fire and getting people angry at police where they shouldn’t have, but I hope and pray that doesn’t happen. It may happen in Ferguson because obviously they brought in the liberal attack people that just create all the havoc and mayhem they can but I hope and pray that doesn’t spread anywhere else. I’m sure they want it to, I’m sure that people would love to have the federal government intercede, but I would beg conservatives not to get sucked into that trap.”
Suggesting that Obama is pushing conservatives to turn to violence, the congressman said that “this administration will be totally exposed for who and what they’ve been doing.”