Texas

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Americans for Prosperity's "Hands Off My Health Care" tour stopped at Liberty University yesterday where Jerry Falwell Jr. thanked them for taking the "time and effort to stop these crazy people."
  • Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., Founder and President of STAND , defends Rush Limbaugh from charges of racism.
  • Dick Armey backs Kay Bailey Hutchison, saying Rick Perry has accomplished nothing.
  • Norm Coleman has now been picked as a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
  • Finally, the CADC asks activists to get to work trying to keep Rifqa Bary in Florida while Tom Trento says that is Bary is sent back to Ohio, she'll be immediately packed off to a "re-education camp" in Sri Lanka .

Michael Steele and the Council For National Policy

Yesterday we posted video of James Dobson's remarks at the recent Council For National Policy meeting, so we were aware of the meeting took place, but didn't know where it was held.

W. Gardner Selby of the Austin America-Statesmen reports that it was held in Austin, Texas and that RNC Chairman Michael Steele was in attendance:

Eyewitness nugget: At the Austin event, Chairman Michael Steele of the Republican National Committee took [Phyllis] Schlafly's questions only after calling a time-out to give her a hug. I'll speculate he was trying to soften her up.

Steele told me his general message was to " get ready, stay engaged. There's a lot of work that has to be done."

Apparently, Steele has weathered the storm from earlier this year when various CNP members and allied activists were demanding his resignation.

Right Wing Leftovers

David Barton: "Historian"

What kind of historical "expertise" is the Texas State Board of Education getting from David Barton as he helps review and create the state's social studies curriculum? 

According to the Texas Freedom Network, this is the sort of expert advice Barton is dispensing: 

Buried on page 62 of phony history “expert” David Barton’s 87-page review of the social studies draft curriculum standards is a short section calling for the following revision to the eighth-grade American History requirements:

(C) analyze reasons for and the impact of selected examples of civil disobedience in U.S. history such as the Boston Tea Party, Shay’s Rebellion, Henry David Thoreau’s refusal to pay a tax, the Underground Railroad, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Rosa Parks at the lunch counter.

This is especially amazing because it was Park's refusal to give up her seat on the bus that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

Does Barton not know this? 

Right Wing Round-Up

  • David Weigel: National Organization for Marriage Chairman Takes On Kevin Jennings.
  • The New Republic: The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey.
  • Why do right-wingers hate America?
  • Texas Freedom Network: Could the Republican Party of Texas move even farther to the extreme right? Apparently, yes.
  • Why is Stand For Marriage Maine linking marriage equality to an increase in AIDS infections?
  • Why is Mike Huckabee using his position with Fox News to bolster his PAC?

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Pam's House Blend: Washington Times publishes ugly hit piece on Kevin Jennings.
  • Truth Wins Out: Focus on the Family Seeks to Exempt Alabama Gays from Antibullying Protection.
  • Rob Boston: At the Values Voter Summit, Wing-Nut Christian Right Plots Its Comeback.
  • Texas Freedom Network: David Barton Promotes Oklahoma Extremist Sally Kern.
  • Amanda Hess: Ex-Gay Group Calls Hate Crime Laws “Anti-Ex-Gay.”
  • Wow, Hitler and Obama really do have a lot in common.
  • Finally, I'll be out for the rest of the week.  See you Monday.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Randall Terry and company are now targeting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • The Freedom Foundation of Texas has received Focus on the Family Action's "Family Champion Award."
  • Tullian Tchividjian says members of D. James Kennedy's church tried to oust him because he wasn't talking about politics enough from the pulpit.
  • Do you remember the brothers responsible for Huck's Army? The are now working to save thousands from wasting their youth.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has announced its second Pulpit Freedom Sunday, to be held on September 27 in order to challenge IRS restrictions on what pastors and priests can say.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Raw Story: Rush Limbaugh says we need to return to segregated buses.
  • Adam Serwer: Why Can't Tom Perez Get Confirmed?
  • David Neiwert: Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity agree that the bashing of Bush was much worse than attacks on Obama
  • Think Progress: Michael Steele Criticizes Democrats For Playing The Race Card, While He Plays The Race Card.
  • Finally, from the "you couldn't make this up" file: Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas sent a letter to Washington's Metro system complaining that the taxpayer-funded subway system was unable to properly transport 9/12 protesters to the rally to protest government spending and expansion. Added bonus: Brady Brady voted against the stimulus package. It provided millions upon millions of dollars for all manner of improvements to … the D.C. Metro.

The Inane State of The Healthcare Debate - Part II

To follow-up on the post I wrote yesterday, here are a few more.

Why do we need healthcare reform when we already have free healthcare?

Bruce Engelman is pastor of Baptist Temple in Fort Worth, Texas, and is also a spokesperson for American Inspirational Ministries. Engelman, who often travels the country as part of his ministry work, says he has made an observation about available healthcare.

"Why do we need socialized medicine or healthcare when there is already free healthcare?" he wonders. "In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mary Free Bed Hospital; in Pittsburgh, children's hospital; St. Jude's in Memphis, Tennessee; Shriners hospital in Kentucky, Cook County hospital in Chicago, Illinois."

The pastor believes the healthcare option is being pushed for two reasons. "Number one, to increase the voting bloc for the liberals -- of both parties, by the way -- of illegal immigration," Engleman says, "and the other reason is there's no question that the other side wants to advance a radical, and I emphasize radical, social agenda."

Engelman says those who are speaking out against the healthcare plan are heroes, much like the Founding Fathers of the nation.

Churches are the key to healthcare reform:

The head of a coalition of evangelical churches says healthcare reform should focus less on government and more on marshaling churches to meet community needs.

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., who chairs the High Impact Leadership Coalition, says large churches could work together to provide diagnostic screening and care for people with diseases like HIV-AIDS.

Jackson says the contrast between government and faith-based relief was striking when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans four years ago. He says, "When the government failed, the church stepped up."

Instead of government healthcare, Jackson believes "there has to be a community-based answer that includes a faith community component."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Carrie Prejean says losing the Miss USA pageant and later her state crown was part of God's plan.
  • The Hill: An aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), was indicted Friday on public corruption charges related to the wide-ranging case involving Jack Abramoff.
  • Personhood Colorado announces that it is launching an effort to get its "personhood" amendment back on the ballot after its humiliating defeat last year, saying they are "seeing incremental advances for the personhood rights of the preborn."
  • Gary Dull and his Faith and Freedom Institute announce that they will be conducting a "Patriotic Prayer Rally" at Lafayette Park in Washington, DC tomorrow.
  • Janet Porter and gang will be hosting yet another web conference early next month highlighting the upcoming How To Take Back America Conference.
  • Finally, Roy Moore came in second at the straw poll conducted by the St. Clair County [Alabama] Republican Party after a gubernatorial forum featuring all six Republican candidates seeking the party's nomination next year.

Texas Curriculum: Thurgood Marshall Out, Newt Gingrich In?

Back in April, the Texas Freedom Network reported that the Texas State Board of Education had named both David Barton of WallBuilders and the Rev. Peter Marshall, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality, to its social studies curriculum “experts” panel.

When Barton and Marshall released their recommendations for changing the curriculum, they suggested, among other things, dropping mentions of both César Chavez and Thurgood Marshall.

"Review committees" are now putting together a draft of a new curriculum based on recommendations from the "expert" panel and it looks they are set to fill their history books with figures like Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and Phyllis Schlafly:

Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks, but nothing about people or groups considered more liberal.

...

The first draft for proposed standards in "United States History Studies Since Reconstruction" says students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority."

...

Conservatives form the largest bloc on the 15-member State Board of Education, whose partisan makeup is 10 Republicans and five Democrats.

David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the conservative leaders, figures that the current draft will pass a preliminary vote along party lines "once the napalm and smoke clear the room."

But not all conservative board members share that view.

"It is hard to believe that a majority of the writing team would approve of such wording," said Terri Leo, R-Spring. "It’s not even a representative selection of the conservative movement, and it is inappropriate."

Another board conservative, Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said he thinks that students should study both sides to "see what the differences are and be able to define those differences."

He would add James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to the list of conservatives. Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

Mercer says he would also mention groups like the National Education Association, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and the Texas Freedom Network so that students will be "able to identify what’s conservative ... [a]nd what is liberal in contrast."

For Barton, History and Religion Are One And The Same

Back in April, it was reported that David Barton had been appointed to serve on the Texas State Board of Education's "panel of experts" tasked with examining the state's social studies curriculum.

At the time, Barton made is clear that his goal was to ensure that the standards better reflected his right-wing views regarding our nation's history, especially as it pertained to the issue of religion, but vowed to be so thoroughly accurate that nobody would be able to question his biased recommendations:

Barton expects outside groups to "holler and scream" about his recommendations to fix those errors due to the fact that he is a Christian and a conservative. But he adds that he and other members of the panel will give recommendations that are so historically accurate that board members will have a hard time refuting them.

Needless to say, it came as no surprise that when Barton unveiled his recommended changes [PDF], it contained a heavy focus on the need to teach students about the religious aspects of the nation's history:

Understanding American Government. Students [Grade 5 (a)(1), (b)(16)] are told to “identify the roots of representative government in this nation as well as the important ideas in the Declaration of Independence,” but nowhere are those ideas specifically identified. Students should be familiar with the fundamental principles of America government set forth in the 126 words in the first three sentences at the beginning of the Declaration and those principles should be regularly reviewed throughout their tenure as a student:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

(It is from this section that students are to recite by memory under state law.)

The principles set forth here and subsequently secured in the Constitution and Bill of Rights include:

1. There is a fixed moral law derived from God and nature
2. There is a Creator
3. The Creator gives to man certain unalienable rights
4. Government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual
5. Below God-given rights and moral law, government is directed by the consent of the governed

Students must also understand the Framers’ very explicit (and very frequent) definition of inalienable rights as being those rights given by God to every individual, independent of any government anywhere (as John Adams explained, inalienable rights are those rights that are “antecedent to all earthly government; rights [that] cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights [that are] derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe”). The inalienable rights specifically listed in the Declaration include those of life, liberty, and property, and the Bill of Rights subsequently identified other inalienable rights, including freedoms of religion, press, speech, assembly, and petition; the right of self-defense; the sanctity of the home; and due process. Each of these rights is to remain beyond the scope of government and is to be protected inviolable by government. These fundamental five precepts of American government must be thoroughly understood by students, but they are not currently addressed in the TEKS.

This is standard procedure for Barton: claiming that he is merely explaining history while focusing entirely on promoting his claims that American was fundamentally designed to be a Christian nation. 

In fact, he has more or less admitted that to ABC News

David Barton, president of the Texas-based Christian heritage advocacy group WallBuilders, is another expert on the panel who would like to see changes made to the school curriculum.

"I think there should be more of an emphasis on history in the social studies curriculum," Barton said. "If there is an emphasis on history, there will be a demonstration of religion."

...

Barton told ABCNews.com that he believes Texas' public school curriculum should "reflect the fact that the U.S. Constitution was written with God in mind."

And this is exactly the sort of result one would expect when a biased pseudo-historian like Barton is appointed to a "panel of experts" tasked with evaluating public school curriculum.

The Consequences For Failing Manny Miranda? Nothing

With Sonia Sotomayor's nomination having been voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a vote of 13-6, she is scheduled to get a floor vote next week where it is expected that she will be easily confirmed.

Resigned to the inevitable, right-wing are doing all they can to spin this as a victory that will pay huge dividends in future elections:

"Republicans can reap significant political benefits by voting against her confirmation and making her an issue in key races next year," conservative activist Ralph Reed told his supporters in a memo.

Voters will remember that "it is a gun vote, and this was not a judge vote. It was a racial quota vote. She is for quotas," added Grover Norquist, a leading conservative activist, in an interview.

...

Norquist said conservatives can paint Sotomayor as a dangerous liberal just like President Barack Obama.

"She tarnishes him a little bit," said Norquist, who is president of Americans for Tax Reform and a member of the NRA board of directors.

In the Washington Independent, David Weigel provides more insight into this effort:

“The Republican senators did much better than I expected,” said Manny Miranda, the chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a judicial conservative umbrella group that opposed Sotomayor’s nomination largely behind the scenes.

In early June, Miranda had been bearish on the Republican conference, doubtful that it would put up a fight. He called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “limp-wristed” and organized 145 conservative activists to campaign for a filibuster of Sotomayor, which they’re not going to get. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), in announcing his opposition to the nominee, admitted that her confirmation was probably inevitable. Yet they feel like the debate over Sotomayor was as much as a conservative success as it could have possibly been, and they see a chance to give the nominee the lowest level of support from the opposition party since the bruising 1991 fight over Clarence Thomas.

“When we started, I didn’t expect more than 16 ‘no’ votes,” said Miranda. “Now I think we may go as high as 29 votes. We’ve achieved quite a lot.”

...

“The NRA’s decision to score the vote is a huge statement,” said Curt Levey, director of the Committee for Justice. “They were hesitant to get involved. Even if Sotomayor is eventually confirmed, the fact that the NRA came to realize the importance of Supreme Court nominations in protecting gun rights is a very big deal. The grassroots have been activated.”

Sotomayor is widely expected to be confirmed next week and you'll notice that all of Miranda's strident demands that Republicans lead a filibuster against her seem to have disappeared, as have his repeated assertions that any vote on her nomination before the August recess would be glaring failure of Republican leadership:

The mark of failed Republican leadership -- already strong-armed by Democrats on hearing scheduling -- will certainly be allowing a confirmation vote before the August recess that denies time to senators and to the American people. Republican leaders will fail too if their only goal is to mirror the 22-22 Democrat vote for Judge Roberts and simply deliver 20 Republicans for and 20 against.

Miranda and company had one demand of Senate Republicans: Under no circumstances allow a vote on Sotomayor's nomination before the August recess. Yet that is exactly what is going to happen and, instead of blasting them for their failure, Miranda is praising them for a job well done because their token opposition will be slightly bigger than he initially imagined.

Why is the Right suddenly so forgiving?  Maybe because they knew all along that their efforts weren't going to stop Sotomayor and they were just trying to pick a fight and look important, which is essentially what Curt Levey admitted to Weigel:

“The goal isn’t to defeat Sotomayor,” explained Levey. “It’s to send enough of a warning shot that future nominees won’t be as hostile to the Constitution.”

The Committee for Justice, for example, developed five ads formatted for television and newspapers, one of which compared Sotomayor’s work for the Puerto Rican Defense Fund to President Obama’s friendship with reformed Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. It got plenty of attention; people clicked through to the committee’s site, and some donated. But TV viewers won’t see that particular attack on their screens. “I don’t think the ad was effective,” Levey admitted. “We’ll run some ads in the final week, but I don’t think we’ll run that ad.”

 

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus is now on-line: "Right Wing Attacks on Sotomayor Gain Little Traction."
  • Alvin McEwen explains why people should care about Paul Cameron's shoddy research and his influence on the Religious Right.
  • Good As You points out that Maggie Gallagher seems to have a history of inaccuracy.
  • Glen Beck gets more ridiculous by the day.
  • The Texas Freedom Network reports that FOX News aired a piece on the growing controversy over revising social studies curriculum standards in Texas and, of course, got it wrong.
  • Finally, in today's Birther news: G. Gordon Liddy says that not only was President Obama not born in America, he's actually an "illegal alien" while Alex Koppleman thoroughly debunks the central premise of Liddy's argument. Elsewhere, David Weigel reports that John McCain's presidential campaign looked into the allegations and dismissed them as baseless, while Lou Dobbs continues to discuss the issue despite the fact that CNN President Jon Klein has been telling Dobbs' staff to knock it off and now the Southern Poverty Law Center is calling on CNN to remove him from that air.

Sen. Inhofe, C Street, and the "Jesus Thing"

Jeff Sharlet, author of "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power" is an expert on "The Family" and his expertise has become even more valuable in recent weeks as the various infidelities of Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign, and former Rep. Chip Pickering have exploded in the news, as all have deep ties to the organization and its house on C Street.

Today, he has a piece in Salon about these men and numerous other powerful political figures and their ties to this secretive organization:

Today's roll call is just as impressive: Men under the Family's religio-political counsel include, in addition to Ensign, Coburn and Pickering, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, both R-S.C.; James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., and recent senators and high officials such as John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Pete Domenici and Don Nickles. Over in the House there's Joe Pitts, R-Penn., Frank Wolf, R-Va., Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and John R. Carter, R-Texas. Historically, the Family has been strongly Republican, but it includes Democrats, too. There's Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, for instance, a vocal defender of putting the Ten Commandments in public places, and Sen. Mark Pryor, the pro-war Arkansas Democrat responsible for scuttling Obama's labor agenda. Sen. Pryor explained to me the meaning of bipartisanship he'd learned through the Family: "Jesus didn't come to take sides. He came to take over." And by Jesus, the Family means the Family.

... I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He's a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was -- or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate -- he asked a young man who'd put himself, body and soul, under the Family's authority, "Let's say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?" The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. "No," answered Coe, "I wouldn't." Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he's among what Family leaders refer to as the "new chosen." If you're chosen, the normal rules don't apply.

The entire thing is fascinating and worth reading, but I was particularly interested in Sharlet's explanation of how the organization regularly funds junkets overseas for its members that are, in essence, missionary trips:

M]ost of the trips sponsored by the Family aren't pleasure junkets. They're missionary work. Only the Family missionaries aren't representing the United States. They're representing "Jesus plus nothing," as Doug Coe puts it ... when they arrive in other countries, on trips paid for by the Family, at the behest of the Family, they are still traveling under official government auspices, on official business, with the pomp and circumstance -- and access -- of their taxpayer-funded, elected positions.

Considering that Sen. Jim Inhofe is reportedly a member of the organization as well, this goes a long way toward explaining this video we posted earlier this year in which he bragged to Faith and Action's Rob Schenck about this missionary trips through which he uses his standing as a US Senator to bring people to Jesus:

In fact, in this video posted today by Faith and Action’s Rob Schenck, it sounds an awful like Inhofe is using these trips for exactly that purpose, as he relates how, before his first trip to Africa, he found out that his daughter was also going to be there doing missionary work and told her that “if you go with me, it’s free.” He also explains that the trips are part of the “politics of Jesus” whereby Christians are instructed to take the name of Jesus to the kings. Being a US Senator, Inhofe says, means Africans think he is important and so he can always get in to see the kings, where he can tell them that he has come “in the spirit of Jesus.” Inhofe even holds up a copy of the Oklahoman featuring the above-mentioned article to defend himself, saying the article is an example of “persecution” and insisting that he is doing this work as a private citizen before trumpeting the fact that, through his work, he has managed to bring entire African villages to Jesus.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Jim Burroway finds Scott Lively claiming that "we’re going to suffer some kind of infrastructure collapse in this society because of the failure of moral culture, and that Christians have a responsibility to continue to oppose this disintegration." This sounds a lot like the claims made earlier this week by the Maine Family Policy Council.
  • Think Progress: Bush Department of Justice blacklisted applicants from LGBT, immigrant advocacy groups?
  • David Weigel reports that even thought Marco Rubio’s fundraising has lagged behind Charlie Crist’s by a 10 to one margin, he's not planning on dropping out of the Senate race.
  • The Texas Freedom Network continues to cover the recommendations from the social studies “experts” helping revise curriculum standards for Texas public schools, including Peter Marshal who declares "We’re in an all-out moral and spiritual civil war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it."
  • Alan Colmes declares Catherine Crabill his "Wingnut Of The Day" - and for good reason.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The New York Times examines the factors at work behind Sarah Palin's sudden resignation.
  • Mike Huckabee says its unfair to call Palin a "quitter" while predicting that Mark Sanford's political career is over.
  • The ACLU is taking a look at Sally Kern's "proclamation for morality."
  • Rick Scarborough has found a new crusade: Obama's various czars, which he complains "are unelected and unaccountable [and] have too much money and power, and are remaking America in ways none of us could have imagined."
  • Jesse Lee Peterson lambastes Michael Jackson's memorial service saying it was all "about unrealistically lifting up a black Michael as the 'king' in order to lift up blacks, and, in so doing, lowering the value of the hated white man."
  • Personhood advocates claim their movement is gaining momentum.
  • Ted Cruz, who is running for Texas Attorney General, unveils a list of endorsements and backers [PDF] that includes, Cathie Adams of the President of Texas Eagle Forum, Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, David Barton of Wallbuilders, Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family Action and many other right-wing figures.
  • Finally, Harry Jackson, Niger Innis, Dr. William Owens, Sr, Bishop Dale Bronner and Pastor Terry Millender have penned a letter to President Obama urging him to fight the "disintegration of marriage" by saving DOMA and opposing marriage equality:
  • Changing the definition of marriage will have many unintended consequences, which will hurt generations to come. If one redefines marriage, then the family is redefined. If the family is redefined then the nature of parenting must also be redefined.

    “We are concerned that an attempt to recognize and adjust to one group’s sense of alienation may actually confuse future generations of children about their sexuality and blur lines of responsibility in our families. The very definitions of motherhood and fatherhood may be unnecessarily challenged in years to come.

    “Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. The laws enacted by Congress during a century of struggle for equal rights for African Americans were intended to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, not on the basis of an individual’s sexual preferences or personal behavior.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Mike Huckabee will be kicking off the Values Voter Summit.
  • The GOP does not have a lot of celebrity supporters, so I really, really hope  that it makes good use of Victoria Jackson.
  • I'm pretty sure that most of the Young Cons' "success" - as measured by YouTube views - has come from people who are mocking them.
  • The Birther movement in Congress is picking up more supporters.
  • Apparently, today was National "Stop S. 909" Day whereby the Religious Right mobilized to oppose hate crimes legislation. Strangely, outside of this one article, I could find no evidence that these groups were actually doing any mobilizing.
  • Bishop Jackson says he'll soon be filing paperwork to launch a voter initiative, similar to California's Proposition 8, that would affirm marriage between a man and a woman in DC.
  • Pat Mahoney and Rob Schenck delivered their official prayer ahead of Sonia Sotomayor's hearing.
  • Charlie Crist has massively out-raised his primary rival, and darling of the social conservatives, Marco Rubio.
  • Gary Bauer continues to insist that Sarah Palin's decision to suddenly resign was a brilliant move.
  • The House of Representatives voted 399-1 for the Capitol Visitors Center to have a plaque acknowledging the role of slave labor in the construction of the Capitol. The one "no" vote came from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who insists he did so in order to protect America's Judeo-Christian heritage.
  • Finally, who ever could have ever predicted that putting David Barton and other religious-right ideologues on the panel of experts responsible for setting Texas schools' social studies curriculum would lead to them asserting that civil rights leaders like César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall are given too much attention?

From Bad to Worse In Texas

The Texas Freedom Network was tireless in exposing Don McLeroy, Gov. Rick Perry's choice to serve as chair of the Texas State Board of Education, and chronicling his hearings and ultimate rejection by the state Senate.

But now TFN reports that Perry's choice of replacement is even worse, pointing to this San Antonio Express-News article:

Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.

Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.

...

In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”

The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.

Dunbar home-schooled her own children.

TFN provides more background:

Dunbar has clearly expressed her loathing for public education in her book One Nation Under God, calling public schools a “tool of perversion,” “unconstitutional” and “tryannical.” She has also personally rejected the public school system, home-schooling her children. In fact, she wrote in her book that sending our children to public schools is “throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

Just before the November election, Dunbar also authored a vicious Internet rant in which she called Barack Obama a terrorist sympathizer who wants to seize total power by declaring martial law. In another Internet screed, she charged that Obama is promoting Marxism by calling for “shared sacrifice and social responsibility.”

Perry apparently thinks that someone who homeschooled her own children because public schools are  "tool of perversion" is perfectly suited to being placed in charge of the Texas school system.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress fact checks the Right's smear campaign against Kevin Jennings and GLSEN is seeking signatures on its letter to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in support of his appointment.
  • Jim Burroway reports that Paul Cameron makes an appearance in Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming "Bruno" movie.
  • Pam Spaulding highlights Ken Hutcherson claiming that Barack Obama has no "black experience."
  • Good As You catches Maggie Gallagher twittering that her National Organization for Marriage will be opening a DC office.
  • Karen Tumulty notes that Sarah Palin seems to have a history of quitting things (and does so with a cleverly titled post.)
  • Finally, the new issue of AU's Church and State contains a good cover story on David Barton written by Rob Boston.
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