McLeroy Confirmation Chances Get Slimmer

by

The Texas Senate Nominations Committee this evening approved all nominees considered at last week’s hearing — except for Don McLeroy as chairman of the State Board of Education. Far-right pressure groups have targeted Senate offices with calls and e-mails in support of McLeroy’s confirmation, but opponents in that chamber still appear to have the votes to reject it on the floor. As a result, committee Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, seems prepared to leave McLeroy’s confirmation pending for now. Without Senate confirmation, the nomination will be considered rejected at the end of the session on June 1.

UPDATE: As noted by one of our eagle-eyed readers, Austin American-Statesman reporter Kate Alexander had an update on McLeroy’s confirmation chances today:

The confirmation of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy is dead in the water, Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, said Thursday.

Jackson, chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee, said McLeroy will be left pending in committee because there is enough opposition on the floor of the Senate to block his confirmation, which requires approval of two-thirds of the senators.

24 Responses to “McLeroy Confirmation Chances Get Slimmer”

  1. Biology Teacher Says:

    Thirty-two days and counting.

    But….

    When the session ends, Perry will just finger someone else who will remain in place for another two years, without confirmation. Please tell me I’m wrong.

  2. Larry Fafarman Says:

    As I said, some senators may be attempting to discourage a full-Senate vote on McLeroy by making false threats to vote against him.

    The Nominations Committee members had to vote on McLeroy (they voted not to approve him along with the other nominees), so why should the other senators get off the hook?

    There should be a full-Senate vote on McLeroy. If he loses, he loses. Chickening out of a full-Senate vote is not face-saving.

    I wonder what McLeroy’s supporters are afraid of. Opinion polls show that a majority of the public is in favor of teaching both the strengths and the weaknesses (I prefer the word “criticisms” because invalid criticisms are not real weaknesses) of evolution. In the last election, the board’s two supporters of the “strengths and weaknesses” language who faced strong opponents were re-elected —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/11/fundies-keep-texas-board-of-education.html

    Anyway, McLeroy’s views on evolution are not a fair reason for denying him the board chairmanship. He has done some bad or questionable things that are unrelated to evolution, but IMO the public perceives evolution as being the main if not the sole issue — it was the only issue identified by name in an Austin American-Statesman article about McLeroy’s Nominations Committee hearing —
    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/politics/entries/2009/04/22/state_board_of_education_chair.html

    And he is not solely responsible for everything that the board has done — he has only one vote on the board.

  3. TXatheist Says:

    weaknesses/criticisms of evolution=zero.

  4. The Curmudgeon Says:

    Just appeared in the Austin American-Statesman: McLeroy is toast. No confirmation.

  5. James F Says:

    The good: it shows that the Senate is willing to deny confirmation of leadership positions to incompetent creationist school board members; future chairs may think twice before pushing a creationist agenda (ideally, creationists won’t be appointed to begin with)

    The bad: Perry may appoint someone just as bad in the interim.

  6. Curly Says:

    Larry:

    You are really bothering me with your absence of logic. I am sure you don’t care though.

    “And he is not solely responsible for everything that the board has done — he has only one vote on the board.”

    One final vote is all, eh? How about stopping any type of discussion that he disagrees with? How about last minute amendment changes? As chair, he had considerable influence over the other votes and controlled the discussion. He also used the chair position to preach his false understanding of evolution and distorting well-respected scientists’ work.

    Before you ask me for proof, I suggest you simply download the transcripts of the board meeting, look over the meeting notes that the wonderful staff at TFN has posted and looked at youtube clips. I suspect though that you have a biological filter prohibiting knowledge from entering the conversation.

  7. Larry Fafarman Says:

    The Curmudgeon Says (April 30, 2009 at 1:41 pm) —
    –Just appeared in the Austin American-Statesman: McLeroy is toast. No confirmation.–

    Do you have a link? I went to the Austin American-Statesman website and found no such article.

    As the saying goes, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

    Why can’t the Texas Senate Nominations Committee, if so-inclined, send McLeroy’s nomination to the full Senate with either (1) no recommendation or (2) a recommendation for rejection? I think that committees in Congress can do that kind of thing.

    BTW, speaking of “toast,” has Chris Comer filed an appeal of the rejection of her unlawful termination suit against the Texas Education Agency? Time is running out for her.

    James F Says (April 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm) —
    –The good: it shows that the Senate is willing to deny confirmation of leadership positions to incompetent creationist school board members; future chairs may think twice before pushing a creationist agenda —

    The extra good: the last election showed that the voters are willing to re-elect fundies to the school board; future chairs may think twice before pushing a Darwinist agenda.

  8. Ben Says:

    Larry, have you ever thought about consulting an exorcist?

    Sounds silly, I know, but if you believe in Satan, perhaps you should consider it. Myself, I don’t believe in any supernatural entities, but if I did, I’d be willing to wager that Satan is controlling your thoughts.

    The funny thing is, none of this sounds any weirder than anything the zealots on the school board believe.

  9. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Curly Says:
    –“And he is not solely responsible for everything that the board has done — he has only one vote on the board.”

    One final vote is all, eh? How about stopping any type of discussion that he disagrees with? —

    This is the first time I heard a charge that McLeroy didn’t give the other board members fair opportunities to state their views.

    –How about last minute amendment changes?–

    Most of the last minute amendments were introduced by other board members — see

    http://www.texscience.org/pdf/sboe-votes-2009jan22.pdf

    http://www.texscience.org/pdf/SBOE-Summary-2009March26-27.pdf

  10. TFN Says:

    McLeroy has on more than one occasion prevented experts from testifying on business before the board. Why? Because the experts would not have supported McLeroy’s position. That happened, for example, when the board considered curriculum standards for public school Bible classes and curriculum amendments for science. McLeroy blamed board rules, but he conveniently ignored the occasions when he had permitted unscheduled testimony on other topics. In addition, McLeroy might have offered fewer science amendments than other board members, but his amendments were among the most damaging — by far.

  11. Carol Says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    I cannot fathom why McLeroy and his ilk actively want to keep kids confused and ignorant. All I can glean is that their religious ideologies are more important that the academic achievements of a whole State’s worth of kids- the future adults that we will depend upon to run the world.

    What gall!

    Prostelytize to your own kids. Let mine learn.

  12. Larry Fafarman Says:

    TFN said,
    –McLeroy has on more than one occasion prevented experts from testifying on business before the board.–

    The Austin American-Statesman articles do not claim that McLeroy prevented anyone from speaking —

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/politics/entries/2009/04/22/state_board_of_education_chair.html

    http://www.statesman.com/search/content/editorial/stories/04/24/0424senate_edit.html

    The above two articles give the impression that the sole or main issue is McLeroy’s views about evolution.

    Even Steven Schafersman does not claim that McLeroy prevented anyone from speaking —

    http://www.chron.com/commons/readerblogs/evosphere.html?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3af12fd84e-253f-46cf-9408-ee579f9a3a0bPost%3ab1429a6b-865f-4a34-85bb-c266aa2f4942

    BTW, Schafersman falsely states that McLeroy appointed all three “creationists” that were on the six-person panel of experts that advised the board on the new state science standards —

    I could write–and in fact have written–so much more about Don McLeroy, including his anti-intellectualism here and here, his fraudulent farce of appointing three anti-science Scientific Creationists to match three science professors as experts . . . .

    In actuality, each expert was chosen by a pair of school board members. Also, Schafersman says, “three anti-science Scientific Creationists to match three science professors as experts,” but two of the “Creationists” are science professors too and the third has a Ph.D in the philosophy of science. This is the kind of dishonesty and bias that are the hallmarks of Schafersman’s reporting.

  13. TFN Says:

    Larry writes: “The above two articles give the impression that the sole or main issue is McLeroy’s views of evolution.”

    Perhaps it’s difficult for you because you’re not in Austin and haven’t witnessed firsthand what’s been happening. It should be no surprise that the controversy over evolution has been a focus of the debate over McLeroy’s confirmation. After all, the board just finished the science revision. But other issues — including what happened with the language arts standards, what happened with the Bible class standards, and whether McLeroy has kept experts from speaking before the board at critical points — has also been part of the discussion about whether to confirm him. All of that is playing a role in what’s happening now.

  14. Larry Fafarman Says:

    TFN said,
    –Perhaps it’s difficult for you because you’re not in Austin and haven’t witnessed firsthand what’s been happening.–

    A lot of people are not in Austin and haven’t witnessed firsthand what’s been happenng.

    So maybe Don McLeroy’s position is sort of like Chris Comer’s was. Chris Comer did a lot of bad or questionable things that had nothing to do with evolution, but the public perception was that she was ousted because of her views on evolution.

  15. TFN Says:

    Larry said: “A lot of people are not in Austin and haven’t witnessed firsthand what’s been happening.”

    Perhaps. But we are, and we have. McLeroy’s views on evolution are not the source of his confirmation problems. His actions are the source of his problems.

  16. Bob Says:

    Larry, how is it possible for all of us to keep up and understand what is going on and you constantly have the story wrong or incomplete? Are you not paying attention or do you understand only the parts you want to understand?

    You are an amazing wealth of misinformation and misunderstanding.

    I see willful ignorance.

  17. Steven Schafersman Says:

    I should have been more precise: McLeroy implemented the process that allowed the three Creationist “experts” to be appointed. They were indeed chosen by others, as I have written before, but I correctly gave McLeroy the primary blame for the “fraudulent farce” of the appointment of the three anti-science Creationists. The Great Texas Science Smackdown could not have happened without McLeroy’s willing approval and facilitation.

    I’ll also thank El Farfarito to stop with the gratuitous insults (“dishonesty and bias”) when what I wrote was perfectly true: all three are “anti-science Scientific Creationists.” The fact that two are science professors and the third has a PhD in philosophy of science is irrelevant and doesn’t negate the truth of what I wrote. Who is really being dishonest and biased?

    I suppose El Farfa’s self-worth will now increase since I wrote something in answer to one of his untruths. I suggest that readers visit http://is.gd/uNTD and read more about LF. If LF gets angry, I will add even more.

  18. Larry Fafarman Says:

    TFN Says (April 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm) —
    –McLeroy’s views on evolution are not the source of his confirmation problems. His actions are the source of his problems.–

    You missed my point again — my point is that the general public perceives his views on evolution as the source of his confirmation problems. Any new issues introduced now would probably be seen as pretexts for getting rid of him.

    Bob Says (April 30, 2009 at 11:03 pm) —
    –Larry, how is it possible for all of us to keep up and understand what is going on and you constantly have the story wrong or incomplete?–

    That’s bullshit — it is obvious that I am often the best informed and most astute commenter here. You’re just jealous.

    “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”
    — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

  19. PHarvey Says:

    Bob, in one of my previous posts I said never argue with a fool, people may not be able to tell the difference. You may want to consider applying that concept to Larry. He thinks people are jealous of him.

  20. Larry Fafarman Says:

    –Jackson, chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee, said McLeroy will be left pending in committee because there is enough opposition on the floor of the Senate to block his confirmation, which requires approval of two-thirds of the senators.–

    Senator Jackson’s rejection of McLeroy by secret ballot was very underhanded. All of the Senators ought to stand up on their hind legs and vote yes or no on McLeroy. Face cannot be saved by chickening out of a full-Senate vote. It may be possible for the full Senate to force a vote on McLeroy, and forcing a vote might require just a simple majority of the full Senate. There are 19 Republican senators out of 31, so maybe a simple majority isn’t too hard to get. I don’t care about McLeroy’s alleged misdeeds that are unrelated to evolution — the public perceives his rejection as being based on his views about evolution.

    I don’t understand why the Republican party of Texas seems unable to rein in renegade Republican politicians.

  21. The Curmudgeon Says:

    Steven Schafersman says:

    The Great Texas Science Smackdown could not have happened without McLeroy’s willing approval and facilitation.

    I thought I was so clever to label it the Texas Science Chainsaw Massacre, but I guess your term will prevail. Anyway, the creationist dentist has been EXPELLED, at least from the chairmanship. One small step for mankind, a giant leap for Texas.

  22. Pac Says:

    So then Larry if all you are worried about is public perception of the evidence against him, you must obvisously favor having him removed as well!

  23. PHarvey Says:

    Many Rebuplicans in the Legislature don’t like McLeroy at all. They consider him embarrassing. They would rather not vote rather than vote no and reject a fellow Republican. This is the “gentlemans” way of not confirming him so that he and other Republicans can avoid any embarrasment.

    If McLeroy wants a friend, he needs to get a dog.

  24. RickK Says:

    Add your voice to this issue. I went to this website of the TX State Senate:
    http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm

    and wrote a letter to each of the members outlining that my children are affected by science textbooks, which are affected by Texas SBOE which has an inordinate number of members who are openly hostile to intellectually honest, fact-based pursuit of science. As such, even though I live nowhere near Texas, I’m extremely disappointed by the quotes and actions of Don McLeroy and honestly believe he should no longer have a platform for weakening my children’s education and for weakening our nation’s position in the world of the future.

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