What Are They Afraid Of?

by

Today far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education made it clear that they no longer want input from teachers, academic experts and other community members who have been helping revise the state’s social studies curriculum standards. Republicans Pat Hardy of Fort Worth and Bob Craig of Lubbock (neither of whom are liberals) as well as Democrat Mavis Knight of Dallas all insisted that continued input from teachers and academics could only help the board approve solid standards. But their proposals to reconvene the curriculum writing teams either this month or in January to continue fine-tuning their draft standards were met with solid resistance from the board’s far-right faction. The faction also opposed inviting the curriuclum writers and the board’s appointed panel of social studies “experts” to participate in discussions and a public hearing in January and March.

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since the beginning of this process, far-right board members and their allies have harshly and unfairly criticized the work of the curriculum teams — especially the teachers on those teams. They have charged that the teams are made up of radical “educrats” (teachers) who were using the standards to promote “multiculturalism” and “anti-free market” views. They claim that the teams are promoting a “war on Christmas” and undermining Christian values. Then yesterday far-right activists complained to the board that the curriculum teams had crafted standards that have a “leftist bias” and that portray America in a negative light. (Steven Schafersman has a helpful summary of yesterday’s testimony before the board in a comment to an earlier post here.)

The complaints are worse than absurd — they have also been deeply insulting to the hard-working volunteers on the writing teams. And they reveal the contempt far-right extremists on and off the board have for anybody who doesn’t share their narrow political views. These extremists have been particularly savage in their attacks on teachers and respected teacher organizations such as the Texas Council for the Social Studies.

So what’s the significance of today’s reckless decisions by the board to move on without the help of their own curriculum panels? Read on.

We have reviewed the curriuclum teams’ newest drafts of the standards from October. For the most part, the teams resisted efforts by far-right pressure groups and board members to politicize those drafts. Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez, for example, are still in the standards despite calls from far-right activists to censor them. The teams have also rejected far-right efforts to portray Joseph McCarthy as an American hero despite his reckless political smear campaign in the 1950s. There are numerous other examples in which the writing teams have relied on sound scholarship and facts rather than bending to political pressure to rewrite history.

So far-right board members now want them out of the way. Remember that the state board ultimately threw out the work of teachers and education specialists during the adoption of language arts curriculum standards in 2008. Then earlier this year they mangled proposed new science standards, adding creationist-inspired attacks on evolution, removing scientific estimates of the age of the universe and ignoring the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.

Now they want no more input from teachers and academic experts on what the next generation of Texas students will learn in their social studies classrooms. Just as with language arts and science, we almost certainly will see a flurry of amendments in January that replace sound standards with personal opinions and ideological biases.

“They’re our TEKS,” board member Terri Leo, R-Spring, insisted today, talking about the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards. “And I think we can fix them at the board level.”

Really? Like you did with the language arts and science standards? Gee, that’s just swell.

“If I were assured that they were going to do what we directed them to do, I would (reconvene the writing teams),” Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, told fellow board members.

Oh, sure. Teachers and academic experts should simply do as they’re told by politicians who are more interested in pushing ideology than education. Right?

Our kids deserve better.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed standards in January. Expect a large turnout by far-right activists from around the state. It’s important that mainstream Texans — Republicans and Democrats alike — speak out at the hearings as well. Decisions about our children’s education are far too important to leave to political extremists. When information about testifying at the January public hearing is available, TFN Insider will post it. And then it will be time for the voices of mainstream Texans to be heard loud and clear at the State Board of Education.

36 Responses to “What Are They Afraid Of?”

  1. Charles Says:

    Well, it occurred to me that I could write one of my typical analytical comments, but why confront insanity with sanity. Sometimes the only thing that makes any sense at all is to confront insanity with insanity. I think the following should do the trick:

    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    TFN

    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Though the streams are swollen
    Keep them fruitcakes rolling
    TFN

    Pineapple, cherries, and dates
    Hell bent for fruitcakes
    Wishing my gal was by my side.
    All the things I’m missin’
    Good viddles, love, and kissin’
    are waiting at the end of my ride.

    Move ’em on (Head ’em up)
    Head ’em up (Move ’em up)
    Move ’em on (Head ’em up)
    TFN

    Cut ’em out (Ride ’em in)
    Ride ’em in (Cut ’em out)
    Cut ’em out
    Ride ’em in
    TFN

    Keep movin’ movin’ movin’
    Though they’re disapprovin’
    Keep them fruitcakes moving
    TFN

    Don’t try to understand them […that ain’t possible]
    Just rope em, throw and brand them.
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide!

    My heart’s calculating
    My true love will be waiting
    Be waiting at the end of my ride.

    Move ’em up (Head ’em up)
    Head ’em up (Move ’em on)
    Move ’em on (Head ’em up)
    TFN

    Cut ’em out (Ride ’em in)
    Ride ’em in (Cut ’em out)
    Cut ’em out
    Ride ’em in
    TFN

    Hee-yah!

    Move ’em on (Head ’em up)
    Head ’em up (Move ’em on)
    Move ’em on (Head ’em up)
    TFN

    Cut ’em out (Ride ’em in)
    Ride ’em in (Cut ’em out)
    Cut ’em out
    Ride ’em in
    TFN

    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Hee-yah!
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Hee-yah!
    Rawhide
    Hee-yah!
    Hee-yah!
    TFN

    Ride on out fruitca-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-kes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Charles Says:

    Just in case some of you are too young to remember:

  3. John C Says:

    I think if you had school age kids in Texas, you would consider moving interstate.

  4. Charles Says:

    Wikipedia’s history of the great American Christmas dessert. If you can read this without laughing, you are a better man or woman than me. Okay. Subject over after the following full quotation:

    United States

    Typical American fruitcakes are rich in fruits and nuts.

    Mail-order fruitcakes in America began in 1913. Some well-known American bakers of fruitcake include Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas and The Claxton Bakery in Claxton, Georgia. Both Collin Street and Claxton are southern companies with access to cheap nuts, for which the expression “nutty as a fruitcake” was derived in 1935.[3] Commercial fruitcakes are often sold from catalogs by charities as a fund raiser.

    Most American mass-produced fruitcakes are alcohol-free, but traditional recipes are saturated with liqueurs or brandy and covered in powdered sugar, both of which prevent mold. Brandy- or wine-soaked linens can be used to store the fruitcakes, and some people feel that fruitcakes improve with age.

    In the United States, the fruitcake has been a ridiculed dessert. Some blame the beginning of this trend with Tonight Show host Johnny Carson.[3] He would joke that there really is only one fruitcake in the world, passed from family to family. After Carson’s death, the tradition continued with “The Fruitcake Lady” (Marie Rudisill), who made appearances on the show and offered her “fruitcake” opinions.

    Since 1995, Manitou Springs, Colorado, has hosted the Great Fruitcake Toss on the first Saturday of every January. “We encourage the use of recycled fruitcakes,” says Leslie Lewis of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce. The all-time Great Fruitcake Toss record is 1,420 feet, set in January 2007 by a group of eight Boeing engineers who built the “Omega 380,” a mock artillery piece fueled by compressed air pumped by an exercise bike.[4]

  5. Yankee Says:

    Love to move, if I could find a job elsewhere. What this whole debacle should really teach is that parents should not believe that public education is what it says. Right now under NCLB education is just teaching a test. Not good enough, they will replace history with what they say it should be. Way too much power. Time for parents and citizens to start learning OUTSIDE the classroom.

  6. PHarvey Says:

    Texas Legislature, …are you listening?

  7. Yankee Says:

    Here’s a good website for learning more about history: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/
    “Designed for high school and college teachers and students,
    History Matters serves as a gateway to web resources and offers
    other useful materials for teaching U.S. history. ”

    Check it out.

  8. Tony Whitson Says:

    You have a link for a post on
    the Texas Council for the Social Studies.

    but the post isn’t there

  9. DG Says:

    Heres to hoping you guys up there do all move out of the state, HOW ABOUT CALIFORNIAS LIBERAL EDUCATION SEEMS LIKE THAT BANKRUPT state is doing real well….It floors me how you all can come to a state or live in a state who is one of the best states in union and doing the best economically then other state and then laugh, mock and try to change the very foundation of what made it so great! THAT WOULD CONSERVATIVES!

  10. TFN Says:

    Fixed the link. Thanks for the heads-up.

  11. Tony Whitson Says:

    Can you say when during the day this was discussed and decided — even just which agenda item would help.

    I monitored most of the day but I couldn’t catch all of it. I have the social studies testimony recorded and I’ll post it when I get a chance. Meanwhile, I’d like to get this too, but I don’t want to have to listen through the whole day to find it.

    Thanks.

  12. TFN Says:

    After the board finished items from today’s regular agenda, it took up items left over from yesterday (Wednesday). You can see those items on the agenda here. This particular discussion occurred late in the meeting today, probably item 14, the carryover item 10 from Wednesday’s agenda.

  13. Tony Whitson Says:

    Thanks.

    The first thing I did when I got up this morning was to look over today’s agenda to see if there was anything I needed to get. Those late items were not there when I looked. I’ll check it out tomorrow.

    Do you know if there’s anything coming up on Friday that I should be listening for, regarding social studies standards? If you are following Friday, and something relevant comes up, I’d be very grateful if you would remember to note the time when it comes up so that I can find it later, if I’m not listening when it happens.

  14. TFN Says:

    Item 10 on Friday’s agenda deals with board’s general curriculum review process, but there is no agenda item that deals specifically with the social studies standards.

  15. The Other Sarah Says:

    TO DG:

    If you’re any sort of example of the success “conservative” education offers, I’ll pass.
    I’d rather my students and children were capable of writing clear, coherent sentences, whether in English or Spanish.
    Part of the reason people are pointing and laughing at the SBOE right now is just how far from “one of the best States in the Union” their engineering of our public school curricula will take us. Mississippi will get to say “Thank God for Texas, we’re not last any more!”

  16. Ben Says:

    How many typos can you spot in DG’s post?

  17. Charles Says:

    DG. I agree. If people would just leave free markets completely alone and allow them to operate solely under their own momentum, institute 10 years of deep federal tax cuts, and send our kids to fight BS wars in places like Iraq, our nation would be proud, strong, and economically virbrant. Oh, that’s right. Sorry. Conservatives already did that for us. What did we get out of it? We got a severely collapsed economy, a nearly bankrupt federal government, and kids coming home in boxes because someone forgot that Shiites, Sunnis, and Kerds hate each other.

    The thing that gets me is that people like you think that people like me are going to forget this failure come 2010 and 2012 election time. Well, I have news for you Bubba D. My mom and dad (both dead now) saw what Herbert Hoover did and did not do between 1929 and 1932. By the time they died in 1986 and 1997, they still had nothing good to say about him or the Republicans of that period. That was a political remembrance of 57 years for my dad and 68 years for my mom. I plan to remember the current conservative incompetence and idiocy for the rest of my years and pass it on to my kids, who will not be getting their usual bevy of Christmas gifts this year because mom and dad are laid off from their high-paying professional jobs. I plan to tell them why—politically speaking—those gifts will not be coming.

    Funny though. I have taken note of the apparent conservative decision that everything went wrong because conservatives were “not conservative enough.” You have now decided that the answer is to clamp down tight, put the already bloody nose to the grindstone, and be more extreme right than ever before—move light years to the right—become so far right as to be utterly looney—then America will finally be safe. Yeah right. The cure for diarrhea is a warehouse full of Ex-Lax.

  18. Rebecca Bell-Metereau Says:

    Right-wing extremists of the current Board of Education want to exclude Hispanics from the social studies curriculum, with no Mexican American figures to be taught in the first three years. Do they expect us to believe there are no Hispanics who affected Texas history? What about the explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who wrote the first book about the exploration of North America? Isn’t this ground-breaking author and explorer a significant historical figure for Texas children who are learning to read and write?

    I am shocked and saddened that we must still battle to teach comprehensive history in the 21st Century. I am running for SBOE 5 to ensure a curriculum representing all people who have contributed to the history of Texas and the United States. Our young people deserve a complete and thorough history, not one limited to elite figures hand-picked by incumbent Ken Mercer and his cohorts. In looking at some of the conservative blogs on this issues, I find it truly frightening to read the hate-filled rhetoric coming from people who don’t seem to realize that there were Native American Indians and then Spanish colonists in what is now Texas long before Anglo and other groups came to the area.

  19. Lorenzo Sadun Says:

    It all comes back to the slogan from “1984”: Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

    In order to make the USA an explicitly religious, socially conservative, and Anglo-centric country, the Gang of Seven is trying to argue that we have always been an explicitly religious, socially conservative, and Anglo-centric country, and that we should be proud of that “history”. We are supposed to believe that the Founding Fathers built Christianity into our constitution (when they did the opposite). We are supposed to believe that minorities and women contributed little of value to our nation. We are supposed to believe that the shameful episodes in our history — when we DID pursue a whites-only agenda, via slavery, Jim Crow, the Indian Wars, etc. — either didn’t happen or didn’t matter. From the glorious episodes in our history — saving the world from Nazism, for one — we are supposed to learn only that we’re big and tough, and forget that as human beings we have a kinship with every human on this earth.

    Last year’s fight over science standards was incredibly important, deciding whether our children should understand the physical world around them or should live in ignorance. This year’s fight over social studies is about whether our children should understand the society in which they live — and that’s even more important.

  20. Tony Whitson Says:

    Prof Sadun is right on the mark with the Orwell reference. In fact, last night I re-read the 1984 Appendix on Newspeak in preparing for the posts I’m hoping to get up today on this.

    Wed. Bill Ames focused his attack on “revisionism.” Yesterday on the floor of Congress Virginia Foxx also attacked revisionism, using as her example the Civil Rights laws of the ’60s which, she reminded us, were passed by the Republicans, with little help from Democrats — although, she added, you don’t hear much about that the way the story’s told by the revisionists.

    What we’re hearing from Ames, Foxx, and others is revisionism, but revisionism under the banner of a struggle to eliminate revisionism — which is how it becomes Orwellian. (David Barton is a link between these efforts in Texas and nationally.)

    Thanks, Prof. Sadun, for your testimony last year on the science standards (audio available at
    http://curricublog.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/sboe081119_7of7.mp3 )

    Also, as a social studies person, I want to thank you for recognizing the importance of social education, which is often not appreciated.

    As for the audio, I’m finding the new RealPlayer feeds & archives a bit nastier to deal with than the old audio feeds. I do have a file now from yesterday’s squabble over whether the Board should seek more input from the “experts” and writing teams, which I should have posted shortly. Later today I hope to have longer posts on Ames (Wed) and Foxx (Thurs, in Congress). I’m not in a hurry to get up the rest of the Wed. audio, but if somebody needs something in particular, I could do it.

  21. Charles Says:

    I am with you Lorenzo, and I am with you too Rebecca.

    Most of my life has been spent studying, researching, and writing about the prehistory of the New World. First of all, rather than “Native Americans” (which is a federal legal term), most native peoples of the 48 contiguous states like to be referred to as “American Indians.” This differentiates them from native Hawaiians, native residents of places like Guam, and the Eskimos of Alaska. Despite their bad treatment for several centuries, notice that proud word “American” that they keep in their preferred term. They know that they were the first Americans. They are proud of it, and I am proud to call them sisters and brothers—fellow Americans. Those who believe that the contributions of aboriginals peoples to American culture were small and insignificant forget the following contributions (among many more):

    Corn (Doggone near everything dead in the water without it)
    Potatoes (McDonalds dead in the water without their fries)
    Chocolate (No Hershey chocolate bars without it; no Whitman’s Samplers)

    I would also point out an important fact that is often lost in American discourse. The millions of hispanic people with bronze skin and coarse black hair are ALSO American Indians. Forgot that didn’t you?

    The important thing is that we are all American citizens. ALL of our proud ancestors contributed to the building of this great nation. Their contributions are unremovable threads in the tapestry of American history–as long as there are people who respect honesty and appreciate truth. Our kids should be familiar with their great contributions.

  22. Tony Whitson Says:

    The audio of this portion of the SBOE meeting is now posted at:

    http://curricublog.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/sboe-not-hearing/

  23. TFN Says:

    The monkey photo in Tony’s blog post is hilarious.

  24. Charles Says:

    Well, one more thing. No one has really answered the question that Dan Quinn posed as the title of his inital article above: “What Are They Afraid Of…” I can answer that question for you with two firm possibilities:

    1) They are scared that the United States is going to lose its “whiteness” and what they perceive of (because of their own personal ancestry) as the Anglo-Saxon and protestant Christian nature of American culture. Their greatest fear is that a family will gather eagerly around a table during Thanksgiving 2095. After a short prayer and a genuflection from everyone, grandad will stand up proudly at the head of the table and begin carving the great Thanksgiving taco. That’s it. As an anthropologist, I would say two things about this: 1) It will not happen because of the depth of the existing tradition 2) If the superorganic nature of human cultural dynamics operates as Alfred Kroeber hypothesized, making such a change inevitable, it will be a 1000 ft. tsunami that no intentional human efforts in our time could ever hope to stop. Human culture and social dynamics tend to have a life of their own that moves us along like driftwood in a vast ocean.

    2) They are afraid that they will get up one morning, look down at their feet, and discover that their toes have turned into bits of candied pineapple, cherries, pears, dates, and raisins.

  25. Charles Says:

    TFN: I believe that young troglodyte goes by the name of “Hear No Evil.”

  26. Texas Hill Country Tom Says:

    The SBOE is right about the fact that some of the original colonies were founded as theocracies.j The entire English system which covered some of the middle colonies and all of the southern colonies were part and parcel to the English theocracy. Only Rhode Island guranteed religious freedom and non-intervention from clerical powers. It was because of the clerical excesses in New England, the Crown of England, and Spain that James Madison carefully crafted the First ammendment after seeing his errors in the original document of the Constitution. Dropping Cesar Chavez would be akin to dropping Samuel Gompers. We should endeavor to teach more rather than less. If Texas children are to hear the Truth, they will have to hear it st home no matter which group of political hacks win this ridiculus fight. Can you imagine if this were child health instead of education! Do you think we would want to “rescue” our children from the “expert pediatricians”?

  27. Steven Schafersman Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the discussion. I couldn’t listen at all today, so I missed everything. Thanks again to Tony Whitson for downloading, editing, and posting the audio. His work is invaluable. The archived TEA videos will remain online for at least a year and the audio files are archived indefinitely I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong).

    The radical religious right seven have their minds made up and know exactly what they will do. Using motions and majority votes, they plan to cut and revise every social studies standard they think contradicts their crazy beliefs. Too liberal? Too multiculturalist? Too much Hispanic history in Texas? Too much mention of non-Christian religions? Too disparaging of America’s Christian heritage? Not American exceptional enough? It will be cut out! Censored! Edited!

    These people now have the power to write the social studies standards to precisely match their bizarre Christian fundamentalist and Republican fascist views and agendas. They don’t want to listen to teachers or experts anymore. In January and March they will go through the standards one by one and amend each one in full public view to correspond to their brand of ignorance, American exceptionalism, multicultural despisement, historical revisionism, and bigotry–because the Legislature has shown that it will do nothing to stop them.

    It’s time to change the SBO–and the Legislature–at the voting booth! Wake up, Texas citizens!

  28. Charles Says:

    I’m not sure Tom. A bunch of the usual fruitcake suspects has succeeded in making millions of Americans refuse to take the H1N1 flu vaccine. If their children die from the swine flu, I hope they send their tort lawyers and the funeral home bills to everyone of the loudmouth holiday desserts in question. Of course, they will whine that it was the parent’s decision. The parents didn’t have to take their advice. To me, this anti-vaccine campaign has been the height of right-wing whacko irresponsibility.

    We are all vaccinated out our house ’cause we ain’t stupid. No one has died from the vaccine here or gotten any related side effects.

  29. Cytocop Says:

    This conversation has been great to read.

    Charles, what do you want to bet the people who are anti-vaccine are probably the same ones who are FOR tort reform.

    As for American Indians, they tend to be VERY patriotic (in the conventional sense of the word). Many of them serve in the armed forces, and one of the first casualties of the Iraq War was an Indian woman.

    Another contribution of American Indians: our form of government. Much of it is patterned after the government of Iroquois Nations.

    As for DG’s post, maybe he/she is from California and the point of his/her posting was how substandard California public education is -given the quality of his/her writing. DG has some difficulty with punctuation and synonyms (then vs than).

    In what way is Texas “one of the best states in union”? Because TX executes more people than any other state? Because Texas is conservative, that is why it is doing relatively better than other state? And are ALL red states doing better economically than ANY blue state? I’d like to see the supporting stats – which DG didn’t share.

    He/she ends by saying: “THAT WOULD CONSERVATIVES.”
    Er, huh??

    Actually, TX local tax is one the most regressive in the nation; the poor and middle class bear more of the tax burden per capita than the wealthiest.

  30. Charles Says:

    Cytocop:

    If I were a betting man, I would bet my last nickel that you are right about the tort reform.

    Of course, if we invoke the radical right perspective, anyone who really wants H1N1 flu vaccine should show personal responsibility by using their own money to establish (from scratch like mom’s biscuits) a H1N1 vaccine manufacturing laboratory in their kitchen. Make just enough vaccine to inject into yourself and the members of your household. It would be ideologically wrong to share your vaccine with neighbors because the neighbors are personally responsible for establishing vaccine labs in their own kitchens to meet their own needs. When the vaccine is ready, each nuclear family would be responsible for injecting or nose-misting its own members and monitoring for side effects.

    There are a lot of government workers in my area. Over the years, come election time, I have watched them go steadfastly and dutifully down to the ballot box to vote for the individuals who would take away their jobs as soon as they got in office. All I could do was scratch my head.

    I agree with Steve. The only way to get a better SBOE is at the ballot box.

  31. Cytocop Says:

    Charles, you are so right about kitchen-created vaccinations. That’s exactly what the Right believes: everyone being responsible for themselves and no government regulation. Make your own vaccine and inject yourself with it. Yep, that’s exactly how they’d have it if they had their way. Never mind whether or not the ingredients are pure, contain no contaminants, are safe and are administered by a licensed nurse. Whether the home-created vaccine met government standards or were injected by a licensed health care provider would be irrelevent since the Right doesn’t want government standards – wants to eliminate them – and they couldn’t care less whether professionals are licensed or not; they would want to end licensure.

  32. Charles Says:

    I learned about this kind of conservative thinking from an acquaintance of mine who operates a conservative blog in Virginia. He believes that it is ideologically and morally wrong for the government to help old people. Consequently, it is my understanding that he would cancel social security, medicare, and any other federal or state program that provides assistance to the elderly. He believes that the children of old people should be “personally responsible” for meeting EVERY NEED of their elderly parents. This is a system that he feels worked really well in the old days, and we should go back to it. According to him doing it this way would be more Biblical because this is what people did in those times. Never mind that he is only 28 years old and has no earthly idea what it was really like to care for elderly parents in the “old days.”

    He forgets the fact that the American family was often a large extended family living in the same house or a couple of adjacent houses in the old days, and most of them lived on farms where their means of total support were at the house. It would be nearly impossible for the isolated nuclear family of today to meets its own needs and the needs of elderly parents. It would tear many families apart and bankrupt them.

    All my acquaintance can see are the tax dollars he would no longer have to pay to support someone else’s elderly parents. Because he is young, he does not have an “old people” problem at his house. Therefore, he has the luxury of being able to think this way—having been nursed and schooled by the greatest intellectual minds of our age: Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc.

    I just wish the elderly people in this country would wake up to the fact that these conservatives with these fruitcake ideas are their enemies and not their friends.

  33. Cytocop Says:

    Charles, I know some people here in San Antonio who are of the same mind as your acquaintance. If they had their way, they would eliminate all government regulation. (Apparently, they aspire to be the next Bernie Madoffs). They say they want to return to a Constitutionally-governed United States; i.e. no regulation. No IRS, FCC, OSHA, no SEC, Social Security, and the whole enchilada of the alphabet soup.

    I could go along with no IRS but I really wonder if these extremists have thought out what this country would look like without its alphabet soup. We’d have a very weak government for one thing. In fact, we’d look a lot like Somalia and Afghanistan: weak-to-nonexistent central governments, every person for him/herself. If you’re stinkin’ rich like your acquaintance and these ultra-libertarians that I know, it might be a nice life. Living in a walled fortress of a home, having your own little private army of police/bodyguards. No pesky government regs to have to abide by. Very few taxes since there’s hardly any government infrastructure to support. No public schools to fund…. you’d just hire private teachers to teach your kids at home.

    You could do whatever you want since the most you’d need to do is just bribe whomever you need to bribe to get your way.

    If you’re in business, you can treat your employees like slaves. No labor laws! If your employees died due to your neglect, so what? Who’s going to bother you?

    Yep, a very nice life for the super rich and well-connected.

  34. Malcolm Says:

    I was referred to TFN by a friend that lives in Texas, to be honest I thought it was an elaborate joke at the beggining. With time it comes together, the outpourings of the Texas SBE are well matched to the idiocy of george bush. The thing that puzzles us in the outside world is how can this happen? How can such people be elected again and again, where is the United States that the film industry leads the outside world to expect, where are the educated thinking people we see depicted? How is this tolerated in the 21st century?

    We do see stunned and frightened Americans down under, only now do I begin to percieve their fear and why they must run so far. Congratulations TFN on your laudable effort to offer an alternitive point of view.

  35. Snorlax Says:

    If you have kids in school, you SHOULD move from Texas. But not to Louisiana.

    Louisiana just passed a law allowing teachers to add “supplemental” Intellichimp Design nonsense to science curriculum.

    A biology seminar that attracts 1800 scientists has already moved their planned New Orleans convention to another state because of these redneck reactionaries.

    Come on up to Colorado. We don’t allow that nonsense up here. And we’d be happy to have your students and your tax dollars. And since I work with schools, it would help me out if your kids moved here and made our schools stronger.

    Texas is going to suffer for this Neanderthal behavior. Science people will shun your stupid state and move elsewhere.

    Maybe that’s why they cancelled the supercollider. Your state is full of ignorant hicks and isn’t worthy of a supercollider.

  36. jaye Says:

    When you call the conservatives “fruitcakes,” “ignorant hicks,” and other charming name calling you lower the debate about education, and how history, and government are taught. If you don’t address conservative concerns about how the world is changing around them, their fears of the unknown, and all the concerns that nativists movements in American history have expressed, you aren’t going to bring middle of the road people to your cause.

    I know, there is no middle of the road where reality is concerned, but the middle of the road is where politics happens.

    Civility from this side would go a long way in making this debate easier.

    To dismiss these people is the same elitist mistake supporters of Scopes, Darwin, and Clarence Darrow made. Scopes lost. These people share this state, its future, our children, our world with us. It would do educated folks a lot of good to try to understand why people are afraid, what it means to them to be called “fruitcakes” for their religious beliefs. You aren’t acting like educated people if you keep calling sincerely religious, conservative people “crazy.” If we are educated, why are we name-calling? We aren’t persuading anyone with this childishness. Make your arguments for telling the truth and make your arguments about how important faith is to the American people. What is wrong with a curriculum that informs everyone on the importance of religious liberty? Balance Joseph McCarthy with Edward R. Murrow. Murrow let McCarthy bury himself. All he did was give him the forum to do it. Franklin Roosevelt scoffed at his critics but he didn’t dismiss them as “looneys.” He had to win middle of the road support with dignity and humor, not name calling.

    Stop telling everyone how smart you are and allow the truth of the American story tell itself.

    I am more liberal than most of you, I would wager to say, and I am offended by your tactics. You aren’t any better than those you criticize. As a matter of fact, if you were smarter, you would know how ineffective you are when you stoop this low.

    Guess what? There were communists who gave Stalin the secrets to the atomic bomb. Was our country destroyed by the misguided idealism of some confused and possibly dangerous individuals? Was J. Edgar Hoover wrong to push for the execution of Ethel Rosenberg? Yes. But her brother was indeed a spy. If you are afraid to say McCarthy had a huge following then something is terribly wrong at the heart of your understanding of America that is as wrong as calling McCarthy a hero. People named names before committees. Did that make them less American? No, it meant that they did what they thought was the right thing to do. Did people suffer because of being named? Yes they did. Are you saying that naming names in the McCarthy era is the same thing as reporting suspicious activities of possible terrorists today? It isn’t and you know it. I am not sure that name calling doesn’t take us one step further down that path of tearing the nation apart all over again. How in the world are you going to teach students that McCarthyism is wrong if you censor the supporters of McCarthy?

    Saying that you can’t talk to conservatives about education is like saying that J. Robert Oppenheimer should have lost his security clearance because he was married to a woman who had supported communism.

    You will have to sit down and talk to these “fruitcakes” because you need their tax dollars to run the schools and pave the streets. So, bring your college degrees and your human understanding to the table. You aren’t going to teach them anything when you call them names and you aren’t going to compromise with them until you learn some manners.

    Jaye Ramsey Sutter, J.D.
    Professor
    Government, Political Science, and Criminal Justice
    Houston Community College–Southwest

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