Archive for the ‘Texas politics’ Category

Colbert Takes on Texas State Rep

November 8, 2011

Here we go again. Will Texas ever go, say, an entire year without becoming fodder for the likes of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

Another Texas lawmaker became the punchline last night on Colbert’s Comedy Central show. This time it was state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and his use of an ethnic slur during a committee hearing last week.
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You Need Only One Guess

June 21, 2011

Let’s play fill in the blank. Check out the following quotes from two Texas legislators about the potential mingling of public funds and a religious doctrine. The first is by state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, followed by state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center. See if you can guess what religion they’re railing against.

“Apparently it’s (involved in) indoctrination of _____.”

And:

“If it’s true — and I don’t know that it is — if they’re teaching _____, that’s a problem.”

Have a guess? Here’s a clue: it isn’t Christianity.

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‘The Willingness to Die’

January 12, 2011

Think the tea party is going to tone down its violent rhetoric in the wake of the horrific shooting that left six innocent people dead in Arizona last weekend?

Think the religious right is willing to let lawmakers focus on critical fiscal issues in these tough economic times?

Think the far right has recognized the need for compromise to govern in a sharply divided nation?

Not in Texas.

“Do they [politicians] have the willingness to die to overturn the tyranny we see not only in this nation but in this state? That’s what it’s going to take. Do you hear me? That’s what it’s gonna take!”

That’s Apostle Clāver T. Kamau-Imani of a group called “Raging Elephant,” speaking at a rally of several hundred tea party activists at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday. Kamau-Imani and other speakers left little doubt about what their extremist vision for politics in Texas entails.

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Talking Points

April 8, 2010

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“Here’s what we gotta realize as Christians, every student on every campus in this country that gets that philosophy of a godless Constitution — keep religion out of this political process and out of civil government — every one of those students is gonna impact you.”

— Rick Green, who could be the Republican nominee for a Texas Supreme Court seat if he beats Fort Worth family district court judge Debra Lehrmann in Tuesday’s primary runoff.

Stay informed with TFN News Clips, a daily digest of news about politics and the religious right. Subscribe here.

The Right’s ‘Culture War’ Drags on in Houston

April 6, 2010

Religious-righters in Houston are still foaming at the mouth over the election last fall of an openly gay candidate, then-city controller Annise Parker, as mayor. As reported last fall, religious extremists disingenuously claimed Parker had made her sexual orientation “a central part of her campaign” and warned that her election would be “destructive to the family.”

Among those behind the anti-Parker smear campaign was Dave Welch, head of the far-right Houston Area Pastor Council. Now the Pastor Council is denouncing two executive orders Parker signed last week protecting city employees from harassment or discrimination in hiring, promotion and contracting based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They also allow transgendered city employees — but not nonemployees — to use restroom facilities in city-owned buildings for the gender with which they identify.

In a press release today, the Pastor Council’s spokespeople warned of “cross-dressing men invading” women’s restrooms as a result. And Pastor Hernan Castano, senior pastor of Iglesia Rios de Aceite, argued that the orders were too broad:

“There are currently no legal boundaries of either of these two new categories of minority status, unlike the color of a person’s skin, their biological gender or religious faith. Protecting ‘expression’ and ‘identity’ are designed to drop the bottom out of our moral foundation. This is not only morally wrong it exposes the city and therefore the taxpayers to endless litigation and expenses. It is irresponsible and indefensible.”

You can expect the culture war over Parker’s mayoral administration to continue for quite some time.

Lawmakers to Texas Ed Board: It’s Time to Talk

March 31, 2010

Today Texas lawmakers picked up a bigger megaphone to get the attention of a bitterly divided, out-of-control State Board of Education. At a Capitol press conference, members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) announced that they are scheduling a public hearing for April 28 to examine how and why the state board has run off the tracks and what the Texas Legislature should do about it.

Calling the board a “national circus,” MALC Chairman Trey Martinez Fischer (photo), a Democratic state representative from San Antonio, said the hearing will focus on the board’s badly broken process for developing curriculum standards and adopting textbooks. The hearing will also look at the highly controversial decisions the board has made in the development of new social studies standards this year.

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A Plea for Change on the SBOE

March 2, 2010

As we all wait for election results this evening, check out Paul Burka’s excellent essay about the State Board of Education that just went online at Texas Monthly. Money quotes:

“I do not toss around the term ‘far right’ groundlessly. Here is how retiring board member Cynthia Dunbar describes the institution of public education in her recent book, One Nation Under God: a ‘subtly deceptive tool of perversion.’ Dunbar and her allies on the SBOE have given up on public education. Rather than address how to improve public schools, they seek to slay dragons—evolution, sex education, whole language, new ways of teaching math, unpatriotic depictions of Texas and American history.”

“The bipartisan political action committee Parent PAC has emerged in the past two election cycles to back candidates who support public schools; witness its endorsement of (Thomas) Ratliff against (Don) McElroy. The Texas Freedom Network calls attention to outrages, of which there is no shortage. For many years there have been no consequences for a majority faction that has failed to put the future of Texas ahead of its personal and ideological agendas. With any luck, the majority won’t be a majority anymore.”

Read the whole thing.

We will have updates on TFN Insider this evening as results come in from the polls.

McLeroy, Mercer Get Late Money

March 1, 2010

Houston homebuilder Bob Perry put $5,000 into College Station incumbent Don McLeroy‘s shaky State Board of Education campaign on Friday, according to a “telegram” report published on the Texas Ethics Commission Web site late today. San Antonio incumbent Ken Mercer also reported $1,200 in late contributions from two donors (but not Perry) over the weekend.

Bob Perry is one of the nation’s biggest campaign donors, and he spreads his money around to Republicans and Democrats (with Republicans getting a particularly healthy share). He also helped bankroll the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth smear campaign against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004.

He has been known to support some “culture war” issues as well. In 2005, for example, he poured $160,000 into political action committees that supported passage of a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage in Texas.

Despite the late donations to their campaigns, McLeroy and Mercer still trail far behind their Republican primary challengers — Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant and Tim Tuggey of Austin — in total fundraising.

Check our our most recent report on campaign fundraising for State Board of Education races.

Barton: Garbage in, Garbage out

February 19, 2010

The Texas Tea Party provides another good example of how David Barton’s poor scholarship (if you can call it scholarship) isn’t just bad for public education – it also fosters falsehoods and distortions throughout our civic life.

One of the links on the Tea Party Web site asks: “What of our Christian Heritage?” Visitors then go to a page that lists a half-dozen quotes attributed to the Founders, each quote suggesting that America’s Founders wanted to create a Christian nation.

One problem, of course, is that the Tea Party is cherry-picking and taking out of context quotations favorable to their point of view. Even worse, however, is that some of the statements the Tea Partiers attribute to the Founders appear to be fraudulent. In fact, two are among a long list of quotes that Barton has used in the past (supporting his “Christian nation” argument) even though he admits that neither he nor real historians can point to evidence that the Founders ever said them.

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Childish Taunts in Governor’s Race

February 5, 2010

No one should be surprised by taunting in partisan politics. But are there no limits?

Today’s e-mail from the right-wing, Midland-based lobby group/PAC Empower Texans notes that Democrats Farouk Shami and Bill White will square off on Monday in a gubernatorial debate. “The comedy factor will be high, if for no other reason than both men are likely to lose in November,” writes the group’s president, Michael Quinn Sullivan. (Empower Texans PAC has endorsed Gov. Rick Perry for re-election.) Then this:

“I still think ‘Shami-White’ sounds like a car-care product.”

Making fun of someone’s name? Really? How classy.

Troubling Turn in Houston Mayor’s Race

December 8, 2009

We told you that a group of anti-gay extremists has launched a coordinated attack campaign against Annise Parker, an openly gay candidate in Houston’s mayoral runoff on Dec. 12. Now the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the finance chairman and a finance committee member for Parker’s opponent, Gene Locke, may have helped bankroll those attacks from the fringe right.

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Sadun Drops Challenge for Dunbar SBOE Seat

December 8, 2009

Lorenzo Sadun, a University of Texas mathematics professor, has announced that he is dropping his bid to replace State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, in the 2010 elections. That leaves only one announced Democratic candidate for the seat, education consultant Judy Jennings of Austin. Dunbar still faces Williamson County teacher Rebecca Osborne in the March Republican Primary.

See Sadun’s announcement after the jump.

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Barton Colleague Seeks High Court Seat

November 25, 2009

It’s bad enough when legislators try to use government to promote their own religious views over those of everybody else. It’s even worse when politicians try to use the courts to do it. So anyone who supports religious freedom should be concerned that former state Rep. Rick Green — a Republican from Dripping Springs southwest of Austin — is seeking a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. And if he wins, Texas will have a justice who not only opposes separation of church and state but also excuses torture by our own government.

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Talking Points

November 18, 2009

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“It’s pretty clear the organizational Republican Party in the state has been pretty much totally captured by the extreme right, with Cathie Adams being the most recent example by winning the vote in their executive committee.”

— Richard Murray, a University of Houston political scientist, in a story about the Texas governor’s race and its implications for the state Republican Party. Cathie Adams became chair of the Texas GOP in October.

Stay informed with TFN News Clips, a daily digest of news about politics and the religious right. Subscribe here.

Already Looking to Dump Cathie Adams?

November 11, 2009

Are Texas Republicans already looking to dump Cathie Adams, the state party’s newly appointed chair? Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Adams already has an opponent in next year’s June election for party chair: Tom Mechler of Amarillo. He reports that former Texas GOP chair George Strake is backing Mechler’s bid to replace Adams when the party meets at its June convention.

Selby notes that some Republicans are concerned that Adams is too “sharp-edged.” That’s putting it mildly. Adams can barely open her mouth without some extremist nonsense tumbling out of it. She has even compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Strake says he hopes Adams will decide not to seek a full term as chair in June:

“We can’t afford the luxury of a blood bath right now. We’ve got to regroup, reorganize and get on down the road. We’re in a battle for survival right now.”

The developing civil war between traditional conservatives and far-right extremists in the Texas GOP should be interesting to watch.