Texas primary TODAY! Voter ID law not applied

May 29, 2012

Registered voter in Texas?   Remember to vote today in the Texas primary.  Twice delayed due to the shenanigans on biased redistricting by the Republican Lege, we finally get going on voting — after the precinct and Senate district political conventions have already occurred (just two weeks from the Texas Democratic State Convention).

texas our texas

Flags fly at the Texas Capitol; fly your flags today for election day (Photo credit: jmtimages)

Happy to see the Texas Democratic Party sending out notices that voters won’t be turned away from the polls for identification issues. Texas’s Jim Crow Voter Identification Hurdle Law has been stayed in litigation separate from the redistricting law suit.  It’s a clear effort to deflate the voting discouragement campaign of State Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Republicans of the Texas Lege.

Earlier letter from the Texas Democrats:

TDP Banner

Dear Ed,

On Monday, the polls will open [TODAY] for early voting for the May 29th Democratic Primary Election. We’ll be selecting the Democratic nominees who will lead the charge towards taking back our state in 2012.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard:

Confirm that you’re registered to vote. You can verify your registration on the Secretary of State’s website.

Find your early voting location by contacting your county elections office. Early voting for the Primary Election runs from Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 25th.

Request to have a ballot mailed to you. Your application for a mail ballot must be received no later than Tuesday, May 22nd.

Use the same documents that you’ve used in the past to vote. No photo ID is required! The photo voter id legislation is not in effect for this election. All you need is:

  • Your voter registration card;
  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by Texas or another state (even if the license or card has expired);
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Want to know who’s on the ballot? A list of the Democratic candidates is available on our website.

Want to know more about voting in Texas? Visit VoteTexas.gov.

Want to help elect Democrats in your county? Have questions about local races? Contact your Democratic County Chair.

Sincerely,

Boyd L. Richie

Boyd L. Richie
Chairman
Texas Democratic Party

Did the Republicans inform their voters of the ID requirements, or do they want to discourage even Republican voters?   They keep booting me off their lists. Anybody got a similar letter from them, especially one showing how the Texas Voter Identification law does not apply to this primary election?

_____________

* The elections were delayed by federal court orders. Texas is a place that historically discriminated against minority voters, and so under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reapportionments by the legislature must be approved by the Justice Department or a federal court as complying with the nondiscrimination laws. AG Abbott tried to do an end run around Justice, suing for approval as a first step. As part of its War on Democracy, the Texas Lege wrote a spectacularly Gerrymandered reapportionment plan, depriving Texas Hispanics from new representation despite the dramatic increase in their populations. Consequently the federal courts balked at quick approval. Instead, they asked for more information.

In the delay, the Washington courts ordered the federal court in San Antonio to draw up a more fair plan, giving at least three new seats to districts where historically minority voters hold broad sway.

Litigation against the Texas Jim Crow Voter Identification law is separate.

ALEC CROW - 21st Century Disenfranchisement

ALEC CROW – 21st Century Disenfranchisement (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey) — not in effect for today’s Texas primary elections


Encore post, new coda: Worldview of Texas education policy makers

March 18, 2010

From a post many weeks ago, “Speaking of Texas education policy,” made more salient by events of the past month:

Moon landing and wrestling in America

from Funnyjunk

This is a troubling piece of humor. From Funnyjunk.

  • “America.  A country where people believe the moon landing is fake, but wrestling is real.”

And now we can add even more captions:

  • A country where state curriculum officials go to churches that warn against belief in ghosts, but who believe Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin came back from the grave to wrestle the quill from Jefferson and write the Declaration of Independence.
    [Heh.  Wouldn’t you love to see Aquinas and Calvin in the same room, trying to come to agreement on anything?]
  • A country with Barack Obama as president and where women’s basketball is a joy to watch during March Madness thanks to the the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title IX, but Cynthia Dunbar believes the Civil Rights Act itself was a mistake.
  • A country where Barbara McClintock did the research that showed how evolution works and won her a Nobel, but where Texans deny that a woman should do such work, and deny evolution.
  • A capitalist nation where Jack Kilby invented the printed circuit and had a good life, but where the Texas SSOE thinks “capitalism” is a dirty word.
    (No, ma’am, I couldn’t make that up.  They did it.  They took out the word “capitalism” because they say those “liberal economists” like Milton Friedman can’t be trusted.  Seriously.  No, really.  Go look it up.)
  • Home of Thomas Jefferson, whose words in the Declaration of Independence so sting tyrants and dictators that today, in the most repressive nations, even oppressive systems must pretend to follow Jefferson — hence, the “Peoples Republic of Korea,” “the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” “Peoples Republic of China,” and the provisions of the old Soviet Union’s Constitution that “guaranteed” freedom of speech and freedom of religion; but where Thomas Jefferson is held in contempt, and John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas claimed as the authors of American freedom. [I wonder what the Society of the Cincinnati have to say about that?]
  • Where Mark Twain’s profound, greatest American novel Huckleberry Finn made clear the case against racism and oppression of former slaves, but where school kids don’t read it because their misguided parents think it’s racist.
  • A nation where Cynthia Dunbar thinks Thomas Jefferson gets too much credit, but Barack Obama is a foreign terrorist
  • A nation where conservatives complain that the Supreme Court should never look at foreign laws for advice, wisdom, or precedent, but believe that Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican friar from Italy, and John Calvin, a French dissident who fled to Switzerland, pulled a religious coup d’etat and is infamous for executing people who disagreed with his religious views, wrote the Declaration of Independence.

I’ll wager there are more, more annoying, more inaccurate statements from the Texas SSOE members in the Texas Education Follies, which will make much briefer complaints and better bumper stickers.

Other posts at the Bathtub you should read, mostly featuring Ms. Dunbar:

Also:


Another way to tell Republicans and opponents of health care reform have lost their minds, or their hearts, or their conscience

August 1, 2009

Republicans and opponents of health care reform make Dave Barry look like the prophet Isaiah with greatly improved accuracy.  You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried, as Dave Barry often says.

I have the right to protection, pleads this innocent little boy, in a poster for the State of Arizona Crime Victims Services division of the Department of Public Safety.  The Heritage Foundation ridicules federal support for child abuse prevention programs as unnecessary federal intrusion.

Included in the massive health care reform bill is some extra money to help out states and communities that have had difficulty getting effective programs going to combat child abuse.  Pilot programs demonstrated that community health workers could provide a few parenting programs and dramatically reduce child abuse.

These are programs that prevent dead babies.

According to the text of H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” starting on page 838 is a description of a program under which states and communities can get money to fight child abuse, if they have large populations of poor families, where child abuse is a problem, and where anti-child abuse programs need more money.  That’s pretty straightforward, no?  [That’s a hefty .pdf file, by the way — more than 1,000 pages.]

Parenting instruction and help can be offered, in private settings, and in homes where struggling parents need help most.

Money goes to states that want it and can demonstrate a need.  Parenting help programs are purely voluntary under H.R. 3200.

Who supports child abuse?  Who would not support spending some of the money in health care reform to save the saddest cases, the children who are beaten or starved or psychologically abused?

Is it not true that the prevention of child abuse would contribute to better health care for less money?

This is politics, you know.  Non-thinking conservatives pull out the stops in their desire to drive the health bill to oblivion, claiming that these anti-child abuse sections are socialism, liberty-depriving, and a threat to the designated hitter rule.  (I only exaggerate a little on the third point.)

This isn’t stripping liberties is it, we want someone else coming into our homes and telling us how to raise our children and live our lives.

This is right out of the Book 1984. If you had not read it I suggest it.

“Right out of 1984?”  Isn’t this a violation of  Godwin’s Law?

The Heritage Foundation appears to have taken a turn to radicalism, now advocating against fighting child abuse, and calling anti-child abuse programs a “stealth agenda.”

Have the Heritage Foundation, and these other people, lost their collective minds? They complain about the provisions of this bill because — this is their words:

One troublesome provision calls for a home visitation program that would bring state workers into the homes of young families to improve “the well-being, health, and development of children”.

Well, heaven forbid we should improve the well-being, health and development of children!

It is fair to conclude from this report that the Heritage Foundation does not want to prevent dead babies.

Years ago, when Father Reagan presided over the Conservative Church, one of the Heritage Foundation favorite deacons, a guy named Al Regnery, was appointed to be assistant attorney general over programs dealing with youth — juvenile delinquents, drug users, etc.  His chief qualifications for the job included that he was a faithful aide to Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, and that he toed the party line on almost all issues, including shutting down federal funding for programs that might prevent juvenile delinquency, or treat it.

Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee under Sen. Strom Thurmond, so Regnery’s confirmation was never doubted.  But as if to throw gasoline in the face of advocates of anti-delinquency programs, When Regnery drove up to the Senate office buildings for his nomination hearing, his car had a generally humorous bumper sticker.  “Have you hugged your kid today” showed on about 200 million of the 100 million cars in America at the time — it was a cliché.  To fight the cliché, Regnery had the anti-fuzzy bumper sticker, “Have you slugged your kid today.”

When the issue hit the news, Regnery backpedalled, and said it was just a joke sticker that he probably should have taken off his car under the circumstances, but he forgot — and Regnery disavowed the bumper sticker, as humorous or anything else.

Comes 2009, we discover that the Heritage Foundation wasn’t kidding — slugging your kid is acceptable behavior to them, and creating programs to fight child abuse, is evil — to the Heritage Foundation.

Ronald Reagan would be ashamed of them.  Somebody has to be ashamed — there appears to be no shame at Heritage Foundation offices.

One wouldn’t worry — surely common sense American citizens can see through these cheap deceptions —  except that Heritage has a massive public relations budget, and there is a corps of willing gullibles waiting to swallow as fact any fantasy Heritage dreams up — see this discussion board on ComCast, where the discussants accept Heritage claims at face value though anyone with even a dime-store excrement detector would be wary; or see this blogger who says he won’t let the feds “take away” his liberties (to beat his children, or the children of others?); or this forum, where some naif thinks the bill will create a federal behavior czarGlenn Beck, whose religion reveres children, can’t resist taking a cheap shot at Obama, even though doing so requires Beck to stand up for child abuse.

Beck falls into the worst category, spreading incredible falsehoods as if he understood the bill:

This doesn’t scare me! No way. Just the crazies like Winston Smith — you know, the main character from “1984.”

When did we go from being a nation that believed in hard work and picking yourself up by the bootstraps, to a nation that wants government to control everything from our light bulbs to our parenting techniques?

This bill has to be stopped.

Gee, Glenn — when did we go from a nation that thought government was for the people, as demonstrated by the Agricultural Extension Service, or the Air Traffic Control System, or the Tennessee Valley Authority, to a nation that fights to bring back Czarist Russian government in the U.S.?  Stopping this bill won’t resurrect Czar Nicholas, and it will kill at least a few hundred American kids.  Excuse me if I choose living American kids over fantasies of a new and oppressive monarchy.

These people are not journalists. Beck isn’t like Orwell — maybe more like Ezra Pound, in Italy.  These people are not commentators, or columnists.  These people are not editorial writers.  They are not, most of them, lobbyists who give out  information for money, having sold their souls away from the angels of serious public discourse.

They are crass propagandists. They should be regarded more like the guy Tom Lehrer warned us about, the old dope peddler in the park, who always has just a little bit of poison for the kids or anyone else.  (“Don’t worry; you won’t get hooked.”)

How many other provisions of the health reform act are being distorted by conservatives in a desperate attempt to keep President Obama from “looking good,” despite the costs to America’s children and families?

These attacks on the health reform bill fall out of the category of robust discussion.  They disgrace our polity, and they erode the dignity of our democratic system.

Please share the information on this bill:

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Below the fold:  An example of the type of program Beck and Heritage call socialism, 1984-ish, and dangerous.

Read the rest of this entry »


Texas social studies curriculum panel reports: The Great Texas History Smackdown

July 7, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to take a serious summer vacation, finish the latest Doris Kearns Goodwin, and catch up on a couple of novels . . .

The sharks of education policy are back.

Or the long knives are about to come out (vicious historical reference, of course, but I’m wagering the anti-education folks didn’t catch it).  Pick your metaphor.

Our friend Steve Schafersman sent out an e-mail alert this morning:

The Expert Reviews of the proposed Texas Social Studies curriculum are now available at

http://ritter. tea.state. tx.us/teks/ social/experts. html

Social Studies Expert Reviewers

  • David Barton, President, WallBuilders
    Review of Current Social Studies TEKS
  • Jesus Francisco de la Teja, Professor and Chair, Department of History, Texas State University
    Review of Current Social Studies TEKS
  • Daniel L. Dreisbach, Professor, American University
    Review of Current Social Studies TEKS
  • Lybeth Hodges, Professor, History, Texas Woman’s University
    Review of Current Social Studies TEKS
  • Jim Kracht, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University
    Review of Current Social Studies TEKS
  • Peter Marshall, President, Peter Marshall Ministries
    Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

You can download their review as a pdf file.

Three of these reviewers are legitimate, knowledgeable, and respected academics who undoubtedly did a fair, competent, and professional job. The other three are anti-church- state separation, anti-secular public government, and pseudoscholars and pseudohistorians. I expect their contributions to be biased, unprofessional, and pseudoscholarly. Here are the bad ones:

Barton may be the worst of the three. He founded Wallbuilders to deliberately destroy C-S separation and promote Fundamentalist Christianity in US government. Just about everything he has written is unhistorical and inaccurate. For example, Barton has published numerous “quotes” about C-S separation made by the Founding Fathers that upon investigation turned out to be hoaxes. Here’s what Senator Arlen Specter had to say about Barton:

Probably the best refutation of Barton’s argument simply is to quote his own exegesis of the First Amendment: “Today,” Barton says, “we would best understand the actual context of the First Amendment by saying, ‘Congress shall make no law establishing one Christian denomination as the national denomination. ‘ ” In keeping with Barton’s restated First Amendment, Congress could presumably make a law establishing all Christian denominations as the national religion, and each state could pass a law establishing a particular Christian church as its official religion.

All of this pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.

I am sure these six will participate in a Great Texas History Smackdown before our crazy SBOE. Perhaps this will finally sicken enough citizens that they will finally vote to get rid of the SBOE, either directly or indirectly. Be sure to listen to this hearing on the web audio. Even better, the web video might be working so you can watch the SBOE Carnival Sideshow.

Steven Schafersman, Ph.D.
President, Texas Citizens for Science

The non-expert experts were appointed by Don McLeroy before the Texas Senate refused to confirm his temporary chairmanship of the State Board of Education.  The good McLeroy may have done as chairman is interred with his dead chairmanship; the evil he did lives on.  (Under McLeroy and Barton’s reading of history and literature, most students won’t catch the reference for the previous sentence.)

Tony Whitson at Curricublog posted information you need to readTexas Freedom Network’s Insider has a first pass analysis of the crank experts’ analyses — they want to make Texas’s social studies curriculum more sexist, more racist, more anti-Semitic, more anti-working man, and closer to Sunday school pseudo-history.  While Dallas prepares to name a major street in honor of Cesar Chavez, Barton and Marshall say he’s too Mexican and too close to Jews, and so should be de-emphasized in history books (a small picture of Chavez appears on one of the main U.S. history texts now).

That’s the stuff that jumps out at first.  What else will we find when we dig?

More to come; watch those spaces, and this one, too.


Insanity at Texas state school board – economics, geography and history

May 27, 2009

Tim Ritz cartoon, for Americans United

Tim Ritz cartoon, for Americans United

Texas Freedom Network’s Insider blog reports that embattled chairman Don McLeroy is working to create a panel of experts to review studies curricula.  The experts he has proposed so far are all well-known cranks in academia, people who bring their axes to grind on the minds of innocent children.

This panel is a bold insult to Texas’s community of economists, historians, and other practitioners of fields of social studies, not to mention educators.  A more qualified panel of experts could be assembled in the coffee break rooms of the history departments at most of Texas’s lesser known state colleges and universities.

Why does Don McLeroy hate Texas so?

I’ve been buried in teaching, grading, planning and the other affairs of the life of a teacher, and had not paid much attention to the movement on this issue (“movement” because I cannot call it “progress”).  My students passed the state tests by comfortable margins, more than 90% of them; this news from SBOE makes me despair even  in the face of the news that our achievements are substantial in all categories.

The panel lacks knowledge and experience in economics, geography and history.  The panel is grotesquely unbalanced — at least two of the panel members remind me of Ezra Taft Benson, who was Secretary of Agriculture for Dwight Eisenhower.  When he resigned from that post, he complained that Eisenhower was too cozy with communism.  Barton and Quist lean well to the right  of Ezra Taft Benson.  Quist has complained of socialist and Marxist leanings of Reagan administration education policy and policy makers.

Samuel Morse sent the first telegraphic message on May 24, 1844:  “What hath God wrought?”

Sitting here on the morning of May 27, 2009, I wonder what rot hath Don.


Bush readies troops to suppress American dissent

September 26, 2008

William K. Wolfrum writes “satire and commentary.”  This would make great satire — but, darn it, it’s not:  “Bush unleashes surge in War on Americans.”

What sort of riots does Bush expect?  When?

Is there a Poe’s Law of politics?  Can we impeach someone who follows that law, and quickly, please?

From Army Times:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

*     *     *     *     *

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.

“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds … it put me on my knees in seconds.”

The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).

“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home … and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”

You read it right.  The Army is coming to “take care of you in your home town.”

Were they being deployed to rebuild New Orleans, I’d regard it as a noble undertaking.  Am I wrong to worry about what is up with this?

Whatever happened to the posse comitatus nuts?

Comments are open.  What do you think?

Resources:


Rewrite the government and civics texts

May 16, 2008

Government teachers, can you find this in the textbooks you use in your classes?

Nat Hentoff reports:

The Bush administration believes, he said, “that the president could ignore or modify existing executive orders that he and other presidents have issued without disclosing the new interpretation.”

I noted before, these are exciting times to be teaching, with all these examples of Constitutional law, and Constitution abuses, and President Bush’s War on the Constitution in the headlines, or buried on page 14, every day.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture WarsNat Hentoff’s original column is at WorldNet Daily (!!!).  The Constitution with comments, and also here.

Other resources:


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