Abbott’s New SBOE Chair Yada Yadas Jim Crow & the Ku Klux Klan, but Makes Sure Everyone Knows Moses Was Practically a Founding Father

OK, so she didn’t technically say yada yada, but Donna Bahorich, Gov. Greg Abbott’s pick to chair the State Board of Education, pretty much voted to minimize any emphasis on slavery as the cause of the Civil War, and glossed over the nation’s troubling and often violent history of postwar racism, yet did make a passionate case for including a fictional figure from a religious text as a key influence on our founding fathers based in part on her interpretation of some failed art projects by Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

I explain it all in greater depth on Burnt Orange Report today.

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Serious Question

When the follow-up news story to reports of how the state’s attorney general willfully misrepresented the obligation states have to follow Supreme Court decisions generates headlines like:

First-degree felony charges
to be sought against
Texas AG Ken Paxton

is it time for said AG to tender his resignation to the governor? Or for the governor to demand it be submitted?

kp in jail stripes

Posted in good grief, politics, Texas | Tagged | 4 Comments

I Think He’s Not Waiting For It To Be Legalized

Pot, that is. And by he, I mean David Simpson (R-Longview).

Simpson filed a bill in the 84th session that would have removed any reference to marijuana from state criminal law (although he said he’d be fine regulating it the same way we regulate things like tomatoes). He explained:

“Everything that God made is good, even marijuana. The conservative thought is that government doesn’t need to fix something that God made good.”

Following that, um, logic, this week, he took a break from staring intently at his hand to ask the governor to convene a special session to take Texas out of the marriage license business. The state, he contends, should not play any role in validating a religious ceremony.

“I don’t like calling a special session. It’s costly. But when you’re faced with this confusion and chaos … something has to be done.”

In Simpson’s view, religious couples seeking to marry would solicit clergy, who would administer the marriage and provide documentation. Non-religious couples could create their own marriage documents and have them sealed at a notary public. The couples would then be eligible for marriage benefits.

Simpson doesn’t approve of same sex marriage — in fact he doesn’t even consider it marriage — but he said he’s not in a position to forbid anyone from doing anything that doesn’t harm anyone.

“They’re free people, and they have rights and they’ll only have to answer to God. It’s not my opinion that matters.

Sorry, Simpson, I doubt the governor will call a special session, unless someone comes up with a novel approach to restricting abortion access.

The only confusion and chaos seems to be among Republican elected officials, who are twisting themselves like sideshow contortionists to find a way to strip rights away from certain fellow Texans.

These human pretzel antics come from the same movement that had “religious corporations”* protesting that merely signing a waiver to earn an exemption from providing contraceptive coverage under Affordable Care Act guidelines is itself a violation of religious freedom.

We are a nation of laws. We are not a theocracy. At some point, you’re going to get a little peanut butter in your chocolate, and you’re going to get a little government in your private life, and you’re going to be OK. You might even be glad it’s there.

As a wise woman I know said, it is time for fringe religious right Republicans to “render unto Caesar and STFU.”

If you want a god to rule your life and your heart, well, glory be and pass the biscuits. But don’t go into the governing business and think that gives you the right to legislate your religious views.

The tantrums must stop. The political piety must stop. Texas schools need funds, our roads and bridges need repairs, and our water needs protecting. Fees from marriage licenses are part of what lets the GOP keep up the charade of Texas being a low-tax state. They need to put down the pipe and let it be.


*”Religious corporation” is not technically legal corporate structure, but try telling that to Hobby Lobby.

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Guess the Battle Plan Against LGBTQIA Community By Considering Abortion

I’ll be blogging at least once a week at Burnt Orange Report.

My first post yesterday covered the way my Spidey sense tingled when I heard the bigoted elected officials and “religious” activists talk about how they plan to attack the newly defined right for same-sex marriage after the Obergefell decision.

In a nutshell, they’re threatening to go after LGBTQIA rights the same way they’ve gone after abortion rights—a multi-pronged strategy that will take time and chip away slowly, slowly, on so many fronts that it will suck massive resources away from any other priorities. They don’t see the Supreme Court decision as the last word, but as an opening salvo. It’s exhausting, but we can prepare for it, and fight back smarter by learning the lessons of the abortion rights and reproductive justice movements.

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Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup 6 22 2015

The thoughts and prayers of the Texas Progressive Alliance are with the families and friends of the victims of the horrible shooting in Charleston as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the latest developments in the ongoing investigation against AG Ken Paxton.

Letters from Texas advises Capitol staffers how to respond to the Texas Monthly Best and Worst Legislators list.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos spanks the GOP for its craven use of dog whistles and thinly veiled racism. Come and Take the Truth About Playing the Race Card, GOP.

Will the outcome of Houston’s mayoral race be similar to San Antonio’s — abysmal turnout, two Democrats in a runoff, one going after Republican votes in order to win? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs would prefer almost any other scenario besides that one.

Moving towards offering an accessible and comprehensive way to view all of life, Neil at All People Have Value added a page of pictures he has taken out in everyday life to his website. APHV is part of

Socratic Gadfly says that, although the symbolism of the Confederate flag is offensive, the First Amendment protects offensiveness, and the Supreme Court got it wrong in ruling Texas can ban Sons of Confederate Veterans vanity plates.

With municipal elections looming large in the background, Texas Leftist tried to keep up with intense political theater that was this year’s Houston City Budget”… the last ever of the Annise Parker Mayoralty.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The TSTA Blog has plenty of reasons to fear a Scott Walker presidency.

Better Texas Blog measures the impact in Texas of an adverse SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell.

Juanita Jean marvels at the story about Texas’ own Fort Knox.

Texas Vox calls on the CFPB to end forced arbitration.

The Lunch Tray bemoans Ag Commissioner Sid Miller’s decision to lift a decade-old ban on deep fat fryers in schools, ironically done as part of an initiative to fight childhood obesity.

And finally, the TPA congratulates Scott Henson of Grits for Breakfast on his new gig as Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Texas.

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But If We Change The Schools Named for Confederates …

… then where do we stop?

I’ve heard that, and variations, raised as both an objection intended to derail a conversation, and as an honest question. Here’s my answer.

True, schools are not the only places that bear Confederate names.

And true, plenty of schools (and other places) are named for people from our history who were less than perfect. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and their names are engraved above plenty of doorways.

By asking that schools named for Confederate generals and officials change their names, we’re not asking for history to be erased. We cannot and should not erase it, but we should put that history in context.

We’re not telling people they need to be ashamed for what a relative born over a century ago did or didn’t do. We are, however, asking people to be responsible for what they themselves do today when it comes to addressing institutional racism.

Education and schools are central to this country’s struggle with race. Teaching slaves to read was against the law, and even in “free” states, educating Blacks was controversial:

jpg almanac

Violent confrontations took place on schoolhouse steps, and children carried their parents’ messages of hate and fear to the streets:

3 horribly misguided children


People used the battle flag of the Confederate Army in protests against integrating schools.

Photo by Melissa Farlow, 1975, The Courier-Journal

Photo by Melissa Farlow, 1975, The Courier-Journal

Freedom schools, huelga schools—Blacks and Chicanos understood the meaning and value of education, and when not granted equal access, they created it for themselves.

Schools were the institutions of separate but equal. They were, and still are, given how we fund them so inadequately, the central institutions for institutionalized racism.

That’s why we have to start with schools.

We cannot worry that we won’t be able to change everything. We won’t, not all at once.

We do have to start, however, and schools are the place to do so. Racism is taught. It is a learned behavior. If we want to stop it, we should at the very least make the places we send children to learn as free from it as possible.

PS – Are there other changes we need to make? Yes. This is not a zero-sum game. Raising other issues in response to this issue derails this conversation. We are humans. We have multiple conversations all of the time. Your mother can love all of her children at the same time. I am not saying we ignore school funding or gun violence or any of the many other manifestations of institutional racism. I’m saying that changing school names is a key part of this work, so let’s do it now.

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Another Assault on Poor People – Cutting Title X

So, the assault on access to healthcare for low-income people continues, courtesy of the radicals in Congress:

House Republicans released a budget proposal this week that would eliminate funding for the Title X program, a decades-old network of family planning providers offering birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing, and reproductive health treatment to millions of low-income women across the country.

The Title X program was first created in 1970 under former President Richard Nixon. Back then, federally-funded family planning services had broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle acknowledged the government’s role in making birth control more accessible to impoverished Americans. “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition,” Nixon declared at the time.
~ More at Politico

I don’t have time for much, so I want to ask if you know who one of the biggest champions of Title X was, other than President Nixon? Here’s a hint:

ghwb family planning



Hey, reasonable Republicans, come collect the radicals & take back your party, please. The rest of us sure would appreciate it.

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