Election Updates

The polls in Texas (except for El Paso) closed a 7 p.m. CST. We’ll try to provide updates on the results in State Board of Education races as we get them. Below are the five big contests we’re following. (I) means incumbent.

Updated at 12:40 a.m. This is the last update of the night. The state board’s far-right faction failed to add another seat tonight when incumbent Bob Craig defeated his challenger. On the other hand, faction member Ken Mercer won his party’s renomination over challenger Tim Tuggey. The race between incumbent Don McLeroy and challenger Thomas Ratliff appeared too close to call, but Ratliff was holding on to a lead of a little more than 1,100 votes. Most of the remaining boxes are in Collin County north of Dallas. McLeroy currently leads in that county by a little more than 400 votes.

12:45 a.m. – OK, one more update. In a real stunner, it appears that incumbent Geraldine “Tincy” Miller has been defeated in the GOP primary by George Clayton. With 99% of precincts reporting, Clayton leads by more than 2,500 votes. Read more about Clayton here. And here are Clayton’s answers to questions from the Dallas Morning News voter guide.

TFN Insider will recap all of the races on Wednesday.

District 5

This district stretches from Bexar County to southern Travis County and includes the Hill Country and up to Bell County north of Austin.

Republican Primary, 95% reporting

Ken Mercer (I): 74,595

Tim Tuggey: 33,446

Democratic Primary, 100% reporting

Rebecca Bell-Metereau: 23,046

Robert Bohmfalk: 2,252

Daniel Boone: 8,360

Josiah Ingalls: 3,574

District 9

This largely East-Central Texas district stretches from Plano to Bryan-College Station.

Republican Primary, 98% reporting

Don McLeroy (I): 53,644

Thomas Ratliff: 54,785

District 10

This district stretches from Williamson and northern Travis County to just west of Houston. Republican incumbent Cynthia Dunbar is not running for re-election.

Republican Primary, less than 98% reporting

Marsha Farney: 36,497

Rebecca Osborne: 30,037

Brian Russell: 36,377

District 15

This district includes the Panhandle and much of West Texas.

Republican Primary, 97% reporting

Bob Craig (I): 74,584

Randy Rives: 41,485

52 thoughts on “Election Updates

  1. Many thanks to TFN for the thoughtful totals board. This is going to be interesting.

  2. Just an observation. Although very few votes are in now, the commonly stated national saw that this is a year for incumbent suffering may be overblown. As is often said, the American people are in an angry mood, but they are not angry with the incumbent in their own district. They are angry instead with the incumbents in everyone else’s districts where they have no vote. We shall see.

  3. I’ve got links at my place to each race’s results at the website of the Texas Secretary of State’s website. They’re automatically updated, so you can put each race in a separate tab.

  4. Thanks Curmudgeon. The predator’s powerful jaws have not clamped, but McLeroy must feel its hot breath near his neck. Metaphorical, huh?

  5. Here’s my understanding of what the results so far mean. Please correct as needed.

    In district 5, extremist Ken Mercer is trouncing a very well-funded pro-education Republican, Tim Tuggey. Rebecca Bell-Metereau, who won her primary with ease, will have an uphill fight against Mercer in the fall.

    In district 9, extremist Don McLeroy is likely to be replaced by pro-education Republican Tom Ratliff, but the race is still too close to call. Whoever wins the primary will be elected.

    In district 10, the most moderate of the three Republicans (Rebecca Osborne) has lost, and there will be a runoff to see whether Cynthia Dunbar’s hand-picked successor (Brian Russell) or another conservative (Marsha Farney) will be the GOP nominee. Democrat Judy Jennings should be favored to beat either one, but it will be a tough fight.

    In district 12, swing voter Tincy Miller seems to be losing to wild-card Republican George Clayton. Lord only knows what that means for the SBOE.

    In district 3, the other swing voter (Rick Agosto) is retiring, and his likely replacement looks good.

    In district 15, Bob Craig (sensible Republican) is trouncing his right-wing challenger.

    Bottom line: The current SBOE has 7 crazies, 2 swing voters and 6 moderates. The new SBOE will have anywhere from 7-10 moderates, depending on the district 9 GOP primary and the district 10 and district 5 general elections, anywhere from 4 to 7 crazies, and one wild card.

  6. George Clayton, a DISD administrator who believes you can’t teach evolution without talking about creationism

  7. Prof. Sadun, always good to hear from you.

    Here’s what I would like to add. The far right creationist group Texans for a Better Science Education endorsed Joanie Muenzler (District 3), Ken Mercer, Don McLeroy, Brian Russell, and Randy Rives (District 15). Interestingly, they were silent about George Clayton. Muenzler was beaten by Tony Cunningham, who really isn’t up to the task. I have to wonder if it wasn’t the work of wily Democrats voting for Cunningham, since this gives Michael Soto an easy path to victory in District 3, and thus a pro-science person in place of a swing voter (although this is unfortunately countered by Tincy Miller’s apparent loss).

    Looking forward to more reports from the ground in District 10 as the race unfolds.

  8. Maybe I am missing something here, but maybe not. Help me out if I’m wrong. The District 5 race on the Republican side looked good to me to the extent that Russell got outpolled 2 to 1 by his opponents, which suggests to me that the people of that district would much rather have a moderate Republican on the SBOE. That sounds positive.

  9. Rebecca can win it in the general. She needs to get help from Tim Tuggey’s voters who presumably are raising kids and don’t want their children’s fate in the hands of an idiot, and she can benefit if turnout in the general is up.
    Turnout is crucial, folks. If everybody voted, we wouldn’t be put int this position by a few crazy whackjobs. Everybody needs to start voting.
    Not complaining.
    (if you voted, you’ve got a right to complain)

  10. Late update at 2:05 a.m. EST. Marcia Farney beat Russell by just a small handfull of votes with all 595 precincts reporting.

  11. Yippieeee! McLeroy is DEFEATED!!!!

    100% of precints reporting

    Don McLeroy 55,368 49.62%
    Thomas Ratliff% 56,207 50.37%

    TFN, where and when is the party?

  12. DonMcLeroy: “I think I lost.”

    Yes you did!!!

    100% Precincts reporting
    Don McLeroy 55,368 49.62%
    Thomas Ratliff 56,207 50.37%

    TFN, where and when is the party?

  13. Irrelevantly: Anyone know when the math TEKS will be up for review?

    From jdg’s article: Clayton said evolution is and should remain in science classrooms, but he thinks the alternative theories supported by the religious right — intelligent design and creationism — can “find a real nice home” in humanities, philosophy or world history classes.

    I might be able to live with that. All you have to do is emphasize that these controversies are political, cultural, and religious, and that there is no longer scientific controversy; and point out how the stances vary between the different religious sub-factions.

    On the other hand, it’s probably a course better suited to the college level.

    On the gripping hand, it probably won’t be handled that way.

    I’d tentatively expect Clayton to be in the Swing section, but leaning whacko; probably less solid than the usually-sane Miller was, but not as bad as Lowe-Mercer-Leo-Bradley-Cargill. On the upside, *IF* McLeroy is out, Ratliff looks to be comparably sane as Miller, and Clayton looks to be a LOT more sane than McLeroy was. If Bell-Metereau and Jennings win out in the general, those would further move a whacko and an ultrawhacko seat into the solidly sane.

  14. I saw an interesting reader’s comment on the Statesman site this morning. Can anyone shed any light on the accuracy of this statement? TFN?

    Here’s what the reader said:

    Big falsehood in this Statesman story that State Education Board member Tincy Miller is “moderate.” She’s portrayed as moderate because the Dallas Morning News always endorses her, which they do because she lives in Highland Park in Dallas and is the wife of Vance Miller, who is son of Henry Miller, the famed Dallas developer who also owned Highland Park Village Shopping Center, where most of the Belo people (parent of the DMN) live. That’s how it works.
    Yet here’s how this false message that Miller is somehow moderate can spread: This Austin Statesman story by Kate Alexander says this: “Miller, a member of the board’s moderate faction…” No. Not true. She was recently opposed to some of the nuttiest of the suggestions, but that’s recent. Since joining the Board way back in 1984, she’s turned it hard right, far right, and been a forceful part of many anti-intellectual decisions that have been made over the years on far right Christian grounds.
    The Statesman also has a formal editorial in its Wednesday hard copy of the paper that says this: “Also upset was Geraldine Tincy Miller of Dallas, who was opposed in the Republican Party by educator George Clayton. Miller was considered more moderate than McLeroy or Mercer…” No. Not true.
    The Statesman editorial, and the news story by Kate Alexander, reads that way because the DMN endorsed her on Feb. 2nd by saying she was a moderating influence on the State Board, and the Austin newspaper basically accepts that characterization despite a history that says otherwise.
    This is how misinformation is spread in the modern era.

    1. Ben,
      We always considered Tincy Miller one of the board’s “old line” social conservatives, and we even opposed her renomination as chair in 2005. On the other hand, the radicalism of the current far-right faction eclipsed even her brand of conservatism. Moreover, she was a strong opponent of the creationists’ “weaknesses of evolution” attack on science last year. There is no doubt that she is a Republican conservative, but she wasn’t part of the current faction of extremists. That made her a relative moderate on the current board.

      Having said that, we are encouraged by comments her challenger, George Clayton, has made in the press (particularly in the Dallas Morning News voter guide). It doesn’t appear as though he is animated by promoting the culture wars. He’s an educator who seems more interested in issues like standardized testing and respect for teachers. We hope that’s the case.

  15. I’m more optimistic about Clayton, and I’m going on that same Dallas Observer article. I think creationists are proud to be creationists and run as creationists. This guy is obviously trying to hide something. I think he’s trying to appease creationists without revealing that he’s actually pro-science. Fingers crossed.

    Thank you Curmudgeon for learning that Ratcliffe is pro-science (http://bit.ly/b31Dhv). But how do you know that this comment was really posted by Ratcliffe?

    I am dancing around the house this morning knowing that McLeroy is out! Without his leadership, the anti-science faction is sorely weakened.

  16. Here’s my take on Miller, having been a part of effort to defend science education. Who ever she was in the past, in recent times she has clearly been trying to be pro-science. When she’s prepared for a particular anti-science amendment, she will vote against it. But when she’s hit with a new anti-science amendment without any preparation, she’s easily boondoggled into voting for it. I have mixed feelings about losing her, but if she’s replaced by someone who’s both pro-science and strong-minded, I’ll be happier. (Note: I’ve only been involved with the science efforts and have nothing to say about Miller on other topics.)

  17. Thanks for the comments. I seemed to recall some incidents where she was sort of a waffler, or perhaps she didn’t understand the implications of some of the creationist amendments, but I was too lazy to go digging back on this site to refresh my memory. : )

  18. Congratulations to TFN for getting the King of the Kooks, McLeroy out. Time to start over and continue the fight.
    I’ll do what I can.
    The social conservatives are trying to rebrand as moderates (McDonnell of Virginia). They should be held accountable. It’s obvious the big media conglomerates are not going to help. They wield power. That’s what they’re about.

  19. I agree with the TFN evaluation of Tincy Miller, based on what I have seen and heard across the past year. As Mr. Ratliff would no doubt agree, a person can be a politically thoughtful conservative without being an off-the-deep-end fruitcake on science, social studies, and whatever else. Most people, myself included, are conservative on some issues, liberal on other issues, and moderate on still other issues.

    Speaking in terms that Mr. Ratliff and other sensible Texas Republicans would understand, I think most people in Texas would like to see thoughtful conservative Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Howard Baker, Jr., Gerald Ford, or the elder George Bush on a panel like the SBOE. With only a couple of exceptions, I think the voting last night bears this out. In other words, voters want intelligent and conservative SBOE members who are not sold out to wild far right ideologies about religion, revisionist history, and stupid global conspiracy theories.

    Just at lunch today here in my own state, our local metropolitan newspaper, which is generally considered to be a conservative Republican newspaper, ran a letter on the op-ed page. This letter was from some local nutcase who recounted a bunch of wild theories about an elite secret American ruling class who actually planned the 9/11 incident, the investment bank failures on Wall street, global warming, and any number of other things as part of a massive plot to take over the whole world and establish a one-world dictatorship. The editor of the newspaper and I have exchanged some e-mail messages over the years, and he is a really sensible and balanced guy, which shows through in the major written editorials in his paper. He just runs these nutty letters every once in a while to demonstrate to us sane people that there really are nutty people who are active and loud in American politics. Whenever I see one of those letters, I also see a read-between-the-lines message from the editor that says, “Alert. The guy who wrote this letter is a nut. So are all of the people who are dumb enough to believe this crap. Beware of them. Don’t vote for them. Don’t give them any real power to make decisions!!!”

    I hope thoughtful Republicans like Mr. Ratliff see through this ridiculous “secret crystals from Atlantis-style” nonsense that has dominated the SBOE for a number of years now and will restore it to the thoughtful and balanced state education board that it once was and should be again in the future. No more SBOE trips to the Land of Oz—please.

  20. Oh, one more thought. Gail Lowe, Terri Leo, and so forth. You are next in line. Can you say, “Mary Queen of Scots?” I didn’t think so. Just go look her up on Wikipedia.

  21. Charles, I feel obligated to point out that the elder Bush once said:

    “I don’t know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

  22. I agree that conscientious, sensible conservatives are a welcome replacement for the lunatic fringe.
    I would like to see Texas go from being the “laughingstock” of the nation to the true standard-bearer for public school excellence. We need EVERY kid in this country to be educated, motivated and fulfilled to the maximum of their own capabilities.
    My personal view of any institution is that it can be like a valve or a pump, and can either function to hold back potential or can facilitate the progress of the individual. Our schools shouldn’t be what’s holding kids back.

  23. I know Ben. When he said that, he was just a northeastern Episcopalian pretending that he was from Texas, as he did for many years while living there. Sometimes you have to feed BS to your dung beetles to keep them fat, dumb, and happy. Did he retire to a Texas beach community or even Florida to be with Jeb. Nope. He retired to Maine. Nuff said.

  24. Seems like a pretty strange strategy to me. I know atheists are a small percentage of the population, but when a politician says something like that, he or she is pretty much foregoing those votes, along with the votes of various people who have atheist friends and family members and don’t like them being discounted, or even people who don’t have atheists friends and family members but still recognize the idiocy in that statement. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)

    The same is true of the gay community. When a politician holds an anti-gay stance, I’m pretty much done with him or her. I think you feel the same way. I have a good friend who is also the best boss I ever had. Class lady–smart, caring, intelligent, and all that good stuff. She’s a lesbian, so when I hear fundamentalists (or anyone else) running their mouths about gay people–trying to deny them the rights the rest of us enjoy–I think of this particular lady and the disrespect they are showing her. Most of those jerks aren’t good enough to shine her shoes.

    But times are changing.

  25. Mike. I don’t spend a lot of my time tailing them. All I know is this. The few times I have seen him and Barbara on a news show, they are usually waving at folks from that house or boat in Maine. Maybe the media only catches up with them at holiday and vacation time.

    Ben (pronounced Beee-yun in my area). Just a few items:

    1) When politicians mouth off about anything, they are usually playing to some larger crowd than the approximately 2 percent of atheists in the country. They direct their statements to the big voting blocks.

    2) Gay people? I have mixed feelings about gay issues that I have never really sorted out to my satisfaction. For that reason, I usually avoid discussing the subject. However, I will say just a few things here.

    A) My strongest suspicion is that a gay “orientation” has something to do with protein formation, human growth, and developmental maturation (physical rather than psychological). In this regard, I am talking about gay people who have a true sexual orientation just like you and me. I am not counting the heterosexual male or female that makes a momentary choice to have sex with a person of their own gender for $5000, a movie camera, and the cocaine score they need in the evening. True “oriented” gay people awoke one morning in a condition that they never consciously chose. It was confusing. It was shocking to them. They felt as if they were some kind of freak and did not know why. They endured a lot of prolonged, self-inflicted suffering.

    I have a friend by the name of Mary. Mary is a lesbian. She and I have talked about pubescent sexual awakening, and it is crystal clear to me that Mary made no conscious choice to be gay. She just went to bed one night a princess and woke up the next morning as a confused and bewildered toadette, or so it seemed to her. She is in her 50s now and has spent her whole life struggling through the issues that came with that strange and quite unexpected awakening.

    B) I have two nephews. Both are brothers (the only two children in their nuclear family). One is gay and essentially out of the closet. The other left home for the big city after college and only comes back on holidays. Throughout high school and college, it appeared that the latter had no girlfriends. Whenever he comes home for the holidays, he brings no one with him and shows no sign of having a love interest of the opposite sex. He lives in a city where it is largely acceptable to be gay, and that city is nearly 1000 miles from home—probably with good reason. I have suspected for years and feel 99.99 percent certain that he is closet gay when back home but discretely a little more out of the closet in Gotham City.

    Both boys were classic good kids as they were growing up. They had excellent and very loving parents. There was no physical or psychological abuse. Their parents had no weird affectations. They were raised in a small fundamentalist Southern Baptist Convention Church for the first 18 years of their lives, and they were active members of the church throughout this period. These were two boys that Rick Scarborough, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson would have been proud to adopt and call their own—with one exception—they were gay.

    I have never talked to the boys about it because the subject is considered taboo in the overall extended family. If being a gay person were a simple choice, there is not a snowball’s chance in Hades that these two kids would have become gay. However, knowing these two kids, I feel almost certain that they had the same “unexpected awakening” experience that my friend Mary did. They did not choose to be gay. Gay chose them.

    C) The people over at the Free Market Foundation (Liberty Institute) and I got into a little spat a few months ago. Without going into the gory details, they made their position clear. They feel that gayness is a sinful ice-cream choice, but that is not their big beef. Their beef is almost solely with letting knowledge of it get out into the open. In other words, if gay people would just stay in their closets and let no one else but their partners and other gay people know that they are gay, everything would be just “ducky” with them. Does that mean that adultery is okay as long as you keep the knowledge from your husband and his family? Perhaps Ted Bundy’s nocturnal habits were okay as long as the police did not know it was him.

    Apparently, over at the Free Market Foundation, the problem is not so much that gayness is a sin per se. After all, gayness has been with us always. Rather, it is the widespread harm that would be done to the public if information about gayness became widely known and publicly accepted in the larger culture.

    I suspect they believe that the gay population increases its numbers by “recruiting.” That would be news to my two nephews and my friend Mary. More importantly, I suspect they live in fear of the United States being smitten by the Lord from on high like Sodom for allowing public knowledge and acceptance incompatible with a Christian nation. There is only one problem with that.

    Christian fundamentalists tell me it is okay to have “homosexual urges” as long as one does not act upon them. Once again, they have not been reading their Bibles. Jesus said that sin originates first in the human heart. Therefore, the mental same-sex lust and the homosexual urge are the primary distilled essence of the homosexual sin. The homosexual act that comes after it is just radioactive fallout from the primary mental explosion. What does that mean? From the Jesus perspective, it means that Sodom does not need a public relations campaign to be Sodom in the eyes of God, who looks at the heart first. Sodom exists first and foremost in the human heart. If the United States has 20,000,000 gay people with homosexual lust and urges that are NOT acted upon, then the United States is still Sodom in the eyes of God. Would God be more likely to smite the United States if people were tolerant of such urges and acts. I do not know. Maybe. Maybe not. Job’s friends would have said “yes,” and they were wrong.

    D) As the Apostle Paul emphasizes so many times with regard to those of us who are Christians, the Old Testament law has passed away for us. It was just a schoolmaster leading us to realize that we could not behave perfectly in heart and action to save ourselves. We needed Jesus to do that by grace. When Jesus came, he fulfilled the law, and it disappeared for us Christians.

    This is where the fundamentalist preacher steps forward in a rage and says, “No!!! Only the Old Testament ceremonial law went away, but the moral portion of the Old Testament law is still in effect for us.” No. That is not what Paul says. Paul makes it crystal clear that the whole law has disappeared for us, and I believe that includes the 10 commandments because they were part of that old law. It is all gone for us Christians. It has been replaced in its entirety by three simple principles that Jesus himself stated:

    1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. (Luke 10:27)

    2) Love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

    3) So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

    How then should we Christians treat homosexuals? Should we go out and help the Rousas Rushdoonys of the world kill as many of them as possible for God? Check your Items 1 through 3 above.

    Should we fire homosexuals from their jobs so they cannot support themselves? Check Items 1 through 3 above.

    Whenever you have any question about how we Christians should treat gay people, Check Items 1 through 3 above and put yourself in a gay person’s shoes.

    E) Of course, our Christian fundamentalist friends would be thoroughly outraged at this point because they are not much into the things Jesus and Paul had to say. Those red-letter portions of the New Testament are too difficult, scary, and problematical. Instead, they would rather spend much of their time being imprisoned by the Old Testament law with their noses hard to the grindstone of “…an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth…” Anyone want to lynch a gay person for Jesus?

  26. I hear they’re dedicated nudists. I may be wrong, can anyone shed any light on this issue?
    let me guess, they’re in Maine when it’s humid in Houston and there’s no snow in Maine, and they’re in Houston when the snow is 5 ft deep in Maine and their lumbago starts to act up.
    Can’t blame them.
    “don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows…”

  27. I think a lot more than 2% of the population in the US is atheist, but they are reluctant to identify themselves as that. Instead they say agnostic or nonbeliever or without religion. Add their friends and family members who don’t like discrimination and you’re talking about an even larger percentage. Wouldn’t surprise me if it reached 15% or higher, but I’m guessing. That’s a decent sized voting bloc.

    Charles, I’m glad you reach reasonable conclusions when you turn to the bible in moral issues, but so many of your fellow christians don’t. That’s the problem–but you already know that. I’m preaching to the…

  28. I would agree with Charles with a couple of add-ons. The stigma that’s been placed on gay persons is in decline, and that’s one reason the hysteri-vangelicals are more fearful now than ever.
    This religion of fear and loathing that taps into animal instincts doesn’t respond well to thought, reason, etc.
    You just have to stay strong and wait for these people to calm down.
    The per capita incidence of homosexuality will remain approximately the same regardless of whether it is outlawed or not.
    Eventually we’ll all just settle down over these issues, with education.
    In addition to being excruciating for those youngsters who are gay, the whole use of the term “gay” also hurts non-gays who are “outside” the “in” group. It encourages those who are insecure to try to meet the standards of the “in” group by finding a “whipping-boy”, someone THEY can stigmatize, ostracize, etc.
    Ignorance about sexuality leads young straight people who are unsuccessful in dating in high school to go out with the wild crowd and get involved in drugs and alcohol in order to find a group they can be successful in. This was esp. true in the ’70’s and esp. in my case.
    Sex is not just about the love/lust paradigm. It is also a matter of power. That’s why there’s so much of it in prison, or so they say.
    The intolerance toward gays is related to the misogyny in our culture. The self-loathing of gays is related to the self-loathing of women and non-dominant racial groups.
    We need to teach sociology in our schools as well as the hard sciences.

  29. David. With regard to teaching sociology and anthropology in our public schools, we flirted with some of that back in the 1970s. In my senior year, I actually got to take 0.5 credits of sociology in an extremely conservative high school run by a concentration camp commandant…uh…principal who was cast in the same mold as Jerry Falwell.

    Unfortunately, it did not last very long. It was taught by the “first ever” black teacher in our high school. She had majored in sociology at a nearby university with a good sociology program. Best I could tell, the concentration camp environment at our high school started getting to her after about eight weeks. I watched as she clearly and slowly started sinking into what looked like a classic case of clinical depression.

    In a few weeks, she was gone forever. We teenagers were never told precisely what had had happened, but I was reasonably sure that her blackness was an issue and that she had somehow run afoul of Jerry Falwell…uh…the principal. I was always watching closely. It was like that at my high school. Anytime a teacher tried to do something creative to really fire the imagination and interests of us students, the teacher was called on the carpet and gone within a year or so. Snuff out the flame. Kill it before it grows.

    I had an English teacher my junior year in high school. She had red hair and was good looking—drove a green Corvette. We boys remember things like that. She was a really nice person and a really good English teacher. She was both well liked and respected by her students. She had gone into teaching to support herself because her husband (an officer I think) had just died in the Viet-Nam War.

    The first worldwide Earth Day event happened that year. It interested my English teacher, and she thought we might enjoy learning about environmental protection. Therefore, she found a creative way to integrate Earth Day, learning how to do research, and performing formal writing assignments by looking at current environmental issues and finding a way for us to help our local community in the process. You never saw a group of English students “perk up” like we did!!! Boring was over!!! We were committed and engaged in a way you rarely ever see in a public school classroom. We learned how to research issues. We learned how to write about them, and we helped our community.

    How did we help our community? It was a time before litter laws were really in place and enforced. Those of you who are old as me probably remember the time when your 1957 Chevy zoomed down the highway creating behind it great billows of airborne roadside paper. Well our class organized the first community-wide litter pick up weekend. We got the cooperation of the city waste management authorities on a Saturday and hundreds of us kids fanned out across the community to pick up roadside litter. We went nearly everywhere in town, and our town looked like a freshly vacuumed carpet from stem to stern. On that day, we realized that what we learned in class and in our research/writing could be moblilized to have a positive impact on our community. We saw how even English education could be related to real life and that we kids could reach out and make a real difference in our world. Wow!!!!!!

    When the next school year rolled around, our beautiful red-headed English teacher was gone. We were never told what happened to her—at least I never heard it. She was just gone. Knowing the dark concentration camp environment in my high school, my best hypothesis was that the dreaded knock on the door at 3:00 a.m. (figuratively speaking) had occurred and our wonderful teacher had just disappeared into the night like those poor souls in Argentina and Chile. Creativity and firng the imaginations of kids. Kill it. Snuff it out before it grows.

    Well, they were never able to snuff it out in me. I kept Mrs. E’s little flame in my heart. Several years later, I was a really good writer, and freshman English was a breeze—a veritable vacation to the Bahamas. How many college freshmen can say that? After about 18 years, in a rather dark and desperate career change moment, Mrs. E’s little flame grew a bit brighter and said in a low voice, “Remember me?” That is when my career in the environmental protection business started, and I have been doing it ever since that time. It has made all of the difference.

    Mrs. E made a major difference in my life in the midst of a high school that was a living hell-hole. She may have “died” trying, but she made a lasting difference in my life. I have never seen her again since that junior year. I have no idea what happened to her. It would be nice to thank here. If you are still out there somewhere, I love you and thank you Mrs. E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And you guys wonder why I am concerned about the SBOE. Now you know. I have to go dry up my tears now.

  30. Those folks don’t turn to the Bible, they just use it as a hammer for political purposes. They’re just beating people down with it without actually reading it and contemplating it.

  31. I always thought Adolph Hitler had shaved his mustache and gotten a burr haircut, and became our principal.

  32. David. I have bad news for you. The burned skeletal remains of Hitler that the Red Army supposedly collected outside the bunker and took back to Moscow and sat on for 65 years. Recent and quite conclusive forensic tests on the Hitler cranial fragment with the bullet hole show that it was female. The DNA also showed that Hitler’s remains were not there. Yeah, we have stories from bunker survivors about what happened, but we no longer have any conclusive physical evidence to back up those stories about his dead body being burned in the Reich Chancellory yard. Thus, he might have escaped Germany under elaborate cover at the end of the war—and reported to your high school. “Schule…er…uh…school will be dismissed one hour early today.”

  33. Charles, I really enjoyed reading your history. You’ve repeatedly shown that you really ARE a good writer!

    I didn’t know that about Adolf Hitler’s body. I’d never heard that. I am one of those who believed the story that he shot himself and, by his request, his body was burned outside his bunker – within a couple hundred yards of the Red Army. However, one simple comforting fact remains: if Hitler DID in fact survive his “suicide,” he would now be over 100 years old and is probably dead NOW. (Unless, of course, he’s been cloned a la the movie, “The Boys From Brazil.”)

    As for the quotations of Jesus, he was actually quoting from the dreaded, hated “Old Testament”:

    “…And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets).”

    COMMENT: So, Jesus selected Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 as the greatest two laws. This was very Jewish of him as most rabbis would completely agree, especially Rabbi Hillel. Jesus chose the ‘Shema’ prayer, the Jew’s affirmation of God’s Oneness and dedication to love Him together with Judaism’s great moral teaching of loving people with the love you have for yourself.

    Again, we have above another example of the love/hate relationship Christianity holds for the “Old Testament.”

    As for “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”: In Judaism, this has always been understood to refer to the VALUE of an eye and the VALUE of a tooth i.e. in the sense of restitution. Again, this is another example of Christian anti-Jewish propaganda.

  34. Hi Cytocop. Where have you been? We missed you around here.

    In some peoples heads it may have developed as propaganda, but I prefer at this late date to view some of these things as just theological differences of opinion. I think one of the great things we need to do is understand that a difference of opinion is no reason to slit a person’s tires, cut off an arm, or kill someone. Even that much would be real progress in this world.

  35. Hi Charles. At least, I think it’s you who posted that last comment. There is a glitch in the system.

    Who is talking about slitting tires, amputating arms, or killing someone? Did my posting actually commit those atrocities? I apologize if I’m the one responsible but whenever Judaism is slandered (as by the Christian right), I defend it. For example, that people constantly refer to “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” as demonstrating a ‘deficiency’ in Judaism, I set the record straight. And I found many many verses where Jesus himself denied being God or a part of God. Hey, it’s not me saying that; it’s right there in Christian scripture so please don’t blame me.

  36. Let us keep in mind our unifying objective. We want to maintain freedom of religion,(including freedom from religion), so that we can reasonably bring the misunderstandings of the past into daylight and maintain a civil society.
    The world is becoming increasingly crowded and we’re all jostling for elbow room. We’re going to have to jettison tribalism, nationalism, parochialism, provincialism, and the interpretation of social institutions that divide us.
    Our enemy is trying to perpetuate this very “us vs them”, “fear and loathing”, approach to our neighbors.

  37. David, to whom is your posting addressed? I ask because I think to accuse someone of slitting tires, cutting off arms, and killing people is a bit over-the-top, don’t you? I don’t think it’s fair to deliberatly misrepresent a Bible verse and then attack someone who comes to explain it. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of Christians saying they believe in the so-called “Old Testament” and then turn around and trash it. And a lot of those Christians are the radical conservative fundies so, when I rebuke them, why should any TFN-er have a problem with me??

  38. I’m addressing to everyone, myself included. You may have a legitimate beef with Charles, but I’m not addressing that. We have more in common than we have dividing us. We want to maintain a civil society in which the grievances you want addressed can be dealt with through honest dialogue. We’ve got people who are trying to set up a totalitarian enforcement of very narrow beliefs. I can’t speak for Charles, but I can say that there are old testament scriptures and then there are the selective interpretations of old testament scriptures that reinforce the intolerant values of the fundamentalists. I don’t confuse the two. I do believe in the evolution of religion, and I’d say the modern Jewish person is different from the ancient, just as the modern Christian is different from the original. There was a time when tribalism, city/state imperialism, nationalism, etc. were understandable. But now we’re too crowded for that.
    I’m not saying you’re wrong.

  39. Cytocop misunderstood my post. I was not referring to either her or what she said. I was simply making the point that people (in general) who have disagreements need to avoid violence simply because they disagree about religion, politics, and other such things. We have had 1000s of years of such violence, and it has not bought us anything worth having. Chill y’all. Please.