Is This about ‘Payback’ or Education?

We noted this morning that Robert Scott, the Texas education commissioner, told state legislators at a Capitol public hearing that changes the Texas State Board of Education is making to proposed social studies curriculum standards reflect a change in political control of the board in recent years. (A far-right faction took control of the state board after the 2006 elections.) Mr. Scott broadly compared the standards as they have been revised so far by the current board to those adopted by a more politically moderate board in 1997-98. Burnt Orange Report has transcribed a key part of what Scott said:

“One of the things, I think, that has been a problem in all of our deliberations regarding – whether it’s education or anything else – is that when you push out a particular group, and say we don’t care about you, when you push out, regardless of who that is, over time that creates a problem. And when the pendulum swings back, you know, there’s – whether you call it payback or a shifting in the alignment – I think that we need to be mindful as we deliberate to try to prevent the pushing out of any group, regardless of who they are. And that’s what I think this process needs to be about.”

“Payback?” That’s a remarkable admission, whether Mr. Scott realizes it or not, that the board is politicizing the standards and — by extension — our children’s public school classrooms. We repeat our concern here: this curriculum revision process shoudn’t be about politics or whatever political majority controls the board. Decisions about what public schools teach should be based on sound scholarship and should prepare our kids to succeed in college and their future careers.

24 thoughts on “Is This about ‘Payback’ or Education?

  1. It is less payback as it is turnabout is fair play. The Left has had the run of the roost since the Thirties until what was allegedly progression showed it’s reactionary roots which the counter-reactionary reactionaries see as fair game. One thing about the squabble over social studies is not about is crticial thinking, only what is prescribed prosciption.

  2. Gordon. Thanks for your service to OUR country in the military. I really appreciate it that you stayed in there all of those years and did a hard job that often would not have been your first pleasant choice if you had had a say in the matter. Thank you—sincerely. Now, on to another subject written for no one in particular.

    I never really thought that social studies was liberal, or conservative, or much of anything else. I have just looked at it in different ways through my own Christian filter. If by liberal or conservative one means:

    The American Indians were Godless heathen savages who should have lost their land to the white man. Displacement and extermination were necessary evils (Conservative View)

    The American Indians were people just like you and me. They had land just like you and me and it was taken away by people who did not own it. They did not want to be killed or exterminated anymore than you or I would. (Liberal View)

    Well, if that is the kind of difference we are talking about, then the Bible clearly tells me that the liberal view is the right view. Strangers should be treated right. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. That is not liberal or conservative. That is just plain Biblical and Jesus-like.

  3. Charles, I agree with your position on the social studies issue, but using the Bible as a guide for morality is a dubious adventure. Just check (among many similar references) Numbers 31:15-18, wherein, during the Midianite slaughter, Moses tells his lieutenants, “Kill the mothers. Kill the boys. Rape the daughters at your leisure.” Much of the Old Testament is the Jewish nation taking away land and property of others. It is also about using God to justify these massacres and land grabs, probably after the fact and to assuage certain consciences or to get around embarrassing political questions. That’s if these reported massacres ever happened in the first place.

  4. Subverting the education of almost 5 million children for some political payback? This is malversation pure and simple. It is shameless and pathetic. A deficient K-12 education handicaps children for the rest of their lives. Robert Scott needs to be run out of Texas!

  5. Let’s imagine the response by Conservatives if a Democrat had made the same statements. (IARIYAR)

    I especially enjoy Mr. Scott’s “pendulum” as a descriptive; why does any fact, presuming a liberal slant, have to go all the way past “truthful viewpoints of events” into the religious right’s erasure of all things secular/non-Christian, or the belief, allied with their corporate brethren in Christ that Capitalism is next to Cleanliness which is next to Godliness, and other systems are not to be discussed unless its to show how Capitalism is superior.

    Why can’t the pendulum be put away, and our kids get taught the facts without thumbs on the scale (or whatever you’d do to cheat at pendulising…pro-pendulism…Time Bandits? )?

  6. Karl Marx invented Capitalism after our Civil War (aka War Between the States) and as such is no part of the economic system as formulated in our laws, customs, and Constitution. There are no courses in B School on worker exploitation, colonialism, and downtrodding poor people. While it may intellectually honest for Socialists to describe our system as such, it is pure stupididy for Conservatives to claim Capitalism as their own.

    Neither is the so-called Corporate world aware of or operates on Marxist priniciples of Capitalism. To do so would be to accept that ecnomics is a zero sum game. If Harry gets a pay raise, some one else must get a pay cut. Not even a Commissar would run a state owned business that way.

    As to teaching American History, there is no way to describe what happened here or why without appreciation of the impact of various religious movements or beliefs. That, however, does not require instruction in the Bible except as certain provisions or interpretations relative to specific events.

    For example,few proponents of Biblical teaching in public schools that i have heard of mention that the Pilgrim of Plymouth Rock regarded Christmas as a pagan rite. That belief came from a better understanding of how the Emperor Constatine and his mother modified Christian beliefs to be more palatable to the Roman political and social systems. Once, done, he moved the GHQ of Rome from Rome to Byzantium.

    I have heard little of the Gospel as justification of the Divine Right of Kings, or the Protestant counter to that. That requires a different approach from either teaching “about” the Bible, or banning the Bible out right.

  7. There is a clear path through the bullpoo- here. There are liars and deceivers that have been very obviously exposed as such.
    We just need people in responsible positions who will DO IT.
    There are different “frames of reference” and different “interpretations” and different “conclusions” about the facts. A good education should guide the student into a mature examination and consideration of different points of view.

    This isn’t about a “reasonable ” disagreement. Perry, Scott, and the kooks on the school board need to be shown the door.
    They’re frauds, liars, hoods, fools, knuckleheads, however you want to phrase it. We don’t need another generation of kids that are not adequately educated to take on 21st Century challenges. We can’t afford it.
    These people just want to “get even” because the whole world became aware that “St. George”, their knight in shining armour, was a scurvy knave. They want to blame the failure of all that hooey on the secularists and the left.

  8. This has been an interesting thread so far, and you have all made very nice points. I really liked what Gordon said, and David’s idea of a straight path through the bull poo- is certainly viable. However, after reading the original TFN post, reading your excellent responses, and pondering Robert Scott and the nature of education in Texas under the current Texas SBOE, my mind reached deep into my past and grabbed an excellent example of where Texas education has landed under this regime. This is not about “payback.” This is about the following:

  9. Lucker111, say what you will about the Bible and the Israelites therein. In fact, check out Deuteronomy for more violence. Just remember the Koran of Islam and the New Testament of Christianity are just as violent as is the so-called Old Testament of Judaism. That you single out “the Jewish nation” for your criticism indicates you may be an anti-Semite. But thank you for ending with an admission that these genocides may not have even taken place. In fact, they most likely did not. The Israelites were still dealing with Canaanites and Philistines long after they were supposed to have wiped them out.

    Gordon, “The Left has had the run of the roost since the Thirties…..” Say what? That’s a hoot. If ONLY your statement was true.

  10. My father got his BS and PhD from the University of Chicago around 1938. The Left was a bit more diverse in political ideology in those days, but my father was moved to sign a petition condemning war. He, nevertheless continued in ROTC, was commissioned in the Artillery, fought in the Southwest Pacific. Communists in those days were open and recruited for students to go to Spain and fight in the Soviet backed International Lincoln Brigade.

    As a student at UC Berkeley in the last Fifties, the prevalence of teaching “about” communism was openly teaching “of” communism by professors and grad students in TA positions. This meant being told that Revolution was class warfare of, for, and by the bourgeoisie. I found that my papers were guaranteed a better grade if I couched my writing in terms of Mazxist dialectic.

    In the years since I run into students babblling the same bullhockey, especially the “fact” that Marx was the first historian to use the scientific method of analyzin history. The pro-Viet Cong stance of student bodies during the Vietnam War only began to weaken when the Draft was altered to draft just 18 year olds. Many colleges went under due to the loss of enrollments once draft deferments for full time students was not longer needed.

    I have a son at the University of St Thomas whose recitations of Marxist fundamentalism is fundamentally the same I got fifty years ago. We would be having Sixties style protests today were it not for the fact that Al Qaeda and Taliban brutality exceeds anything the KGB sanctioned. And, the Russians were embarrassed by the Taliban.

    Today’s Save the Polar Bears movement is aimed at Arctic drilling as if Alaskan oil drilling is the cause of one third of the Polar Ice Cap being lost in the last thirty years. This disregards the fact that the Industrial heartland in Siberia drains polluted and warmer water in northern runnin rivers and acts as big blow torch on the Arctic Ice cap. And, the Russians are using the lack of Polar Icd to explore and exploit the Arctic resources.

    The test of a bias is whether behavior is predictable. The current bias is not as Pinko as in years past, but is no less in favor of Russian enery and defense industries. This suggests the presence of the Kremlin run network now working on Russian national interests instead of Soviet international interests. The Russians, as a political culture, simply don’t shut down a perfectly good spy network once the Soviet Union died. The new Russia still has expansionist ideals, more focused on increasing markets and raw materials which in today’s world does not require a military presence on the ground as in the last five hundred years.

    The old Soviet faction in Hollywood is still at it, producing movies in which the evil corporations are building oil and gas pipelines to destroy the local native commune and/or Snail Darter. The fact that Russian and Chineese pipelines are used as the expression of economic domination. The Russians are creating fuel shortages in Western Europe and cutting back on buying gas and oil from the Central Asian oil patch.

    Time to open up our schools to competing concepts of write and wrong.

  11. Cytocop: Anti-Semite? Weren’t the supposedly slaughtered people (at least some of the tribes) Semitic peoples as well? C’mon. I was talking using the Bible as a guide to morality here, nothing else. Sheesh.

  12. Mr. Fowkes, please pardon my ignorance, but what the heck are you blathering about? If you are still cowering under your bed hiding from the Russkies, you should be looking at bit more to the East, I think. China’s hegemony is detailing how the Russians will coerce others to build pipelines, and we are no longer in control of that region, as has been pointed out by quite a few of us on the left.

    What this has to do with the Texas SBOE has got to be a grand tale.

  13. The “payback” issue inevitably must address who generated what that calls for a payback and why. Payback being an action in kind similar to an earlier event, or offence deserving of payback. The opposite of payback in the original context is education, the “payback” is conceptually bringing a form of anti-education, or counter-education, or remedial education to the fore through the actions of SBOE.

    The quesion, more simply stated is Education vs Payback. The Liberas/Left/Progessinve’Socialist underlying assumption is that they are mutually exclusive. The Conservative/Patriot/Christian’Capitalists assert the Payback is Education in the sense that it is remedial and corrective.

    My view, being an old fart with a longer and wider view of things stemming from being educated in the most Left of Left Universities West of the Patrice Lumumba Institute and East of Mao’s Cultural Revolution: University of California at Berkeley. Peoples park and all.

    Many find the assertions of professors on tax supported institutions of miserable learning that the Pilgrims of Pymouth Rock barely survived their first winter by causing a holocaust of the local Indians. Scientific inquiry would have revealed that the Indian holocaust was caused by French cooking. Five years before two French ships entered Massachussetts Bay. One was attacked an burned, and the other beached and a couple of French were captured and cooked. When the Mayflower landed the Indian population for five hundred miles wide and a hundred miles deep had died from Euro borne diseases. The same die offs occured in Mexico, the Andes, and later Hawiians.

    Columbus is blamed by the Politcally Correct to have brought slavery to the noble savages of the Caribbean. The truth is that it was a trade-off between Small Pox brought ot the New World in exchange for Syphilis to the Old.

    What I see in this tempest in a tea pot is an argument over whose rigid dogma is to be taught, or as a former UC philospher (Eric Hoffer, Longshoreman by day) would say, a rivalry between True Believers. Recitation of True Beliefs and incantations or condemnations based on certified True Beliefs is not education in my view. Education is my narrow mind is the process of training the mind to use critcal thinking, hypopthesis testing, and evidentiary examination, of finding out what the problem is before searching for the solution.

    What both sides of the Tea Pot Tempest are engaged in is Villainous Victimology. Villainous Victimology (VV) is applied Transactional Analysis (TA) that I just made up, but have written on concerning Karpman’s Drama Triangle. A Drama Triangle has three basic roles of Victim, Rescuer, and Prosecutor which are switched in the course of a drama. Each trilogy so conceived must create a Villain in order to establish victimhood which excites the Rescuer and Prosecutor.

    ONTW: Google Drama Triangle for a more authoritative discourse. Mu blog of four years ago on my blog site contains discourse on propaganda.

    The SBOE tempest is a clash of Drama Triangle systems, which if properly tuned are perpetual motion machines, The opposing trilogy’s prosecutor is the lead figure as villain in the other. Court room, CSI labs and hospital dramas are the commercial versions.

    If I can dumb this down: At SBOE the GOP is trying to replace the politically correct BS (PCBS) with BS of their own. CCBS?

  14. Lurker111: Thank you. And my apologies.

    Gordon, thanks for the response but, honestly, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes, the anti-war activities of the Sixties became violent and excessive but what was the reason for Vietnam in the first place? None. The war was our response to the so-called Gulf of Tonkin “incident” which was likewise excessive. And that’s putting it mildly. Whatever “incident” took place – if at all – hardly warranted the war we gave and received.

    Maybe today’s current bias is not “as Pinko” as in the past because people are more educated to the fact that communism was and is no more concerned about civil rights and public welfare than is capitalism. Today all we see is Corporateworld gaining greater and greater power over our lives and over government which is becoming more and more just a tool of Corporateworld. All of Congress – and the president himself to a certain extent – have their hands in the pockets of Corporateworld.

    Just look at the news: Thanks to de-funding and de-fanging of government agencies along with the influence of Big Coal lobbyists, Massey was able to get away with ignoring safety rules and regs, resulting in the headlines we saw a couple of weeks ago. Big Coal is able to get away with mountaintop removal, dumping pollutants into the rivers and endangering people’s health. And who knows what the heck is going on with BP and the platform explosion we now seeing “enriching” the Mississippi Delta. But from what has been discovered so far, this platform explosion was preventable had certain devices been installed.

    Thanks also to de-funding and de-fanging, we see unsafe products coming in from China and elsewhere.

    Big Oil is polluting the Niger Delta with devastating results to people’s health and civil rights. I guess as long as it’s in another country in another continent, effecting only black-skinned people, it doesn’t matter.

    Thanks to public hatred of government, we are well on our way back to the Gilded Age when Corporateworld ran roughshod over our lives with impunity. Over the past 30 years, business execs’ salaries have skyrocketed while those of we the middle class have stagnated. Corporateworld becomes the Big Dog in town and We The People its personal fire hydrant.

    And need I say anything about the recent financial meltdown? That was all due to Wall Street greed and lack of government oversight. If nothing else, the recent hearings pretty much prove that. The execs were there with no inkling of right or wrong, fair or unfair. The only thing that matters in their universe is profit and profit based on betting. What we’ve had over the past 10 years has been called “casino capitalism” but that’s a misnomer. Casinos are well-organized and do not fail.

    Get government out of our lives? I want government IN my life – to save me from the excesses of Big Business. It’s called Balance.

    If all the above makes me a hated dreaded “Leftie” liberal, so be it.

  15. Such labels as Corporateworld, Big Oil, Big Coal, et al are the buzzword upgrades for what Marxists used to babble about with such terms as “bourgeoisie”, “petit bourgeoisie”, “Fat Cat Capitalists”, and my favorite “Lackey running dogs of Imperialism”. The term “corporateworld” is rather vague as it sound like it includes most of small business as well as big businesses. As for wealth and job creation, is conceerned the engine is small business. Even Obama knows that.

    The creation of a vast and evil hegemony out to do the little guy in is classic “BullPoo” the likes of which is adopted by a wide variety of those who wish to establish a “benevolent” hegenomy over the little guy. Such was the Capitalist/Communist* Jewish Conspiracy that Hitler leveraged to drag a highly educated nation into Hell.

    “Yes, Hitler’s Nazi propaganda placed the “eternal” Jew as both Capitalist and Communist playing both sides against the Little Guy. Orwell’s DoubleThink at it’s best.

    The continuation of ex-Marxism as exemplified by Mssr Cycotop, is what the Right is seriously upset about. Such verbiage gives the Righteous Right the right to be righteous about nonsensical nonsense such as Marxism. Unfortunately, the Righteous Right’s nonsense is no less nonsensical than is Marxism dressed up in “progressive” verbiage.

    As for Vietnam, I served there with the 1st Cavalry Division then in combat with NVA and VC forces in I Corps and later in III Corps. One didn’t need an excuse to fight there. They were some serious bad guys. That we drove the NVA and VC units out of Vietnamese populated areas into Cambodia, was undone by sedition at home. I hear enough of the so-called “Anti-War” crowd who crow that they “stopped” the War in Vietnam when in fact the war went on for two more years after we left.

    In recent years, those of us who fought in Vietnam have found common ground for friendship with our former enemies. War sucks, and both sides know it. Texas has a great many former Vietnamese refugees, and in Houston we have a large section of West Houston where many of the street signs are in both Chinese and Vietnamese.

  16. Thanks Gordon. Sorry but I’ve never heard of “Lackey running dogs of imperialism.” That’s a new one to me. I don’t even know what that means.

    So apparently you approve of what the Wall Street crowd and Big Business is doing with the economy, the environment, and loss of civil rights. You like the business takeover of government. You like the growing inequality of wealth – which, by the way, was a concern of the Fed even under the Republican administration. OK, whatever. I now know where your heart is so thank you for being clear.

    So I take it there’s no such thing as pollution; that pollution is a “Marxist” hypothesis with no scientific evidence?

    As for Vietnam, yes, there were/are some major evil people there. And, for your information, my older brother served in Vietnam. I just never understood that their Evil Ones were any more evil than the Evil Ones in Africa, South America, or other parts of Asia. Or that their Evil Ones had attacked the United States. I didn’t realize they had flown planes into our skyscrapers or bombed our Naval installations, thus justifying a 20-year war.

    You point out that there are Vietnamese immigrants living in the United States and that there are street signs in their languages – as if I didn’t already know that and as if I’m supposed to have some kind of problem with that. Sorry to disappoint you but I’ve no problem with that at all. Did you think I was racist or nationalist or an English-only proponent or something?

    I don’t know what you mean by the war being “undone by sedition at home;” therefore, I have never “crowed” about the anti-war crowd stopping the war. The war was stopped because Congress stopped funding it – and by the sheer exhaustion of 20 years of war, 58,000 dead Americans, who knows how many dead Vietnamese(?) – and no end in sight. You seem to forget that Robert McNamara himself admitted the war could not have been won militarily and that it had been a mistake. Even Pres. Johnson admitted same. I didn’t say that: THEY did! So blame them for THEIR sedition. But really: how many more dead people would have been a satisfactory number?

    You seem to have an obsession with “Marxism.” And what “ex-Marxism” is in relation to Marxism or anything else, I have no idea. “Ex-Marxism” sounds like (a) the opposite of Marxism, or (b) post-Marxism (whatever the heck THAT might be). If desiring a fair, just nation makes me a “Marxist” in your eyes, I’m fine with that but you really have nothing to worry about. As we see, it’s the radical “no-government” conservatives that are gaining the upper hand as theirs is becoming mainstream American thought. So why you’ve got your underwear in a twist over my so-called “ex-Marxism” mystifies me.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  17. To John C: Yes we could have. The principal military mistake we and the South Vietnamese made was not to provide for sufficient logistical support in the absence of ours. This worked itself out in shortages of spare parts and ammunition.

    In those days, an average rate of ammunition consumption was ten tons per gun per day with six guns per battery and three batteries to a battalion and about five battalions in support of a division. The average ammo truck carried five tons with an additional five tons in a trailer or one truck per gun per day. Ammunition expenditures is spelled out in the number of rounds per day and is called the ammunition supply rate or ASR. The number of rounds per ton varies with the caliber.

    The wear and tear on trucks in moving ammunition consumes not only fuel and spark plugs, tires wear out fast. In the last year before the 1975 NVA invasion, trucks were towing trucks with missing tires.

    We had “promised” to return with firepower and ammo if the North invaded. They did, we didn’t.

    The big error committed was at the front end of the war by allowing the North Vietnamese to occupy the Plain of Jars in Souther Laos. We had cut a deal with Russia and China to get out, but the North Vietnamese felt not obliged to go along. We assumed that all communist countries were one vast conspiracy, and if we invaded the North, China would enter.

    We did not appreciate that the Chinese were the absolute worst bad guy in Vietnamese history. Ho Chi Minh was skillful in playing the Chinese off against the Russians. At the end of the bombing operations in 1972, the North had committed all thier SAM missiles save two, and the elite guard units had been committed to battle. That which is shameful is that after we had the North Vietnamese over a barrel, we skedaddled.

    That which really infuriates a lot of combat veterans of that war is the Left’s portrayal that the US was chased out of Vietnam off the roofs of Saigon buildings by sandal clad guerillas who had hidden in caves. This is another issue not yet vetted at SBOE.

  18. And, the war in the South had been divided with US ground forces going after main force VC/NVA forces in the boonies, while the South Vietnamese ARVN secured the populated area. The former was a war of maneuver which the VC/NVA forces became extremely good at, and the latter was an area based war. The war of maneuver was against the VC/NVA lines of supplies into Cambodia and Laos. The area based war was against the VC structure in the local districts.

    North Vietnam, for reasons still under debate, upgraded their guerilla forces at village and district into main force type units and committed tham against US and allied forces in a war of maneuver. Once the local threat of VC assasinations and local actions at the village and district was diluted by the VC themelves, the area war was able to rip out most of the support at that level of action. In Tet, the VC expectation that the people would rise up failed.

    The VC did, however, maintain an amaxing hidden logistic structure in the jngle and rubber plantations to the supply sources in Cambodia and the Ho Chi Minh trail. We each successive US attack on this structure, the bases were moved further and further away from the populated areas of Vietnam.

    It took several years of rebuilding, retraining, and reequpping the NVA into more conventional infantry and armored formations and devise an air defense before the 1975 offensive.

    The geometry of Vietnam is like a string bean with knife at it’s back. The whole bean could not be protected against a mobiel armored and mechanized force. The South tried, and lost.

    This is an issue that the SBOE should have taken up.

  19. John C: Actually, the U.S. did win in Vietnam. I’m sure if you went there you could get a burger at McDonalds and wash it down with a Starbucks. Commerce is alive and well and thriving in Vietnam.

    Interesting that most of the businesses that are being hurt by the Gulf oil spill are small businesses. Yet “Big Oil” does no wrong and walks on water (literally).

    I’ve learned here that corporate social responsibility = marxism. Pollution is a figment of marxist imagination. And anyone who objects to war is “seditious.” I hope you all realize the ramifications of that. Someday, like in Stalin’s USSR and Hitler’s Germany, we American citizens may be forced to sign some sort of loyalty statement declaring support for any war.

    Yet I’m the one here who is diagnosed as “marxist.”

    I hope you all realize that if the U.S. is to go to war against every thug in the world – even those who don’t attack us – we’ll be in a constant state of war forever. War requires taxes – which nobody wants to pay. Oh wait! We’ll just keep borrowing from China.


  20. Texas Republicans have been indulging in payback against imagined wrongs this entire decade, and the tool they’ve used has been redistricting.

    In 2003, they famously targeted incumbent Democrats in Congress for defeat by redrawing congressional district lines. Four incumbent Democrats lost their seats in the next general election, a fifth declined to run again, and a sixth switched parties. Republicans claimed that they were simply doing to Democrats what Democrats had done to them, but no Democratic legislature had ever redrawn lines to defeat a Republican member of Congress—never. Less well understood is how the dismemberment of Austin’s seat on the State Board of Education led to our current problems on the board.

    In 2001, the legislature deliberately split Travis County in two to make it difficult for a Democrat to represent the Capital City and the home of Texas’s flagship university. In addition to losing Travis County south of the Colorado River, District 10 also shed Caldwell and Hays counties. Caldwell (a majority-minority county) was solidly Democratic even then, and Hays, thanks to ongoing campaigning by Partick Rose, Lloyd Doggett and various county officials, is now, once again, good Democratic turf.

    Were it not for the home-state enthusiasm for George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, Donna Howard would have won the old District 10 in 2000. She would surely have won in 2002 had the new District 10 included all of Travis County.

    The pendulum didn’t swing based on its own momentum. It was given a huge push by a Republican legislature driven by the faction that refers to Austin as Moscow on the Colorado or the People’s Republic of Austin.

    If it was payback, what was it payback for? For being smart? Better educated? Successful? The place where their children want to move to get away from them?

    Imagine if Donna Howard had been representing us on the State Board of Education for the past eight years. We would not only have had a reliable vote but a real leader standing up unapologetically for science and fundamental concepts such as the separation of church and state. She would surely have blown the whistle on Democrats such as Rick Agosto, who traded votes with the extremists, and she would probably have been the first to go to the legislature asking for reforms of the board itself.

    None of that happened because Austin was robbed of its representation by a gerrymander engineered by Speaker Tom Craddick and his cronies. The more “politically moderate board” of the 90s was brought low by the legislature itself.

  21. The word gerrymander was coined by a newspaper editor in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts electoral boundaries under the then governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced /ˈɡɛri/; 1744–1814), that included one sprawling supposedly salamander-shaped constituency.

    In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill into law that redistricted his state to benefit his Democratic-Republican party. One of the resulting contorted districts was said to resemble a salamander.[3] The term first appeared in the Boston Centinel on March 26, 1812.

    So Sayeth the Prophet Wiki