For another indication of just how much the paranoid, right-wing political fringe has become embedded in Texas government, check out what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s “Grassroots Advisory Board” is up to. Today the panel of Tea Party activists released a letter criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott’s plans to expand pre-K programs in the state. Those programs, the advisory board insists, will undermine parental rights and put children into “a Godless environment” that promotes socialism.

Yeah, that’s right. Tea Party activists who advise the Republican lieutenant governor are accusing the Republican governor of trying to lead Texas kids into Godless socialism. This is whack-a-loon territory.

The governor’s plan, outlined in House Bill 4 and Senate Bill 801, call for more funding and better quality standards for pre-K programs that school districts choose to offer. Lt. Gov. Patrick’s Tea Party advisors see the bills as a step toward universal pre-K education for all Texas kids. (TFN takes no position on these bills. Pre-K isn’t one of the issues that we focus on. But we do monitor what the right-wing fringe is up to, and they really don’t like pre-K.)

You can read the full letter from the lieutenant governor’s advisory committee here. Some choice excerpts:

“(W)e are experimenting at great… Read More

So are we now seeing the new face of Texas following the right-wing sweep on election day last Tuesday?

According to various media outlets, a television reporter says he was assaulted as he tried to cover the election night victory party for state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, last Tuesday. Patrick’s right-wing supporters were celebrating an election that will make Patrick — who even the Dallas Morning News has characterized as “potentially explosive,” “reckless” and “untrustworthy” — the Lone Star State’s next lieutenant governor.

As Talking Points Memo reports, a Patrick supporter apparently was upset that the reporter was on the air while someone prayed from the stage:

Foti Kallergis, a reporter from television station KTRK, and his colleague, Deborah Wrigley, were covering the election results when somebody apparently confronted them for going on air during the prayer.

In video posted on Monday by Mediaite Kallergis could be seen on camera just before the altercation took place, but the broadcast cut away from the live shot to other footage before the commotion began. In the video, Kallergis could be heard trying to continue to read his report while a man’s voice began to speak over him. Kallergis eventually went silent.

The reporter later… Read More

For well over a year, right-wing activists and pandering politicians like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick have loudly and recklessly complained that a popular curriculum tool used in hundreds of Texas schools is filled with anti-American, Marxist and pro-Islamic bias. Now a formal review of lessons from the CSCOPE curriculum program confirms that lies and distortions were behind many of the attacks.

An Austin-American Statesman review of the final reports from the State Board of Education’s review exposes just how baseless the attacks on CSCOPE’s lessons were. From the article:

More than 140 volunteers — parents, educators, business people and others appointed by members of the State Board of Education — combed through 431 social studies lessons from all grades in search of bias and errors. Their findings were posted online at cscopereviews.com in late January.

Fewer than 10 of the panelists found evidence of pervasive liberal bias; the other 130 or so did not.

“They used public schools and kids as pawns in their political games and now they have moved on to something else,” said State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, who opposed Patrick during a… Read More

Each of the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor raced as far to the extreme right as they could during their debate Monday night. Each one, for example, expressed support for banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Each one insisted that government should intrude into the end-of-life decisions families make for their loved ones who are brain dead. And each one insisted that public schools be put in the position of deciding whose religious beliefs about creation should be taught in their classrooms.

On the issue of creationism, disregard for now the fact that the four candidates were supporting something that would get the state’s cash-strapped public schools sued for violating the U.S. Constitution. The candidates would also create an impossibly difficult dilemma for public schools. Should those schools teach students that Earth is 6,000-years-old and that humans walked the land with dinosaurs? Should they teach competing religious beliefs about creation? Or should they simply leave, as they do now, religious instruction to families and congregations while focusing instead on teaching students established, mainstream science that prepares them to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century?

Just as appalling was… Read More

Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, one of three Republicans trying to unseat David Dewhurst as lieutenant governor next year, thinks he knows what God wants people to hear. Lone Star Q reports that Patrick was a guest Thursday on The Chad Hasty Show, a radio program on KFYO in Lubbock. Patrick weighed in on recent controversial comments by Phil Robertson, star of the reality television show Duck Dynasty. Here’s some of what Patrick had to say:

“Think about this, Chad. God has used Phil, of all people, a ‘Duck Dynasty’ show, to say clearly what He is thinking. I don’t agree with the way Phil said some things in the article, maybe God would not have used those words, but when he’s talking about God, and he’s talking about the principles of the Bible, that’s powerful. Think about how God is speaking to his people at the Christmas season through Uncle Phil about this issue. I think that’s the story, and I think it’s powerful, and it excites me as a Christian.”

God is speaking through Robertson? So, Sen. Patrick, does God also want his people to know that African Americans during the pre-civil rightRead More