by Dan Quinn

Crushing disappointment for those of us who were excitedly awaiting the Republican primary duel between two of the most wackadoodle right-wingers in Texas — Terri Leo, R-Spring, announced Tuesday that she is dropping her challenge to state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball in next year’s election.

Leo posted the announcement on her Facebook page, explaining that she hadn’t been aware that the Texas Constitution bars her from serving in the Legislature while she is an employee for a public school district. She works as a school counselor.

The civil war between very conservative “establishment” Republicans and the even more fervently anti-government arsonists in the GOP was the catalyst for Leo’s now-aborted challenge to Riddle. Riddle, one of the most right-wing Republicans in the Legislature, apparently had angered the even-more-extreme firebreathers in her party for some reason or another this year. So they turned to Leo, who embarrassed Texas as a member of the State Board of Education for a decade through 2012.

As we noted last month, Riddle’s extreme political positions include considering public education an idea “straight out of the pit of hell.”  Leo was a leading member of the education board’s hard-right faction. In addition to attacking instruction on the science of evolution, sex education and Islam in textbooks,… Read More

Now this could be fun to watch.

On Wednesday former State Board of Education member Terri Leo, a Republican from Spring northwest of Houston, announced that she’s running for the Texas House of Representatives. She’s seeking the seat of incumbent state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, who is seeking re-election.

Both Leo and Riddle orbit on the outer fringes of the political right. Will these two spend the next six months trying to out-crazy each other? Pass the popcorn!

For a decade, until she left at the end of 2012, Leo was part of the state board’s faction of hard-right social conservatives. The former Concerned Women for America activist repeatedly tried, for example, to force publishers to include creationist arguments against evolution in their public school science textbooks. Speaking in 2009 on a radio program hosted by phony historian and religious-right propagandist David Barton, Leo explained her opposition on evolution:

“They [scientists] don’t want to talk about the science because they lose that argument continually. The science is overwhelmingly against evolution.”

The following year, Leo’s sloppy Internet “research” led the board to vote to remove the author of the popular children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? from the state’s curriculum standards. She claimed the author, Bill… Read More

It turns out that the Nevada anti-government extremist lauded recently by Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, as a “brave patriot” has some pretty offensive things to say about African Americans.

Earlier this month hundreds of armed, anti-government “militia” activists converged on Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada. They did so to support Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal land for more than 20 years. Bundy has refused to pay any fees or obey court orders to stop grazing his cattle on the land. In fact, he claims Nevada is sovereign and has said “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.

Bundy’s militia supporters bullied federal agents into halting an effort to round up Bundy’s illegally grazing cattle. Like moths drawn to a flame, right-wing activists and politicians like Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party hero, rushed to express their support for Bundy. Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, tweeted his own criticism of the federal Bureau of Land Management (but not the armed extremists) in the case:

The Bureau of Land Management needs to be defunded. Prime case of bureaucrats abusing power .

But Riddle’s comments about Bundy and the federal… Read More

That some Texas legislators have an almost knee-jerk reflex when it comes to attacking government in just about every instance is old news. So it’s not surprising that Republican state representatives Debbie Riddle of Tomball and Bill Zedler of Arlington are supporting a lawbreaker and armed, anti-government extremists involved in a cattle-grazing dispute in Nevada.

In a Facebook post today, Riddle calls federal rangers “jack booted thugs” because they are enforcing court orders that a Nevada rancher stop grazing his cattle illegally on federal lands:

The rancher, Mr. Bundy, in Nevada who has drawn a line in the sand (without harming one turtle) is a brave patriot. The Feds have no right to come onto state property where he has had grazing rights for decades, take his cattle, act like “jack booted thugs” & attempt to intimidate. If Obama was as concerned about our border security as he is being a bully with Bundy – then we would all be safer & folks would respect our laws & respect us more as a nation. Mr. President, we here in Texas believe in States Rights & we are standing with the Nevada rancher!! As the say in NH “Live… Read More

Folks in Ohio are upset after a Republican state legislator there criticized public education as a failure because, he says, it’s socialism. But he’s got nothing on the anti-public education fanatics we elect here in Texas.

Ohio state Rep. Andrew Brenner wrote about public schools in a blog post on March 3 titled “Public education in America is socialism, what is the solution?” Here’s part of what he wrote:

It is interesting that tea party members will attack Obama-care relentlessly as a socialist system that brings about mediocrity and failure, and also blame Common Core for all of the problems in our education system because they are concerned that it will become centralized. However, they rarely (if ever) bring up the fact that our public education system is already a socialist system. and has been a socialist system since the founding of our country. While one room school houses (which were also used in many cases as houses of worship) worked well 100 years ago when most students graduated by the 7th grade, the same system does not work well today.

The solution to the “problem,” he writes, is to privatize education:

Successful schools will thrive. The free-market… Read More