We already knew that Texas State Board of Education member Ken “Cat-Dog” Mercer, R-San Antonio, arrogantly questions the religious faith of people who oppose teaching public school students discredited creationist arguments against evolution in their science classrooms. Now we see that Mercer also has no problem using fear and hate to promote discrimination.

Below is a vicious email he sent out today attacking a proposed San Antonio ordinance adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as military veterans to the city’s policies barring discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. The San Antonio City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance tomorrow (September 5). You still have time to urge council members to vote for the ordinance. A list of email addresses for council members is at the bottom of this post.

Not surprisingly, Mercer’s email includes many gross distortions and mistruths. He suggests, for example, that the proposed ordinance would bar people who support “traditional values” (as he sees them) from serving in city government. He claims that the ordinance would force businesses to “violate state law.” He suggests that businesses could become victims of “political distortion” if… Read More

Does Texas State Board of Education member Ken Mercer, a San Antonio Republican, think one of his fellow Republicans on the board “has no integrity”? Does he think his fellow Republican has “disdain for the law,” is ineligible to serve on the board, and is using his position to enrich his business clients? If he doesn’t believe those things, then he should repudiate — immediately and publicly — one of his supporters who has been leveling those charges.

Donna “Jeffery Dahmer Believed in Evolution” Garner, a right-wing gadfly from the Waco area, has been making those charges in emails supporting Mercer’s bid to be vice chair of the state board. Board members will elect a vice chair and a secretary at the first meeting of their new term on January 30. Garner’s emails urge right-wing activists to contact their board members to elect Mercer over Thomas Ratliff, a Mount Pleasant Republican who defeated arch-creationist Don McLeroy of College Station in the GOP primary in 2010.

The vice chair, secretary and chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, make up the state board’s executive committee. Those three officers will assign board members to the board’s standing committees: Instruction (dealing… Read More

Bill Nye the Science Guy has gone viral with a new web video that simply must be shared with TFN Insider readers. In the vid, Nye makes an appeal to the grownups:

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

Will the grownups on the Texas State Board of Education who want sound evolutionary science to be taught please step forward? Not so fast, Ken Mercer. Or you, Gail Lowe. Stay where you are, Barbara Cargill. Do we even need to say anything, David Bradley? And a host of other SBOE members past and present.

Watch:

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Members of the creationist bloc on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) have mistated the truth so often that they can’t even keep their own distortions straight. Case in point: Speaking on Saturday at the “Texas Freedom Rally at the Alamo” in San Antonio, SBOE member Ken Mercer told Tea Party activists some real whoppers about the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools two years ago. He claimed that education bureaucrats had been trying to use the standards to promote a far-left agenda. The Gonzales Cannon quoted Mercer’s comments:

“A parent came forward to me and showed me they had deleted the words ‘free enterprise’ and ‘free market’ from economics [standards]. They told me this was because those words were ‘too positive’ in describing the American economic system.”

BUT IT WAS MERCER WHO DELETED “FREE MARKET” FROM THE STANDARDS.

From the minutes of the March 2010 SBOE discussion of the social studies standards (page 16 of the meeting minutes):

“MOTION AND VOTE: It was moved by Mr. Mercer and seconded by Ms. Leo to recommend that the State Board of Education strike the parenthetical terms ‘(capitalist, free market)’ wherever… Read More

Five of the Texas State Board of Education‘s far-right bloc have endorsed Marty Rowley of Amarillo in the Republican primary for the District 15 state board seat. Rowley’s campaign blog says board Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands; former chair Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas; Charlie Garza, R-El Paso; Terri Leo, R-Spring; and Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio have “unanimously” endorsed him. We don’t know what he means by “unanimous”: a sixth member of the board’s far-right bloc, David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, is not on the list of endorsers. (All of the board’s far-right members except Leo are seeking re-election this year.)

Rowley is seeking the board seat currently held by Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, who is not seeking re-election. Anette Carlisle, president of the Amarillo Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, is also running for the Republican nomination for that seat. Steven Schafersman of Midland is the lone Democrat running for the seat.

The Texas Freedom Network’s SBOE Election Watch page includes more information about the board elections and candidates.

(Thanks to TFN Insider reader abb3w for the heads-up.)… Read More

The New York Times

In the past year, at least 5 states and numerous cities have joined a long list of places to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Here are some localities that will be formally honoring it for the first time – and what it took to get there. nyti.ms/32i8jfq