Remember when Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley criticized teachers and scholars who were crafting new language arts and reading curriculum standards for Texas schools back in 2008? Having students actually think about what they were reading didn’t seem like a good idea to Bradley:

“I’m sorry. This critical thinking stuff is gobbledygook.”

Well, Bradley’s fellow Republicans appear to agree. The 2012 Texas GOP platform adopted this month in Fort Worth includes the following gem:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

So the Texas GOP worries that teaching kids to think is a threat to parental authority. Who knew?

TFN’s analysis of the Texas GOP platform is here.Read More

Read the Texas Freedom Network’s analysis of the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform here. The full platform itself is here.

We thought these two passages were particularly revealing.

Page 7:

“Homosexuality — We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle, in public policy, nor should ‘family’ be redefined to include homosexual ‘couples.’ We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.”

Page 15:

“Equality of All Citizens — We deplore all discrimination.”

Yeah. Sure you do.… Read More

Since the religious right took control of the Texas Republican Party back in the early 1990s, writing the state GOP’s platform has been an exercise in promoting extremism every two years. This year wasn’t any different. A Texas Freedom Network analysis shows how the 2012 Texas Republican Party turns back the clock by seeking to erase long-established protections for religious freedom, civil and voting rights, women’s health and public education.

Click here for our analysis of the party’s platform, but following is a sampling of the extremism promoted by Texas Republicans at their convention this month in Fort Worth. That platform:… Read More

Both the Democratic and Republican parties of Texas will meet in convention this week. Ever since the religious right’s takeover of the Texas Republican Party in the 1990s, the state GOP platform has been almost a manifesto for extremism. The 2010 platform, for example, calls separation of church and state a “myth”; insists on abstinence-only programs that promote ignorance in sex education classes; opposes minimum wage laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Endangered Species Act and Social Security; and actually calls for the creation of a state militia to protect Texas sovereignty.

But it reserves some of its harshest language for designating gay people as even worse than second-class citizens in Texas. In fact, the platform doesn’t just oppose laws that bar anti-gay discrimination. Language promoting discrimination is enshrined in the document — including support for sodomy laws that criminalize private, consensual relationships between same-sex partners and calling on Congress to bar federal courts from protecting the rights of those couples. And it says this:

We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.… Read More

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is upset about President Obama's comments that a Supreme Court decision to overturn the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, would represent “unprecedented, extraordinary” judicial activism. Senator McConnell said today that the president is trying to "intimidate" the Supreme Court: “With his words, he was no longer trying to embarrass the Court after a decision; rather, he tried to intimidate it before a decision has been made. And that should be intolerable to all of us.” Oh, cry me a river. Senator McConnell is ignoring the right's decades-long assault on an independent judiciary. Last year, for example, Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that judges who make decisions he think represent judicial activism should be arrested. Gingrich has also said that judges who engage in what he calls "judicial supremacy" should be impeached. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also attacks what he considers judicial activism and argues that judges can be held "accountable" by ending lifetime tenure. He even calls the Supreme Court "nine oligarchs in robes."…… Read More