Texas Gov. Rick Perry lost a key vote in his own backyard on Saturday. Prominent religious-right leaders meeting at a Texas ranch decided to back former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania over Perry, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination this year. That decision should give Santorum a boost in his efforts to rally social conservatives behind his challenge to frontrunner and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. From the Associated Press:

Surrogates for each campaign were said to have made presentations and answered questions. The goal was to determine whether conservative leaders could rally behind one alternative candidate to Romney, in hopes of ensuring one of their own wins the nomination instead of someone they consider more moderate. Many conservative leaders fear a repeat of four years ago when, in their view, a divided conservative base led the GOP to nominate McCain.

Meeting attendees said it took several ballots for 75 percent of attendees to agree on Santorum after winnowing down the field from three candidates: Santorum, Gingrich and Perry. They also said that there was some support for Romney.

The decision appears to have upset David Lane, who in… Read More

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is stumbling, but the folks behind his prayer extravaganza in a Houston football stadium last August seem to be marching on. An email from organizers of The Response today invites folks to a South Carolina prayer rally on January 17 — just four days before that state’s Republican presidential primary.

In fact, The Response organizers have planned all of their post-Houston events for early Republican presidential caucus and primary states. One was in Iowa on December 6, less than a month before that state’s party caucuses. A January 24 Florida rally is scheduled a week before that state’s presidential primaries. And organizers are planning an event in Arizona for February — Republicans go to the polls there on February 28.

Organizers haven’t set specific dates for events in the March GOP primary and caucus states of Washington, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. Those are all listed as “pending.” Perhaps they think the Republican nomination will be settled by then.

You will recall that the Houston rally came just a week before Gov. Perry formally announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Yet here is what we see posted on TheRead More

Barbara Cargill, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, wasn't honest with her audience at a candidate forum in Conroe (north of Houston) last night. Speaking at the forum (which was hosted by the Montgomery County Eagle Forum), Cargill claimed that she and other board members didn't push through substantial last-minute changes, over the objections of teachers and curriculum specialists, to new language arts standards the board adopted in 2008. From the Magnolia News: It is "absolutely false" that curriculum changes were snuck into the standards; the SBOE was “bogged down” and it was recommended the board bring in a facilitator to help with the process, which is what happened, Cargill said. Six months later, the curriculum changes were completed, she said. “We listen to our teachers and parents and business leaders,” Cargill said of the SBOE. But objective observers know that's not true. Here's how the Associated Press explained what happened at that notorious final state board meeting on the revised language arts standards in May 2008: The State Board of Education's debate on new English and reading standards took another turn Friday as members approved a never-before-seen version of the lengthy…… Read More

Pat Carlson, president of the radical-right group Texas Eagle Forum, has filed to run for the District 91 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. The Fort Worth Republican used TEF’s e-newsletter Monday to announce her run for the open seat. (Republican incumbent Kevin Hancock is seeking a state Senate seat.) Carlson told TEF activists:

“I am seeking this position to be a ‘citizen legislator’ going to Austin to hold back the overreach of government.”

“Overreach”? Well, considering her own fringe political views, Carlson should know the meaning of that word.

She claims, for example, that mainstream organizations like the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Federation are actually “radical environmental groups” that have “have brainwashed a generation of young people into believing the planet is in environmental distress.” (Yeah, never mind massive oil spills that pollute our water and beaches, smog that chokes cities and their residents, chemical and nuclear calamities, increasingly erratic climate patterns, and… well, you get the point. Carlson thinks concerns over those very real challenges are simply products of “brainwashing.”)

She also peddles anti-Muslim hysteria, ranting that mosques are centers of subversion in America and that “Sharia law is… Read More

This year the far-right faction that controls the Texas State Board of Education has been even more contemptuous of teachers and the law than in the past. Now it appears that in addition to bullying teachers, David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, may have a history of threatening at least one fellow board member.

Some of the board’s right-wingers — especially Bradley — have bullied teachers who dare come before them with suggestions and concerns about what our public schools should be teaching Texas children. This week the Examiner, a Southeast Texas newspaper, revealed that Cynthia Thornton, a former board member — and a fellow Republican — claims Bradley bullied and threatened her when she served on the board. As a result, Thornton says, the Texas Education Agency had to post armed security at board meetings.

“To make a long story short, every year it got worse and worse between Bradley and I, and everybody in Austin was watching the show. And I decided I’m not going to put up with this stuff and I flat told him off. The first time he grabbed me was when I made it plain that what he… Read More

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