Friday, July 24, 2009

Texas Shenanigans

by Pa Rock

I'll be flying out of Texas in the morning, and I hated to leave without taking a swipe or two at the Lone Star State. So here goes:

First of all, I miss Molly Ivins - I really, really miss Molly Ivins. The late Texas newspaper journalist had a well-earned national reputation for telling it like it was. When Miss Molly sat down at her keyboard, Texas politicians would start diving for cover. But Miss Molly has been gone for a couple of years now and the Texas political snakes have begun crawling out from under their rocks and are once again making their state look extremely foolish.

The Texas School Board, which controls - really controls - school curriculum in the state, has recently set up a committee of six typical Texans (they call them "experts") to review the curriculum for social studies. It seems that the good ole boys on the Board feel that there is currently an over representation of minorities in the state's social studies books. David Barton, one of the "experts" appointed to the curriculum committee, said that Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers Union, lacks the "status, impact, and overall contributions of so many others." (Translation: We don't want our kids reading about no union organizing Mexican!)

Evangelical Minister Peter Marshall, also on the Board's social studies curriculum committee, said "To have Cesar Chavez listed next to Ben ludicrous." He went on to say that Chavez "is not a role model who ought to be held up to students as someone worthy of emulation." The good reverend is also wound up about Thurgood Marshall, the late Supreme Court Justice who was also the attorney in Brown vs. Board of Education - the case that desegregated America's public schools. Marshall said that Thurgood Marshall was "not a strong enough example of an important historical figure to be presented to students." (Translation: Our kids don't need to be reading about no uppity nigra who probably got into law school because of a quota!)

The curriculum controversy in Texas is important to the rest of the country because Texas is a huge purchaser of textbooks, and its goofball curriculum guidelines literally become the tail that wags the dog. The publishers don't make a Texas edition, they make a national edition that meets the Texas standards. As Texas slides, so slides the nation.

Another bit of Texas political nonsense came to light today when Governor Rick Perry, whom Molly Ivins used to refer to as "Great Hair," announced his belief that the states should be responsible for health care policy - not the federal government. Unsaid by the pretty-boy governor was the fact that Texas has the lowest rate of health care coverage in the country with a full 25% of the state population completely uninsured. Apparently health care costs in Texas are among the very highest in the nation. Governor Perry has been in office for nine years, health care in his state is a complete and total joke, and he thinks fixing health care needs to be left to the states? What a bozo!

Rumor has it that there are some intelligent people in Texas. Apparently they live in El Paso and Austin - but the Austin group does not include the state legislators!

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