Creationists make stealth bid to takeover Texas education board

February 28, 2008

Sane members of the Texas State Board of Education hold a slim majority over scripture-at-any-cost-in-science-books creationists.

Creationists are hammering away to defeat at least two incumbent board members to tip the balance, in classic stealth campaigns where they hide their intentions and spend oodles of money hoping to do evil by catching most voters asleep.  The creationists are campaigning to beat conservative, religious Baptists, because the Baptists are “too liberal” on evolution. 

Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow presents the facts in the State Education District 11 race, where a secretive urologist who patterns his campaign tactics after Kim Jong Il is outspending the sane incumbent at least $12 to $1.  The entire column is below the fold.

District 11 includes most of Tarrant County (Fort Worth), and Parker, Ellis and Johnson counties.

Social studies is also at risk here:  The stealth candidate, Barney Maddox, is making false claims against Texas social studies teachers and Texas social studies books, especially history books.  The guy looks like an ill-informed nutcase, and he has a good chance of winning.

For example, the campaign flier says: “Barney Maddox believes social studies textbooks should devote more space to American presidents than Marilyn Monroe and that the vicious attack of 9-11 should be portrayed as an aggressive act by terrorists, not an American conspiracy.”

Marilyn Monroe makes no appearance in some books; presidents get 100 times more space in any book you choose.  No book portrays 9-11 as an American conspiracy.  The man campaigns like your standard, wild-eyed nutcase.

Call, write and e-mail everyone you know in Texas to warn them to vote against Barney Maddox, and for Pat Hardy, in the District 11 State School Board race.  Your friends may not live in that district, but they should know.  There are other racess with similar problems.  

Early voting in this primary ends tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.  Tuesday, March 4,  is election day.

Blow’s column, below the fold.

While you’re working at making the world safe for science, wander over to the Texas Freedom Network’s site, and sign the petition saying you’ll stand up for science.  Tell ’em Ed sent you.

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Dallas could use California’s Willie Brown

February 28, 2008

Legendary California Assemblyman, and former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown is in Dallas tonight, speaking at the Dallas Public Library in promotion of his new book, Basic Brown: My Life and Times.

Willie Brown, photo by thomashawk, flickr

Update: Alas, the great photo of Willie Brown from thomashawk has been taken down since the original posting date; this one will have to do, from dogeatdogma


Orrin Hatch had some tussle with the Utah NAACP in the mid-1980s. By way of apology, he volunteered to go speak to one of their meetings on a topic of their choice.

Never say there is no humor in politics. The NAACP called to clear time on Hatch’s calendar, and once they got that secured, announced they wanted him to introduce Willie Brown.

At the time Brown was quite controversial, seen as a very partisan Democrat, and the opposite of the sort of guy a rising conservative like Orrin Hatch should ever introduce. Hatch saw disaster. I drew the assignment to draft an introduction and figure some way for Hatch to bow out.

Let me put in plugs for Terri Smith and Jeanne Lopatto here. Terri was secretary for the press office I ran at the Senate Labor Committee, Jeanne was press assistant. They made up a formidable political advance and research team that I would not hesitate to take on the campaign trail today, more than two decades later.

Smith and Lopatto put together the life history and legislative accomplishments of Brown, and when we looked at it, we thought Hatch had a great opportunity. Brown rose up from poverty, much as Hatch had. And while he was known as a partisan Democrat outside of California, he won election as Speaker of the California House by brilliant assembly of a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, beating out the favored candidates of both parties. He made legislative history when he kept that coalition alive to move legislation good for California.

Our press office was quite unpopular when we recommended a full-court press on getting reporters out to cover the affair. When Hatch read the introduction and understood Brown’s life, he told us he thought it was a big gamble, but he’d do it.

Hatch and Brown had a lot in common. Hatch came back from the dinner smiling, and extolling the virtues of Brown and bipartisan work.

That part of the genius of Willie Brown you don’t often hear: He’s a very likable guy, and he will work with people of all factions to get good laws. It’s also a side of Orrin Hatch you don’t often see: He’ll work happily with other factions, when he has the facts of the matters.

Terri Smith’s book is here. Jeanne Lopatto, late of the Department of Energy, toils away in Washington still. [Obama? Clinton? McCain? Bid for the team — it’s a sure bet you don’t want us working for your opposition . . .]

And Willie Brown’s promoting his biography in Dallas tonight. Details below the fold.

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