Well, that’s what he said. And no, we have no idea what the hell he meant. But one thing is for sure when Texas Congressman Louie “Terror Babies” Gohmert goes on one of his unhinged rants — it will sound like he forgot to take his meds that morning. That’s pretty much the impression he gave on Wednesday during a committee hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder.
The East Texas congressman insisted that law enforcement officials and the Justice Department failed to prevent the Boston Marathon bombing because of “political correctness,” claiming that federal officials harass Christians but are worried about offending Muslims. Attorney General Holder, clearly exasperated by the bizarre attacks, pointed out that Gohmert was woefully misinformed. That brought an even angrier, rambling response from Gohmert. The Republican chairman of the committee tried to restore order as Gohmert charged that Holder was “casting aspersions on my asparagus.” Huh? See for yourself.
The video clip is from Mediaite:
… they’ll give you the axe. Or at least try to.
From the start, the CSCOPE hysterics have demanded accountability and transparency from whatever they think CSCOPE is. Well, they’re getting it (there was a public meeting today from which we’ll have a report soon). And they’ve gotten it (there was a public meeting last week to which no one bothered to show).
But Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, via Twitter, confirmed our suspicions that this has never been about accountability.
Yep, this is about destroying CSCOPE, not about improving a teaching tool approximately three-quarters of all 1,000+ Texas public school districts depend on.
The witch hunt continues.
Update: The Texas Observer has a summary of the ramifications of this amendment.
We just issued the following statement regarding today’s passage in the Texas House of Representatives of an amendment authored by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Ft. Worth, that would force the state’s colleges and universities to give their official approval to student organizations that discriminate.
“When given the choice between making Texas universities a place where all students are treated equally or requiring universities to endorse discrimination on campus, the Texas House voted to stand for discrimination,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “Even as the rest of the country rushes forward to ensure equality under the law for all its citizens, the Texas House seems determined to find new and devious ways to undermine basic fairness in its public institutions.”
The 78-67 vote in favor of adding an amendment by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Ft. Worth, to Senate Bill 215 was met by cheers and applause from some in the House. The measure would allow officially recognized student organizations that receive taxpayer-funded support to exclude certain students from membership, including discrimination based on sexual orientation.
We have learned that state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Ft. Worth, plans to propose a surprise amendment on the House floor today that would force colleges and universities to give their official approval to student organizations that discriminate. This would open the door to university funding for extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and anti-gay organizations that want to establish student chapters.
Call your state representative NOW and ask him or her to oppose Krause’s amendment to SB 215 (a bill reauthorizing the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board). (Click here to find out who represents you.)
What’s wrong with the amendment?
Universities, just like the Texas Capitol, are limited public forums. They must provide a space for any speech and gathering, but they aren’t required to allow that speech and association to take place everywhere and in all circumstances. Moreover, the Supreme Court of the United States in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez ruled that public universities have a right to require that officially recognized student organizations open their memberships to all students, stating that “a governmental entity, in regulating property in its charge, may impose restrictions on speech that are reasonable in light of the purposes of the forum and viewpoint neutral.”
Tell your representative:
While colleges and universities should protect the right to free speech and free association for students and student organizations, they should not be required to look the other way when student organizations discriminate. But this amendment would require institutions of higher education to:
- Allow officially recognized student organizations that receive taxpayer-funded support from the university to discriminate based on race, religion, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
- Officially sanction and even provide funding for student chapters of organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and other extremist, white-supremacist or anti-Semitic groups.
It was bad enough that Texas lawmakers in 2011 cut funding for family planning services for low-income women by two-thirds. Scores of family planning clinics closed around the state, and tens of thousands of women lost access to those critical services. But now the Texas Observer reports that the state even failed to spend federal grant funds that were available for family planning.
The Texas Freedom Network has been working throughout the current legislative session to help restore funding to family planning programs. A statewide poll conducted in February for the TFN Education Fund found that 73 percent of registered voters support state funding for those services, including birth control, for low-income women. This makes sense for Texas taxpayers. The Texas Health and Human Services commissioner has estimated that the deep cuts made in 2011 could result in 23,760 additional births covered by Medicaid in 2014-15. That would cost taxpayers an additional $273 million.
Providing state funding for birth control and family planning is also simply the right thing to do. The freedom of women to decide when or if to have children is essential to women’s health, individual rights and family stability in our state. Policies that restrict or deny access to birth control undermine our moral commitment to these basic liberties.
With lawmakers in the final two weeks of the session, we’re encouraged that the state House and Senate have each passed budgets that restore family planning funds. But final votes on the state’s budget are still to come. Stay tuned.
One of the reasons abortion continues to be such a divisive issue is rhetoric like the following from Texas congressman Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood. In a press release on Monday, Stockman referred to Kermit Gosnell’s murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions in the deaths of three babies and a woman at a grisly abortion clinic in Philadelphia. People who support and those who oppose a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion have been horrified by what happened in Philadelphia. But Stockman shamefully suggests otherwise:
“Despite the blood-soaked horror of Gosnell’s clinic, Democrats refuse to loosen their embrace of unrestricted, unregulated, taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. Democrats do not want abortion to be safe or rare. Democrats oppose even the most basic of health and safety standards for abortion mills. Democrats don’t care how many women are maimed, infected with diseases or die on the routinely-filthy abortion mills. Democrats worship abortion with same fervor the Canaanites worshipped Molech.”
The man is vile.
For months Tea partyers and other assorted activists on the right have attacked the developers of the CSCOPE curriculum management system for supposedly doing their work in secrecy. They’ve screamed that parents and taxpayers are kept in the dark while the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC) writes lessons that (allegedly) indoctrinate students into Marxism and Islam and undermine patriotism and Christianity. They’ve demanded that light be shined upon the evil TESCCC and its Marxist/Islamist/Jesus-hating Texas teachers.
So the TESCCC, which comprises the 20 Education Service Centers set up by the state in the 1960s, started holding public meetings. Today was the fourth. The collaborative has even posted meeting notices online, as Texas law requires of open meetings held by elected and other governmental bodies. Here’s what the meeting room looked like today:
There’s nobody behind the camera either. The only people in the meeting room were personnel from the Education Service Centers. In fact, the other three meetings have been almost as empty, with just four individuals — in total — showing up to offer any comments to the TESCCC staff.
The anti-CSCOPE witch hunt has largely been the project of a handful of vocal political activists. Right-wing media outlets like World Net Daily, pressure groups like Americans for Prosperity-Texas, entertainers like Glenn Beck and politicians like state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, have helped expand the reach of those activists.
Those activists are very good at distorting the materials in CSCOPE and getting people riled up. We hear that they’re taking their anti-CSCOPE road show to another Tea party meeting on Friday out in West Texas. But they can’t be bothered to show up at the public meetings they demanded that the TESCCC hold. Well, maybe they’re just too busy. After all, shamefully smearing the work and reputations of Texas teachers takes some effort.
The Texas Freedom Network will attend the meeting of the State Board of Education‘s special CSCOPE review committee on Thursday in Dallas. So rest assured — somebody is watching. Very closely.
In what had become a referendum on equality, voters in the Austin-area Pflugerville Independent School District on Saturday re-elected two embattled incumbents to the district’s Board of Trustees. Religious-right activists had opposed incumbents Carol Fletcher and Mario Acosta, who last December voted for a policy offering access to health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of district employees. The two won re-election by comfortable margins on Saturday.
The Texas Freedom Network had proudly endorsed Fletcher and Acosta in their races. Religious-right and anti-gay pressure groups had pointed to the vote on domestic partners benefits in efforts to get their activists to the polls on Saturday. A local pastor even told his congregation that God wanted them to vote against candidates who supported the benefits policy.
But voters rejected that cynical misuse of faith as a political weapon and took a stand for treating all Pflugerville ISD employees equally. Moreover, they sent a strong message against discrimination as school districts and other local governments across Texas consider similar benefits policies.
In April, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a formal opinion warning the Pflugerville school district that its benefits policy might violate the Texas Constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage. The Pflugerville district now decide whether to keep its benefits policy or modify it to avoid any legal challenges. Had Fletcher and Acosta been defeated, it’s likely the board would have scrapped the policy altogether.
When someone asks you, “Did the rape guy win?” and you have to ask which one,
that’s a bad sign.
The above quote is from TFN founder and current Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, and it comes from a Q&A Cecile did with the New York Times titled “What Cecile Richards Has Learned From Todd Akin“.
We’re flagging this because the quote is featured as today’s Quote of the Day in TFN News Clips (subscribe here) and because it gives us an opportunity to share an amusing anecdote re: former congressman and one-time U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri Todd Akin.
A few days after Akin made his now-infamous comments about rape in the midst of the Senate race he would eventually lose, we received a call from a reporter in Missouri. The reporter was looking into Akin’s contributors and in doing so came across something called the Texas Freedom Fund. A few Google searches later he had found the Texas Freedom Network and, like any reporter should do, he picked up the phone to ask if the Texas Freedom Fund was perhaps TFN’s political action committee or if we were related in any other way.
Me: “We were founded by Cecile Richards.”
(silence) (laughter on both ends)
Reporter: “So you probably wouldn’t be funding Todd Akin.”
(witty banter is exchanged) (end of phone call)
Needless to say, our only similarity to the Texas Freedom Fund is that the first two words in our names are coincidentally the same. Our differences, given that the Fund contributed money to someone like Akin, are on the other hand likely numerous and substantial.
Here are some of the week’s most notable quotes culled from news reports from across Texas, and beyond.