Mar 03 2010


Okay, we had Rethuglican primaries here in Texas yesterday, and there is some good news to report on the SBOE front. What rocks is the upset of Don McLeroy by his opponent, Thomas Ratliff. It was a near thing, only an 800-vote spread, which just goes to show how powerful the extremists among the just-don’t-give-a-shit-what-anyone-thinks right wing still are, despite McLeroy’s shameless track record of turning Texas into a global laughingstock during his tenure. Now I’m sure the Ol’ Boy Network will kick in, and Rick Perry — who, I’m sorry to say, almost certainly will win another term — will find Mac something to do. But at least we won’t have to gawp at this mustachioed moron as he boldly stands up to the experts at SBOE hearings anymore.

Now, other seats look a little dicey. Ken “Piltdown Man” Mercer easily squashed his opponent, Tim Tuggey, which blows. And the vacancy left by überloon Cynthia Dunbar has come down to a runoff between Marsha Farney and Dunbar’s hand-picked mini-me, Brian Russell. So we have to hope things go Farney’s way, because District 10 will go Republican in the general election and any Democratic or progressive indie candidate cannot be expected to have a hope.

There’s more possible not-so-good news in the loss of another incumbent, Geraldine Miller, to her challenger, George Clayton. Clayton, on first blush, doesn’t look bad, with his harsh criticisms of teaching to standardized tests rather than actually engaging students to learn for real. But sadly, he is also on record boasting that he is “an educator” and then promptly pissing that cred away by saying, “It’s an impossibility to talk about evolution without mentioning creationism,” forever branding him an assclown. (Inasmuch as one might say, “Evolution is true and creationism is retarded,” George is essentially right, but I suspect that isn’t what he means.) Sorry, George, but when you’re asked a simple no-DUH question about the age of the Earth, you don’t lapse into mindless spinspeak like “I’m not going to cut [the Earth] in half and count the rings,” not after bragging that you’re supposed to be a fucking “educator,” goddammit. You answer that question by saying, “Between 4-5 billion years…next?” unless you want to be sent to the corner in the pointy hat. The last thing we need on the SBOE is another uneducated “educator.”

So it’s hardly a clean sweep for reason and intelligence in the primaries. Ratliff could turn into the Manchurian Candidate all on his own. Yet it ain’t over till it’s over. Dems and independents could still have a chance to rally voters and cause some upsets down the road in the general election.

But damn!…McLEROY’S OUT! And that alone makes me ready to throw a block party. Hopefully Texas has decided it’s ready to start evolving after all.


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  1. 1

    Regardless of everything else, as a person with a last name of "McElroy," I'm glad to see an asshat with such a similar name finally get his comeuppance.

  2. 2

    It is a bit discouraging since I voted in the Republican primary specifically to vote against Mercer and Perry.

  3. 3
    b. j. edwards

    Now McLeroy is free to pursue the leadership of the "Army of God." It would do wonders for his reputation:http://www.repentamarillo.com/

  4. 4

    I feel pedantic enough to point out that the age of the Earth is not between 5-6 billion years. It is 4.54 billion years old (+/- 1%).But, seriously, McLeroy out is great news! :D

  5. 5
    Bill K

    "Sorry, George, but when you're asked a simple no-DUH question about the age of the Earth … You answer that question by saying, 'Between 5-6 billion years…next?'"George might better say, 'about 4.54 billion years, plus or minus 1 percent, according to the ratio of lead-207 and lead-206 isotopes that is found in lead ores and iron meteorites'.

  6. 6

    Ah, you're right. Was thinking 5.5B for some reason. Probably the same reason I thought the US had 300 million people for years before we actually got there. I guess I just like to rush things!

  7. 7
    Mark B

    I feel pedantic enough to point out that the age of the Earth is not between 5-6 billion years. It is 4.54 billion years old (+/- 1%).That's just great. What Am I supposed to do with these 1.46 billion birthday candles??

  8. 8
    Larry Barthel

    I think the quote mentioned in the blog was a little cut short in light of what George said directly before it (according to a blog for the Dallas Observer:Clayton said evolution is and should remain in science classrooms, but he thinks the alternative theories supported by the religious right — intelligent design and creationism — can "find a real nice home" in humanities, philosophy or world history classes."It's seems to me you can't be taught the one [evolution] without the other [creationism]," Clayton said. "It's an impossibility to talk about evolution without mentioning creationism."These quotes together seem to say that he acknowledges people want these things taught, and the reality of their fervor in getting them taught in schools, just not in science. His alternatives, that they be taught in humanities, philosophy or world history classes are actually sound principles (so long as other religious genesises are also taught in those classes as well, IMHO). Also, IMHO, the quote: "It's an impossibility to talk about evolution without mentioning creationism." can easily be translated to:It's an impossibility to talk about evolution without someone, somwhere wanting to talk about creationism.I think he's just being realistic in his expectations.Source: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2010/02/sboe_candidates_dudes_seriousl.php

  9. 9

    I live in the Houston area and was watching a bit of the election coverage last night and something disturbing caught my eye.At the bottom of my TV screen it was showing a "FOR/AGAINST" type thing on propositions (I assume up for vote in the election) and one came up that said "Public acknowledgment of God" and it had around 94% next to FOR. How the hell is that constitutional by any means!?

  10. 10
    Wired For Sound

    "…überloon Cynthia Dunbar…" LOL.I don't know if that's your coinage or not Martin, but I'm stealing it…McLeroy? Like you said, since Perry thinks Mac's such a prized symbol of a "conservative" educator, we can rest assured that Perry will find a high-ranking place for him in his forthcoming administration. That'll really "send a message" to Washington…

  11. 11
    Wired For Sound

    "(McLeroy's) defeat is substantial blow to the conservatives, who have largely driven the recent rewrites of curriculum standards. Ratliff, son of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, has made it clear that he will be a more moderate vote on the closely divided 15-member board."Accepting that the age of the earth is more than 10,000 years gets you labeled a "moderate" in Texas?

  12. 12
    Don Baker

    Maybe in the main election we can do some more housecleaning.

  13. 13

    I guess I don't see it, why the hell are we even thinking of teaching myth as fact! I think religion should be taught in schools as it is, religion (an elective) a myth or something people believe with very little or no evidence. I think evolution should be taught in science class.period. It is what it is, one day the majority will come around. After all the old religious freaks die off as Russell suggested last week.

  14. 14
    M J Shepherd

    And there was much rejoicing.

  15. 15

    Larry: While I take your point, there's still the embarrassing matter of Clayton's waffling on the direct question of the age of the earth. If you know the real answer is 4 billion and not 4000 years, and yet you're too cowardly to say so, that says little for your integrity as a politician and a lot about your fear of being truthful if it may cost you votes. That may be a valid fear in a state with so many idiot young-earthers in it, but call me naive and old-fashioned, I still say people in office need to hold on to that old integrity thing, unfashionable as that may be in this day and age. I'd also disagree with his qualifying remark that creationism has a "valid place" in the humanities. It doesn't, no more than flat-earthism. Perhaps you could find a role for it in comparative religion classes, but since when do Texas high schools offer that? Since never. So yeah, I just see the man's statements as the disingenuous waffling of a politician. I'm just jaded, I suppose.

  16. 16
    Carlos O.

    And McLeroy had just won his first UpChucky, too…http://ncse.com/news/2010/03/announcing-first-annual-upchucky-award-005358

  17. 17

    I'm sure they won't rescind it.

  18. 18

    Creationism isn't even good enough as a fiction to be with the humanities.

  19. 19

    Could you please not act like a 10 year old? It isn't necessary to use juvenile wordgames like "Rethuglican." Indeed, given that this election was for a Republican primary and the Republicans did the right thing, it seems all the more unnecessary to in this context.Many Republicans voted this scumbag out. Let's not lose site of that.

  20. 20

    Let's also not lose sight of the fact that the vote to oust McLeroy was by a very narrow margin, and those same voters re-elected Mercer and will keep the fundie coalition strong on the SBOE despite this slight gain. Texas is a state in which the Republican party — especially under Perry — is extremely thuggish (Perry once showed his sneering contempt for separation of church and state by once signing a bill into a law while sitting in a Dallas church), and if you find that inconvenient fact less offensive than my choice of wordplay, I'd suggest you have your priorities in the wrong order.

  21. 21

    "Could you please not act like a 10 year old? It isn't necessary to use juvenile wordgames like "Rethuglican." Indeed, given that this election was for a Republican primary and the Republicans did the right thing, it seems all the more unnecessary to in this context.Many Republicans voted this scumbag out. Let's not lose site of that."Let me put it this way. I'm a moderate who I'm told leans more to the left. And *I* find things respectable and admirable about many of the historically right wing presidents. Hell, I have to even give the devil his due and say Nixon was not as bad as history has judged him (bad in many ways; yes. bat squeeking nuts; yes). When the republican party decides to go back and be as sensible and moderate as Nixon…then I think we can justify not calling them thugs.

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