Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Last Call For The Colorado Shuffle

Tom Jensen over at Public Policy Polling is taking massive heat for this decision, and rightfully so:

We did a poll last weekend in Colorado Senate District 3 and found that voters intended to recall Angela Giron by a 12 point margin, 54/42. In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll. It turns out we should have had more faith in our numbers because she was indeed recalled by 12 points.

Granted, the NRA had a best case scenario in the recall vote, but it's a vote they won by double digits.  Both Giron and Colorado State Senate President John Morse were sent packing.

The National Rifle Association, which donated about $360,000 to support the recalls, hailed Morse's loss, telling The Denver Post it "is proud to have stood with the men and women in Colorado who sent a clear message that their Second Amendment rights are not for sale."

But it wasn't just the NRA that warned Democrats about messing with gun rights.

Sen. Lois Tochtrop, an Adams County Democrat and longtime Second Amendment activist, opposed five of the seven gun bills initially introduced in the session, including a lightning-rod proposal by Morse.

That proposal would have assigned liability for assault-style weapon damages to manufacturers and sellers, but Morse killed it at the 11th-hour because he didn't have the votes to pass it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

"I feel like all these gun bills have done — to quote the last words in the movie 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' — is to awaken a sleeping giant," Tochtrop said during the debate.  

And that's true.  All across the country, the NRA has crushed gun control laws and limited victories to Pyrrhic ones.  It's one thing to defeat somebody in an election, but to knock them off in a recall over legislation, well, Democrats were told that was un-American in Wisconsin.  Guess it's okay now.

Berger's Game

Well played troll card, NC GOP.  Well played, indeed.

A science fiction author who opposes equal rights for LGBT people and has a history of comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler was appointed to a board of trustees overseeing North Carolina’s public television stations this week.

In a statement on Monday, UNC-TV announced that Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger had named Orson Scott Card to the UNC-TV Board of Trustees.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Card to the UNC-TV Board of Trustees,” Chairman Robb Teer said. “We are grateful for his willingness to serve and look forward to working with him to continue providing the people of our state with enriching, life-changing television in these challenging times.”

Card, the popular sci-fi author whose seminal tale "Ender's Game" is being made into a movie this holiday season also wrote this:

On foreign policy, Obama is already the dumbest president in American history, and there's so much competition for that title. Only the fact that Al Gore, John Kerry, and Joe Biden were never president leaves him in sole possession of the crown.

But that brings me to a little thought experiment that seized my imagination a few weeks ago and won't go away.

Obama is, by character and preference, a dictator. He hates the very idea of compromise; he demonizes his critics and despises even his own toadies in the liberal press. He circumvented Congress as soon as he got into office by appointing "czars" who didn't need Senate approval. His own party hasn't passed a budget ever in the Senate.

In other words, Obama already acts as if the Constitution were just for show. Like Augustus, he pretends to govern within its framework, but in fact he treats it with contempt.

How far might he take his dictatorial disposition? Is there any plausible way for him to remain as president for life, like the dictators he so admires and envies in Russia, China, and the Muslim world?

Of course the NC GOP was going to put him in charge of the state's public TV.  The guy's grasp of politics is only slightly less realistic than his dystopian sci-fi.

So if you're a North Carolina taxpayer and public TV watcher, do you boycott PBS over Card, or continue to donate knowing that public TV needs the money?

Science Textbooks, Now With Less Of That Science Stuff

The Lone Star State needs not your "science" in science textbooks for school, nay, for it is mighty Texas!  Look upon its works and despair!  Especially, if, you know, you like science.  Check it out as the fundies on Texas's state school board of education wants the following "disclaimers" on all that pesky science crap:

– called for the inclusion of “‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles”

– asserted that “no transitional fossils have been discovered”

– insisted that there is no evidence for a human influence on the carbon cycle

– claimed that there is no evidence about the effect of climate change on species diversity

– promoted a book touting “intelligent design” creationism as a reliable source of scientific information

– denied that recombination and genetic drift are evolutionary mechanisms

– mischaracterized experiments on the peppered moth as “discredited” and as “fabrication[s]“

Depressing.  But not as depressing as this:

In terms of textbook standards, as Texas goes, so goes the nation. The state “is one of the nation’s biggest buyers of textbooks” and publishers are often “reluctant to produce different versions of the same material,” and therefore create books in line with Texas’ standards.

You know, Texas education standards like this:

For years, members of the Texas Board of Education have tried, with various degrees of success, to overhaul the state’s textbook standards, “pushing for inclusion of more…Confederate glorification,” re-naming the Atlantic slave trade the “Atlantic Triangle Trade,” and prioritizing “a suggestion that the anti-communist witch-hunt by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s may have been justified.” A recent review of the books has also found a consistent pattern of negative portrayals of Muslims and Islam.

The victors get to write the history books, as they say.  Literally.


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