Tea Party Legislatures Get to Work, 1950 Here We Come

I’m not going to document all of this, but I wanted to bring up a couple examples of what is going to be a very strong political trend for the next 2 years.   When the election is dominated by old people trying to turn back the clock to when they weren’t so scared, you can bet the results are not going to be pretty.

First up…North Carolina decides that racial segregation was actually a pretty good educational policy, because…well…check the bold for the completely unassailable logic used here…

The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood.

But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to “say no to the social engineers!” it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts.


School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta referred questions on the matter to the district’s attorney, who declined to comment. Tedesco, who has emerged as the most vocal among the new majority on the nine-member board, said he and his colleagues are only seeking a simpler system in which children attend the schools closest to them. If the result is a handful of high-poverty schools, he said, perhaps that will better serve the most challenged students.

“If we had a school that was, like, 80 percent high-poverty, the public would see the challenges, the need to make it successful,” he said. “Right now, we have diluted the problem, so we can ignore it.”

Yes, I’m quite sure that is exactly what is going to happen.   So, right now, the problem is diluted, but if you concentrate the “problem”, it’s easier to fix.   If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in cash-strapped states, it’s how much time and treasure they commit to poverty-stricken public schools.

Down here in Texas we had some…I know it’s now officially “blood libel” to point this out…but we had a bunch of nutjob Tea Partiers trying to take over the (already extremely conservative) Republican party with obviously bigoted tactics (very ironic considering the latest “it’s never our fault” defense from the right)…

Last month, several Tea Party activists formed a right-wing coalition to oust Rep. Joe Straus (R) as Texas House Speaker. They began circulating emails with anti-Semitic messages against Straus, who is Jewish. The groups ran robo-calls and sent out e-mails demanding a “true Christian leader,” and calling Straus’ opponent, Rep. Ken Paxton (R), “a Christian Conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs.”

Last week, the Texas Observer’s Abby Rapoport reported that she had obtained an email exchange between two members of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) — Rebecca Williamson and John Cook. “We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,” Cook said in one of the emails. “Since the SREC governs state Republican Party affairs,” Rapoport wrote, “this marked the first time an elected party leader had semi-openly called for a ‘Christian conservative’ Speaker.” Cook then explained his views to Rapoport in a subsequent telephone interview:

“When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions,” he told me, explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.

BTW, just so you know, they failed.    

I know, I know, it’s yet another example of how the Tea Party is not filled with complete and utter nuts, mostly motivated by bigotry and racism.  And I say it’s not another example of that, because as an obvious shining example of such things, it is therefore dismissed as evidence, and means nothing (when you can’t argue with something, dismiss it out of hand…it’s an old trick).

Speaking of dismissing good information out of hand, the Tea Party also greatly affected the national political scene.  Now, instead of a Congress working to deal with an obvious and growing problem, we are going to focus on investigating the people who noticed and documented the now obvious and growing problem.

First, there’s committee chairman Ralph Hall of Texas. He’s a former Democrat, now a Republican, and insists he is not a climate skeptic. And certainly he’s not as extreme on the issue as Rep. Dana “Dinosaur Farts” Rohrabacher, whose challenge Hall fended off to head the committee.

Still, Hall has said that the ‘ClimateGate’ pseudo-scandal suggests there’s a “dishonest undercurrent” in the scientific community. Actually, it shows a “dishonest undercurrent”  in the community’s critics. If Hall can’t see as much, then one can legitimately worry about his chairmanship.

It actually goes downhill (as far as the quality of scientific knowledge is concerned) from there, if you can believe it.

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a tie: Last year equaled 2005 as the warmest year on record, government climate experts reported Wednesday.

The average worldwide temperature was 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.62 degree Celsius) above normal last year. That’s the same as six years ago, the National Climatic Data Center announced.

“The warmth this year reinforces the notion that we are seeing climate change,” said David Easterling, chief of scientific services at the climatic data center. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, he noted. The exception was 1998, which is the third warmest year on record going back to 1880.

Easterling said the data “unequivocally” disproves claims that climate warming ended in 2005.

The temperature readings are collected at land stations and from ships and buoys at sea. The “normal” reading they use is the average worldwide temperature for the 20th century, which was 57.0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures over land surfaces were the warmest on record last year, averaging 1.80 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, while ocean temperatures were the third warmest on record at 0.88 degrees above average.

Don’t worry though, I’m sure the Tea Party Congress will be quick to point out that because one of the scientists that collected this data once said something bad about Sarah Palin, all their research, data, and conclusions are tainted by blood libel.   Hence, the thermometer is a lie.

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