April 25, 2011

He's a big boy

What the Tea Party begats... the Tea Party shall reap... In other words, it ain't all that simple.

Lawmakers Say Simpson Broke "Rules of Decorum"
Freshman Rep. David Simpson may be gaining a tough reputation in the lower chamber: black sheep. 
The Longview Republican's "rogue" antics — using parliamentary procedures to knock three bills, including Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s contentious puppy mill bill, off of a fast-track House calendar — is attracting glares and backlash from his colleagues, some of whom are considering returning the favor. 
"It’s been a little lonely up there today," Simpson conceded.
Simpson hasn't broken any official House rules. His moves were designed to ensure bills he disagreed with didn't get passed on the Local and Consent calendar, where they aren't subject to debate. But he broke the unspoken rules of decorum, his colleagues say — and clearly got on veteran member (and Local and Consent Chairwoman) Thompson's bad side — both of which jeopardize the chances of his own bills passing. 
“If he doesn’t want to have a relationship with anybody around or if he thinks not going up and talking to authors before he knocks a bill off is the right way to go, that’s his business, not mine,” said Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, who defended Thompson’s bill on the floor. 
As of this afternoon, 13 co-authors of Simpson's HB 1937, a popular bill to criminalize over-eager patdowns at airport security, had withdrawn their names from his legislation.
“Most of us learned, who’ve been around here, [that] you make your point and then you sit down. You don’t continue until you become annoying,” said Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Port Arthur, a former co-author of the airport security bill. “And he’s become annoying to a lot of members.”
Simpson, a Tea Partier elected on a conservative tidal wave, said he had “no other choice to stop the growing of government like a race track.”
Time-permitting, Simpson said he would have talked to both Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin and Rep. Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton, R-Mauriceville, the other two lawmakers whose Local and Consent bills he challenged. When he talked to Thompson, he said, she told him to go ahead and voice his concerns.
Comparing his struggle today to Sam Houston’s struggle against secessionists, Simpson said he may lose everything, but that “providence will dictate whether I did the right thing today.” 
Twitter's certainly not "providence" — but judging from Thursday afternoon's feed, Simpson’s actions weren't sitting well. “Rep. David Simpson has made it a point to derail a number of local & consent bills from the calendar, including those by the chair," tweeted Rep. Aaron Pena, R-Edinburg.
News of Simpson's bill-bumping even made it back to his district. Longview Mayor Jay Dean said constituents, particularly those in favor of the puppy mill bill, aren’t happy either, and want Simpson to better choose "what battles to fight."
“What we expect in this district is that our representative is going to engage in the political process in order to enact legislation that is positive for the future of this district,” Dean said. Any action that “has a negative impact on the entire chamber is going to be very well noticed.”
In the end, it may be no harm, no foul: Members found a way to revive all three bills blocked by Simpson, Keffer said, by placing them on the General Calendar for debate next week. 
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, who spoke on the Floor in support of Thompson’s bill, said that while Simpson's behavior shocked some lawmakers, it was within his rights, and his purview. "He's a big boy," she said.


TFN: April 25, 2011, by Jose

Publisher Proposes Creationist Materials

The Texas Education Agency has released proposed supplemental web-based materials for science courses from publishers who want their product in your child’s classroom as early as the 2011-2012 school year.
But there’s a problem with at least one of those publishers that represents a potential leap backward for science education in Texas.
International Databases, Inc., a previously unknown company apparently based in New Mexico, has submitted materials that make no attempt to hide a slant toward creationism and intelligent design, and away from established scientific fact.

Submissions by International Databases and other publishers can be reviewed at the Texas Education Agency website
Below are a few examples of attacks on evolution and creationist statements in International Databases’ materials found during a preliminary review by TFN and the NCSE (click on each image to enlarge):
Module 1: Origin Nucleotide (slide 19)
Since such materialistic, self organization scenarios now have a history of scientific
insufficiency for explaining the Origin of Life on Earth, the Null hypothesis (default) stands.
This allows for the testing of the legitimate scientific hypothesis……Life on Earth is the
result of intelligent causes.
Module 8: Teacher Resources (Slide 3)
…at the end of the instructional unit on the Origins of Life, students should go home with
the understanding that a new paradigm of explaining life’s origins is emerging from the failed
attempts of naturalistic scenarios. This new way of thinking is predicated upon the
hypothesis that intelligent input is necessary for life’s origins.
Module 7: Null Hypothesis (Slide 7)
This module sets up two competing explanations for the origin of life: “Non-intelligent
Causes” vs. “Intelligent Causes.” The clear intent is to make a case for an intelligent
designer. The slide below tells students that “until advocates of non-intelligent causes
sustain their claim,” students must accept that life on earth is a result of intelligent causes.
Module 7: Scientific Method (Slide 6)
Many scientists have adopted an unproven hypothesis upon which to build their theories
regarding the origin of life and its’ diversification. This ‘foundation’ is called scientific
materialism, naturalism, and so forth… There are other scientists who have adopted the
unproven hypothesis that an intelligence is necessary to explain both the origin, and
diversification of life on Earth. This view follows from the human experience that teaches
order (complexity) results from intelligent action.
We’ll remind you that it was the SBOE that opened the door to a submission like International Databases’.
In 2009, the SBOE approved new science curriculum standards that call into question the established, mainstream science supporting evolution. At the time, TFN and NCSE warned that the new standards would encourage some vendors and groups to submit textbooks and other instructional materials promoting creationist claims and other pseudoscience in Texas science classrooms.
You have the opportunity to weigh in. Contact the SBOE by email atreview.adoption@tea.state.tx.us before the July meeting and tell them to stand up for science and reject creationist materials in public schools.

April 24, 2011

Sunday Funnies