Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wacky Conservatives, Raising Wacky Children


We have a "two-fer" once again, reprints of two articles, "7 Totally Crazy Statements by Right-Wing Lunatics From This Week," and "14 Wacky 'Facts' Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools," seemingly unrelated pieces - but are they?

The first article, "7 Totally Crazy Statements by Right-Wing Lunatics From This Week," is another recap over at Alternet.org of the Tea Party weekly weirdness by Janet Allon:

"What a week: Ted Cruz wishes America had 100 more senators like Jesse Helms.

"1. Ted Cruz: We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the Senate.

The nut doesn't fall to far from the tree - Cruz and dad.
"Ted Cruz gave a huge shout-out to North Carolina’s late unrepentant racist senator, Jesse Helms. Granted, it was at the Heritage Foundation’s annual Helms lecture, so he wasn’t the only person in the room who worshipped Helms. But he did give a somewhat strange reason for being so fond of the bigot, and wishing there were '100 more' like him in the U.S. Senate.

"Apparently the actor John Wayne had praised Helms for being willing to say 'Crazy things,' Cruz told the audience. 'The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic in this town, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then.'

"For those who don’t remember, here are some of the fun-filled, wacky things Helms said and did:
He sang the confederate anthem “Dixie” in an elevator with Carol Moseley-Braun, the African-American senator from Illinois, and told Sen. Orrin Hatch in front of her that he was trying to make her cry.
  • He opposed integration, or “mixing of the races,” and called the University of North Carolina the “University of Negroes and Communists” because it was integrated.
  • He led a one-man, 16-day filibuster opposing the designation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday, and threatened to lead one to save South African apartheid.
  • More comically, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he seemed unable to absorb the fact that the North Korean president’s name was Kim Jong Il, not Kim Jong 2.
  • Unlike other like-minded Southern politicians Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, Helms never disavowed his racist, segregationist views even on his deathbed in 2008.
"One hundred more.

"2. Glenn Beck: War is a progressive idea so I am now against it.

"Does the radio host and one of the far-right’s most hilarious nut-jobs have any core principles? Does he attach real meaning to actual words? Or does he just make it all up as he goes along? Rhetorical questions, yes, but he may have outdone himself this week when he injected some real seriousness into the deadly serious Syria debate. He just up and changed the meaning of the terms. Singlehandedly. He can do that, you know. He’s Glenn Beck.

"So war is now a progressive idea, Beck says, because, of course, a Democratic president has proposed it. Apparently, the rest of the progressive community was not informed, since most of them, and most Americans oppose military intervention in Syria, but never mind. In other news, up is down and black is white. And good conservatives, like Beck are anti-war. It’s a sad day for Beck because he used to thoroughly enjoy how the U.S. would topple dictators and “spread democracy” by doing so, but that was before he realized that this is actually a form of the dreaded progressive thinking.

"Sometimes, such mental gymnastics can lead to close encounters with shades of truth, as when the former Fox News personality explained he was against a Syrian invasion because it would be about oil, and that Obama is similar to Dick Cheney in this way.

"3. Alex Jones: Globalist cyborgs are coming.


"If there is anyone who can outweigh Beck on the looniness scale, that distinction would have to go to conspiracy theorist, fringe conservative radio host Alex Jones. His theory? The effort to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria with diplomacy was actually a United Nations plot for the extinction of the human race, which would be replaced by 'globalists' like President Barack Obama who would become cyborgs by using 'life-extension technologies.'

"Hard to argue with that logic, seeing as it is neither logical, nor based in any sort of shared reality. It may be worth noting that Beck seems much more worried about a zombie invasion than one led by cyborgs.

"Jones went on to explain that the proposal to bring Syria’s chemical weapons under the control of the international community was a way for the U.N. to 'come into any country they want, that has any type of weapons systems—and call them WMDs, and then dismantle that country’s infrastructure.'

"That’s because the U.N. is at the very head of the globalist conspiracy, he explains. The globalists are 'the biggest, most organized, eugenics-based, scientific dictatorship, trans-humanists at the top that plan the extinction of almost everybody and a new species to rise up or humans merged with machines.'

"'That’s their religion, and no one’s discussing that,' Jones added. 'Everyone is going to be deindustrialized, everyone is going to be put back into the Stone Age and controlled. And Obama and the globalists and the robber barons, they’re going to fly around in their jetcopters and their Air Forces Ones and their red carpets, like gods above us. And they’re going to get the life-extension technologies.'

"Any questions?

"4. Stuart Varney and Monica Crowley: EPA is trying to suffocate children.

"Fox News’ Monica Crowley and Stuart Varney were appalled, appalled I tell you, when they revealed the shocking news this week that the EPA, the evil government’s evil Environmental Protection Agency, is providing free lesson plans for “teachers looking to educate their students on climate change.”

"'The EPA — the EPA,' said Varney. And they're aiming this 'propaganda' directly at innocent middle-school children. Of course, these plans have been openly available online for months, but Crowley suspects there is a hidden agenda to this oh-so-sneaky plan. 'Are they going to tell these kids to not exhale? Because every time you exhale, that’s carbon dioxide.'

"And, carbon dioxide causes global warming, right? So learn to hold your breath, kids.

"Well, no, not exactly. The good news is that very soon, kids will know a good deal more than Fox News does about climate change, although that is not saying much. The EPA materials do explain what carbon is and how it plays an important role in sustaining life on the planet. And how the burning of fossil fuels has led to a surplus of life-supporting gases like carbon dioxide, which has made the planet hotter. And other science-type things that no one at Fox News will ever be caught dead, reading or learning, in their indefatigable drive toward making America, hands-down, the dumbest hot country on the planet.

"5. Minnesota archbishop: Satan is behind gay marriage.

"Satan has been a very busy guy lately. No, that wasn’t him sawing heads off Syrian rebels in the public square or visiting plagues upon the beleaguered New Jersey shore. He had nothing to do with that creep who brands women’s vaginas to show he owns them. Mostly, he’s been concerning himself with spreading love, same-sex love. Love so strong it wants to get married. Apparently, Satan has not fully read his job description.

"Lately, Lucifer has been spending time in Minnesota, where the archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul has announced that the devil is responsible for the legalization of marriage equality.

"'Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilisation,' Rev. John Nienstedt said in a recent speech to the Napa Institute Conference, and posted to the conference’s website Tuesday. 'The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.'

"Despite Nienstedt’s efforts, and because of Satan’s, Minnesota has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses since August.

"Mwah hah ha ha ha. Isn’t that how the devil laughs?

"6. Texas GOP gov. candidate tweets that Wendy Davis is 'too stupid to be governor.'

"From the totally ridiculous to the merely very offensive, the top political advisor to Texas Attorney General/would-be successor to Rick Perry, Greg Abbott has attacked Democratic opponent Wendy Davis’ intelligence in a tweet. This follows on the heels of Abbott’s tweeting thanks to a supporter for a sexist attack on Davis, which referred to her as 'Retard Barbie' so, clearly a very nuanced, high-minded Republican campaign is evolving in the Lone Star state.

"Dave Carney is the enlightened strategist in question, and he took the opportunity not just to call Davis stupid, but also to cheer the results of Tuesday’s Colorado recall elections. His tweet linked to an article in a conservative Texas blog slamming Davis' gun views, calling her 'Abortion Barbie,' and dismissing her as 'even dumber than her fake blonde hair would imply,' Think Progress reported.

"7. Internet advice from a nobody who wants to ruin perfect strangers’ lives: Dads, don’t educate your daughters!


Bet he doesn't mean this girl!
"A Louisiana-based certified public accountant cares deeply about the purity of America’s young women, and he has figured out a solution to it. Keep them ignorant. In his spare time, the guy generously makes Internet videos filled with unwanted, unasked for and basically awful advice on how to raise your daughters.

"First step in saving the family: Don’t send your daughters to college. Why? Because she is very likely to have sex there. 'This is no small matter we’re dealing with here,' he implores fathers. 'Is a degree worth the loss of your daughter’s purity, dignity, and soul?'

"If they really want to learn, girls can go to the library or use the Internet, since neither of those can lead to genital contact, he allows.

"But why bother getting educated, anyway? Jobs for women are not important, this wise sage continues: “My personal impression is that the day-to-day grind of a job is below the dignity of women. In a way, it is like being a hired hand, as a result of the fall and the penalty for original sin.”

**********

Separation of church and what? Currier & Ives/Library of Congress
The outbursts of the Conservatives lead us to the second piece, "14 Wacky 'Facts' Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools," by Deanna Pan at Motherjones.com.  Conservative legislatures, mainly in the Southern states, have been dumbing down their kids by attacking their schools - Texas, North Carolina, Missouri, and Lousiana jump immediately into our minds, eliminating such courses of study like Critical Thinking, and rewriting history to make it a byproduct of the Bible.

And the results from Louisiana, a state reconstructed by Conservatives into a Conservative paradise after Hurricane Katrina, eliminating public schools in favor of voucher schools, for example:

"Thanks to a new law privatizing public education in Louisiana, Bible-based curriculum can now indoctrinate young, pliant minds with the good news of the Lord—all on the state taxpayers' dime.

"Under Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program, considered the most sweeping in the country, Louisiana is poised to spend tens of millions of dollars to help poor and middle-class students from the state's notoriously terrible public schools receive a private education. While the governor's plan sounds great in the glittery parlance of the state's PR machine, the program is rife with accountability problems that actually haven't been solved by the new standards the Louisiana Department of Education adopted two weeks ago.

"For one, of the 119 (mostly Christian) participating schools, Zack Kopplin, a gutsy college sophomore who's taken to Change.org to stonewall the program, has identified at least 19 that teach or champion creationist nonscience and will rake in nearly $4 million in public funding from the initial round of voucher designations.

"Many of these schools, Kopplin notes, rely on Pensacola-based A Beka Bookcurriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their pupils Bible-based 'facts,' such as the existence of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and all sorts of pseudoscience that researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra have thankfully pored over so the rest of world doesn't have to.

"Here are some of my favorite lessons:

"1. Dinosaurs and humans probably hung out: 'Bible-believing Christians cannot accept any evolutionary interpretation. Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years.'—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007

"2. Dragons were totally real: '[Is] it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls…The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke.'—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007

Much like tough cop Katie Coltrane and Teddy the T-rex in the direct-to-video hit Theodore Rex Screenshot: YouTube
"3. 'God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ.'America: Land That I Love, Teacher ed., A Beka Book, 1994

"4. Africa needs religion: 'Africa is a continent with many needs. It is still in need of the gospel…Only about ten percent of Africans can read and write. In some areas the mission schools have been shut down by Communists who have taken over the government.'—Old World History and Geography in Christian Perspective, 3rd ed., A Beka Book, 2004


The literacy rate in Africa is "only about 10 percent"…give or take a few dozen percentage points. residentevil_stars2001/Flickr
"5. Slave masters were nice guys: 'A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.'—United States History for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991

Doesn't everyone look happy?! Edward Williams Clay/Library of Congress
"6. The KKK was A-OK: '[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.'—United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2001

Just your friendly neighborhood Imperial Wizard Unknown/Library of Congress
"7. The Great Depression wasn't as bad as the liberals made it sound: 'Perhaps the best known work of propaganda to come from the Depression was John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath…Other forms of propaganda included rumors of mortgage foreclosures, mass evictions, and hunger riots and exaggerated statistics representing the number of unemployed and homeless people in America.'—United States History: Heritage of Freedom, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1996

Definitely Photoshopped. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration/Wikipedia
"8. SCOTUS enslaved fetuses: 'Ignoring 3,500 years of Judeo-Christian civilization, religion, morality, and law, the Burger Court held that an unborn child was not a living person but rather the "property" of the mother (much like slaves were considered property in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford).'—American Government in Christian Perspective, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1997

"9. The Red Scare isn't over yet: "It is no wonder that Satan hates the family and has hurled his venom against it in the form of Communism."— American Government in Christian Perspective, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1997

Catechetical Guild/Wikipedia
"10. Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson were a couple of hacks: '[Mark] Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless…Twain's skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel.'—Elements of Literature for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, 2001

"'Several of [Emily Dickinson's] poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life.'—Elements of Literature for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, 2001

To say nothing of her poetry's Syntax and Punctuation—how odious it is.
"11. Abstract algebra is too dang complicated: 'Unlike the "modern math" theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, A Beka Bookteaches that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute…A Beka Bookprovides attractive, legible, and workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory.'—ABeka.com

MATHS: Y U SO HARD? Screenshot: MittRomney.com
"12. Gay people 'have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.'—Teacher's Resource Guide to Current Events for Christian Schools, 1998-1999, Bob Jones University Press, 1998

"13. 'Global environmentalists have said and written enough to leave no doubt that their goal is to destroy the prosperous economies of the world's richest nations.'Economics: Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1999

Plotting economic apocalypse, BRB Lynn Freeny, Department of Energy/Flickr
"14. Globalization is a precursor to rapture: 'But instead of this world unification ushering in an age of prosperity and peace, as most globalists believe it will, it will be a time of unimaginable human suffering as recorded in God's Word. The Anti-christ will tightly regulate who may buy and sell.'—Economics: Work and Prosperity in Christian Perspective, 2nd ed., A Beka Book, 1999

Swapping insider-trading secrets is the devil's favorite pastime. Luca Signorelli/Wikipedia
"Whew! Seems extreme. But perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised. Gov. Jindal, you remember,once tried to perform an exorcism on a college gal pal."

**********


See Official Texas Review: "Creation Science" should be incorporated into every biology textbook (http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/09/creationist-science-texas-textbook-review-evolution-climate-change)
See Anti-evolution Missouri bill requires every college student to learn about destiny (http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/02/intelligent-design-missouri-evolution)
See One man's crusade against fundamentalist claptrap (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/04/william-j-bennetta-textbook-league)
See Texas public schools still teacing "Creationism." (http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/01/how-texas-public-schools-still-teach-creationism)

Would it be thought a criminal act if someone took a part of your paycheck to perform an involuntary frontal lobotomy on your child?  That's what the Conservatives want to do to everyone's child - probably with the exception of their own.

Sooner or later colleges will refuse to accept any students graduating from voucher schools in the Red States, leading to the children of Conservative Sheeplets bleating in a world of low-paid jobs.  They can thank their parents for this if Conservatism isn't illegal by that time and their parents aren't put away into re-education camps for too long.



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“I'll take crazy over stupid any day.”

Joss Whedon. (American screenwriter, film and television producer, director, comic

book author, composer, and actor. Born June 23, 1964.)

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