Jan. 7th, 2010

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Revisionaries:How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.

Battles over textbooks are nothing new, especially in Texas, where bitter skirmishes regularly erupt over everything from sex education to phonics and new math. But never before has the board’s right wing wielded so much power over the writing of the state’s standards. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas. The reasons for this are economic: Texas is the nation’s second-largest textbook market and one of the few biggies where the state picks what books schools can buy rather than leaving it up to the whims of local districts, which means publishers that get their books approved can count on millions of dollars in sales. As a result, the Lone Star State has outsized influence over the reading material used in classrooms nationwide, since publishers craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers. As one senior industry executive told me, “Publishers will do whatever it takes to get on the Texas list.”

Until recently, Texas’s influence was balanced to some degree by the more-liberal pull of California, the nation’s largest textbook market. But its economy is in such shambles that California has put off buying new books until at least 2014. This means that McLeroy and his ultraconservative crew have unparalleled power to shape the textbooks that children around the country read for years to come.


On the global front, Barton and company want textbooks to play up clashes with Islamic cultures, particularly where Muslims were the aggressors, and to paint them as part of an ongoing battle between the West and Muslim extremists.
Barton argues, for instance, that the Barbary wars, a string of skirmishes over piracy that pitted America against Ottoman vassal states in the 1800s, were the “original war against Islamic Terrorism.” What’s more, the group aims to give history a pro-Republican slant—the most obvious example being their push to swap the term “democratic” for “republican” when describing our system of government. Barton, who was hired by the GOP to do outreach to black churches in the run-up to the 2004 election, has argued elsewhere that African Americans owe their civil rights almost entirely to Republicans and that, given the “atrocious” treatment blacks have gotten at the hands of Democrats, “it might be much more appropriate that … demands for reparations were made to the Democrat Party rather than to the federal government.” He is trying to shoehorn this view into textbooks, partly by shifting the focus of black history away from the civil rights era to the post-Reconstruction period, when blacks were friendlier with Republicans.

Barton and Peter Marshall initially tried to purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall, though they were forced to back down amid a deafening public uproar. They have since resorted to a more subtle tack; while they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men. MORE

Yo. This shit is SERIOUS. Hell needs to be raised.


Jan. 7th, 2010 09:47 pm
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People & Power - White Power USA - 6 Jan 10

Almost a year ago the inauguration of President Barack Obama was hailed as a turning point in US race relations. The country was said to be entering a new era of post-racial politics, on the path to a future of greater diversity and tolerance. But while crowds flocked to Washington to witness the swearing in, others were refusing to join the party. Racially motivated threats against Obama rose to new heights in the first months of his presidency, with the US seeing nine high-profile race killings in 2009. Meanwhile white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups claim their membership is growing and that visits to their websites are increasing. Filmmakers Rick Rowley and Jacquie Soohen went inside the white nationalist movement to investigate.

White Nationalism in the Age of Obama

While progressives argue over who’s failing to organize whom, other organizations have no trouble rounding up recruits from the many in the U.S. who are angry over bailouts, economic failures, and a governing class they feel is out of touch. Independent journalist Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films co-produced a film, White Power U.S.A., for Al Jazeera English on the rise of white nationalist groups since the inauguration of Barack Obama. He found that many of the new recruits to these groups don’t consider themselves white nationalists, but are finding few other places to turn.
Rowley and Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates and author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort join us to talk about the rise of the extreme right, racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and the proper progressive response. We also talk to Jonathan “J.D.” Meadows, who is featured in Rowley’s film, about his involvement with the Council of Conservative Citizens and his fears for the economy.
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New York Times names Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge, and Don Schmierer as the guys who went to Uganda and lit the match that resulted in the Kill the Gays Law. Mark their names well.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”MORE

The Times, however, illustrates its articles with transpersons only, which perpetuates some inaccuracies of its own. Sigh

via: [livejournal.com profile] gwailowrite Scott Lively's Incitement to Murder on video No. I am not exaggerating. At all.

Holly Bullies and Headless Monsters, a black gay blog, also points out that Lively has toured Russia spouting the same damned, dangerous lies, putting people's lives in danger.


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