Abbott wants Texas to challenge the ruling because of its high cost to Texas taxpayers.
“Democrats have convinced themselves that Russia stole the presidency, which rightfully belonged to Hillary Clinton. And they mean it when they say it. And that’s why they are taking us to war with Russia. So, that’s not their goal — saving Ukraine, saving human lives. No, that’s not their goal. Instead, the war in Ukraine is designed to cause regime change in Moscow. They want to topple the Russian government. That would be payback for the 2016 election. So, this is the logical, maybe the inevitable, end stage of Russiagate.”
Tucker Carlson, describing how he thinks the Democratic Party is somehow responsible for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
“We shall have our theocracy very soon.”
Vincent James, a radical White nationalist celebrating the leaked Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade
James also said he hopes the decision will eventually lead Americans to seeing Justices Alito and Thomas “throwing gay people off of tall buildings”.
The event regularly attracts the wealthy and powerful, mostly from the entertainment community. While figures for the 2022 affair are unavailable, seats for the 2021 gala started at $35,000, although those on a highly selective guest list aren’t charged anything. Last year’s event raised more than $16 million. The MMA’s Costume Institute is the only department at the museum that is required to raise its own funds. A smattering of the night’s excess can be found here.
Reich went on to say: “The “free market” increasingly reflects the demands of big money. Unfriendly takeovers, such as Musk threatens to mount at Twitter, weren’t part of the “free market” until the late 1970s and early 1980s. Before then, laws and regulations constrained them. Then came corporate raiders like Carl Icahn and Michael Milken. Their MO was to find corporations whose assets were worth more than their stock value, borrow against them, acquire enough shares to force them to cut costs (such as laying off workers, abandoning their communities, busting unions, and taking on crushing debt), and cash in. But the raiders’ antics often imposed huge social costs. They pushed America from stakeholder capitalism (where workers and communities had a say in what corporations did) to shareholder capitalism (where the sole corporate goal is to maximize shareholder value). Inequality skyrocketed, insecurity soared, vast swaths of America were abandoned, and millions of good jobs vanished.”
“In the end, if Jimmy and Susie are curious about any of the above, they can do what everyone else does – get a room at the Motel Six and grab the Gideons.”
He took issue with the many Biblical references to rape, bestiality, cannibalism and infanticide and proceeded to question whether the Bible is age-appropriate, pointing to its “casual” references to murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and fornication. “Do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?”
“What we have is kids not only being indoctrinated but groomed, in a very real sense, by people who are, whether they know it or not, sexual predators. Are they abusing the kids physically? No, I don’t think so. But they are abusing them mentally and using sex to do so.”
Thompson said he believed Trump sent him to attack on U.S. Capitol and thwart certification of the 2020 elections. He also stated that he had been laid off from his job as an exterminator at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and – feeling “isolated” and “stuck at home” – eventually “fell down the rabbit hole” of online conspiracy theories.
“Division superintendents disagree with your assumption that discriminatory and divisive concepts have become widespread in Virginia school divisions.”
Howard Kiser, executive director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, in a letter to Jillian Balow, the state superintendent of schools, regarding Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s “tip line” set up to let parents complain about teachers and principals
All 133 Virginia public school division superintendents have urged Youngkin to scrap the “tip line” and have asked him to stop his campaign against the teaching of “divisive” content in schools.
The superintendents were reacting to a report Balow issued last month aimed at fulfilling promises Youngkin made during his campaign last year to end the teaching of critical race theory (CRT), an academic framework for studying systemic racism. The concept had never been on the Virginia’s curriculum, but the first executive order Youngkin issued within hours of being inaugurated January 15 was aimed at banning CRT. He later announced the establishment of the tip line for parents to tell the state about teachers or principals exposing students to materials deemed objectionable.
“Republicans are anxious — very anxious indeed — to tell us that Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn doesn’t speak for his fellow Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham rushed to the microphone to assure us that Cawthorn is an outlier ‘in the largest sense possible on our side.’”
Sykes added, “This is also important to remember: Until about five minutes ago, Cawthorn’s remarks were more or less basic talking points among the MAGA right — and not just talking points, but holy script. His attitude is deeply embedded in the right’s DNA. So, it’s easy to imagine Cawthorn today, looking around at his GOP critics and asking: Dude, what do you mean ‘outlier?’ I’m just saying what we’ve all been saying for years now! He’d have a point.”
“There have always been efforts to censor books, but what we’re seeing right now is frankly unprecedented. A library is a place of voluntary inquiry. That means when a student walks in, they’re not forced to check out a book that they or their parents find objectionable. But they also don’t have authority to say what books should or shouldn’t be available to other students.”
Carolyn Foote, a retired school librarian in Austin who’s helping to lead the #FReadom campaign
#FReadom campaign is a grassroots effort to fight back against book challenges (translation: censorship) in Texas.
“Well, if you are digesting Russian misinformation and parroting Russian talking points, you are not aligned with longstanding, bipartisan American values, which is to stand up for the sovereignty of countries, like Ukraine but others. Their right to choose their own alliances, and also to stand against, very clearly, the efforts or attempts or potential attempts by any country to invade and take territory of another country. That applies to Sen. Hawley, but it also applies to others who may be parroting the talking points of Russian propagandist leaders.”
This week begins the annual “Banned Books Week” which lasts through October 2. The yearly event is sponsored by the American Library Association and promotes literacy, free speech and a free press. It’s the regular battle against the self-styled, self-appointed overlords of what is supposedly proper and improper for everyone to see and read. I’ve always believed this should be a year-long event, as free speech and free press are under constant threat – not just in, but in totalitarian regimes, like North Korea, but even in open societies, such as the United States.
Keep writing and keep fighting!
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. A total of 273 books were targeted for removal, but here is a list of the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books. Some are familiar classics, while others are new arrivals.
George by Alex Gino Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message
Overall, it appears that some of them are designed to oppress the basic human and constitutional rights of certain groups. The Texas State Legislature meets every two years and, in 2019, their principal goal was to loosen gun restrictions even more than they already were. Those of us who aren’t obsessed with firearms (meaning we don’t suffer from Pencil-Penis Syndrome) wondered how much more lax these rules could become. Stupidity never ceases to amaze me, and conservatives in the Texas State House always deliver.
This year’s session, though, has raised eyebrows and tempers across the nation – and mainly because of two of those 666 laws in particular. One deals with voting and the other with abortion. Abortion has always been an open wound for social and religious conservatives. To them it’s worse than the growing economic inequalities in the country, the prescription drug epidemic, or the fact that so many children in the U.S. live in poverty. Pro-life conservatives are “pro-life” – up to the time that baby is born. Once it pops out of the placental oven, it’s pretty much on its own.
Known as the “fetal heartbeat” bill, it is the most ardent assault upon reproductive freedom since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. It bans abortions no matter the circumstance (including rape, incest and danger to the mother’s life) after the sixth week of pregnancy, which is usually before most women learn they’re pregnant. It bears that moniker because an embryonic heartbeat allegedly can be detected at the sixth week. In reality, the heart hasn’t developed by that point; only the muscles that eventually will become the heart have formed. The term is misleading. The sound of a heartbeat is generated by the opening and closing of the heart valves. Those valves haven’t formed yet at 6 weeks. When someone detects this so-called “fetal heartbeat”, it’s the sound generated by the ultrasound machine. But self-righteous conservatives in the Texas State Legislature don’t see it that way. It doesn’t conform to their narrow view of reality. In other words, a group of (mostly male) politicians have decided they know more about human development and reproductive health care than actual medical professionals.
But the “fetal heartbeat” law goes even further – allowing anyone who assists in an abortion after that sixth week to be held liable as a criminal accessory and sued for up to $10,000. This isn’t aimed strictly at those in the medical industry. Giving a woman a ride to an abortion clinic, for example, opens them to criminal charges under this law; which means cab drivers are subject. Perhaps comforting a woman after the abortion could be considered criminal. Would a plumber who repairs water pipes in a women’s health clinic be deemed a criminal? It’s not the state that would bring the charges; the $10,000 penalty is for any individual who files suit under the law. Thus, if someone is upset (gets their feelings hurt) because of an abortion, they’re entitled for up to $10,000 compensation.
I’m upset there’s so much stupidity in the world. Where’s my financial compensation?
The other new law gaining notoriety is Senate Bill 1, which targets the voting process. SB 1 limits the early voting period and bans 24-hour and drive-through voting. The drive-through voting idea was proposed last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections. Perhaps the most alarming feature of this law is that it allows poll watchers greater access. Voter intimidation is not just rude; it’s felonious. But don’t tell that to Abbott and the rest of the Republican mafia in Texas who symbolize ongoing efforts by conservatives nationwide to undermine the right to vote – the very genesis of democratic societies. It’s something we’ve tried to instill in other countries, such as…well, Iraq and Afghanistan. But, just like the World War II generation moved Heaven and Earth to stop fascism in Europe, yet did nothing to end it here in the U.S., conservatives want people in developing nations to be able to vote in clean and fair elections – without putting the same amount of effort at home.
Like most of the nation, Texas is still in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic with a resurgence of infections and increasing hospitalizations. This past February the Texas power grid system almost completely collapsed with the onset of Winter Storm Uri. Scores of people died. Much of the rest of the state’s infrastructure – mostly roads and bridges – are in dire need of repair or replacement. And, of course, all those children in Texas and across the nation who are uninsured…doesn’t pro-life also mean taking care of them?
The new gaggle of laws has a few other gems – good and bad. HB 1535 allows people to utilize marijuana for medicinal purposes. SB 224 simplifies access to the Supplemental Assistance Program for older and disabled citizens; individuals can forgo the normally required interviews and have a shortened application process. Now this measure is what I would deem pro-life!
On the other hand, we have HB 2497, which establishes an “1836 Project” committee produce educational materials dedicated to Texas history. In 1836, the Battle of the Alamo launched Texas’ separation from México. It’s in contrast to the “1619 Project”, which examines U.S. history from the arrival of enslaved Africans.
Moreover, HB 3979 limits teachers from discussing current events and systemic racism in class. The bill also prevents students from receiving class credit for participating in civic engagement and – wait for it – bans teaching of the aforementioned “1619 Project”.
I attribute these social studies bills as efforts by White conservatives to undermine the true history of the United States; that Native Americans were more civilized and intellectual than many realize; that the “founding fathers” weren’t devout Christians; and that the Civil War really was about keeping an entire race of people enslaved and not states’ rights. Like the presidency of Donald Trump, it’s a strike back against decades of progressive thought and ambition.
I never know what to think of these right-wing fools in elected office. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put up that sign on my front lawn offering free rides to abortion clinics.