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Radicals (like Jefferson) Have No Place in School Lessons

20 Jan

by Roger White

 

Editor’s note: The following is an explanatory letter to Texas public school students from the State Board of Education regarding recent changes the board wants to see made to textbooks that will be on the state-approved list of instructional materials used by school districts all across our fair state.

 

Dear Students:

 

As you may or may not know, there has been a bit of controversy regarding what should and should not be included in the educational primers you young’uns read in school. As of late, we have even noticed that some radical critics (mainly outside liberal elite agitators from the North and tree-hugging limpy wrists from California) have poked fun at the values we seek to impart in your lesson books.

 

For example, espresso-sippin’ instigators such as the National Center for Science Education claim that the global-warming lie is real and that the science textbooks we propose are not presenting fair evidence. We don’t care that 97 percent of climatologists (whatever they are) say that humans are responsible warming schmarmingfor global warming, we see no such facts to put in your books. Besides, you know who says that global warming is real, don’t you? Scientists. Commie, God-hating scientists—the same ones who say the Earth is billions of years old and that we descended from flea-ridden monkeys. All true Texans understand that the Earth is no older than 5,000 years because that’s when God made it. Evolution theories and global-warming conspiracy rumors come from the same dangerous secular humanists who planted those “dinosaur bones” all over the place just to confuse everyone.

 

And just because this so-called expert egghead group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is global warming, don’t you believe it. Our own panel, the Heartland Institute, has proven otherwise. You don’t need a Ph.D. to know that global warming isn’t real—just look at all the snowstorms and ice up north, like in Oklahoma.

 

Here are some other changes—corrections, we like to call them—you may notice in your lesson books:

 

* Students will learn the historical importance of such stalwart political and spirituajeffersonl forces for liberty and justice such as Barry Goldwater, Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich, and Phyllis Schlafly. Less emphasis will be placed on minor, more radical figures, such as left-leaning Thomas Jefferson.

 

* Knowing that this preoccupation with the separation of church and state is the handiwork of radicals and socialist activists, the State Board of Education has blocked a proposal that students learn why the Founding Fathers opposed the establishment of a state religion in the Bill of Rights. We feel the Founding Fathers may have had a bit to drink when they were working on that part of the Bill.

 

* The Board has required more emphasis in high school government class on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. The Board also feels that this Amendment should be moved up a notch to become the First Amendment and that the term “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” be amended to read “A well-armed Texan, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

 

* Now that history has vindicated Joe McCarthy and his love of the American ol joeway, the Board insists that students learn of his patriotic efforts to cleanse the country of any communist infiltration and other dangerous thoughts. Also, any reference from here on to the term “McCarthyism” should be revised to “red-blooded American McCarthyism.”

 

* Understanding that slavery was really a long time ago and that the country should just move forward and get over it, the Board has decided to remove the word “slavery” from any mention of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and instead refer to it in textbooks as the “Atlantic triangular trade.”

 

These recommended corrections should guide textbook purchases and classroom instruction over the next decade, and not just in Texas. The State Board proudly understands that textbook publishers all across America usually bow to our wishes because, as we all know, Texas purchases almost 50 million textbooks every year, more than any other state. Yee haw!

 

Now, learn good, li’l pardners.

 

Sincerely,

The Texas State Board of Education

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

 

Suburban Worldsick Blues

27 May

by Roger White

 

With a tip of the hat to a master chronicler of the American age, it must be noted that Bob Dylan never lived in a 3/2/2 with central heat/air and two and a half mortgages during a time when, by all appearances, our society is on the verge of utter decay—all viewable with the click of a mouse or touch of a pad.

 

So I give you “Suburban Worldsick Blues.”

 

Perry’s in the Capitol, railin’ against abortion,

I’m lookin’ at my taxes thinkin’ it’s extortion,

The man in the trench coat shootin’ up the school halls

Says he got bullied so everybody must fall.

 

Look out, dad, the economy is bad,

God knows what we did, but the country’s on the skids.

 

You better duck down, turn page, watch out for road rage,

Another mass swhyhooting, another senseless rampage,

Sterling’s on his cell phone reminiscin’ ’bout slavery,

Miley’s twerkin’ onstage, scandalous behavery.

 

Look out, mom, Gotta stay calm,

Soldiers in Kabul dodging roadside bombs.

 

Get sick, get well, they’re laying off again at Dell,

Are we winnin’ whatever war, it’s gettin’ kinda hard to tell,

Presidenidiotst says our healthcare system’s unfit,

All Congress says is where’s your birth certificate?

 

Well, Hormel, GM organizin’ recalls,

Bad meat, bad brakes, pickets down at town hall,

Daughter’s college fees call for medical sedation,

Building border walls to stifle immigration.

 

Look out, pop, no tellin’ where it stops,

Younger daughter’s boyfriend working at a head shop.

 

Mortgage underwater, excess beer consumption,

Viagra wants to help with that erectile dysfunction,

The factonoworkry just made a Chapter 11 declaration,

School board says it’s gonna teach divine creation.

 

Text tweet online, your selfie looking so fine,

Kids in Bosnia steppin’ on old land mines.

Icebergs meltin’, droughts killin’ all the wheat,

Just global warmin’ lies of the liberal elite.

 

Well, get dressed, get stressed, face the day’s traffic mess,

Oops, your job’s just been outsourced to Bangladesh.

Don’t follow leaders, take pills for all the cedars,

Find yourself a new position as a Walmart greeter.

 

Look out, mama, you’re dyin’ from the trauma,

Increase yer Prozac dosage, tune in the dalai lama.

 

Well, jump down a manhole, filibuster gun control,

thebardThink I saw a shadow up there beyond the grassy knoll,

Headin’ to the car, another day in the loony ward,

Shakin’ yer head ’cause the vandals keyed yer new Ford.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

143a.

 

A Family Fix for Texas’ Fiscal Funk

26 Jan

by Roger White

Life in my family is surely like life in many families across Texas and the nation: Mom and dad work to pay the bills; we try hard not to extend our credit beyond our means; our kids must tend to their academics before they can play; and we try to give back what we can to causes we cherish.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about Texas’ fiscal situation—namely the 82nd Legislature’s estimated $27 billion deficit and the dire conditions our public school districts face in the months and years ahead. It is tragic. Schools are being closed; teachers are being laid off by the hundreds; facility construction, renewal, and maintenance are stagnating; and, most importantly, our students are facing the prospect of not receiving the education they so deserve.

 

Schoolwork First, then Playtime

I have a simple solution—simplistic, actually. What if we thought of our state, and everything in it, as one big Lone-Star-sized family? And in that aspect, we prioritize things. For example, we tend to the state’s academics before we can play. Now, think about this for a minute. If we as a people truly hold the education of our children in the highest regard, why then are we paying college football coaches, for instance, millions of dollars while our public school teachers struggle to make ends meet?

Don’t get me wrong. I like football as much as the next guy, but does a man who instructs players in how to block and tackle in what is essentially a kid’s game really need to be making more than $500,000 a year? USA Today reported some of the top Texas college coaches’ salaries as of 2010 as the following (not including bonuses):

• Mack Brown, University of Texas, $5.1 million (the highest-paid coach in college football)

• Mike Sherman, Texas A&M, $1.8 million

• Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech, $1.5 million

• Kevin Sumlin, Houston, $1 million

 

It may just be me, but I think half a million bucks is a fine salary, no matter the job. So say the state put a ceiling on outrageous pay such as this—call it the Outrageous Salary Ceiling. If we instituted an OSC on college coaches and mandate that the universities donate the savings to state coffers, from these four salaries alone you would save $7.4 million.

And speaking of children’s games, Forbes Magazine listed the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans of the National Football League as having the Number 1 and Number 5 top net financial worth rankings, respectively, in the league as of 2009. The Cowboys were listed as being worth $1.85 billion; the Texans $1.71 billion. If the state could issue a Kids’ Games Tax on these franchises of $100 million each, there’s $200 million right there.

Forbes also listed the state’s three National Basketball Association teams—Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs—as having the number 6 ($470 million), 7 ($446 million), and 10 ($398 million) top net worth rankings, respectively, in the league as of December 2009. Applying a KGT to these franchises at, say, $30 million each would give the state another $90 million.

Likewise, Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros and Texas Rangers are 10th and 11th, respectively, in their league’s list of net worth rankings, coming in at $453 million and $451 million. The Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League are worth $227 million. A $30 million KGT on these franchises adds yet another $90 million.

We’re at $387.4 million saved, just from placing academics ahead of athletics.

Giving Back

Now, keeping in the family milieu, what about giving back what we can? Turning again to Forbes, the magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans contains the following 25 richest Texans (followed by their net wealth):

• Alice Walton (Wal-Mart)                             $20 billion                                          

• Michael Dell (Dell)                                       $14 billion

• Andrew Beal (banking, real estate)              $6 billion

• Charles Butt (supermarkets)                         $5.3 billion

• Richard Kinder (pipelines)                           $5.2 billion

• Harold Simmons (investments)                    $5 billion

• Ray Lee Hunt (oil, real estate)                     $4.3 billion

• John Paul DeJoria (hair products, tequila)    $4.2 billion

• Robert Rowling (investments)                     $4.1 billion

• Robert Bass (oil, investments)                      $4 billion

• H. Ross Perot Sr. (computers, real estate)    $3.4 billion

• John Arnold (hedge funds)                          $3.3 billion

• Randa Williams (pipelines)                           $3.1 billion

• Dannine Avara (pipelines)                            $3.1 billion

• Milane Frantz (pipelines)                              $3.1 billion

• Scott Duncan (pipelines)                              $3.1 billion

• Trevor Rees-Jones (oil, gas)                          $3 billion

• Timothy Headington (oil, investments)        $2.65 billion

• Mark Cuban (Broadcast.com)                      $2.5 billion

• Richard Rainwater (real estate, energy)       $2.3 billion

• Rodney Lewis (natural gas)                         $2.25 billion

• Lee Bass (oil, investments)                           $2 billion

• George Mitchell (energy)                             $2 billion

• Sid Bass (oil, investments)                           $2 billion

• Jerry Jones (NFL team owner)                     $2 billion

If you’re not certain how much one billion dollars is, it’s a thousand million dollars. Each of the above fine folks has at least two thousand million bucks, some much more. If each of these billionaires contributed $500 million each, they would not only get fantastic tax write-offs, they would add $12.5 billion to the state’s sadly depleted account. Now we’re at $12,887,400,000.

The next-richest Texans, according to Forbes, are the following:

Jeffrey Hildebrand (oil)                                  $1.9 billion

David Bonderman (leveraged buyouts)          $1.8 billion

Kelcy Warren (pipelines)                                $1.8 billion

Edward Bass (oil, investments)                      $1.5 billion

Joe Jamail (lawsuits)                                       $1.5 billion

Thomas Friedkin (car dealerships)                  $1.5 billion

Drayton McLane (Wal-Mart, logistics)           $1.45 billion

Robert McNair (energy, sports)                      $1.4 billion

Gerald J. Ford (banking)                                 $1.4 billion

T. Boone Pickens (oil, investments)                $1.4 billion

H. Ross Perot Jr. (computers, real estate)       $1.4 billion

Chistopher Goldsbury (salsa)                          $1.3 billion

Billy Joe McCombs (radio, oil, real estate)     $1.3 billion

Ray Davis (pipelines)                                      $1.3 billion

Todd Wagner (Broadcast.com)                      $1.2 billion

Kenneth Adams (oil)                                      $1.15 billion

William Moncrief (oil)                                    $1.1 billion

Kenny Troutt (communications)                     $1.1 billion

Samuel Wyly (investments)                            $1 billion

Darwin Deason (computers)                           $1 billion

Since these guys have a paltry $1 billion or so, let’s say they give only $250 million each. That’s $5 billion, which brings our total to more than $17.88 billion.

Throw in $750 million in federal education money Governor Rick Perry so blithely rejected because, as Perry said, Texas “would have to follow national curriculum standards” (what is he smoking?), and we now have well more than $18 billion. I’ll put my money where my mouth is and throw in $100, which tops us off at $18,637,400,100. That would pay plenty of teacher salaries; that could open lots of shiny, new school buildings.

I realize this is a ridiculous exercise. Things don’t work this way. It’s also just as ridiculous, however, that Texas public education should be in such a desperate financial situation. What if we really did make education a priority?

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat daschund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.