There was never a $50M federal grant for an ‘illegal alien resort’

JISHOU, HUNAN — In the aftermath of the last two days’ blog drama about the so-called “luxury resort” for immigrants in Weslaco, Texas, I decided to do some research of my own into the mysterious $50 million federal grant being bandied about on the Internet. In other words, I’m doing what The Gateway Pundit should have done in the first place. They’re the ones who falsely spread the $50 million resort idea all over the Internet this week, effectively killing a project that was costing more like $4 million. As near as I can tell, the $50 million federal grant exists only in the fevered imaginations of people who hate undocumented immigrants from Central America, and President Barack Obama, in no particular order. To recap, a nonprofit agency called Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), which is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, planned to buy the Palm Aire Hotel and Suites in Weslaco and convert it into a 600-bed shelter for unaccompanied children crossing the Mexican border into the USA. The 3-star hotel has been up for sale since at least January 2013, and BCFS was going to purchase it for $3.8 million. It was just before their hearing with ...

Jim Hoft’s Obama Derangement Syndrome kills worthwhile project

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’m angry. I’m angry about something that happened on the other side of the world, in a city I have never visited. I’m angry at two men whose entire raison d’etre is to promulgate disinformation for political and social reasons, because they HATE the current president, and liberals, and Democrats, and anybody who is not them. With one poorly researched, inflammatory article, Jim Hoft and Kristinn Taylor killed a worthwhile charitable project even before it got off the ground. Within minutes, every right-wing media site picked up the story — which was almost 100% wrong — and the resulting publicity led the project’s organizers to abandon the plan. Weslaco, Texas, could have been home to a facility to take care of immigrant kids coming over the Mexican border. It could have gained a few hundred new jobs. It could have had $50 million added to its local economy. Not now. Because Hoft and Taylor, in their blind hatred, spread lies and misinformation, implying the project was going to be a resort of some kind for illegal aliens, complete with swimming pools, tennis courts, weight rooms, free Wifi and free cable TV. Here is their headline: FEDS TO ...

Texas public schools and Christian Reconstructionism 7

[UPDATE (July 16): The new chair of the Texas State Board of Education is not Cynthia Dunbar, but another socially conservative member, Gail Lowe. Texas commentators say Lowe’s appointment will continue the anti-evolution, Reconstructionist bias of the board. The scary details are here.] JISHOU, HUNAN — After doing some research, I have concluded that Texas is just plain wacko. Perhaps some of you are not surprised at this news. Back in April, I wrote about the Texas State Board of Education’s efforts to weasel creationist ideas into the state science curriculum. Despite efforts by its overtly right-wing Christian chair, Donald McLeroy, and his cohorts on the board, most of the creationist ideas were tossed out. Since then, McLeroy’s heavyhanded tactics and nutball pronouncements about evolution and science cost him a lot of the support he had in the state legislature. He lost the chair of the SBOE. Republican Gov. Rick Perry now has to choose a new chair from the other board members. The leading candidate now is apparently Cynthia Dunbar, who may be even nuttier than McLeroy. Dunbar has accused — in print — presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of being a terrorist, and then refused to retract her ...

The primary-secondary textbook mill exposed

A few posts back, I wrote about the efforts by anti-evolution members of the Texas State Board of Education to emasculate the state’s science standards. It was big news, because Texas periodically buys its textbooks en masse, giving it a disproportionate influence on the content of the nation’s school textbooks. To put it another way, if the Texas SBOE had mandated that Texas children learn about Intelligent Design in Biology or the steady-state-universe theory in Earth Science, the SBOE would then prefer to buy textbooks that cover such topics. So, textbook publishers would scramble to add this content to their existing texts to remain competitive. If the changes were limited to Texas, it would be bad for Texas schoolchildren. But textbook publishers cannot offer 50 or more different textbooks versions, one for each state and territory of the USA. It would be neither feasible nor economic. So they target their textbooks’ content to the three biggest buyers, Texas, California and Florida. Tamim Ansary, who used to work in the textbook field, wrote an expose of sorts about the textbook mill for Edutopia in 2004. It’s been reprinted on the Edutopia website, and well worth the read, especially if you have ...

Deep in the heart of Texas …

JISHOU, HUNAN — Texas is a big state, with about 6 million schoolchildren. When the Texas State Board of Education speaks, textbook publishers listen. After all, if the publishers can sell their texts to Texas, it’s a big deal. It means money. So, when the Texas BOE met in March to discuss controversial changes to the state’s proposed science standards, science educators all over the USA were worried. Would the BOE, chaired by an unapologetic creationist, introduce language into the standards to allow the teaching of creationism and and its clone, Intelligent Design, in the Texas schools? To do so would be seriously damage science education in the Texas public schools. It would also likely influence textbook publishers’ treatment of evolution in biology texts, thereby affecting schools all over the USA. The Texas BOE is nearly evenly composed of creationists and more sensible members, so the results were by no means predictable. In the end, the original changes, as proposed by the openly anti-evolution chairman and board members, were rejected. Instead, the BOE passed more coyly worded standards that still could be used to introduce pseudo-science and religion into Texas classrooms, but did not exactly trample science teaching. Whether the ...
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