Cool TN Lady Gonna Fill The Social Studies Standards With Awesome Stuff Like ‘Barack Obama Did The Tornados’

The Education Wars just never go away, and in today’s dispatch from the front lines we’ll look at Tennessee, where a rightwing conspiracy theory fan and anti-Muslim bigot has just been appointed to the committee that sets standards for the state’s social studies curricula.

Yr Wonkette already introduced you last year to Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the nutball Tennessee bigot lady, when she was a member of the state textbook commission that was tasked with making sure only “age appropriate” materials were in them. You may recall that Tennessee was considering a measure that would have required state approval of every last item in the collections of school libraries; the bill’s sponsor charmingly said that any materials not approved by the commission should be burned. Ultimately, the Lege settled for a different plan that gave the textbook commission the power to hear appeals of book challenges brought by parents, so the state could ban library books even after a local school board had gone through a challenge process and approved them. Hooray for compromise.

We guess that Ms. Cardoza-Moore must have either done a bang-up job on that commission, or at the very least that she has powerful friends in Tennessee, because clearly it’s the latter thing. She was chosen for the Tennessee Standards Recommendation Committee by Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R), the slimebooger we came to know and loathe during the kangaroo court proceedings that expelled Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson in April. Sexton also appointed her to the textbook commission in 2021, which is quite the coincidence.

In her new job, Cardoza-Moore will have a say in setting state standards for social studies classes, although we suspect she’ll just photocopy the course offerings at Hillsdale College and say “Done!” As Judd Legum points out in his Popular Information newsletter, Cardoza-Moore doesn’t actually believe in public schools; she’s homeschooled her own five kids, and she’s simply horrified that US history texts teach historical facts that make America look bad, such as the fact that the Constitution provided a framework for oppression of African Americans. In a 2020 Fox News interview, she blamed Common Core, because why not? She claimed, falsely, that schools no longer teach about the founding of the US, but instead skip ahead to the Civil War and Reconstruction so they can harp on all the slavery, those monsters.

“This is an outrage,” Cardoza-Moore exclaimed. “It poses the greatest national security threat to our constitutional republic.”

So yeah, she’s a real peach. She somehow also took issue with a textbook’s factual statement that the Republican Party was originally founded to fight the spread of slavery beyond the states where it was already allowed, complaining that it was “disinformation” because Lincoln was anti-slavery, which, yeah, that’s what the book said. She was mostly upset the book didn’t say that Democrats were pro-slavery and KKK, and also what about that Klansman Robert Byrd, huh?

Cardoza-Moore initially made her name in Tennessee politics by fearmongering about Islam, back when that was the thing the Right was certain would destroy America, because Barack Obama was president. She led some of the most paranoid opposition to a mosque being built in Murfreesboro, claiming that fully 30 percent of Muslims are terrorists and that the mosque would be a base for “radical Islamic extremists” bent on destroying Nashville’s Christian music industry.

During her 2021 confirmation hearing for her seat on the textbook commission, she explained that bad school textbooks are directly responsible for wrecking America and of course the riots that burned all cities in America to the ground in 2020, several of them more than once.

While America slept, the hearts, minds and souls of our students were being influenced by disinformation. Tragically we have seen the result over the past few months; our streets have been filled with rioting destructive American young people who have not been taught the values entrusted to us by our nation’s founders … nor have they been taught our nation’s history — history which many seem intent to destroy

See, if only kids been made to memorize more facts about how George Washington was a Christian and God wrote the Constitution, there might be a few more cities still standing in our great land.

As Legum details, Cardoza-Moore doesn’t seem to have met a conspiracy theory she didn’t glom on to. She’s said that 9/11 was an “inside job,” that Donald Trump was the true winner of the 2020 election, and that January 6 was a false flag attack by “Antifa.” I’m just disappointed that she doesn’t appear to have said anything about chemtrails. But she came kind of close in 2011, as Legum explains, when she

claimed that former President Barack Obama was causing “horrific tornadoes” because he made a speech that discussed the plight of Palestinians. Asked if she still held these views, Cardoza-Moore did not respond.

She also runs her very own “Christian Zionist” nonprofit called “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations,” which recently ran a press release on her appointment to the social studies standards job. In it, we learn that she has previously helped the Florida Department of Education screen textbooks, “a successful review effort that ‘caught and corrected dozens of books to prevent political indoctrination of Florida’s children,’ a spokesperson for Governor Ron DeSantis noted.”

In the press release, Cardoza-Moore reflected on the important task ahead of her, because

“The materials we will be reviewing can only accomplish the mission of educating good American citizens if our Tennessee textbooks are devoid of left-aligned historic revisionism and the toxic material found in the antisemitic Critical Race Theory; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Social-Emotional Learning and Ethnic Studies.”

Impressive how she got all the rightwing shibboleths in there!

The statement also emphasized that Muslim groups opposed her appointment to the textbook commission, presumably because if she has the right enemies, that just shows what a great job she’ll do for Tennessee students.

We can hardly wait to see what happens to Tennessee social studies standards. Haha, we kid, of course, because we read the history standards that Donald Trump’s “1776 Commission” came up with, so we have a pretty good idea. Good luck, kids!

[Popular Information]

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The Flat Circle Of Republican Stupidity

Republicans long for a past that never was, and this inevitably leads them to sound like idiots as they twist themselves into pretzels trying to rationalize their calls for societal regression. Need examples? Let’s look at some in the Sunday shows!

We’re Not Book Burning, You’re the Book Burning!

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel was on “Fox News Sunday,” and while discussing the party’s post 2022 debrief report, she said a few things that were surprisingly truthful.

MCDANIEL: […] biggest takeaway we are taking is independents did not break our way, which has to happen if we’re going to win in 2024, which usually that’s what causes that red wave. And abortion was a big issue in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvanian. […] Republicans are migrating. They are migrating to red states. […] But it means the White House electorally isn’t available to us unless we go through a purple or blue state. And those states are getting bluer, because red voters are moving to the red states. […] the path to the White House runs not just through independents, but every single Republican getting on board.

It’s pretty shocking to hear anyone in the RNC, much less its chairperson, point out an objective reality. So what different actions or rhetoric do they plan to use to better their chances in 2024? Like, for example, abortion:

MCDANIEL: […] What abortion is a bad idea to Democrats? Ninth month, eighth month, seventh month? They can’t even articulate an abortion that’s a bad idea. Gender selection, if it’s a girl, you get to abort it. Tax-funded abortions for people where it’s against their religious conscience. […]

Nothing, then. They plan on changing nothing and expecting different results. If only there was a phrase for that.

Actually, correction, they do have another political strategy: The ole’ “we’re rubber, you’re glue”!

When asked about Republican attacks on trans people, which are politically unpopular, McDaniel attempted some very strained whataboutism.

MCDANIEL: […] the Democrats are using this word book banning. […] That’s a lie. There isn’t book banning. What Republicans are doing are protecting our children and parental rights […] But it’s good to know the Democrats playbook and we’re going to push on that, especially coming from the Democrat party that is banning freedom of speech, that is canceling people, that is destroying your life if you don’t think with their orthodoxy. This is the Democrat Party who is saying if you think outside of the box and everything, we are dictating to you, you will make you lose your job, we will destroy you.

Republicans have literally been fighting Disney because it dared exercised free speech, made book banning much easier, extended Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bigotry, and threatened to separate children from parents who are not bigoted toward their trans kids. But, sure, it’s the Democrats who are “destroying anyone who doesn’t conform to orthodoxy and taking their jobs while threatening to destroy them.”

Speaking of, how’s that dirt file on fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson?

Let’s Default Our National Debt!

House Republican Whip Tom Emmer appeared on CNN’s “State of The Union” and wouldn’t directly state that his party won’t force a default on the nation’s debt.

Host Dana Bash tried pointing out specifically how the cuts they want would hurt his constituents, but Emmer made it clear he will ignore them or just blame Nancy Pelosi when the reality doesn’t match his delusions.

GOP’s Vanity Tech Douche Candidate Returns

NBC’s “Meet The Press” had on Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Although considering his polling, calling him a candidate is a bit too generous, but nonetheless, we are all subjected to his stupidity on TV and expected to take him seriously. So fresh from giving Don Lemon his last good journalistic moment on CNN, Ramaswamy made Chuck Todd look like Walter Cronkite.

When Ramaswamy brings up an example of a person who says their gender doesn’t align with their biological sex, he seems to know the difference between sex and gender. But when Todd questions his stance on gender being binary, Ramaswamy then perhaps deliberately conflates biological sex with gender.

RAMASWAMY: Well, there’s, there’s two X chromosomes if you’re a woman. An X and a Y, that means you’re a man.

TODD: There’s a lot of scientific research out there –

RAMASWAMY: There’s a biological basis for this —

TODD: There’s a lot of scientific research out there that says gender is a spectrum.

RAMASWAMY: Chuck, I respectfully disagree.

Funny how these transphobic clowns want to bring biology into this UNTIL scientific research disputes their transphobia and then they fall back on what they “feel” or disagree just because.

Ramaswamy also equates abortion with murder but says it’s a “states’ right issue.” That’s not how “states’ rights” work, even if a Republican nominee barely polling above skim milk says so.

Asa Hutchinson’s Decimal Points

Speaking of polling, Asa Hutchinson announced he was running for president almost exactly a month ago. He appeared on CNN’s “State Of the Union” this week to call for going back to a Republican Party that died long before Trump came down an escalator in 2015. So how are Republican voters embracing this? We’ll let this picture summarize it.

Can this change for Hutchinson? Likely not when he is polling lower than the fictional Conor Roy in “Succession,” who we actually compared to Hutchinson too optimistically.

Phrasing, Steve Scalise!

When asked about any possible tension between himself and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on ABC’s “This Week,” Steve Scalise chose an odd way to describe their closeness yet trust.

Could be worse: Scalise could have kept misunderstanding what “raw dog” is.

Have a week

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North Dakota GOP To Jail Librarians For Disgusting Sex Books, Including Images Of ‘Gender Identity’

Republicans in the North Dakota state House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would not only ban public libraries from carrying any books with “sexually explicit” content, but would also jail librarians for up to 30 days on felony charges (plus up to a $1500 fine) if they fail to remove such works within 30 days of a written request from anyone. No, the bill doesn’t include any other evaluation of the book; it would simply have to be removed. Good law-writing!

Just to make clear that the bill’s authors are bigots, House Bill 1205 wouldn’t just ban public libraries from owning books that include photos, pictures, or other “visual depictions” of various sex acts, but also “sexual preferences,” “sexual perversion,” sex-based classifications” (?!?), “sexual Idenitity” or “gender identity,” although the bill doesn’t define any of those terms.

The bill does at least generously include an exception for “works of art” with “serious artistic significance” and for books used in science classes, including “biology, anatomy, physiology, or sexual education classes.” What a relief!

As the AP reports, the bill’s sponsor, state House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R), explained in a hearing Tuesday that he simply wants to protect the children from being harmed by

“disturbing and disgusting” content, including ones that describe virginity as a silly label and assert that gender is fluid.

Well gosh, we can see how those are absolutely illegal concepts in some nation that doesn’t actually have a First Amendment

Lefor argued that a child’s exposure to such content has been associated with addiction, poor self esteem, devalued intimacy, increasing divorce rates, unprotected sex among young people and poor well-being — though did he did not offer any evidence to support such claims.

You don’t need evidence to know that mocking virginity as a silly label leads to addiction. It’s just common sense. And despite the bill’s text offering a pass to works used in sex ed classes, one of the bill’s supporters singled out a couple of popular sex ed books for young people, because presumably they aren’t for classroom use?

Stark County resident Autumn Richard also spoke in favor of the bill, giving examples of explicit content in the graphic novel “Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human” and the kids’ comic book “Sex Is a Funny Word” — both available in public libraries. [Links will give Yr Wonkette a small cut of sales — Dok Zoom]

Richard argued the books might have beneficial knowledge about contraceptives, body image and abusive relationships, but many sections provide information that she said was harmful for minors.

Gay stuff, is what she meant. The Bismarck Tribune notes that Lefor also cited tiny cartoon genitals in Let’s Talk About It as a reason that no one must ever see the book in a library, let alone talk about it. The book has recently been the object of the usual screamy public comments at a local library board meeting.

“I think the content of it is disgusting, that at the very least public libraries should put it in a restricted area where (children) need to get permission from their parents to take a book out like this, but they’re offering it to junior high school kids … and when we grew up, we didn’t need things like this,” Lefor told the Tribune. “This is not a way to raise our kids, and we have to do everything we can to make sure that this doesn’t get into the hands of children, especially without their parents’ knowledge.”

In addition, a former school superintendent, Tom Tracy, called Let’s Talk About It “legally obscene” and said that he had sent a copy to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office, but he didn’t say whether the AG had shown up to arrest him for having sent obscene materials through the mails or anything.

For some reason, mostly basic literacy in US law and court decisions, critics of the bill insisted at the hearing that no matter how much the bill’s proponents call works about sex education or LGBTQ+ people “obscene” and “pornographic,” that’s not what those words actually mean. Among the killjoys was Cody Schuler of the ACLU of North Dakota, who testified against the bill.

“Nearly 50 years ago, the (U.S.) Supreme Court set the high constitutional bar that defines obscenity,” [Schuler said]

Obscenity is a narrow, well-defined category of unprotected speech that excludes any work with serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value, Schuler said. Few, if any, books have been deemed obscene, and the standard for restraining a library’s ability to distribute a book are even more stringent, Schuler added.

Okay, but what if people are really sure that a book with gay penguins really is obscene, since it will make kids wonder why the boy penguins like each other and then the children start selling themselves on the street for heroin?

Another enemy of decency, Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library Director Christine Kujawa, said the bill was so overly broad that it would define as “sexually explicit” a harmless little children’s book about two cute little hamsters who get married, but they’re both male.

Well yes, that’s the point. Even if there’s no randy hamstersex, that “sexual preference” stuff clearly indicated the hamsters prefer sex, unlike depictions of Dick, Jane, and Sally’s mother and father, who may be married but clearly never had sex or gender.

No votes have yet been taken on HB 1205, and it hasn’t yet been scheduled for a hearing. Lefor also said he would be open to amending his bill to allow the banned material only in a restricted area of public libraries. which is remarkable in itself: He thinks some books are so filthy that people should be jailed for making them available to the public, but on the other hand it would be OK if they were kept in one part of the library only?

Also, LOL, the Bismarck Tribuneoffers this detail on exactly how many young people may have been driven to addiction, divorce, and growing hair on their palms:

Let’s Talk About It” was in the Valley City Barnes County Public Library’s young adult section for nearly two years and was checked out twice before controversy arose recently, Library Board Member Allen Blume said. The board voted 4-1 last week to relocate the book to the regular collection. He was the lone no vote.

“This is not about the book. This is not about protecting our children. It’s about censorship,” Blume told lawmakers.

We applaud Mr. Blume’s stand for reason, and hope he has upgraded his home security, because rightwing bigots are crazy these days, the end.

[Associated Press / Bismarck Tribune]

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