Horns Up, Horns Down for Jan. 29


Horns Down: Lieutenant governor candidates all for creationism in schools

At a televised debate in Dallas on Monday night, the four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor — state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston; Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples; and incumbent David Dewhurst — squared off on campaign issues ranging from abortion to gun rights, immigration policy and marijuana decriminalization. With only 10 minutes remaining in the hour-long event, moderator Shelley Kofler asked the candidates if creationism belongs in public schools, and their responses were downright disturbing. Despite the fact that the First Amendment patently forbids it, all four candidates came out strongly in support of teaching creationism  — or, as its defenders like to call it, “intelligent design” — in public schools. The candidates did concede that students should also learn about evolution, but their insistence that pure religious dogma belongs on the same level as a veritable scientific theory is offensive, especially when cloaked in the all-too-typical defense of letting students and parents make their own decisions. Horns down, because religion doesn’t belong in science classrooms, or anywhere in the public schools, for that matter.


Horns Up: Perry appeals for federal disaster relief

On Monday, Gov. Rick Perry sent an appeal letter to the White House urging the president to allocate Federal Emergency Management Agency aid to the areas of Central Texas that were damaged by flooding in October and November of last year. Perry estimates the damage adds up to more than $48 million. Though Perry is probably the last person you’d expect to reach out to the federal government for aid, horns up to Perry for putting aside his frustration with the feds and doing what he can to help the Central Texas victims of last year’s flood, even months later.


Horns Down: Congressman swears he wasn't missing

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, was found after a month of unknown whereabouts. Or, as his office is trying to spin it, he merely resurfaced and was never actually missing in the first place. Stockman now claims that he simply left the country to participate in an official visit to the Middle East with the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Though the delegation’s leader, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, confirmed Stockman was traveling with committee, Stockman was absent for longer than his other colleagues on the trip, according to the Dallas Morning News. The unaccounted-for vacation days, however, aren’t the only weird thing about Stockman lately. Though the representative is challenging U.S. Sen. and minority whip John Cornyn in the Texas GOP primary in March, his campaign has only $32,000 in cash on hand, along with $163,000 in debt. He has also been slacking off on his day job, having missed 17 straight votes in the House since Jan. 9, according to the Austin American-Statesman. And his campaign has been dodging questions left, right and center — including those about alleged campaign finance violations. While we’re glad the congressman has safely “resurfaced,” we can’t help but long for the day when Texas politicians will make the news for strong governance and not just for strange behavior.