Congressman Steny Hoyer Did the Right Thing

Steny Hoyer
Steny Hoyer

Kudos to Steny Hoyer (D-MD).  Congressman Steny Hoyer should be getting the ethics award or at least the ‘Did the right thing’ award.  Rewind to complaints on Congressman Massa who just keeps on shooting himself in the foot.  The stories that are surfacing about this guy both when he was in the navy and post navy are just almost unbelievable. 

Don’t let anyone tell you that there are no ethics in Congress.  Steny Hoyer didn’t turn a blind eye on a bad situation just because the complaints he was hearing were about a fellow Democrat:

Hoyer is the one a top Massa aide took complaints to about the congressman’s conduct. Massa’s own accounts (apparently depending upon his mood) acknowledge inappropriate language, groping a male staffer and (I still can’t get over this) tickling to the point of breathlessness. Kudos to Ron Hikel, Massa’s former deputy chief of staff, for speaking up, and kudos to Hoyer for making clear that if Massa didn’t bring the matter to the House ethics committee, he would.

Hoyer, as Roll Call notes, has long been an advocate for internal House ethics investigations. And it’s particularly refreshing that Hoyer didn’t let party considerations enter into his calculation of what’s right and what’s wrong. Now that’s something to be tickled about

Washington Post

Farrah Fawcett Dissed by Oscars

Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett


Each year, part of the Oscar ceremony  memorializes movie stars who have died during the past year.  This year was no different and the Memorial Montage rolled on.  Unfortunately, Farrah Fawcett, who died last summer, was left out.  Friends and long time significant other Ryan O’Neal protested to Bruce Davis, the executive director of the film academy who said  she was better known as a TV star.  He further suggested she should be mentioned at the Emmys.

Hmmmm, how does that explain Michael Jackson’s inclusion in the Oscar Memorial Montage?  Shouldn’t he have been memorialized at the Grammys. using this logic, since he was known for his recordings and music videos?  Farrah Fawcett’s death was greatly overshadowed by the death of Jackson at the time it happened.  In fact, Larry King cancelled her friends’ remembrance of her on the Larry King Show because of Michael Jackson’s untimely death.  To my knowledge, this remembrance was never rescheduled.

According to Timesonline:

Facing a barrage of criticism after failing to honour the late Charlie’s Angels star, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences executive director Bruce Davis said that organisers did consider including Fawcett, but decided that she was better known for her “remarkable television work”.

The Academy believed it would be more appropriate for the actress, who died from cancer in June last year, to be honoured at the Emmy Awards, Davis told AP.

The reasoning is unlikely to placate Fawcett’s family, who released a press statement following Sunday’s ceremony, saying that they were “deeply saddened” and “bereft” after watching Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richards, Brittany Murphy and others remembered during a performance by James Taylor.

Hollywood icon Jane Fonda led a raft of critics in expressing their disappointment on the social networking site Twitter: “Where was Farah Fawcett?” Fonda wrote. “She should have been included”.

The influential, veteran US film critic Roger Ebert tweeted: “No Farrah Fawcett in the memorial tribute? Major fail.”

The Academy’s decision to include Michael Jackson while excluding Fawcett has further fuelled the criticism, but Davis said organisers honoured the King of Pop as he had appeared in a popular theatrical film, This Is It, recently.

“Think of all the blogging we would have gotten if we had left him out!” he said.

…Actor Gene Barry, who starred in the original sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds, was also excluded.

Davis said that “an unusual number of extremely distinguished screenwriters” died this year, and the academy tried to honour many of them in the short time allowed.

“There’s nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all. They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that and we’re sorry for it.”

The Oscars, always sticking a fake gold finger into the political winds, have screwed up again.  Farrah made 19  movies over a span of  3 decades.  It is important to note that Bea Arthor was also dissed by the Oscar.  I am glad I didn’t watch. And I never thought I would say this, but good for Jane Fonda!

An Unlikely Band of Sympathizers

Ex-Congressman Eric Massa’s behavior, rhetoric, and constantly changing story today on Glenn Beck had Arianna Huffington, Anderson Cooper, and David Gergen so amused/disgusted/incredulous that Huffington said she actually sympathized with Glenn Beck for having to interview Massa for an hour. 

According to Huffington Post:

Gergen used a similar analogy. “People say that Washington politics is a freak show,” he observed. “And Eric Massa is writing a whole new chapter.

Whenever the chapter is complete, it may contain a memorable quote form Gergen about his time in the Navy.

“I don’t remember any tickle fights.”


Perhaps Massa’s story about the shower is purely a figure of his imagination. No one seems to be buying into his line of bull these days, from either camp. I doubt if anyone cares that he is gone.  Glenn Beck protected his audience from having to observe the book of tickle fights that Massa brought with him.  Beck looked simply dumbfounded that anyone would be showing a book like that.  (Something from Massa’s Navy days)

Texas Textbook Wars

The Texas Textbook Wars have begun and it is truly a clash of cultural warriors vs. mainstream America. So why does anyone care what textbooks Texas purchases? Texas is the 2nd largest purchaser of textbooks in the nation. California is the first. However, California’s financial woes are so bad that they have postponed purchasing textbooks for the time being.

So whats the big fight over? Texas has been known as clearing house for textbooks for several decades. What goes in, what goes, who gets mentioned and who is shunned is often determined ‘deep in the heart of Texas.’ Because California is not buying new textbooks, all the textbook publishers are kowtowing to Texas. According to Myfox in Phoenix:

What happens in Texas – is likely to impact your child’s textbooks, no matter where you live. That’s because the Lone Star state is one of the top textbook buyers in the world, so publishers write to Texas curriculum standards and the books are sold nationwide.

This week, the Texas State Board of Education will be hammering out social studies curriculum and stirring up plenty of controversy.

“The cultural war, has regrettably not ended. And of the biggest, most important fronts now are curriculum battles in Texas and indeed around the country because the next generation of young people need to understand good science, good history, comprehensive sex education.” said Barry Lynn, a church-state separation advocate.

But as 15 elected board members prepare to make those decisions in Texas this week, conservatives say there are organized, liberal groups in these textbook fights who want to sanitize our country’s history.

“Our founders acknowledge the reliance upon divine providence, that we’re endowed by our Creator with these inalienable rights, and this idea that now you remove that as if it does not exist it really goes to the depths of what these groups trying to get at, and that is to expunge any reference to America’s religious heritage.” said Jay Sekulow from the American Center for Law and Justice

Math seems to be fairly protected from politics. However, science and social studies texts are rife with contention. The biggest issue in science has to do with origin of the earth ideas and evolution/Darwinism.  Many fundamentalist Christians oppose teaching about anything that is Darwin and words like ‘secular humanist’ are used to describe those who believe the earth is more than 6,000 years old. 

Social Studies is also a huge area of controversy because of the foundations of this nation.  There is also great dispute over who our national heroes really are and what their role is in history.  Terms like revisionist history are thrown about as well as terms like afro-centrism and euro-centrism.  Patrick Henry sometimes gives way to Benjamin Banneker.  George Patton and Douglas MacArthur might not be  included.  Colin Powell might be the potential replacement.  Conservatives hold dear to their heroes and insist that those who have been revered  throughout history stay at the forefront for children to read about  and to be standard bearers. 

Religion and religious topics continue to be argued as some parents and politicians fight to retain holidays like Christmas and Easter as units of study while others want all reference to Halloween stomped out.

One parent, Vivian Scretchen  says “One day my son came home with an assignment for– it was around– it was around Christmas.”

But other parents believe religious discussions aren’t suited to secular classrooms.

“What I’m saying is that public schools don’t need to place this in their curriculum. Because it is– it’s potentially offensive to some. And it– it isn’t what a public school should be teaching.” said Jane Miller, a parent.

The Texas Board has already had showdowns over whether to get rid of mentions of Christmas, the Liberty Bell and Neil Armstrong.  Some of the debate continues, but the backlash was so bad when the public got wind of the Christmas issue that the Board quickly voted to save it.

How sad that even textbooks have become political and part of the culture wars.  What can parents do to make sure their voice is heard?  What impact does this battle front have on language arts?  What if your school districts ends up with a very conservative set of text books because nothing else is available?  What can schools do?  How about the other direction?  Are there remedies?  Will climate change be as contentious as Darwinism?