The creationist loonies have lost in Texas

Phil Plait reports that the creationist loonies trying to sabotage the science curriculum in Texas have only managed to scrape a 7-7 tie on a vote to incorporate a bogus “strengths and weaknesses” clause into the State’s science teaching standards.  Without a vote to carry the amendment, it fails.

Science has scored the narrowest of victories over the most blatant ignorance and stupidity.

They always lose, but they never give up.  The battle against this avoidable and self-inflicted damage goes on.

State of ignorance: sex education in Texas schools

RH Reality Check yesterday carried an article on a report about sex education in Texas schools, titled “When In Texas: Just Say I Don’t Know”.  The result of two years work by Dr. David Wiley, a health education professor at Texas State University-San Marcos, and Dr. Kelly Wilson, on behalf of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, the report is a damning indictment of a woefully inadequate system.

The problem seems to be that Texas receives some $18 million in federal funds annually for a program which is known as “abstinence-only education“, but is actually composed of feeding children scare-stories about sex and telling them not to do it. The results of such institutionalized idiocy are easy to predict: young people have sex anyway but are ignorant and unprepared for the consequences. It appears that most of this lunacy is presided over by religious organizations whose record of stupidity on matters related to sex is second to none.

Hopefully this disgusting behavior will be stopped and religious organizations will be chased out of the field of education, to the benefit of the young people of Texas.

Denied a passport on grounds of midwifery

The Washington Post reports that the US State Department has been systematically denying passports to US citizens delivered by midwives.  The ACLU filed a case on behalf of nine citizens, and is seeking class-action status.

The State Department’s actions follow cases in the 1960s through 1990s in which, according to a State Department list last updated in 2002, at least 65 midwives were convicted of fraudulently registering births that they did not deliver.  The cases mostly affect South Texas residents.

Changes in cross-border travel agreements affecting passage between Mexico and the United States mean that US citizens will need a passport to cross the border and come back, where up to now a driver’s license has been sufficient.

In one case that looks like an instance of excessive zeal, one David Hernandez was denied a passport despite presenting his birth certificate, his baptismal certificate, state immunization records, US Army discharge certificate, and affidavits by witnesses to his birth.  His mother is a permanent legal resident and her mother was a US citizen.