The Brief: Top Texas News for Sept. 24, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

How bright will that spotlight shine on Texas today?

It all depends on how the State Board of Education — infamous for its conservative-led heavy hand — votes on one resolution today concerning Islam that comes amid national debate over Muslims' place in American society.

The board will meet this morning to vote on the already much-discussed resolution, which warns textbook publishers that "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks."

The resolution alleges that textbooks have devoted too much space to covering Islam over Christianity and have "sanitized" and "sugarcoat[ed] depictions of Islam and jihad. It goes on to read, "The SBOE will look to reject future prejudicial Social Studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and/or by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others, as in the above-cited instances.”

A number of religious leaders within the state have united against the resolution, alleging that anti-Islamic sentiment has motivated the board. Critics, including the watchdog group Texas Freedom Network, have also accused the board of taking the textbook language in question out of context, and others have attacked the board for needlessly dragging Texas back into the culture wars.

The resolution targets textbooks no longer in use. If passed, then, the resolution would likely have little effect on Texas classrooms but would further document the board's willingness, critics say, to rewrite history.

CULLED:

  • You'd think Gov. Rick Perry's appearance in front of the National Conference of Editorial Writers on Thursday would've quelled some of the criticism of the governor for declining to meet with newspaper editorial boards in Texas. Instead, the group's president sent a sharply worded letter to Perry after the event saying the group was "stunned and disappointed" that he did not take questions after delivering a speech. "Clearly, you had ample time to work the room by shaking hands both before and after your talk," the letter added. The Perry camp called the letter "inappropriate." Challenger Bill White's spokeswoman, Katy Bacon, shot back: "A room full of informed questioners is career politician Rick Perry’s worst nightmare."
  • Bill White's looking to the usually blue Rio Grande Valley to drive up his prospects in November, but officials say voter registration has remained steady, and some White supporters say the candidate hasn't devoted enough time to the area.
  • Texas will file suit against the federal government to secure the $830 million in jobs aid from which the state has been blocked, Rick Perry announced Thursday.
  • Bill White's making what's become a rare trip, for both gubernatorial candidates, west of Interstate 35, heading to El Paso to campaign this weekend. Visit the GovTracker to get a idea of just how rare that trip has become.

"It was a fascinating, exciting home stretch that I greatly enjoyed. I don't have any regrets about the governor's race at all." — 2006 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, who recently won a suit against the Republican Governors Association that netted him $2 million, in an interview with the Tribune

MUST-READ:

Despite Murdered Reporters, Mexican Paper Presses On, The Texas Tribune

Texas Business Tax Could Increase in 2012, KUT News

Dallas DA Craig Watkins, GOP opponent Danny Clancy get personal in debate, The Dallas Morning News

Backpage.com adult ads draw AG ire, San Antonio Express-News

Rick Perry, Bill White clash in separate interviews, The Dallas Morning News

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