Archives for category: Hypocrisy

Jennifer Berkshire inquires into why so many Democratic leaders and pundits have refused to defend public schools, even though most parents are satisfied with their public schools. As the public schools are blamed for all the evils of modern life by extremists like Chris Rufo, Democrats refuse to stand up for the public schools. She explores why in this article.

Parents are not abandoning the public schools, but Democratic politicians are.

She begins:

Last spring, taking a break from waging conspiratorial campaigns against the republic, an assortment of luminaries associated with the Claremont Institute gathered to lay out a plan to foment a culture war against the nation’s schools. The Clubhouse event, entitled “Building A New Right: Red States vs. Wokeness,” featured a grab bag of Claremont fellows and friends. The star attraction was Manhattan Institute agitprop specialist Christopher Rufo, chief sower of the panics against critical race theory (CRT) and “grooming.”

In a now familiar exercise, Rufo sketched out his campaign to make CRT toxic as part of a larger propaganda war against public institutions. The ultimate goal, he explained, was essentially to do away with those institutions and redirect school funding to families and individuals based on their “values.” Rufo waxed apocalyptic about the scourge of “wokeness,” and yet he struck a hopeful note. After all, he reminded listeners, it had only taken the country a few years to go from the Black Panthers to Nixon.

In the ensuing months, Rufo’s propaganda campaign would grow increasingly lurid, but on this occasion, he urged his audience to raise the discussion to a higher level. Focus on “excellence,” he admonished them, and attack public schools for failing to meet that standard. Conservative communications guru David Reaboi, who helped seed a previous moral panic on the right against the sinister spread of Sharia law, weighed in with some messaging advice of his own: Go full bore against the teachers unions. Do damage.

Today, this coordinated plan to wage a public relations war against the nation’s public schools is an undeniable success. Forty-two states have moved to restrict teaching about oppression, race or gender. According to one estimate, more than one third of students in the country attend school in a state where educators are now subject to some kind of classroom gag order.

The achievement of Rufo and his allies is all the more astonishing, given the deep unpopularity of the policies they champion. Polls consistently show that voters across party lines are repelled by the GOP’s education extremism. Across the chasm of our current political divide, bipartisan majorities are largely in agreement that banning books and gagging teachers is bad.

And for all of the insurgent right’s bold rhetoric about mining parent outrage for electoral gold, the polls that matter most have shown remarkably poor results for candidates running on scorched-earth education platforms. In New Hampshire, New York, Montana, Georgia, Wisconsin and beyond, voters are rejectingright-wing culture warriors, often by wide margins—a movement that might be summed up as “keeping the crazy away from the kids.”

There’s just one problem, though: The leadership of the Democratic party doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

Robert Hubbell is a blogger who always has interesting things to say. In this post, he excoriates Joe Manchin for destroying Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda. And he urges Biden to fire Merrick Garland for his unwillingness to open a case against Trump for attempting a coup.

I had not planned to write anything more about the child who was raped in Ohio, became pregnant with the rapist’s semen, but had to go to Indiana for an abortion. But then someone wrote a comment here implying that the whole story sounded like fake news. As I showed in my original post, there have been many reports of children who were raped and impregnated. Some got abortions. Others did not.

I’m old-fashioned. I don’t think children should be raped. If they are, they should not bear a child. It’s monstrous. The rapist should be found and punished. In my limited view, those who want a 10-year-old child to have a baby are sadists.

In the Ohio case, Republicans jumped all over the story and called it fake news. It was not. The right showed themselves to be heartless, cruel fools.

Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times reports how the Right humiliated themselves in their eagerness to discredit the story and the child.

She writes:

Not long after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, an Indiana obstetrician and gynecologist named Caitlin Bernard told The Indianapolis Star about a call she’d gotten from a doctor in Ohio. The Ohio doctor had a 10-year-old patient who was six weeks and three days pregnant. An Ohio law banning abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected — usually around the sixth week of pregnancy — had just gone into effect, so the girl needed to cross state lines for care. The report, being illustrative of the ghoulish impact of abortion prohibitions, went viral, and Joe Biden mentioned it in a speech.

The right, however, quickly convinced itself that the tale was dubious and probably false. The conservative website PJ Media claimed, last Friday, that the account had “many of the elements of a hoax.” On Monday, Ohio’s Republican attorney general, Dave Yost, went on Fox News to say that he knew of no police reports about a 10-year-old rape victim. “The more you learn about this, the more unbelievable it becomes,” said the host, Jesse Watters.

A Wall Street Journal editorial on Tuesday described the report as “fanciful,” noting that “no one has been able to identify the girl or where she lives,” as if that information should be public. “Hey, so did they catch the guy who raped the Ohio ten year old yet?” the National Review writer Michael Brendan Dougherty tweeted last week, seemingly sarcastically.

The answer to Dougherty’s question is now yes. Officials say that a 27-year-old named Gerson Fuentes was arrested on Tuesday and has confessed. The children’s services department in Columbus alerted the police about the rape in June. Rather than apologize to Caitlin Bernard for calling her a liar, many on the right have started attacking her for not reporting the rape herself, even though the police already knew about it by the time she saw the girl.

On Wednesday, Watters displayed a photograph of Bernard and said, “According to reporting from PJ Media, she has a history of failing to report child abuse cases.” Then Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, appeared on Watters’s show, describing Bernard as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor,” and announcing she was under investigation.

It looks like the only thing Bernard did wrong, though, is to embarrass Republicans. On Thursday afternoon, The Star reported that Bernard reported the abortion to the Indiana Department of Health and the Department of Child Services, as state law requires. In a statement, her lawyer said she’s considering legal action against Rokita and others who have “smeared” her.

This whole hideous episode has demonstrated the extent to which conservatives are unwilling to grapple with the reality of the abortion regime they are imposing on much of the country. There is nothing wrong with seeing a single-source news report and deciding you want to withhold judgment until more information emerges. But that’s not what happened here. Instead there was sneering incredulity, as if a raped 10-year-old being denied an abortion wasn’t an inevitable consequence of an abortion ban without a rape exception.

Surely right-wingers, who love to accuse their enemies of pedophilia, understand that children are raped in America. The Columbus Dispatch, which broke the news of Fuentes’s arrest, reported that there were 52 abortions performed on children 15 and under in Ohio in 2020, roughly one a week in just one state.

In countries that have banned abortion, there have been a number of high-profile cases of very young pregnant rape victims. In Nicaragua in 2003, feminist activists fought to help a 9-year-old obtain a therapeutic abortion. When it emerged that she’d been raped by her stepfather, the activists faced legal harassment over accusations that they’d helped cover up the crime.

Just this year, a judge in Brazil tried to block an abortion for an 11-year-old who had been raped. “Do you want to choose the baby’s name?” he asked her. “Would the baby’s father agree to give it up for adoption? Would you bear it a little longer?” Why would anyone think that similar laws won’t lead to similar results here?

It’s been especially maddening to see people on the right smugly insist that the girl in Ohio could have had a legal abortion in her state. In a New York Post column casting doubt on the story, the law professor Jonathan Turley wrote, “Ohio says abortions are allowed ‘to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,’ which would certainly be the case for a 10-year-old.”

His certainty is entirely unearned. The Ohio law actually saysthat abortion is permitted only in cases of “medical emergency” requiring the “immediate performance or inducement of an abortion” in order to prevent death or irreversible bodily harm that “delay in the performance or inducement of the abortion would create.” This language is vague and open to interpretation. It’s obvious to me that a pregnant 10-year-old is an immediate medical emergency. But if you were an abortion provider in Ohio, would you stake your career, and perhaps your freedom, on prosecutors like Yost giving you the benefit of the doubt?

“If states write laws that are completely vague about what the requirements are, they can still have abortion on the books, but have an environment in which no physician is willing to provide it,” said the N.Y.U. law professor Melissa Murray.

Roe has been gone for less than three weeks, and the utterly predictable outcomes are already apparent. reportedon a woman in Arizona who learned at 21 weeks that her wanted pregnancy was unviable, but whose doctor is unable to induce an early delivery because of the Supreme Court’s decision. “I really can only describe it as feeling trapped,” she said.

As The Los Angeles Times reported, some patients are being denied methotrexate, a drug used to treat certain cancers and autoimmune conditions, because it’s an abortifacient. Medical professionals aren’t necessarily wrong to worry; according to the newspaper, “In Texas, dispensing methotrexate to someone who uses it to induce a miscarriage after 49 days of gestation is a felony.”

Abortions after about six weeks have been illegal in Texas since S.B. 8, the so-called abortion bounty law, took effect last year, and women have come forward to speak about the trauma they’ve had to endure. NPR reported on a woman named Anna whose water broke on her wedding day, when she was 19 weeks pregnant. The fetus had no chance of surviving, and Anna was at high risk of hemorrhaging or developing sepsis. But doctors said they couldn’t terminate the pregnancy until either the fetus’s heart stopped or her condition worsened. She ended up spending thousands of dollars to fly to Colorado for an abortion, sitting in the front row so she could reach the bathroom quickly in case she had to deliver.

If none of this is what anti-abortion lawmakers intended, nothing is stopping them from amending their laws. Ohio’s statute includes examples of medical emergencies in which abortion is permitted, including pre-eclampsia and prematurely ruptured membranes. If Republicans think “being a child rape victim” ought to be included as well, they should add it.

But they’re unlikely to, because the anti-abortion movement would object. On Thursday, James Bopp, general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, told Politico that under model legislation he’s written, the Ohio girl would have been forced to carry her pregnancy to term. “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” he said.

This is, at least, honest. The fury directed at Caitlin Bernard suggests other conservatives aren’t as willing to admit what their laws do.

Talk about cheesy! Talk about hypocrisy! Talk about weasels! Talk about betrayal of the public! Talk about disdain for democracy!

The people of Arizona voted overwhelmingly against vouchers, but the Koch-controlled GOP majority in the legislature is promoting a dramatic expansion of vouchers. Voters be damned!

To buy the support of public school parents, the legislators added a big increase in public school funding, but the new funding is available only if the vouchers are enacted.

Arizona has 1.1 million students, but only 11,775 have used vouchers to leave public schools. Now the Republicans want to fund vouchers for every student in the state. Does it matter that multiple academic studies have found that vouchers do not improve education? Of course not.

Do you think these guys know how repellent they are?

Four years after voters rejected a similar move, Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with a plan to let any of the 1.1 million students in public schools get vouchers to attend private and parochial schools.

And they are holding a plan to boost aid to public schools hostage until they get what they want.

HB 2853, approved Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote, would remove all restrictions on who can get what are called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Backers say this ensures that parents get to decide what is the best option for their youngsters.

That assertion was disputed by Beth Lewis, executive director of Save Our Schools.

She said that unlike public schools, private schools can pick and choose who they want to accept. Lewis said those schools, many of which are for-profit corporations, accept those who will cost them the least, meaning the highest achievers and students who do not have special needs.

Republicans said they are not ignoring the needs of public schools, voting Wednesday for HB 2854, which would increase state aid to schools by $400 million, above another $250 million additional already planned.

But there’s less there than meets the eye.

First, only half of that additional cash is permanent. And it is weighted so the districts with the most students in financial need would get more.

Beyond that, schools would have to wait until the 2023-24 school year for the one-time $200 million infusion.

And there’s something else.

House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, who crafted both measures, included a “poison pill” of sorts: It says that if the vouchers do not become law, the public schools don’t get any of that $400 million.

That is designed to deter the education community from doing to HB 2853 what they did to a similar voucher expansion measure approved by GOP lawmakers in 2017.

They collected sufficient signatures to put the expansion on the 2018 ballot. And voters overruled the legislation by a margin of close to 2 to 1…

And Lewis told Capitol Media Services that supporters of public education won’t be deterred, vowing to go to the ballot once again if the Republican-controlled legislature approves universal vouchers. She said while that would mean the loss of $400 million — or, really, $200 million of ongoing funds — that is nowhere near the amount that public schools need in Arizona.

She pointed out that voters in 2020 approved Proposition 208 to infuse another nearly $1 billion into public education. That was sidelined after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the tax could not be levied because it bumped up against a constitutional limit on education spending.

Lewis, the education community and their Democratic allies are not alone in saying schools need more than HB 2854 is offering.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said he is holding out for an amount close to that $1 billion figure. And with only 16 Republicans in the 30-member Senate, the plan cannot get final approval without his vote.

Wednesday’s votes come as school districts won a significant legal victory, with a judge saying they are entitled to pursue claims that the legislature shorted them billions of dollars.

Peter Wehner, once a loyal and very conservative Republican, now excoriates the moral collapse of the GOP.

He writes in The Atlantic:

The sheer scale of Donald Trump’s depravity is unmatched in the history of the American presidency, and the Republican Party—the self-described party of law and order and “constitutional conservatives,” of morality and traditional values, of patriotism and Lee Greenwood songs—made it possible. It gave Trump cover when he needed it. It attacked his critics when he demanded it. It embraced his nihilistic ethic. It amplified his lies. When House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy—a man who for a few fleeting hours after the January 6 insurrection dared to speak critically of Donald Trump—traveled to Mar-a-Lago a few days later to kiss his ring, it was an act of self-abasement that was representative of his party, his morally desolate party.

For years, the Southern Baptist Conference has played an outsized role in promoting its ultra-conservative views on sexuality, abortion, race, crime, and other hot-button topics. A recent investigation revealed that the SBC had its own problems, which were covered up. It did not practice what it preaches. As a series of scandals involving high-profile evangelical leaders (see here and here and here) has shown, it is a bad idea to pretend to be “holier than thou.”

For 20 years, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention — including a former president now accused of sexual assault — routinely silenced and disparaged sexual abuse survivors, ignored calls for policies to stop predators, and dismissed reforms that they privately said could protect children but might cost the SBC money if abuse victims later sued.

Those are just a few findings of a bombshell, third-party investigation into decades of alleged misconduct by Southern Baptist leaders that was released Sunday, nearly a year after 15,000 SBC church delegates demanded their executive committee turn over confidential documents and communications as part of an independent review of abuse reports that were purportedly mishandled or concealed since 2000.

The historic, nearly 400-page report details how a small, insular and influential group of leaders “singularly focused on avoiding liability for the SBC to the exclusion of other considerations” to prevent abuse. The report was published by Guidepost Solutions, an independent firm that conducted 330 interviews and reviewed two decades of internal SBC files in the seven-month investigation.

BOMBSHELL REPORT: Former Southern Baptist president accused of sexual assault in explosive, third-party investigation

“Survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action due to its (structure) — even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry with no notice or warning to their current church or congregation,” Guidepost’s report concluded.

Guidepost investigated the SBC’s 86-member executive committee, the convention’s highest governing entity. The firm’s investigators had unprecedented access to the SBC’s leadership and reviewed thousands of internal documents — including previously confidential communications between SBC lawyers.

Christopher Hooks wrote in The Texas Monthly about the boundless hypocrisy and moral vacuousness of Texas’ elected leaders.

In the run-up to the 2022 primaries and election, they made a big show of “protecting the children.”

They obsessed about the danger of transgender children, even insisting on criminalizing parents’ efforts to get medical help for their children. They obsessed about teachers allegedly “grooming” children for lives of deviant sexual behavior. They obsessed about “obscene” books that might normalize sexual behavior they—these men of high righteousness— deplored. They obsessed about “critical race theory” and demanded the banning of books that taught children about racism, whether past or present, or anything about human sexuality.

Yes, the children of Texas would be protected from any teaching about race or sexuality.

But they would not be physically protected. They would not be protected from an 18-year-old with two AR15s.

When the bad man with a powerful weapon came into their classroom, the children were left to fend for themselves while 19 police officers stood in the hallway. The bad man killed their teachers. He killed children. Little girls called 911 and begged for help. One said 8 or 9 children were still alive. But the police remained in the hallway.

The parents in the schoolyard pleaded with the police to save their children, but the police had their instructions: keep the parents away.

Almost an hour passed before the police broke into the classroom and shot the murderer.

The Governor called a press conference , where he commended the police for their courage and bravery. He commended the men who waited in the hallway for almost an hour, while the children were dying, one after another.

Hooks writes:

Texas, a friend used to say, is hard on women and little things. That would come to mind over the years when reporting seemed to bear it out. In 2015, I watched a foster mother testify in court, via telephone from her daughter’s hospital bedside, that state cuts to the Medicaid acute therapy program were having disastrous consequences for her child’s incurable, debilitating genetic disorder. In 2021, an eleven-year-old boy in Conroe suffocated from carbon monoxide poisoning after seeing snow for the first time, as his family tried to keep their home warm after the collapse of a horribly mismanaged electrical grid. And then there were the perennial horror stories from the state’s spike-pit child welfare system—a three-year-old found dead, bleeding from the ears, after his day care repeatedly warned state agents about signs of abuse by his foster parents; a teenage girl who killed herself the moment she could despite orders that she was never to be left alone; and countless others who survive through the heavy prescription of psychotropic meds before being kicked out to the streets at the age of eighteen.

Each revelation of new misery brings a new wave of revulsion, but—I hate to say this—as you learn more about how the social safety net works in Texas, the revulsion starts to fade, and it becomes a dull undercurrent to an awareness of the world instead of something sharp that pokes through. As it fades, so comes the realization that it has faded in the same way for those in power—and that nothing gets fixed because leaders have been immunized from caring to an even greater degree. The grid remains unsteady; children in foster care still get abused. Legislators make a show of passing partial, temporary fixes and resist looking at problems head-on. The Texas Legislature, with all its self-regard and jocularity and pride in itself as an institution, turns out to be suffused with a very dull and banal kind of evil.

On Tuesday, though, something poked through. For me, it wasn’t the knowledge that there had been another school shooting. Who could be surprised by that? Every detail was familiar. A once-bullied eighteen-year-old, two AR-15s, 22 dead, and 19 injured. The thing that shocked was the pictures of the dead when they lived. They were so little! Do you remember what it was like to have a body that small? A round fired by an AR-15 at close range enters the human body at three times the speed as those fired by a handgun, disintegrating and liquefying bones and organs around it. “It’s like a grenade goes off in there,” one trauma surgeon told Wired. Parents had to submit DNA samples so their kids could be accurately identified.

This spectacular violence, it sometimes feels, has not left much of us. At his initial press conference, Governor Greg Abbott wore his traditional white disaster-response shirt and offered details of the massacre as if reading a weather report. At a press conference the next day, where the governor sat alongside Texas senator Ted Cruz and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Abbott told Texans that the disaster “could have been worse,” and the primary flash of anger shown by elected officials came when Beto O’Rourke, who appeared in the crowd, tried to talk over them.

Appearing on Newsmax TV the day of the shooting, state attorney general Ken Paxton suggested that more armed guards at schools would help, “because it’s not going to be the last time.” Can you believe that, as a response from one of the most powerful elected officials in the state to a massacre of fourth graders? “It’s not going to be the last time.” There used to be at least a perfunctory mourning period, some hugs given in front of cameras, before those in power turned to one another other and shrugged. But in truth, leaders are only handling this the way they think about the foster care system they oversee, and every other death trap run by the state. The revulsion dulls, the novelty fades, and it becomes normal.

The shooting took place on the day of the Texas primary runoff. The composition of the Legislature and the rest of state government for the next two and a half years was set that night, barring extraordinary circumstances, by the conclusion of the Republican primary, which in Texas is more influential than the general election. Paxton, who had shrugged off the Uvalde shooting on Newsmax while wearing a campaign T-shirt, won renomination and almost certainly a third term in office.

It is a grotesque and cruel irony that the Republican primary this year, and several years of political activity before it, have been dominated by an all-consuming and comically misdirected argument about the “protection” of children and by a war on public schools. There was essentially no policy contested in the GOP primary that could affect the practical and economic circumstances of all Texans. (There rarely is.) There was, however, ceaseless argument about the well-being of children, their morals, their internal lives.

The most acute panic was over transgender children. In February, Paxton’s office issued a formal opinion holding that the prescription of puberty blockers to transgender children represented “child abuse.” Shortly after, Abbott tasked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, an overworked and underfunded agency he had overseen for close to eight years, with investigating the families of transgender children for child abuse.

The more widespread crisis concerned books. The panic was conjured by parents and elected officials in equal measure. The first target was books with “divisive” material about race. Then, elected officials began to panicabout “pornography” in schools, a category that mostly included literature featuring queer characters and sexuality. Lawmakers proposed lists of books to be banned. In November, Abbott ordered the Texas Education Agency to investigate cases of “obscene material” in public schools and prosecute those responsible “to the fullest extent of the law,” because, as he wrote, it had to be a top priority to “protect” Texas students.

Public school teachers and children’s librarians—two professions that offer a strongly beneficial service to society for little pay—became villains for parents and candidates alike. They were called “groomers” and pedophiles on social media. In a press release, Abbott called for criminal charges to be brought if librarians were found to have put “pornography” in front of children. In Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth, half a year later, one woman lodged a criminal complaint against the librarians of Hood County ISD, prompting a police investigation. At a subsequent school board meeting, she condemned the fact that a committee brought together to review troublesome books had “too many” librarians instead of “people with good moral standards.”

The deterioration spread. A record number of public school teachers, already weary from the pandemic and now faced with a sort of siege, started quitting en masse—and forfeiting their licenses, indicating they probably wouldn’t come back. “I’m tired of getting punched. It shouldn’t be like this,” ninth grade math teacher Gloria Ogboaloh told Texas Monthly. As more teachers left, the quality of life for remaining educators got worse. Then, just four months after ordering that libraries be investigated, Abbott ordered the TEA to create a task force to investigate why so many teachers were quitting.

Hooks goes on to describe politicians who are liars, braggarts, cruel, indifferent to the safety of children, callous. How long can they continue to fool people with their charade and their fake concern? They don’t care about thechildren

If you live near Houston, or if you can get there by car or air, join a protest at the NRA. The notorious National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting at the Convention Center in Houston.

Will they talk about promoting sensible gun control? Of course not.

They will strategize about defeating any gun control. They will strategize about removing existing restrictions in the states. They will strategize to seize the moment to sell more guns. They will strategize about keeping their lock on the Republican Party. They will strategize about raising more money to keep their allies in place.

Maybe they will have a moment of silence for the shoppers in Buffalo and the children and teachers in Uvalde.

Hypocrites. That’s the least offensive and printable word that comes to mind.

This is heartbreaking news. According to the Houston Chronicle, Joe Garcia, the husband of Irma Garcia, died of a heart attack. She was one of the two teachers murdered at Robb Elementary School. The Garcias were parents of four children.

The husband of one of the two teachers killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School has passed away “due to grief,” according to a nephew of the woman.

Joe Garcia of Uvalde reportedly suffered the heart attack, John Martinez tweeted at noon on Thursday. He was the husband of fourth-grade teacher Irma Garcia. They were married for 24 years.

In addition:

Update 12:22 p.m. The Georgia-based manufacturer of the assault rifle model used in Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary has pulled out of the NRA convention in Houston this weekend, according to a report from the Daily Beast.

Daniel Defense — who designed the DDM4 V7 rifle — was originally slated to host a booth at the George R. Brown Convention Center but now the booth they were assigned to will be occupied by the NRA itself.

The Houston Chronicle previously reported that the Uvalde gunman, Salvador Ramos, purchased two weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the days immediately after his 18th birthday, which was on May 16. One weapon was the Daniel Defense rifle; the other was a Smith & Wesson MP 15, which retails for about $1,300.

Update 11:39 a.m. Larry Gatlin and Don McLean have both pulled out of their respective performances at the NRA’s annual convention held in Houston, according to The Chronicle’s Joey Guerra.

Gatlin released a statement on the heels of Thursday morning’s news that McLean would not be participating in Saturday’s Grand Ole Night Of Freedom Concert at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

“I pray that the NRA will rethink some of its outdated and ill-thought-out positions regarding firearms in America,” he said, adding he could not “in good conscience” perform and that he is in support of background checks.

The performance lineup still includes Lee Greenwood, Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart, T. Graham Brown, “NRA Life member” Jacob Bryant and Danielle Peck.

Update 11:15 a.m. As negotiations on possible gun reform got underway in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Gov. Greg Abbott as an “absolute fraud,” according to a report from The Chronicle’s Washington correspondent Benjamin Wermund.

Schumer accused Abbott of offering nothing but “empty platitudes about healing and hope” during a press conference in Uvalde on Wednesday.

“This is the same Gov. Abbott who tomorrow — tomorrow — will go speak at the NRA convention in Houston,” Schumer said. “Gov. Abbott, will you ask your MAGA buddies and your NRA pals to put aside their agendas and think of someone other than themselves like you asked the families to do?”

Update 10:20 a.m. Although Uvalde CISD had an extensive security plan in place for moments of crisis, the district’s planning failed to stop 19 children from being shot and killed at Robb Elementary School, according to an article from NBC News.

The district had doubled its security budget in recent years, according to documents, after legislation was passed in the aftermath of the 2018 Santa Fe High School in which eight students and two teachers were killed.

Update 9:15 a.m. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appeared on Fox & Friends this morning and spoke on “hardening’ schools” and mental health in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

“We are a country in the ditch,” Patrick said. “We have violent music, violent rhetoric, everything is anti-everyone. Where are we as a nation? We have people in this nation who want to pull us away from God.”

Patrick also took issue with identifying some people with mental health issues as “loners,” saying some are not really alone but connect via the Internet with others who would praise their violent acts.

“They are on the Internet all day long where they play their violent video games where they kill hundreds of people a day.”

Update 7:17 a.m. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel opened his show without an audience Wednesday evening, speaking to the camera uninterrupted for about 10 minutes in an impassioned segment on Uvalde and gun reform.

Kimmel initially got choked up when mentioning the “little boys and girls whose lives have been ended.” He then took aim at Republican lawmakers, Fox News, Sen. Ted Cruz and others over the current state of U.S. gun laws.

“If your solution to children being massacred is armed guards, you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on,” he said. “There was an armed guard in Buffalo. There was an armed guard in Parkland. There was an armed guard in Uvalde.”

Update 6:15 a.m. As the tragedy unfolded at Robb Elementary School, a crowd of frustrated onlookers were urging police to charge in and stop the violence, the Associated Press reported.

“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth grade daughter, Jaclyn, was killed in the attack.

As a native Texan, I have not had a lot of reasons to proud of my state lately. The leadership—Governor Gregg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick—compete to see who is meanest. They pushed through a very restrictive abortion law that pays bounties to people who squeal on women who got an abortion (the bill turns citizens into the Stasi of East Germany or the neighborhood spies of Cuba or the morality police of Iran). Dan Patrick is a voucher zealot, whose bad idea gets knocked down by the Legislature regularly. Abbott recently brought up his dim thought of revisiting a 1982 Supreme Court decision that ordered Texas and other states to educate the children of undocumented immigrants. Abbott wants them to remain illiterate, which is likely to cost the state more in the long run than allowing them to go to school (his proposal is also inhumane, but decency and humanity are not part of his calculus.)

But here is some good news from Texas! The editorial board of the Houston Chronicle won a Pulitzer Prize for writing about Trump’s absurd claim that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen from him. His team of lawyers brought dozens of lawsuits claiming election fraud, but lost all of them, even when the judges were appointed by Trump, even twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a lop-sided majority of Republican-appointed justices.

The full series is here. The Chronicle is behind a paywall, and you may have to subscribe (as I do) to read them all. But I couldn’t resist sharing my favorite, which was published on January 8, 2021. It calls on Senator Ted Cruz to resign because of his shameful behavior in promoting The Big Lie.

The editorial says:

In Texas, we have our share of politicians who peddle wild conspiracy theories and reckless rhetoric aiming to inflame.

Think U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s “terror baby” diatribes or his nonsensical vow not to wear a face mask until after he got COVID, which he promptly did.

This editorial board tries to hold such shameful specimens to account.

But we reserve special condemnation for the perpetrators among them who are of sound mind and considerable intellect — those who should damn well know better.

None more than U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

A brilliant and frequent advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court and a former Texas solicitor general, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing, what he was risking and who he was inciting as he stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and passionately fed the farce of election fraud even as a seething crowd of believers was being whipped up by President Donald Trump a short distance away.

Cruz, it should also be noted, knew exactly whose presidency he was defending. That of a man he called in 2016 a “narcissist,” a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”

Cruz told senators that since nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the November election “was rigged” that the only remedy was to form an emergency task force to review the results — and if warranted, allow states to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and put their electoral votes in Trump’s column.

Cruz deemed people’s distrust in the election “a profound threat to the country and to the legitimacy of any administrations that will come in the future.”

What he didn’t acknowledge was how that distrust, which he overstated anyway, was fueled by Trump’s torrent of fantastical claims of voter fraud that were shown again and again not to exist.

Cruz had helped spin that web of deception and now he was feigning concern that millions of Americans had gotten caught up in it.

Even as he peddled his phony concern for the integrity of our elections, he argued that senators who voted to certify Biden’s victory would be telling tens of millions of Americans to “jump in a lake” and that their concerns don’t matter.

Actually, senators who voted to certify the facts delivered the truth — something Americans haven’t been getting from a political climber whose own insatiable hunger for power led him to ride Trump’s bus to Crazy Town through 59 losing court challenges, past state counts and recounts and audits, and finally taking the wheel to drive it to the point of no return: trying to bully the U.S. Congress into rejecting tens of millions of lawfully cast votes in an election that even Trump’s Department of Homeland Security called the most secure in American history.

The consequences of Cruz’s cynical gamble soon became clear and so did his true motivations. In the moments when enraged hordes of Trump supporters began storming the Capitol to stop a steal that never happened, desecrating the building, causing the evacuation of Congress and injuring dozens of police officers, including one who died, a fundraising message went out to Cruz supporters:

“Ted Cruz here,” it read. “I’m leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results. Will you stand with me?”

Cruz claims the message was automated. Even if that’s true, it’s revolting.

This is a man who lied, unflinchingly, on national television, claiming on Hannity’s show days after the election that Philadelphia votes were being counted under a “shroud of darkness” in an attempted Democratic coup. As he spoke, the process was being livestreamed on YouTube.

For two months, Cruz joined Trump in beating the drum of election fraud until Trump loyalists were deaf to anyone — Republican, Democrat or nonpartisan journalists, not to mention state and federal courts — telling them otherwise.

And yet, Cruz insists he bears no responsibility for the deadly terror attack.

“Not remotely,” he told KHOU Thursday. “What I was doing and what the other members were doing is what we were elected to do, which is debating matters of great import in the chamber of the United States Senate.”

Since the Capitol siege, Cruz has condemned the violence, tweeting after the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that “Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer” the officer’s family and demanding the terrorists be prosecuted.

Well, senator, those terrorists wouldn’t have been at the Capitol if you hadn’t staged this absurd challenge to the 2020 results in the first place. You are unlikely to be prosecuted for inciting the riots, as Trump may yet be, and there is no election to hold you accountable until 2024. So, we call for another consequence, one with growing support across Texas: Resign.

This editorial board did not endorse you in 2018. There’s no love lost — and not much lost for Texans needing a voice in Washington, either.

Public office isn’t a college debate performance. It requires representing the interests of Texans. In your first term, you once told reporters that you weren’t concerned about delivering legislation for your constituents. The more you throw gears in the workings of Washington, you said, the more people back home love you. Tell that to the constituents who complain that your office rarely even picks up the phone.

Serving as a U.S. senator requires working constructively with colleagues to get things done. Not angering them by voting against Hurricane Sandy relief, which jeopardized congressional support for Texas’ relief after Harvey. Not staging a costly government shutdown to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2013 that cost the economy billions. Not collecting more enemies than friends in your own party, including the affable former House Speaker John Boehner who famously remarked: “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

We’re done with the drama. Done with the opportunism. Done with the cynical scheming that has now cost American lives.

Resign, Mr. Cruz, and deliver Texas from the shame of calling you our senator.