Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And Another Thing...

Did you know that Jesus wasn't really a Jew?
On second thought, the religious motivations of Americans have played a large part in the history of this country. So maybe the Texas State School Board has somewhat of a point. But they need to be prepared to get more than they bargained for. I'm sure they'd like to stop with the idea that the founding of this country as a case of God driven American exceptionalism. Just like they push for human exceptionalism in biology. I'm thinking the real story is far more complex and fraught with inconvenient factoids for the budding revisionist Cracker historian. Texas children need to learn that the Puritans not only came to the New World to escape persecution but also to set up a theocracy where they could persecute the fallen unimpeded. Best to get the Dominionist leanings of the State School board out in the open by including tidbits of history like these from the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies.
The Massachusetts "Body of Liberties" of 1641 stated that "if any man after legal conviction shall have or worship any other god, but the lord god, he shall be put to death."
"Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents ... We have sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings."  Capt. John Underhill on the slaughter of Pequot women and children
Then the kiddies can do some head scratching as to which side God was on during the Civil War:
The giving of the law at Sinai immediately preceded the promulgation of that body of laws called the "Mosaic System." Over the gateway of that system, dread words were written by the finger of God—"HE THAT STEALETH A MAN AND SELLETH HIM, OR IF HE BE FOUND IN HIS HAND, HE SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH." Ex.21.16 

Ephesians 6:5:Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Same book. Different rules. Now that's teaching the controversy. Of course, in Texas schools, religious heritage is code for a weird amalgam of fundamentalist Christianity and state sponsored patriotism mixed in with a little free market economics. They don't intend to put much emphasis on the progressive religious movements that helped abolish slavery, end child labor and promote civil rights. Save that Kumbaya stuff for the California schools.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kickin' It Old School

 a little tighter, Mammy, you still look human to me
In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

“Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,” said one conservative member, Terri Leo. “You know, ‘capitalist pig!’ ”

Right, Terri with an i, all isms are bad. Communism, socialism, fascism, Unitarianism, antidisestablishmentarianism, Islamism and especialy jism. No sense confusing the kids with trying to sort out the good isms from the bad isms. They don't need to know what they mean, just that they are baaaad.
The board approved a standard requiring students to learn about “any unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action and Title IX. (3/11/10)
What unintended consequences? Like when they freed the slaves and they started wanting to vote and hold jobs other than picking cotton? Or when 50 years after the Civil Rights Act we elect a black president?  Or women playing basketball? What the fuck, is this some sort of code? According to the Texas State School Board a little revision in the history books is long overdue. They want to make sure that the Republican party of Lincoln is linked with the Dixiecrat Republican Party of Reagan, the Greatest American Who Ever Lived or Ever Will Live. Every white (or black) southerner knew exactly what he meant by claiming to be for "states rights" in Philadelphia, Mississippi.  Let's not forget that there were people like George Wallace who were against equal rights for blacks. Don't they deserve a mention, too? I mean just for balance. There are always two sides to every story. Of course only one side had ropes around their necks or bullets in their heads, but we won't mention that. Might upset the Heritage Not Hate crowd (although if my Heritage involved great-great grandpappy fighting to keep other people enslaved, I'd Hate to think I'd be dumb enough to wave around the Stars and Bars). I can see where this is going. Back to the same Birth of a Nation/Gone With the Wind bullshit history they fed my father. He told me once that the slaves didn't have it too bad. He went on to contrast  it with his father, who ended up a wage slave in the mines, paying off the mine boss to keep his job. Being the hippie that I am I felt compelled to take the anti-slavery side. Gone With the Wind forgot to mention the whippings, rapes, chainings and breakup of families that took place under Our Peculiar Institution.  Not to mention the night riders, fortified plantations and roadblocks necessary to keep a slave population in check. More like Nazi Germany than the Mammy-Jammy bullshit pictures these Texas dipshits have in their heads. Oh yeah, and it's not American Imperialism, it is now American Expansion. The difference being, I guess, with Expansion you get to kill all the Indians. If I had the money I would give every black, Latino, and Native American kid in Texas a laptop with broadband connection and let them challenge these ignorant crackers at every turn.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Apology Accepted

Paul's substitute elementary school teacher was hard of hearing and rumor had it that if the entire class rubbed quarters together at the same time it would drive her crazy. When the regular teacher got wind of this the class was instructed to pen the substitute an apology. This is the story of one heartfelt apology:
"I am sorry to make fun of your disorder and to annoy you. I think I did it because everybody else did it. I shouldn't of did it. I don't know why I did it because it doesn't work. Anyhow I am sorry and I won't do it again."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Assholier Than Thou

the archbishop explains why he's such a dick

The World's Worst Catholic ™ does not approve:
The archbishop of Denver on Tuesday defended a decision by a Catholic school not to allow two children to continue as students because their parents are a lesbian couple. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said it was a "painful situation," but the decision by Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school in Boulder was in line with church teachings.
Almost as painful as a beating from a Christian Brother.

In his written statement Tuesday, Chaput said the parents of Catholic school students are expected to agree with church beliefs, including those forbidding sex between anyone other than married, heterosexual couples.
"The church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ," he said.
"After all", he went on, "If we let rug munchers become parents the whole system would collapse. They are just too 'in your face'. They don't even wear habits. What next? Gay Priests?"

 Ok, Now everybody just reach behind you...

Well, I guess we're fucked. We send our granddaughter to catholic school  and I can't think of any point of Catholic doctrine I agree with, let alone all of them. If they find us out, what are they going to do? Unbaptize her? Sins of the mothers, I guess.

Atheist Faithiest

Faithiest. Accommodationist. One har har perjorative and one mildly insulting. I guess put me squarely in the accommodationist camp. As if we unbelievers have a choice. I'm talking about the controversy raging  in the science blogs between those who consider religion the enemy of science and maintain that a person cannot justify holding religious and scientific methodologies in the same cranium ( the True Unbelievers) amd the Accommodationists (yay) who believe it is possible to be religious and a good scientist and, more importantly, that is necessary to reach out to people of faith and explain that it is possible to maintain their faith and accept the results of scientific inquiry, particularly regarding evolution. Of course, this ain't possible with a Young Earth Creationist. But they're setting up their own separate but unequal systems of "education" and "science". On the True Unbeliever side we have bloggers like Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, Abbie Smith and Larry Moran on the Accommodationist side we have Josh Rosenau and John Wilkins. In the middle we have openly religious scientists like Ken Miller and Francis Collins, taking hostile fire from the Creationists and friendly fire from some of the science bloggers. Now Miller and Collins are big boys and I'm sure they were aware that they were going to take some shit for coming out with their weird fusion of science and religion. But that's their philosophy, not their science. As far as I can tell, no one in either camp has faulted them on their scientific work. I became aware of the controversy when ERV wrote a post slamming the appointment of Collins to head the NIH. The objections seem to stem from his professed evangelical faith and fear of what he might do rather than looking at what he has actually done. This smacks of ferreting out any sign of belief, even if it doesn't appear to influence the work. We have the spectacle of the True Unbelievers sniffing out any sign of belief, even in other unbelievers. Remind you of any other particular group? As Wilkins says (and, ahem, I have said) it is silly to argue whether a person can be religious and a scientist at the same time. We have thousands of examples that this can happen. The only points worth arguing are which questions can be tested and belong to science.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I think I see medicare in my future

Thank you so much for your support and for your love of our country. My book, Going Rogue, is dedicated to you - to Patriots - who fight for freedom!
Fight for what? What does freedom even mean? Freedom not to have a black president? Freedom to proselytize other peoples children? Freedom to go bankrupt because of medical bills? Freedom not to have to associate with people "not like us"? Freedom to be free of witchcraft? Freedom to rewrite history and ignore science. What exactly is she talking about and, more importantly, what freedoms have we lost under the Obama Administration? Patriots, my ass. More like the Know Nothing Party. Just what the country needs - more policies directed by pants wetting nativists. They learn their American history from TV westerns and their science from the Creation Museum. Trying to return to an America that never was.

Curiously absent from the Tea Party list of fears are the exact things that should make them afraid: The ability of the executive branch to declare anyone, citizen or not, an enemy combatant and hold them indefinitely without judicial review. All under the guise of wartime powers - the war, of course, undefined and lasting forever. No knock warrants, DUI roadblocks, random drug testing, pre trial seizing of assetts, eminent domain... How can people be so fearful of phantom assaults on their Constitutional rights that they ignore real assaults that are actually occurring? Don't tell me. I know. They're just fucking stupid.