Texas Goes Completely Nuts

22 05 2010

Or it is just formalized.


I have to run but here’s a place to discuss the latest until JJ can get her rant on. 🙂


More T-Shirt Controversy, This Time Among Adults Not Acting Like It

20 05 2010

A conservative Christian mom who’s been active in our state for many years in homeschool politics and done much good work, posted this on her Facebook page today, saying she was a little offended that the women couldn’t express their faith on t-shirts while volunteering for FEMA and that “everyone gets a voice but us”:

FEMA Apologizes After Volunteers Asked to Remove Faith Based T-Shirts for Video

I pointed out that according to the story she’d linked, the offending photographer had been officially apologized for by his agency’s top official Craig Fugate, and then promptly fired, all for having offended the two women volunteers with his request. I asked how getting someone fired for inadvertent offense, particularly in this economy, furthered the faith-based values at issue.

Her reply was that she didn’t know he was fired, but what he’d attempted was censorship pure and simple. So c’est la vie, let him eat cake, if he can afford it on his unemployment check? Faith-based loving your neighbor, yeah boy, we need some more selfless volunteer service like that, to make America a better place!

The thought flashed into my head that Corrie Ten Boom’s sister took the bible quite literally and would not lie even to the Nazis searching for Jews hidden under her kitchen table. She told them right where to look. It wouldn’t have been my choice but it makes sense within her belief system, that’s all I’m sayin’ . . .

So here is my next response:

What I can’t wrap my mind or heart around, is the idea that when Christians are offended by not being able to express who they are in the context of FEMA, it’s a firing offense for the man who so offends them — but in another branch of the federal government, the opposite is a firing offense. Express who you are and YOU get fired. [Don’t ask don’t tell, of course]

Christians are on one side and then the other, not consistently against offense OR censorship.

Never mind nice Christian ladies on Facebook talking among themselves as they certainly are free to do, but what about the Republican Baptist US Congressman sworn to uphold the Constitution and quoted in the story?

“I shared with him that we just didn’t want to have a situation where the government would take the position that volunteers from churches had to be something different from what they were . . .”

What does he really stand for, and is that stand more faithful to modern American legal principles or barbaric ancient middle-eastern mythologies?

What do y’all think about this one?

If a Fact Falls in the Forest and No One Hears It . . .

17 05 2010

Do scientists “believe” or do they “know?”
Is evolution a “theory” or a “law?”
Should scientists take such cultural communication questions seriously?

See Training Scientists to Be Better Communicators, Chronicle of Higher Education, excerpted from a new book by Dennis Meredith, Explaining Research: How to Reach Key Audiences to Advance Your Work (Oxford University Press, 2010):

Science suffers from its lack of a culture of explanation.

Scientists and engineers tend to communicate poorly in public controversies because—compared with, say, doctors and lawyers—their professions have not valued explanation. Their career advancement doesn’t depend on having lay-level explanatory skills. To progress professionally, scientists really need only to explain their work technically to other scientists—their colleagues, department heads, and granting agencies. But imagine what would happen to a doctor who couldn’t explain diseases to patients, or a lawyer who couldn’t explain the law to clients and juries. Their careers would be over.

Science Can Answer Moral Questions: Sam Harris at TED

12 05 2010

“Identity More Fluid” as Schooled Kids “Come Together in New Ways”

12 05 2010

What do you think, hope or horror?

Teenagers today have a dramatically different perspective on race and ethnicity than their parents did. Their views are driven by pop culture, by their moment in history and by virtue of having grown up in culturally diverse schools. . .

“It’s not to say that racism has gone away or disappeared,” said Milagros Peña, a sociology professor at the University of Florida. “It’s that kids have different ideas about race and diversity, and are coming together in new ways.”

. . .“Identity is a lot more fluid for this generation,” [Harvard doctoral student Anthony] Jack said.

Time for “T-Shirt as a Second Language” Test, Ready?

7 05 2010

If you were here for this, get your serious thinking hats ready for this:

That wasn’t the only symbolic protest on Cinco de Mayo. About 20 students showed up at Pioneer High School wearing “Border Patrol” T-shirts. By the end of the day, administrators asked them to remove the shirts, which they apparently did with no problems . . .

Snook’s community of thinking parents host ad hoc honors seminars from time to time: Harry Potter and book banning, homeschool hegemony and the parents’ rights movement, Sarah Palin and fightin’ mad white women. One of the topics that just keeps on giving is the power of story in school speech and dress codes, particularly combined on t-shirts.

No “evolution” shirts in marching band, we can’t have a high school associated with gasp, science! Though it was admittedly “not directly against the school’s dress code” and not reasonably construed as anti-bible, even unintentionally, a few offended parent/teachers nevertheless successfully demanded the band’s new shirts be collected, destroyed and replaced with school budget money.

There was no issue of students (or their parents?) starting a riot at school over the marching band shirts, or none I recall. One boy sent home in another state — for wearing his heritage-proud kilt to school — was told it was for his own safety, to prevent not a riot but just stereotypical school bullying (for wearing girly clothes, as the principal saw it.) Another boy was sent home for “being disruptive”, supposedly, when he wore Pastafarian pirate regalia to school. Were all the anti-pirate toughs about to beat him up too?

Confederate battle flags and t-shirts in the South do start school riots, disrupt “the learning environment” and get kids hurt for real, never mind the slogans and songs — been there, done that, let’s don’t play it again:

With the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the case, this leaves in place the lower court’s August 2008 ruling that upholds the school’s policy. The appeals court states that Read the rest of this entry »

What to Remember About Kent State

6 05 2010

They can’t kill us all. Remember, or if you’re too young, watch and listen and learn, then remember. They can’t kill us all.