Modesto, Ca. Science Teacher to Teach ID

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Intelligent designImage via Wikipedia
According to the Modesto Bee, Roosevelt Junior High (Modesto City Schools) science teacher Mark Ferrante announced at back-to-school night that he would teach the theory of intelligent design alongside evolution. District officials said teaching ID will not happen however some trustees said that ID should be taught. Parents are equally diveded.
District trustee Nancy Cline said,
"The current curriculum states that the evolution of man, Darwinism, must be taught as a theory. I feel we do our students a disservice by not helping them become critical thinkers when we forbid the teaching of competing scientific theories, such as intelligent design."
However, Modesto City Schools spokeswoman Emily Lawrence said,
"He will not be teaching intelligent design. He has been instructed to teach the state standards and intelligent design is not in the state standards."

Another Fine Post from: No 2 Religion - Just Say No!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Random Thought 0003

Meg Whitman at eBay Live 2005-01-13 (2)Image via Wikipedia
If a candidate is not willing to take questions from their constituents then they are not worthy of our vote.

Chris Christie Bullies Constituent at Meg Whitman Town Hall

Another Fine Post from: No 2 Religion - Just Say No!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Random Thought 0002

Saturday, September 25, 2010
America - A wholly owned subsidiary of The Corporation*.

Bottom of Wall Street from FDRImage by SheepGuardingLlama via Flickr

* You know, Wall Street.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Publisher To Remove Creationism Material From Text Book

Friday, September 24, 2010
ScienceImage by ljfullofgrace via Flickr
It is a good thing there are pro-science advocacy groups like, Florida Citizens for Science:
Creationism has become a possible minor issue here in Florida recently as instructional materials committees conduct a scheduled review of materials and recommend new textbooks for the state’s classrooms. A book meant for marine science classes contained some unusual language that raised red flags for a couple of members of one committee. “Life on an Ocean Planet” (a Florida edition published by Current Publishing Corp with a copyright of 2011, ISBN 978-1-878663-66-5) contained a two page informational sidebar entitled “Questions About The Origin and Development Of Life” that is packed with good ol’ fashioned creationist language. No, I am not exaggerating; it’s really packed. For a purported science book, these two pages manage to mangle basic science concepts to a jaw-dropping degree while at the same time injecting a laundry list of tired creationist objections to evolution.
Read their entire post here.
Another Fine Post from: No 2 Religion - Just Say No!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Arizona Using Tax Dollars For Religious Education

Thursday, September 23, 2010
~UPDATE: CFI, Council for Secular Humanism Join Amicus Brief on Religious School Subsidies

For Immediate Release Sept. 23, 2010

Sarah Ameigh

Arizona Shouldn't Use Tax Dollars to Fund Religious Education, Says the American Humanist Association"
ArizonaWashington, DC--The American Humanist Association filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today asking the Court to affirm a lower court's decision that the Arizona statute that permits awarding taxpayer funded scholarships on the basis of religion violates the First Amendment.
A PDF of the amicus brief can be found here.
Arizona created a program in which dollar-for-dollar income tax credits are granted to individuals contributing to school tuition organizations (STOs). The STOs use the taxpayer funded donations to fund scholarships for students to attend private schools.
However, when awarding the scholarships, the statute permits STOs to specify which schools a recipient attends, thereby denying students true school choice. In recent years, over 80 percent of the scholarships dollars went to private religious schools.
"STOs should not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion in awarding taxpayer-funded scholarships," said Bob Ritter, staff attorney at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, legal arm of the American Humanist Association.
The American Humanist Association argued in its amicus brief that because the STO program is a conduit for funding private education with tax dollars, the Arizona statute violates the First Amendment's prohibition against government establishment of religion to the extent scholarships are used to fund private religious education.
The amicus brief asks the Supreme Court to affirm the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the scholarship program violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The American Humanist Association ( advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.
Another Fine Post from: No 2 Religion - Just Say No!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Random Thought 001

I was calling my fellow union members for support for Jerry Brown and propositions 24 and 25 and I was surprised at how many of my members are republican. It surprised me since unions are typically democrat strongholds.

So, why are there so many republican union members ?
Enhanced by Zemanta

We've Been Blasphemed!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Protest the PopeImage by Nick Atkins Photography via Flickr
Or at least we would have been had atheism been deemed a religion as some theists wish.
Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny”  

~ Pope Benedict XVI 
 As Phil Plait put it at Bad Astronomy:
"[Pope Benedict] saying secularism and atheism = lack of virtue and morality = Nazism."

Enhanced by Zemanta

FFRF Letter Shelves Library Bible Club

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Freedom From Religion FoundationImage via WikipediaA single letter from the FFRF to a Bellwood, Pa middle school closes the book on a bible club. The principal and school's attorney quickly respond to the issue:

School says it will drop Bible/Library Club
September 20, 2010

The Bible/Library Club that was a homeroom activity at Bellwood-Antis Middle School in Bellwood, Pa., has been dropped by the public school district after a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a parent.

FFRF sent a letter Sept. 13 about an Aug. 30 flier that was sent home with students listing the club as one of four that students could participate in during the first-semester homeroom activity period. The other three are chorus, band and cartooning.

The description for the Bible/Library Club, supervised by librarian Susan Crawford, says: "Students will assist in the various library activities of organizing and returning books to the shelves and creating bulletin boards. Students may participate in various 'Christ' centered activities such as devotional readings, Bible study, prayer and games."
FFRF received a letter from Principal Donald Wagner dated Sept. 14:  "The club name has been changed. The new name of the club is Library Club. There is no reference to the Bible and there will not by an 'Christ' centered activities, devotionals, prayer or Bible study."

That letter was followed up by one dated Sept. 15 from David Andrews, a school district attorney. "The superintendent was not aware that this club was being conducted during the school day." Andrews said the district "has taken immediate steps" to discontinue it during the school day and will not allow it to be led or supervised by a teacher.

"The district will permit the Bible/Library Club to meet before or after school as a student-run organization," Andrews said.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Random Thought

Cover of "City Slickers"Cover of City SlickersI was reading a wonderful post on The Religion Virus by Craig A. James titled, "The Scandal of Atheism".

For some reason my mind went to the scene in "City Slickers" between Curly (Jack Palance) and Mitch (Billy Crystal):

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what *you* have to find out.
Don't ask me why. Sometimes my mind goes on a random tangent.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Is This Even Legal?

Question markImage via WikipediaAnd if it is legal, is this a good idea?

I have seen many closed public schools in my area leased to private, charter and religious academies but I have never heard of a Christian school leasing space inside a functioning public school.
Living Stones Academy a start-up Christian school opened this month with 42 kindergarten through fifth-grade students in one leased hallway of the U-shaped Grand Rapids Public Schools Southeast Academic Center.
Apparently, the organizers of the school have never heard of a Christian academy inside a public school either. I wonder why?

Enhanced by Zemanta

What Did He Really Expect?

Monday, September 20, 2010
Christian Doc says goodbye to Religious Forums. Apparently, God Christian Doc couldn't take the heat in the kitchen over his creationist views. As SKWIM put it, "And another one bites the dust."

Just Say Now Responds to DEA Hysteria on Prop 19

Just Say Now Responds to DEA Hysteria on Prop 19:

Nine former DEA heads held a press conference this morning to promote their letter to Eric Holder, asking the Justice Department to intervene and challenge Prop 19 if it passes (PDF). They claim that since the Justice Department moved so quickly to oppose the Arizona immigration law, it’s their obligation to do the same here.
The fact is that the DEA ignored Eric Holder’s directive, issued last year, to respect state medical marijuana laws. Just last week, they raided five medical marijuana centers in Las Vegas. The DEA will do what it wants, regardless of what Eric Holder does, and these people know it. This looks like nothing so much as a blatantly political attempt to needle Holder (and Obama) and throw some gasoline on the already volatile Arizona situation.
The fact is that these nine people shoulder a huge chunk of the blame for the utter and complete failure of the war on drugs that has made the situation on the Arizona border so critical. It’s quite shameless that they’d make things even worse by demagoguing the immigration law in this fashion, but it’s symptomatic of a wasteful and counterproductive bureaucracy trying to protect its power — and its enormous budget.
The letter says:
[W]e note that the Department of Justice acted quickly to assert the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in its recent suit to declare null and void certain provisions of an immigration bill passed by the state of Arizona. We would expect the Department of Justice to act just as swiftly and for the same reason to uphold the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the preemption provision of the CSA to prevent Proposition 19 from becoming law.
Bruce Fein, member of the Just Say Now advisory committee who served in the Justice Department as Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, responds:
Nothing in the Constitution requires a state to prohibit as a matter of state law and prosecution what the federal government has chosen to prohibit as a matter of federal law and prosecution. Proposition 19 leaves the power of the federal government to enforce federal prohibitions on marijuana trafficking or use unimpaired. It would be flagrantly unconstitutional for Congress to attempt to force states to enact laws prohibiting under state law conduct that Congress has prohibited under federal law! DEA needs remedial education on the Constitution.
Says Aaron Houston, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and co-founder of the Just Say Now campaign: “This is the same ‘Reefer Madness’ rhetoric they used to fight against medical marijuana. We’re talking about making sure they could continue to arrest sick and dying people who used medical marijuana. It’s the exact same argument we heard then, that the sky would fall, but it hasn’t.”
“As a 34-year veteran cop, I can tell you that the prohibition approach not only doesn’t work but actually causes violence in our cities by funneling tax-free money to vicious drug cartels and gangs,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a former narcotics cops with the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department. “To these former DEA officials, I would like to say: ‘For 40 years we’ve tried your way. It doesn’t work.’ Now it’s time to try legalization and regulation, which will reduce violence and create new tax revenue, just like we saw with the end of alcohol prohibition.”
Over 28,000 people have been killed in the war between the Mexican government and the drug cartels. Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the drug violence in Mexico as an “insurgency.”
Mexico’s National Security Adviser Alejandro Poire responded, saying that the drug cartels are “nourished by the enormous, gigantic demand for drugs in the United States.” That demand is something that the nine DEA chiefs, and their failed drug war, have done nothing to diminish.
Update: Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee tasked with overseeing the DEA, has posted his response.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Appeals Court Weighs Pledge in Schools

Sunday, September 19, 2010

From Education Week:

Another Appeals Court Weighs Pledge in Schools

It seems that one way or another, the controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, in Boston, heard arguments last week in a case challenging a New Hampshire law that requires schools to set aside time daily for students to voluntarily recite the pledge.
As with a past case and a pending case out of California, the New Hampshire suit challenges the inclusion of the words "under God" in the pledge.
A federal district court upheld the New Hampshire statute in February, ruling that the law has the permissible secular effect of "teaching our country's history to the elementary and secondary pupils of this state" and that it does not have the effect of coercing children to support or participate in religion.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation appealed the ruling to the First Circuit, and it enlisted longtime pledge challenger Michael A. Newdow, of California, to argue its case.
Sheri Qualters, of The National Law Journal, has this account of the Sept. 9 oral arguments in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. United States. A recording of the oral argument is available on the 1st Circuit's Web site, although it takes a bit of navigation to reach the right place under the "Court Calendar" button.
The statute is being defended by the state of New Hampshire, and the U.S. Department of Justice intervened to defend acts of Congress that added "under God" to the pledge in 1954 and reaffirmed that version of the pledge in 2002.
Newdow, the physician and lawyer who has crusaded for years against "under God" in the pledge and the motto "In God We Trust" on the nation's money, maintains a Web site that has briefs and documents from both sides in the New Hampshire case.
In March, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled against Newdow and a group of atheist parents who challenged school-led recitations of the pledge as an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The court said the pledge was predominantly a patriotic exercise. I blogged on the decision here.
Newdow is seeking review by a larger of panel 9th Circuit judges in the case involving the Rio Linda Independent School District in northern California.
Newdow was also behind an earlier case challenging the pledge in his own daughter's school, which the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in 2004 but disposed of on procedural grounds in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.
Enhanced by Zemanta

John Lennon - Imagine

Saturday, September 11, 2010
Imagine No Religion - Just Say No to Religion

BP Helping to Develop California Environmental Curriculum?

Democracy Now!Image via WikipediaFrom Democracy Now!

Should an oil giant responsible for the worst spill in US history play a role in what public school children learn about the environment? Well if you’re in California, there’s a good chance they will. BP has helped develop the new environmental curriculum for California’s public schools. The curriculum will be taught to over six million pupils in some 1,000 districts. BP employees were part of a state-appointed team that crafted the program’s "guiding principles.”

Listen to the Democracy Now! Podcast on this topic.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sometimes I Just Get The Urge

Bumper stickerImage via Wikipedia
Sometimes when I am driving down the road and I get behind someone with a bunch of anti-abortion, anti-gay, and pro-Christian bumper stickers, I get the urge to run them off the road.

But, I don't.

Sometimes when I am at a co-workers desk and I see bible sayings and Christian paraphernalia I get the urge to tear them down. 

But, I don't.

Sometimes when I am driving around town I see billboards and signs extolling the virtues of Jesus and I want to light them on fire.

But, I don't.

And why is it that I don't? Because it is not right. It would not be moral and I did not even need a god or religion to teach me that. Just because I do not like their message does not mean I should harm, destroy or vandalize their property.
Enhanced by Zemanta

L.A. Sheriff Prefers Scientology to Marijuana

Friday, September 10, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Los Angeles Cou...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeWhile I would expect most police officers to say no to marijuana and other drugs I find it interesting that Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca is fighting California's Proposition 19 (California's Control and Tax Cannabis proposition) while touting Scientology's drug treatment programs. It sounds as though Sheriff Baca has gotten into the evidence locker again.

In a typical pot is bad, religion (Scientology) is good speech, Sheriff Baca, who is the co-chair of the No on 19 campaign, spouted off numerous claims. Among the claims made by Sheriff Baca, marijuana dispensaries are “hijacked by underground drug-dealing criminals” and that “it is no surprise that people are going to get killed … drugs and violence go together.” Sheriff Baca also claimed that as many as 97 percent of dispensaries operate as criminal enterprises, and that many buy their marijuana from Mexican drug cartels.

However, Los Angeles Police Chief, Charles Beck, has called bullshit on his claims. Beck said,  “I have tried to verify that because that, of course, is the mantra, it doesn’t really bear out.”

The DEA also said that they could not substantiate Baca’s allegations.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Dove World Outreach Center Website Removed by Host

Thursday, September 9, 2010
Rackspace, the web host for Dove World Outreach Center has done what no one else can; make them disappear, well at least removed from the Internet. 

Screen shot at 10:40 PM PST

While the church is crying censorship, Rackspace's argument that maliciously setting fire to a holy text violates the "no hate speech" clause in Dove World Outreach's contract is pretty inarguable. Pastor Terry Jones has until midnight to gather up his Internet flock and move them to another host. The First Amendment protects Jones's right to express his beliefs as he pleases, but it doesn't mean Rackspace has to put up with it—especially if it violates a binding legal agreement between the two. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Arizona's ELL Programs May Violate Federal Civil Rights

Federal civil rights officials from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights have identified two practices that Arizona uses to identify students that require English Language Learner (ELL) services. The practices in question are the surveys schools and districts give to parents to initially identify students to be tested for ELL services and the process the state uses to reclassify ELL's as fluent in English even if they don’t pass all sections of the state’s English-language-proficiency test.

John A. Stollar Jr., a former deputy associate state superintendent of English language acquisition services for the state spent an entire day on the stand defending Arizona's ELL program in federal court last week.

The outcome of the case may implications outside of Arizona as some states have ELL identification and testing policies similar to Arizona's. 

It seems as though Arizona not only wants to keep Latinos out of Arizona it also doesn't want to educate them.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Christian Indcotrination in Public Education

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I just read an intersting post over at Unreasonable Faith by vorjack on a new film titled: IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America.

After viewing the trailer and the clips posted on their website I very nearly threw up. This is probably one of the most direct assaults to public education by Christian extremists yet. While the message is similar to what we have been seeing from these Christian extremists for some time, this is a more concerted effort that I find very disturbing.

If you thought the assault on Texas public schools by the run away SBoE was outrageous then you will achieve a new level of anger over this.

The film makers are blaming every social ill on the lack of religion, specifically the Christian religion, in public schools. They also have some "constitutional lawyer" saying that public education is against the constitution.

If religious schools are so great why are there so many fucked up theists?

If you dare to watch consider yourself forewarned. Also, barf bags are not included.

h/t vorjack
Enhanced by Zemanta