behold the splendidish wing-nut
Best part: Colbert explains why James O’Keefe wasn’t really dressed like the pimp he pretended to be dressed as. “It was perfectly easy to explain. It was casual pimp Friday.”
Video at link.
Many of Tennessee’s leaders are angry that their state is once again front and center of a negative media spotlight.
“Who wants to come to a state where people think like that? This is far reaching and it’s damaging,” said District 3 Metro Council Member Walter Hunt.
Just from my experiences in Tennessee I do not see the state as more racist than other states I’ve lived in or visit regularly. Though two of the more offensive tirades I’ve ever witnessed were by two white teachers in the public school system. As the complete article notes there have been other recent incidents and Tennessee will forever be known for the infamous anti- science Butler Law outlawing the teaching of the Theory of Evolution and the associated Scopes Trial – Speech on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Opening of the Scopes Trial -Kansas City (July 10, 2000) by Doug Linder
Some dates and observations–and here I’ll resist the temptation to start with the Cambrian Explosion and the assembling of the Old Testament texts over a 1400 year period.
1600 A. D.: Friar Giordano Bruno is burned at the stake in Rome for insisting on heresies tied to his belief that the earth traveled around the sun, rather than remaining motionless in the center of the universe as the Bible suggests.
1632: Galileo publishes a book supporting the sun-centered universe. The next year Galileo is tried and convicted of heresy and sentenced to house arrest. His book, “Dialogue on Two World Systems,” remains on the Vatican’s list of prohibited books for the next 200 years.
(I mention these two dates, long before Darwin visited the Galapagos, to remind us that the evolution controversy is part of a longer and much older controversy between Science, which follows the facts wherever they lead it, and Religion (or at least some religions) that assume the infallibility of holy texts. I suspect that long after Religion comes to fully accept evolution as the explanation for life on earth–and I believe it eventually will, as facts are stubborn things–there will be other conflicts between Science and Religion–most likely ones relating to an understanding of the first nanoseconds of our universe’s history. Whether the evolution controversy takes another 20 years or another 200 years to fade away is anyone’s guess–It IS surprising that it has lasted this long–it is a pretty huge leap of faith to believe that the vast quantity of evidence of evolution–carbon-dated fossils of transition species, genetic and other evidence–was planted by God all over the planet as some sort of practical joke to fool scientists.)
1856: After visiting the Galapogos Islands, Charles Darwin begins work on The Origin of the Species.
Early 1920’s: Three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan has remade himself as a sort of Fundamentalist Pope and is traveling around the country, especially the South, campaigning against the teaching of evolution. He offers $100 to anyone that can prove he personally was descended from a monkey. His goal is an anti-evolution amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
March 13, 1925: Tennessee, one of 15 states debating the issue, enacts “The Butler Act,” a law banning the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The Governor–supporting the law as a symbolic statement–says that he expects that the law will never be enforced.
May 4, 1925: The ACLU offers to pay for the defense of any Tennessee schoolteacher who challenges the new law. A Dayton, Tennessee businessman–and a supporter of evolution in the classroom–convinces town leaders that an evolution trial could “put Dayton on the map” and might even attract new residents and businesses to their fair city, which had been rapidly losing population. John Scopes, a popular football coach and science teacher is located on a local tennis court and recruited to challenge the Act. Scopes had assigned readings on evolution for a 10th grade biology class.
(Note: If your understanding of the Scopes Monkey trial comes from watching the movie “Inherit the Wind,” you’ve got at least half your facts wrong. Contrary to the suggestion in the movie, for example, the theory of evolution had been taught for several years in Dayton without protest. Darwinism was widely accepted. President Woodrow Wilson, speaking several years earlier on the evolution issue said, “I am surprised at this late date that anyone would question” the tenets of Darwinism.)
The ad, produced by Cheney’s conservative group Keep America Safe, suggests that lawyers who defend detainees accused of terrorism are lacking American values and specifically accuses seven lawyers hired by the Obama administration to serve in the justice department of sympathizing with terrorists.
In her show Friday night, Maddow followed that reasoning to its logical conclusion. Maddow gives three examples of lawyers who advocated for the rights of detainees before being hired by the Bush administration, including Pratik Shah, who argued in the defense of a Guantanamo prison detainee.
“So, did Bush and Cheney hire Pratik Shah to bring a terrorist sympathizer into the department of jihad — I mean justice?” she said.
The other two examples are Varda Hussain, who defended three Guantanamo detainees, and Trisha Anderson, who defended 13 Yemeni prisoners. Both were ultimately hired by the Bush administration.
I can think of quite a few countries – both modern and historic that were afraid of fair trials and whose laws assumed guilt upon arrest. And unfortunately the U.S. does not have an unblemished record in this regard. Though trials that included competent advocacy and unbiased judgment always been an ideal – stated in our legal framework and inferred by our heritage from thinkers such as Jefferson, Madison and Franklin. The embarrassing exceptions aside it does not seem particularly apple pie Americanism to go all Cheney on lawyers that embraced traditional law and ideals.