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March 14, 2010

Welcome back!  Sorry for the delay in postings, I’ve been traveling a lot lately, does put a bit of damper on the writing.  But, as you are no doubt aware, the political news has been fast and furious these days with health care reform sprinting towards the finish line (and, one hopes, actually crossing it sooner rather than later).  On the sex scandal front we have the Republican California Senator Roy Ashburn, sad, pathetic, self-loathing gay man that he is.  As Dan Savage so aptly noted, there is no sympathy, not from Dan and certainly not from me.  There is also the gift that keeps on giving in Senator John Ensign.  Seriously, and it’s Harry Reid that’s in trouble?  And it’s baseball spring training with 21 days til opening day for the Atlanta Braves against the Chicago Cubbies.  With Derrick Lowe on the mound and, I’m going out on a limb, Jason Heyward in right field.

The kicker this week, however, has got to be the Texas School Board.  President Obama, in his weekly address on Saturday, stated that it’s about damn time to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act.  And I have to say, while I understand the importance of states in the close oversight of individual school districts, recently Texas has provided an incredibly compelling reason to have national standards for the material that is taught in school.  Sure you can have North Carolina history in 4th and 8th grade, totally important.  I get that.  But really, what in the hell is Texas thinking? 

The Texas School Board, in all their wingnuttery stupidity and small minded-ness have voted to replace one of our founding fathers with the religious figure John Calvin.  And which founding father?  Thomas bloody Jefferson.  The fraking writer of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE!!!!!!  Yes, thank you Texas.  You all deserve to be your own warped fucked up country without burdening the rest of us with the crazy folk you put on your school board.  The reason this matters is that because Texas buys so many textbooks that publishers have a strong monetary interest in printing as few versions of a textbook as possible.

 Dear President Obama,

            Please set national standards for material that must be taught in American schools.  As you rightly noted in your weekly address, we are falling farther behind other countries in our educational standards and I have to say, allowing Thomas Jefferson to be left out of our national curriculum is a crying shame and no way to run an educational system.

                                                                                                Texas sucks,

                                                                                                love, 5280.5

As will be no surprise to my regular reader(s), there is a historical analogy to this event.  In 1633, the Catholic Church (yes, that Catholic Church), in its mission to stamp on the truth of a heliocentric universe brought Galileo Galilei up short in his teaching of the truth as enunciated by Nicolaus Copernicus.  And even though Galileo recanted the truth, he was found guilty of heresy for his book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. In the end, as science teaches us (for the time being of course, goodness know what will happen if the idiots in Texas take this on), the Catholic Church’s mission to misstate, misrepresent, and generally obfuscate in order to try and keep its own beliefs as the “truth” did ultimately fail, as such things often and rightly do. 

The thing is, as Communism, Pol Pot, apartheid, Jim Crow, Nazism, and other oppressive structures have demonstrated, ultimately the truth will win out.  We do know that the earth travels around the sun, contrary to the wishes of the Catholic Church in the 1500s and 1600s.  History judges us without pity and the Texas School Board will receive their own.  Let us hope that history will have no need to judge us as sheep, and will instead note that idiocy and small-minded bigotry failed in the face of common sense and reason.  Thomas Jefferson and our Declaration of Independence would be proud.

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