Archive for June, 2010

Published by admin on 28 Jun 2010

Irony as Thick as Gulf Oil in Louisiana


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By Barbara Forrest

There are times when the irony of life is so thick that one has to just stand back and marvel at it. Now is one of those times in Louisiana. June 25, 2010, marked exactly two years to the day since Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the creationist Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). Now, with coastal wildlife trapped and dying in sludge, with the human beings of the Gulf Coast facing the loss of culture, livelihoods, and our beautiful wetlands — courtesy of BP — Gov. Jindal felt called to set aside June 27 as an official day of prayer for divine assistance in “persevering” through this mess — and to post the call to prayer on his official state website. In 2008, his constituents couldn’t even get him to acknowledge the letters he got from scientists and citizens who asked him to veto the LSEA. But now, with the Gulf of Mexico hemorrhaging oil, he was only too happy to sign an official proclamation declaring a “Statewide Day of Prayer for Perseverance Through Oil Spill Crisis” [pdf]. The irony of this is as thick as the oil in the Gulf. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 20 Jun 2010

We need some Florida backbone in the Louisiana legislature.

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By Barbara Forrest

The title of this post may sound strange. But read on, and you will see that there is more backbone in a minority of the members of the Florida legislature than in the entire Louisiana legislature. Just as it was doing in Louisiana, the Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank in Seattle, was maneuvering in Florida to get its academic freedom (read: “stealth creationism”) legislation passed in the state of Florida in 2008. But the outcome in Florida was very different than the outcome in Louisiana. On February 29, 2008, a Discovery Institute “academic freedom” bill was introduced in the Florida Senate by Sen. Ronda Storms. That bill, SB 2962, passed. On March 4, a companion bill, HB 1483, was introduced in the House by Rep. Alan Hays. It also passed. In April, as the National Center for Science Education reported, “The antievolution bills — the so-called Academic Freedom Acts — in Florida are progressing, despite protests from teachers, scientists, and the Florida ACLU, and despite the criticisms of the legislature’s own staff.” By April 28, however, there was some doubt as to whether creationists in the Florida legislature could reconcile their own differences in time to get the bill passed before the legislature adjourned on May 2. They did not, and the legislation died. In 2009, creationists in the Florida legislature made another attempt at getting academic freedom legislation passed, but SB 2396 fortunately did not even get to the floor, and the bill died in committee. (See the excellent Florida Citizens for Science website.)

Florida seems to have learned its lesson (for the time being). The notable thing about Florida, however, was the vocal resistance to these creationist bills by Florida legislators on the debate floor of the House and Senate in 2008. (See videos below.) There was no such resistance on the floor of the Louisiana House and Senate when the Louisiana Science Education Act (LEA) was making its way through the legislature at exactly the same time as the Florida bills. In fact, where the Louisiana legislature is concerned, except for three “no” votes (pdf) in the House (which the three legislators cast without comment), there was no resistance at all. Continue Reading »

Published by admin on 04 Jun 2010

The South Carolina bill is dead — Louisiana . . . still . . . NUMBER ONE!!

By Barbara Forrest

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As the whole world knows, we’re not having fun in Louisiana right now. The terrible, ongoing tragedy in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico threatens to wipe out a culture and way of life that have existed here for 300 years. (To help families who face the loss of everything they have worked for all their lives, please go to the Southern Mutual Help Association.) Louisiana has suffered more than its share of catastrophes in the last five years. That’s why, in the face of what is happening in the gulf — with all that this disaster portends for the future of the state — the news that South Carolina’s “academic freedom” bill has died in committee simply highlights once again the utter irresponsibility of Louisiana state officials who made our state number one in promoting creationism. Continue Reading »