Protecting civil rights, still

July 30, 2006

Journalist Diane Solis wrote in the Dallas Morning News today (free subscription may be required — and its dated, so hurry) about a continuing need for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one of the most maligned federal agencies. When I staffed the Senate Labor Committee the commission was subject to a long-term investigation of its activities.

EEOC in litigated 400 cases in 2005, but it handled 75,000 complaints. Among the incidents Solis writes about:

In May, a judge ruled that 52 Indian nationals were held in lockdown by an armed guard, subjected to food rationing and paid well below the minimum wage at the John Pickle Co. in Oklahoma. The award: $1.24 million.

In March, a court heard the case of a black man who was harassed by fellow workers and restrained as they tightened a noose around his neck at Commercial Coating Service Inc. in Texas. The award: $1 million.

The long fight for civil rights continues, too.

Bartonizing Jefferson

July 30, 2006

Dictionaries of the future will feature “bartonizing,” after Texas mathematics teacher David Barton, with a reference to “bowdlerization.” Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars details a recent flurry of correcting a Barton misapprehension of history about one of Thomas Jefferson’s studies of the gospels, which resulted in a book called The Jefferson Bible.

The issue is a strange claim by Barton, repeated by Dr. D. James Kennedy at Coral Gables Ministries, that Jefferson wrote the thing in an attempt to convert Indians to Christianity. Students of Jefferson immediately recognize that claim as contrary to Jefferson’s character on several fronts.

The discussion is enlightened and enlightening; I noted the similar claim that Jefferson built a church and hired a priest for the Kaskaskias (in Illinois), with federal funds, is similarly in error. The fight against revisionist history — revising history to add errors — continues.

(One current edition of the Jefferson Bible on sale at Monticello features a forward by Rev. F. Forrester Church, minister at senior minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City; that must frost Kennedy and Barton.)

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