Call for entries: Four Stone Hearth for March 25

March 19, 2009

Four Stone Hearth #63 comes for a soak in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub on March 25.  Zounds!  That’s next week!

You can start sending in nominations now.  Drop a note to me here — edarrell AT sbcglobal DOT net — or send them to Martin Rundkvist, who keeps the fire burning on the original four big stones (and blogs at Aardvarchaeology).

The Four Stone Hearth is a blog carnival that specializes in anthropology in the widest (American) sense of that word. Here, anthropology is the study of humankind, throughout all times and places, focussing primarily on four lines of research:

  • archaeology
  • socio-cultural anthropology
  • bio-physical anthropology
  • linguistic anthropology

Each one of these subfields is a stone in our hearth

Marriage of Bathtub and Hearth, at Cape San Blas, Florida - yours for just $1.7 million!  Four Stone Hearth, much cheaper.

Marriage of Bathtub and Hearth, at Cape San Blas, Florida - yours for just $1.7 million! Four Stone Hearth, much cheaper.

5th Circuit approves Texas “moment of silence” law

March 19, 2009

Any Texas student who had hoped to get out of the one-minute silence exercise suffered a defeat on St. Patrick’s Day.  A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained a Texas federal court’s ruling that the state-mandated moment of silence is legal.

Edith Brown Clement wrote the decision for the panel, in Croft vs. Texas (the link is to a .pdf of the decision).

David and Shannon Croft, as parents and next friends of their three minor children (collectively, the “Crofts”), bring suit against the governor of the state of Texas, Rick Perry (“Perry”), arguing that Texas Education Code § 25.082(d) is an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Perry, holding that § 25.082(d) had a secular legislative purpose and was not an establishment of religion. For the following reasons, we affirm.

*     *     *     *     *     *


The Crofts have standing to challenge the 2003 Amendments. But the Amendments are constitutional and satisfy all three prongs of the Lemon analysis. There is no excessive entanglement, and the primary effect of the Amendments is not to advance religion. The most difficult prong—for this and for moment of silence statutes generally—is legislative purpose. But our review of legislative history is deferential, and such deference leads to an adequate secular purpose in this case. While we cannot allow a “sham” legislative purpose, we should generally defer to the stated legislative intent. Here, that intent was to promote patriotism and allow for a moment of quiet contemplation.  These are valid secular purposes, and are not outweighed by limited legislative history showing that some legislators may have been motivated by religion. Because the 2003 Amendments survive the Lemon test, they are not an unconstitutional establishment of religion, and the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED

We covered the original trial court decision here at the Bathtub.

Not much news coverage of the story, not so much as I would have thought (many Texas schools are on break this week).  No firm word on whether the Crofts will appeal further.  An Illinois case went the other way in January — enough conflict to get the Supreme Court involved?  Difficult to say.  The Illinois Legislature is working to undo the federal court decision, in Illinois.

Would it be a good case to cover in government?  What do you think?

What should the students meditate on?  A suggestion from the comments at the Dallas Morning News blogsite:

“May we please have a moment of science, for those poor souls that cannot understand evolution as God’s scientific method.”
Joseph Cassles

DFH were right

March 19, 2009

Some guy who goes by Joeyess seems to be the one who put this together — wrote the song?  Performed?

Call it sequencing.  Students often ask — at least once a week — whether I was a hippie.  They figure that’s a possibility since I don’t like much of the rock of the ’80s, and they don’t know much history of the ’50s and ’60s.  They don’t believe me when I tell them I thought college was a better idea.  They look confused when I tell them I was a plainclothes hippie.

Noodling around the radio dial the other day, I wondered how an antiwar movement could work with ClearChannel running so much of the radio formats, and none of the formats being exactly friendly to the slightest political commentary.

So, take a look. Tell us what you think in comments.

Political folk music in the Internet Age, Pete Seeger channeled through Lawrence Lessig (profanity in lyric makes it NSFW, NSFC, alas):

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula.

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