McLeroy and catfish

May 22, 2009

Seen at the TFN blog, Insider:

  1. Joe Lapp Says:
    May 21, 2009 at 9:23 pm Question: What do Don McLeroy and a catfish have in common?

    Answer: A distant ancestor.

    This might help to explain some of the behavior we’re seeing.

Call your state senator, Texans!  Let them know McLeroy should not be confirmed as chair of the State Board of Education. Find your state senator and how to contact her or him here.

Man the ramparts: Texans, call your legislators!

May 22, 2009

Texans, the information on finding your state representative and state senator are below — call them, today.

In a surprise move, the Senate has moved the nomination of Don McLeroy to the floor for an up-and-down vote.

McLeroy has ushered in a new era of bitter, partisan and divisive politics to the State Board of Education.  In the past year he has insulted English teachers, citizens of Hispanic descent, unnecessarily gutted a good mathematics text from the approved list (just to show he can do it), and done his best to butcher science education standards for Texas.  He suspended work on new social studies curricula because, in part, he doesn’t like the term “capitalism,” insisting on “free enterprise” instead, contrary to almost all scholarly writing on the topic.

The man is a menace to education.  He uses wedge political issues to divide educators from parents, parents from schools, schools from the community, students from teachers, and education from propaganda.

I quote the entirety of the post from Texas Freedom Network’s Insider blog, below, to explain:

UPDATE: Click here to see video of the committee vote.

In a surprise meeting on the Senate floor, the Senate Nominations Committee in Austin has just approved the appointment of Don McLeroy as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. It appears that McLeroy’s supporters plan to bring his confirmation to the full Senate early next week. Confirmation will require a two-thirds vote.

Committee Chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, had said he would not bring up McLeroy’s confirmation for a vote in committee unless he thought there were enough votes to get it in the full Senate. We don’t know at this point whether opposition from nearly all Democrats and some Republicans has softened, but the signs are alarming.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s critical that you contact your senator and tell him or her that you oppose McLeroy’s confirmation. You can find the name and contact information for your senator here.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller has released the following statement:

“If the Texas Senate genuinely cares about quality public education, they will reject as state board chairman a man who apparently agrees that parents who want to teach their kids about evolution are monsters. And we’ll see whether senators really want a chairman who presides over a board that is so focused on ‘culture war’ battles that it has made Texas look like an educational backwater to the rest of the country.”

Gov. Perry appointed McLeroy board chairman in July 2007. Since then, the board has turned debates over language arts and science curriculum standards in “culture war” battlegrounds. Chairman McLeroy has also endorsed a book that says parents who want to teach children about evolution are “monsters” and calls clergy who see no conflict between faith and science “morons.” This spring McLeroy led other creationists on the state board in adopting new science curriculum standards that call the scientific consensus on evolution into question and no longer include references to scientific estimates of the age of the universe.

Cy? Si! Mel Blanc and Jack Benny

May 22, 2009

One of my favorite comedy routines from the Master of Voices, Mel Blanc, and his accomplice Jack Benny:

We were talking about this old routine today, and sure enough, we could find it on YouTube.

In 1974, they repeated it for old times’ sake, on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

Note:  May 22 is the anniversary of the last time Johnny Carson hosted the Tonight Show, in 1992. George Bush the elder was president then; the Soviet Union had been out of existence only five months.  Osama bin Laden was a little-known, former ally of the U.S. in the Russo-Afghanistan war.  E-mail was just coming on, cell-phones were rare and expensive, as well as analog, wireless broadband hadn’t been invented.  Apple was still making computers far, far behind the IBM-compatible PCs — new chips like the 486 promised a revolution in computing.  A lifetime ago.

Why is this post tagged “animation?”  You remember, don’t you? Blanc was the guy who did almost every voice in the Warner Bros. cartoons from the classic era.  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn . . . as someone noted, remarkable to think Yosemite Sam and Tweety Bird are the same guy.

Update, 2014:  Mel Blanc’s birthday was May 30, as Richard Daybell reminded us; sweet, short tribute to Blanc at ‘Tis Pity He’s a Writer.

Ida, our only Darwinius masillae: Are we a lemur’s nephews and neices?

May 22, 2009

She’s being called Ida (EE-duh, to the Brits, EYE-duh to Bob Wills fans).  How could you miss all the hype about her unveiling this week?

Science fans complain that the hype might be over done.  Creationists appear a bit panicked by the developments.

Ida herself?  She’s beautiful.  Here’s an interview with Michael Novacek from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, carried on the public television news program World Focus.

Here’s a collection of British television stories on Ida, including David Attenborough’s animation of the reconstruction of her skeleton — some great graphics:

See also:

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