December 21, 2005 [LINK]
Religious dogma defeated
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones ruled that the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania was wrong to require that "intelligent design" be taught along with the Darwinian theory of evolution in public schools, on the grounds that it constituted an intrusion of religion into state affairs. The core tenet of I.D. is that "life is too complex to have developed without the guidance of a supernatural creator." See Washington Post. That tenet displays shocking ignorance of the major findings emanating from the various branches of science connected to Chaos theory. In any event, it is a welcome relief to see such a decisive ruling being handed down, and one would hope that it helps lay this whole silly matter to rest. The American contemporary education system is rife with various pernicious dogmas, however, and resorting to a lawsuit in what should have been an open-and-shut case is a troubling indication that socio-political divisions are undermining educational standards across the board.
McDonnell wins A.G. recount
Republican Bob McDonnell has won the recount in the Virginia attorney general race by a 360-vote margin over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch. That is 37 more votes than his winning margin in the original count. "Landslide Bob," they'll call him. For the perspective of someone who was involved in monitoring the recount in the Augusta County courthouse in Staunton, see Chris Green's Spank That Donkey blog.
Hazlett loses treasurer recount
In Staunton, incumbent treasurer Elnora Hazlett lost the recount to Rick Johnson by a margin of 35 votes, one vote closer than in the original tally. City Hall remains in a tense uproar over the difficult transition to the new MUNIS computer system, and the City Council voted to delay the mailing of property tax bills once again, which means they will not go out until January, when the incumbents (both Republicans), Commissioner of Revenue Ray Ergenbright and Treasurer Hazlett, are out of office. City Manager Bob Stripling actually ordered city employees to deny Ms. Hazlett access to the old (and relatively reliable) AS 400 computer system, so that she could not mail the property tax bills on time using it. See the Staunton News Leader. This level of distrust within the local government left me stupefied. What's the matter with Staunton?
Federal agents questioned a University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth student in October, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "Little Red Book." See southcoasttoday.com (hat tip to Connie). Good grief. Does this mean I have to dispose of my copy? [NOTE: This news item later turned out to be a hoax; for details, see my Dec. 27 blog post.]