Daily Archives: February 21, 2012

Bring Your Gun to the Florida State Fair

First of all, how the heck to you have a State Fair in the middle of the winter time????

Second, … in case you needed to know, you can carry your firearms at the fair this year! Yahooo!

Following complaints by a gun rights group, and a law passed by the Florida Legislature last year, you can now carry your gun at the Florida State Fair.

“We have changed the policy to comply with the state law – it allows a person with a concealed weapon permit to come in with a firearm,” said Charles Pesano, executive director of the State Fair Authority. “We’ve changed some signs to reflect that.”

Instead of “No Weapons,” the signs now say, “No Unlawful Weapons.”

Film at 11. Well, actually, film right now (This is about the whole fair, not the gun packing part of the fair):
Continue reading Bring Your Gun to the Florida State Fair

Zombie Bill Reawakens in Oklahoma

A bill in Oklahoma that would, if enacted, encourage teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “controversial” topics such as “biological evolution” and “global warming” is back from the dead. Entitled the “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act,” House Bill 1551 was introduced in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2011 by Sally Kern (R-District 84), a persistent sponsor of antievolution legislation in the Sooner State, and referred to the House Common Education Committee. It was rejected there on February 22, 2011, on a 7-9 vote. But, as The Oklahoman (February 23, 2011) reported, the vote was not final, since a sponsor “could ask the committee to bring it up again this session or next year.” And indeed, on February 20, 2012, Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) resurrected the bill in the House Common Education Committee.

Here is the bill

Here is the whole write-up from the NCSE.

Minnesota Redistricting: How will this affect Michele Bachmann, others?

Moments ago, a judicial panel released the new redistricting plan for Minnesota. This is a process that is traditionally started by the legislature, then when they finish disagreeing on it for a while, it is handed over to some judges, who make the final decition.

Michele Bachmann’s place of residence has been placed in the same district as Betty McCollum. McCollum, a Democrat, is very popular in her district, and Bachmann, a Republican, is also popular in hers. Very likely, McCollum would beat Bachmann, and Bachmann sees the writing on the wall. Therefore, she is going to run in a different district than the one she lives in, but essentially in the same district she’s already representing, plus or minus bits and pieces around the edges.

The districts are not all that different than they were before at the large scale. The fourth district, McCollum’s has grown a bit and eaten part of the 6th district, Bachmanns. Meanwhile, the 6th district has been extended to the west a bit, into a region that I think is simply more Bachmann-country. In addition, the sixth has been extended to the south, into an area that may be mixed with respect to Bachmann’s support base. On balance, I think (subject to correction) that Bachmann has lost some of the pesky liberals from the area in which she actually lives, and gained some likely supporters in other areas. In other words, if she was going to be hard to unseat, she is now harder to unseat.

Meanwhile, my district, where I’m supporting DFL candidate Sharon Sund, has changed a bit as well, including a larger area to the south. It is unclear to me what this will mean in terms of relative support for the Republican incumbant vs. the DFL challenger. At first glance, I don’t see a lot of change.

Here is the judicial branch web site on redistricting.

Peter Gleick, The Heartland Revelations and Situational Journalism

Peter Gleick, renowned scientist, great guy, crappy journalist.

First, let me catch you up. On Valentine’s Day, there was a release of documents from the Heartland Institute documenting their budget and the status of their fund raising, as well as their strategy for protecting corporate interests in light of overwhelming evidence that Anthropogenic Global Warming and other climate change requires us to alter our global energy strategy. Heartland has been involved in science denialsm for some time. They are one of the groups that worked to deny evidence of the negative health effects of smoking, among other things. Heartland, a Libertarian “think” tank is a relatively small player in the overall climate discussion, and the documents indicate that the annual balance of their budget has been diminishing owing to reductions in contributions. Nonetheless, the documents painted a picture of systematic dishonesty. In particular, the documents seemed to indicate that Heartland was launching a bought and paid for effort to interfere with the teaching of good science in our K-12 educational system, replacing honest science with the willful misdirection we know of as science denialism. Continue reading Peter Gleick, The Heartland Revelations and Situational Journalism

The Heartland Science Denial Documents and the Future of the Planet

The best available evidence now suggests that the most damning of the “Heartland Documents” — the strategy memo which explicitly states that Heartland’s strategy is to interfere with good science education in order to advance their political agenda — is legitimate. The legitimacy of the document was being questioned because it was physically and stylistically different from the other documents with which it was released. We now know that the strategy memo was sent to climate scientist Peter Gleick and that Peter then took steps to acquire corraborating documents from Heartland (see “The Origin of the Heartland Documents.”) The “one of these things is not like the others” defense is now obviated.
Continue reading The Heartland Science Denial Documents and the Future of the Planet