April 30, 2010

Verbatum from the DMN

Aubrey Lee "Al" Rike: Ambulance driver helped Jackie after JFK assassination

11:02 PM CDT on Tuesday, April 27, 2010
By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News

On Nov. 22, 1963, Aubrey Lee "Al" Rike had hoped to get a glimpse of President John F. Kennedy's motorcade.

Instead, the 25-year-old Dallas ambulance driver became an eyewitness to the turmoil at Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he would befriend Jacqueline Kennedy, help her transfer her wedding band to her husband's finger, and place the president's body into a bronze casket.

Mr. Rike, 72, died Thursday of a heart attack at LifeCare Hospitals of Plano.

The emotion of that day would forever overcome Mr. Rike when he would tell his story for interviews, speeches or seminars, said his wife, Glenda Rike of Plano.

Few knew of Mr. Rike's amazing story until a researcher located him in 1980, said Gary Mack, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. In September 2001, Mr. Rike told his story for the museum's oral history collection, choking up when he recalled helping Mrs. Kennedy place her wedding band on her husband's finger.

When the ring stopped at the first joint of the president's ring finger, Mr. Rike reached for some lubricant, which helped somewhat but not much.

"And she said, 'Thank you,' and then she reached out and kissed that ring," Mr. Rike said.
Born in Dallas, Mr. Rike was a graduate of Crozier Tech High School.

He served in the Marines before becoming an ambulance driver.

The day of the assassination, Mr. Rike and his partner were called to transport a man to Parkland. He had fainted across from the Texas School Book Depository about 10 minutes before the motorcade was to pass.

While filling out forms at Parkland, Mr. Rike noticed something big was happening. He saw Lyndon B. Johnson and thought the vice president might have had another heart attack.

Next, Texas Gov. John Connally was brought into the emergency area, followed moments later by the president, his head covered with a coat.

Mr. Rike said he spotted Mrs. Kennedy seated on a straight-back metal chair outside the trauma room.

The first lady asked Mr. Rike if he was from Dallas.

"And I said, 'Yes, ma'am,' " he recalled in his oral history. "And you know, it's kind of hard to make a conversation with, you know, the first lady."

Mr. Rike said he wetted a towel in a nearby scrub room and gave it to Mrs. Kennedy. She cleaned blood from her hands and placed the towel under her chair.

Mr. Rike said the area was chaotic, loud and crowded with officials. Out of cigarettes, Mr. Rike got permission to go to a vending machine.

When Mr. Rike returned, Mrs. Kennedy asked if she could have a cigarette, he said.

As Mr. Rike reached into his breast pocket, a Secret Service agent knocked the cigarettes down, scattering them across the floor.

The agent retrieved one of cigarettes and handed it to Mrs. Kennedy and asked Mr. Rike if he had a light.

"So I gave him my Zippo very carefully because I didn't know what he was going to do with that," Mr. Rike said.

Mr. Rike said he waited with Mrs. Kennedy for the casket to arrive.

After the president was given last rites, Mr. Rike and his partner transferred the body to the casket.

Mrs. Kennedy wanted to ride in the back of the hearse with her husband. Mr. Rike folded down the jump seat for Mrs. Kennedy, holding her arm so that she could climb inside the hearse.

"A Secret Service agent grabbed me and threw me against the door," Mr. Rike recalled.

Mrs. Kennedy then said, "Leave the young man alone. This is the only gentleman I've met since I've been here," Mr. Rike recalled.

"And so I said, 'Thank you, ma'am.' "

He then he helped Mrs. Kennedy into the hearse.

"And she said, 'Thank you very much.' "

Mr. Rike went on to a 26-year career with the Highland Park Police Department.

"Aubrey never embellished his story or changed it in any way – ever," Mr. Mack said. "He didn't make a big deal about what he did."

Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Turrentine Jackson Morrow Funeral Home in Allen. Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Mr. Rike is survived by his wife, Glenda Rike of Plano; a son, Larry Rike of Plano; and a sister, Carolyn Hawkins of McKinney.

Asleep at the wheel

Over a year into the Obama presidency and 40 U.S. Attorneys’ positions still lack presidentially confirmed prosecutors and remain staffed by interim attorneys. Texas holds the dubious distinction of having the largest number of unconfirmed slots of any state, with all four positions currently staffed by temps. This bad situation likely wont be rectified any time soon, since the Texas GOP Senators stand firmly at odds with the state’s Democratic House delegation.

This stand-off has now suffered its first casualty. State District Judge John B. Stevens of Beaumont, the only Obama nominee in Texas, has withdrawn his name from consideration, citing the toll the stand-off was taking on him and his family. Score one for the forces of recalcitrance.

Although ably staffed by capable interim prosecutors, the lack of confirmed attorneys tends to leave Texas under-represented in D.C. on issues relating to law and justice. The work goes on based upon historic initiatives, with crimes investigated and cases prosecuted, but the lack of a confirmed nominee tends to take Texas out of the loop in setting new initiatives, meaning crime trends originating in Texas could go unnoticed on the federal level.

There is a massive national agenda that the Democrats in Congress and the President have been pursuing that remains untapped and unimplemented” in Texas, says Chuck Herring, a Austin-based lawyer who has followed the nomination process closely, “Because without an appointed leader who has some sense of authority, as opposed to being simply a placeholder, you aren't going to have someone who is willing to be aggressive and exercise policy command decisions to transform this sort of stuck-in-the-mud, inertial approach into the issues of the day and the nation.”

The Texas Democratic delegation is laying the blame for this problem directly at the Administration’s feet. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D- Austin), the leader of the delegation, said that Stevens' withdrawal was "a real loss for our justice system," and that the White House has not paid enough attention to making timely appointments.

The current Administration, it seems, is more focused on the brass ring and not concerned enough about the nuts and bolts. This may prove to be an obstacle to future initiatives, as local support will ebb if local issues remain unaddressed.

As a former politician of some note once stated, “All politics is local.”


April 29, 2010

Teach your parents well

A week ago or so, in one of our trademark rambling, scatter-shooting conversations, my good friend J suddenly thought of the lyrics to one of the lesser-known show songs of the 50’s. J is a few years older than me, and has an amazing memory for such trivia.

The show was South Pacific, the 1958 romantic comedy staring Mitzi Gaynor. South Pacific gave us several memorable tunes, but this particular ditty didn't catch on. Considering the atmosphere of the day, that is unsurprising. Until J brought it up, I had never heard of it.

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught
You’ve got to be carefully taught

Amazingly true, isn’t it? And again, it makes me think of the nutty, religious right members of the Texas State Board of Education, and that group’s efforts to skew the curriculum to their dominionist ends. South Pacific. Lost in time but remembered by my very wise friend. Here is one of the official trailers from the original film version of South Pacific. Note all the familiar songs, but not this particular tune.

UPDATE: The Misfit found a You Tube of the song.

Thanks, Misfit.

April 28, 2010

Three days and counting

Its Wednesday and I've accomplished exactly nothing more than the completion of copious crossword puzzles. Sitting and waiting for my turn to testify at trial has been less than exciting. No electronic devices allowed, so the best I can do is the printed word.

There may be no posts of substance this week or next, because even after I get out of court I'll have to go to Colorado to spend all of next week. So the posts may be few and far between, but I promise that the Sunday Funnies will be on time.

There is a piece I've been working on that I hope to get on the blog soon.


April 26, 2010

Monday Music

Most of my music blogs have been about older musicians. Today I’d like to feature someone fresher than Alvin Lee or Lefty Frizzell.

I’ll start with a fellow by the name of Ken Caillat, a music producer from Malibu, California. Other than co-producing some of Fleetwood Mac’s albums back in the late 70’s, Caillat isn’t known for much, but in 1985 that changed. In May of that year, Caillat became the father of a young lady who grew up to become a fine songwriter and musician.

Colbie’s debut single is called, “Bubbly.”

Bubbly caught a good bit of play on the radio stations and caught my attention as well. The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100, and made it into the top 100 in Great Britain as well. Colbie followed this with two more top 100 hits, “Realize,” and “The Little Things.”

Next came a duet with Jason Marz, “Lucky,” on the album “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things.” This is a live in Las Vegas video, so the quality isn’t as good as the canned music video.

Colbie has done several great hits since, winning several Grammys in the process. Her most recent album is called “Breakthrough,” and it seems to me that it is exactly that. This young lady is bound for stardom.

This cut from the album is my favorite.


April 25, 2010

Sunday Funnies

April 24, 2010

Lordy Mercy! Is that the reason?

Recent research is showing a link between the use of certain prescription pain killers and a lack of trust. It seems that the use of oxycontin leads to low levels of oxytocin; the hormone known as the trust hormone. The use of oxytocin is at a record high, and the segment of the population using most of it are the more affluent.

The rich, it seems, take more prescription dope.

The next leap is that, since the drug inhibits trust, does it inhibit trust in anything in particular? Turns out, the answer is yes.


Things that make you go, hmmm...

Google wimps… Downfall parodies dumped

…and Hitler takes notice


Hitler reacts to the Hitler parodies being removed from YouTube from Zacqary Adam Green on Vimeo. Hitler is right. You-Tube’s actions (or inaction) is just allowing another abuse of the copyright laws. 

You-Tube, a Google company, has bowed to industry pressure and has begun taking down those wonderful Downfall parodies. 

This parody video is the creation of Zacqary Adam Green. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the corporate copyright lawyers to get around to strong-arming Vimeo, and if that group will be so quick to buckle.


April 23, 2010

Texas Governor's Race

Bill White, the Democrat challenging incumbent Texas Governor Rick Perry, has found a sore spot to pick.

It’s almost May, which means that the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is near to finalizing the laughable social studies curriculum revision for Texas public schools.  Just about everybody has weighed in on this potential debacle, and now Bill White is leveling his guns. Rick Perry, you see, appointed the clown leading this circus.

White was in Austin Saturday speaking to teachers at the Association of Texas Professional Educators convention. Speaking broadly on some of the education challenges facing Texas, White told a packed room what he plans to do to make sure students are better prepared to enter the workforce. He also talked about what he calls a flawed testing system, challenges with the student-to-teacher ratio and how many Texans are being priced out of higher education.

Pointing at the state’s high dropout rate, White said "I'll be active in leadership, in bringing kids back to school. There's many strategies to do it, not just one solution. We need to start early with early childhood educations that work, prepare young people for the classroom. They've proved to be a high return on investment."

The main focus of the talk, however, took aim at recent amendments the State Board of Education made to social studies curriculum standards; amendments written by the overwhelmingly right wing and creationist members of the board.

In a 10-5 vote on March 12, the SBOE gave preliminary approval to the new standards, even though they were opposed by leading experts in the field and by reasonable people everywhere. They are changes dictated by politics and ideology rather than truth or educational interests.

Speaking to this, White said that a line needs to be drawn between what politicians want, and those who make front-line decisions on education. "The amendment process injected politics into our school books and classrooms," White has said, and that was "a step in the wrong direction."

White called on Gov. Rick Perry to urge the SBOE chair to send the amendments back to the original curriculum review teams, a move already laughed off by Perry.

White wants to be sure Texans are well equipped to enter the workforce, something that will be crippled if our educational standards are less than world class. Because Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks nationally, the curriculum changes could resonate across the country. The debate has already garnered national attention with other states already making moves to limit the damage.

White called on Perry today to ask lame duck SBOE chair McLeroy to delay the vote until newly elected board members are in office. This would be a wise and reasonable move, which is exactly why Perry will likely reject it.

Some of the flat-earthers on the board were defeated in recent primary elections, and one has voluntarily decided against seeking reelection. Delaying the vote until a new board is seated would likely cause the amendments to fail. White recognizes this, and likely so does Perry.

"Texas voters have voted against those who are extreme and hyper-political," said White campaign spokesperson Katy Bacon. "If Rick Perry won't show some leadership about the process, he should at least respect Texans who've said they don't want the current, controversial SBOE making decisions about their children's future."

It isn’t just the Democratic challenger who recognizes McLeroy for the nutjob he is.  McLeroy has engaged in such extreme antics that the Texas Senate refused to confirm him in 2009, the second time Perry appointed him, and he was defeated in the spring primary election. 

This isn’t a new windmill for White. Nearly a month ago he called on Perry to ask McLeroy to send amendments back to the original curriculum review teams. Perry responded, saying of the SBOE that he was not going to "try to outsmart them."

Think about that one for a moment…

Since White started making his comments about having the revised standards sent back to expert review teams, the Texas Council for the Social Studies and the Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association have weighed in saying, "state education standards should be balanced and neutral and not reflective of political viewpoints."

The Chair of the SBOE is appointed by the Governor. The 15-member board is elected to represent districts. The Board currently is dominated by Christian, creationist extremists who were elected in part because of the gerrymandering back in 2001.

More importantly though, they were elected because the religious right targeted the SBOE as a priority, knowing that the way to increase their ranks was to be found in the creative revisionism of curriculum standard, such as we see now.

Much of this happened while reasonable Texans were not looking. It was a conspiracy, and we slept through it. We’re awake now and recognize that we have to put all our efforts into reversing the damage. The Governor’s race is important, and so is the 2012 election when the entire 15-member SBOE is up for election. We must stay focused on that.


April 22, 2010

Fixed? No... not fixed

Living out in the boonies as I do has both advantages and drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is the limited options for Internet access. I've tried every available method, and each has sucked in one way or another. Currently I'm using a wide area WIFI provider, which is less expensive than other options, but lacks the level of tech support.

The network end of things seemed to be working, so I blamed my lack of access problems on the wireless card in the Mac. The tech at the Apple store agreed, so it went into the shop to be replaced. Got the thing home and it worked like a well oiled machine... for about a day.

Round two has me diagnosing the ethernet bridge and wireless router. Screwed with it for much of last evening and again today... with limited success. It is working for the moment, but I haven't a clue what I did to make that happen... or if it just decided to work on its own. No idea.

Anyway, I've not had a lot of time to write, so please bear with me as my certifiably non-tech mind tries to rediscover some measure of reliability in my network.


April 20, 2010

Persian Pat

First there was Arizona pastor Steven L. Anderson promoting hatred and advocating violence against President Obama.

In January, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I penned a piece about Pat Robertson’s idiotic assertion that god was punishing the Haitians for a century-old pact with the devil.

Then when Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha died, California religionista Wiley Drake took credit, saying that he had prayed for Murtha's death, and that god had answered those prayers.

Now in his Friday morning prayers, senior Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi blamed all of the recent Earth shaking on Muslim sluts.

Who would have ever thought that sex fuels earthquakes?

Religionistic loons being what they are, we all knew that it was only a matter of time before some pompous pinhead stepped up to the plate to assign all of this seismic activity to the vengeance of god... this loon did, and by god, this gives me an idea.

Iran is positioned in one of the more seismically activity regions on the planet, we seem to be entering a period of increasing activity, so they are expecting more of the same.

It therefore follows that if loose women cause quakes, even I should be able to get a date in Tehran. As soon as the dust settles I think I’ll book a flight…

Oh wait! Nordic chicks are hot. I wonder what precipitated the Icelandic volcanic event!


April 19, 2010

Monday music

William Orville Frizzell was a Texas boy, born in 1928 into an oil field family that transplanted him to Arkansas as an infant. I’m guessing he didn’t have much say in the matter; otherwise he would never have left Corsicana. 

We know him as Lefty, a name he got following a schoolyard scuffle. Later it was reputed that he became a Golden Gloves boxer, but that apparently isn’t true.

Sometime early in his youth, Lefty Frizzell picked up a guitar and learned how to play. Apparently he was pretty good because he got airtime on a local El Dorado radio station as young as 12-years-old, then came to Dallas to win a talent contest. By the time he was 19 he had his own half-hour program on a Paris, Texas radio station.

Lefty proved to be a pretty good songwriter too, a skill he honed in a New Mexico jail serving time for statutory rape. One of his songs so impressed Columbia Records that they signed him to a contract. “If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time” was first recorded in 1951 by Hank Williams, but Lefty had the bigger hit with the song, and it has been recorded by dozens of country acts since.

Here is Lefty doing performing cut in 1958 on the old radio and TV program on which he was a frequent guest, Town Hall Party.

Merle Haggard was a Lefty aficionado who recorded and performed this song often in concert.

Willie Nelson idolized Lefty, even producing a tribute album in 1977 titled “To Lefty From Willie.” Although he didn’t include Lefty’s signature song on the album, he performed it often and recorded it on more than one album. Here he is playing to an appreciative Dutch crowd in 2001.

David Frizzell, a fine musician in his own right, struggled in the shadow of his older brother. The contest apparently didn’t affect his feelings for his brother and mentor.

Lefty had 13 number one hits over a two-year period, including four on the charts at one time; a feat never before accomplished and beaten since only by the Beatles.

Lefty lived hard and died young. Always a heavy drinker and smoker, in the early hours of July 19, 1975 he suffered a stroke. He died less than 12 hours later, Lefty was 47 years old.

Besides Merle and Willie, others who have paid homage to the short but notable life of Lefty Frizzell are George Jones, George Strait, Keith Whitley, and Randy Travis. Roy Orbison’s stage name as he toured with the Traveling Wilburys was Lefty Wilbury, in direct tribute to a famous fellow Texan.

Lefty left large imprints on the country music world. Some of his other hits are Saginaw, Michigan, I Never Go Around Mirrors, I Love You A Thousand Ways, Always Late, and Long Black Veil, a song which crossed over to the pop stations.


April 18, 2010

Problems fixed???

Got the Mac back... new air card installed...

Seems to be working.


Sunday Funnies


April 15, 2010


Think Texas State Board of Education...

I don’t think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.”

- Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation - RIP


Sorry for the absence lately. Believe it or not, the Mac Book lost its wireless mind. I'm on a borrowed machine today, and it really isn't comfortable.

I'll be back as soon as I can get the Mac home.


April 12, 2010

Monday music

On March 4, 1966, John Lennon infuriated Christians across the globe when, in an interview published in the London Evening Standard, he was quoted saying, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.” Lennon continued, saying, "I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now…

The response in America was swift and exactly what the rest of the world would have expected from such a religionistic nation.

Reasonable Americans saw the foofarah for what it was and kept on listening to and buying Fab Four records, but the Pope had his panties in a major wad. Well, today the Vatican finally gave John Lennon and the Beatles a pass.

Still, I have to wonder if this isn’t just another misdirection ploy by the Church, trying to divert attention from the ongoing sex scandal. The Beatles recovered and are still popular in the U.S. Maybe even more popular than Jesus. I don’t think the Vatican can say the same.


April 11, 2010

Sunday Funnies


April 9, 2010

The Myth, part IV

Conclusion. Continued from The Myth, Part III

Up until now I’ve concentrated on the Deists, but there were Christians involved in the shaping of our nation. Their influence was muted compared to the ideological contributions of Jefferson, Madison and Adams, who pressed for, and gained popular approval for the formation of a secular nation.

Historian Clinton Rossiter had this to say about the composition of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention and their religious views:

“[T]he gathering at Philadelphia was largely made up of men in whom the old fires were under control or had even flickered out. Most were nominally members of one of the traditional churches in their part of the country--the New Englanders Congregationalists, and Presbyterians, the Southerners Episcopalians, and the men of the Middle States everything from backsliding Quakers to stubborn Catholics--and most were men who could take their religion or leave it along. Although no one in this sober gathering would have dreamed of invoking the Goddess of Reason, neither would anyone have dared to proclaim that his opinions had the support of the God of Abraham and Paul. The Convention of 1787 was highly rationalist and even secular in spirit.[i]

At the constitutional convention, Luther Martin, a representative from Maryland, wanted to include Christian language, saying that "it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism." This proposal was rejected.[ii]

Our constitution was drafted as a secular document with no mention of God anywhere in it. There is only one mention of religion, and that is in the negative. "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Consider then, if the delegates had intended to establish our country as a "Christian nation,as is claimed by Don McLeroy and so many of his ilk, why would they have inserted a statement like that in and not refer to religion anywhere else?

One would think, considering the weight of evidence, that reasonably intelligent grownups would be able to decipher that if the intention of was anything except the formation of a "Christian nation." If they had intended such, wouldn’t the document they authored have some references to the Bible, Jesus, or anything alluding to the Christian religion? Instead of expressly forbidding a religious test as a condition for holding public office, would they not have required some form of sworn allegiance to Christianity? Were our founders so clueless that they wrote a constitution that ENTIRELY FAILS to mention Christ or the Bible, when their true purpose was to create a “Christian nation?” How can there be any doubt that our founders of intended no such thing?

As further evidence, let us look at a document written during the administration of George Washington – The Treaty with Tripoli. Article 11 of the Treaty makes the fact that this country was not, and was not intended to be a “Christian nation,” specifically stating that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..."[iii]

The treaty was negotiated by Joel Barlow, approved by George Washington while he was in office, and ratified by the senate under John Adams administration. As Adams signed the treaty, he added this statement: "Now, be it known, that I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said treaty, do, by and within the consent of the Senate, accept, ratify and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof."

The statement that the United States was not “founded on the Christian religion” was approved by the first two Presidents and the entirety of the Senate should dispel any and all doubts that our founders intended to create a “Christian nation,” or that there was any intent to do so.

Reason 1 – Superstition 0. Game over… or is it?

So what might be the last refuge for the fundamentalists? The logical inductive fallacy, of course.

Premise #1 – If most Americans are Christian, then America is a Christian nation.
Premise #2 – Most Americans are Christian.
Conclusion – America has always been a Christian nation.

Fundamentalists still argue that even if our founders did not purposefully establish our country as a Christian nation, our country was founded by people looking for religious liberty, and our population has always been overwhelmingly Christian, so therefore we are a Christian nation.

These are dubious assumptions. There certainly were colonists fleeing religious persecution in the old world, but history shows these very colonists established theocratic colonies as oppressive or more so than that which they fled. Heretical Quakers were exiled from the colony, and executed if they returned. So called "witches" were condemned and burned on the stake or hanged on questionable evidence. Do modern fundamentalists want a return to that kind of “Christian nation”?

The majority of the colonists were capitalists, driven by the desire for free land and profit. Monetary motives played heavily in their decision to venture into a new world. They very simply wanted to improve their economic status.

Our founders were learned men. Most colonists were peasants. So what about the religious beliefs of the general population? It certainly wasn’t as “Christian” as the fundamentalists would like you to believe – a fact that rational conservatives admit. As noted by Richard Hofstadter, some 90% of colonial Americans were “unchurched in 1790,” that "mid-eighteenth century America had a smaller proportion of church members than any other nation in Christendom," and noted that "in 1800 [only] about one of every fifteen Americans was a church member."[iv]

Yet another historian, James MacGregor Burns, states that "[t]here had been a `very wintry season' for religion every where in America after the Revolution," and adds that "ninety percent of the people lay outside the churches."[v]

Scientists and historians deal with facts. Theocrats and fundamentalists play with myth. Fact paints an entirely different picture of colonial America in our formative years than the image Don McLeroy, Wendy Lowe and the rest of the gang of revisionists wish you to believe. America was not founded on "biblical principles," and Thomas Jefferson was foremost of the enlightenment philosophers – regardless of what the dogmatists on the Texas State Board of Education wishes our children to believe.

We were formed as a religiously neutral nation, and the Christian assault on that freedom has never ceased. The Fundamentalists are winning, but the voices of reason refuse to surrender.

The church has striven to retard the growth of knowledge and reason since the origin of recorded history. Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, and a host of others have been denied, silenced or murdered in the name of dogma. Our founders were intent on reversing that trend.

Christian nation? Founded on Christian principles? I think not. But compare the historian’s view of the religious beliefs of the constitutional delegates with the radically different picture currently being painted by the fundamentalist members of the Texas State Board of Education. The board, dominated by fundamentalist, right wing, revisionist, theocrats, has unfortunately found the political leverage required to flush truth down the toilet, rewriting recorded history with superstition, fantasy and lies.

The textbook issue is in my part of the world so I have made it my battle. The world is laughing at us, and Texas has become the punch line of editorial cartoons. There are intelligent, reasonable people in Texas, and we’re tired of this crap. We’re fighting back.

You can join me if you want, by visiting the following sites and joining the cause. We’d appreciate any help you can offer. Donations gladly accepted.

P.S. If you still believe that America was founded as a "Christian nation," you're reading the wrong blog.

[i] Rossiter, C., 1787: The Grand Convention, W. W. Norton & Company
[ii] Kurkland, P. Lerner, R, The Founders’ Constitution, University of Chicago Press
[iii] Miller, H., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States, ed., Vol. 2, U. S. Government Printing Office
[iv] Hofstadter, R., Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, Alfred A. Knopf Publishing
[v] Burns, J.M., The American Experiment - Vineyard of Liberty, Vol. 1, Vintage Books