get thee behind me, part 2

ACLU Sues Over Evolution Disclaimers in Textbooks

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force the Cobb County school board to remove disclaimers on evolution from thousands of middle and high school textbooks.

The suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, just one day before the board was to discuss whether teachers should be allowed to teach faith-based ideas along with evolution as explanation for the variety of life.

The stickers, placed in new science books this month after requests from parents opposed to evolution on religious grounds, say evolution is a theory, not fact, and should be critically considered.

Jeffrey Selman, the father of an elementary school pupil, initiated the lawsuit. He said placing advisories in science texts is an attempt to inject religion into public schools.

"It singles out evolution from all the scientific theories out there," Selman said. "Why single out evolution? It has to be coming from a religious basis, and that violates the separation of church and state." [...]

"What it does is promote the establishment of creationism in public schools," Manely said. "Why are they singling out evolution? Because from a creationist's standpoint, they don't have a problem with the theory of gravity."

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Some parents in the county feel differently.

Acworth resident Bruce Horacek, whose children graduated from Cobb schools, said students are not being told of the faults in evolution. "You cannot prove or disprove that evolution or inert materials created the diversity we have," he said. "Evolution and creationism are both philosophies."

The issue appeared before the school board in March, when several dozen parents asked that alternatives be taught. They presented a petition signed by 2,000 county residents, demanding accuracy in textbooks.

The board adopted the labels, which say: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."

School board chairman Curt Johnston said the concerns of the community need to be considered in Thursday's meeting.

"The whole purpose of this discussion is to try to clarify what can be taught and what should be taught," Johnston said.

Similar debates have occurred elsewhere.

Ohio is considering state science requirements that would allow teaching of alternatives, including intelligent design. Kansas adopted standards that struck references to evolution, then reversed that stance after a new state board was elected in response.

In Georgia, Clayton County put evolution disclaimers in its science books in 1996, but has since removed them. Alabama put stickers on all biology books about the same time.

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Current Music: Halou -- La Mer ♬

get thee behind me!

School drops 'Satans' as team nickname

DEVILS LAKE, North Dakota (AP) -- Satan has been banished from Devils Lake.

High school teams here no longer will be known as the Satans, the school's nickname for nearly 80 years.

The school board unanimously voted Monday night to immediately drop the nickname and mascot and start the process of finding a new name to represent its athletic teams.

The 5-0 vote brought applause, hugs and a few tears of joy from an audience that favored change.

"It's hard to stand up and cheer for the Satans," said Kellie Karlstad, a parent of three and the junior varsity girls basketball coach. "It's not an appropriate name for children."

Supporters of the change said the Satans nickname had brought division and a negative image.

"As far as finding one positive for keeping the nickname, I can't," board member Julie Schemionek said. "I believe in tradition. But sometimes, traditions need to be changed."

School Board Chairman Kevin Regan, a Devils Lake alumnus and athlete, said he had not been bothered by the nickname.

"I always thought it was a natural fit that the mascot for Devils Lake would be Satans," he said.

Current Music: Halou -- La Mer ♬

DNA Lounge: Wherein photos are presented.

Wow, what a week!

Photos from sunday's Nina Hagen show are up now. That show was just amazing. She's one of those people who is fascinating because she's so Unlike Others -- it seems like her show is mostly just, her being her. Watching her cook dinner would probably be almost as captivating as watching her sing with her band. It was a great show: she'd go from operatic highs to that scary devil-voice she does in the blink of an eye, the whole time mugging and being generally Nina Hagen-like. If you didn't see this show, do not miss her the next time you have the chance! I would not steer you wrong on this one.

It was, of course, a wonderfully odd crowd. The majority were fairly uncategorizable freaks, but you could tell that even the most normal-looking people there were still the weirdest people at their day job.

She has some quite devoted fans. The first two folks in line were a couple who had traveled from Texas to see the show -- they showed up to start waiting at 3 PM. We also got faxes at the club addressed to Nina from people who couldn't make it to the show, but felt the need to write her a letter!

Then tuesday was the Pete Rock show. The headliner was just a dj and didn't impress me, but the opening acts were very cool: hip hop isn't usually my thing, but I always appreciate any display of skill, and these folks had it. The best bit was these two guys called Soulati and Infiniti who did the best beatboxing I've ever heard: it was just two guys with two vocal mics, and they sounded exactly like djs. I had to watch them for a few minutes before I believed there wasn't a record playing too, because it was hard to believe that those sounds were coming out of human mouths: "that's a drum machine! That's scratching! That's a record spinning backward!" But no, it was all done with voices.

It starts at around 10:50 in the archives if you want to check it out. Though it sounded more convincing in person than it does in the archive: I guess the subwoofers helped.

Then wednesday was the Impotent Sea Snakes show, which was just about the farthest possible thing from what we had on tuesday: basically it was 80s metal plus a skanky fetish performance. Well, I think the photos speak for themselves. It was certainly an... interesting... show. An impressive amount of work went into it, and it was amusing to watch. But I understand it was supposed to be erotic. Alas, it just about made me never want to have sex again. "Yes," this show told me, "sex is dirty, and not in a good way!"

After the show was over, some dumbass, who had just gotten thrown out of the club for, I dunno, being a dumbass (I think he threw a beer bottle or something), decided that as he was walking away from the club, he'd throw a punch at the plate glass window next door (the former pizza place, currently closed for remodeling.)

He broke the window, and sliced his hand open. Then he panicked and started running. So our security chased him down, wrapped up the fountain of blood coming out of his hand, and called the paramedics. So he went to the hospital, and then to jail.

Of course, this left the restaurant with no window. And Georgia, the new owner, is already in the desert for Burning Man. John has keys to the place, so we called him to have him bring them down (dragging him away from his girlfriend's birthday party!) He went a step farther than delivering the keys, though: he managed to round up plywood and a circular saw at 3AM! Here's John and Lucci patching the window.

There weren't too many people at the Sea Snakes show, but there were enough that we came out a little bit ahead -- that is, until we suddenly found ourselves needing to pay for a window. Factoring that in, we lost money on the show. Thanks, dumbass!

Also, her notification of liquor license application (which had been taped to the window) got lost in the shuffle, so we also had to send someone down to the ABC to do the paperwork dance to get a new one...

Then on thursday, the following night, was our EFF Benefit, with Wil Wheaton versus Barney Celebrity Boxing. It was great! But I'm tired now, and will write about that later...