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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Monday, January 29, 2007

 
America In The Balance

by digby

The right has a new obsession with "balance" just like the news media. This even translates into teaching schoolchildren crackpot science so that their cretinous parents aren't offended by the truth:

Frosty Hardison is neither impressed nor surprised that An Inconvenient Truth, the global-warming movie narrated by former vice president Al Gore, received an Oscar nomination last week for best documentary.

"Liberal left is all over Hollywood," he grumbled a few hours after the nomination was announced.

Hardison, a parent of seven in Federal Way, Wash., a southern suburb of Seattle, has himself roiled the global-warming waters. It happened early this month when he learned that one of his daughters would be watching An Inconvenient Truth in her seventh-grade science class.

"No you will not teach or show that propagandist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation - the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet - for global warming," Hardison wrote in an e-mail to the Federal Way School Board. The computer consultant is an evangelical Christian who says he believes that a warming planet is "one of the signs" of Jesus Christ's imminent return for Judgment Day.

His angry e-mail, along with complaints from a few other parents, stopped the film from being shown to Hardison's daughter.

The teacher in that science class, Kay Walls, says that after Hardison's e-mail she was told by her principal that she would receive a disciplinary letter for not following school board rules that require her to seek written permission to present "controversial" materials in class.

The e-mail also pressured the school board to impose a ban on screenings of the film for the district's 22,500 students.

The ban, which the school board says was merely a "moratorium," was lifted last week, subject to rigorous conditions. Still, the action has appalled the film's producers and triggered a ferocious national backlash.


Apparently, if certain parents "believe" that 4+4 equals 278 or that the moon is made of cream cheese, the schools are now obliged to teach it in order to create some phony sense of balance.

Is it really out of line for the school district to politely say no to these people? Do they have no professional integrity? But perhaps they actually agree with this claptrap, in which case they have just made a very good argument for standards --- not of teachers, but of administrators and school boards.

This is getting out of hand. These fundamentalists are using their religion as a political bludgeon that's making this nation even less informed than it already is. And it's very badly informed:


Thirteen percent of Americans have never heard of global warming even though their country is the world's top source of greenhouse gases, a 46-country survey showed on Monday.

The report, by ACNielsen of more than 25,000 Internet users, showed that 57 percent of people around the world considered global warming a "very serious problem" and a further 34 percent rated it a "serious problem."

"It has taken extreme and life-threatening weather patterns to finally drive the message home that global warming is happening and is here to stay unless a concerted, global effort is made to reverse it," said Patrick Dodd, the President of ACNielsen Europe.

People in Latin America were most worried while U.S. citizens were least concerned with just 42 percent rating global warming "very serious."

The United States emits about a quarter of all greenhouse gases, the biggest emitter ahead of China, Russia and India.

Thirteen percent of U.S. citizens said they had never heard or read anything about global warming, the survey said.

Almost all climate scientists say that temperatures are creeping higher because of heat-trapping greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels.

The study also found that 91 percent of people had heard about global warming and 50 percent reckoned it was caused by human activities.

A U.N. report due on Friday is set to say it is at least 90 percent probable that human activities are the main cause of warming in the past 50 years.

People in China and Brazil were most convinced of the link to human activities and Americans least convinced.

The survey said that people living in regions vulnerable to natural disasters seemed most concerned -- ranging from Latin Americans worried by damage to coffee or banana crops to people in the Czech Republic whose country was hit by 2002 floods.

In Latin America, 96 percent of respondents said they had heard of global warming and 75 percent rated it "very serious."


So you can see why it's such a good thing that there are people out there who are ensuring that American children are taught "alternative theories" to what causes global warming which presumably include the idea that it's a sign that Judgement Day is coming.

I hope Americans have enjoyed being the richest, most powerful nation on earth because it's going to be over very soon if this keeps up. A country this willfully dumb cannot stay on top.



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