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  • GOP Governor Not Nearly Bigoted Enough for Tennessee GOP Groups

    By most lights, Tennessee's conservative Republican Governor Bill Haslam should be a popular figure among the Tea Party right.

    He signed HB 3621, also known as the Granting Pornographers a Monopoly on Sex Education Act, which forbid schools from discussing "gateway" sexual activities during abstinence-only sex-ed courses. He allowed the adoption of a "Monkey Bill," exciting thousands of Tennessee schoolchildren with the possibility that Biology classes will be spent watching nature documentaries like The Flintstones.

    But not all conservative are happy with the governor. Has he raised taxes? Praised Obamacare? Did he fail to be sufficiently enthusiastic when asked, "How awesome is Ronald Reagan?"

    No. He did hire Samar Ali — a Tennessee native, Vanderbilt law graduate and recent White House Fellow — to serve in the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development as part of  a focus on expanding the state’s overseas exports. Creeping Sharia, cried several county GOP groups, who passed resolutions condemning the hire…

    WHEREAS, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has elevated and/or afford preferential political status to Sharia adherents in Tennessee, thereby aiding and abetting the advancement of an ideology and doctrine which is wholly incompatible with the Constitution of the United States and the Tennessee Constitution.

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Williamson County Republican Party hereby opposes Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam's formation of and partnership with the Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council; and therefore be it further

    RESOLVED that the Williamson County Republican Party hereby opposes Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s recent appointment of a Shariah compliant finance expert to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development…

    How come Creeping Sharia never makes an appearance in my yard? It must be a very fickle vine, needing constant fertilization with bullshit and being kept out of direct exposure to reality.

    Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

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    Tags: Bill Haslam, Islam, Religion, Republicans, Tea Party, Tennessee
  • Tennessee Strives to Maintain America's Teen Birth Supremacy

    Tennessee state capitolEveryone who follows the news knows American teens are falling behind. Not only do our adolescents perform poorly on international comparisons in science and math, the CDC reports that we're in danger of losing our global leadership position in teenage baby making. The National Center for Health Statistics recently announced that fewer babies were born to U.S. teenagers in 2010 than in any year since 1946.

    While we're still number one in teen pregnancy among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, our state legislatures are not taking this challenge to our teen pregnancy supremacy lying down. Next week, the Tennessee House is scheduled to take up amendments to the state's sex education curriculum, which have already been approved in the Senate

    The Tennessee Senate voted 28-1 to amend the state's sex ed curriculum by adding warnings against "gateway sexual activity." Senate Bill 3310 does not explicitly define what those activities are, but it comes in response to controversies in Nashville and Knox County schools over instruction given to high school students that mentioned alternatives to sexual intercourse.

    "'Abstinence' means from all of these activities, and we want to promote that," said state Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, the bill's sponsor. "What we do want to communicate to the kids is that the best choice is abstinence."

    The naysayers will point out that being number one in teen pregnancy is actually a bad thing, and abstinence education has a poor track record in discouraging teen sex. Opponents of the bill have also complained that "gateway sexual activity" is so ill-defined as to include hand holding, playing Barry White records, lighting candles and guitar ownership.

    But Tennessee legislators are nothing if not consistent. Whether it's introducing creationism into science classrooms or promoting a retrograde sexual health curriculum, Tennessee politicians have a single policy on rationally thinking through the consequences of their actions: abstinence only.

    Tags: Abstinence, Education, Sex, State Legislature, Tennessee
  • Tennessee Revives Scopes Case with New "Monkey Bill"

    Tennessee state capitolRemember the Scopes Monkey trial? You know, that case from way back in the '20s where a school teacher was convicted of teaching evil monkey evolution science to the good Christian children of Tennessee?

    Tennessee sure hasn't forgotten

    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced yesterday that he will "probably" sign a bill that attacks the teaching of "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" by giving broad new legal immunities to teachers who question evolution and other widely accepted scientific theories…

    Although the bill is written to seem benign, as it neither specifically authorizes the teaching of creationism nor permits teachers to do more than criticize scientific theories "in an objective matter," the practical impact of this bill will be to intimidate all but the heartiest of school administrators against disciplining teachers who preach the most outlandish junk science in their classrooms.

    Democrats like to make fun of the GOP candidates for being stuck in the '50s, but at least they're in the post-WWII era. Tennessee is currently reliving the '20s, but without all those fun speakeasies and flapper dresses.

    Between this "monkey" law and the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill, the state is really not doing itself any favors. Ironically, although the "theory" of evolution is pretty much a scientific fact at this point, the people of Tennessee are themselves pretty strong evidence against evolution.

    Tags: Education, Evolution, Laws, Science & Technology, Tennessee
  • Profiling the Personality Types of the Super Tuesday States

    When attempting to predict the outcome of a huge primary day like today, it may be useful to create personality profiles for each of the states voting. Obviously, each of the states in this union has its own unique foibles and singular peccadilloes, and each of those differences will play into the candidate they ultimately chose.

    With that in mind, I — armed with a half-completed semester of Psychology 101 — decided it fitting to profile each of the Super Tuesday states according to the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed by Dr. Carl Jung and used by psychologists and stalkers the world over. I hope you find this enlightening and helpful in your own predictions…


    ISFJ (introversion, sensing, feeling, judgment)

    Quiet, people-oriented and kind-hearted, Vermont tends to put the needs of other above those of itself, which probably goes a long way toward explaining the smell of its citizens. Those people do realize that those crystal deodorant stick-things don't actually work, don't they? And, also, come on, get a real car. Do they still even make parts for VW buses?


    ISFP (introversion, sensing, feeling, perception)

    Quiet, serious, sensitive and kind. Unless you're not like them, in which case, get out. Seriously, out. That gun on the wall is not for show. Tennessee is not interested in leading others, except maybe to the state line. This state tends to have a "Live and Let Live" attitude, just so long as you do it nowhere near them. Enjoy your life, but way over there.

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    Tags: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Primaries, Republicans, Science & Technology, Super Tuesday, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia