Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'Stealth creationism bill' may be dead for this Legislative session

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 8:13 PM

A proposal opponents call a “stealth creationism bill” failed to pass the Louisiana Senate Tuesday, June 21, potentially killing it for the session. HB580 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, would allow public school boards in Louisiana to purchase textbooks that have not been approved by the state Department of Education’s (DOE) Textbook Adoption Committee, which is required under current law. The DOE and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) are charged with making sure all textbooks used in public schools address basic Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs), which are covered on standardized tests.

Baton Rouge Magnet School senior Zack Kopplin was in the Senate Tuesday when lawmakers failed to pass HB580 but put it back on the calendar for possible reconsideration later. “From right now we think we’ve got it,” Kopplin said. To pass the bill would require a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. Supporters were seven votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill outright through the upper chamber. Lawmakers get three tries for reconsideration of the bill, but two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor of hearing it again.

“I’m not declaring a total victory yet,” Kopplin said, “but what I’m hearing is it’s unlikely to be brought up again (this session). … This is great news for Louisiana. This bill, frankly, takes away the power from BESE and gives it to people without the oversight that’s needed.”

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Ray Nagin's Katrina's Secrets: the Jon Stewart interview, and a first review

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Former mayor Ray Nagin's Katrina's Secrets will be released tomorrow, but Oren Dorell of USA Today (along with Jon Stewart) got an early look, and his review is online this morning. Well, it's more summary than review, and there's not much in there we don't already know about the book, but give it a read:

The former TV executive, now working on disaster preparedness and green energy, recalls, "I had to keep pinching myself to remind myself that we were in the United States. I never would have thought that this could have happened."

The book covers the first 30 days after the storm. The outspoken Nagin says he chose to self-publish on CreateSpace, a division of Amazon.com, after contacts with publishers left him worried about the editing process, feeling uncertain "that my voice would come out at the end of the day."

Nagin will be having a press event in New Orleans Wednesday morning to dole out copies of Katrina's Secrets. In the meantime, if you missed his interview on last night's Daily Show With Jon Stewart, here it is. Three words: hair care products.

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