10 July 2011


MARRIAGE & SLAVERY. Something of a tempest was stirred up this week when a conservative group, The Family Leader, successfully suckered a number of political candidates, including Michele Bachmann (see image above), into signing a pledge called "The Marriage Vow" in exchange for the group's endorsement of the candidate. Bachman was the first presidential candidate to take the bait. But oops, it turns out that the group is egregiously racist, homophobic, and religiously intolerant ~ the preamble in the pledge included in its first bullet point the claim that the institution of marriage is in crisis, and offered as evidence the claim that a black person born into slavery "was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American president."

Never mind that slaves were forbidden to marry, or that many black families were sundered when members were sold to different owners. But then, this isn't the first time that conservatives have re-written history in order to further their cause. Bachman, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and just about every Republican presidential candidate has been afflicted with foot-in-mouth disease by his/her own specious fantasies. It's not like we don't already have real and pressing issues to solve, without manufacturing phony claims out of thin air.

When challenged by liberals and news commenters, the group backed off, but not very convincingly. A spokeswoman said in a note to the Bachman campaign that "we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued (her word) .... We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this may have caused." Misconstrued? Negative feelings? How about admitting that you outright lied, and got caught? Saying "I'm so sorry your feelings were hurt" is not the same as saying "I was wrong." Very sad.

STUDENT CREATIVITY. Here's a question ~ "How can students develop their job-creating, innovation-oriented talents if our education system remains centered on knowing and applying information instead of teaching creative, big-picture thinking?" Stanford professor David M. Kelley believes that it's never too late to rediscover one's right-brain abilities. In a provocative interview, Kelley explains how, with the right encouragement, one's creative, inventive talents can re-emerge. The video is just over four minutes long and worth watching, regardless of one's age.

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