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UPDATE: Wednesday round-up ... Ron Paul coming to State Capitol; Kern wants "academic freedom"

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It’s practically spring-like here in Oklahoma City on this bright Wednesday morning. We are loving this great weather.

As you file your income taxes this spring, did you know that “nearly half of all Americans don’t pay income taxes”? Shocking, eh?

If you're not sure about Agenda 21, something the Tea Party has been digging into - including the Norman Tea Party - check out this article and video from via our friends at the Intel Hub.

The fourth of the main Republican presidential candidates, Ron Paul, will be in Oklahoma City this Saturday. And there has been a change of venue – rather than the House Chambers, as we previously reported, the campaign rally will be held on the north steps of the State Capitol, according to organizer Lukus Collins.

Meanwhile, the state legislature marches on. We noticed Peter J. Rudy’s article at Oklahoma Watchdog yesterday noting that State Rep. Danny Morgan (D-Prague) wants Oklahoma to be the 20th state to “allow citizens to petition for recall elections.” Morgan told Rudy that “he’s heard from his constituents that they would like the ability to recall officials.” Two states bordering Oklahoma – Colorado and Kansas – already have such laws on the books. Oklahoma should follow suit.

Meanwhile, State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) is back with her "Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act", HB 1551. It was heard yesterday in the House Common Education Committee and accepted with a 9-7 vote. The vote is flipped from a year ago when it was heard in the same committee and the vote was 9-7 against. From there it will head to the House floor for a vote and needs to be voted on by March 15th to be heard by the Senate. (*NOTE: Oklahoma Watchdog has informed us that State Rep. Gus Blackwell has taken over and is lead author on Kern's bill, as noted here. Here is Blackwell's version of HB 1551).

As The Oklahoman reported today, the measure would “allow teachers the freedom to teach without fear of losing their jobs and to teach various scientific theories.” Kern emphasized that it’s not a religious bill and “not intended to bring religious beliefs, such as creationism, into the classroom.”

Of course, the rigid National Center for Science Education, the group that defends the teaching of evolution and climate science, is upset. But in reading Kern’s bill, it seems fairly open-minded, especially where it states: “The intent of the provisions of the act is to create an environment in which both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the facts and observations of science, and the assumptions that underlie their interpretation.”

So, it’s a bill about kids thinking critically, eh? Red Dirt Report wholeheartedly supports critical thinking and discussing controversial subjects. We specialize in that here. While there is a lot we disagree with Kern on, if the bill is to “help students develop critical thinking skills they need in order to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically-informed citizens,” then we support it. We know that if you dare question the current scientific orthodoxy of the day, you will be ostracized. Despite the appalling “Climategate” controversy that messily exploded in 2009, there are still plenty of people who are obsessed with man-made global warming. Just look at this recent article in The (London) Guardian with the headline “The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice past 10 years, study shows.” So, under Kern’s bill, teacher and students could openly discuss and challenge a story like that in the classroom – and it’s in a mainstream international newspaper. Again, that’s a good thing.

Copyright 2012 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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