Tennessee Supreme Court considers lines on traffic stops
Moral panic on “Fox & Friends”: Tennessee schools are actively indoctrinating 7th graders into Islam
"I consider the book pornographic," Jackie Sims told WBIR-Knoxville. "There's so many ways to say things without being graphic in nature, and that's the problem I have with the book."
The book, by science writer Rebecca Skloot, details the true story of a poor black tobacco farmer whose cervical cancer cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951. The cells, which scientists referred to as HeLa, went on to become a vital tool in medicine, helping to develop the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization and other major scientific breakthroughs. The book was published in 2011 and has won numerous awards from medical and scientific organizations.
Despite the book's success, Sims thinks it should be told in a "different way."
Other parents in the district worry that this one mother's objection to the book will threaten the experience for all the students. "To try and stop the book from being read by all students is, to me, a modern-day kind of book burning," Shelly Higgins, the parent of an eighth-grader, told the local television station. "My major point is: Don't take that opportunity away from all students."
Knoxville school district officials said they place a lot of weight on teachers' judgment in selecting books, as long as they fit within the district's guidelines.
"We feel very strongly that teachers and administrators will make the best instructional decisions for their school communities," Millicent Smith, the district's executive director of curriculum, told WBIR-Knoxville.
The anti-censorship group Kids' Right to Read Project said that book banning has been on the rise since 2012, and cited 49 book-banning incidents in 2013 -- a 53 percent rise over 2012. TheAmerican Library Association says that 311 challenges were filed in 2014 against a variety of books. LINK
Tennessee Supreme Court considers lines on traffic stopsJust how many times do drivers have to cross road lines before police can stop them for a traffic violation?
Two cases going before the Tennessee Supreme Court this month pose that question. The justices could clarify a gray area of the law where the rules are not well defined and past court decisions are all over the map. Their ruling could limit or expand police powers to make traffic stops.
As one driver's attorney put it in a court filing, this case could "essentially give law enforcement authorities seemingly unfettered discretion to seize innocent drivers upon roadways in Tennessee."
Both cases involve drivers who were stopped by police after crossing road lines only once and for a brief amount of time. The cases are from Williamson and Knox counties.
Each driver was charged with DUI. In each case, county judges said the single line crossing was enough for police to make the stop for not staying within a lane. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the county judges.
But other high-profile cases have been dismissed by judges who say a single line crossing was not enough to justify the stop. Those cases include the dismissal of DUI charges against former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair in 2004 and against state Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, earlier this year.
Those rulings are based on a case known as State v. Binette, said Rob McKinney, a DUI defense lawyer in Nashville. In that 2000 case out of Chattanooga, the state Supreme Court said it was impossible to drive a car in a straight line and that touching a road line a couple of times is not a violation, McKinney said. LINK
Trial of Tenn. Man Accused of Planning Mosque Attack DelayedA federal judge has delayed the trial of a Tennessee man accused of planning an attack on a mosque in New York as authorities and attorneys review information gathered from the man's computer and a wiretap.
U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier signed an order pushing back the trial of 63-year-old Robert Doggart from Sept. 21 to Jan. 19 in Chattanooga. That move came after lawyers representing both Doggart and the government filed a joint motion asking for the delay.
Doggart, who ran last year for Congress in east Tennessee, is out on bond on a charge that he plotted an attack on "Islamberg," a self-named mostly Muslim community near Hancock, New York. He has pleaded not guilty.
In their motion filed Aug. 25, attorneys said the FBI needs more time to analyze some 800 gigabytes of information contained in the hard drive of a computer seized from Doggart's home.
"While certainly not all of that information will be relevant, it will require a lengthy review to comb through that material by the government," the motion said.
Doggart's attorneys also need more time to thoroughly review contents of a wiretap and "the information received from various search warrants" before trial, the motion said.
Muslim groups have called for Doggart to be charged with a hate crime and have protested a magistrate judge's ruling allowing Doggart to be released from jail as he awaits trial, claiming he is a threat to Muslims. LINK
Moral panic on “Fox & Friends”: Tennessee schools are actively indoctrinating 7th graders into Islam
On “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, concerned parent Brandee Portfield spoke to co-host Steve Doocy about an assignment her seventh-grade daughter had to complete in a world history class that required her to write the words “Allah is the only God” and “Muhammad is his prophet,” which to her “seems like it’s indoctrination.”
Why it seemed like that to Porterfield is more than a little perplexing, given that early in the interview, she provided the context for her daughter having to write those words. “They did this assignment where they wrote out the Five Pillars of Islam,” she said, “including having the children learn and write the Shahada, which is the Islamic conversion creed.”
Porterfield further complained that the schools are not treating Christianity or Judaism in similar detail — mostly likely because they assume students are aware of the tenets of these faiths. “They don’t study any other religions to this extent,” she said. “It is the state sponsoring religion in schools. They’re not going over anything else. For the students to have to memorize this prayer, it does seem like it’s indoctrination.”
Given that the central tenets of Christianity won’t be studied at great length — which would be a waste of class-time, the equivalent of teaching literate seventh-graders the alphabet song — the only real issue here is the insistence of equal time. So even though students live every day in a Christian culture in which symbols of Christianity cannot be avoided and invocations of Jesus’ name are commonplace, if they’re not present in the classroom in equal measure, the school is “indoctrinating” students into other faiths.
Which, given the world history schedule Porterfield consulted, would mean that Tennessee will be “indoctrinating” students into Hinduism and Buddhism in the coming months. Of course, the school is doing nothing of the sort, as Maury County Director of Schools Chris Marczak made plain in a statement:
For this last section on the Islamic World this past week, our educators had students complete an assignment that had an emphasis on Islamic Faith. The assignment covered some sensitive topics that are of importance to Islamic religion and caused some confusion around whether we are asking students to believe in or simply understand the religion.Marczak was being charitable when he said the assignment “caused some confusion around whether we’re asking to students to believe,” because the school clearly wasn’t — but claiming otherwise on “Fox & Friends” is one means of encouraging other schools to put the breaks on lesson plans that help students “simply understand the religion.” What it says about the faithful that they believe their children must remain ignorant of other religions in order to remain true to their own, however, is another matter entirely. LINK
17 Democrats Ran For President in 1976. Can Today's GOP Learn Anything From What Happened?
Wiith 17 candidates in the race to become the Republican presidential nominee, many have mused that the contest looks more like a Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Baily circus than an orderly competition to decide who will govern the nation. Conservatives worry the unruly competition will undermine the capacity of any person to unite the party and win the general election. “We’re in a danger zone,” one Republican establishment figure complained. “What we’ve got … is a confederation of a lot of candidates who aren’t standing out.”
Yet Republicans can find solace in the history the 1976 election, when approximately 17 Democrats, most current and former elected officials, competed to succeed President Gerald Ford. Despite a fractious and crowded primary battle filled with unexpected twists and turns, one candidate was eventually able to unite the party, and the Democrats took the White House in November.
1976 was a volatile moment of distrust and frustration in the electorate. A shocked nation had watched their president literally fly away from Washington in total disgrace after the Watergate scandal. The economy was in disarray as the middle class faced a double whammy of inflation and stagnation. Everything seemed to be going wrong; the status quo was terrible.
Republican President Gerald Ford, a former congressman who had been appointed as vice president by President Richard Nixon when Spiro Agnew resigned and then took over the presidency when Nixon stepped down, was vulnerable. Ford had stumbled through his short presidency and faced a challenge from Ronald Reagan, and actor and the former governor of California who attracted strong support from the growing grass roots conservative movement.
Democrats didn’t have a clear frontrunner. Lyndon Johnson’s downfall and Hubert Humphrey’s failed campaign in 1968 had destroyed any hierarchy within the party. One year later, one of the strongest possible successors, Sen. Ted Kennedy, was badly damaged by his scandal at Chappaquiddick.
Meanwhile, reforms to the nomination process established new procedures for selecting delegates to the convention, severely constraining the power of party leaders (mostly middle aged white men) to influence those selections, and in turn the nominee. With the power of the party bosses broken, the conventions diminished in importance while primaries and caucuses became the main event. The reforms allowed Sen. George McGovern to win the nomination in 1972, as he appealed to constituencies who had previously had much less impact on Democratic conventions, including younger voters, women and minorities. But his defeat to Nixon knocked out yet another major figure.
And so assembled an interesting crew of senators, former governors, local political officials and even an activist, all bent on becoming the Democratic nominee. LINK
Complete unknown does no campaigning and wins Democratic primary in MS
A complete unknown who did no campaigning won the Democratic primary for governor of MS. He was the first male name on the ballot. Article in NYT compares it to Charlie Brown in TN. LINK (Link to New York Times where we can't aggregate. Thanks to Knox Views.)
Crockett Policy Institute