Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An inside look...

Today on Total Drek we continue our ongoing series "Leave me the holy fuck alone!" which, of course, was inspired by my needing to devote most of my time to another project right now.* Yet, I don't want to leave y'all in the lurch with nothing at all to do, so I have two delectable morsels of procrastination to share.

The first comes to us courtesy of the Pensacola News-Journal and is a story about the fate of our old friend, Mr. Kent Hovind.** Some of you may remember our previous mentions of Hovind in regards to his crazy creationist themepark and even crazier legal fight with... well... the citizenry of the entire damned country. Most recently, Mr. Hovind is in the news for the decision on his tax evasion prosecution:

Pensacola evangelist Kent Hovind was sentenced Friday afternoon to 10 years in prison on charges of tax fraud.

After a lengthy sentencing hearing that last 5 1/2 hours, U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers ordered Hovind also:

-- Pay $640,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

-- Pay the prosecution?s court costs of $7,078.

-- Serve three years parole once he is released from prison.


Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, was found guilty in November of 58 federal counts, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes. He faced a maximum of 288 years in prison.

Needless to say Mr. Hovind has been a very bad boy. Of course, now that he's been run to ground by federal authorities and convicted of substantial wrongdoing after years of legal battles, he's amusingly contrite:

"If it's just money the IRS wants, there are thousands of people out there who will help pay the money they want so I can go back out there and preach," Hovind said.

Well, Mr. Hovind, it was just money the IRS wanted, much like Escambia county just wanted a building permit. Strangely enough, however, after such a long fight we've moved beyond the "we want money" phase into the "we need to take punitive action against willful violation of the law" phase. Have fun with that and stop bitching- you'll probably be out in a couple of years.***

And if that isn't enough for you, check out this piece by Barbara Forrest on the Kitzmiller et al. V. Dover Area School District et al. decision. She served as a witness and has some fascinating stories to tell:

Dover’s problems actually started in 2002. Bertha Spahr, chair of Dover High School’s science department, began to encounter animosity from Dover residents toward the teaching of evolution. In January 2002, board member Alan Bonsell began pressing for the teaching of creationism. In August, a mural depicting human evolution, painted by a 1998 graduating senior and donated to the science department, disappeared from a science classroom. The four-by-sixteen-foot painting had been propped on a chalkboard tray because custodians refused to mount it on the wall. Spahr learned that the building and grounds supervisor had ordered it burned. In June 2004, board member William Buckingham, Bonsell’s co-instigator of the ID policy, told Spahr that he “gleefully watched it burn” because he disliked its portrayal of evolution. He also blocked purchase of a new science textbook that included evolution, forcing teachers to accept Pandas as a reference book in exchange for new textbooks [8]. In January 2005, science teachers refused to read the ID statement; administrators read it themselves [9]. The situation worsened. When the next school year began in September 2005, the board’s policy and ID itself were on trial in Harrisburg, PA.


Scheduled to testify the following week but delayed by Hurricane Rita, I used the extra time to prepare for my testimony and to stay current on ID activities by visiting DI’s website. On September 29, I noticed that DI had posted a transcript of an interview I had done— except that I hadn’t done it. The transcript was fake. Apparently meant (though not marked) as a parody, the organization whose self-described goal is “to support high quality scholarship . . . relevant to the question of evidence for intelligent design in nature” ridiculed me by, among other things, having fictitious radio host “Marvin Waldburger” refer to me as “Dr. Barking Forrest Ph.D.” [25] If DI thought this would unsettle me, they were ignoring the fact that I had just been through two killer hurricanes. I could only shake my head at their doing something so jaw-droppingly stupid. If they were hoping Judge Jones would see and be influenced by this silliness, it was just another sign of the disrespect for his intelligence and integrity that began before the trial and continues today (see below).

It's a fascinating account of a major court case and well-worth a read.

Good luck, have fun, and don't bother me. I'm busy.

* No, I won't tell you what it is. Stop asking.

** Or, as he likes to call himself, "Dr. Dino." I can only assume that this is because, as an academic, he most resembles a dinosaur. Which is to say "has a brain the size of a walnut."

*** I'd feel bad for laughing at someone's misfortune but, really, this isn't misfortune. It isn't that he just happened to mess up his taxes, he was deliberately violating the law. So, you know, I feel pretty free to laugh when he gets punished for it.


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