What if they wouldn’t sell cars to uppity blacks, Jews, and women?

A Ford dealership is taking a novel approach to advertising: by telling a small subset of their potential customer base to shut up.

But did you know that 86% of Americans say they believe in God? Since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians, who believe in God, we at Keiffe & Sons Ford wonder why we don’t tell the other 14% to sit down and shut up. I guess maybe I just offended 14% of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case then I say that’s tough, this is America folks, it’s called free speech. None of us at Keiffe & Sons Ford are afraid to speak out. Keiffe & Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond, if we don’t see you today, by the grace of God, we’ll be here tomorrow.

One sad thing about that is that it is probably effective, and I would be unsurprised if the ad is doing well for them. The dealership is in a conservative part of California (Mojave), and I suspect the area has fewer than 14% in the group they’ve just kicked to the curb. In addition, the ad probably simply reinforces in-group loyalty for the dominant Christian audience.

Oh, well. There’s not much we can do, except boycott Kieffe and Sons Ford, and heck, boycott Ford altogether — Ford seems unconcerned about the fact that one of their dealerships is using bigotry to sell cars. You could also write to Kieffe and Sons, although they’ve already announced that they don’t give a damn about your opinion. If you do write, though, be polite.

I know we’re going to be in the market for a new car in the next few years. It won’t be a Ford. There was no risk that I’d be going to Mojave, California to pick it up, though.

An upcoming Tangled Bank, and a revamp


First and most importantly, there will be a new edition of the Tangled Bank on Wednesday, at Ars Technica — send pzmyers@gmail.com entries soon!

The other issue is that my lab server which hosts the old Tangled Bank page is experiencing some technical difficulties, which I’m not going to have an opportunity to patch up in the near future … but what I have done is put together a brand new, cleaner, simpler Tangled Bank page here on Scienceblogs, with all the past links in a tidy list, along with all the upcoming editions (we’ve got hosts lined up through the end of August: email me if you want to get on the roster).

Gerobatrachus hottoni

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

It’s another transitional form, this time an amphibian from the Permian that shares characteristics of both frogs and salamanders — in life, it would have looked like a short-tailed, wide-headed salamander with frog-like ears, which is why it’s being called a “frogamander”.

Complete specimen in ventral view, photograph (left) and interpretive outline drawing (right). Abbreviations: bc, basale commune; cl, cleithrum; cv, clavicle; dm, digital elements of the manus; dt3, distal tarsal 3; fe, femur; h, humerus; ic, intercentrum; il, ilium; is, ischium; op, olecranon process of ulna; pc, pleurocentrum; r, radius; sr, sacral rib.

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A busy few weeks

Hey, classes are over … aren’t I supposed to be lazing in a hammock, slacking off until September? Instead, it looks like I’m going to be prepping and giving lectures for the next couple of weeks. Here’s the schedule:

  • On 28-30 May, I’ll be attending IEDG 2008: Integrating Evolution, Development, and Genomics at Berkeley. Look at the schedule on this thing: there are some phenomenal speakers at this meeting, and I’m really looking forward to several days of solid science. I’m giving the last talk of the last day at this event.

  • On 2 June, at 7:00 pm, I’ll be doing a public lecture/discussion at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle for the Northwest Science Writers Association. Science writers are wonderful people, so I’ll be looking forward to meeting this bunch.

  • On 6 June, at 6:30 pm, I’l be speaking to the Seattle Society for Sensible Explanations. Seating is limited, so you’ll need to RSVP soon. A skeptics group in Seattle? Where were these people when I lived there?

I hope to see some of you there at this little tour. Later this summer I’ll be in Las Vegas, Denver, and Atlanta, too — I’m not exactly vacationing this year.

Fire Don McLeroy

Don McLeroy is the deranged creationist dentist who was appointed to the chairmanship of the Texas State Board of Education, and who is responsible for the recent purge and intimidation of people who support good biology — he’s trouble all the way through. Take a look at his latest stunt.

The State Board of Education’s debate on new English and reading standards took another rowdy turn Friday as members approved a never-before-seen version of the lengthy document which materialized less than an hour before the board was to take a final vote.

After a wacky and terse debate on the new curriculum, the board voted 9-6 in favor of the new version, which will remain in place for the next decade and sets standards for state tests and textbooks, as well as classroom teaching.

Experts and teachers have been working on the new curriculum standards for two and a half years.

“I find it’s really wild that we can work for three years on a project and then the board is so qualified they can pull it out of their hat overnight,” said board member Pat Hardy, a Fort Worth Republican who, like other board members, received the substituted document when it was slipped under her hotel door less than an hour before their meeting was set to convene Friday morning.

Some social conservatives on the board prepared the latest version overnight.

This is similar to what our former education commissioner for Minnesota, Cheri Yecke, tried to pull — she tried to swap in a ‘minority report’ for the state science standards that was composed behind the back of the official committee … only McLeroy has outdone her by an order of magnitude or so. Why even bring in qualified educators and scientists to do the hard work of a standards committee if you’re just going to throw their work away and replace it with some hack job done by ideologues overnight? And to give it to them for review an hour before the meeting is just plain insulting.

This is for the English standards. What kind of circus are we going to see in response to the upcoming science standards?

At least one board of education member is calling for McLeroy’s ejection, although it sounds like she doesn’t expect anything to come of it. This is what we can expect of creationist conservatives: a dictatorship of the incompetent.

A weird poll to crash

There’s a whole site dedicated to polling visitors on one question: Do you believe in God?. Just as it is, it’s a testimonial to the worthlessness of internet polls (100% of the residents of Saint Lucia are atheists! n=1), so it seems superfluous to send the Atheist Legion in, but hey, go ahead, push this poll towards more disbelief. As a special bonus, if you come from a small country you’ll be able to wield greater unrepresentative power!