Looking for #2

I would have thought that it was a relief, a minor bit of unconcern, that Mitt Romney nominally supports evolution (he’s one of those waffly theistic evolutionists, so he doesn’t really…but at least he wouldn’t be brazenly contradicting all of the evidence). But there’s a potential problem looming: who will he pick for vice president? Who does he turn to advice on education? Ken Miller discusses the situation, and points out that his key advisor on education reform and potential VP pick is…

Bobby Jindal, creationist governor of Louisiana.

Jindal has an elite résumé. He was a biology major at my school, Brown University, and a Rhodes scholar. He knows the science, or at least he ought to. But in his rise to prominence in Louisiana, he made a bargain with the religious right and compromised science and science education for the children of his state. In fact, Jindal’s actions at one point persuaded leading scientific organizations, including the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, to cross New Orleans off their list of future meeting sites.

What did Jindal do to produce a hornet’s nest of “mad scientists,” as Times-Picayune writer James Gill described them? He signed into law, in Gill’s words, the “Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), which is named for what it is designed to destroy.” The act allows “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” to be brought into classrooms to support the “open and objective discussion” of certain “scientific theories,” including, of course, evolution. As educators who have heard such coded language before quickly realized, the act was intended to promote creationism as science. In April, Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Science at Louisiana State University, testified before the Louisiana Senate’s Education Committee that two top scientists had rejected offers to come to LSU because of the LSEA, and the school may lose more scientists in the future.

And now Jindal is poised to spend millions of dollars of state money to support the teaching of creationism in private schools.

But don’t panic! Jindal is currently just one possibility for VP, and there are plenty of other Republicans Romney might pick…like Nikki Haley, or Rick Santorum, or Michele Bachmann…

OK, panic. There’s no way we’ll be happy with anyone he chooses.


  1. says

    From what my ex-mormon nigel says, mormons are okay with evolution except for humans. Recently more mormons are becoming creationists though; church guidance isn’t strong on this (but they do hilariously deny that intersex people are born, god wouldn’t do that, you see).

    Didn’t bobby jindal fuck up really hard last time he was on the national political stage? I also thought he was strategically better to keep in office in louisiana than other potential vp picks…

    They are taking their sweet time picking someone. Maybe the think that palin wouldn’t have fucked things up so badly if she had just been picked later on and had less time to make people hate her guts.

  2. wholething says

    If Jindal gets picked as a VP running mate and loses, maybe he will quit his gubernatorial position like Palin did.

  3. raven says

    It’s almost certainly going to be a hardcore christofascist.

    1. There aren’t even many Tea Partiers that aren’t christofascist creos.

    2. He badly needs to shore up his base which is, of course, christofascists.

    Romney isn’t even a xian at least according to 1/2 of xian ministers and 3/4 of their sheep.

  4. naturalcynic says

    They are taking their sweet time picking someone. Maybe the think that palin wouldn’t have fucked things up so badly if she had just been picked later on and had less time to make people hate her guts.

    IIRC, Palin was picked just days prior to the convention. You can’t get much later than that. Maybe if she was picked earlier, she would have had more opportunity to stick her foot in her mouth and get dumped before the convention. But then the base would have been pissed because they appreciated her dumb dribbles.

  5. naturalcynic says

    Romney isn’t even a xian at least according to 1/2 of xian ministers and 3/4 of their sheep.

    He will be made an honorary Christian ‘cuz he’s running against a moozlem.

  6. ChasCPeterson says

    Jindal has an elite résumé. He was a biology major at my school, Brown University, and a Rhodes scholar.

    Gov. Jindal is also another one of the many illustrious classmates and notable fellow alumni of that prestigious Ivy League University of a certain connoisseur of fine photographic equipment who shall remain nameless.

  7. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Can we nominate our own candidates for VP?
    What do you say PZ, are you up for the challenge?

  8. says

    Interesting how the Republican powers that be apparently aren’t worried about the Democrats pulling a Birther or Jindal or Halley. Especially Jindal, who apparently wasn’t conceived in the US. There’s also the potential problem of Jindal being one of those dratted Catholics, and Halley still attending Sikh religious ceremonies, despite being a Methodist. A Mormon Pres, with a Catholic VP or a VP still connected with “idol worshippers”(or whatever weird interpretation of Sikhism they’d come up with) should be enough to get the really Christian kooky end of the party a bit fidgity, you’d think.

  9. says

    I’m still thinking it’ll be Tim Pawlenty, who has the fundie creds but not so much baggage that we know of. That’s the advantage of dropping out of the Republican primaries early–less opportunity to make a national fool out of yourself.
    I suspect the Repubs will want somebody to shut up and act dignified this time around. No winkies, no starbursts.
    Also, I think Pawlenty can at least see Canada from his house, right?

  10. says

    It really doesn’t make sense for Romney to pick Jindal. Romney already has Louisiana and surrounding states sewn up, and we don’t have that many electoral votes anyway. Jindal doesn’t represent a demographic that Mitt needs to woo; how much difference is the Hindu convert to Catholic vote going to make in this election? Jindal is not a charismatic person, either. So what exactly would Jindal bring to the ticket?

  11. Subtract Hominem says

    I think that strategically, it would make sense for the Romney campaign to look at Olympia Snowe, whose name I haven’t even heard mentioned by anyone who isn’t me. She’s:
    · not especially gaffe-prone
    · a woman
    · from the Senate, rather than another governor
    · retiring from her current seat anyway
    · generally highly-regarded by independents, moderates of both parties, and her constituents (in a “blue” state with a Republican governor and two Republican Senators)

    I’m not sure why her name doesn’t come up in these discussions. Is it because she and Romney are both New Englanders? Is it because she’s insufficiently far-right? Has she already turned the job down? Something else? More than one of the above? Ô,õ

  12. joestewart says

    Call me naive, but I don’t believe that straight-up creationism plays to anyone but the craziest part of the Rethug base, the part that’s already locked into voting Romney because he’s not Obama. It won’t play to the middle that Romney needs to win over now. He’ll pick someone boring and inoffensive that people could imagine actually being president.

  13. Ogvorbis says

    · generally highly-regarded by independents, moderates of both parties, and her constituents (in a “blue” state with a Republican governor and two Republican Senators)

    Being highly regarded among moderates, being willing to work with both parties, is, as far as I know, a disqualifier. The GOP has convinced itself that it has the only possible answer to everything and that they are doing the bidding of gods. To compromise means that you have done a deal with the devil. So I do not think Olympia Snow stands a snowball’s chance in hell of being chose.

  14. robro says

    Or Chris Christy, Condoleezza Rice, Jeb Bush, The Newt, Rand Paul, Rick “Elmer Gantry” Perry, Scott Walker…just to name a few others. Interestingly, many of them are considered dull, uncharismatic, and inexperienced…why a lot like Mitt. Who would have guessed? I can hardly wait to find out who gets the tiara. It should be the crowing achievement to his campaign.

    All of which is scary enough, except Mittens is about to restart the cold war…in Poland no less…by attacking Putin. Isn’t that nice of him. Putin is a shit, for sure, but that isn’t going to get rid of him, and Mitt is just exploiting the situation for political gain.

    Wow! I just learned that he called Jerusalem the “capital” of Israel on Sunday. That’s diplomatically very stupid, like calling Taiwan “China.”

    Perhaps he should get his special underwear a couple of sizes bigger so his brains can get some blood flow.

  15. Holms says

    What’s the big deal? His V.P. only matters if he makes it to the top job, which isn’t going to happen.

    …It isn’t going to happen. It isn’t going to happen. It isn’t going to happen. It isn’t going to happen…

  16. robro says

    If Jindal is the VP will that mean exorcisms will be covered in my health care plan?

    Oh, let’s do hope so. If Romney/Jindal were to win, we’ll need one or ten.

  17. kayden says

    He may surprise everyone and choose Condoleezza Rice. Although that would displease his hardcore, anti-choice, anti-gay supporters.

    Doesn’t matter who he chooses as far as I’m concerned.

  18. says


    I know I’m going to regret asking, but I can’t help myself. How do Mormons account for intersex people? Do they deny that intersex people exist like the creasciolists deny C14 dating? Or do they think it’s some sort of Satanic corruption?

  19. Trebuchet says

    Please, please, please, let Mitt choose Jindal. There’s a certain percentage of the base who’ll be voting only reluctantly for Romney anyhow, due to his being not exactly Christian. Jindal, being Catholic, is also not exactly Christian, and is brown and an anchor baby to boot. That will not, of course, cause any of Xian right to vote for the evil Kenyan Mooslim Atheist Socialist, but maybe at least a few of them will stay home. Or, as recently suggested, write in Jesus.

  20. yoav says

    Dear Mittens.
    Please, please, pretty please with a ribbon on top, please listen to Eugene Delgaudio and pick Chuck Norris as your running mate.

  21. moarscienceplz says

    Oh YEAH baby! I want the craziest Veep possible! The Tea Baggers are gonna do what they’re gonna do, but a real nutjob on the ticket might light a fire under the Liberals. And most importantly, the Independents who might like Mitten’s “Business Experience” (because, ya know, governing 300 million citizens and protecting their rights is JUST LIKE running a slash-and-burn hedge fund) might realize that having a dyed-in-the-wool creationist a heartbeat away from the Presidency is actually kinda bad for business.

  22. paleotrent says

    coleslaw is right. Jindal brings nothing to the ticket. Louisiana is sadly going to go for Romney anyway, given that Obama hasn’t gotten any whiter the last three years. And even if Louisiana were in play, it’s not as if we’re an electoral prize. Plus, nationwide whom does Jindal attract to the ticket? Rowdy Ayn Randers? Neocon nerds? Exorcism enthusiasts? Ivy League creationists? (the last of these is surely a small group!). My mother actually hopes he doesn’t get the Veep or a cabinet position, because despite the fact that he has seriously f^%*ed up this state, for every other job where he did the same, he was able to skate away to a new position before it became apparent just how poorly he had done. I think she has a point… so as much as I’d love for him to just go away, I agree with my mother – I want him to remain governor so he has to stew in this massive rancid cluster-f*ck that he has created.

  23. Sili says

    He may surprise everyone and choose Condoleezza Rice. Although that would displease his hardcore, anti-choice, anti-gay supporters.

    Funny how you left out raging racists.

  24. truthspeaker says

    30 July 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Wow! I just learned that he called Jerusalem the “capital” of Israel on Sunday. That’s diplomatically very stupid, like calling Taiwan “China.”

    Holy fucking shit. Do people really pay this little attention to American politics?

    Calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel may be diplomatically stupid, but politically it’s very smart. Extremely smart.

    Remember, as far as Israel is concerned, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital as Israel – it was the first country to do so. Calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel was a shout-out to Romney’s base and to the Israel lobby, one of the most powerful lobbies in American politics.

    We can laugh at Romney on the internet all we want, but that particular statement played directly to the American electorate. You sure as hell won’t hear Obama say that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel – it would be political suicide.

  25. truthspeaker says

    30 July 2012 at 7:02 pm

    He may surprise everyone and choose Condoleezza Rice.

    Rumor has it she’s not interested.

    Rice as a running mate would be a gift to the Obama campaign. Here’s a woman who lied right to Congress about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and who thought a memo saying “Al Qaeda determined to carry out an attack inside the United States” was a “historical document”.

    Unfortunately, given the way Democrats in the Senate bowed and scraped to her during her confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, I suspect it’s a gift the Obama campaign would return unopened.

  26. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    30 July 2012 at 6:04 pm
    Please take Nikki Haley away.

    If only it really was taking her away. It wouldn’t be.

  27. DLC says

    If Romney were anything of intelligent, He would pick someone like Ohio gov. John Kasich, or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Both states went to Obama/Biden in 2008,and both are considered to be battleground states now. Would either choice really help him ?
    I don’t know. If the real political territory matches my perception of things, I think Obama will win handily. If the people are more polarized than I believe, then Romney could still win in a “too close to call” ending. On the other hand, I can’t tell what the outcome of all the new “James Crowe, Esquire”* laws will have on minority turnout.

    *newer and fancier Jim Crow laws.

  28. renemaggio says

    Bobby Jindal sucks balls. Please take him off our hands. Thank you. Louisiana.

  29. Francisco Bacopa says

    Harman Cain is still out there. Why not? Condi is a bad choice. It would be easy to say she was responsible for 9/11 by not reading her briefings and not listening to Clark about Osama. I must point out that Obama has the hawk position. Osama is dead GM is alive. Republicans have proven they can neither prevent terrorist attacks, nor retaliate against them.

  30. cyberCMDR says

    He needs someone with credibility, and he probably won’t pick a woman just because Palin will echo in people’s minds for a while. What about Colin Powell?

  31. Ragutis says

    30 July 2012 at 11:30 pm

    He needs someone with credibility, and he probably won’t pick a woman just because Palin will echo in people’s minds for a while. What about Colin Powell?

    While, AFAIK, Colin Powell still considers himself a Republican, I suspect he wants little, if not nothing, to do with the party or politics.

    Plus, he endorsed Obama in 2008.

    My guess is it’ll either be Walker or Pawlenty. Maybe Rubio. Maybe maybe Scott. I doubt many notable names want to be on the ticket even if Romney asked. Partly because many don’t like him, and partly because they think it likely Obama will win again and they’d rather prepare for a shot in 2016 than be embarrassed this year.

  32. madbull says

    lol India had so many lousy politicians, we exporter Jindal and Haley to USA.

  33. truthspeaker says

    Pawlenty would be a good strategic choice. He’s bland, comes across as moderate, and people outside Minnesota don’t know what a douche he is. He wouldn’t help Romney win Minnesota, though.

  34. philipelliott says

    I hope he does pick Jindal. At the very least, that will be a death-knell to the Romney campaign. Worst possible outcome is that Jindal is no longer Governor, and in a useless job.

  35. baal says

    I’m with #39 – TPAW!!!!! WHOOOOO!!!

    It was difficult to type that. Tim Pawlenty is so incredibly (and intentionally) boring that he’s the only one who can make Mittens the least bit interesting. The deathly dull duo would make the tea party happy but the swing voters would leave in droves (and the dems need that to balance out vote suppression efforts and judicial tie breaking(bush v gore)).

  36. says

    I posted this some time ago in The Endless Thread, but I think it’s worth taking another look. Romney’s plans for education unfortunately sync fairly well will that Jindal has already done in Louisiana.

    A lot of educators have been bemoaning Mitt Romney’s plans for dealing with education after a few billionaires buy the presidency for him, but Diane Ravitch presented the most succinct evaluation in The New York Review.
    Excerpts below:

    On May 23, the Romney campaign released its education policy white paper titled “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education.”…

    … subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school; encouraging the private sector to operate schools; putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program; holding teachers and schools accountable for students’ test scores; and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers….

    Romney offers full-throated support for using taxpayer money to pay for private school vouchers … privately managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools. … He takes a strong stand against certification of teachers… He believes that class size does not matter (although it apparently mattered to him when he chose a school with small classes for his own children). Romney claims that school choice is “the civil-rights issue of our era,” a familiar theme among the current crop of education reformers, who now use it to advance their efforts to privatize public education….

    Romney exaggerates the evidence; indeed, some of his claims are simply false. [This note inserted by Lynna: Romney lies. And no one but NYR is calling him on it.] He points to the D.C. voucher program … as “a model for the nation.” He recently asserted that “after three months, students could already read at levels nineteen months ahead of their public school peers.”

    This is flatly wrong. A congressionally mandated evaluation of the D.C. program found that students with vouchers made no gains in either reading or math. As the report stated, “There is no conclusive evidence that the OSP [Opportunity Scholarship Program] affected student achievement.”…

    Romney’s plan … is animated by a reverence for the private sector…Romney’s proposal for private school vouchers is red meat for the right-wing base of the Republican Party, especially evangelicals….As a general rule, the public does not want public money to support religious schools…

    Another school [in Louisiana], the Eternity Christian Academy, which currently has fourteen students, has agreed to take in 135 voucher students. [This note inserted by Lynna: Details are from Bobby Jindal’s education reform legislation that follows the Romney model –Louisiana enacted the reform law in April, 2012.] According to a recent Reuters article students in this school “sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains “what God made” on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

    …Some of the other schools that have been approved to receive state-funded vouchers “use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution.”…

    In the vision presented by MItt Romney, public dollars would flow to schools that teach creationism. Anyone could teach, without passing any test of their knowledge and skills and without professional preparation. Teachers could be fired for any reason…


    I really wish that the New York Review of Books would make the entire article by Diane Ravitch available to the public. You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing.

  37. says

    Mormons and evolution. Sigh. As with most things that require thought and are reality-based, mormons want to have it both ways when it comes to evolution. Most of them would dearly love to be creationists, especially when it comes to the human race, but they know that won’t fly in the real world, so they look for ways to obfuscate, to say they agree with scientists but that scientists don’t know everything, to do some creative pole dancing around the iron rod that is the Book of Mormon, and, above all else, to maintain deniability when it comes to pronouncements by the Prophet.

    Occasionally, the mormon General Authorities are let out in public where they say what they actually think. As does Apostle Russell M. Nelson in this speech given in April of 2012 — the anti-science is presented at about 28:30. I don’t know if you can survive if you watch up to that point.

    Nelson spends a lot time detailing the divine provenance of everything associated with the human body, including eyes, the ability to reproduce, and healing by virtue of obedience to divine law.

    He segues into a discussion of the Big Bang (with much supportive laughter from the audience) at about 35:50. Elder Nelson’s speech clearly refutes evolution, and then goes one step further to misunderstand Big Bang Theory.


    Our heavenly father loves his children. He has blessed each with physical and spiritual gifts. Let me speak of each. When you sing, “I am a child of god,” think of his gift to you of your own physical body. The many amazing attributes of your body attest to your own divine nature. Each organ of your body is a wondrous gift from god. Each eye has an auto-focusing lens. Nerves and muscles control two eyes to make a single three-dimensional image. [pause for smug smile]

    The eyes are connected to the brain, which records the sights seen.

    Your heart is an incredible pump. It has four delicate valves that control the direction of blood flow. These valves open and close more than one hundred thousand times a day, thirty six million times a year. Yet, unless altered by disease, they’re able to withstand such stress almost indefinitely.

    Think of the body’s defense system. To protect it from harm, it perceives pain. In response to infection it generates antibodies. The skin provides protection. It warns against injury that excessive heat or cold might cause.

    The body renews its own outdated cells and regulates the levels of its own vital ingredients. The body heals its cuts, bruises and broken bones. It’s capacity for reproduction is another sacred gift from god. [hard, prolonged blink, accompanied by compression of the lips and body language signaling discomfort with the very idea of sex]

    Be we reminded that a perfect body is not required to achieve one’s divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail or imperfect bodies. Great spiritual strength is often developed by people with physical challenges precisely because they are so challenged.

    Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely seen god moving in his majesty and power. Because the body is governed by divine law, any healing comes by obedience to the law on which that blessing is predicated.

    Yet, some people erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes happen by chance, or resulted from a “Big Bang” somewhere. [dismissive sneer, laughter from audience] Ask yourself, “Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?” [longer laughter, bigger sneer]

    The likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer additions.

    If the body’s capacity for normal function, defense, repair, regulation and regeneration were to prevail without limit life here would continue in perpetuity. Yes, we would be stranded here on earth. Mercifully for us, our creator provided for aging and other processes that would ultimately result in our physical death. Death, like birth, is part of life. Scripture teaches that it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness. To return to god through the gateway we call death is a joy for those who love him and are prepared to meet him.

  38. says

    More Mormon Moments of Madness that cannot be denied because they have been preserved. This looks like an official stance on evolution:

    It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declared that Adam was “the first man of all men” (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our Heavenly Father.

    Signed by The First Presidency in 1909 and republished in 2002

    Here is Steve Benson’s tale of leaving the mormon church. His research on the Mormon Church’s official position on the theory of organic evolution is recounted in detail, including interviews with mormon high-and-mighty apostles. http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon173.htm

  39. truthspeaker says

    Pawlenty does have the Republican economic program down pat: borrow a shitload of money to give the illusion of prosperity, make sure the bills don’t come due until after your term ends, then blame the ensuing budget shortfall on Democrats and use it as an excuse to cut spending.

  40. says


    Pawlenty does have the Republican economic program down pat: borrow a shitload of money to give the illusion of prosperity, make sure the bills don’t come due until after your term ends…

    Right. Playing somewhat the same tune, Romney’s “rescue” of the 2002 Olympics required more taxpayer money than the seven previous U.S.-based Olympics combined. Romney and his team just buried the taxpayer-money story and highlighted instead the Romney-to-the-rescue-on-his-white-horse story.

    You will note that Romney did not really use his supposed skills as a businessman to rescue the Olympics. Unless you count sucking money out of the federal government as a business skill. And even then you’d have to take into account the amount of taxpayer money that went to mormon cronies, cronies who provided services or goods at inflated prices.


  41. says

    Paul Ryan has been mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential pick. An article in The New Yorker might make one pause before seconding that opinion. Excerpt below.

    In a 2005 speech to a group of Rand devotees called the Atlas Society, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told the group. “The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” To me he was careful to point out that he rejects Rand’s atheism.

  42. says

    Does it normally take this long to pick a running mate, or is he just having trouble with giving an American a job for a change?