Random Things that Fall Out of My Head

Frank Michels

Frank Michels
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
March 29
Frank Michels is a songwriter, musician, and producer in Nashville, Tennessee. He likes to dig in the dirt and plant flowers, cook tasty things, walk his dog, and play really fast riffs on a telecaster guitar.


Editor’s Pick
APRIL 13, 2012 8:05AM

Our Idiot Tennessee Legislators

Rate: 16 Flag


Many people in other parts of the U.S. have an image of Tennesseans as hicks. They picture us sitting on hay bales, missing a couple of teeth, and playing banjos. I have fought this impression of our wonderful state’s residents for years, arguing that Tennessee is making great strides in arts, culture, and business. But lately I’m not so sure. 


A couple of years ago, the Tennessee Legislature was taken over by Republicans, who were swept into office by voters united by the bad economy, the Tea Party, and a shared hatred of Barrack Obama. The politicians promised that jobs and the economy would be their number one priority. Then, they got busy pushing an agenda that no one asked for, including radical gun laws adopted verbatim from NRA templates, anti-gay and anti-Teacher’s Union legislation, and voter suppression laws. Lately, they’ve been concentrating on really important issues, like making sure teenagers don’t wear saggy pants, forcing teachers to teach abstinence-only sex education, and allowing gun enthusiasts to bring their weapons to work.




Now they have just passed a bill that will allow teachers to discuss alternatives to the theory of evolution, which is a Trojan Horse to allow backers of creationism to teach children biblical myths. We’re still living down the memory of the Scopes Monkey Trial, and now this has made us a laughingstock once again.


adam and eve   


Cut to the board room of a major Bio-engineering firm that is deciding where to locate their new billion dollar factory. The CEO says, “Well, we’ve narrowed it down to Tennessee and Georgia. I like Tennessee, the people there are really friendly and there is a good business climate.”  Another executive speaks up: “Yes, but Tennessee law allows them to teach creationism in their science classes. I’m afraid that their workforce will be too uneducated to understand our processes.”


Bill Haslam  

Governor Bill Haslam 

Our governor, Bill Haslam, was urged by science groups, business groups, and thousands of people who care about our state to veto the “creationism bill,” but he declined to do so. And this week, he pointedly criticized the news media for covering what he called “the craziest political issues.” Talk about shooting the messenger. If the legislature is going to keep proposing stupid laws, then the news media has an obligation to point out just how stupid they are, and I’m happy that they are doing it. 

Even if it does make Tennesseans look like a bunch of hicks.




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Well maybe this will move Ten-nes-see up the must see list vor vacation spots this summer, Not! Great Post.
FOR! I say For! I'm all for staying away!
A stupid step backwards. Civil war coming again?
there is more than enough crazy out there that Tennessee really does not stand out
As a person born in north Georgia, I was always thankful for the complete idiotic folks in Tennessee and Alabama.
At least Georgia has a separate set of lunatics to rule.
Does not make them any more sane, however...
I am a native of Georgia, but have lived in TN for many years. I am horrified by this decision....but you know there is Alabama, Mississippi and Texas....they can be pretty backwards as well. Oh, and my, Georgia has been pretty awful, too. Will someone please find a state out of the south with equal stupidity????
I always thought that was what Sunday school is far. But Tennessee legislators believe in revisionist history too.

Your pictures are hilarious!
Excellent story.

Maybe you need to take a trip north? It's slightly less crazy here, although everyone thinks everyone in Minnesota is either Scandinavian or speaks with a pronounced "Fargo" accent while ice fishing.
can one ask ,what is wrong with expressimg an opposing view?

there are those who believe we came from a lower life form and those who believe an almighty created us.

the author apparently wants to believe there is no room for opposing views.

as to his analogy about a hi-tech company wanting to move to Tenn and this preventing them from doing so. belive me they are only looking for the best tax abatement and if they need einsteins they will bring them with them.

personally i would rather see the melungins working on the assembly line at volkswagen knocking down $16.00 per hour plus benefits
I refuse to make any jokes about inbreeding hillbillies.
There was a recent poll I read of best liked to worst liked states. Tennessee was I think the 3rd most liked and the least liked (or most hated) was California.

So I wouldn't worry about the negative side effects of a law that just tries to protect teachers if they want to allow some balance or freedom of speech and thought in the classroom. For every person that sees it as a sign that your state is backwards there will probably be some one like me who is more impressed with a state that has people willing to stand up against something they don't believe in. And don't forget, if evolution is such a clear cut, slam-dunk case, what's to fear? The teacher will ask "does anyone want to discuss alternate theories?" and you'll just get chuckles, right? Because it's as obvious as our earth is round?

There are plenty of intelligent people that have lots of problems with evolutionary theory, and it takes courage to express them.
@ Retablo,

What poll was that you were referring to? LOL
The South is such an amazing place.

Where else do you get a culture of near total backwardness, blind religious faith and latent race hatred on one hand; and people like Mark Twain, Wm. Faulkner, Harper Lee, Tennessee Williams, Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Rice, Katherine Ann Porter and dozens of other prolific (and famous) writers on the other.

"The South" is an subject about which many gifted artists had found fertile ground and will continue writing about for years to come. It is the ultimate American paradox, IMHO.
The first time I drove through Tennessee on our way to my Air Force dads new assignment in Montgomery Alabama the thing that struck me most were all the stands selling fireworks everywhere! It's beautiful country but I am sorry to say I never spent much time there except to see it as we drove back and forth through Nashville on trips between Alabama and Michigan when going to school.

But I do love the reaction of your governor: At some level these right wingers realize they are backward and a little bit "crazy" but they just can't help themselves and resent anyone who holds a mirror to them, which is why they tend to hang out in packs and congregate around the radio when Rush Limbaugh is on or keep the TV channel permanently tuned to Fox.
At least this takes the media attention away from Wisconsin's politicians for awhile. Thank you. (Gotta run. My cow is mooing.)
I live in South Carolina. I feel ya.
That's a great point there with the CEO decision considerations to expand into Tennessee or Georgia based how that particular creationism bill would impact the education of future employees. I have not seen that used as a an argument before. But it makes so much sense.

I am still consistently amazed at the judgments some of our leaders/legislators make against science then in their next breath defend creationism. Makes one wonder if they were ever educated in the scientific method during their school years.
@ Retablo> I'd say an interesting follow up survey would ask whether or not the respondants have ever lived or been to those states they love or hate. I know many places are overly-romanticized, so to speak, which tends to change significantly once they live there.

Might be an interesting comparison to make with the survey you mentioned.
It's the same as life in Kansas. The entire world gets a whiff every time Topeka raises a stench.
Liberal Commie! Evolution is a hoax like global warming, gravity and that "round earth" nonsense!

Your local officials are right to fight the dangers of this science stuff! No good has ever come fron science! It must be stopped!
They are idiots. The depressing part is this idea that it's even remotely okay in any form to teach a religious belief as science. It's not. Creationism is a religious belief. It isn't constitutional to teach it, unless you're planning to make all other creation myths available for teaching. I'm looking forward to Scientology Day at school then.

The 'other viewpoints' argument just depresses me. Science is not religion. It is not based on a belief system. It's a system for categorizing and codifying things. If you want your kid exposed to 'other viewpoints,' you can certainly feed them the line that Satan just put them there dinosaurs there to fool everyone. But, do it at home. Sigh.
The old saying, "Whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad" still has excellent value.
No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
H. L. Mencken
I think that alternative ways of thinking should be presented, even if many thing it is invalid. This is called 'thinking'. So, it doesn't bother me that evolution or creationism is taught, as long as they present both in a non-biased way. Teachers, believe it or not, do this every day in college and people don't say bunk about it... but somehow when it's in high school everyone gets their panties in a bunch.
I disagree. Students hear about 'alternate' views to science all the time here. It's called CHURCH. It happens in Sunday usually and Wednesday night.

Unless, as I said earlier, you're all about your kids learning about other creation myths, too. In a class called "Creation Myths." I think Scientology Day, when we learn about Xenu and how he came to Earth long ago, will be an interesting day.

Creationism is not an alternate to science. It is something else entirely divorced from science. It's called religion. Perhaps you've heard of it ...
guess they were just warming up- now teachers must teach that "hand-holding" is a gateway to sex but they can be sued if they actually demonstrate "hand-holding". And yet this is not so ridiculous that many other politicians make a very good living pondering other matters of similar importance
And yet... each Sunday night Mrs Bee and I watch "The Amazing Race" and root for two unabashed Tennessee hillbillies, Bopper and Mark, as they compete with younger, fitter and better educated people from other parts of the US. Weird old world, ain't it?
Yes, and last I looked, Tennessee was dead last in percentage of college graduates. Tennessee is also dead last in respect for education-- I wish it were otherwise but it's not. Those of us who live here -- yeah, yeah, I wasn't born here -- know the truth about Tennessee and education, and it's beyond ugly -- it's plum pitiful.

Speaking of plums, those at the top of the food chain may get a real education at UT or Vanderbilt or elsewhere, but those at or near the bottom -- and increasingly those in the middle -- get -- well, trickled on. Those at the top of the food chain are happy to see the rest remain poor and ignorant -- it makes it easier to get elected.
There's no need to besmirch us hicks, not all of us are idiots. Politicians do what their owners want and this seems to be the fate of Tennessee. A damn shame too. Just in case that biotech firm is looking, up here is Southern Illinois we don't teach creation at the public schools. Most of us are fairly well educated and out of work not to mention the fact that almost any town you look at will have an empty factory or two and a sweetheart deal for opening one.
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