If you're poor in Jackson, MS and you get a fine that you can't pay, the City of Jackson will sentence you to a "pay or stay" forced labor farm where you will work off your debts at $58/day literally shoveling shit; the alternative is to sit in an overcrowded, jail notorious for its violent guards and filthy conditions and pay down your fines at $25/day.
Read the rest
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 Official Summer of Code!
We've selected 3 states -- Georgia, Idaho, and Mississippi -- and are raising funds
to have the Official Legal Codes sent down to the Internet Archive to be scanned and made
available to all. Your tax-deductible contribution can help make the law available to
the people! Find out more at: YesWeScan.Org/
Read the rest
A bill introduced in the Missouri legislature by Rick Brattin is a genuinely bizarre attempt to cram religion into the state's science curriculum. In what must have seen to Mr Brattin as a very clever move, the bill redefines what science is to include religion ("'Scientific theory,' an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy.") (emphasis mine). The bill just gets weirder from there.
If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth's biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course.
In other words, equal time for the leading scientific idea and intelligent design, but never mention who the designer might be. And not just equal time, but equal pages; the bill literally mandates that "course textbooks contain approximately an equal number of pages of relevant material teaching each viewpoint." Brattin is at least aware no textbooks actually have anything on "biological intelligent design," so he wants the state to identify "nine individuals who are knowledgeable of science and intelligent design" to create supplementary materials for use until the textbook publishers get in line.
It's just a bill, not a law, but as John Timmer points out, bills that are very nearly this stupid have already passed in Louisiana and Tennessee. Read the rest