The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NAGPRA: Threat or Menace?

2011 06 07 update: here's the form-mail response I got from Debbie Stabenow's office, missing the point by a mile and a half.  Tip: don't use one of the pre-canned "topics" that the "send mail to your congressperson" web pages provide.  It just helps them ignore the actual content.

Thank you . . .

 . . . for contacting me about the role of religion in politics.  I understand your views on this issue.  (Ed: no you don't.)

 Religion is certainly important to the history of our nation.  There is an undeniable relationship between religion and the foundation of our government. (Ed: there shouldn't be - says so in the constitution.) This connection is important not only to the preservation of civil rights, but also to the preservation of the rights of all faiths in America.  America's founders strongly believed that all Americans should be free to practice the religion of their choice without fear of persecution or intimidation from the government. (Ed: I doubt that strongly.)  I support the intent of our founders and believe we must always ensure tolerance and respect for all faiths. (Ed: I don't believe we have any such requirement, and consequently, you don't "understand my views.")


Thank you again for contacting my office.  Please feel free to contact me in the future whenever I can be of assistance to you and your family. (Ed: It was science, not my family I was intereceding for -- repealing NAGPRA and ruling atavistic interests out of research policies would be a big help."



Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator

I have written before about NAGPRA, the quaint piece of legislation that places atavism and ethnic politics ahead of science. Here's a great example of it in action. Write your congressperson today.

Here's what I sent to mine:
Message Subject: Time to repeal NAGPRA?
Message Text:
The Wired article at the link below is a great example of how the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is out of control. Having started from an unacceptably close alignment of religion and government, it's now moving into the complex of financial arrangements between universities and their donors. It was ill-considered in the first place, and is now something we should not allow to continue. Please consider whether this act should not be drastically restricted in scope -- perhaps to place the burden of proof entirely on Native American groups as to whether any remains are actually ancestors -- or completely removed. This is not how you construct a multi-cultural society, any more than casino licenses are. Wired article:

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