Tuesday, December 11, 2007


DD feels he knows Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee well. In Schuylkill County, part of Pennsylvania Dutchland, DD grew up with many Mike Huckabees. They were avuncular fellows and model citizens, always capable of good conversation.

They believed in all the stuff Mike Huckabee stands for in 2007 and which the Pine Grove Area School District used to try to educate OUT of its students in the early Seventies.

Like belief in creationism over evolution. In fact, creationism wasn't even on the ticket in the Seventies. PGAHS, much to the dismay of the general Schuylkill community ca. '70-'74 was proud of its science and math teachers. It did not fear reality.

"Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher who has surged in Iowa with evangelical Christian support, bristled Tuesday when asked if creationism should be taught in public schools," wrote the Associated Press recently.

"Huckabee — who raised his hand at a debate last May when asked which candidates disbelieved the theory of evolution — asked this time why there is such a fascination with his beliefs ... 'I believe God created the heavens and the Earth,' he said at a news conference with Iowa pastors who murmured, 'Amen.'"

Like the heevahavas of Schuylkill County, Mike Huckabee is also afraid of gay people and the fear has made him stupid and worthy of derision.

Here's Heevahava Mike, defending himself over his ignorance about the nature of AIDS:

"Responding to an Associated Press questionnaire, Huckabee said steps should be taken to 'isolate the carriers of this plague' during his failed run for a U.S. Senate seat from Arkansas 15 years ago."

"He said he probably would not make the same statement today because of what is known about how HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is transmitted.

" 'I had simply made the point -- and I still believe this today -- that in the late '80s and early '90s, when we didn't know as much as we do now about AIDS, we were acting more out of political correctness than we were about the normal public health protocols that we would have acted,' " Huckabee told Fox News Sunday.

In 1992 the transmission of AIDS was very well understood. And very early in the epidemic it was also understood, by doctors and scientists, that AIDS was definitely not transmitted by casual contact.

Mike Huckabee also energizes and inspires "home schoolers" in Iowa, the Des Moines Register informs.

DD understands "home schoolers" to be polite code for an aggressively ignorant collection of evangelical Christians who decry crappy public school education for their children. Their solution: A differently-flavored, but still crappy, home education, taught by amateurs -- themselves, for the sake of getting rid of pesky biology in favor of rote memorization of scripture and the tenets of creationism.

They're also part of the demographic of bigots marshalled by the reliable Republican gay-people-are-subverting-the-wholesome-American-family political rallying cry.

"Thousands of evangelical Christians who school their children at home have found a candidate they can support in Huckabee, and they provide the former Arkansas governor's outsider campaign with hundreds of volunteers," wrote the Des Moines newspaper.

"Although not monolithic, home-schooling Republicans are united by core principles, especially their rejection of public schools in favor of their own religious-based teaching."

In today's Los Angeles Times, Huckabee was described as warming to the Republican human value which requires one to profess to being as radical as possible with regards to treatment of the current scapegoat of choice -- the illegal immigrant.

Huckabee, reported the Times, wants all illegals to register with the government and leave for their native countries in four months. "Those who don't, when caught, would be barred from reentry to the US for ten years," reported the newspaper.

"[Huckabee] said raiding a business employing 'vast amounts' of illegal workers was a 'legitimate thing to do' as long as local officials knew in advance." The Times headline seems to tweak Huckabee in the paper edition, with the story on him entitled on page A20 as "The Huckabee Evolution."

The term "heevahava" is an older insult from deep in the heart of the Pennsy Dutch country. DD put it into occasional use on the Internet sometime in the early-90's in the Crypt Newsletter. It was used to name a computer virus and the source code of the original explained its vulgar meaning.

My definition found its way into the Urban Dictionary here which simply repeats something I told Wired back in 2003. And here is a more recent usage of the term from Pennsylvania.

Entry from GlobalSecurity.Org in which DD describes the origins of Crypt Newsletter.

The insult could be used with nuance, to indicate someone who was much more than your average dolt, just like Mike Huckabee.

Pennsy Dutch dolts -- heevahavas -- could be very likeable and by all accounts Mike Huckabee is an amiable man, too. He is certainly someone you could trust to feed your pets while you're away for the weekend. On the other hand, he is also a singularly wretched and reactionary potential choice for President. But by being this he must also surely represent a good portion of the country. DD would think Huckabee would be very well thought of in the hinterlands of Pennsylvania. Perhaps these factors are why our political journalists like him and why his polling numbers seem strong.

Heevahava for President, the second absorbing installment.

Coincidentally, DD faintly knew another creationist, Michael Behe of Lehigh University.

Behe is a proponent of intelligent design and was a so-called star witness in Kitzmiller v. the Dover School District. Parents in the Dover school district, near York in Pennsylvania, sued it for presenting "Intelligent Design" as an alternative to evolution.

A judge ruled the Dover school district's actions unconstitutional. The teaching of intelligent design -- creationism -- as science, was forbidden. School board members responsible for the curiculum change allowing the teaching of intelligent design were subsequently thrown out of office.

Since then, it has been mostly downhill for Behe and intelligent design. Demolished by the judge in the Kitzmiller case, his last book -- The Edge of Evolution -- was treated very harshly by reviewers.

However, it was not always this way.

When Behe arrived at the Department of Chemistry at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, in 1985, he was highly regarded. His interest was in the study of Z-DNA.

DD's old Ph.D. advisor was on the search committee and often seemed happy and relieved that the department had been able to add another young up-and-coming scientist to its roster of academic talent.

In an alumni bulletin from 1996 or so, the head of the department spoke effusively of Behe's first book, Darwin's Black Box, which had just made it into bestseller lists.

Of course, few at Lehigh seemed to have actually read it at the time because it wasn't until slightly later, when Behe became the go-to guy for the intelligent design movement, that faculty members started to realize the school's reputation in science had developed a kink.

By then Behe already had tenure.

Lehigh's formal position on intelligent design/creationism as espoused by its Department of Biological Sciences.

I bet they'll always be angry at the Department of Chemistry.


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