Noah’s Dinosaurs and other short notes

Dinosaurs on the Ark

[8/15/2011] Tax breaks and other incentives totaling just short of $100 million are going into the Ark Encounter theme park that is supposed to open near Williamstown, Kentucky in 2014.

Ark Encounter is the latest project of Answers in Genesis, the non-profit that already owns the Creation Museum 45 minutes down the road. Unlike the CM, though, Ark is a for-profit venture owned by its investors. (AiG will just manage it.) The two attractions share AiG’s young-earth Creationist view, as you can tell from the dinosaur-head sticking out of the Ark.

This is going to be a tricky separation-of-church-and-state case. On the one hand, as Daily Kos’ Kaili Joy Gray puts it:

you can’t use millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to teach people about Jesus. Pretty sure that building a creationist theme park on the taxpayer dime is actually the textbook definition of what you can’t do.

But a new Six Flags could probably wrangle some tax concessions too, so I think Ark-park opponents will need to argue that it’s getting a better-than-secular deal because state officials want to promote Christianity. As I said: tricky.

Still, try to imagine the uproar if tax breaks helped build a Mahabharata theme park intended to draw millions of Hindu tourists to Kentucky.

A North Carolina county board is going to appeal to the Supreme Court after an appellate court stopped it from opening its meetings with prayers to Jesus. The board’s vice chair says church-and-state isn’t being violated because the board’s “open door” policy would allow members of non-Christian faiths to lead prayers if they wanted.

Like my fantasy of a tax-subsidized Hindu theme park, though, it’s hard to imagine the response a meeting-opening Islamic prayer would draw.

Another 10 commandments fight is brewing in Florida.

Nate Silver interprets Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll. His model makes Michele Bachmann the favorite to win the Iowa caucuses, and has bad news for Santorum, Cain, Gingrich et al. Tim Pawlenty has already seen the writing on the wall and quit.

Now the focus shifts to Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy Saturday. Perry is making a “Texas miracle” case: Under his leadership Texas is creating jobs, and the same policies could work nationally.

As Paul Krugman and an NYT panel point out, Texas’ example wouldn’t scale up even if we wanted it to: Texas has benefitted from a high oil price and from snow-birding retirees who bring in money they earned in other states. Also, Texas is winning a race-to-the-bottom with other states by offering businesses cheap labor unprotected by state government. So Texas leads not just in new jobs, but in minimum wage jobs and in the percentage of people without health insurance.

In short: Texas isn’t creating jobs, it’s taking bad jobs from other states and making them worse. That’s not a route to national prosperity.

Grist boils the evidence that global warming is man-made down to one graphic. “It’s getting hotter” isn’t the whole case for man-made global warming. How and where it’s getting hotter eliminates alternative explanations like increased solar radiation.

Just because a corporation talks green doesn’t mean it isn’t funding climate-change denial through organizations like ALEC.

Mitt Romney’s claim that “Corporations are people, my friend” may have been true legally and even in the sense he intended (that a corporate tax ultimately means some person — most likely some very rich person — has less money). But he’s given the DNC fodder for an effective ad.

Make that two effective ads.

The quips are also piling up. One TPM commenter claims Romney really meant, “Corporations are my friends, people.” And I wasn’t the only person to come up with “Corporations aren’t people. Soylent green is people.”

Now that the United States has lost its AAA bond rating, you know who still has one? Socialist countries, mostly: Sweden, Finland, Norway, France, and a few others — all of whom have universal health care.

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  • Maggie Pax  On August 15, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Excellent round up, as always. And thanks for putting a date up at the top of the post!

    I live in KY (I apologize to the world for Mitch and Rand and the CM and the ark) and the excuse for tax breaks for the Ark is that it is “entertainment.” Oh, really? You admit that the ark is about “entertainment”, not “Truth”? Sounds like it’s time to take away that tax-ecempt status, then.


  • By Turn Back « The Weekly Sift on August 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    […] Noah’s Dinosaurs and other short notes. Should a Bible theme park get tax breaks? Is it OK for a county board to begin its meetings by praying to Jesus? How the Republican 2012 field looks after the Ames Straw poll. Global warming in one graphic. Mitt Romney embraces corporate personhood, and the DNC strikes back. What countries are still AAA? Socialist ones, mostly. […]

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