Federalist No. 666

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How important is the original wording and intent of the Constitution? So important that Sen. Robert Byrd (D-Transylvania) successfully snuck in a new federal law forcing every federal employee and every student of a school receiving federal funds to watch some program about it. Funny/painful quote:

"We already cover the Constitution up, down and around," said August Frattali, principal of Rachel Carson Middle School in Fairfax County. But, he chuckled, "I'm going to follow the mandates. I don't want to get fired."

Personally, I'd prefer a federal law forcing Robert Byrd to be sent to a Tenth Amendment re-education camp for 20 years, but I suppose there's a reason why I don't get to make legislation.

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  1. Byrd was not available for comment, but his spokesman, Tom Gavin, said many teachers had called the senator to thank him for creating this opportunity to teach the Constitution.

    cough cough.. bullshit! ! cough cough…

  2. Matt, you’re being unfair. Clearly, requiring a large mass of people to buy/watch a program about the Constitution affects interstate commerce, so he is obviously well within the constitutional powers of the Congress. This is a well-settled legal issue.

  3. Hmm while he is at it he may want to take a gander at a few of the others as well. I particularly like the ninth amendment.

  4. Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the Arlington-based First Amendment Center, said the exercise in education seemed an “artificial way” to teach the essential subject. “My concern is that this will be seen as a quick fix to a deeper problem,” he said. “The problem isn’t that we don’t celebrate the Constitution. The problem is that we don’t…” … often abide by it. If our elected officials did follow the constitution and willingly limited their actions because of it, citizens would have a much clearer understanding of how it works.

  5. I read about this in the morning paper. Just 2 minutes ago I got out of a safety training class where 1 speaker treated us like adults and gave us useful info, and the other 2 recited the litany of statements that magically immunize them from lawsuits.

    As I understand, the Constitution training is supposed to happen some time in September. Maybe the guy who read us the slides verbatim will be responsible for reading verbatim from some book on the Constitution. I can’t wait…

  6. How much do you want to bet that we can trace a direct line from Senator Byrd to the company that produces this video and expose a conflict of interest in the process?

    Betcha one of his frigg’n relatives owns the company.

  7. I like this quote from the Washington Post article:

    “The demand has proved unpopular with educators, who say that they don’t like the federal government telling them what to teach and that it doesn’t make the best educational sense to teach something as important as the Constitution out of context.”

    If you don’t like the government telling you what to teach, then go work for a private school. The government is paying their salaries, so tough.

    Now I don’t agree with forcing the Constitiution on schools, but I’m sure as hell going to teach it to my kids so they know what rights we have. Unfortunately, people aren’t aware of the Constitution at all. Kids should learn more about it, but not at gunpoint (government). This is a case of where I don’t agree with the law, but I wouldn’t try too hard to stop it.

  8. it’s: “sneaked,/em> in a new federal law”. -Sheesh.

    I grew up in Comrade Byrd’s Transylvania too. (Of couse, mom and dad sent us to private schools.)

  9. Crap, how much is this waste gonna cost? And how many companies are there in West Virginia that produce “Constitutional Study Supplies”?

  10. Scratch my comment above. I should have read the article before I posted my remarks. Anyways, I still think the Senator is a turd.

  11. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-Transylvania)

    Very good!

    Thought he looked a bit pale. That must explain all those years wearing pointy white hoods to block out the sunlight…..

  12. Matt, while I can see the Tenth Amendment argument with regard to schools, how is there any problem with requiring Federal employees to watch the video?

  13. SR — I was referring to the schools part.

    Bobby — Next thing you’ll be telling me irregardless isn’t a word.

  14. Matt,

    Maybe there’s a silver lining here. At least some portion of the population will have an understanding of the constitution. Maybe some of them will get elected, and we’d have senators and congressmen who understand the constitution too.

  15. It’d probably be cheaper for the gov’t to buy Schoolhouse Rock DVDs in bulk.

  16. Does anyone honestly think that the content of this video will get worth the tape/DVD it comes on?

  17. I am sure that the mountain of paperwork used to enforce this stupid law will be very effective and that effected people will watch it. This is such a great idea! So who is making the video?

  18. You folks are slackin’ — 17 posts and nobody has flipped out about a middle school being named after Rachel Carson yet.

  19. perhaps during the constitution lecture, some enterprising teacher could examine Byrd’s law in the light of the constitution and ask students to cite the article or amendment that gives the federal government the authority for Byrd’s law

    I’m sure that’s a lesson that might stick with the kiddies, but any teacher that did it wouldn’t have long before joining the unemployment line

  20. even better would be a law forcing members of Congress to take a course in the constitution before they are allowed to sponsor any legislation

  21. “even better would be a law forcing members of Congress to take a course in the constitution before they are allowed to sponsor any legislation”

    Ding, ding, ding, ding!

    You win the prize!

  22. We can only hope it’s a slide slow accompanied by cassette tape, which beeps as an indicator to change slides. In my experience, the teacher invariably got lost following this idiotically simple procedure. Good times.

  23. “perhaps during the constitution lecture, some enterprising teacher could examine Byrd’s law in the light of the constitution and ask students to cite the article or amendment that gives the federal government the authority for Byrd’s law

    I’m sure that’s a lesson that might stick with the kiddies, but any teacher that did it wouldn’t have long before joining the unemployment line”

    As a teacher for twelve years I can saw unequivocally that not only do teachers do this but they do so without the slightest bit of worry.

    Why, because as a rule nobody really cares what I teach. Neither the students, the parents or the administration of my school. The only time I have seen parents show any concern over the curriculum in my class was with regard to race, when one black parent asked if I was going to teach any black history. I politely listed a number of topics that met his concern end of story.

    The administration wants to see quiet students who are busy, no actual learning or discourse required. The only time they truly become concerned is during standardized testing, when the gleefully handout granola bars (it is California after all) so the students won’t get low blood sugar.

    The real impact of the law will be as follows, each teacher will be given a dvd or tape, it will sit in a draw until the teacher is ill, or wants to go fishing, at which point the teacher will instruct the sub to play the tape for all classes.

    Regards

    Joe

  24. Matt Welch:

    I’d prefer a federal law forcing Robert Byrd to be sent to a Tenth Amendment re-education camp…but I suppose there’s a reason why I don’t get to make legislation.

    Matt Welch for congress!!

  25. Dr. T-

    I can’t wait, either. I’ll probably see the same presentation you’ll witness.

    I just hope I don’t make too much noise by my grating teeth, especially if they bring up the 2nd and 4th amendments.

    And where is the commerce clause mentioned? Oh shit, if they talk about that I’ll definitely lose it.

  26. MNG-

    The Commerce Clause will be mentioned in the “Why our jobs exist” section.

  27. Dr. T:

    Ouch.

    I understand that you, like me, work in public health. I rationalize that the mission is at least much more palatable then working for the IRS or the DEA.

    And BTW – I did work for the IRS early on before my libertarian-leaning days. I remember one or two occasions where people yelled at me while I walked out of the building at 111 Constitution. Not one of my better gigs.

  28. MNG-

    Are you in the DC area?

  29. “Bobby — Next thing you’ll be telling me irregardless isn’t a word.”

    Irregardless of what others do, you are one of the few people I hold to higher standards.

  30. Dr. T:

    Yep. I think you mentioned taking the Rockville station, which I walk to every day. I envy the folks who off-load at Medical Center. I go much, much deeper into the wilderness 🙂

  31. MNG-

    Actually, I get on at Twinbrook.

    We should get together some time.

  32. Yeah, you should meet up at Hank Dietle’s, if it’s still there.

  33. Hey T:

    That would be cool! You got your “myob” address up, so drop me a line at killgrave99@yahoo.com

    The goofy name is a character I wrote about years ago.

  34. Doug-

    Still there!

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