Why Educate Our Kids? Public Ignorance Part Two: Oil and Slime

9 06 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Is A ‘Statistical Anomaly,’ Texas Congressman Says

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) . . . asked {President Obama] to view the ongoing BP oil spill in its “proper historical context as a statistical anomaly.”

. . .His argument? The record since 1985 shows that deep-water rigs have produced 7 billion barrels of oil, while spilling less than 0.001 percent of it. Culberson calls it “a 99.999% record for clean operations.”

He then encourages Obama not to ignore that “35-year record of safety,” (though it appears that only 25 years have passed since 1985).




4 responses

9 06 2010

And then there’s Her Fancifulness, the post-abdication BullyPit, blogged by Shannyn Moore:

Sarah has a new blog entry. You’ll need a pair of chest waders and a barf bag to get through it. Blasting the president for not taking control of a free-market corporation reveals frayed tea bag credentials . . .

[quoting Palin to the President] We’ve all lived and worked through the Exxon-Valdez spill. They can help you. Give them a call. Or, what the heck, give me a call.

No. *I* lived and worked through the Spill. I smelled it every day, ruined more boots than I can count and if tears could clean crude off a baby otter, I would have saved everyone of them. When Katie Couric asked what Supreme Court decision other than Roe v Wade wasn’t to Palin’s liking, she COULDN’T REMEMBER the Exxon v Baker decision 3 months earlier!

10 06 2010
Luke Holzmann

Hmm… reminds me of a letter my engineering professor shared with us in college. One of the engineers at NASA wrote an open letter to his co-workers on how they had been twisting the statistics of how safe their space program was. They, too, had an incredibly low error rate–in their documentation–and he showed how that was ridiculous due to the number of fatalities and other losses they had already incurred.

As for these stats? I don’t know, but it sure felt similar when I read what you posted above.


10 06 2010

Hey Luke, good to see you again. 🙂

I just posted this in the other “why educate our kids” thread. It sounds like the same argument for education that promotes and defends individual “freedom” that we hear from conservative Christian homeschoolers and officials rewriting public school Texas-books. But are the resulting curricula the same or opposite in what kind of thinking is actually promoted and defended? Is it possible in other words, for “conservative” curriculum to offer a sound “liberal” education?
I think that’s a very good question to focus on, that might lead to illumination for citizens generally, as bolluxed up as freedom and social responsibility has gotten:

[L]iberal education “represents the culmination of a citizen’s preparation for freedom.”
. . .[but] Instead of giving students the opportunity to have strong emotional and cognitive encounters with well-told stories, instead of helping them find their way to becoming absorbed in great works of art, we have drilled young people into thinking that effective reading and writing are techniques with measurable outcomes to be evaluated on standardized tests.

A liberal education produces results, too, but they are less reducible to questions that can be answered by coloring in a bubble with a number 2 pencil.

I also remembered Favorite Daughter’s essay on liberal education saving mankind from the robots, written while she was creating her own very free liberal education at the age of 16. (You should read her now, wow!)

Many historians have posited that the period known as the Renaissance has been continuing for the last five hundred years, and is now coming to a close. No one is sure what our new era will bring, but if we are not careful, we could regress to another dark age, losing all that makes us more than transient beasts of the earth, all that brings us close to transcendence.

And then come the robots.
. . . you’re going to want somebody who has not become a mere shell of his former self, less human than machine.

10 06 2010

Sarah Palin seems unable to make sense of her inner or outer world; she’s very childlike in her careless command of celebrity without cause, office without obligation, prize without principle. So I really wonder if she ever got any sort of “actual” education or felt any sort of “actual” responsibility to anyone for anything, not even to the integrity of her own power of story much less adequacy in any academic discipline.

Almost all fight and feeling, no thinking, she’s one big bundle of raw “me” nerve, living large the unexamined life and piping America’s childlike minds along behind her for the corporate paydays that have so easily seduced her, taking them right over the cliff of reason, virtue and productive purpose . . .

And my most searing judgment I reserve for the partisan operatives who cynically put these women in in office treating governance as a game in which winners get rich, sex and looks are exploited, and real ability to govern is irrelevant.

I believe my own extensive power of story education gave me early insight into Palin’s complete lack thereof; mere weeks after she literally took our nation by “storm” in 2008, I wrote Sarah Palin Should’ve Led Gustav Command! And notice it’s not partisan. As I already saw it then, stupid, dangerous sell-out stories piped by politicians of both parties (Mary Landrieu for example) play into the current epidemic of public ignorance that makes complex problems worse and worse, and threatens to destroy us all.

*Note — my personal power of story today comes to you from 30 miles north of the beautiful Gulf beaches of Florida, living among real working people both liberal and conservative whose lives are being slimed and covered with toxins while the likes of Sarah Palin childishly and carelessly exploit our catastrophe to take cheap, self-serving political shots.

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