Printed letters, June 20, 2010

School board decision was not surprising

While somewhat disappointing, the District 51 School Board’s decision to ignore two petitions, submitted on behalf of the public by Rose Pugliese and calling for the separation of political bias from education, was neither surprising nor unexpected.

Unsurprising, inasmuch as the predominantly liberal board has its own agenda to protect. The board members surely recognize that the schools are not only the easiest, but most effective avenues for influencing public opinion. Asking a liberal to remove political bias from the classroom is akin to asking a person intent on drunkenness to remove alcohol from his evening plans.

The board’s ill-considered decision — justified partly by misrepresenting Pugliese’s petitions (a rather common occurrence), partly by claiming ignorance and shifting the onus onto parents to prove wrong-doing after the fact, and punctuated by an exaltation by Diann Rice of her largest potential campaign donor, the teachers’ union — intentionally blurs the line between opinion and fact, ideology and science. In effect, it opens the door to unchecked presentation of whatever bias the board and union deem fit.

It serves also as a sanction to use the district’s curriculum and classrooms to imbue politically obedient ignorance in exchange for a well-funded school-board campaign.

There is, of course, an historical precedent for manipulating and misusing science toward the support of public policy, though teaching that would not likely meet with the union/board’s approval.


Grand Junction

‘Green energy’ agenda delays cleanup in the Gulf

I was shocked months ago when President Barack Obama, who seemed determined to stuff expensive “green energy” down our throats, stated that he would open more areas to oil drilling. Then BP’s deep-water rig exploded, and he had the perfect out, as well as a way to shut down producing wells — costing 20,000 jobs so far — and promote his green-energy agenda.

BP is certainly to blame for the explosion (although construction was permitted, inspected and OK’d by government regulators). However, three days after the explosion, the Dutch offered to bring oil-recovery ships to help with the spill. This administration refused offers from them and from other countries, citing the Jones Act, a labor-union measure which President Bush waived so that foreign ships could help after Katrina. Why didn’t Obama waive it in this case?

Many companies have tried to get EPA approval to use their products to mitigate the damage. (Watch hay soak up oil at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal asked the EPA for permission to build barriers to keep oil from Louisiana’s shores. EPA refused all requests, then dithered, then studied. It finally permitted barriers — far too late.

The administration made this problem much worse than it should have been. Can you guess why?



GOP apologizes to BP, ignores Gulf’s real victims

When BP’s CEO Tony Hayward testified before Congress, many expected to hear him apologize for the disaster his company has caused. Instead, GOP Congressman Joe Barton was the one saying he was sorry — to BP.

In his opening statement, Barton, who is the top Republican on the committee overseeing the oil spill and its aftermath, delivered a personal apology to BP. He said the $20 billion fund that Obama directed BP to establish to provide relief to the victims of the oil disaster was a “tragedy in the first proportion.”

Many other Republicans are echoing his call. Sen. John Cornyn said he “shares” Barton’s concern. Rep. Michele Bachmann said that BP shouldn’t agree to be “fleeced.”  Rush Limbaugh called it a “bailout.” The 114 House members of the Republican Study Committee called it a “shakedown.”

This fund is a major victory for the people of the Gulf. It’s a key step toward making them whole again. BP has a responsibility to those whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the disaster. And BP oil executives don’t deserve an apology, the people of the Gulf do.

I didn’t hear any Republicans apologizing for the way Hurricane Katrina was handled.

I’m ashamed that there are members of Congress who can’t seem to feel for the everyday American, but really get apologetic for a corporation that made billions of dollars the first quarter of this year. It’s been my belief that members of Congress are supposed to represent “Joe the Plumber,” not the corporation he works for.


Grand Junction


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