Fishy education software bill out of Utah

October 28, 2008

Remember about a year ago when Utah was all atwitter over a voucher proposal that was on a ballot?  Remember all the talk about saving money in education?

Utah Education Issues explains odd features in an omnibus funding bill recently passed by the Utah Legislature (The Economist praised Utah’s efficiency*).  Among other things, it gives away $1 million to an educational software company that will provide families with reading software — at a fantastic pricetag of $3,400 per installation (computer included, but still . . .).

Describing the smell of this bill doesn’t come close to the total repugnance — go read the report.  Fewer than 300 families can be served at that price, statewide.  One might suspect the true beneficiaries of this bill are not Utah voters, not Utah educators, nor even the Utah families who get the freebies.  Did I mention this involves a major publisher of public school textbooks?

It’s a commendable job of reporting for a blog, no?


*   The “cultural thing”, as businessmen from out of state delicately refer to Mormonism, helps in other ways. Utah’s almost universal conservatism makes for stable, consensual politics. It took the state legislature just two days last month to plug a $272m hole in the budget. By contrast, California’s budget was 85 days late. Nevada’s politicians are preparing for a nasty fiscal fight next year.

Another creationist joke, in Boulder, Colorado

October 28, 2008

The Constructive Curmudgeon headlined his post on the matter “Atheist for Intelligent Design in Boulder. This is not a Joke.”

But of course, it is a joke. The punchline is bad, which suggests it’s a bad joke, but the science is worse, which makes it a joke.

It only means there are atheists with bad ideas, too. Atheism is a big tent, apparently.

It’s our old buddy Bradley Monton, the darling of Telic Thoughts.

You’ll note Monton’s science background is not front and center: He’s a philosopher.

No matter how often the philosophers tell us that somebody should be watching out for all the damage flying pigs could do to aircraft and parked cars, we are obligated to point out that pigs don’t fly.

Monton will argue for federal regulation of flying pigs intelligent design at Old Main Chapel in Boulder, Tuesday, October 28, at 7:30 p.m. Douglas Groothuis, the Constructive Curmudgeon and philosopher at a Denver seminary, may be there to lead the standing ovation, and to distribute newspapers to protect the audience from flying pigs as they go back to their cars.

(The lecture series is hosted by Alistair Norcross, a philosophy prof at Colorado University who usually argues for scalar utilitarianism. I guess he’s not bothered to check out the usefulness of intelligent design — or, more accurately, its uselessness.)

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