Congressmen, and idiots

May 6, 2011

Mark Twain, who had covered Congress as a reporter, once quipped:

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.*

Our friend and correspondent Jim Kessler writes of a run-in he had with the staff of Congressman Peter King (Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee):

Peter T. King, Republican, chair of the Homeland Security Committee

Rep. Peter T. King: Are "idiot" and "congressman" redundant?

A day or two ago Congressman King said that we owed the knowledge of who/where the courier that we used to get to bin Laden to Bush’s waterboarding.

And because I’m a general pain in the ass to Republicans I called his office and asked the person who answered if he was standing by that statement.  She said yes.  So then I asked “So…that means the Bush
administration knew how to get to bin Laden for years and didn’t do so?  Does that mean we can prosecute them for knowingly endangering the country?”  Her response was, and I kid you not, “I don’t think you
passed geometery class.”

My response was “What does math have to do with this?”

Her response:  “Geometery isn’t math.”

My response was:  “Yes it is.  Go ask a math professor.  Perhaps next time before you try and act condescending to someone by acting like you’re smarter then them you should actually make sure you’re smarter then them rather then being stupidly arrogant?”

That’s when she hung up on me.

I’m considering writing an editorial to whatever paper is in King’s district where I point out that his staff apparently hasn’t passed high school level math.

I’m not reassured that Congressmen don’t appear to have gotten a lot smarter in the more than 150 years since Twain reported on them.

* Attributed to Twain, supposedly in a writing,  A Biography.  I haven’t confirmed where it is, though I’m pretty sure he actually said it.

War on Education: Is your state short-changing your schools?

May 6, 2011, the group that tracks what is required to get a teaching certificate in each of the 50 states, also does information graphics from time to time.

Got this one from them today:  A map on how states are spending less on education in 2010 than in 2009.

The map should change dramatically when 2011 is taken into account.  This map shows $15 billion less being spent on schools nationwide.  Texas proposes to cut another $3 billion from spending in Texas alone for 2011.

This is a map of the War on Education in the U.S.  It shows that education, and the U.S., are losing the war.

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Click here for larger version of map, "Is Your State Short-Changing Schools?"

For the blog at, there is a call for stories about cutting the funds for education:

Are you a teacher, parent or student who has been short-changed by your school? Send us your story at by Friday, May 13th. In an effort to remind people that the choices we make now will influence our children tomorrow, we’ll be spending Friday the 13th reposting horror stories that illustrate how failing to make education a priority is ultimately failing our own futures.

As with global warming, we now have denialists in education issues, those who deny the rising tide of mediocrity, and a few who cheer the rise.

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