Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
This blog, which nobody actually reads anyway, is one of the last places on earth where people are respected for knowing things — specifically, knowing how to do things. All over the civilized world, this respect is in a rapid decline. It is receding faster than my hairline. You doubt me?
Check out the word “qualified.” Listen real close the next time you hear it used. Does it have anything to do with ability…anything at all whatsoever?
No, nobody uses it that way anymore. “Qualified” no longer means you’re experienced doing things equal to, or greater than, the task to be done, and have made a success of yourself as you do that. That’s what it used to mean. Qualified, today, means you have some kind of accreditation. That would be bad enough if said accreditation had to do with demonstrating that you know things, but this has been corrupted too. Today, it has to do with holding the right opinions about things. Yet-unproven opinions. As in…you think boys are better at three-dimensional problems and girls have better social skills, you fail — you think boys and girls are equal in everything they do, you pass. Opinions like those. That’s what it takes to be what we call “qualified” for things now. We’ve become a rather pasteurized, utopian society, in which promotions to higher offices of trust have less and less to do with merit and competence, and more and more to do with ensuring people with good opinions outrank people with bad ones.
For an even more incandescent example, listen a little more closely next time you hear the word “unqualified.” A generation ago this would have meant someone was about to mention inexperience in whoever was unqualified. That’s no longer the case today. Again, it’s got to do with holding unpopular opinions…or failing to present credentials, which would have proven a candidate holds the right opinions.
And every once in a great while we see evidence of this problem, said evidence usually not quite as damaging as it could be, when you think about it. File this one under “cheap warning about where we’re headed.”
Talk about a high-stakes test. The radio audience was live and the question for teachers union president Randi Weingarten involved sixth-grade math: “What’s 1/3rd plus 1/4th?”
Weingarten, however, is a not a sixth-grader or a math teacher. She’s a lawyer and a union boss who once taught high school social studies – and no one told her there was going to be a quiz. “I would actually have to do it on paper,” she said when asked yesterday to complete the math problem on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” where she was a guest. Mike Pesca, who was filling in for Lehrer, introduced the show’s education topic by saying American college grads can’t do basic math while high school grads in Canada and middle-schoolers in India have no trouble.
After Weingarten stumbled, another guest quickly produced the correct answer: 7/12ths, leaving Weingarten to explain herself.
“I do it the old-fashioned way,” she said. “You take your paper, your pen, you add it up and get the fractional whatever.” “And you show your work,” Pesca offered. “And you show your work,” Weingarten agreed. “A good teacher will look at it and talk to you about what went right and what went wrong, like they do in Singapore.”
Math expert Alfred Posamentier, dean of the City College school of education, said most Americans can’t add fractions in their heads, leaving Weingarten in good company. “I hate to say it, but I would cut her slack on that one,” he said.
I wouldn’t. You know, just take a look at what’s happening here. It’s a case of one class of people, entirely abdicating their rights and responsibilities, surrendering them to be administered by a different class of people. The assumption in place is that these non-producing, life-and-death-decision bureaucrats know something that “qualifies” them to make these decisions. Everybody knows that isn’t really true; everybody understands it’s really about having the right names in your Palm Pilot. Nobody says that out loud, everyone understands it’s so.
And the President of a teacher’s union can’t do sixth-grade math.
Oh yeah, I understand that’s the way of the world. I understand the dunces are in charge, and we’re instructed to believe they’re oh so much smarter than everybody else when they’re really not — unless the name of the guy on top is George W. Bush, anyway. I know things have worked this way for a long time, and anyone who expects anything different, is simply showing their naivete. I get that. What I don’t understand is this:
Things are this way, because we put up with it. Why do we put up with it?
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