Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, November 30th, 2013.

They Got Nothin’

Obama Administration

Good to see this on CNN.

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Speaking of Stupid …

Obama Administration

There’s not a lot of news to comment on right now. Maybe we should give ourselves a break and just make Thanksgiving a whole month, and not let Christmas eat into it.

Here’s another story about how right-wing whackjobs in Texas dictate what goes into everybody’s textbooks. A couple of comments.

One, speaking as one who worked in the textbook industry for years — Publishers for many years have cranked out separate “Texas editions” of their textbooks. In fact, any state that has a committee deciding what books get adopted for the state gets its own edition. Usually the differences from one edition to another are very subtle. Often most of the differences are in the teachers’ editions and not the books the children use. To save money, publishers do try to make the state and national editions as uniform as possible so that, when the books are being printed, the printers only have to change the black plate (to change the text) but not the plates that print the colors in the illustrations.

But if Texas demands become too extensive to make that work, I’m not sure what the publishers would do. The costs involved in hiring an entirely separate Texas textbook division to create Texas-salable books might cause publishers to abandon Texas, at least in some subject areas like social studies and science, even if it is a huge market. The Texas market is a crapshoot, anyway, because it sometimes happens that publishers invest a lot of money and time catering to the Texas textbook committee and still fail to get “adopted” for some capricious reason. (For the record, that has happened with California too, sometimes.)

Second, when I hear about bozos like Don McLeroy, interviewed for the article, it makes me wonder how someone that stupid can not only survive, but achieve success. As a species, we don’t seem to be selecting for intelligence very efficiently. There was a time when the early hominid McLeroys would not have survived to procreate, you know. He might have mistaken a Arctodus simus for a Megalonyx jeffersonii and try to pet it. He might have tried to walk across a tar pit. Now he wears nice suits and dictates textbook content. I fear for humanity.

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