Monday, December 3, 2007

chutzpah OR don't raise your kids in Texas

I've decided to add chutzpah to my vocabulary. I understand it comes from Hebrew and is not unlike that chinese phrase da(4) dan(3), meaning bold or brave. I first met chutzpah when reading about the China Airlines 737 that, well, exploded after landing in Okinawa. Surprisingly, everyone made it off ok, even the pilots that jumped out of the cockpit as the plane went up in flames. You can watch it on youtube. In a display of awesome chutzpah, China Airlines got permission from whatever transportation agency that is doing the investigation, to paint over their logo, so photos of it for future news stories wouldn't have their prominent logo. Not that China Airlines wasn't well-known for bad air safety to begin with. Besides all the major news outlets already had the story covered, with photos taken, as well as copies of that youtube video.

As far as Texas is concerned, it seems like their educational standards are going down the tubes. Not that anyone thought it was doing well before McLeroy was appointed the chairman of the state board of education, but still, one might have some hope that there were people trying to promote real science. Now that the story has traveled the blogosphere for a while, it looks like the major news outlets have picked it up: Chris Comer, the Texas Education Agency's directory of science was fired for forwarding an e-mail informing the recipients about an upcoming talk by Barbara Forrest. In particular, the NY Times article has an example of some amazing chutzpah: "Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the state’s education agency in Austin, said Ms. Comer 'resigned. She wasn’t fired.'" Which is technically true I guess. Although, it is more like a Hobson's Choice scenario when your alternative to resigning is to be fired.

As if you needed more reasons not to live in Texas.

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