The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.
Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.
Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.
The “I Pledge” video was produced by Oprah Winfrey’s production company after President Obama took office in 2009.
The video features a group of celebrities telling viewers all the good they promise to do for humanity. But toward the end, it drifts into a pledge of support for Obama.
Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis says, “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama.”
After a number of other celebs staring in the video invoking their intentions to “be the change” in keeping with the campaign motto of 'hope and change', Demi Moore finishes things by saying, “I pledge to be a servant to our president.”
Hudson (Wis.) School District unearthed the “I Pledge” video for its middle school’s Peace One Day event on September 25th, and a number of parents in attendance were outraged.
District and school officials made a quick backpedal, apologizing to those offended by the video.
“The reason the video was used was to show students small ways to make a difference in their communities,” the district wrote in its apology. “Unfortunately, the video also had a political slant. The district is non-partisan and does not endorse the political messages found in this video. This video will not be used in the district again.”
Middle School Principal Dan Koch this announcement to students Thursday afternoon:
“The ‘I Pledge’ video we viewed yesterday included some messages about serving President Barack Obama. We apologize for any part of the video that was offensive to students, their families and staff. The video conveyed a message that people serve the presidency when in fact our elected officials serve the people. We respect the Office of the President of the United States but like all of our other elected officials, that office serves each of us as well. I sincerely hope that as participants in Wednesday’s event what you took away from the experience was to choose to make a difference in your world.”
The district wouldn’t disclose whose idea it was to show the “I Pledge” video to students, but parents weren’t thrilled by offering the video’s message to middle schoolers.
“It looks a little like 1940s Germany,” says one parent, who agrees that it’s essentially propaganda. Another adds, “It doesn’t seem right.
One of the first bits of advice about politics from my dad was that I was never to pledge to follow a person or party. If you must say a pledge, it should be in regards to an idea. To me, that concept was so basic and simple. I remember thinking that no one in their right minds would pledge to follow a person. But it's clear from 'I pledge" that some people are more comfortable following a person than an idea.
Now, I would like to propose a hypothetical scenario.
Suppose the middle school kids, teachers and parents were exposed to a video in which the message was, “I pledge to be a servant to the National Rifle Association.” This story would make headlines around the nation, not just in a small community paper. The middle school principal would be fired. The district superintendent would be fired and the outrage would be immense.
But since this propaganda video had a Democratic bend to it, no one was reprimanded, no complaints (other than a few parents) and there is no news about it. Why not? It doesn’t fit the typical liberal template about what news should be.
It’s no wonder that most newspapers are facing a declining readship.
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, or CAP, appeared on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” when she was asked by another guest, James Poulos of the Huffington Post, whether she read the text of Obamacare.
“Yes,” she replied. “I helped write the bill. So yes, I read the bill. I read all 2,200 pages of the bill.”
CAP was created by John Podesta in 2003 to combat the influence of the Heritage Foundation. Its board of directors have included Van Jones, Aryeh Neier (Open Society), Carol Browner and Peter Lewis.
A Time magazine article profiled the influence of the Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”
Primary funding for CAP comes from the Tides Foundation, MoveOn.org, Media Matters for America and the Ford Foundation.
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- A conflict brewing (0)
- I pledge (0)
- My response to the human condition (0)
- The human condition (0)
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- Separation of church and state (0)
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