Let’s file this in the “how stupid can you be” category. The Kansas City Star reported that the Missouri House Education Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the 2015 education budget. It added $8 to be spent on tin foil. The sponsor of the amendment is State Representative Mike Lair (R-Chillicothe) who is the chair of that committee. The language of the amendment said that the money was to be used for “two rolls of high density aluminum to create headgear designed to deflect drone and/or black helicopter mind reading and control technology.”
The Star reported that “some lawmakers aren’t too pleased by what they consider to be paranoia about new Common Core standards for public schools.”
Anne Gassel at Missouri Education Watchdog points out that if you have to resort to tactics like this then your cupboard is bare when it comes to having facts and data on your side.
The opponents of Common Core have offered reviews by content experts including two national experts, selected by the Common Core State Standards Initiative themselves for the validation committee, who refused to sign off on the standards because they were grossly insufficient to deliver on the claims of college-and-career readiness put forth by CCSSI. They have quoted official agreements signed by state officials, videos of comments made by CCSSI writers about the problems with the development team and the standards, and even Missouri’s own statutes which have been ignored in the adoption process. If that is the new definition of paranoia then I fear our entire legal system is in need of football fields worth of aluminum foil.
The disrespectful labeling of your opposition is a Saul Alinksy tactic to discredit them. It also usually signals that you have no countervailing facts on your side.
Gassel gives some background on Lair:
Representative Lair likes to trot out his 38 years as a teacher as reason for people to listen to him. But his math skills seem have gotten a little rusty since he entered public office. At a recent study group at the capitol, representatives from the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core presented their facts about common core: its origins (which CCSSI does not dispute); its lack of empirical evidence to support its efficacy; and state statute which should have prohibited their adoption. Lair, who attended this presentation, claimed more experience than the two presenters. He called the presentation a “Glenn Beck” conspiracy-styled report. The presenters had 35 and 33 years experience respectively in education. At most he had a 3 year advantage over the one presenter. However, combined, their experience was almost twice his. In addition, both presenters had advanced degrees beyond his, expertise in teaching children with learning disabilities and career experience developing curriculum and standards which he does not possess.
He also demonstrates typical government inefficiency by recommending $8 for foil that would only cost the thrifty shopper $5.80.
Read the rest of Gassel’s piece. Not only is what Lair did reprehensible, but the House Appropriations Committee should be ashamed for letting it go through. What a juvenile gesture, are Jr. High boys in control in Jefferson City? It’s bad enough to engage in this kind of rhetoric, but to allow this kind of crap in an actual bill? Missouri House Republican Leadership should rebuke Lair for this stunt and frankly remove him from chairing the committee as he is clearly not fit to serve. If they don’t do something it is akin to condoning this kind of behavior.
His constituents should rebuke him as well.
Here is Representative Lair’s contact information:
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City MO 65101
I’d also encourage you to contact the Missouri House leadership.
Update: Somebody had a unique response to Rep. Lair, this is a picture of his desk from Wednesday night. Courtesy of Abe Messer.