“Pet Liberal Programs” and “Research”

In response to “Face facts on pet liberal programs”, Jim Tynen, The Wake Forest Weekly, December 12, 2013.

Now I’ll have to endure conversations and e-mails from my conservative friends about how useless Medicaid and preschool are.

As Charlie Brown would say: “Good grief.”

The claim: a University of Virginia study found Medicaid fails to help the poor.

I fear that very few people will look up and read the entire UVA study analysis on the Internet.  Those who do will find arguments about the poor research techniques used in the study.  It’s a long piece to read on a computer (or any other way), but it becomes clear from the article and the comments that follow that the study’s conclusions were not supported by the kind of research that Mr. Tynen describes as “facts and science.”

The claim: preschool programs don’t make a difference.

This claim is as shaky at the Medicaid claim.

Here’s my take on preschool.  There are way too many variables to conclude much about whether it produces better students.  Look up and read about the studies.  You will find that the main factor, the one that really matters, is how involved and how good parents are at teaching their children and providing them with good examples of a hunger for learning.  Preschool at the very least places youngsters who might otherwise not be persuaded to learn, not to mention youngsters who might not be getting enough to eat or eating healthy, in an environment that can do both.

The title of the article suggests the reader face facts.  The facts are that the studies referenced are there to be read, but the conclusions of those studies are riddled with conclusions the studies do not support and the article does not mention them except to point out that there is no simple answer to complex questions.

By the way, I invite the reader to look up the Brookings Institution and discover that only conservatives describe it as “liberal group.”  Liberals describe it as a conservative group.  Neither description is correct.  Brookings turns out liberal and conservative research in nearly equal numbers, according to research the reader will find in the web pages that describe the organization.

In Mr. Tynen’s article we have but another example of churning out conclusions from shaky research in order to prod along a point of view.  Good grief.


Oklahoma Earthquakes

No, the title is not a misprint.  Oklahoma has had thousands of earthquakes in the past three years, more than 2,600 through November of 2013 – mostly minor earthquakes, but a few that have rattled the dishes and destroyed a few homes.

In a New York Times article by Henry Fountain published in the Raleigh News & Observer on Friday, December 13, 2013, and titled “As quakes shake Oklahoma, scientists eye oil, gas industry,” the cause of the earthquakes may be “…the widespread practice of disposing of billions of gallons of wastewater that is produced along with oil and gas, by injecting it under pressure into wells that reach permeable rock formations.”

I am reasonably certain that practice is called “fracking.”

That’s billions of gallons of wastewater in more than 4,000 disposal wells in Oklahoma.

So now scientists are telling us that it’s not the fracking, but what is done with the wastewater that fracking produces that may arouse the wrath of Mother Nature.

Honestly now, before you read this, had you ever heard of earthquakes in Oklahoma?

Still think fracking is a good idea?

Anybody paying attention out there, particularly our lawmakers?

Maybe what we should do is go ahead with fracking but be sure to update the building codes to make certain our homes can survive an earthquake.

Then again, we know that water is heavy, and billions of gallons of water can change underground pressures.  Again from Mr. Fountain’s article: “The weight of water behind a new dam in China, for example, is thought to have induced a 2008 quake in Sichuan province that killed 80,000 people.”

About those building codes, as my grandson says: “Really?”