Health Crisis in Texas as Long-Elusive "Stupid Virus" Found

 

Scientists across the United States today reacted with alarm at the discovery of the long-assumed, but previously undetected “Stupid Virus.” The discovery came after analyzing tissue samples from members of the official Texas Republican Party, who, earlier this week, released their 2012 statewide policy platform which declared “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools.”

“Initially, we considered this bizarre public ranting akin to a tic disorder, a Tourette’s-like neurological syndrome if you will,” said Don Lieber of the Harvard School of Public Health, “but after we read the ENTIRE 2012 TEXAS GOP OFFICIAL PLATFORM, we knew  the problem was far more serious.”

The “Smoking Gun” — the final proof of the existence of the long-elusive “Stupid Gene” — was found when the Texas GOP loudly proclaimed: “We oppose the teaching of higher order thinking skills.”

Public health officials, in service to the public, have released a complete list of all the known symptoms of the “Stupid Virus,” reprinted here:

Texas GOP 2012 Platform_Final
The “Smoking Gun” – proof of the long elusive “Stupid Virus”

(The virus, as cited above, also affects US foreign policy, immigration, and health care.)

Cause Uncertain

The cause of the “Stupid Virus” remains unclear, although new reports point to environmental links. Researchers have detected high levels of the neurotoxin Carbon Disulfide — a by-product of ‘fracking’ — in the cerebro-spinal fluid of key members of the Texas GOP with close ties to the oil and natural gas industry. Carbon Disulfide has been recorded throughout Texas in areas with fracking operations.

Tom Mechler, the Texas GOP Platform Chairman — a key player in drafting the language which calls for “No More Teaching of Critical Thinking Skills,”  is indeed a lifelong consultant for the oil and gas industries.

Mechler, speaking to reporters after addressing the annual “Keystone Pipeline is Good for Your Water” fundraising appeal, denied the existence of a “Stupid Virus,” telling reporters, “ffftttzzzzzz lol I like the Raiders.”

Authors note: The above article is a satire. I have no connection to the Harvard School of Public Health and there is no discovery of a “Stupid Virus.”

The real story, however, is close enough. Here it is: Texas GOP Declares: “No More Teaching of ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ in Texas Public Schools”

Yes, they actually “oppose the teaching of higher order thinking skills.” The Stupid Virus exists.

Image Credit: virus image via Shutterstock






About the Author

Don Lieber has written extensively on human rights, war and disarmament, and environmental issues. His work has been published by the United Nations, The Associated Press, The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, DeSmog Blog, and many others. He also plays bass for the NYC-based band “Wifey” and scrubs surgeries.

  • Today I discovered the Planetsave website and was initially very impressed by the collection of links to very interesting and progressive articles. I also noticed a number of articles in support of the anthropomorphic global warming hypothesis. I further noticed that there weren’t any articles offering the alternative perspective to the AGW position. While it is not unusual to see one-sided presentations in the AGW debate, I was so impressed by the site that I started to wonder if perhaps there simply was a plethora of recent evidence in favor of AGW, as opposed to the usual politically-based presentation. However, to my chagrin, after reading the “stupid virus” article, I realize that this site is merely a manifestation of a political agenda with some links to objective science articles sprinkled in to give an illusion of a truly scientific oriented intellectual publication.

    The inclusion of such a purely politic, and most unfortunately such a vitriolic, piece at this site is totally inappropriate. The fact many of the comments reflect either a lack of recognition of the article as being satire, or worse yet a reveling in the vitriolic nature of it, support the view of the article being inappropriate. I could have found this article humorous as a Saturday Night Live News item or a Salon article, but to intersperse this into a site suggesting it is based on scientific pursuit of truth totally invalidates the site and serves as a reminder of the absurd level of bias expressed by too many AGW enthusiasts.

    • We have writers that focus on different things. The writer who composed that piece made a clear statement at the end that it was satire.

      As far as global warming in general. There is a clear scientific consensus on this matter. Nearly 100% of publishing climate scientists agree that humans are warming the world to a concerning degree. Every national scientific academy in the world has backed them. There’s no question about this.

      There’s a false debate parroted in much of the media about this because traditional media thinks every story requires a debate. Quite frankly, that’s absurd.

      I hope you’ll look into the clear evidence on this matter and figure out why nearly 100% of scientists studying this matter come to the same conclusion.

  • Trevor

    Well, I enjoyed this article quite a bit until the random and uncalled for attack on the Raiders… With that, this is now a useless article written by someone who clearly thinks sports teams are more important than correcting backwards mindsets (I won’t re-post this and risk pissing people off for the wrong reasons.) In the future, stick to the point and leave out the sports (attacking a sports team is a worthless act, it will not help anything, it will only anger people… for this reason you are just as backwards thinking as the very people you aim to target with this article.) It’s too bad, I was ready to share it all over the place as it was well written until that portion.

    • HI Trevor,
      To be honest I’m not sure if your comment is satire or serious — but in case it was serious, I’ll try to offer an explanation: I did not intend in anyway to offend sports fans or, for sure, Raiders fans. The reference was not meant to ASSOCIATE the Texas GOP education policies with the Raiders (OMG that itself is hillarious) or to sports. The reference was merely to suggest a satirical, hypothetical level of (lack of) thought on the part of the Texas GOP Platform writers, much as we’d see from, let’s say, Homer Simpson mumbling about “Doughnuts” while someone is talking to him about anything else. I could have said “Knicks” or…”boobs” or…anything. Of course, now somebody will tell me I’m insulting Homer. Or boobs. I think I’ll have a doughnut. And most seriously…thank you for reading and commenting…

  • dessn

    This is exactly why I am not a Republican or a Democrat. Both are stupid parties that exploit the stupid American public leveraging the stupid press as their stupid conduit. This is why we need more people like Ron Paul in office (though he’s labelled a R. he’s really a Libertarian). Get government out of our lives. Vote intelligently.

  • Raymond P. Bilodeau

    I was so disappointed that it was a satire. But, remember the longest-lasting modern science satire was Pluto, the would-be planet. And many things that were thought to be facetious or satirical turned out to be true.. In Texas, though I think it’s the GOP inbreeding.

  • You are a riot Don. Excellent piece of satire based in truth. Thanks for exposing it in such a funny and engaging way. You ought to put your twitter feed at the bottom–I’d think a lot of folks would follow you given your mad writing skills.

    • Thanks Scott. I’m @donlieber although i don’t necessarily tweet all my writings. Really appreciate the engagement… feel free to tweet/connect. Cheers!

  • Tommy

    It’s saddly not possible to “teach” higher order thinging skills in the same way you can teach math and reading. You can’t teach people how to think. To fund such a government program would be a waste of time and money.

    • Tommy

      “thinking”

    • sherrie pasarell

      Hey Tommy:
      Teaching “critical thinking”- or higher order thinking skills, at first doesn’t sound particularly doable ! However, when you see the some of the simple ways you can move kids toward this, it becomes much more hopeful. One way: displaying a picture or quote that invites thought, then having kids hear one anothers’ interpretations…
      Example: news cartoon:
      http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/05-31/environment-cartoon.htm
      (If you can’t see it, =man standing in polluted air is wearing an oxygen mask attached to a backpack with a tree growing in a plastic housing with air tube running to the mask). The absence of prescripted choices(word banks have contributed mightily to the ‘dumbing down’culture) and “fill-ins” encourage children-& all of us– to use our brains more.-which in turn, brain science tells us, tends to better enable us to use them again.

      Another of many strategies= getting them into the habit of extending their ideas to predict story endings, explore alternatives in real life situations, including contemporary issues, bringing the added bonus of instilling current events awareness.
      In any case, repeated exposures to strategies of that ilk raises chance of developing the habit of thinking beyond the simplest levels.
      To address your last line- no special budget/program/gov’t intervention is needed there–
      Less time of forced “teaching to the (standardized) tests would help us teach the way we really know how~

  • ZombieDawg

    Drat !! I was hoping this was real as it would explain oh so much… ha ha ha…

    Red Dwarf lives on 😉

    • B. Samuel Fried

      Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon your view, it is certainly real.

      Pg. 12, 2012 REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS Report of Platform Committee
      -http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/assets/original/2012Platform_Final.pdf
      “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority”.

      OK, so critical thinking is opposed and challenging student’s fixed beliefs is opposed. And the inference is made that HOTS and critical thinking “have the purpose” of “undermining parental authority.” (Which begs the question of motive on the part of the teachers in wanting to undermine parental authority. Teachers vs. Parents … really?)

      “Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.” Cool! Certainly all scientific theories must stand up to rigorous and relentless challenge. That’s how science works. But Hol’ on thar, varmint … doesn’t the challenging of “theories such as life origins and environmental change” [read: evolution] require or at least suggest the value of the very Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) …” and “critical thinking skills” that the Texas Republican Party opposes?

      So IF I get this right, the students in Texas are not supposed to learn critical thinking skills before they challenge the theory of evolution. Well that makes perfect sense to me because if they did learn to think critically, they might actually realize that the theory works pretty well and that realization, of course, would undermine their parent’s authority to fix beliefs into their children’s heads. Or more succinctly, lets keep them dumb and then we (parents) can get them to believe anything. Wow. Too real.

  • sherri pasarell

    I was’t sure immediately that this is satire.
    To make matters worse, after I was, I realized it sort of isn’t.

    Anyway, thanks for another eminently readable, -and in my case, reaffirming– article.

    • Yes, the sad part is how close to reality it is… the sort of shocker hit at the bottom.

      • sherrie pasarell

        Zach:-
        Yeah, so close to reality, I’m not sure we wouldn’t find some microbial/genetic predispositions there !!
        This awful stuff is our reality, like it or not- with the potential to stress us out to the point of making us incapacitated or even counterproductive.
        I for one see forums like this as a form of damage control, at the very least the display of like-mindedness/ support counteracts the sense of hopelessness.