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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

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 Petraeus Hearings

Petraeus, Gwen Moore, racism

While watching the news of the Petraeus hearings I was shocked to see Gwen Moore in front of the cameras. I didn’t know that she was still in congress.

What did she say; "To batter this woman because they don't feel they have the ability to batter President Obama is something we the women are not going to stand by and watch.  Their feckless and reckless speculation is unworthy of their offices as senators." 

This was in response to the questioning of the testimony of Susan Rice regarding the Benghazi attack by Senators McCain and Graham. 

The problem:

Immediately after the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Susan Rice, President Obama and Hillary Clinton made the claim that a YouTube video was to blame for the incident. In fact, they didn’t make this a point of speculation. They were emphatic that the YouTube video was indeed the spark that ignited the attack.

2 months later:

Facts regarding the attack have come to light and it appears that the YouTube scapegoat was added after the fact, according to the Petraeus testimony. 


McCain and Graham pointedly asked Rice about who gave her the marching orders to state that the video was responsible for the attack, especially since the memo that Petraeus distributed did not mention the video.

Democratic Response:

Anyone who questions Susan Rice, Obama or Hillary Clinton is sexist and racist. "It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities," Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the next chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters Friday at a Capitol Hill news conference. 


As former CIA Director David Petraeus revealed new discrepancies Friday in the administration's story over Libya, a dozen female House Democrats suggested Republicans' criticism of U.N. ambassador Susan Rice over her Libya comments is instead rooted in sexism and racism. 

Who couldn’t have predicted this response? Unfortunately, they have gone to this well so many times that it has become nauseating. Gwen Moore steps on gum; it’s because Republicans are sexist and racist. Gwen Moore sleeps till noon and missed yet another vote on Capitol Hill; it’s because Republicans are sexist and racist. Gwen Moore’s son is caught slashing tires at the Republican office; it’s because Republicans are sexist and racist. 

At some point someone in the Democratic Party should come up with something new if for no reason other than shame.  

Novel idea:

How about a discussion of facts?

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