Monday, December 11, 2006

Common Sense Education Bill Passes House

Members of the US House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday designed to ensure that all college students will have a grasp of the subject matter of common sense.

The measure, dubbed The Common Sense Is Altogether Far Too Uncommon Act, imposes a three credit hour general education requirement for a course in common sense on all public and private colleges that receive federal funding. Students will be permitted to test out of the requirement if they demonstrate "substantial ability" in "handling everyday life situations" and "avoiding obvious hazards." Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said that this requirement could be met by "mak[ing] the student give correct change, tie his or her shoes, show familiarity with the concept of 'not wearing shorts when it's below freezing outside,' and avoid the consumption of raw meats."

The push for the bill comes on the heels of a widely publicized University of Nebraska study that shows a direct correlation between population density and population density.

The bill is expected to come before the Senate in early 2007. Senators are split on the bill. Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was quoted as calling the measure "absurd." She also criticizes the bill because she deems common sense to be vague and arbitrary. "What is common sense? Who gets to decide? I certainly wasn't invited to the meeting."

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), on the other hand, was in favor of the measure. "It's good for Nebraska. We've got some of the nation's foremost experts on common sense, and they'll be in great demand throughout the country."

Advocacy groups are sharply divided. Stupid-Heads of Relatively Tenuous Brain Understanding Society (SHORTBUS) has issued a statement to the effect that their group acknowledges the need for such education.

On the opposite side of the issue, Bill Pinkelton, the national president of Allies and Advocates for Idiots, the Learning Disabled, and Buffoons (ILDB) says that his organization is against the measure. "For hundreds of years the religious right and other intolerant people have tried to tell us what we can and can't do. If we make our own decisions about crossing traffic or what to do with our genitals, then who is the government to criticize us?" He then added, "Maybe you don't spit into the wind, or tug on Superman's cape, or mess around with Jim. But the ILDB's position is that we should be able to make our own choices." He also noted that his organization is discussing the possibility of a law suit with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He was hesitant to mention anything about what legal theories they would pursue, but he did say that the congressional record is supported largely by "antidotal [sic] evidence."

Businesses and professionals are showing mixed reactions as well. Publishers of various self-help books, such as the popular "for Dummies" series, along with a few prominent personal injury attorneys and the producers of several reality television series, are vigorously lobbying against the bill. An anonymous emergency room doctor from Chicago commented that he will have a hard time paying back his school loans if he gets no more cases of people with "various objects lodged in their nether regions." But other prominent doctors are on the record with the position that prevention of injury is more important.

Despite all the controversy, local support is heavily in favor of the bill. An anonymous, self-identified idiot student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, said that he "really needs" some help in this area, but he's concerned that he "might not be able to make it to the class." We interviewed him as he was resting from his attempt to push open a door that was clearly marked with a "pull" sign.

Farmer Bob, a well-known, self-taught common sense expert from the rural Lincoln area, said, "It's about time they got those kids some sense. What good's all that book learnin' gonna do ya if ya if yer too stupid to come in outta the rain?" Bob's wife Maggie, a well-known area mom, added, "Or if you follow one of your friends when he jumps off a cliff."


  1. This bill is a waste of taxpayers' money. Education is not the answer. Here's why.

    Scientists recently identified the common sense gene and discovered that over half of our population under the age of 35 lacks this important gene which results in a disorder known as birdbrain-ism. In fact there is a whole spectrum of birdbrain-ism. The mildest form results in the person standing out in the rain longer than necessary. The most severe form is manifested when the person stands out in the rain and gazes up at the sky with his mouth wide open.

    It is believed that the gene has been disappearing from the gene pool due to the consumption of Kefir and Starbucks coffees. There appears to be a direct correlation. (Personally I think it has something to do with the decrease in secondhand smoke too.)

    Common sense tells you that any product, such as Kefir, which boasts on its label that it contains live things such as L. casei, L. acidophilus, S. diacetylactis, B. bacterium longum and a slew of other weird sounding live things is bound to be up to no good when it comes to our health. Then there is Starbucks coffee. Listen, when you take a good, rich cup of Columbian coffee and adulterate it with something like vanilla or hazelnut, you are asking for trouble. Common sense tells you that.

    In order to save mankind from this debilitating disorder, we need to ban Kefir and all Starbucks coffee houses as well as other coffee houses such as Caribou and so on. We need to start making people drink plain whole milk and the old coffee standbys such as Hills Bros. and Maxwell House.

    I look for Ohio and New York City to be the vanguards in this movement. They seem to be up to the task of banning.

  2. I'm interested to hear more about the decline of secondhand smoke in this regard. Are you saying that secondhand smoke has a positive effect on the common sense gene?

    This is the hot button issue of the day. But, as with all my other treatments of hot button issues, someone will come in here who has a personal stake in all this (i.e. an idiot) and turn this into a circus.

  3. "Are you saying that secondhand smoke has a positive effect on the common sense gene?"

    We must be switching hats here, Kelly, and donning the more serious one..sort of. In answer to your question, the decrease in secondhand smoke is both symptom and cause of diminishing common sense.

    It is a symptom, because to go from designated well ventilated smoking areas in restaurants and the like to a complete ban is excessive. How much healthier are non-smokers going to be as a result of a complete ban? Private business, and not government, should make the decision to ban smoking or not to ban it on their property.

    It is a cause, because now some people want to call it child abuse if a parent lights up at home in the presence of a child. I am not saying it is okay to smoke around children, but I can think of many other things that parents often do or don't do, such as neglecting to provide nutritious meals for their children, that are far more abusive than smoking a cigarette in the bathroom with the ventilation fan going.

    If we are not careful, we will end up having to account to Big Brother for everything we do or don't do. I eat my broccoli, but how would you like it shoved down your throat by the food police?


    P.S. I was having trouble posting a comment using my blogger account

  4. Interesting. I didn't intend for this discussion to get serious, but I think you have a point there.

  5. Sorry, Kelly. I thought we were getting serious.