Words Mean What Jim Oberstar Says They Mean

An emailer notes that Jim Oberstar is going to provide cover for the Tics and their premature indictment of the Taxpayers League, the Governor and the Incredible Stable Gas Tax for the collapse of the 35W River Bridge.

He  points us to this article in the Strib (emphases added):

Minnesota Democrat Jim Oberstar, chairman of the
House Transportation Committee, fired off a critical
letter to the head of the National Transportation
Safety Board
(NTSB) on Wednesday, saying it was
“highly inappropriate” for him to dismiss corrosion
and poor maintenance as possible causes for the
Interstate 35W bridge collapse

Seems to me that Oberstar is pressuring the NTSB to
make sure that their final conclusion includes some
mention of corrosion or maintenance. 

If the facts don’t support you, argue the law (of physics); if the law of physics doesn’t uspport you, argue the facts.  If the facts and the law are against you, argue like hell.

Call it “trying to create reasonable doubt” – although the doubts Oberstar is trying to create are in no way reasonable.  Bridges don’t fall because of ethical lapses or political choices or semiotic miscues; they fall due to ineluctible failures in material or design.   

Back to Oberstar:

“The board has not determined whether the design of
the plates was the primary cause of the accident
compared to other possible causes such as corrosion
and poor maintenance,”

His earlier statements just after the NTSB press
conference also imply he’s expecting different results
in the final version.  Oberstar is the head of the
transportation committee which has over site of the

In other words, Oberstar would seem to be playing to the nutroots; people who’ll believe any crap you shove in front of them. 

Read and decide for yourself:  here’s the transcript of the NTSB press conference.  See what references to maintenance or corrosion or gas taxes you can find coming from the engineers who contributed to the findings, so far.

The emailer notes:

At no time does the NTSB claim to know the
cause of the bridge collapse.  The purpose of the
press conference is to issue a “safety recommendation”
to the Federal Highway Administration with regards to
re-performing bridge design calculations.

NTSB safety advisory report (not a preliminary report)

and here if you’re a bridge engineer.

The emailer also directs us to this bit on Rep. Oberstar’s website, and this quote:

“Congressman Jim Oberstar says that the preliminary findings by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may help prev ent another tragedy like the I-35W bridge collapse.  “The NTSB is right to take aggressive action to release any information about the bridge collapse.

Unless it doesn’t provide cover to Alice “The Phantom” Hausman, E-Tink, Nick Coleman, and the DFL and their other water carriers.

I’m going to send an email to Oberstar’s office asking for comment. 

I’ll keep you posted.

2 thoughts on “Words Mean What Jim Oberstar Says They Mean

  1. I was mentioning this exact Oberstar ploy to my wife last night as one reason that I can’t stomach politics right now. Even primary politics doesn’t bother me as much as this nonsense.

  2. Pingback: Clawing Our Way Out Of The Memory Hole | Shot in the Dark

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