Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 11, 2011

MARKEY TAKES A STAND FOR SCIENCE (AND SARCASM).... A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel met yesterday to approve a ridiculous measure: members were asked, as Brad Johnson explained, to "overturn the scientific finding that fossil fuel pollution is causing dangerous climate change."

But before the vote was held, Rep. Ed Markey (D) of Massachusetts explained why his colleagues were making a mistake.

"I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet," the Democrat said. "However, I won't rise physically, because I'm worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.

"I won't call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. Instead, we will embody Newton's third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America's importation of foreign oil.

"This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrodinger's cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process. Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

"And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair's amendment pile."

Soon after, the subcommittee's Republicans approved the measure. Markey probably talked over their heads.

Steve Benen 9:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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Republicans don't get snark or ironic humor.

They suffer from an irony deficiency.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 11, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

If this was not such an important subject, the rest of the world would be laughing their collective heads off at the ignorance that exists in the US. Perhaps it is not all ignorance, perhaps it is greed and the money from the oil companies that they enjoy.

Posted by: j on March 11, 2011 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't be surprised if all the Republicans were nodding in agreement while Markley went one by one and re-affirmed all of their beliefs on each of those scientific "theories."

Posted by: mikefromArlington on March 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, great Schrodinger Cat reference!

Posted by: fuzed on March 11, 2011 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Markey probably talked over their heads", there are many juveniles that are able to talk over their heads

Posted by: Ted76 on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

The thing I find most disturbing about everything the GOP is doing now that they've been given the majorities to act out their sick fantasies, is just how impossible it is to keep track of all this crap. Seriously, just try to start a list of everything they've done just in the last 2 months that would have led to 24/7 coverage of the scandals had the Democrats been the ones doing it. I dare you!

Where the hell do you start criticizing them during campaign season? Will people even believe you when told of what they've been doing this whole time? Have you ever seen such an assault on the middle class and the reality of the world we live in?

Can ignorance, stupidity and the rigid ideology that created it really be defeated? God help us all.

Posted by: Kiweagle on March 11, 2011 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

I confess I had to google Schrodinger's cat to get the point. What a fun reference!

As to talking over the heads of the Republicans, a one-celled organism could talk over their heads.

Posted by: Eeyore on March 11, 2011 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

This would be hilarious if it weren't so appalling. How did we come to this?

This kind of thing gives a whole new meaning to American exceptionalism. With all our huffing and puffing about our own greatness, we are shrinking as a world leader by the day--not only economically but morally and intellectually. I am embarrassed to be an American.

Posted by: Jeri on March 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Think of the devastation that could have been thwarted if they'd overturned scientific findings on plate tectonics and fluid dynamics yesterday. Unbelievable images coming out of Japan this morning.

Posted by: beep52 on March 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

We could use a man like Trofim Lysenko again.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 11, 2011 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

This would be hilarious if it weren't so appalling. How did we come to this?

Greed and ignorance, willfully applied.

Posted by: AK Liberal on March 11, 2011 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Those were the days, HLA.

Good point, beep.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, our old LaSalle ran great...

Posted by: Newton Whale on March 11, 2011 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

The current crop of republicans in power are stupid and ignorant. There is no other explanation. For a while I was thinking that Washington was being run by aliens (this would have gone a long way to explaining Obama's behavior as well), but now I think the republicans are being run by re-incarnated beings from the 16th century catholic church.

Posted by: rbe1 on March 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

If passing legislation to deny the existence of gravity or declare that the Sun orbits the Earth would generate profits for the Koch Brothers, the Republicans would do it in a minute.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 11, 2011 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Yet another reason I'm glad that Markey is my Congressman instead of Peter (you're not a terrorist if I agree with you) King.

Posted by: Ed, Watertown MA on March 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

According to the Copenhagen Interpretation particles have no inherent reality unless observed. I assume the same applies to Republicans - could we please not observe them and allow them to remain nothing more than undefined wave functions?

Posted by: Katie on March 11, 2011 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, every current reality points to the R's in power carrying out every means possible to dumb down the youth being educated today in order to maintain their plurality well into the future. Scary times!

Posted by: maggie on March 11, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it about time for the Republicans to legislate the value of pi as an even three? Makes the arithmetic a lot easier.

And while we're at it, shouldn't we change the name of "Arabic numerals" to something more patriotic, like "freedom numbers?"

Posted by: T-Rex on March 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Has sarcasm ever stopped a bully? It has no place in political discourse: it is the ineffectual snarl of the weak and terrified. Let us organize and educate, instead.

Posted by: keith on March 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

@Keith: it never hurts to ridicule your opps --- especially when they ARE fools. That's not to say we shouldn't ALSO organize and educate.

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 11, 2011 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Good for Markey.

Now we should all encourage the House Energy and Commerce Committee to do something really useful with their legislative powers - outlaw earthquakes and tsunamis.

Posted by: Rick B on March 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

G.Kerby: actually, ridicule does hurt; it comforts the weak without changing anything, and merely enrages the targets by sneering at them as if they were inferior beings.

Posted by: keith on March 11, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

That is fucking GOLDEN!

And yes, it went COMPLETELY over their pea-brained heads.

Posted by: bdop4 on March 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

..."Schrodinger's cat"...

Awesome! What a beautiful rant. God, smart is so sexy!! Who'd a thunk quantum physics would make its way to Congress.

I'm sure the ignorant goopers think that this spunky feline is a Charlie Brown character (sits on piano, friend of Snoopy) and have no idea what he was talking about. Which makes it that much sweeter...sorta. Maybe one of their smarter friends can explain it to them.

Why has ignorance become a thing of bliss for and in our elected officials?

Posted by: MsJoanne on March 11, 2011 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kiweagle @ 10:12:

You have effectively stated my own frustration. It's as if we are living in a weird nightmare in which we cannot communicate an urgent warning to people who desperately need to heed it.

The only amendment I would make to your comment would be to substitute "two years" for "two months".

Posted by: JD on March 11, 2011 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK


Sarcasm never stopped a bully, but a right cross often does. That was a rhetorical right cross delivered by Markey.

Also, I take offense at your characterization of us as the "weak" and your supposition that we aren't looking to organize and educate.

What should Markey have done? Timidly voice his opposition on their terms and grant them credibility they don't deserve?

You aren't going to change these people, ever. And you aren't going to convince those on the sidelines with comity and weak responses.

Posted by: bdop4 on March 11, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, my rep is on this committee and a co-sponsor of the bill. My speed dial to his DC office is going to get a lot of use the next two years. I just called and voiced extreme displeasure at the Republican assault on science. Ironically one of the best scientific public universities in the country is found in our state (though not his district).

Posted by: Hannah on March 11, 2011 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are fascists. Republicans want to destroy our country to less than third world status for their greed and power. Republicans do not want Americans to think , speak or act against their wishes. FASCISM is the Republican Word as per KOCH BROS behest. TREASON against our DEMOCRACY is what Republicans and KOCH BROS should be charged with. Long Live America's Democracy!!!!

Posted by: MLJohnston on March 11, 2011 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

You guys seriously think that anthropogenic global warming has the same weight of evidence behind it as basic Newtonian physics? Wow.

Posted by: Chuck on March 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

A liberal lawyer is lecturing Americans on laws of physics - and you are listening to him? Damn, what an easy bunch to impress. As an electrical engineer I am disgusted by this show. If you don't have any rational arguments against the Upton-Inhofe bill - then it makes perfect sense to wheel out a lawyer (who knows less about science than a 10-year old) and let him whine. But don't expect educated people to support you.

Posted by: Hyphenated American on March 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Get over it whackos! I think you guys are just pissed off over your hero Al Gore gave up the global warming hoax for hotel massages.

Posted by: Damon on March 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

So, I've come across the town of Idiotville. Where is there ANY proof fossil fuel is causing "dangerous climate change?" When you have cobbled together some tortured logic ask yourself a few questions. Do you own a car? Do you have electricity in your home? Do you eat food? If you want to save the environment, STOP CONSUMING. Oh, wait, you meant other people are supposed to take a financial hit for an agenda you can only pretend to understand.

You will go on swirling around the bowl until the current pulls you under.

Posted by: Sam Sixpack on March 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's a scientific fact that price controls do not work. Minimum wage legislation is a price control - an attempt by the government to control the price of low-skilled labor. Almost all economists (liberal or conservative - but most economists are conservatives) will tell you that it was long ago proven, in theory and in empirical studies in countries around the world, that minimum wage laws hurt the working poor, contribute to unemployment, disproportionately hurt racial minorities, and have terrible effects on small businesses. There is more scientific evidence that minimum wage laws are bad for the working class than there is evidence in support of Darwin's theory of evolution (to say nothing of so-called "climate change".) Neverless, anti-science and anti-intellectual liberals persist in their ignorant belief that the government can micro-manage the price of labor.

Or take rent controls. Same story. Anti-science. Ignorant leftists.

Or take that whole "cash for clunkers" thing, which was almost Soviet in its stupidity. More anti-intellectualism and slipshod 19th-Century Marxist economic theory.

There's a reason why most economists are Republicans or libertarians. There's a reason why the GOP almost always wins a majority of college educated voters. There's a reason why in the 2010 midterms the GOP won college educated voters by 20 points.

The Democrats are a bunch of uneducated economic illiterates.

Posted by: durhonka on March 11, 2011 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"You guys seriously think that anthropogenic global warming has the same weight of evidence behind it as basic Newtonian physics? Wow."

They do, and at the same time they consider themselves "smart". Pretty funny, isn't it?

Posted by: Stanley Bing on March 11, 2011 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

T-Rex, thanks for "freedom numbers".

This is all good stuff, but I'd forget about ridiculing these Republicans, who are bought-and-for amoral tools simply doing their masters' bidding. Start asking elected Democrats what the fuck they intend to do about it, and when. Or perhaps they pretty much all answer to the same masters???

Obama's utterly disgraceful response to a question about Bradley Manning's treatment should give you a clue:


Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on March 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK



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