little green footballs

This Is What Happens When Legislators Don't Learn Science in School

Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 3:56:30 pm

As a native Kentuckian who has also lived in several states in this wonderful country and now happily resides in the backwoods of eastern Kentucky, I want to say right off the bat that I love Kentucky. However, I do despair over the intellectual capacity of our elected officials.

While Kentucky is trumpeted as the state that made ACA work beyond expectations, we are also the state that refuses to recognize SSM, awards millions of tax dollars to Ken Ham's Creation "Museum" (and now his potential Ark), and just LOVES the coal industry (even though it hasn't been a major employer here in decades). Oh, and we are the state that gave the country Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

Just when I thought there couldn't be another way to embarrass us, this morning I was proved wrong.

Desperately, desperately wrong.

I'll let my favorite reporter, Louisville blogger Joe "Mitch McConnell Hides From Me" Sonka, take it from here:

Kentucky's Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment met today to discuss the new EPA rules to fight climate change by limiting greenhouse gases from power plants. The committee is chaired by Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, a proud climate change denier who has suggested in the past that Kentucky secede from the union in order to avoid federal environmental regulations. Yes, he chairs the committee, because Kentucky.
I don't even know where to start on sharing some of the wisdom that was expressed by our state legislators during this hearing. No, actually I do. I give you the honorable Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard:

"As you (Energy & Environment Cabinet official) sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don't want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I'm aware of."

"Stuff"...how can you argue with that as an intellectual, nay scientific, statement of fact?

There's more. Much, much more hilarity (and it's all factual) ensues at the link, including video: Sen. Brandon Smith Has Important Things to Say About Climate Change, Mars - FatLip

I'll also encourage readers to check out Joe's live tweeting during the committee meeting. Be warned, Sen. Smith may have been the worst representative there, but he was not alone in spouting lunacy.

UPDATE at 7/3/14 6:37:15 pm by Backwoods_Sleuth

KET (Kentucky Educational Television) has a video of the committee meeting here.

UPDATE at 7/7/14 10:34:26 am by Backwoods_Sleuth

Sen. Smith tries to use the "taken out of context" card:

Sen. Brandon Smith claims his comments about Mars/Earth/climate -- reported in context -- were taken out of context: https://t.co/VrpxhVK5qz— Joe Sonka (@joesonka) July 7, 2014

#clarify: climate shift we see on earth comparable to those occurring on other planets in our solar system #commentstakenoutofcontext— Brandon Smith (@Smithkysenate) July 3, 2014

Hilarity ensues in the tweet responses to Sen. Smith.

Also, h/t to Joe Sonka for this relevant clip:
http://youtu.be/OCF_Yy3oFNo