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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Aug 19, 2008
Memo to Bill Sali and Newt Gingrich: THANKS FOR KILLING US ALL.
One of the reasons I was so concerned with Operation: Immortality last week is that I figure there's a non-trivial chance we're all gonna die. And not in the "we're all gonna die someday" sense, but in the extinction of the human race kind of we're all gonna die. Or something close enough to it that it may as well count - the collapse of civilizations, the destruction of the biosphere, all of us huddled in the ruins of society looking for someplace to charge our iPods.
And if it happens, and someone offers me a giant laser to burn humanity's epitaph into the surface of our dead world, what I'll painstakingly spell out is this: WE LISTENED TO MORONS.
That's all it boils down to, really. There are smart people. They've spent their lives studying things. They're paid to figure shit out. People like NASA climatologist James Hansen, who I bet is setting up one hell of a bunker. Seriously, if you're living near James Hansen, bring that guy brownies and fruit baskets and shit, because once the seas start boiling and the wells start running dry, you're going to wish you were nicer to him.
But we don't listen to James Hansen. We listen to people like the horrible woman I caught on (liberal!) talk radio yesterday afternoon arguing that environmentalists hate children and pushing the Global Cooling bullshit talking point. And we listen to people like Bill Sali. Hell, we let people like Bill Sali WRITE OUR LAWS. Who is Bill Sali? He's one of Idaho's congressmen. He's a Republican. And he is too stupid to live. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"Congressman Sali informed us that a solution to the high price of gasoline was to make petroleum from 'all those trees in our forests.' He continued by saying there 'could be up to 40 barrels of oil' in a single tree. - A report from congressional candidate Byron Yankey. Lest you think Yankey is Yankeying our chain, the fine folks at ThinkProgress found this from Sali two years ago: "Forty percent of the mass of every tree in the forest is crude oil."
For the record, and you cannot imagine how bitter I am at even sort of having to mention this - there is no oil in trees. None. Not forty barrels, not forty percent. There's no fucking petroleum in trees, and if you're caught thinking that there is, you should be sent back to Remedial Congress. Of course, first we'd have to MAKE a Remedial Congress, for all the special needs senators and congressmen, where they can name parks and pass proclamations and name their fries after freedom while the proper Congress goes about setting public policy.
The most charitable interpretation of Sali's comments is that someone, somewhere, told Sali that if we can ever figure out how to turn wood cellulose into ethanol, we could get forty somethings out of a big tree. And he keeps saying it, differently each time, like a masturbatory game of "Telephone". And if I were a congressman and in a position where THAT was the best thing anyone could say about me, I'd admit to cheating on my wife with a dead goat just to change the subject.
The only thing worse than stupid people being stupid is stupid people being deliberately stupid to discredit the good ideas of smart people. Which brings us to Newt Gingrich and the whole "inflate your tires" thing. In a just world, any son of a bitch going on television and mocking the effects of proper tire pressure on gas mileage should be set on fire. It sounds harsh, I know, but the only way you're going to keep Newt Gingrich and his ilk from appearing on television is to make them hideously scarred lumps of screaming flesh that the anchorpeople and pundits can't bear to look at. Because saying shit like this doesn't get them kicked off:
"Well, I got a very funny e-mail from a retired military officer in Tampa who pointed out that most tire inflation is done at service stations and you pay for it. And it’s actually a higher profit margin than selling gasoline. So Sen. Obama was urging you to go out and enrich Big Oil by inflating your tires instead of buying gas."
That doesn't even work as a joke. When you put a quarter in the air machine, that quarter does not actually pass through a series of tubes and land in a big pile in Exxon-Mobil's "money room". The gas station on the corner is not Big Oil. The guy behind the counter isn't getting rich off four buck a gallon gas. And what's this "instead of gasoline" bullshit? Nobody's saying you can run your car on tire air. That'd be crazy, since we all know they run on LIQUID TREES.
But by all means, keep listening to stupid people. Keep making sure there's a stupid person sitting across from a smart person for "balance". And we'll all laugh at the funny dark man with his fully inflated tires as we ride off the edge of the cliff in our Hummers. And the last thing we'll hear, as we dive headlong into the Abyss, is Rush Limbaugh saying "Global Cooling!".