Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Have you seen it? Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu (the smartest scientist ever to sit in a Presidential Cabinet?) and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, one laughing, one smirking and both confusing the hell out of me.

I had to watch the clip 3 times, then talk to the Big Cuter about what was really going on. Rep. Barton was making a point, and Dr. Chu was agreeing with him, and then Rep. Barton posts "Gotcha" on his website and I really didn't get it. Where was the "gotcha"? Rep. Barton was right - the oil just seeped through the cracks and layers of tectonic plates and got up to Alaska. He said it. I heard it. So, I guess the "gotcha" is that the answer wasn't what he wanted to hear? Or that it was what he expected from an Obama appointee? Or that it was so easy to understand that Dr. Chu must be fooling?

Rep. Barton is a Purdue educated engineer. He consulted for ARCO. He is the ranking member (and former chair) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. How is it possible that he's done all that and has never heard of plate tectonics? I read John McPhee's Basin and Range aloud to the cuters as TBG drove us from Chicago to Ithaca. They were 6 and 8 at the time. Perhaps they didn't understand all of it, but the notion of Pangea and the moving plates was simple enough for them to grasp.

Rep. Barton is making energy policy for America without an understanding of the science behind the creation of oil. Yes, Antarctica was once closer to the equator than it is right now, and it was probably a lot warmer then, too. And yes, as Rep. Barton would like us to believe, humans are not totally responsible for global warming; climate change has been going on for eons. But to smirk at a Nobel laureate as he's giving you a clear, concise, easy to understand 30 second answer to a question that requires a 3 hour explanation, well that's just dumb.

It's also really scary.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room. "

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