Gov. Perry: Cheering on Good Science

A photo of Rod Blagojevich, who looks a lot like Rick Perry
Yeah, I know this is a photo of Rod Blagojevich, but really, you can barely tell the difference.

I’ll make this one quick and reductive, because it’s 4:30 in the morning and I want to get back to sleep.

Former cheerleader and tactical fighter pilot Rick Perry, currently the longest-serving governor in Texas history, has decided that there’s not enough well-reviewed scientific evidence to consider greenhouse gasses a risk to public health. According to the Dallas Morning News, he is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to take back the statement it released on Monday in which it made the somewhat controversial assertion that “carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) … threaten the public health and welfare.”

The most surprising part of this is not the juxtaposition of having been both a male cheerleader and a freakin’ fighter pilot (though, believe me, I’m likely going to be thinking about that one for a while) but rather the fact that it took this long for the E.P.A. to say that these were dangerous gasses to have too much of swirling around in our air.

Sarah Palin

Gov. Perry—who is, if you’ll recall, both a former male cheerleader and a former fighter pilot—directed his appeal to the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, Walter Peck Lisa Jackson, a woman with multiple scientific degrees from reputable universities. Perry is joined in his opposition by a woman with no scientific credentials who attended four schools in five years before earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from a tier 3 university. So, you know, hear them out.

The kicker of this for me becomes clear when you bear in mind that plenty of people have confused my last name and called me “Rick Perry” instead of “Rick Barry.” Now I need to include “Cheerleader/Fighter Pilot/Governor of Texas” to the list of people

Gov. Rick Perry
Gov. Rick Perry (See!?)

that make it impossible to find me when doing a Google search (a list that includes but is not limited to an editor of textbooks for religious schools, a professor from my undergraduate university, a notable funk musician, and a broadcaster notorious for saying awful things.)

In utterly unrelated news, I was having lunch today with a friend from Japan, and I mentioned the fact that earlier this year, when President Obama was meeting with a German official—I believe it was Chancellor Merkel, but I could be wrong—he was reported to have had a moment of abject honesty in which he said that it would probably be years before the U.S. could really be a world leader on climate change.

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