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Senate committee to science: Drop dead

Earlier this week I wrote a column about the downright mean and nasty way that conservatives in the General Assembly are governing our state these days. Over and over during the last 18 months, the people in power have displayed an utter contempt for process and the right of people who differ with them to be heard.

Today, another sad chapter in this story of aggressive know-nothingism was written in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources. It occurred during a discussion of the embarrassing bill advanced by global warming deniers that would attempt to tell scientists which data they can and cannot use to make projections about sea-level rise — an issue that could well impact the very survival of our species.

After spending all of about 10 minutes on the bill, the chairman of the committee, Senator Don East (pictured above) was asked if it would be possible for an actual scientific expert on the subject, Prof. Rob Jackson of Duke University to address the committee. East’s offensive and harebrained reply was as follows: “A couple of minutes, it’s lunchtime, we’re tired, wanna’ get out of here, make it quick.” (WRAL has a video of the whole embarrassing meeting that you can watch by clicking here.)

East, you will recall, is the same person who bragged on the Senate floor last year about a fun-filled night of illegal 145 m.p.h. driving on public highways.

It’s enough to make you think that writers for Stephen Colbert and other national comedians might just want to hire a permanent stringer in Raleigh to monitor the General Assembly for asinine comments and behavior. Indeed, based on the actions of the last couple weeks, it might take two or three people to handle such a  job.

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