Keep Your Government Hands Off My Pizza Box! (And Other Stupid Things Mark Darr Thinks.)

September 7, 2012

“Are you as tired as I am of seeing recycling logos on your milk in the cafeteria?”


I suppose I’m a little late to this party, but whatever.  That’s never stopped me from addressing stupidity with a healthy dose of sarcastic disdain.

As the Arkansas Blog noted, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is sick of the “constant” pro-environment message in America.  As you might expect, Darr’s full statement on the issue was your standard Fox News / Tea Party agitprop, devoid of anything resembling cogent thought.  But let’s not let the fact that it was jaw-droppingly dumb keep us from tackling this baby FJM-style.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten tired of the constant barrage of messages everywhere telling me to “go green”.

Really? “Constant barrage”? I can’t recall the last commercial urging me to “go green” that I saw on television. I can recall seeing ads from coal companies, telling me to write my Congressman and complain about “Obama’s EPA” for making it harder on the coal companies to burn their “clean burning” product. I’m positive that I watch more liberal programming than Darr does, so I’d reckon that his exposure to “go green” tv ads is lower than mine by a long shot.

As for non-TV sources of that “barrage,” there are a number of billboards around that promote going green, I suppose. But there are also a number of billboards for Sissy’s Log Cabin, yet they’ve never prompted Darr to complain. Who even reads billboards?

Sure, I’ve bought some of those corkscrew light bulbs and I haven’t killed any whales, but give me a break.

You haven’t killed a whale? Awesome. Great. You’re a regular John Muir. We should all give you a break because, obviously, you’ve more than done your part by forgoing your strong urge to harpoon whales. In Arkansas.

Also, I hope you’re properly recycling those “corkscrew lightbulbs,” but I bet you’re not. So thanks for the extra mercury in the environment.

It’s everywhere now. I love pizza, but I don’t buy it because the box is made from recycled materials. I don’t need to know that. Just make the box and sell me the pizza.

Wow. You are complaining — literally sitting down and writing a statement meant to be published under the title of your office — because a pizza box says it is made from recycled materials? That bothers you in some way? Honestly??!

Here’s a picture of a Papa John’s pizza box. Nowhere on the part of the box that you’ll actually look at does it mention recycled content. Same for Domino’s.  And the same for the boxes that come from your house o’ pies.  So hardly ever seeing the recycled content logo on a pizza box is your example for how “go green” is “everywhere.”  Well argued, Melvin B. Tolson.

When all of these people selling us on solar panels start putting them on their own houses, I might start taking them seriously.

“When all of these people who think the Earth is round start sailing over the horizon and coming back, I might start taking them seriously.” –Random Idiot in Greece, 200 B.C.

(Also, how do you know that they don’t use them on their own homes, provided they live in an area where solar power is practical for them? Cite your source, please.)

The movement to dictate new standards to everyone is not about “saving the earth”. I’m all for environmental responsibility but a polar bear is not going to die because I drive an SUV. Let’s get real.

The intellectual dishonesty (or, if you’re less charitable, abject stupidity) if this statement is staggering.  No, if ONLY YOU are driving an SUV (or a tank or a Hummer that runs only on the livers of Leopard Seals), there will not be an appreciable impact on the environment.  But when MANY PEOPLE are doing it, it becomes an issue.  I don’t feel like I should even have to explain that.

This movement is about making money and more and more it’s about intruding in our lives and telling us what to do. That has to stop.

To briefly recap the logic of the GOP: telling women what they can do with their bodies is a-ok; having some ads and billboards tell you about recycled cardboard content and CLFs is overbearing fascism of the highest order.

It’s killing jobs and restricting people’s freedom.

No, it’s not.  You’re lying because hyperbolic bullshit is better than reality when facts and logic aren’t on your side.

We’ve been told we should turn corn (necessary for our food supply) into fuel. Now corn prices are leading to inflation in other commodities, driving up prices for consumers who are already stretched thin by poor economic conditions.

Ignoring how detrimental the rise in the importance of corn in modern food has been for American health, especially in terms of feeding corn to animals that didn’t previously eat corn, this is still absurd in the context of Darr’s rant for one simple reason: the rise in the use of ethanol in gas happened under George W. Bush.  This includes the Energy Independence & Security Act, signed by Bush in 2007, that mandated the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol by 2015.

Backing up a bit, the legal changes that led to the use of ethanol came about in the early 1990s under George H.W. Bush.  In changes to the Clean Air Act in 1990, oxygenated gasoline was now required to help the fuel burn more completely in combustion. One of the favored oxygenates was methyl tert-butyl ether, or MTBE.  Problem was, MTBE started showing up in drinking water and other run-off, and ethanol was viewed as a safer alternative to MTBE, since it had been a common auto-fuel additive from the late 1800s to the 1940s, and had only fallen out of favor because the price of regular gas was so ridiculously low until the 1970s.

Subsidized green ventures have been tried in other countries and have failed, yet we keep being told that we need to go all in and spend taxpayer dollars on an industry that can’t possibly pay for itself.

You’re not even trying now.  You’re just throwing out absurd, nearly meaningless statements that have no basis in fact.  The number of “subsidized green ventures” that have failed in other countries is dwarfed by the number that have succeeded.  As this Economist article explains in details that Mark Darr likely will never comprehend, the problem internationally is not subsidies for green ventures; it’s subsidies for environmentally and economically harmful activities that serve to either preclude innovation and investment in green technologies or lower the cost of the harmful technologies to the point that green ventures cannot compete.

Implicit in the Economist article: Mark Darr’s entire premise is absurd, meritless, and marks him as an idiot or a liar.  He can choose which label he prefers.

New standards are being imposed for the construction of “green buildings” and they are having an adverse effect on the market availability of Arkansas forest products. Energy efficiency is smart when it’s done cost effectively and using natural materials is great, but not when it restricts the use of Arkansas lumber in favor of imported wood from Russia, China, and Brazil, which is what is happening. Of course, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a government regulation that lags behind market realities and defies common sense. Mandates that discriminate against US forestry producers and landowners and threaten American jobs should be called into question and ultimately overturned.

I’m curious as to what “new standards” Darr is referring.  My guess is that he’s referencing the recent changes promulgated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which still do not recognize the two largest forest certification standards in North America, the American Tree Farm System and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, for purposes of accumulating LEED points for tax credits.  While that’s regrettable, and probably does hamper the use of wood relative to other materials, it’s hardly a “new standard;”  it has been that way for years.  In addition, to the extent Darr actually knows what the knew standards are and is really complaining about them, USGBC delayed a vote on them until June of 2013.  So, in the meantime, builders and tree farmers operate under the old standards, and Darr’s argument is irrelevant.

We have a $500,000 solar panel at a state building in Little Rock that was paid for with “stimulus” money.

Protip: Using ironic quotation marks around “stimulus,” as if you’re disputing that it was stimulative for the economy, immediate brands you as a partisan hack (or worse).  Any arguments that the stimulus didn’t work that do not include “as well as it could have, because it was too small” are absolutely, unquestionably incorrect.

No energy has been saved with this as it has never even been turned on, yet we have been told that it was “100% worth the money.”

And why hasn’t it been turned on?  Not because the panels wouldn’t provide the 3% of Arkansas Tech’s electrical needs, as was expected when the panels were purchased, but because of a legal pissing match between Ark. Tech and Entergy involving indemnification of Entergy in all contracts with Ark. Tech, which is unconstitutional.  It has nothing — literally not one damned thing — to do with whether the solar panel works, whether it was worth the cost, or whether it would provide the requisite electricity.  Not that facts have stopped Darr thus far in his screed.

We are told that electric cars are the future, yet they still need coal-powered plants to give them electricity and no extension cord is possibly long enough to recharge you if your car dies in the middle of nowhere. What then?

The stupidity of this statement is mind-boggling.  They don’t “still need coal-powered plants to give them electricity;” they need electricity.  It doesn’t have to come from coal-powered plants; it can come from any kind of plant.  Just because the majority of those plants are coal right now — a separate issue that needs to be addressed — doesn’t mean that electric cars are somehow a bad idea.  Additionally, simply because electric cars can’t go non-stop across the vast open nothingness of, say, Montana, does not mean that they are not a good idea; your gas-powered car can’t go non-stop without fuel either.  Not to mention, the majority of electric cars are actually hybrids, combining gas and electric for maximum range.  Plus high-tech companies like Fisker are combining solar panels and super-efficient energy recapture technologies in the brakes and engines to charge the batteries almost continually.  But, hey, if those cars can’t drive 5000 miles without any gas right this very second, we should totally abandon them for SUVs.  Makes total sense.  (Note: it does not make total sense.)

Global warming advocates act as if they can control the weather if we just pass the type of legislation they want.

No, they don’t.  But, hey, nice to see you brought your strawman to the party.

Does this make sense to anyone? It makes them sound like some cartoon villain with a secret weather machine.

It doesn’t make sense in the same way that it wouldn’t make sense for me to say “global warming deniers act like passing environmental legislation will turn everyone gay.”  Attributing absurd positions to the other side in a debate is intellectual hackery at its finest!

President Obama said if we elected him the oceans would stop rising. It is the height of audacity for a politician to think he can control the oceans.

No, he didn’t.  Upon accepting the nomination in 2008, he said (paraphrasing), that if we are willing to work for it and fight for it, people will look back generations from now and see 2008 as the point where “the rise of the oceans began to slow.”  So, no, he didn’t say “stop rising,” nor did he pretend like he would instantly make the rise slow; he said that, if we elected him over Sen. John McCain, one of the very long-term results of having a Democrat as President would be a slowing in climate change.  Funny how different that is from the lie that you and Mitt Romney continue to spread.

My point is that we have been sold a lot of misinformation and messaging that is not based in reality.

Irony, thy name is Mark Darr.

The reality of it is that it is costing us way too much money and causing way too many people to lose their jobs. The government is paying for “green projects” that aren’t economical and companies are now cutting back or going out of business and real Arkansans are hurting as a result.

Nowhere in this statement have you established that it is “costing us way too much money,” nor have you shown that it is costing people their jobs.  You’ve simply made a number of ridiculous, misleading, or incorrect assertions, then tacked on the conclusion that you want people to parrot.  “OMG, it’s costin’ us money and takin’ our jobs!”

Here’s a little tip, however, in cause you want to take a second crack at making your argument: bitching about compact light bulbs and labels on pizza boxes does not establish that there’s anything wrong with encouraging environmentalism among Americans; it just marks you as a run-of-the-mill Republican idiot who cares more about pleasing oil/gas industries than about what happens to Earth in the coming years and decades.