Republicans vote to repeal Obama-backed bill that would destroy asteroid headed for Earth

From America’s Finest News Service:

WASHINGTON””In a strong rebuke of President Obama and his domestic agenda, all 242 House Republicans voted Wednesday to repeal the Asteroid Destruction and American Preservation Act, which was signed into law last year to destroy the immense asteroid currently hurtling toward Earth.

The $440 billion legislation, which would send a dozen high-thrust plasma impactor probes to shatter the massive asteroid before it strikes the planet, would affect more than 300 million Americans and is strongly opposed by the GOP.

“The voters sent us to Washington to stand up for individual liberty, not big government,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said at a press conference. “Obama’s plan would take away citizens’ fundamental freedoms, forcing each of us into hastily built concrete bunkers and empowering the federal government to ration our access to food, water, and potassium iodide tablets while underground.”

“We believe that the decisions of how to deal with the massive asteroid are best left to the individual,” King added.

Repealing the act, which opponents have branded ‘Obamastroid,’ has been the cornerstone of the GOP agenda since the law’s passage last August. Throughout the 2010 elections, Republican candidates claimed that the Democrats’ plan to smash the space rock and shield citizens from its fragments was “a classic example of the federal government needlessly interfering in the lives of everyday Americans.”

“This law is a job killer,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who argued the tax increases required to save the human species from annihilation would impose unbearably high costs on businesses. “If we sit back and do nothing, Obamastroid will result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, which we simply can’t afford in this economy.”

“And consider how much money this program will add to our already bloated deficit,” Foxx continued. “Is this the legacy we want to leave our children?”

Many GOP members have also criticized the legislation for what they consider pork-barrel spending, claiming the act includes billions in “giveaways” to NASA, nonperishable food manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies contracted to produce mass volumes of vitamin D supplements in the likely event that dust from the asteroid’s impact blots out the sun for a decade.

In an effort to counter Republicans’ claims, Democrats have asserted that the long-term benefits of preventing the United States from being incinerated by an explosion several billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb would far outweigh the initial monetary outlay.

In support of their position, Democrats have pointed to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that show repealing the law could result in a loss of up to $14 trillion in the nation’s GDP.

“I will be the first to admit this is not a perfect bill, by any means,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who has argued that the measure does not go far enough in deflecting the ensuing debris that will rain down on Earth once the asteroid has been destroyed. “But it is absolutely a bill that each and every American needs now if we want to move forward as a country.”

According to political pundits, the showdown over whether to let the asteroid blast a 150-mile-wide, 20-mile-deep crater in the Earth’s crust represents a potential turning point for the nation, and could completely reshape the American political landscape for many centuries to come.

“If efforts to destroy the asteroid are successfully overturned, then there will be major ramifications for both Obama and his Republican opposition, as well as the American populace at large,” political scientist Alan Abramowitz said on Face The Nation Sunday. “This could have a huge impact come 2012.”

With repeal rhetoric reaching a crescendo, the president used his weekly radio address Saturday to state his case for destroying the one-trillion-ton asteroid before it barrels into Earth at 60,000 miles per hour.

“I am more than willing to work with my Republican colleagues to improve the Asteroid Destruction Act,” Obama said. “But let me be clear: Repeal is not an option.”

“While I recognize that intelligent minds may disagree on this issue, I believe we have an obligation to prevent our citizens from having their flesh seared off in a global firestorm that transforms our planet into a broiling molten wasteland,” Obama added. “I think Americans deserve better.”

The Onion

Best of The Onion‘s 2010 climate, energy, and politics pieces :

45 Responses to Republicans vote to repeal Obama-backed bill that would destroy asteroid headed for Earth

  1. Mark H says:

    This is consistent with climate change; we would expect more asteroids to hit some planets while other planets experience less frequent impacts.

  2. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Great parody, but they left out the 20% who would say do nothing because they welcome the rapture. And what would the Kochs do?

  3. Alan Frederick says:

    Sheer genius!

  4. Laphroaig says:

    Perfect illustration of the Republican philosophy of governance.

  5. Chris says:

    That’s right up there with this one:,2849/

    Perfectly captures the existing state of affairs.

  6. K. Nockels says:

    They have alot of faith in the power of the single person. Ya lets not work as a group for anything, lets all be individuals and only handle problems as such. Like that ever works for the greater good of anyone. Just because they can’t get along with anyone that has a slightly diffrent opinion then they do we all have to suffer. If this is the way they want to run the country we will never survive Climate Change, even the first major event will bring us down as everyone runs around individaly trying to save only themselves. That is no way to run a country in time of crisis and as we have seen the Repug states always yell the loudest for help from the Fed when they have a disaster. Jindal is a perfect example of that. We have already seen what their kind of goverment gets us what short memory’s they have big debit was invented by Repugs. Bush’s both of them idea was to let the market handle it look where that landed us!!

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Chris not let forget about,

    Latest Sarah Palin Speech Opens Sixth Seal,2917/

  8. Obama is of course wrong! In a day and age when the mere mention of the word “asteroid” is enough to cause a huge crapstorm from the right wing, Obama should totally avoid using the word “asteroid”!

    This means, of course, the bill shouldn’t be called the Asteroid Destruction & American Preservation Act, but instead should be called something more like the Please Can We All Get Along So That President Obama Can Pose For a Photo-Op Moment to Sign a Bipartisan Bill Into Law Sort of Act, which’ll of course go down better with those Republicans.


  9. Michael Tucker says:

    The Onion is very good! But, potassium iodide tablets? Is it a nuclear attack or an asteroid attack? Maybe they are needed for both situations. I will add potassium iodide tablets to my asteroid kit. I keep it next to my earthquake kit.

    But this statement:
    We believe that the decisions of how to deal with _______________ are best left to the individual.


    Water pollution – best left to the individual.
    Air pollution – best left to the individual.
    Health care – best left to the individual.
    Birth control – for men it is best left to the individual.
    For women – Big Government MUST have absolute control of EVERY UTERUS in the country!

  10. Bob Lang says:

    We can develop our own high-thrust plasma impactor probes or have to buy them from the Chinese, which may turn out to be duds.

  11. Barry says:

    K. Nockels (#5): “If this is the way they want to run the country we will never survive Climate Change, even the first major event will bring us down as everyone runs around individaly trying to save only themselves.”

    You mean like Katrina?

    I’m sure the GOP will do a heck of a job protecting us all during the coming string of fossil fuelled weather disasters. They will have the mission accomplished so fast it will seem almost unreal.

  12. John Mason says:

    Y’bugger, Joe! I was taking a mouthful of red wine when I started reading. You now owe me a new keyboard!!

    Cheers – John

  13. Mimikatz says:

    It’s not faith in the power of a single person. It is a belief that atomized individuals are easier to control than individuals who have the ability to act collectively. That’s why collective action is identified by thye Right with communism and socialism. Isolated individuals are at the mercy of big business and easier to control.

  14. Jim Groom says:

    Reads like satire…is it really???

  15. Barry says:

    Joe, I think you forgot to copy the part of the article that was devoted to the skeptic “TVBLOB” saying:

    “Once again we have breathless pronouncements of doom by the chicken-little crowd. As even a few minutes with my pocket calculator shows clearly, the global firestorm will cause a reaction in tropical cloud formation that will make everything OK by Wednesday around lunchtime. At the very most a few people will get a lovely tan. I for one am looking forward to it.”

  16. If we could paint climate change like this we might get somewhere.

    Or not. The spoof doesn’t say when the meteor is due. What if it was due in 2100 and the chance of it hitting us was only 50%?

  17. Bruce says:

    Well, since the US is a small proportion of the earth’s surface, why should we care when an asteroid hits. Let the oceans pay for this protection.

  18. Peter M says:

    We have a fossil fuel disaster here in southern New England- pay us a visit; if this is a preview of our future- its going to be a bumpy ride indeed- everyone is going to have to fasten their seat belts.

    It is a huge and soon to be costly mess. I wonder how the republicans are going to pay for this disaster and soon coming in the very near future?

  19. Jeff Huggins says:

    Yes — But …

    This is a great piece, of course. I love it. But it raises questions that don’t merely relate to the “other side”.

    This piece demonstrates the ridiculous nature of the GOP’s stand and the stand of other folks who want to “deny” the problem and avoid action at all costs. But it also implicitly critiques (and rightly so) our own lack of effectiveness and deeply insufficient efforts to overcome that ridiculous stand and to actually prompt effective progress. For example, there could easily be a passage in this spoof that mentions the thousands of people who comment on blogs, and the several who write the blogs, right up until the very moment of the asteroid’s impact, or of organizations that plan once-a-year events right up to the very moment of the asteroid’s impact. While it is ridiculous and (in a sad way) “funny” that the GOP and etc. are taking the stand they’re taking, it is also ridiculous and (in a sad way) “funny” how ineffective we are being at prompting responsible change, and how (if you really think about it) limited our efforts have been.

    When can, and will, we talk about the movement itself? When will we give ourselves a D-minus so that we can consider how to dramatically improve our efforts? When will WE begin to think differently and freshly?



  20. Robert H says:

    I heard on Fox that it was an Islamofascist Commie/Nazi asteroid caused by Al Gore to raise taxes and subvert the American Way of Life.

  21. Susan Kraemer says:

    Agreeing with those who see this as the example of rugged individualism gone mad.

    Texas provides a real example today. 7 gw of coal power is having rolling blackouts because – surprise: coal plants water pipes are bursting in their freezing cold snap. Because Texas is on its own little grid separate from the rest of us, they have no one to get some extra power from to tide them over.

    They are on their own: rolling blackouts at freezing temps.

  22. Richard Miller says:

    I agree Jeff Huggins.

    How about we all write letters (40,000 plus readers of CP) to the President to make a prime time climate speech? How about all of us writing letters to the top environmental groups to have a large day of protest in 3 major cities San Francisco, Chicago, New York or Boston? There are lots more ideas. Just have to pick one and agree on it. Any idea must be something large number of people are willing to do.

  23. Villabolo says:

    I guess it’s us who are playing the lyre while Rome burns.

  24. dhogaza says:

    If people hadn’t pointed out that it’s satire, and if Joe hadn’t linked to the onion, I bet Keith Kloor would’ve posted a real gem in rebuttal over at his blog …

  25. Alex 77 says:

    Further, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is denouncing the asteroid scare as “the product of the same type of “scientists” who in the 1970’s were trying telling us that we all had to worry about global cooling! In fact, didn’t these egghead astrophysicists and astronomers used to tell us for decades that Uranus was a planet? Now it is apparently considered a ball of gas! We cannot be shaping public policy based on more of this type of flip flopping and junk science.”

    Inhofe has instead deferred to a study released by “good Republican Scientists” at the Heritage Foundation concluding that the proper governmental response to any celestial body potentially colliding with Earth is to:

    -eliminate the Nat’l Endowments for the Arts
    -cut the corporate tax rate to 5%
    -open up ANWR to oil exploration and production

  26. Media Matters:
    Fox Hosts Yet Another Climate Skeptic To Cast Doubt On Global Warming

    Note Bastardi claims his prediction will come true this year. Have they no shame?

  27. Aaron Lewis says:

    As a kid, I was not much for team sports, but I ended up working for a large engineering firm that was famous for its team work. Shortly after I started there, we “teamed” with another engineering firm that was famous for having super smart and talented engineers. At the kickoff meeting, they were the “smartest guys in the room”.

    However, they would go off in different directions, and each guy’s brilliant solution would interfere with every other guy’s brilliant solution. They would have meetings and nothing would be resolved.

    Our individual designs were not as clever, but they worked together; and together, our not so brilliant designs solved the problems. We had meetings that resolved issues and let the project go forward. We got the facility built, and we made money. The contract with the other firm was canceled for their non-performance. Without team work, they did not get their part of the job done. The other firm was subject to the same market forces as we were, but they lost money on that contract. Sometimes, it takes more than “free market forces” to get something done (at a reasonable cost).

    Team work works. However, it is more than a philosophy, it is a set of skills. Team work is not a clause in a contract or a campaign slogan, it is a set of skills that have to be learned and practiced.

    If you want to do all of your own “doctoring” with home remedies and “snake oil”, that is fine with me. However, if we want a healthy and productive work force that can compete in global economy, we have to work to work together to build a world class health care system. Moreover, a healthy and productive work force produces a whole range of societal benefits such as more wealth to build infrastructure better technology. If the family that relies on “home doctoring” uses those societal benefits such as roads, or the technology, then they are benefiting from the better health care system, and should contribute to its cost.

    If congress is going to get our problems solved in a workable manner, it needs team work. We have this tradition in the US of the rugged individualist on the frontier. What people forget is that those rugged individualists often worked together to “raise” barns and do other chores that are better done by a team.

    A congressman writing laws to produce “free markets” is like an engineer ignoring the properties of air as he designs an air pump. The theory of “free markets” assumes conditions that never occur in the real world.
    The only way to have a “free” market is to regulate it, so people cannot cheat. If somebody wants “free market”, then you have to assume that they plan on making a profit by cheating.

  28. MarkF says:

    how many democrats are expected to cross the floor to vote with the republicans on this?

    do they have the votes?

  29. dhogaza says:


    how many democrats are expected to cross the floor to vote with the republicans on this?

    All of those representing the Asteroid Mining States …

  30. Joan Savage says:

    Although the main target of the Onion piece is the GOP’s bizarre insistence that government has no role in dealing with obvious overwhelming threats, the Onion incidentally flings a few darts at the Democrats’ uncomfortable tendency to come up with a hyped over-confident quick fix.

    If a third party shows up that says we have a completely serious threat and we are going to have to tackle it persistently, without a lot of funds, I’ll sign up.

    [JR: Yes, all your troubles can be solved — with no money down!]

  31. Joel says:

    History tells of many asteroid impacts on the earth. Clearly, asteroid impacts are a natural occurrence on Earth and have been so for billions… err… thousands of years.

    Look at our moon – it is absolutely littered with craters as is every rocky/icy surface in our solar system. So here we have absolute proof that asteroids impacts are happening on other celestial bodies – not just here on Earth. If so, we can hardly be responsible for the one heading for us.

    Besides, how we draw the conclusion that this asteroid will hit earth and not Mars? The path of an asteroid is too complex to model.

    Clearly, the idea that humans can interfere with the path of a naturally occurring asteroid is incredibly arrogant. I very much doubt that these end-of-the-world predictions will hold true. We’re probably talking Blade Runner, not Water World. And everyone knows Harrison Ford and flying cars are cool.

  32. Rod says:

    I was going “WHAT !!!” until I scrolled down the The Onion credit..

    Good one :-)

  33. David B. Benson says:

    Seriously now, do not congresscritters take a oath to defend the constitution? Does the preamble not state provide for the common defense?

    Good for The Onion!

  34. catman306 says:

    Joe, all we have to do is convince the 1000 richest people on the planet that they need stop making money the way they have in the past and instead make money in some new, renewable, and sustainable way. They’ll buy all the politicians necessary to get ‘er done. They can start a new party to do it, if they want.

    Good luck on that convincing. But maybe 4 or 5 billion humans could change their minds for them.

  35. MarkF says:

    “Joe, all we have to do is convince the 1000 richest people on the planet that they need stop making money the way they have in the past and instead make money in some new, renewable, and sustainable way.”

    don’t you think it’s probably a lot less than that?

    maybe a few dozen people?

    the king of saudi arabia
    koch bros.

    and a few others.

  36. catman306 says:

    Mark, you’re probably right, only a few dozen. I was just getting carried away with the idea of the democratization of super wealth. Those other 950 super rich only suffer under the delusion that they are in control of earthly destiny. They lose substantial wealth if they don’t go along with the few dozen.

  37. Richard Brenne says:

    This is great. They choose an asteroid as a great satiric parallel to climate change, but many people like Hayden Planetarium Astro-Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is otherwise brilliant, hype asteroid impacts infinitely more than climate change, perhaps in large part because his NOVA science show is funded by the Koch Brothers.

    So I asked Neil what he felt the odds of an asteroid the size of the one that killed the dinosaurs and 70 per cent of all species were. He said that since they appear to come around once every 100 million years and that the last one of that size was 65 million years ago, then maybe there’s at least a one in 35 million chance of it happening in a given year.

    Then I asked him what he thought the chances were that habitat loss, introduction of non-native species, overfishing and hunting, pollution, ocean acidification and especially climate change could achieve the same thing. He didn’t answer, but I hope I planted a seed that not even the Koch Brothers could almost literally piss away.

    I know that’s not the intent of the Onion piece or any of the great commenters above, but ignoring climate change in a science program, book talks and TV appearances as Tyson does to focus on asteroid impacts is like driving while extremely drunk, peering up through the windshield afraid that a large meteor will hit your car.

  38. Ominous Clouds Overhead says:

    I say let it hit. It would for sure solve the global warming problem, and if it were a precision hit, also the Fox News disinformation problem.

  39. George D says:

    Incomplete reporting from Mr Romm. This bill was also opposed by 15 Blue Dog Democrats, and 2 Independents. They asserted that debt reduction, and allowing the development of their local economies was too important.

    China said that they would not stand idly by, and asserted their global leadership in asteroid destruction. According to World Bank predictions, a major asteroid would lower Chinese GDP growth by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.8% to 7.3%.

  40. _Flin_ says:

    It seems to me as if the belief in the Rapture will be coming. Therefore they avoid to stop any major catastrophe from happening.

    Which is about as nonsensensical and illogical as is fitting for these people, because of the hybris it takes to more-or-less force the Rapture on Jesus Christ by making catastrophes happen.

    But then, religion has always been better in BS (Bad Science) and power over people than in logic and humanism.

  41. Susann says:

    There is no free lunch market.

  42. molly daniels says:

    This is a clear example of people opposing legislation just to be a nay-sayer.
    Please wake up the world to the reality of scientific prediction in this matter.

  43. Der Debabelizer says:

    The marketplace should be left to work out things like this. No need to tamper with our free enterprise system. Reagan would be proud.

  44. Roger says:

    What Jeff (@19) and Richard (@22) said, and more. Let’s do it.

    Which CP reader (or non-reader) is the leader we’re looking for?

    Is it just going to be “Blah, blah, type, type, LOL” all the way down?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but save for a few very notable exceptions, including Bill, Gail, and etc., it seems as if hitting the old keyboard is about the limit of activism for most CP readers.

    Why just last month there was a long thread about great ideas for meek old bumper stickers. Scores of ideas were submitted and compiled. Did anyone DO anything? I offered one FREE for the asking. No one asked!

    Gee, if I were fossil fuel billionaire, I’d be shaking in my boots! “Why those ornery climate hawks over at Climate Progress came up with some pretty damn scary bumper stickers last month,” I’d be saying. “Next thing we know, they’ll have one on a car!”

    When are we going to take the gloves off? Look at the people in Egypt, fighting for their freedom in the streets of Cairo! And here we are, keyboarding for a livable climate!

    When are we going to push our president to educate and lead on climate change? Please call Obama’s comment line at 202-456-1111. Tell them we need his climate leadership.


  45. Prokaryotes says:

    Republicans Move to Block EPA from Regulating Greenhouse Gases in the U.S.