Tuesday, April 06, 2010

IRT: On tipping over and tipping points

In reply to: Law and Order Teacher (blog): NAPOLEON WAS RIGHT! - April 5, 2010, 9:39 PM comment by Law and Order Teacher (the man, not the blog)

"First, I guess I'm humorless, but I don't get the "humor" and neither did the admiral. I couldn't have kept a straight face when the congressman said this.

I would certainly have been interested in some clarification of his remarks. If I had made this statement, I would have been compelled to offer some follow-up to it so as to identify it as humor, or in this case, lack of it."

I never claimed it was funny, only that the "tipping over" thing due to overpopulation was intended to be a metaphor for the island reaching/surpassing it's ecological "tipping point" with the increased population and the demands on the area and it's natural and manmade services.

As for follow up, you're in luck, because he did offer some, not long after the media and blogs got going on the 'idiot" meme...

“I wasn’t suggesting that the island of Guam would literally tip over,” said Johnson. “I was using a metaphor to say that with the addition of 8,000 Marines and their dependents – an additional 80,000 people during peak construction to the port on the tiny island with a population of 180,000 – could be a tipping point which would adversely affect the island’s fragile ecosystem and over burden its already overstressed infrastructure.

“Having traveled to Guam last year, I saw firsthand how this beautiful – but vulnerable island – is already overburdened, and I was simply voicing my concerns that the addition of that many people could tip the delicate balance and do harm to Guam.” - Hank Johnson and a "capsizing" Guam - Political Insider, Atlanta Journal Constitution
A later statement on the Congressman's website simply said "The subtle humor of this obviously metaphorical reference to a ship capsizing illustrated my concern about the impact of the planned military buildup on this small tropical island." - Rep. Johnson's statement on Guam comments in an Armed Services Committee hearing
And even the folks in Guam seem to get it...
"Madeleine Bordallo, Guam's delegate in the House, told Kuam News that she understood Johnson's comment was in jest. "I know Congressman Hank Johnson, and I'm sure that -- he's been here to Guam -- so I'm sure that it was just a joke," she said.

Furthermore, Bordallo added, she is not concerned about Congress being ill-informed about the island. Over 50 percent of the Armed Services Committee has been to Guam, she said."
- Guam Tipping Over Comment No Concern for Guam Officials - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

I get that the guy looks foolish in the video--especially if that's what you're lookin' to see-- but don't accept that he, or the people who elected him, really are dumb enough to believe that islands can/do tip over if not correctly weighted. (Everyone who's anyone knows that islands are for more likely to sink quite evenly down before any tipping would occur...) If the man really did lack that much intelligence, it's pretty unlikely that this incident would be the first and so far only indication of it...

Anyway, them's the statements you was suggesting you would've made, if you was in his shoes... Apparently in that regard, anyway, you and he came to the same well thought out conclusion... You can decide for yourself whether that makes your intelligence level somewhere down by his, his intelligence level somewhere up near yours, or just dumb luck by one or the other of you... 8>)
Comment posted to Law and Order Teacher: NAPOLEON WAS RIGHT! on April 6, 2010 12:19 AM (LaOT blog time)

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