Might Be Time to Primary This Guy

I wonder how many staffers shot themselves when they heard this:

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) is afraid that the U.S. Territory of Guam is going to “tip over and capsize” due to overpopulation.

Johnson expressed his worries during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense budget Thursday.

Addressing Adm. Robert Willard, who commands the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, Johnson made a tippy motion with his hands and said sternly, “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”

Willard paused and said: “We don’t anticipate that.”

Oh my.

(via memeorandum)






155 replies
  1. 1
    r€nato says:

    Please, please, please tell me this is an April Fools’ joke.

  2. 2
    gwangung says:

    Can we give him to the Rs?

  3. 3
    Sentient Puddle says:

    And here in the article, it’s almost like deadpan:

    Like other islands, Guam is attached to the sea floor

  4. 4
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    I was hoping so – but apparently this happened yesterday. Wow.

  5. 5
    scav says:

    @gwangung: What’s the old joke that the transfer would increase the IQ of both parties?

  6. 6
    slippy says:

    How do people this stupid get jobs, let alone the most important jobs in the nation?

  7. 7
    demkat620 says:

    Yeah, this is just the stupidest thing I have ever heard a congresscritter say.

  8. 8
    mcc says:

    @Sentient Puddle: That’s what The Hill says. But what’s the other side of the story?

    Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    /facedesk

  10. 10
    jeffreyw says:

    @slippy: It’s the will of the common people, you know, morons.

  11. 11

    @demkat620:

    Yeah, this is just the stupidest thing I have ever heard a congresscritter say.

    Wow. That’s jumping over a lot of Bachmann, King, Boehner, etc.

  12. 12
    Tomlinson says:

    Before we get all out of hand with the mockery, I’m willing to bet that about a quarter of the country, upon hearing this, thought “Good point.”

  13. 13
    Morbo says:

    Don’t make a cheap joke about Georgia. Don’t make a cheap joke about Georgia. Don’t make a cheap joke about Georgia. Don’t make a cheap joke about Georgia.

    …Shit!

  14. 14
    Osprey says:

    Might Be Time to Primary This Guy

    I’m guessing we could get a collection together for about…oh say 250,000$, and donate it to Accountability Now, and they could find somebody to primary him.

    Then we could get another donation together just for him to run.

  15. 15
    Comrade Jake says:

    Holy shit that guy’s stupid.

  16. 16
    gbear says:

    I bet he wonders how Manhattan stays afloat.

  17. 17
    soonergrunt says:

    Oh, my holy God.
    That’s Makewi-level stupid.
    Autocomplete Google search–
    Type ‘congressm’ and the autocomplete first entry will be:
    congressman hank johnson
    #2 will be:
    congressman
    #3 is:
    congressman hank johnson guam

    Are we all sure that this guy’s a (D)?

  18. 18
    r€nato says:

    I tried to send an email to Rep. Johnson’s office about this, but it bounced back.

    When I called them up, they said the email bounced because all their computers are offline due to Internet Cleaning Day.

  19. 19
    eemom says:

    Jeez, y’all are harsh. Maybe he was just absent that day in geography class.

  20. 20
    Tractarian says:

    Is it possible that he was trying to make a joke, but nobody laughed?

    That’s possible, right?

    Right?

  21. 21

    @eemom:

    Jeez, y’all are harsh. Maybe he was just absent that day in geography class.

    Wouldn’t that be geology class?

  22. 22
    akaoni says:

    This is the guy who took over Cynthia McKinney’s seat I believe. Take what you will from that….

  23. 23
    scav says:

    @soonergrunt: gotta own up to our own, hard as it is to consider. but the geographic bar can be kinda low in this nation, alas. Let me go look for something.

  24. 24
    Alex S. says:

    I really, really, really hope this was a joke. Johnson seemed alright to me. I’ve heard good things about him on this very blog.

  25. 25
    Mary says:

    @Tractarian: That’s what I was thinking. It was a joke that just fell completely flat. If you look closely, he kind of gives a little wry smile after he makes the comment.

    Then again, maybe I’m just way to willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  26. 26
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    I wonder how many staffers shot shit themselves when they heard this:

    I would’ve if I worked for him.

  27. 27
    flukebucket says:

    @Tomlinson:

    Yep. I bet about 27%

    But shit like this is not all of that uncommon in Georgia.

    I can remember when Dorothy Pelote said that she spoke with the spirit of Chandra Levy.

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  28. 28
    MikeJ says:

    Look on the bright side: this guy is never going to be the vice presidential nominee, at least as a Dem.

    Yes we have stupid people in our party too. At least we try to hide them.

  29. 29
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Clearly Hank was making an April Fool’s Joke.

    Sheesh.

  30. 30
    middlewest says:

    I read on Wonkette that he has Hep-C. Possibly something going on there.

  31. 31
    theturtlemoves says:

    Badly delivered metaphor perhaps? I really hope so.

  32. 32
    dr. bloor says:

    @mcc:

    Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    Says the graduate of the David Broder School of Geophysics.

  33. 33
    Menzies says:

    Before people keep talking about primarying him, here’s a quote from a spokesman:

    “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.”

    The whole story is here.

  34. 34
    SpotWeld says:

    Possibility 1) The guy is an idiot

    Possibility 2) He meant some sort of “tipping point” in a more obstract sense in regards to a sustainable population… (but if that were true he could have followed up with a more detailed explaination.) Yeah, grasping at straws with that one

    Possibility 3) This is a joke that flopped…. (please let that be the case)

  35. 35
    Paul L. says:

    Wingnuts at NRO claim to have a response.
    Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Atlantis) doubles down: “You wingnuts are too dumb to get what I meant”

    “I wasn’t suggesting that the island of Guam would literally tip over 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 on the tiny island with a population of 180,000 – could be a tipping point which could adversely affect the island’s fragile ecosystem and could overburden its stressed infrastructure. Having traveled to Guam last year, I saw firsthand how this beautiful – but vulnerable island – could easily become overburdened, and I was simply voicing my concerns that the addition of that many people could tip the delicate balance and do permanent harm to Guam.”

  36. 36
    Svensker says:

    @Tractarian:

    Is it possible that he was trying to make a joke, but nobody laughed?

    If you listen to him, he sounds completely serious and he struggled to get to the point where he could say this. He sounds really, really stupid. So, no, I’d say he was serious.

  37. 37
    kindness says:

    Speaking of photoshop….check out this photo from NASA’s website:

    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/

    Let’s not start the moon landings were faked thread please.

  38. 38
    Steve says:

    I am so impressed with the Admiral for having the presence to answer, “We don’t anticipate that,” smoothly and with a straight face. I see how he got that job.

  39. 39
    dr. bloor says:

    @Menzies:

    The whole story is here.

    Makes more sense, although the telling point here is that Adm. Willard seems to have had enough experience testifying in Congress to understand that one of our esteemed representatives might have literally meant what he said.

  40. 40
    maus says:

    @mcc:

    Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    argfhghgllllllllllllllllle

  41. 41
    Karen in GA says:

    I’m worried that the sun’s gonna fall on us. Every day it comes up, but it can’t stay up — every evening, it goes right back down.

    Think about it — at some point, our luck’s bound to run out.

  42. 42
    Sad_Dem says:

    Reminds me of the classic headline: “Caribbean Islands Drift to Left.”

  43. 43

    He was talking Peak Wingnut, I am sure. I say that all the time about the mainland. It will only take so many wingnuts huddled in the south and shit sinks and we all slide into the Gulf. Simple Ginplatonics. And Global Warming won’t help.

  44. 44
    Seebach says:

    @mcc: Win.

  45. 45
    AngusJackBootedThugOfMeat says:

    Guam is a floater. The island is made up mostly of fat.

    As proof, I offer you the nearest Guamanians.

  46. 46
    MikeJ says:

    @Sad_Dem: Not as good as “British Left Waffles on Falklands”.

  47. 47
    Violet says:

    Heard the audio of this today on Limbaugh’s show. You can imagine the fun he was having with it. Who the heck is this moran?

  48. 48
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Paul L.:

    Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Atlantis)

    Now this is full of win. I don’t care about the politics of it, it just makes me laugh.

    ETA: Somebody book this guy on a roundtable discussion of subprime lending, so we can have him explain what to do about people that are underwater on their homes.

  49. 49
    rootless-e says:

    I wouldn’t hire this guy to defend me, because he makes pathetic arguments.

    Booman re Armando, AKA BTD.

  50. 50
    Jay B. says:

    Since it seems none of you know the first thing about the insane conditions on many of these tiny islands — read up on the Marshalls sometime, in the principle DUD area, they have immense problems with overpopulation, disease, diabetes and waste disposal. They are subsidized, like Guam, as Johnson notes in his explanation, by the U.S. the military and all our consumer goods — but there’s literally nowhere else to grow.

    In Guam’s case, where would the new arrivals go?

    I imagine many of you geniuses think a “Tipping Point” is some literal point off which something tips.

  51. 51

    @MikeJ:

    Not as good as “British Left Waffles on Falklands”.

    Nothing beats “Republicans turned off by size of Obama’s package.”

  52. 52
    Dee Loralei says:

    Looks like someone upthread cleared up what he really meant. Before I read that, I was gonna jump in defense of him. I watched a bunch of congressional hearings circa 2006-2008, trying to get to the bottom of some Bush era criminalities and he always seemed intelligent, asked pointed questions and demanded answers. He’s one of the good’uns.

  53. 53
    wasabi gasp says:

    Overpopulation can make things pretty sketchy on Guam.

  54. 54
    demo woman says:

    It’s time to defend him. When he first joined Congress he was quite sharp and asked direct, intelligent questions. It was refreshing after Cynthia McKinney. Obviously something is going on. Even though he wanted to make a point about ecosystems, it failed. He is sick and tried to keep it quiet for a long time but it seems apparent that he should resign. It’s a safe seat.
    Cynthia McKinney fans don’t attack me, I have lived here for a long time and she is not the hero you think she is.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    ibid says:

    I can’t read his mind. Perhaps it’s possible to get a college education, live into your 50’s, and still think that islands float on top of the water. Maybe he’s always wondered why Oahu never tipped over because of all those people and buildings in Honolulu but never asked. Maybe he thought God’s hand (or in his case, Buddha’s hand) kept all the islands in the same place instead of floating away or flipping over in a hurricane or tsunami.

    The much more likely explanation is that it was a poorly delivered metaphor. I mean, c’mon folks. I wouldn’t even think Palin meant this literally if it was her making this comment.

  57. 57
    Jacob Davies says:

    It’s… a metaphor. We do get metaphors, right? It’s like, when you have a thing, and another thing, and you say the one thing is like the other thing, but you don’t literally mean that they’re the same.

    No offense, but if I say “They had a heated debate” and you grab a thermometer, I’m not sure that I’m the one open to ridicule.

  58. 58
    mcc says:

    @Jay B.: Watching the clip I can imagine “tip over and capsize” was meant metaphorically, he certainly doesn’t express himself remotely clearly but he spends the rest of the clip talking about reasonable side-effects of overpopulation.

  59. 59
    rootless-e says:

    Cynthia McKinney – I defended her many times. She was a smart and brave congressperson. But she got DC celebrity disease. She stopped worrying about little stuff like constituent services. And she did some very dubious shit.

    So she got the boot.

    Ha.

  60. 60
    ruemara says:

    *sigh* Stew pid.

  61. 61
    ellaesther says:

    Willard paused and said: “We don’t anticipate that.”

    I would give Adm. Robert Willard a big ol’ kiss right about now, if only I could.

  62. 62
    Violet says:

    @demo woman:
    Just checked Wikipedia to see what he was sick with – according to them he’s been battling Hepatitis C for over a decade. That sucks.

    Also found out he’s a practicing Buddhist, one of two in Congress. That’s kind of cool. No wonder wingnuts don’t like him, what with his non-Christian status and all. I wonder if Brit Hume will come out to lecture him on how he should become a Christian?

  63. 63
    Fern says:

    @demo woman: I’ve seen him perform very well in committee hearings. Whatever he is, he is not stupid.

  64. 64
    Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @demo woman: Who the hell here thinks she’s a hero?

  65. 65
    DBrown says:

    @Menzies: As a matter of fact, this issue was the main concern of the people of Guam but still, does the turtle know about this?

  66. 66
    demo woman says:

    The video is hilarious but it misrepresents the man.

  67. 67
    Sleeper says:

    I dunno, it was pretty clear to me that he was talking about the resources of a tiny island like Guam being overwhelmed by an increase in military personnel. It’s just that his choice of words, and his halting speech, made his “capsize” comment sound literal rather than joking.

    Maybe I’m being naive but I just can’t imagine ANY adult actually thinking that an island could tip over. His follow-up comment is a lot more cogent so I would give him a pass here and just chalk it up to inartful expression.

  68. 68
    sacman701 says:

    McKinney was a stone cold paranoid, the Dem equivalent of Michele Bachmann.

  69. 69
    demo woman says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Many years ago I made a comment about McKinney on the blog that shall remained unnamed cuz I don’t want this site bombed with visitors again and the reaction was vicious. I don’t might vicious as long as the comments are logical but unfortunately that was not the case.

  70. 70
    Jay B. says:

    @mcc:

    I’m not saying he made his point — made extemporaneously — particularly clearly.

    But in so far as his concerns about the fragility of life on small atolls and islands in the South Pacific are completely accurate, concerns about whether 8,000 more Marines and their families could “tip over” an already fragile ecosystem, what he was trying to say seems perfectly clear.

    His follow up explanation that Menzies noted seems reasonable, considering that’s what he was talking about — and anyone who has any clue about what’s going on these tiny islands could attest to — it hardly seems outrageously stupid.

    And, as Jacob Davies said, it’s clearly a metaphor, even if inartfully delivered.

  71. 71
    rootless-e says:

    I remember back in the late ’90s when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture to an economic philosophy class I was taking. It was a great lecture, made more so by the fact that the class was only about ten or twelve students and we got got ask all kinds of questions and got a lot of great, provocative answers. Anyhow, Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol back either during the first Bush administration. The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at The White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at UPenn and the Kennedy School of Government. With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. “I oppose it”, Irving replied. “It subverts meritocracy.”


    I saw this first from a Balloon Juice comment, but it is so good I wanna repost.
    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblo.....l-meltdown

  72. 72
    justawriter says:

    Sigh. Next thing you know people will be complaining that runners don’t really fly around the bases, an attractive person didn’t really knock someone’s eyes out, and given the acoustic properties of most residences, you can’t really hear a pin drop no matter how quiet it is.

    Jeez, don’t the schools teach metaphors anymore?

  73. 73
    Dee Loralei says:

    And also, shouldn’t we check context before we go accepting anything Memorandum, Politico or AP says? Why the fuck are we assuming the absolute stupidest meaning for something one of our own says? And people do say things inelegantly and inartfully at times, even the most erudite amongst us.

    Didn’t the entire AccountabilityNow/GG/JH to do the other day make anyone stop and think they might be jumping the gun?

    Herd mentality folks, step away from it.

    I’m not from GA, have no idea if he’s a good congressman, but I remember those hearing and he was good.

    Sorry for the rant.

    Also. Too.

  74. 74
    mak says:

    Yeah, he sure is dumb. Haha. Just to be on the safe side, though, maybe they oughtta have all the Guamanians gather closely together on one side of the island to, you know, see how much it tips. (sniffs, hitches up pants)

  75. 75
    wobbly says:

    What Menzies said!

    The congressman really was referring to the concerns that many people in Guam have about this plan, using strong simple language.

    No language is simple enough for a simpleton, however.

    It worries me that the simpleton who took his question literally has a high rank in the United States military.

    Just because a lot of men and women from Guam have volunteered, fought, and died in the United States military doesn’t mean they want their home island invaded and ruined by that same military.

  76. 76
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Like other islands, Guam is attached to the sea floor

    Nope. It’s a sentient magic island kinda like the one in Lost, and there is a guy named Jacob who runs things. It drifts around in a complicated fashion based on the logarithm of the ratio between calcium carbonate rocks and basaltic rocks in the island vs. the hallucinogenic quality of whatever this asshat of a representative said.

    Based on this latest quote, Guam is now somewhere on Europa. We think. It may be on Titan, though. Bring your winter gear and plenty of oxygen.

  77. 77
    Martin says:

    It was clearly a metaphor.

    You’d think so many people getting this wrong would break the internet. (No, I don’t think you can technically break the internet.)

  78. 78
    JSD says:

    @Mcc

    The truth is that it’s only anchored on one side, so it depends on which side of the island the population decides to inhabit as to whether it will flip or not.

  79. 79
    deep cover says:

    Watch this earlier video of HanK Johnson in action about the authors’ lawsuit against Google and just see what excuses you can make for him there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....iv-1r-8-HM
    He’s an idiot. Plain and simple.

  80. 80
    JSD says:

    On a more serious note, I think the guy was speaking figuratively…

  81. 81
    demo woman says:

    This comment was at Wonkette

    Ugh. Sorry to be a total wet blanket, but my dad died from Hep C seven years ago (contracted, along with many other vets, from unhygienic conditions in Vietnam) and was very disoriented and confused at the end. It was unspeakably awful, and this video pretty much just ruined my day. I feel for this congressman. Part of what makes it so terrible is that victims of this disease often don’t realize when they’re confused or sound weird, as those around them struggle to figure out what’s going on. Very sad.

    Maybe his staff should get medals.

  82. 82

    The metaphor was not only inartfully delivered, but he even waved his hands like something “tipping over.” Geez, say what you mean, mean what you say.

    His explanation makes more sense, but it was damned funny.

  83. 83
    celticdragonchick says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Wouldn’t that be geology class?

    I would get a kick out of seeing this guy in Geo 101.

    “You mean, sediments pile up one on the top of the other, and the older ones are at the bottom?? Really?”

  84. 84

    @Martin:

    You’d think so many people getting this wrong would break the internet. (No, I don’t think you can technically break the internet.)

    It is unpossible to break a series of tubes.

  85. 85
    celticdragonchick says:

    @JSD:

    Yes, he was, but it was still a damned stupid way to put it.

  86. 86
    CK Dexter Haven says:

    Hank Johnson has a primary opponent, former Dekalb county CEO Vernon Jones.

  87. 87
    Eric says:

    This reminded me of Malcom X saying “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” Stupid Malcom! Plymouth Rock has never landed on anyone. It has never even launched into the air! What was he, an idiot? Did he have any photos of Plymouth Rock landing on him? If Malcom X were still alive we would have to primary him.

    Which is to say, maybe we have gotten so used to politicians saying stupid things that we’re now reflexively assuming the most stupid interpretation. This seems pretty clear to me that it was a figure of speech. Seems a more believable scenario than this guy really thinking islands capsize even though no island has ever capsized ever.

  88. 88
    Little Dreamer says:

    @AngusJackBootedThugOfMeat:

    Well, perhaps a weight reduction program for the island’s residents might be in order. It won’t solve all of their problems ,of course, but I can’t see how adding a bit of additional personal space between each resident could hurt.

  89. 89

    I watched the video and it was obvious to me there was something wrong with the guy, as I don’t think he is an idiot. It could have been alcohol, drug, or some kind of organic illness , or something. Maybe some type of aphasia or something like that.

    But at least he didn’t praise Gynecologists for practicing their love on women.

  90. 90
    ellaesther says:

    @Martin: Yes, I see that (I even saw it before!), and yet I still really, really love the admiral’s response. I’m a sucker for dry humor in high places.

  91. 91
    mak says:

    Having just watched the video, my first reaction was that he was very, very high. Given his physical movement, there is no way he was merely speaking metaphorically. And I’m not buying the joke thing either, unless he thinks he’s inhabiting a role in a movie or something. In light of demo woman’s comment above, though, I’d go with the Hep C and wish him well.

  92. 92
    Jade Jordan says:

    Though he denied it, it was widely reported in GA that his Hepititis C is now terminal.

    He is on a lot of medications and was not thinking clearly. Medications can affect your ability to express your thoughts rationally.

    He will probably not be re-elected. He hasn’t been a bad congress critter.

    I would be laughing too ( I actually did laugh really hard) if I didn’t know how sick he was.

  93. 93
    Jay B. says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Jesus Christ. Really? Because he made the “tip over” sign with his hands?

    @celticdragonchick:

    Why?

    @deep cover:

    What excuses? You think he literally means that islands float. Others would think that’s a really fucking stupid thing to think and that adding “more people” to a stressed out island could cause that island’s already very brittle balance to “capsize”.

    Or, you could simply think that the issue doesn’t exist, there’s no context backing up and that, for no other reason, he thinks islands float.

  94. 94
    gnomedad says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    “Stupid” can’t explain this. It’s either a failed metaphor, an attempt at a joke, or what you suggest.

  95. 95
    bago says:

    Anyone up for some broderbait?

    Gawker takes this piss out of Broder.

  96. 96
    Violet says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    I watched the video and it was obvious to me there was something wrong with the guy, as I don’t think he is an idiot. It could have been alcohol, drug, or some kind of organic illness , or something. Maybe some type of aphasia or something like that.

    He’s got Hep C, according to Wikipedia. That’s pretty sucky.

  97. 97
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Jay B.:

    Because he was using verbal and physical imagery appropriate to preschool afternoon entertainment.

  98. 98
    Jay B. says:

    He even says after this that “I’m concerned about the environment” that adding 25,000 more people could cause.

    Idiots.

  99. 99
    demo woman says:

    @CK Dexter Haven: I heard that and Jones is a crook and I use that word with caution.

  100. 100
    LanceThruster says:

    Might he be referring to that real estate term of having your mortgage underwater? Additionally, he might have confused tipping with “flipping” and is worried that too many Guamanians trying to sell devalued properties in a weak market risk “capsizing” the entire island.

    Either that, or he actually is that clueless.

    Considering Senator “The internet is a series of tubes” (R-AK) was on a Science and Technology committee, Rep. Johnson is probably on Oceanic Transportation panel and is authoring a bill to put safety railings at the edge of the world to prevent sea vessels from sailing off the edge of the world.

  101. 101

    @Jay B.:
    Your concern is duly noted. Perhaps you should go back to the Tone Police thread from yesterday.

  102. 102
    JSD says:

    @ ibid

    We here on Oahu SHOULD have tipped over a long time ago: all of our population and buildings are on the south side of the island, while very few live up north. Add to that the 100,000 plus tourists that stay on the south side.

    Fortunately, Hawaiians are smart. We knew we could build up the south side, b/c the Ko’olau mountain range runs along the north side. They counterbalance each other!

  103. 103
    demo woman says:

    I want a new thread with Tunch pictures, this one is too depressing.

  104. 104

    Give Johnson a break. Everyone says something stupid occasionally. Johnson is actually one of the real good guys.

  105. 105
    demo woman says:

    @CK Dexter Haven: This verdict was just handed down on Jones

    federal jury on Thursday awarded two former DeKalb County parks employees more than $170,000 in damages in the long-running racial discrimination case against the county. Jurors found that former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones, Jones’ former executive assistant, Richard Stogner, former parks director Marilyn Boyd Drew and DeKalb County itself were all liable for damages.

  106. 106
    stuckinred says:

    He’s a buddhist, give him a break!

  107. 107
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    The malapropism itself, taken purely in isolation, is funny. If Joe Biden had said the same thing (admit it, it could happen) under more fortunate circumstances, we’d all be laughing our asses off.
    That Rep. Johnson is seriously ill is not funny. My regrets and best wishes to him and all his family, friends and staff.
    That Guam has environmental problems is not funny either.
    Did I miss something?

  108. 108
    Jay B. says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Right. All I can see here is people piling on to a guy, who even if he doesn’t communicate it very well, is pointing out a very real problem for the people of Guam. But it’s getting lost in a terminally stupid debate about meaning and intent about whether or not a fucking island could really tip over.

  109. 109
    stuckinred says:

    @Jade Jordan: He also pissed off a bunch of his neighbors when he fought against a local community garden.

  110. 110
    Polar Bear Squares says:

    Yeah. Seems like a pretty dumb statement.

    Is this enough to primary this guy tho?

    Need to hear more about his record.

  111. 111
    Mike Kay says:

    Hey, C’mon.

    It’s not like Dr. Bill Frist viewing a video of Terri Schaivo and pronouncing functional.

    Or when Dr. Frist went on tee vee and strongly implied you can contract HIV from tears.

  112. 112
    Tsulagi says:

    Good God, just played the Hanson clip at the link. Good to see Ds aren’t leaving those high bars of stupid by the likes of teabaggeresses Palin and Bachmann unchallenged. Seemed he managed to hurdle at least one of those bars cleanly with his concern to prevent tipping and capsizing islands.

    Gotta give the admiral huge credit for discipline in not busting up laughing at that one. Not sure I’d have it in me. He didn’t even crack a smile.

  113. 113

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    If Joe Biden had said the same thing (admit it, it could happen) under more fortunate circumstances, we’d all be laughing our asses off.

    This.
    Guy is sick: not funny.
    Guam’s environmental problems: not funny.
    Islands capsizing metaphor fail: funny.

  114. 114
    El Cid says:

    This is too bad. Hank Johnson was good on the issues and fairly sane. I really hope he can live beyond the Hep C, whether or not it was related to this weird comment.

  115. 115

    Holy crap, I can remember when something would be instantly recognized as a metaphor, even a jokey one, by its generally exaggerated claim. How many of you ever saw a team catch fire right before they scored? How long did it take to put them out and what was done with the ashes?

    I can think of few people whose intellect I have less respect for than Michelle Bachman and if she said this I would not consider it to mean she thinks the damn thing floats.

    I don’t care how deadpan or shitty the delivery, this says a whole lot about the fucking audience rather than the actor.

  116. 116
    Jody says:

    Is this a joke?

  117. 117
    BethanyAnne says:

    @gbear: You laugh, but I told Mom this story, and she said “Wouldn’t it just sink? I’ve always wondered how Manhattan doesn’t sink… I guess I don’t understand how islands work either.”

    lol
    Bethany

  118. 118
    demo woman says:

    John, Where are you… this blog is depressing. I need Tunch!!

  119. 119
    BethanyAnne says:

    @ellaesther: I liked the commenter at the other site who said the admiral should have said “If that happens, we’ll just use the other side”.

  120. 120
    JMC in the ATL says:

    I live just over the border in John Lewis’s district (but I have a Decatur ZIP code). Johnson’s one of the good guys and its unfortunate that things seem to not be going his way health-wise.

    He’s sure been a step up from that entitled loon, McKinney.

  121. 121
    MikeJ says:

    @BethanyAnne: Islands actually do sink (or “subside” if you want to get picky). Look at Venice, a bunch of islands. They’ve pumped fresh water out of the land underneath the lagoon and the whole place is going under.

    Manhattan is built on granite, so it won’t be sinking any time soon, but the idea of islands sinking isn’t far fetched.

  122. 122
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Huh. Dunno what happened to the well-reasoned and beautifully-crafted response I submitted an hour or more ago, but oh well (and obligatory FYWP).

    Basically, I pointed out that I’ve spent a fair amount of substantive time with Hank Johnson and members of his staff; he’s definitely *not* stupid or ignorant; his odd comment may be either a joke or metaphor that fell flat, or a consequence of his Hep-C or the meds he’s taking. In any case, it was an isolated comment, not (AFAIK) part of a pattern. If it begins to be typical, I’ll begin to worry. In the meantime, enough with the “let’s primary his stupid ass” talk. He’s a good guy, he’s smart, he’s on our side, and I wish I lived in his district instead of John Linder’s. Lighten up, everybody, ‘kay? Kthxbai.

  123. 123
    BethanyAnne says:

    @MikeJ: You know, I suppose any land can settle. So, that sorta makes sense. Cool. :)

  124. 124
    Roberto says:

    Before I watched the video clip, I read most of the comments here; I went into the video with a heavy bias toward the man’s comments being misrepresented. Perhaps there was broader point he was making, a metaphor, but just poorly communicated. So I watched the video almost having already concluded that the comment/question is not stupid and he just misspoke.

    But the video changed all that.

    He literally spends about a minute trying to explain that the island is small, which brings him to his question about the possibility of the island flipping over and capsizing. No joke intended, no broader metaphorical point intended.

  125. 125
    Alex Milstein says:

    Geez, doesn’t he realize it will only tip over if everybody on Guam runs to one side of the island?

    Me, I’m just amazed the Guam has stayed in one place all these years. You never know when it will start floating away.

  126. 126
    Jay B. says:

    @Roberto:

    He literally spends about a minute trying to explain that the island is small, which brings him to his question about the possibility of the island flipping over and capsizing. No joke intended, no broader metaphorical point intended.

    Aiyee! WHY DO YOU THINK HE KEPT TALKING ABOUT HOW SMALL IT WAS? Because there is no room for up to 80,000 more people! It could be an ecological disaster for the island, which is under tremendous strain already. Exactly how he described it in his clarification.

    So either the island’s size had something to do with his point: ecological problems that come with too many people using too many resources in too small a place.

    Or:
    ?

    I can’t stand it. It wasn’t that long ago this place had smarter people commenting.

  127. 127
    Neil B says:

    The story came out April 1. I think it’s an AFD joke. I don’t think this guy would say, “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.” Hence not a metaphor for ecological tipping point as some defenders claim. We’ll see; meanwhile watch right-wing sites and Drudge.

  128. 128
    Neil B says:

    (OH, the *video* – sheesh, guess not a joke afterall!)

  129. 129
    demkat620 says:

    @demo woman: Here’s something undrepressing. Scott Roeder got 50 years for murdering Dr. Tiller. Justice has been served.

  130. 130
    demo woman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The local ABC news covered it along with Bozo Boortz’s comments and they did a fair job. He is definitely one of the good guys and it appears that he is having problems explaining his issues. Vernon Jones is not an option. I’d rather have an incoherent Johnson. Have you heard more about his health issues. The last year has not been kind to him and I wish him well.

  131. 131

    Guam is 212 sq miles.

  132. 132
    demo woman says:

    @demkat620: WaHoo!! Thank you.

  133. 133
    fucen tarmal says:

    someone has to ask the congressmen about the threat of every chinese citizen jumping up and down at the same time. please.

    we need context.

  134. 134
    daryljfontaine says:

    If the world’s population were to stand on Zanzibar, it would tip over?

    If he sincerely meant it as a metaphor, it was a very clumsy metaphor. If he meant it literally, then we have a teachable moment about the problems with cutting back on science education.

    Maybe we can get really lucky with FOX Chyron Roulette and they’ll identify him as an ( R ).

    D

  135. 135
    demkat620 says:

    @demo woman: I just read on CNN, Roeder would be 102 before he is eligible for parole. He ain’t ever getting out.

  136. 136
    daryljfontaine says:

    If the world’s population were to stand on Zanzibar, it would tip over?

    If he sincerely meant it as a metaphor, it was a very clumsy metaphor. If he meant it literally, then we have a teachable moment about the problems with cutting back on science education.

    Maybe we can get really lucky with FOX Chyron Rou1ette and they’ll identify him as an ( R ).

    EDIT: Reposted this comment as the first version is in moderation due to my using the correct spelling of a word related to gamb1ing.

    D

  137. 137
    Karen in GA says:

    @demkat620: Good.

  138. 138
    MikeJ says:

    @daryljfontaine: I’m glad I’m not the only Brunner fan.

  139. 139
    AhabTRuler says:

    I have a friend who was diagnosed with Hep C, and he was put on the combo of Interferon and Ribaviran very early in that combo’s availability. He was very lucky in that he was cured, but the treatment and/or illness is very hard on the body, including the mind. Indeed, I have wondered on more than one occasion if he is suffering from PCCI.

    So it is quite possible that the Rep just didn’t understand how poorly he expressed himself.

  140. 140
    stuckinred says:

    Ooops, it was David Scott that opposed the community garden.

  141. 141
    Bloix says:

    When it progresses far enough, Hep C does cause cognitive impairment. And the common treatment for it – interferon – also causes causes cognitive impairment. Not to diagnose him, but Johnson to me looked like a man in real trouble.

  142. 142
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @demo woman:

  143. 143

    Scott Roeder got 50 years for murdering Dr. Tiller. Justice has been served.

    No doubt the judge and jury in Baby Jeevusland, Kansas have been brainwashed by Obama Culture of Death rays

  144. 144
    Steve says:

    I remember all of us crowding to one side of the school bus to see if we could tip it over going around a turn. Did all of you do that, too? God, we were stupid.

  145. 145
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Steve:

    God, we were stupid.

    We used to pray that our school would be leveled by an earthquake. Didn’t think much about how that would also collapse our own homes. I blame the school administration – they obviously weren’t doing a very good job of teaching 1st grade seismology.

  146. 146

    Reminds me of the classic headline: “Caribbean Islands Drift to Left.”

    …and gazing at the magnificent, noteworthy, sheer splendor of the pauntley King’s College Chapel, it would be a world-weary traveller indeed who did not stop to think, “Why the fuck didn’t they build the whole town two inches to the right?” -Graham Chapman

    :)

  147. 147
    numbskull says:

    @Jay B.: Completely agree.

    Hank Johnson is not my Congressman, but we’ve know him for years. He was a competent attorney, faithfully representing his clients, WINNING cases, and he’s been a competent Congressman, faithfully representing his constituents, WINNING elections, being on the right side of issues, effectively serving on committees. He’s not an Einstein, but come on, give the guy some credit. As several have pointed out up-thread, there are numerous instances where he’s sharply questioned Bushie witnesses, etc.

    However, if you really, truly believe that he LITERALLY meant that the island would capsize, well, OK, it’s a free country.

  148. 148
    scav says:

    @MikeJ: Venice is rather atypical as an example of an island. It’s mostly reclaimed / built up marshland. The closest (ok, a wee bit overstated) I can come to it is using a cloned penguin as your archetypal bird. Yup, some islands subside, some non-islands subside, parts of the continents are still rebounding from the glaciers (isostatic rebound has a lovely mouthfeel) and Venice’s problem is as much the water level getting higher as it is the ground getting lower. Let’s not panic anybody about sinking islands too much. Let’s just reassure everyone that they’re keeping a close watch on the subsidence in the LA basin and freak everybody out.

  149. 149
    Gromit says:

    Wow, way to swallow the soundbite version of this story. I live in a neighboring district in Atlanta, not Johnson’s district, but my sense of him has always been that he is capable and smart, but just doesn’t have very good verbal communication skills. Combined with his slow southern drawl, this lends to the impression that he’s dim.

    The health angle strikes me as highly speculative, but I don’t know enough to comment. However, he’s always kind of sounded dumber than he is, at least in my opinion.

    Anyway, anyone who knows even a tiny bit about Dekalb County politics knows that Vernon Jones is a bad news. The kindest that could be said about him is that he’s a cynical, egomaniacal opportunist.

    If you want dumb politicians from Georgia, I can give them to you by the bucketful (starting with the Republican state legislators who are trying to impeach our Attorney General over HCR), but Johnson wouldn’t be among them.

  150. 150
    tenkindsofgrumpy says:

    And even if you were to accept the assertion that he is stupid (which I don’t, he’s clearly not the eeeeeeeeeeeevil stupid we all know so well but more like the well meaning but not too bright kind of stupid.

  151. 151
    Michael D. says:

    @sacman701:

    McKinney was a stone cold paranoid, the Dem equivalent of Michele Bachmann.

    This.

  152. 152
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Cynthia McKinney was cold hard crazy. Hank Johnson is battling a debilitating disease.

    For months, speculation has swirled in both Atlanta and Washington about U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s health.

    The Lithonia Democrat’s already-thin frame has shed 30 pounds in the past year. His speech is slower than ever, and he regularly gets lost in thought in the middle of a discussion. He is easily fatigued and often impatient and irritable.

    Monday, he revealed why.

    In an exclusive interview with the AJC, Johnson disclosed he has been battling hepatitis C, an incurable, blood-borne liver disease, for more than a decade.

    He was officially declared free of the virus in January, but it has ravaged his liver, resulted in thyroid problems and other health issues, including depression, for which he’s also being treated. To keep the disease in remission, Johnson is going through an experimental treatment that he said has been the worst part so far.

  153. 153
    d. b. cooper says:

    This is my district, Cynthia McKinney’s (god bless her) old district, any Dem we nominate will be elected, no reason not to primary him. He’s the very definition of dead weight. Though perhaps the only Buddhist in Congress.

  154. 154
    Most of you are idiots says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ you people are morons. His tipping point comment was made after going on for nearly a minute about the potential impact of overpopulation and a heavy military footprint on Guam. It was solidly in the context of the issue at hand – allocation of Naval PACOM resources and their impact on local ecology. NRO and some conservative commentators snipped everything out leading up to the tipping point comment – but at least they had the dignity to post Johnson’s full comments a few hours later. All it would take is a cursory search on teh Google to figure out what he was talking about, but I guess that would’ve been too much work. It’s easier to just take what you’ve been spoon fed and crack a joke – hee haw!

    I can understand GA being the butt of jokes – we have a lot of ignorance down here. But Atlanta is served well by representatives Johnson and Lewis – they’re among the bluest out there. But I imagine many of you, like this blog’s proprietor, are new to “progressive/educated/urbanist” politics, and so you still have a reflexive tendency to take the Drudge line over the research required to figure something out. I’m glad the tent is bigger – I really am (thank you, GW?) but if you want to be useful it’s a bit more constructive when you actually do a little research into something that doesn’t add up before breaking into hee haw mode. Otherwise, please shut the fuck up. This was just stupid. And D.B. Cooper should know better – but my guess is that beyond the Buddhist thing he doesn’t know dick about Johnson’s voting record or position on any number of issues. How has he been dead weight? “Lets primary him!!! Heeee Haaaaw! I don’t know sheeeeit and ah don’t care! Git er done!!!!” My guess is that D.B.’s only brush with progressive politics comes from what he reads on the fucking internet – thanks for all of the “hard work” Mr. Cole – most of your lemmings are a little dumber now thanks to your cutting/pasting/posting skillz. The least you can do is retag this and issue a correction or update.

  155. 155
    most of you are idiots - redux says:

    comment 154 has already been written, so I have nothing further to add

Comments are closed.