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It's no secret that the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has become something of a laughingstock in recent months, at least concerning its GOP members. Having Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin as a member was bad enough and then we had Paul Broun spouting his unique theories on evolution and the Big Bang to further the humiliation. And they're just two members of a roster that includes Akin's fellow defeated Rape Caucus member Roscoe Bartlett, Randy "Baby Killer!" Neugebauer (who seems to view prayer as a way to combat natural disasters)  and lame duck teabagger and vocal evolution denier Sandy Adams. At this rate, the Science Committee will soon have members promoting leeches and bleeding as the best medical remedies and advocating dunking women in water to see if they're witches.

Now, you might be thinking that, with Akin, Bartlett and Adams all being shown the door and term limits forcing former Democrat turned Republican turned walking mummy Ralph Hall (who believes global warming is a scam by scientists to garner funding and said that he was more afraid of "freezing to death" while also admitting he had no science to back that up) to give up the chairmanship, we might finally see some reason and actual, you know, science return to the Science Committee. But this is the House GOP we're talking about here and Science Magazine has the three Republicans competing to take Hall's gavel. Who are they?

The race to become the next head of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology (SST) is heating up. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) today issued a statement confirming that he wants the job.

"I intened to be a chairman who exemplifies the Republican philosophy that science, technology and innovation offer a pathway to a better, more prosperous future and solve problems that bureaucracy and rampant government spending cannot," he wrote.

Rohrabacher will be facing at least two other opponents: Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI), who announced his candidacy yesterday, and Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), who announced his last month.

I suppose those trio are better than Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard. No, wait, Moe Larry and Curly are likable. And far more adept at promoting and protecting science.

Why are these three such jokers on science? Salon's Jillian Rayfield has the answers, starting with Rohrabacher:

Rohrabacher said in a 2007 congressional hearing that he was skeptical of a report that found evidence of global warming to be "unequivocal," in particular testimony regarding aperiod 55 million years ago when similar patterns of dramatic climate change occurred. Rohrabacher argued: "We don't know what those other cycles were caused by in teh past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?" And, David Malakoff of Science Magazine reports, "[Rohrabacher] has been a ferocious critic of the Obama administration, and has gone to the House floor to attack U.S. government programs that fund research and enivronmental programs overseas, particularly in China, calling such projects 'insane.'"
Need anymore be said? (Oh, by the way Dana, dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Looks like someone skipped third grade science.)

What about Sensenbrenner?

Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., has alternately dismissed "scientific fascism" and called climate change research part of an "international conspirary." He wrote in announcing his candidacy that he would increase oversight on the federal government, because "The Obama Administration has shown its willingness to manipulate science for political ends and threaten our domestic energy production and our economy in the process."
And finally, Smith's credentials!
In 2009, Smith, R-Texas, attacked ABC, CBS and NBC for their coverage of global warming, which he said was "largely slanted in favor of global warming alarmists."

"The networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change," Smith wrote in a statement at the time. "During a six-month period, four out of five network news reports failed to acknowledge any dissenting opinions about global warming according to a Business and Media Institute study."

Our brilliant advocates of science, ladies and gentlemen! (Aren't you glad Barbara Boxer still rules the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Senate instead of James Inhofe?)

But chin up, House Science Committee? At least you don't have anything as humiliating as Michelle Bachmann being on the Intelligence Committee. Unless, of course, she's looking for new digs...

6:02 PM PT: One more note on Ralph Hall; back in 2010 he killed a bill for increasing funding for scientific research, math and science education by using a motion to recommit to tack on a provision concerning federal employees and pornography use. You know, maybe it is an improvement having this walking fossil gone.


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