Congressman concerned about Guam capsizing

If Guam had too many people on it, could it tip over? Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) is concerned about that. Seriously. (Thanks, COOP!)


    1. I think we would all like to believe that, but his subsequent explanation makes no sense. I think it is overly sympathetic to believe that he was being facetious or metaphorical. By the way, did he seem a little stoned?

  1. I love how the Admiral doesn’t miss a beat. “We do not anticipate that happening.”

    1. Bevatron is right that the admiral displayed some stone-faced discipline there. I would not have been able to keep it together.

      So much for having a “Party of Science” in Washington.

    2. Unbelievable. Correct without skipping a beat. Not sure that I would of been able to reply to the Congressman without laughing

  2. Well, it’s the number of people, obviously. All the animal magnetism there causing a polar shift, localized to that part of the Pacific.

    But you can park tons of trucks and canned ham and stuff on there with no worries.

  3. This is why it’s a good thing that the US is equally balanced, with dense populations on both coasts. If everybody on the west coast moved eastwards (or vice-versa), the continent could flip over just like that.

    1. True, angusm. People tend to forget that the California gold rush back in the 19th century nearly turned this nation upside down. Literally. Fortunately, during the Hollywood boom that came later, the country was already better balanced.

    2. Are you taking into account that there are a lot of people on the west coast of the United States and there are a lot of people in the east coast of the United States… uhhhh and the Mississippi River… uhhh do you think the country will split in half? seems like the people on the ends would fall right into the… uhhh… do we have coral reefs?

  4. This ain’t much fun, but the guy is seriously, seriously ill. Long time Hepatitis sufferer w/ serious complications. Less “WTF!” than, “poor guy”.

    1. If he has power and the ear of important people, then no. I won’t “poor guy” him for being an idiot.

  5. Can we go over the dimensions of the island again for another half hour? Tax $ well spent.

  6. Noodle knows we need more democrats from Georgia (where I live) — as long as they are not GOPs in disguise — but if someone is in such poor health that he gets confused and cannot focus, he needs to step aside and let someone else take his place in Crittertown. (As long as that rule applies to any Critter member who is easily confused and unfocused, of course.)

  7. fig·u·ra·tive (fgyr–tv)
    a. Based on or making use of figures of speech; metaphorical: figurative language.
    b. Containing many figures of speech; ornate.
    2. Represented by a figure or resemblance; symbolic or emblematic.
    3. Of or relating to artistic representation by means of animal or human figures.

  8. And to think I stopped watching SNL thinking that they lost the edge since Chevy left the show. I can’t find the air date… anyone?

  9. Wasn’t there a film in the 70s that took place on a cruise ship, where everyone on board rushed to one side to see something and the ship capsized?

  10. Noodle knows we need more democrats from Georgia (where I live)

    Hear, hear! I’ve lived in Georgia most of my life, and I’d love for the political spectrum to shift a bit more to the left. Not so quickly that it tips the state over, of course. :-)

  11. I’m truly sorry the guy has health issues but if it’s interfering with his ability to make even rational thoughts and commentary, he has no business continuing with his lawmaking responsibilities.

    Either that or he’s just a dolt.

    1. I’m truly sorry the guy has health issues but if it’s interfering with his ability to make even rational thoughts and commentary, he has no business continuing with his lawmaking responsibilities.

      Since when has the ability to think or speak rationally been a prerequisite for public office?

  12. How is this any dumber than all the politicians who believe the earth is 6000 years old, jesus rode dinosaurs, and everything is controlled by an invisible man who lives in the sky? Congress is FULL of developmentally challenged dingbats with no reasoning skills. Just because this particular flavor of stupidity is novel doesn’t make it exceptional.

  13. Guam is not going to flip over! It’s chained down. That’s why it doesn’t float away either.

    -1 points to the Admiral for not taking the opportunity to educate.

  14. Alright people. How bout all of us on the East coast all hop at the same time and give those West Coasters an April Fool’s to remember?

  15. The Dems have just topped Sarah Palin’s comment about being able to see Russia from her backyard. Go Democrats!

    1. Ah, but Sarah is still the most reliable in both quantity and quality of the stupid in her remarks.

      Johnson made a funny remark, but Sarah has real talent.

  16. I’m thinking about it… …still thinking about it… Ah, how can we send more people there just to see if it can happen!

  17. Might ‘capsizing’ be a metaphor for adding 8,000 more US Marines to a current population of 175,000 people? (numbers from the clip)

  18. This is EXACTLY why I moved from Georgia to the Pacific NW. Georgia is a beautiful state, filled with amazing and intelligent people. The city of Atlanta is one of the largest gay meccas in the country. But the leadership, the politicians in Georgia? Deplorable. Head meets desk horrible in every way. Even Cynthia Mckinney, whom I used to love dearly, went insane a few years ago. There’s just something about that state.

    1. As a native Georgian, I have to agree with you about the politicians here…dems and repubs, all head-scratchingly dimwitted. True, there are some amazing and intelligent people here, but frankly, there are A LOT of jesus-freak-gun-toting rednecks as well.

      1. davidasposted:

        >>johnson’s formal response via his spokesman:<< fixed it for you, and now i fix it further: “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.” what spin? he is clarifying.

        1. The spin isn’t in the words. The spin is in trying to make an idiotic statement (island will capsize) sound like it was actually a smart statement (overwhelmed infrastructure).

          This happened every time Reagan had a press conference. The next day his spokesman would come out with the “What the president meant was…” clarification statement. It’s called spinning to cover up stupidity.

          Oh and on the subject of hepatitis: Does it make you stupid? If not, it’s not a relevant point.

  19. Most enlightening…prior to reading this, I had thought “guam” was a condiment, often served in restaurants in the Southwestern USA.

  20. I was stationed on Guam many years ago. I heard two things concerning the island (well, things that are SFW).

    1. The island’s highest peak is, when measured from it’s absolute base, the tallest mountain on earth. It’s bottom is the bottom of the Mariana’s Trench.

    2. Part of the island actually has no support. The island is volcanic in origin and a large piece is just an overhanging shelf. There is a similar volcanic formation on one of the Hawaiian Islands (NB).

    I can’t vouch for these statements, and this isn’t an april fool’s gag, but I heard both from people who were not none to joke and had zip for a sense of humor.

    I think the congressman may need some public speaking lessons and also need to practice his questions, but if he is basing his ideas on what I heard while I was there, it could explain his “tipping over” idea.

    All it would take is one larger than normal earthquake there. If a +7 hit the island, there’s no telling what could happen. While I was there we had at least a dozen quakes. Hardly anyone pays any attention to them. They are more frequent than in SoCal.

    1. As for the “Guam is the tallest mountain” claim, I think someone may have been confusing Guam with Hawaii. Mt. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, is about 30,000 ft from its base on the ocean floor, making it the tallest mountain in the world. Also, Guam is not in the Mariana Trench, but is merely the closest body of land to the Trench.
      As for the overhanging shelf thing, I have no idea.

      1. Go to google maps and look at Guam in satellite mode. Zomm out a bit. You see that gash on the SE? That’s the Marianas trench. From Mt Nimitz, there’s a drop of over 30000 feet.

        I honestly never looked before. I guess they were right.

  21. Easy solution to this problem. Just put big anchors at both ends of the island to hold them down. Done.

  22. Wasn’t there a film in the 70s that took place on a cruise ship, where everyone on board rushed to one side to see something and the ship capsized?

    Dunno about the movie, but 844 people died in Chicago when that happened on the Eastland in 1915.

  23. I would say the Admiral was far to deferential to the Senator just because he was a senator.

    He should have asked for clarification of the question at the time and if need be educate the senator not be stone faced and just answer whatever question the senator asked no-matter how stupid.

    1. You might want to look into the difference between Senators and Representatives (from the House of the same name.) They are not quite the same.


  24. Oy, Representative Johnson. But I can believe that he intended it as a metaphor: this is the first time I’ve heard him say anything remotely foolish. He’s been a welcome change from his predecessor, Cynthia McKinney, who was no fool herself, but seemed to enjoy being an asshole.

  25. Johnson clarified:

    Does he know how many square miles 7 miles wide and 20 miles long is yet? (No fair asking an Admiral for help!)

  26. It didn’t seem like he was making a metaphor, I doubt he’d use the word capsize if he was… sounded very literal.

  27. Come on, now. It wasn’t a metaphor for anything. He used his hands to illustrate how it would “tip over” and “capsize”. The fact that he clarified the tipping over with the precise term “capsize” is a good indication that he said it exactly as he meant it. It would have been refreshing to see him take it like a man instead of trying lamely to make it seem like he knew what he was talking about. Saving face by denying your own mistakes is one of the surest signs of an ineffective leader. Shows a sad lack of integrity and moral courage. How can he command any respect now?

  28. Wow! This is a culture gap as in Europe and Asia people are used to metaphors but today is 1st april and of course this post is a joke/April’s fool. Isn’t it?! ^_^’

    1. NO, it’s not an April fool’s joke. The hearing was from the previous week. I am surprised he didn’t try to pass it off as such.

  29. He said 7miles wide at its narrowest point.

    …and 8 miles at the widest. Is that enough information to come up with an estimate of the square miles, give or take twenty square miles (or so)? Perhaps the Admiral would be able to commission a study into this for us!

  30. He is not speaking figuratively! If he was, he wouldn’t have acted out the “tipping over” or spent so much time worrying about how wide the island is.

    He’s just an idiot. No spokesperson spin can cure that.

  31. It might not capsize but is the island geologically fragile?

    The questions I have are: “Where are all those Americans gonna poop?”, and “Are the Chomorro people comfortable with them being there?”

  32. You should take a close look at Guam on Topeka Maps. Just from that cursory look, nothing else, I would say they have to bring in most of the food from elsewhere. What percetnage of that place is arable land? Looks like <20% to me!

  33. It seems funny that a person would think that small rocks would float because they are small. There are still people that believe that California will fall or sink into the Pacific Ocean after a big enough earthquake. We shouldn’t expect U.S. representatives to be too much different in education or thought than the general U.S. population. We can hope that they would be better educated and better critical thinkers than the average Joe/Jane, but that’s just a hope. If a U.S. politician is ignorant of geology, physics, or science, we should correct them. At least his heart seemed to be in the right place.

    Of course we could blame cartoon physics for this. Super Chicken once had to rebalance the world after somebody redistributed the worlds elephants.

  34. Key bit is about 1:30 in (for those impatient people among us).

    I don’t think he’s using a metaphor. But there does seem to be a real issue here about overwhelming the islands culture and ecosystem.

  35. I’d rather see congressmen asking questions to improve their understanding before they make decisions, than basing their decisions on popular opinion or misunderstanding. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.

    1. I beg to differ, slightly. We shouldn’t discourage exposure of ignorance in order to gain knowledge. I can tell you as a teacher, I have kept a straight face and answered some of the “dumbest” questions, so as not to embarrass a student. However, there is a basal level of knowledge expected from middle-aged professionals. This is a glaring gap. It’s rather like not knowing that the earth is a sphere.

  36. Newsflash – For those actually concerned – Islands are not FLOATING masses of land; they are basically the tops of undersea mountains, plateaus, etc. And blue and yellow make green, Timmy. I know, call me Mr. Obvious.

  37. @anon # 82
    OMG! LOL, that tops it out of a LONG list of hilarious commentary, you take the cake!

  38. Guam isn’t on a raft. An island is like a mountain, stable. It doesn’t just float out of the middle of nowhere. If Guam will tip over from having too many people.. then why hasn’t China sunk?

  39. Sir Bedevere: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
    Peasant 1: Are there? Oh well, tell us.
    Sir Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches?
    Peasant 1: Burn them.
    Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches?
    Peasant 1: More witches.
    Peasant 2: Wood.
    Sir Bedevere: Good. Now, why do witches burn?
    Peasant 3: …because they’re made of… wood?
    Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
    Peasant 1: Build a bridge out of her.
    Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?
    Peasant 1: Oh yeah.
    Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?
    Peasant 1: No, no, it floats!… It floats! Throw her into the pond!
    Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?
    Peasant 1: Bread.
    Peasant 2: Apples.
    Peasant 3: Very small rocks.
    Peasant 1: Cider.
    Peasant 2: Gravy.
    Peasant 3: Cherries.
    Peasant 1: Mud.
    Peasant 2: Churches.
    Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!
    King Arthur: A Duck.
    Sir Bedevere: …Exactly. So, logically…
    Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck… she’s made of wood.
    Sir Bedevere: And therefore…
    Peasant 2: …A witch!

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