Minnesota Republican Cosseted By Fawning Journalist
Mike Beard, a GOP state representative, has declared that coal mining should resume in Minnesota because God will always provide unlimited resources for His Chillluns and the planet is - by heavenly decree - indestructible. Not even nuclear holocaust will permanently damage the earth, Beard insists. The Republican's bizarre claims were made to the Minnesota Post in a puff piece penned by octogenarian journalist Don Shelby.
So exactly how puffy is this piece? Here is Shelby's opening paragraph: "State Rep. Mike Beard is a nice guy. The Republican from Shakopee is the former president of the local chamber of commerce. He says he cares about humanity. He is a man with deep Christian values, a free-market conservative and a veteran of eight years on the Minnesota House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee..."
Oh good grief. "Beard is a nice guy" who "cares about humanity"..."with deep Christian values." Shelby's interview of this lapdog of the coal industry might have been written by the politician's own mother. But few responsible mothers would praise a son who declares that no matter what harm humans inflict on the earth, what filth our corporations dump into the atmosphere and water, how many species we hunt to extinction or destroy by raping the environment, a benign celestial overlord will snap his mighty fingers and everything will revert to normal. The prayerful Beard preaches to us hellbound skeptics: "God is not capricious. He has given us a Creation that is dynamically stable. We are not going to run out of anything."
Back to Shelby: "I wondered where Beard had learned his climate science. He says he reads a lot. I asked him what he read, and he gave me the names of several conservative blogs sites." (Sigh.) "A lot of what Beard knows he learned in church." (That is hardly surprising. Right-wing legislators are famous for their intellectual lethargy.)
Nick Wing reports for the Huffington Post: Beard is currently in the midst of drafting legislation that would overturn Minnesota's moratorium on coal-fired power plants, an effort that he backs due to his religious belief that God will provide limitless resources while ensuring that humans don't destroy the planet trying to get them. Drawing on his family's childhood property in Pennsylvania, Beard explained to MinnPost his belief that while resource extraction might cause temporary agitation to the landscape, the effects wouldn't be longterm. "Our farm was mined for coal three times," Beard said. "And, now we stand on a point and look over barley and wheat and pines. Did we temporarily disrupt the face of the earth? Yes, but when we were done, we put it all back together again."
At one point Shelby writes about Beard: "He is not (a) scientist. But sometimes he sounds like one."
The Post journalist apparently doesn't know many scientists. Trust me, they don't sound like this. Shelby does manage to scrounge up two climate change deniers to support Beard's supernatural view of the cosmos. For what that's worth.
(Pictured: Rep. Mike Beard bores schoolchildren with his theology/science mash-up.)