Sunday, March 4, 2012

Montana had Ted Kaczinsky, Wyoming has... well... Wyoming.

With Governor Rick Perry in Texas threatening secession on an almost daily basis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona announcing that a panel of volunteer investigators have determined that President Barack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate is a fake, and Newt Gingrich in Georgia promising to build a manned lunar colony in the next eight years (never mind that NASA doesn't even have a vehicle capable of carrying an astronaut into orbit at this time) it takes a lot of effort for a state to stand out from the run-of-the-mill, right-wing, lunatic fringe, clown circus that is today's GOP. But the Montana Legislature may have figured out how to do just that. A new bill has passed the state legislature on a voice vote that would study the ways on which the state would cope with a hypothetical financial and economic collapse of the Federal government:

House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government.

The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and
an aircraft carrier (emphasis mine).
As far as garden-variety right-wing paranoid krayzee goes, this is all standard stuff... until we reach the bit about Wyoming possibly needing to acquire an aircraft carrier, that is. Then it becomes inspired right-ring nuttiness. Because let's face it: it's not truly inspired right-wing nuttiness until it crosses over into the territory of "stuff that's impossible to parody because it is already its own parody."

And this bill is impossible to parody because --and I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge of geography can be sketchy at times (is Uzbekistan to the east or west of Tajikistan?)-- I'm pretty sure I remember learning in 5th grade that Wyoming is a land-locked state:

And as you can see from the above image, I am more or less correct in my recollection.

So why exactly would a land-locked state like Wyoming be studying the feasibility of acquiring an aircraft carrier? I'm not entirely sure, but if I were a member of the legislatures of Idaho or Oregon I might seek to introduce a bill to look into putting together our own standing army just in case the Wyoming's gotten some nutty ideas into its head about westward expansion.

That said, there is reason to question the seriousness with which Wyoming is undertaking this most important investigation. The Wyoming Tribune notes:
The bill must pass two more House votes before it would head to the Senate for consideration. The original bill appropriated $32,000 for the task force, though the Joint Appropriations Committee slashed that number in half earlier this week.
So yeah, Wyoming's task force on surviving financial Armageddon and the complete collapse of Western Civilization is being funded to the tune of $16,000. That's just a few hundred dollars more than what it would cost to walk into a Hyundai dealership and drive a way in a brand new Elantra:

I guess that tells you something about just how pressing the concern is, right now.

Could it be that this bill is simply a way to further rile up the the paranoid, gold hoarding, survival shelter stocking, gun toting, end-of-times believing, loonies who make up the base of the Republican party these days and do so without spending the kind of money that might lead to questions about why the Wyoming legislature is wasting so much money investigating paranoid right-wing fantasies?

Maybe. Probably. OK, surely.

(Hat Tip: Wonkette)