Pluto Terminated

By Phil Plait | September 6, 2006 9:49 pm

The California legislature has weighed in on Pluto. Assemblymember Dr. Keith Richmond (R-Northridge) penned this bill along with 53 cosigners.

My favorite bit:

WHEREAS, The deletion of Pluto as a planet is a hasty, ill-considered scientific heresy similar to questioning the Copernican theory, drawing maps of a round world, and proving the existence of the time and space continuum;

Word has it Dr. Richmond is a moderate Republican, so there’s hope yet that the party hasn’t been totally taken over by antiscientists who think that the Universe is geocentric, the Earth is flat, and, um, the Universe doesn’t exist.

No word yet on whether the Governator will sign the bill or not…

Tip o’ the Micky Mouse ears to my old bud Bish for this.

Comments (18)

Links to this Post

  1. brainwagon | September 7, 2006
  1. JustinK

    At first I thought this was a fictitious bill, but it does seem to be on a legit website. I still think it’s a joke though (in more ways than one), even if it is an actual bill. I’m not at all familiar with CA politics, but lines like the following sound like sarcastic jabs at politicians (and other Californians) to me…

    “The mean-spirited International Astronomical Union
    decided on August 24, 2006, to disrespect Pluto by stripping Pluto of
    its planetary status and reclassifying it as a lowly dwarf planet…”

    “Downgrading Pluto’s status will cause psychological harm
    to some Californians who question their place in the universe and
    worry about the instability of universal constants…”

    “The downgrading of Pluto reduces the number of planets
    available for legislative leaders to hide redistricting legislation
    and other inconvenient political reform measures…”

    “in the closing days of the 2005-06 session, has been considering few matters important to the future of California, and the status of Pluto takes precedence and is worthy of this body’s immediate attention…”

  2. Definitely satire, though I wonder at how many Plutophiles will actually take it seriously.

  3. I like the accusation of the unfunded mandate the best.

  4. Richmond’s motivation here.

  5. Berkeley

    I am not the center of the Universe? Really? I defy you to prove it!
    Don’t mess with me (bla bla etc)
    (Muttering)

  6. Irishman

    This bit also caught my eye:

    Resolved, That the Assembly Clerk shall send a copy of the
    resolution to the International Astronomical Union and to any
    Californian who, believing that his or her legislator is addressing
    the problems that threaten the future of the Golden State, requests a
    copy of the resolution.

    Seems intended as a rebuke against the legislators for their inaction.

  7. “Downgrading Pluto’s status will cause psychological harm
    to some Californians who question their place in the universe and
    worry about the instability of universal constants…”

    The sad thing is… that’s probably true. Having grown up in SoCal I know all about the wingnuts (freedom of thought allows them to have their beliefs and me to tolerate but belittle them for said beliefs). There’s a reason why Heaven’s Gate showed up there, and why the Church of Scientology has invested a lot in the region. Crankery and ideology are major regional exports.

  8. The Ghost Of Tookie

    Moonflake’s link talks about Richmond’s championing of independent redistricting, so that makes him a hero in my non-political book. The dummies here in California were actually handed a vote on getting rid of gerrymandering last year, and they voted against it, mainly through ignorance and a lack of critical thought.

  9. Mike O'Connell

    This is the first time I have ever read a bill streight through… it is great… someone needs to draft something similar here in Missouri.

  10. Phil

    It’s a real measure that was really introduced on the floor of the Assembly. While the text is itself a parady, it really was one of the 4000+ measures introduced this year.

    It was never brought to vote, but was rather just a sarcastic statement from Richmond, who is being termed out and has been frustrated with the inaction of his Legislature to work on some issues like redistricting. Even if the Assembly had approved the resolution, Schwarzenegger wouldn’t have to weigh in on it, as it is just a resolution from one house.

    It’s funny that 53 assemblymemebrs signed on to this resolution which derides their own inability to get stuff done, yet that is more than enough votes to pass most measures.

  11. Phobos

    Although I don’t know his history that led him to write that bill, I can’t help thinking that it is a waste of taxpayer dollars and that he should be chided for wasting everyone’s time.

  12. Obviously a joke–look at all the “code phrases” in it–e.g. “mean spirited”, a common label Democrats applied to Republicans during the Clinton administration; also references to Astrology which many of the more religious Republicans make fun of on religious grounds and other Republicans make fun of on scientific grounds. The Governator probably has enough of a sense of humor to want to sign it, but after having been criticized for the “Girly Men” joke, he might pass this time.

  13. Scott

    You KNOW creationists will teach that Pluto is a planet just to spite science!

  14. Phobos

    After all, they don’t want to upset their astrology base.

  15. Very subtle parody there. It had me going until I read the part about millions of children’s refrigerator magnet drawings obsolete. :D

  16. J. D. Mack

    That was hilarious! Thank you, Phil, for blogging about this!

    J. D.

  17. To: Ghost of Tookie. The Calif proposition on redistricting was the 5th time in the last 24 yrs the REPS tried to shift the balance of the legislature in their favor. They lost–again!! In Texas they used the “retired judges” approach and although the REPS won big, it was not enough. So The REPs wiped out that law and did an old fashioned gerrymander which resulted in another 4 seats in the House of Reps (Congress) going REP. That atrocious gerrymander is now in the courts as a violation of the voting rights act. The Calif gerrymander of 2001 was set up to allow all incumbents to have very safe districts and the REPS went along with it. Two years later they changed their minds. Pure politics.

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