We're All Gonna End Up Flame Broiled

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Memo to John McNelis: YOU ARE DUMB.

One of the biggest problems with the "debate" over global warming has always been the false equivalency of experts. Opponents of carbon regulation try to push the idea that we can't do anything to fight global warming until a few hundred holdouts, bought and paid for by the energy industry, come around to Al Gore's point of view. Which they'll never do. And they're enabled by a media who, craving the appearance of balance over the reality of objectivity, sets climatologists against people with doctorates from Liberty University, and the average imbecile can't tell the difference when they spend two and a half minutes yelling at each other.

But now I'm really worried. Because the global warming skeptics have new experts on their side. Experts with more intellectual honesty than Jim Inhofe, more credibility than Sean Hannity, and more visibility than Michelle Bachmann. I am, of course, referring to the signs outside a number of Tennessee-area Burger Kings, which have for the past couple of weeks loudly proclaimed that "GLOBAL WARMING IS BALONEY". And that the drive-thru is open 24 hours, which I don't think is a political message, although having it open that whole time probably does contribute to global warming.

I find these signs puzzling on a number of levels. The signs raise troubling questions - questions to which the only reasonable answer is that, well, it's fucking Tennessee, isn't it? I mean, why would a Burger King franchise owner suddenly decide to get political? Well, it's fucking Tennessee, isn't it? And why would he choose the slighly archaic "baloney", when the meat products sold inside the Burger King are from an entirely different culinary tradition? Well, it's fucking Tennessee, isn't it? Are people really going to be swayed about the validity of human-caused global warming by a fast food sign? Well, it's FUCKING TENNESSEE, isn't it?

Now, the Burger King corporation, featuring as it does the products of massively belching and farting industrial cattle farming, plus the epic carbon footprint involved in feeding, growing, transporting, and flame-broiling said industrial cattle, has enough PR problems on its hands without also being seen as the purveyors of anti-science hick bullshit in the Stupidest State in the Union. So they immediately issued a statement that "The two restaurants where these signs appeared are independently owned and operated and were not authorized to display this statement. The signs have since been removed."

Turns out the signs either hadn't been removed, or got put back up in the intervening week, because reports out of Memphis are that global warming is still allegedly baloney. Which brings us to John McNelis, who is the marketing president of the franchise company, the Mirabile Investment Corporation, and he seemed pretty defiant about his anti-science hick bullshit down in the Stupidest State in the Union. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I would think they would run from any form of controversy kinda like cockroaches when the lights get turned on. I’m not aware of any direction that they gave the franchisee and I don’t think they have the authority to do it. The management team can put the message up there if they want to. It is private property and here in the US we do have some rights. Burger King can bluster all they want about what they can tell the franchisee to do, but we have free-speech rights in this country so I don’t think there’s any concerns."

Speaking of troubling questions, why is the marketing president of a fast food company bringing up the image of cockroaches scattering when the light gets turned on? Burger King restaurants in Memphis already have two strikes against them on account of being in Memphis and being Burger Kings, so maybe McNelis ought to keep a tighter lid on his familiarity with vermin infestations. Oh, and also, he doesn't understand that the First Amendment doesn't actually protect you from professional repercussions from your corporate overlord not liking what you say right underneath their giant light-up logo, but again, fucking Tennessee.

Now that fast food signs are a valid part of the global warming debate, I expect within a few months we'll be seeing Steven Chu forced to defend the administration's energy policy against Grimace on The Situation Room. Followed by right-wing blogs applauding how the fuzzy purple thing really stuck it to that pansy, liberal, Nobel-prize-winning physicist. Although after Joe Barton, Chu would probably find Grimace an intellectual step up.