Congress controls the sun?

This is too absurd to be true.


As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they?

Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps next time there should be serious studies performed before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects.

I’m suspicious — a little digging revealed that there really is a Connie M. Meskimen in Arkansas … a lawyer. It also turned up that someone called Meskimen, and his secretary denies it, so it’s probably someone intentionally trying to make the guy look like an idiot.

It’s still funny.


  1. mndean says

    The way that letters to the editor are handled, the newspaper confirms the letter before ever running it, for obvious reasons. I would’ve thought the letter writer would have been demanded a retraction and apology if it was a phony. I definitely wouldn’t take a blog comment as the last word on this.

  2. Pygmy Loris says

    This would have been a great entry into the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s ridiculous explanations for global warming contest…Daylight Savings Time caused it :)

    I’ll giggle all the way home.

  3. says

    When you think about it, though, it’s not much different from Bill O Reilly’s notorious ‘There are 24 hours in a day. That’s science.’ Same confusion between human conventions about time and natural durations.

  4. Rey Fox says

    There was a similar letter in the Idaho Statesman back in late May that threw in a token slam on Al Gore’s house. So I’m not so sure it’s satire.

  5. llewelly says

    I thought ‘intentional satire’ before I was half-way finished.
    I don’t know who it is targeted at – maybe at those of us who know the US govt burns tons of fossil fuels. Maybe at people who dislike daylight savings time. Maybe it’s not targeted.

  6. Rey Fox says

    That was exactly the problem with the Idaho Statesman letter (which is no longer on the web site). It was so clumsily written that I couldn’t tell if it was satire, and if it was satire, then who would be the target? It’s not enough that you be satirical, you have to do it WELL.

  7. says

    Reminds me of the complaints referred to, I think, in Cecil Adams’ Straight Dope column where farmers were concerned that the extra hour of daylight was screwing with their crops. Pretty sure that turned out to be a joke too.

  8. Ginger Yellow says

    The 24 hours bit wasn’t as bad as the four seasons bit. Large parts of the world only have two seasons.

  9. markbt73 says

    What’s sad is that we actually had to look it up to see if it was satire. I would not have been surprised if it had been a real person expressing a genuine opinion.

    There’s almost no point in satire anymore. You can’t come up with something more outlandish than the real idiots can.

  10. Coragyps says

    The headline is cute, too. That has to be deliberate on someone’s part, and we have no way to know if that someone was in on the (possible) joke.

  11. says

    There’s an amusing story about Australia’s conversion to the metric system, when SI units began to be used in 1972 for farm and dairy products. One irate woman wrote to a newspaper to complain that her hens were confused by the new system and were laying eggs of lesser size and quality. Clearly it was absurd to expect dumb farm animals to make such a drastic adjustment! (Perhaps, depending on just who is the dumb farm animal in this story.)

  12. Hank Fox says

    Nobody else noticed the typographic error in the headline?

    It says “Daylight exacerbates warNing.”

    — Hank the copy editor

  13. J-Dog says

    I think “Hot Springs” is the key. Funny, funny stuff! However, after reading fundy comments here and other sites, the funniest note is that it COULD be real!

    After all, isn’t there a Fred Flinstone Museum opening soon in KY? How funny is that!

  14. says

    Here in Australia there was a joke about daylight savings being rejected in rural areas because it would cause the cows to need milking an hour earlier, and the curtains would fade.

  15. Coragyps says

    “I think “Hot Springs” is the key.”

    Perfectly fine town, if you like touristy stuff. Back in the day, though, you could scarcely get married in Arkansas without someone shoepolishing “Hot Springs Tonight” on your car’s rear window.

  16. says

    Gerard, you need a lesson on embedding links to URLs in your comments without making them a m-i-l-e w-i-d-e.

    Read up on the “a” command by clicking this: link.


  17. FredJ says

    My suggestion to Conroy would be to NOT turn your clock forward next year. Then you would have the coolest yard in the neighborhood.

  18. JohnnieCanuck says


    Great idea. You need to take it a step further. Why adjust the temperature only twice a year? What’s stopping us from using our clocks to control temperature on a daily basis?

    Just imagine, snow in one yard and dahlias in the next!

  19. Keanus says

    In addition to the obvious flaw in the logic, satire or not, I couldn’t even agree with the observed warming. Where I live, in eastern Pennsylvania we had one of the ten coldest March’s on record since about 1895, which, of course, has no bearing on whether global warming is real or imagined since the current month makes weather not climate.

  20. Dorid says

    Connie is a SHE… so the person who wrote in and said she called HIS office was either a) wrong b)lying.

    She’s a bankrupcy lawyer in Little Rock, as most people probably know by know judging by all the blogs writing about this …

    But this is the kind of stupidity you get in a lot of the opinion pages of the papers. I’m not surprised at all.

  21. Dorid says

    BTW, for those who thought (like I did at first) that this was probably made on one of those stupid online newspaper clipping generators, here is the link for the online version of the newspaper opinions page:

    [Daylight exacerbates warning]

  22. JJR says

    Keanus wrote:

    “Where I live, in eastern Pennsylvania we had one of the ten coldest March’s on record since about 1895, which, of course, has no bearing on whether global warming is real or imagined since the current month makes weather not climate.”

    It’s more than just global warming, that’s just part of the picture. It’s global climate change…but even that’s rather too mild a description. As per my admittedly limited understanding, a better way to phrase it would be something like: “Increasingly Chaotic Global Climate Disruption”; Weather phenomenon as a whole gets more and more chaotic, increasingly difficult to predict, and more extreme and violent…and there’s been a definite spike in global temperatures in the long term since the startup of large scale industrialization in the late 19th century. Just goes generally up from there, more dramatic than any other general rise and fall in recorded history.

    Chaos, Entropy, Overshoot, Crash…

    The interesting thing is the Pentagon definitely takes global warming and related phenomena seriously, and has come up with military contingency plans to deal with it.
    That bit of news pretty much slipped under the radar, but it’s an important little factoid to remember.

  23. Kseniya says

    global warming and related phenomena

    Related phenomena? Like migration, famine, war…?

  24. Peter Kemp says

    John Wilkins re:

    rejected in rural areas because it would cause the cows to need milking an hour earlier, and the curtains would fade.

    The joke in Queensland Ozland (still without daylight saving) was that Premier Johannes Bjelke Peterson opposed it because he believed the sun shone out of his ass and he wasn’t getting out of bed an hour earlier for anyone.

  25. says

    We had a spate of such letters in our Chattanooga paper back in early April. Hey, we’ve got to get our kicks some way.

  26. Liam says

    Dorid .. et al

    Is Connie a SHE or a HE? Snopes says Mr, but quotes ppl who say she’s a she.

  27. David Marjanović says

    Connie is a man?

    I have long ago given up wondering about American first names. ~:-|

  28. David Marjanović says

    Connie is a man?

    I have long ago given up wondering about American first names. ~:-|

  29. Dorid says

    You know what? I’m not sure anymore. One of the legal sites I had looked the person up on showed him as HER… now the profile has been pulled from that site entirely. None of the other sites have gender references. Now I suppose the only way to test it is to call the office, and see if the recording Snopes reports is actually on the answering machine.

    Now Snopes also reports that this person has written before… but offers no links. I’m really not sure what to think anymore. The thing is, if it was SUPPOSED to be funny, considering the amount of stupidity written in to letters to the editor, it was not. I suppose this attny has little better to do than to write things he/she supposes will go over the heads of the population in Arkansas anyway. The number of blogs and letters SUPPORTING this is astounding.

  30. Kseniya says

    Connie is a SHE… a bankrupcy lawyer in Little Rock

    Dorid, what makes you so certain? Perhaps you are right, but I believe I have unearthed conclusive evidence that the the Arkansas attorney Connie M. Meskimen is a man. See the bottom of page 3 of this judgement from the US Bankruptcy Court.

    (Is knowing the gender, or age, of this person important? Would the content somehow change were we to discover that the writer was a sixty year old woman, as opposed to a thirty-five year old man? I shouldn’t think so, but I do admit that it’s natural to be curious about the writer, and I share that curiousity.)

    I vote Satire. The letter is too well-written to be expressing such genuinely mind-numbing stupidity. Perhaps I’m being naive. :-)

    Yes, David – American first names can be gender-ambiguous, but so can English, Russian, and French (examples: Laurie, Sasha, Dominique) to name a few. Abbreviations and nicknames are more likely to be ambiguous. “Connie” is commonly an abbreviation of Constance (female), but the full name from which it is derived is unlikely to be the same for the male as for the female. The writer could be a Connor, Conrad, Conroy, Conway, Cornelius… all unambiguously male names.

    Oddly enough, my own unambiguously female, Slavic-with-Greek-roots name has led quite a few people in chat rooms to assume I’m an African male. :-)

    Scienceblogs filter behavior note:

    I was unable to label the link above “this document” and was forced to use “this judgement” instead. As we can see, I am able to include the word “document” here in the main body of my comment – but the filter treats text found inside an <a> tag differently. I isolated that string as being the problem and broke it down as follows:

    this doc [accepted]
    this docu [accepted]
    this docum [rejected]

    I conclude that the filter ignores word-boundaries and detects the string “cum” when scanning the contents of an <a> tag, presumable to guard against links to porn sites. Interesting, eh?

  31. Kseniya says

    Yup. Kseniya, meaning “hospitable” or “hospitality,” from the Greek name Xenia, from the word xenophile meaning “love of strangers.” Kseniya is a direct transliteration of Ксения. Ksusha and Oksana are common nicknames for Kseniya. You may also see it (in Latin) written Ksenia or Xenia. In English-speaking countries, the spelling “Xenia” suggests a pronunciation that is not quite correct, which is why my parents chose the more literal transliteration.

    The frustrating truth is: Nobody who reads it can prounce it, and nobody who hears me say it can spell it, and I often wish I’d been named “Anna” or something. By the time I was five, when my first brother was born, my parents had seen the error of their ways and gave him, and our youngest brother born two years later, names that are quite common here in the USA.

  32. ckerst says

    This does give us a very economical way to counter global warming. We adjust DST back two months making it colder for a greater portion of the year.

  33. George Cauldron says

    Reminds me of an old joke I heard about a Polish farmer who was told at the end of WW2 that the boundaries were going to be redrawn such that his farm would now be in Russia. This worried him because he’d always heard the winters were much colder in Russia.

    ba dum ching!

  34. Sastra says

    There’s almost no point in satire anymore. You can’t come up with something more outlandish than the real idiots can.

    “I try to be cynical, but it’s hard to keep up.” (Lily Tomlin)

  35. says

    Joking aside, I have heard legitimate complaints by farmers regarding DST: Regardless of what the clock says, the farmer still has to get up to milk the cows 24 hours after the last time s/he milked them, and the cows don’t react well to having it changed to 23 or 25 hours at the whim of congress (and the Canadian cows are particularly disinclined to be compliant). So the farmers don’t change their schedule, with the net effect that they are doing things an hour earlier than they did before the time change (unless they live in Saskatchewan or Indiana).

    These days, as far as I can see, there is not much consistency of opening/closing times of any businesses, industries or public institutions, so why bother with an official timechange at all?

  36. says

    There’s a discussion of this letter over at Making Light, the Nielsen Hayden’s blog. They’ve concluded it’s satire, as the author has a history of similar letters to the editor more clearly identifiable as such. As usual, the commenters there are funny, insightful, and prone to tangents.

  37. Mooser says

    The letter is a clever, but disengenuous, if disengenuous is the word I want, and if it’s spelled correctly,attempt to avoid the real problem with Daylight Savings Time. The real problem is the one which occurs in the months where DST is not in effect, and how it affects our affect, at which it is very effective, ask any ingenue, even if she’s disengenuous. Anyway, what happens to all the daylight in the months in which the extra hour is not used? Who gets it? Where is it being stored. Is it being monitored? Is it secure? Will it still be there when we need it? And finally, I ask you, you paragons of ingenuity and ingenuousness, who amoung us will grab their coat and grab their hat, leave their worries on the doorstep (except where prohibited by local ordinance) and direct their feet to the sunny side of the street? Will you walk in the shade with your blues on parade?
    Wait til your son turns Nellie, then you’ll see!

  38. yiela says

    Theo (comment # 46). You milk cows every 12 hours. Two dairy farmers I know do change their milking times for daylight savings time. I’ll have to ask around and see if most others do as well. It’s not really that big of a deal to milk one hour later than usual.

  39. Mooser says

    It’s not really that big of a deal to milk one hour later than usual

    Have you asked a cow about that?

  40. Kseniya says

    We had the same problem with feeding our cat. Every night at 7:00 he starts yowling for dinner. His yowling must be obeyed, or more insistent and irritating yowling will ensue. When DST comes around, suddenly the yowling commences at 6:00. Youch. How to endure the yowling for a whole hour?!

    The solution was obvious. Don’t endure it. Feed him at 6:00. Then, the next day, at 6:10 or 6:15. Then, the next day, at 6:20 or 6:30. And so on. Within a week, the problem is solved.

    Shall I now hire myself out as a consultant to the dairy industry? :-)

    “Mommy, look! Moo-cow!” (Kseniya, 1988)

  41. says

    I grew up on a dairy farm where DST was typically phased in rather than implemented abruptly (if my memory serves; I’ve been off the farm for a long time). Cows are creatures of habit, but they are not timepieces. Depending on the size of the herd and the order in which the corrals were brought into the milking parlor, cows might be milked at intervals that varied from 11 hours to 13 hours, always averaging out to 12 hours and never going from one extreme to another from one day to the next (unless someone screwed up the rotation). A 13-hour cow is not going to be very happy with you, though if you’ve occupied her attention with a manger of munchies or spraying water in a shower pen, you can keep her reasonably content for a while.