How not to fight antiscience zealotry

By Phil Plait | January 26, 2011 7:00 am

Ken Cuccinelli is the Attorney General of Virginia. He’s a Tea Party favorite, and has been waging a pogrom-like witch hunt against climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann for years. Cuccinelli is a climate change denier, and has been hounding Mann and his research, using his power of subpoena to hamstring Mann and the University of Virginia, where Mann did much of research (he’s now at Penn State University). Ironically, Cuccinelli has been spending quite a large passel of taxpayer money to try to prove that Mann’s research was fraudulent and therefore a waste of taxpayers’ money*.

Right.

Anyway, as much as I dislike what Cuccinelli is doing, I also dislike what two Virginia legislators are trying to do: remove the Attorney General’s ability to issue subpoenas to people, called civil investigative demands. If the AG suspects fraud, he can issue these CIDs to get documents needed to investigate the case.

If the senators get their way, Cuccinelli would no longer be able to harass Mann, but if I understand this correctly it would also remove his ability to pursue cases of actual fraud. And while I think Cucinelli’s actions are really, really skeevy, he is the Attorney General and should be able to issue CIDs as needed. And of course, eventually he’ll leave the AG office (hopefully not to run for higher office, something I dread) and someone else will be in there, someone who may fight for reality. Without the power of issuing CIDs that’ll be tougher. That’s why more freedom is nearly always better than less.

Cucinelli has responded to the senators’ actions, saying basically what I just did. I hate to agree with him, but I think he’s right in this case.

We do need to safeguard academic freedom, and we do need to protect scientific research from ideologically driven fishing expeditions, but this is the wrong way to do it. Taking away the AG’s abilities to do their job is a bad idea, and doing it this way makes it look like the senators (both Democrats) are trying to change the rules for their benefit… which seems to me to be just what they’re doing. And looking at this in a practical manner, given this is a Republican-controlled State Assembly, their chances are slim to none of getting their legislation passed anyway.

But that last point isn’t the important one. The bigger picture here is that as much as we may loathe some of the tactics being used to suppress science, if they’re being done in a legal manner then we must find ways within the system to fight them, and not try to undermine the system itself to achieve that goal.



* As Richard Littlemore points out, if Cuccinelli is so concerned about taxpayer fraud, will he investigate another Virginia professor, climate change denier Patrick Michaels, who may have misled Congress about his industry based income?


Related posts:

Exclusive: Michael Mann responds to Rep. Barton
They are not good faith questioning of scientific research
UVa still fighting climate witch hunt, ups the rhetoric
The global warming witch hunt continues


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (60)

  1. Pineyman

    I would hope – and seeing how this is politics it isn’t a given – that these senators are actually trying to hit Cooch over the head with a sledgehammer-type threat all the while intending to back off if he does.

  2. Perhaps what’s needed (assuming it’s not already available) is a way to sue the AG for harassment for misusing his powers, including CIDs? The bar would have to be set high enough to prevent frivolous suits in “legitimate” cases. How to properly set the bar is an exercise I leave to someone with more experience in such matters.

    As Richard Littlemore points out, if Cuccinelli is so concerned about taxpayer fraud, will he investigate another Virginia professor, climate change denier Patrick Michaels, who may have misled Congress about his industry based income?

    I understand that the Devil has bought a pair of snowshoes, just in case.

  3. AR

    I’ve never understood this kind of response to the abuse of power or policy: “Well, that guy abused Policy X, therefore, Policy X is bad”. No! Bloody hell, no! It should be obvious that this simply doesn’t follow.

    “as much as we may loathe some of the tactics being used to suppress science, if they’re being done in a legal manner than we must find ways within the system to fight them, and not try to undermine the system itself to achieve that goal. ”

    QFT. And this is precisely what they should focus on doing. I’m not entirely sure how the AG fits in, if anyone can tell/force him to knock it off already (because the AG is not there just to flay his hobby-horse at any cost to taxpayers). There must be some way to stop this abuse of AG policy/power without denying the AG power to investigate science fraud at all.

  4. AR

    “Perhaps what’s needed (assuming it’s not already available) is a way to sue the AG for harassment for misusing his powers, including CIDs?”

    This is great idea!

    I don’t know where the bar could/should be set either but police harassment could give the cue at least for a starting point… There are more or less clear standards that must be met for legitimate claims against law enforcement. Same could be done here.

  5. laparel

    Only hearing about the (insane) political discourse in USA through the news-media, I quickly forget that there are real people there still with a good sense of perspective. Basing from your account, this Ken Cuccinelli seems like a douche of an AG; but, I agree with you that removing that office’s power to issue CIDs would be the absolutely wrong way to handle the situation.

    Here’s hoping your legislators over there have their senses with them. And here’s hoping the noise the rest of the world hears about the political process there is just exaggerated.

  6. Matt

    “if they’re being done in a legal manner than we must find ways within the system to fight them, and not try to undermine the system itself to achieve that goal.”

    In the case of the AG’s subpoena powers I agree with you, but in some instances the legal means of suppressing science are unfair, unchecked and need to be fought against. The libel laws in the UK are a good example of that.

  7. Gus Snarp

    Seems to me that the correct remedy for the senators to pursue would be impeachment. I wonder what the law provides for that in Virginia?

  8. Other Paul

    Couldn’t you just use an appropriate rejigging of double jeopardy? From what I’ve seen, he’s having to keep reissuing essentially the same CID because the response from earlier ones has been judged such as to show no case to answer. Being able to demonstrate that a particular AG is indulging in frivolous harrassment cannot affect the ability of other AGs to issue legitimate CIDs.

  9. B. Cooper

    I’m a Virginia lawyer, and I don’t really see the reason for the AG to have subpoena power in advance of an actual criminal investigation. If the AG can run giant fishing expeditions, it’s an abusive power, full stop, no matter how useful it might be in some cases.

  10. tmac57

    I wonder if what Cuccinelli is doing could be considered malfeasance in office, or official misconduct.

  11. Utakata

    Wow…that’s too easy. It’s like if I don’t like someone, I go and shoot him or her…instead of debating with them. Or trying to come to a reasonable agreement so what there person does that I don’t like, never does it again. But it appears theses senators want to take the simpleton route. And in doing so, screw democracy. /sigh

  12. QuietDesperation

    Witch hunt, perhaps, but pogrom doesn’t really work in this context.

  13. s. pimpernel

    If it’s a legitimate criminal fraud investigation a prosecutor can issue a grand jury subpoena for documentary evidence for investigative purposes prior to any charges being filed against anyone. I don’t know if the Attorney General has any prosecution authority at all in Virginia, but I would assume local district and/or county attorneys have such authority and use grand jury subpoenas for such investigative purposes on a regular basis. This CID appears to be a tool ripe for abuse for harrassment purposes by the Attorney General and it’s use/abuse should be challenged in court like any other process.

  14. Steve H

    For me, I would like to see the data on AG’s use of this tool. In particular, in cases where they lacked enough cause for the courts to order these, what is their success rate at obtaining incriminating evidence leading to an eventual conviction and/or settlement?

  15. Gary

    All this could have been avoided if the UVa and Mann would release all information about his research. Refusing to be open and transparent doesn’t look good, even if you are innocent of accusations. Mann has a long history of acting badly.

  16. Ray

    @ Gary, I was wondering the same thing. If Mann’s research is up front and above board why not hand over a couple of hundred reams of paper to the AG?

  17. Sam H

    Well, it’s a fact of life that politicians rarely ever change. But the recent shooting in Tucson has done something good for you Americans – finally you’ve taken a break from the meaningless ideological war that’s been ruining your reputation, and have come to see what you can value in each other. Of course, though, some people still haven’t joined in, including those in my home of Canada. An election is speculated to soon occur, and the ads now running are nothing less than first-rate childish propaganda. :roll:

    I have nothing to say about the climate deniers, except that they’re flat out wrong. But all those economists, politicians and industry leaders who talk about a switch to a carbonless economy without stopping economic growth are just as wrong. As long as we all continue to live our current lifestyles without willing to change them completely, we never will. Carbon emissions will only decrease when peak oil hits, or if a form of energy (such as cheap fusion) is discovered in the next 15 years that renders coal obsolete. The planet will warm by at least 5 degrees if not more, and civilization may fail completely. I’ve basically given up on it surviving significantly over the next 100 years.

    Which really sucks. Because I dreamed of bootprints in the crimson dunes of another world. When I was younger, I even dreamed they’d be mine… :(

  18. aMazed

    According to information from the Virginia Public Access Project (vpap.org), the energy/natural resources industry sector was the largest single contributor to Cuccinelli’s 2009 election campaign after the Republican Party. The sector accounted for about 10 percent of Cuccinelli’s total contributions, and the energy sector accounted for about 84 percent of that total. (And of course the party contribution, which amounted to about 20 percent of Cuccinelli’s total, also represents sizable contributions by the energy sector.) I guess in politics, too, you get what you pay for.

  19. pasnthru

    The true evil of evil is that evil prompts good to become evil in order to fight it. Congratulations for not falling into the trap.

  20. Daniel J. Andrews

    All this could have been avoided if the UVa and Mann would release all information about his research.

    No, it wouldn’t have been avoided. Everything needed to look at Mann’s work was released years ago. It has been examined, redone using different methodologies, his work has been vindicated many times now (he’s the most vindicated scientist out there), and data and codes made available.

    The National Academy of Science, commissioned by Congress, investigated it too and while they had some criticisms of the methodologies and how they were used , they affirmed Mann’s work. Mann et al. have redone it in 2008 using suggestions from other scientists, new proxies, and new techniques. It is no longer one hockey stick, nor a hockey team, but a hockey league.
    nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html

    Others have removed what they thought was spurious data, and in the end, there is very little difference in the hockey stick. See skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

    As the article says, “While many continue to fixate on Mann’s early work on proxy records, the science of paleoclimatology has moved on. ”

    In other words, get rid of the 1998 (and the 2008) work from Mann, including his methods and codes, and the hockey stick would still be there. It is like saying Galileo faked his data showing the earth orbits the sun–it wouldn’t matter because the earth still moves around the sun. [If Mann were going to be found guilty of anything, you’d think at least one of the last five investigations would have found it].

    Also keep in mind what ideologues did with the stolen emails. They took sentences out of context and tried to say it was evidence of wrong-doing. You will still hear some of those idiotic accusations used (I bet at least one of them will show up here within 48 hours) even though they’ve been thoroughly debunked (by anyone who reads the emails in context), and by all the investigations. (see the Hack Attack videos here greenfyre.wordpress.com/climate-denial-crock-of-the-week/).

    So critics of Mann have already demonstrated utter dishonesty and callous disregard for the truth. They have amply demonstrated their willingness to smear, slander and lie about climate scientists. They are not investigating now in good faith. All their other lies have been exposed and now they’re looking to make new lies. Nothing that has been done or will be done would have changed the critics minds–it is an article of faith that Mann is a fraud and all the evidence to the contrary, all the openness possible, all the multiple vindications, have not persuaded them, and will not persuade them, otherwise.

  21. Daniel J. Andrews

    Here is a summary by Kate from Climatesight which includes some background and good links related to this story.
    climatesight.org/2010/11/17/the-real-story-of-climategate/

    In regards to Cuccinelli, Prof. Scott Mandia has written a concise letter for representatives and the media. See also some of the links for further reading.
    profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/science-by-error-and-trial/

    I will reiterate my main point from the previous post. Nothing would have stopped people from attacking Mann et al and their 1998 work. It is an inconvenient graph and since the science can’t be refuted, they must attack the scientists.

  22. Miko

    if they’re being done in a legal manner than we must find ways within the system to fight them, and not try to undermine the system itself to achieve that goal.

    This presupposes at a minimum that the existing system is a legitimate. If, as is actually the case, the system is designed for the specific purpose of granting an elite class unaccountable control over the rest of us, then we should be doing everything we can to undermine the system, even in cases where there isn’t any goal to be achieved. (For a more elaborate defense of this perspective, I recommend reading Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.)

  23. onotimagen

    @Matt

    The libel laws in the UK, which the government has promised to change, do not allow Scientists to be prosecuted for doing science, they do allow legal action against a scientist who publicly claims someone else is doing bad science even when its true because they require an extremely high level of proof on the part of the “libeller” in libel cases. In the UK if Mann brought a libel case against Cuccinelli, he would undoubtedly win, even if Cuccinelli was right but Cuccinelli, almost certainly, wouldn’t be able to bring a case of any kind against Mann.
    From an outside perspective it looks as though a case of fraud could be brought be against Newton in the US, were he miraculously still alive, because he didn’t come up with relativity and he knew there were flaws in his science. The quality or otherwise of Mann’s work is not the real issue, the issue is whether you want a situation in the US where no one does science for fear that if they are thought to have got it wrong wrong or are perceived to have had the wrong motives they get prosecuted.

  24. “… if Cuccinelli is so concerned about taxpayer fraud, will he investigate another Virginia professor, climate change denier Patrick Michaels, who may have misled Congress about his industry based income? “

    Now is that question supposed to remain rhetorical, or do you need to hear the “no” just to make sure the audience was paying attention to the news?

  25. Joseph G

    @Sam H: Cheer up – we may wind up with a lot more dunes to make prints in right here at home. And we may yet move to Mars out of necessity, if not exploration.

    See, I always look on the bright side :P

  26. Joseph G

    @20 Daniel J. Andrews: Too true, too true. Unfortunately :(

  27. Michel

    The problem with a lot of acts/laws is that they can be counter productive.
    Like: kiddiepron.
    Nowadays kids who take a picture of themself or each other are being prosecuted, accused of “producing and distributing”.
    That is not what the law was about.
    *sigh*

  28. I’m with the BA on this one. While Cuccinelli is a blithering idiot when it comes to climate change, he is also investigating legitimate cases of fraud, such as a bizarre 11th hour real estate deal that turned the largest Charlottesville area housing development into a state park and netted the property owners tens of millions of dollars.

    I also highly recommend reading Cuccinelli’s wikipedia article. While he makes more headlines for partisan hackery, he’s also gone after payday lenders and utility companies to secure fair treatment for consumers. As they say, even a stopped watch is right twice a day….

  29. Leon

    Well said, Phil. You hit the nail on the head with this one.

  30. Number 6

    @ pasnthru….

    Profound and well-stated!….Should give everyone pause.

  31. Bill

    One of my fears about this is that it’ll look to the denialists like the rational side is so afraid of Cooch’s “investigation” that we’re resorting to legal/procedural/parliamentary chicanery in order to sidestep and deflect. They’ll play this up, saying that we can’t defend the science, so we’re reduced to trying to muzzle the critics.

  32. Chris Winter

    Bill, they say that anyway. And they call the previous investigations “whitewash.” My take on it is that their actions are really delaying tactics. As long as they can point to some apparent doubt about AGW, they can postpone legislation to reduce CO2.

  33. Chris Winter

    Gary wrote: “All this could have been avoided if the UVa and Mann would release all information about his research.”

    In addition to what Daniel J. Andrews said, I doubt the procedure would be so straightforward. First, Mann and the U. VA would have to convince Cuccinelli they had turned over all the relevant information. Then there would be questions, depositions, etc., all taking time away from Mann’s scientific work — which I suspect is the main idea.

  34. Daniel Johnson

    One other point: Gary, Ray, which of the following do you think is a more accurate description of Cuccinelli’s demand?

    A) All the information that U. Va has about Mann’s research.
    B) All the communications U. Va can dig up to, from, or about 38 people, most of whom have little or nothing to do with that research.

  35. Joseph G

    @#32 Chris Winters: I fear you’re right. The people who would be most affected by climate change legislation (oil companies, for instance) are already well aware of the reality of anthropogenic climate change, but they know that if they can sow enough uncertainty and doubt that they can keep on doing business unimpeded, at least for the time being. Then, by the time the truth finally overcomes the FUD in the public consciousness, they can shrug and say “Hey, it’s too late now.”

  36. Messier Tidy Upper

    Well said & agreed, BA. Again, as with the Arizona shootings case, it’s good to see your good sense overpowers your politicial leanings. :-)

    @12. QuietDesperation :

    Witch hunt, perhaps, but pogrom doesn’t really work in this context.

    Yes, indeed. The term ‘pogrom’ – just like the term ‘blood libel’ – has a specific historical meaning :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom

    and it is best kept only for use where that word is appropriate and accurate, please.

    Cuccinelli is guilty of many things here & I disagree with him harassing the multiply cleared Mann, but his partisan persecution and unjustified legal annoying does NOT qualify as anti-Semitic mob rioting.

  37. RwFlynn

    I only have one thing to say. As a resident of Virginia and a Democrat, this news makes me sad. Not to sound terribly partisan, but I was hoping that those two senators weren’t democrats (had a feeling they were). Although, no matter who they are, I’m glad their equally over-zealous efforts won’t succeed here.

  38. Gunnar

    I wonder if “Cooch” ever reads this blog and/or makes any attempt to honestly consider the evidence and arguments that demonstrate the invalidity of his accusations. I suspect that he is one of those religious fundamentalists who is firmly committed to the proposition that the “Holy Scriptures” and his particular interpretation of them trump any amount of contrary scientific evidence, no matter how abundant or incontrovertible.

  39. Messier Tidy Upper

    …if Cuccinelli is so concerned about taxpayer fraud, will he investigate another Virginia professor, climate change denier Patrick Michaels, who may have misled Congress about his industry based income?

    Very minor nitpick but even climatologist Patrick Michaels, a climate contrarian to some extent, still notes to an audience of climate contrarians :

    “So global warming is real and the second warming in the 20th century, people had something to do with it, alright. Now get over it!”

    at the 7 minute mark of the videoclip linked here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwnrpwctIh4&feature=related

    So calling him a “Denier” may be going a bit far although he certainly downplays the Anthropogenic Global Warming issue. (Or Human Caused Global Overheating as I’d rather call it.)

    Arguing over possible solutions to Human Caused Global Overheating is justifiable – but arguing that there isn’t a problem when there clearly is, not-so-much. :-(

    As far as court proceedings go, in some ways I hope the Climate Contrarians get their way and do manage to drag Mann and other climate experts into court – because then I think we’d get something like the high-profile Dover trial smackdown of the Creationists.

    As Fred Clark of the slacktivist blog points out here :

    http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2010/11/yes-please-lets-have-hearings-on-the-evidence-of-climate-change.html

    Also for those who haven’t yet heard check NASA says :

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2010-warmest-year.html

    That 2010 was the joint warmest year on record tying with 2005.

    The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

    Which seems to strongly support the theory of Human Caused Global Overheating as expected. The facts keep stacking up scientifically but in the court of public opinion (a “court” whose verdicts can be dubious) the Climate Contrarians seem to be winning or at least still going much stronger than the scientific evidence would warrant. :-(

  40. Messier Tidy Upper

    Plus the NASA observations of 2010’s record equalling heat are also confirmed here :

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110112_globalstats.html

    by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) whilst the new house speaker, John Boehner, “stars” if that’s the right word in this old clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPA-8A4zf2c&feature=related

    Right at the very start & from back when he was just a rep. Now he’s third in line for the Presidency behind the Vice-Pres. & Obama. Worrying.

    Wonder if this famously teary man would cry if he watched *that* clip? ;-)

    Finally, on matters global overheating~wise check out this clip of my all-time favourite author Isaac Asimov discussing the Grenhouse effect :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz1g55H6XgA

    From wa-ay back in 1977, long before Al Gore was prominent.

    BTW. The SST Asimov mentioned there was a type of supersonic aircraft,(SST = supersonic transport), the best known example of which is the Concorde which was expected to take off (hah!) widely and become the most common mode of air travel but never quite did. :-(

  41. Jeffersonian

    They need to censure this guy. Threaten to remove his CIDs then put them back for the next guy after Cucinelli is removed from any job that would ever allow him to interact with humans. They’re just using the tools available to them to push awareness.

    btw, pogrom?

  42. Messier Tidy Upper

    Another different Isaac Asimov on Global Warming videoclip can be found here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6tSYRY90PA&feature=related

    This time from 1989. Well worth watching. IMHON. :-)

  43. Messier Tidy Upper

    @3. AR : There must be some way to stop this abuse of AG policy/power without denying the AG power to investigate science fraud at all.

    Remove the AG in question who is misusing his powers NOT those powers themselves?

    @15. Gary : Mann has a long history of acting badly.

    Does he really?

    How exactly has Mann been acting badly then in your view, please tell?

    @17. Sam H :

    .. The planet will warm by at least 5 degrees if not more, and civilization may fail completely. I’ve basically given up on it surviving significantly over the next 100 years.

    Don’t underestimate the power of science driven by necessity.

    Don’t underestimate the intelligence and capability of humans with their backs to the wall.

    My suspicion (hope I guess) is that like it or not we’ll have to come up with a technological solution – a giant sunshade, artificial trees, some sort of terra(re)forming project or who knows what else? Who knows? Well smarter people in the future, I’d like to imagine.

    Also, global warming – human caused global overheating – may have some pretty severe and nasty impacts but the end of theworld or even the end of our civilisation? I’d say not. We’re pretty adpatable, pretty clever and maybe, just maybe, the worst case scenarios will prove as over-the-top in reality as they seem. I’m notsaying it won’t be bad, it won’t cause lots of suffering and loss of life and property and lots of trauma for all toomany folks. But I am saying I think we’ll manage somehow.

    I hope I’m right to think so.

    Which really sucks. Because I dreamed of bootprints in the crimson dunes of another world. When I was younger, I even dreamed they’d be mine…

    Me too. ;-)

    I expected to see people land onMars, return to the Moon and spread well into the solar system if not the Galaxy in my lifetime. I’m amazed we haven’t. I hope we still will get .. somewhere along that road anyhow, while you and I are still alive to witness it.

  44. Plus see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_lYbp2zxVg

    for more on how we seem to be going with some areas unusually cold but others – notably the Arctic – unusally hot.

    We’re pretty adaptable, pretty clever and maybe, just maybe, the worst case scenarios will prove as over-the-top in reality as they seem. I’m not saying it won’t be bad, it won’t cause lots of suffering and loss of life and property and lots of trauma for all too many folks. But I am saying I think we’ll manage somehow.

    Or to sabotage this tune (June Afternoon) :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wxnh7hXdW4

    WARNING : Some images on that linked clip may be considered Not Safe For Work by some .. particyraly rightat the very start. Manniquin p*rn?

    with new lyrics and apologies to Roxette :

    “We’re just bright pink-faced baboons
    Inside we’re all dark
    Mwwah-haa
    But we can reach for the Moon!

    We’re just bright pink-cheeked baboons
    But we can survive all do,
    Hah-hah!
    And reach for the Moon!

  45. Number 6

    @ Messier Tidy Upper…..

    Just curious, re: this song by Roxette:

    “We’re just bright pink-faced baboons
    Inside we’re all dark
    Mwwah-haa
    But we can reach for the Moon!”

    Is it some type of tribute to the movie, “2001, A Space Odyssey”….where at the beginning the movie, the apes pull out of their evolutionary tailspin by learning how to kill with a weapon (with “inspiration” from the Monolith)? ….(“Inside we’re all dark”)

    And then, at the end of the ape sequence, the killer throws a large bone into the air which becomes a space vehicle? (“But we can reach for the Moon!”)

    …or…. am I giving way too much credit to Kubrick’s movie phenomenon that it would affect a song writer’s creative juices in that way?

  46. @ ^ Number 6 : It’s what you make of it & make of it what you will! ;-)

  47. Number 6

    @ Messier Tidy Upper…..

    Now, I feel like a visitor at a Museum of Modern Art peering at an abstract work, and I just received an explanation about the painting from the painter. :)

  48. MartinM

    It means what it is.

  49. Rob

    I’m a Tea Party member. The Tea Party has nothing to do with climate science, that is coincidental. T.E.A. Party= Taxed Enough Already.

    Please don’t confuse his stance on Global Warming with the Tea Party, they are not related.

  50. Randy A.

    Comment number 7 by Gus Snarp was correct. The people of Virginia should impeach Ken Cuccinelli. There is ample evidence that he misappropriated tax payer money in a quest to harass a state employee, Dr. Michael Mann. He has been so focused on his vendetta that one can suspect that he has ignored some of his real responsibilities.
    So the citizens of Virginia should fire the guy!

  51. Joseph G

    @Rob: I know this is off-topic, but it seems to me like the Tea Party more or less formed at a time when taxes weren’t really on the table one way or the other – especially for the middle class. Exactly what massive tax increases were there that most Tea partiers were responding to?

  52. Bruce

    @Rob #49: Don’t bother using facts here. Most of the commenters are your typical MSNBC-loving liberals that have no use for facts. They blindly believe in global warming and anyone who doesn’t share their misguided beliefs is automatically wrong and evil, even if the beliefs have nothing to do with global warming.

  53. Bob V

    What exactly is meant by “hamstrung”? Exactly how are they being “hamstrung”? By asking for records that show that Dr. Mann manipulated data to fit his hypotheses? That he conspired with colleagues to systematically suppress and destroy any and all researchers that disagree with him? That is exactly what a good Attorney General should be doing. I am proud to be a denier. I proudly deny computer models created by researchers with agendas. Dr. Mann and his colleagues have cheapened the research of all scientists, and have cheapened the scientific method itself, but then, that’s what the Left does to seize control to further their elitist and utopian fantasies.

  54. tmac57

    Maybe Cuccinelli gets his news exclusively from FOX :

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/12/15/leaked-email-fox-news-sammon-cast-doubt-on-climate-science/

    Several subsequent inquiries into the climategate emails did not find evidence of scientific malpractice that damages the credibility of CRU’s climate science and also cleared the scientists of deceptively manipulating climate data.

    Shortly after Sammon’s memo, numerous media outlets, including the Associated Press, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact.com also analyzed the emails and concluded that they did not undermine climate science.

    Nonetheless, Fox’s news and opinion programs relentlessly hyped the supposed scandal in order to cast doubt on the scientific case for climate change, both before and after Sammon’s memo. Some lowlights:

    * Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeatedly pushed climategate distortions, both before and after Sammon’s directive.
    * On December 3, America’s Newsroom host Bill Hemmer falsely claimed the emails showed scientists hiding “evidence of a decline in global temperatures.”
    * Online, Fox’s website Fox Nation characterized the emails as “Global Warming’s Waterloo.”
    * Neil Cavuto, Fox’s “Senior Vice President of Business News” and host of Your World with Neil Cavuto, interviewed a filmmaker dressed as a polar bear during the Copenhagen conference and joined him in promoting “Climategate” distortions.
    A month after Sammon sent his memo, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies released data confirming that 2009 was the second warmest year on record and marked the end of the warmest decade on record.

    After spending weeks hyping the Climategate non-scandal, Special Report never mentioned the NASA report.

    Media Matters contacted Sammon and Fox spokespeople for comment and we have not received a response.

  55. Messier Tidy Upper

    This :

    http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2011/01/teabagger_sugardaddies_stop_sa.php

    may be of interest for some folks reading here.

    @52. Bruce : Don’t bother using facts here.

    Er .. what?!? We (most of us commenting here) do indeed use facts and our ideas aren’t based on nothing but blind ideology as you seem to be implying. :roll:

    For instance are you aware of the facts noted here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9SGw75pVas&p=029130BFDC78FA33

    Providing some key pieces of evidence for Anthropogenic Global Warming?

    I’ll also urge you to check the rest of the Youtube playlist here :

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=029130BFDC78FA33

    which goes into all the various arguments against AGW and debunks them in an informative, well presented & often entertaining manner.

    Most of the commenters are your typical MSNBC-loving [BTW. I’m an Aussie & couldn’t watch MSNBC if I wanted to – which I don’t.] liberals [Nor am I what you’d call a “liberal” exactly.] that have no use for facts. They blindly believe in global warming [FYI : I, personally, began following this issue as a “Climate Skeptic” & have been persuaded otherwise by the facts.] and anyone who doesn’t share their misguided beliefs is automatically wrong and evil, even if the beliefs have nothing to do with global warming.

    Eh? No I don’t think your evil although I do think the case against AGW is wrong as do the vast majority of experts who’ve studied climatology for yeras and thus know what they’re on about.

    If you’ve got real good evidence that refutes the idea of AGW then please produce it – but also, please, check first and make sure you’re coming up with something original that hasn’t been debunked 100 + times already!

  56. Number 6

    @ tmac57…..

    Thanks! Interesting material. From what you sent, I see there’s been no change in the FOX news room’s climate. Still cold….toward the facts.

  57. Bob V

    The Associated Press, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact.com are all Left-leaning organizations. Media Matters is heavily funded by George Soros. Penn State’s probe cleared Dr. Mann. Wow, what a surprise! I’d like to know the sources of data behind the NASA Goddard report: whether the temperature sensors were moved to urban areas, or if urban areas had grown nearer to sensors, or if satellite or ocean data was included. If you want to read more honest reports on AGW, read the British press. The British media is also Leftist, but for some reason are more honest about AGW coverage. The Fox News coverage is simply a reaction to the overwhelmingly Leftist US media. If not for Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, there would be no debate in the US media.

  58. tmac57

    @Bob V-Keep on believing your ‘true beliefs’ .Yes, it’s FOX and WSJ against the world,isn’t it? I’ll let the Brits who read this column explain to you about tabloid journalism.

  59. Dan I.

    Bob V.

    The sun returned to Greenland two days early this year, than in any previous recorded yea the most likely cause (and one that can and has been directly observed) is that the ice which normally would block the sun melted to a lower point.

    Ice doesn’t care about your politics, ice doesn’t care about your proud denier beliefs. As the temperature climbs about 32F/0C/273K the ice melts. Ice is melting all over the world.

    Don’t believe me? Think I have an agenda? You can see it with your own eyes if you’ll just look.

    Do you have another explanation other than warming temperatures? Pray tell, what is your conclusion for the fact that the ice is melting?

  60. Joseph G

    Bob V: I’m sorry, but that’s just plain silly. The world is not encompassed by American political media, you know. There are quite a few people on Earth (that is, most of them) who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about our silly Liberals vs Conservatives slapfights. You’re essentially arguing that every major scientific organization on the planet is full of pinko Libruls, and they’re all marching in perfect lockstep in the face of enormous obstacles, simply because they’re all just that radical.
    It makes the “George Bush planned 9/11″ conspiracy look plausible.
    Look, I’m an American, and not what you’d call a stereotypical Lefty – I’m in favor of private gun ownership, fine n’ dandy with Christmas displays on public property, and 110% on board with massive nuclear power development. Heck, I watch Fox News. And even I can see that your “us vs them” dichotomy is unrealistic in the extreme.
    And the bit about where the temperature stations are located – do you really think scientists don’t check this stuff? You really think you’re thinking of something no one’s investigated before? That’s like you tapping the pilot of an airliner on the shoulder and saying “Hey, don’t forget to lower the landing gear when we land!” and expecting to hear “Gee, it’s a good thing you’re here. What would we ever do without you?”

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