Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 28, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE, CONT'D....The New York Times reports that NASA scientist James Hansen says administration politicos are trying to shut him up because he insists on continuing to talk about global warming as if it actually exists. It all started after he gave a lecture in San Francisco last month:

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

....In one call, George Deutsch, a recently appointed public affairs officer at NASA headquarters, rejected a request from a producer at National Public Radio to interview Dr. Hansen, said Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer responsible for the Goddard Institute.

Citing handwritten notes taken during the conversation, Ms. McCarthy said Mr. Deutsch called N.P.R. "the most liberal" media outlet in the country. She said that in that call and others, Mr. Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good" and that as a White House appointee that might be Mr. Deutsch's priority.

....Mr. Acosta, Mr. Deutsch's supervisor, said that when Mr. Deutsch was asked about the conversations, he flatly denied saying anything of the sort. Mr. Deutsch referred all interview requests to Mr. Acosta.

Ms. McCarthy, when told of the response, said: "Why am I going to go out of my way to make this up and back up Jim Hansen? I don't have a dog in this race. And what does Hansen have to gain?"

Note to George Bush: global warming won't stop happening even if you do manage to muzzle James Hansen. This is just not something that the White House spin shop can fix.

Kevin Drum 8:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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Comments

This strikes me as just another part of that policy they instituted a few months ago where every single statement or release by a government-employed scientist, whether from the EPA, NASA, FDA., all had to be approved by a political appointee before they were allowed to come out.

I'm glad someone with a bit of a name and reputation behind him is calling the Admin. on this part of their intimidation. It won't do much good though unless we can get 1 house of Congress back next year and get some damn subpoena power. That's all I really want...1 house of Congress. I don't care which one. I just want us to get subpoena power.

Posted by: Balta on January 28, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

The popes in the Middle Ages ran a better science shop than the Bush administration does today.

Posted by: bobbyp on January 28, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I've got a fill in the blanks quiz based on this very same article if anyone's interested.

Posted by: Ryan at The Higher Pie on January 28, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about you, but I'm buying my mountaintop in the Smokies now so I'll have a nice tropical island retreat when I retire...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on January 28, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

At last, the Bush administration acknowledges this crucial problem!

Posted by: SqueakyRat on January 28, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Repubs need to resuscitate Lysenko. That will complete ther project of Sovietization of United States.

Posted by: lib on January 28, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Part of this is the usual NASA headquarters vs. NASA center turf wars. Part may be a scientist who thinks going through channels is for other people.

There is no shortage of NASA public information on global warming, but I will readily admit that there seems to be a trend away from the Kyoto-type solutions when CO2 is discussed. Oddly, they seem quite militant on the ozone hole issue.

One example is Indur M. Goklany, assistant director of science and technology policy in the policy office of the Interior Department. For years, Dr. Goklany, an electrical engineer by training, has written in papers and books that it may be better not to force cuts in greenhouse gases because the added prosperity from unfettered economic activity would allow countries to exploit benefits of warming and adapt to problems.

In an e-mail exchange on Friday, Dr. Goklany said that in the Clinton administration he was shifted to nonclimate-related work, but added that he had never had to stop his outside writing, as long as he identified the views as his own.

Nice that he was still allowed to write. All depends on which side of the issue the administration is on, I suppose, but pressure on government scientists obviously wasn't suddenly invented when Bush was elected.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 28, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

``This is just not something that the White House spin shop can fix.''

you sure you wanna stick with that? 40% STILL believe Saddam was in on 9/11. Don't misunderestimate the depths of their depravity.

Posted by: secularhuman on January 28, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

For once, I agree with tbrosz, sort of. "Government" and "Science" are words that exist in constant tension on every level. Look at the dialogue between Grissom and his bosses on "CSI." Science is about being unsure, and politics is about lying you are sure.
But no administration ever has made denial of facts a stated policy the way this one has. They don't even bother to cover it up. They're proud of it. The subtext, of course, is that Americans are stupid cattle who can only be directed by the prod of fear or the grain of pork projects.

Posted by: JMG on January 28, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

>Part may be a scientist who thinks going through channels is for other people.

For scientists, "going through channels" SHOULD be for other people. Their traditions have done a better job of establishing reliable truths, over time, than virtually any other.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 28, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

the added prosperity from unfettered economic activity would allow countries to exploit benefits of warming and adapt to problems.

This is from an electical engineer? Maybe we should ask a sanitation engineer!

Posted by: tomeck on January 28, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

'This is just not something that the White House spin shop can fix.''

you sure you wanna stick with that? 40% STILL believe Saddam was in on 9/11. Don't misunderestimate the depths of their depravity.

I think Kevin is talking about the underlying reality of global warming, not the Bushies' truthiness.

Posted by: Rad Racer on January 28, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Nice that he was still allowed to write. All depends on which side of the issue the administration is on, I suppose, but pressure on government scientists obviously wasn't suddenly invented when Bush was elected. "

You think it's comparable? Retaining Goklany but having him do other work (and allowing him to continue to voice his opinion without threats) is the same as threatening this Hansen guy if he wants to voice his opinion?

God, 40% of the country has got an almost fanatical Bush-love. There's apparently no level of incompetence this administration can reach without scaring away their zombie fan base. Although, I imagine it must be getting ever harder. The President doesn't make it easy on his fans.

Bush is a cruel mistress.

Posted by: ctm on January 28, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

For scientists, "going through channels" SHOULD be for other people.

This is why liberals lose elections. Scientists believe they are superior than others and think everyone else should agree with them just because the "scientific community" thinks one way. But just because the "scientific community" thinks one thing doesn't mean the rest of us should. America is a democracy and in a democracy the beliefs of the majority must be respected. The majority of Americans voted for George W Bush as President. They didn't vote for "scientific community". Therefore Bush's view of the matter should deserve more respect than the "scientific community".

Posted by: Al on January 28, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

so tbroz ... shifting an electrical engineer spouting his opinion on greenhouse gases is equivalent to muzzling NASA's top climate scientist when he speaks about the climate???

Posted by: Nads on January 28, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce:

Their traditions have done a better job of establishing reliable truths, over time, than virtually any other.

There is one HELL of a lot of politics in science, and there always has been. Automatically assuming that scientists are somehow a level above everyone else in integrity is not always safe. That's a general comment, not one directed at the particular scientists in this story.

There's always been pressure to come up with the answers that the community wants to see.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 28, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

This is why repiglicans are losing support

scientists and scientific theories are right and the masses who oppose them are wrong

people who feel affronted by science are dumbasses

this is also why the rest of the world is flying past us technologically, the rest of the world believes in funding science and scientific research

when repighlicans side with anti science they just bnrand themselves as dumbasses

Posted by: JMaccabee on January 28, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

There is one HELL of a lot of politics in science, and there always has been.

Agreed. Just read the book The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge by Jean-Francois Lyotard which describes how science is greatly influenced and determined by politics.

Posted by: Al on January 28, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

so tbroz ... shifting an electrical engineer spouting his opinion on greenhouse gases is equivalent to muzzling NASA's top climate scientist when he speaks about the climate???

Hansen's degrees are in astronomy and physics. What's your point? You'd better hope that specific academic backgrounds are not a prerequisite for discussing a subject, or this board would get awfully quiet.

For someone who is "muzzled," Hansen seems to have no problems getting his points out. Look him up on the NASA website.

The example I quoted was the single example given in the NYT article. There are plenty of scientists who have found themselves on the wrong side of an administration in the past and ended up on the outside looking in. Talk to some nuclear engineers sometime.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 28, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Therefore Bush's view of the matter should deserve more respect than the "scientific community".

Posted by: Al on January 28, 2006 at 9:58 PM

But is Bush's view of the matter founded on scientific advice?

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 28, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

"America is a democracy and in a democracy the beliefs of the majority must be respected."

Al, you really stepped on your dick this time. Bush is at a 39% approval rate. Over 60% of the country things we are headed in the wrong direction. You wanna try running that line past us again?

Posted by: cosmo on January 28, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

>Automatically assuming that scientists are somehow a level above everyone else in integrity is not always safe.

I'm not assuming that. What's I'm saying is that over time, their process is self-correcting to a degree few others are. And that keeping a firewall between the scientific community and economic/political pressures provides valuable protection against big nasty errors.

And Al's comment is, BTW, a perfect example of why post-modernism is/was a lethally dangerous rot-of-the-mind for the left, and by extension for society at large. Even tbrosz's comment reflected that corrupted point of view to some degree.

When we start to believe that truth itself is solely determined by power and initial assumptions, we're no more than a generation from utter failure as a society. The ideals of the enlightenment have carried us further than anyone could have dreamed, and defending and trying to live up to those ideals carries rewards that are beyond any petty partisanship.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 28, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: "There are plenty of scientists who have found themselves on the wrong side of an administration in the past and ended up on the outside looking in."

Cites, please? Let's hear some specific examples of previous administrations who've fired scientists (or even threatened them with firing), not for faulty science, but because their finding contradicted administration policy.

Thanks.

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on January 28, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what the "dire consequences" might be.

Posted by: Dick Durata on January 28, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

nads: "so tbroz ... shifting an electrical engineer spouting his opinion on greenhouse gases is equivalent to muzzling NASA's top climate scientist when he speaks about the climate???"

tbrosz: "Hansen's degrees are in astronomy and physics. What's your point?"

If I may, I'm guessing the point is that an electrical engineer in the policy office of the Interior Department is insufficiently qualified to theorize (particularly to theorize on behalf the administration) over whether prosperity from unfettered economic activity would allow countries to exploit/adapt-to higher global temperatures.

The top climate scientist at NASA, by contrast, is far more qualified to discuss rising global temperatures, and the likely causes thereof.

Not so complicated a point to discern, if you ask me, tbrosz. But, okay, there you go.

PM

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on January 28, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

When we start to believe that truth itself is solely determined by power and initial assumptions, we're no more than a generation from utter failure as a society.


I couldn't agree with you more Bruce about the rot that is post-modernism. There is an empirical truth out there. What varies is our ability to see it (and to a large extent we are all like the men in the dark room as in the Sufi parable trying to descry and elephant) But I think you'd have to agree that tbrosz's admonishment that there be a healthy (especially initially) skepticism shown towards the work of any particular scientist is at the heart of science itself. It's success is in its being the only self-correcting (as a matter of course) philosophical system.

And now in general, it is this war on science that as much as anything makes us non-Americans wary of the direction the US is going in. A good rule (attention innumerate and scientifically illiterate NYT writers) is that if an idea can't cross borders, it is culturally or politically-rooted crap (cue Lysenko). The American belief in IT, the American disavowal of global-warming as a highly likely scenario.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 28, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the New York Times check out the editorial "Spies,Lies and Wiretaps".
It lays out nicely where the bear shits in the buckwheat...

Posted by: Truth to Power on January 28, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you quibbling about whether Hansen should be butting heads with the Bush administration over global warming, you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Even Bush admits there is global warming. He and his administration just take the attitude that we've got plenty of time to fix it and technology will eventually save us.

These people have shown they're incompetent to deal with public policy and execution (Iraq, Katrina, Medicare Part D, etc) and I certainly don't trust them to handle global warming any better. This climate situation could have much more profound and longer-lasting consequences than Iraq, Katrina, Medicare or any issue the Bush administration is dealing with. They didn't cause global warming but their lassitude in dealing with it could well push us beyond the tipping point, if we haven't passed it already.

Posted by: Taobhan on January 28, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

But I think you'd have to agree that tbrosz's admonishment that there be a healthy (especially initially) skepticism shown towards the work of any particular scientist is at the heart of science itself.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 28, 2006 at 10:38 PM

I agree. However, I don't think this scientist was admonished on technical grounds - i.e., your science is wrong. He was obviously admonished on purely political terms - i.e., stop making the president look bad. I think this is wrong when you talk about science - it is what it is, it doesn't matter who gets to look bad. If the guy is right, and I understand that this is not yet a consensus in the scientific community, the guy is right.

However, I also agree with tbrosz when he says that it's naive to believe that all scientists are pure and innocent. But the best way to weed the bad ones out is exactly to attack them technically. Saying 'I gotta make the president look good' - which IS the guy's job, btw - is not the way to do it.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on January 28, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone want to take bets on when the bots will show up sliming Hanson? There are a lot of out-of-context quotes from him in the "no global warming" camp...

This isn't an anonymous drudge; it is one of the most creative and productive scientists working on climate change, and he is the director of GISS. Industrial scientists may be used to not being able to discuss their professional work without clearance, and that is why the best researchers choose academe or government careers. It is extremely unusual for a scientist to be prevented from speaking to the public on what he or she specializes in, outside of areas like nuclear weapons research.

Posted by: Marc on January 28, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection,

you are, of course, correct and addressing the specifics of this case as opposed to my generalized opining.

cheers,

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 28, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ever notice that when it's cold out, we get a lot of sarcastic comments about global warming, but when it's unseasonably warm, there's not a peep? Forget all the reports of glaciers melting, starving polar bears, and the mythical Northwest Passage becoming a real possibility in our life time. I'm talking about unseasonable warmth where you live.

It was in the upper 40's today in Chicago. At the end of January. It's raining now, I wouldn't be surprised if there were no ice/snow left on the ground by tomorrow. So, no global warming? Or at least, global climate change?

Comments from the right? Trolls? Buehler? [crickets chirping].

Posted by: Librul on January 28, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

The political attack on Global Climate Change is similar to the treatment of scientists who pointed out the flaws in SDI

Posted by: Mike on January 28, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

It was extremely dumb of the Bushites to try bullying Hansen -- he's the 800-pound gorilla of the climate science community. "Extremely dumb" and "bullying", however, are the two phrases associated most with this administration (well, two of the three; we musn't forget "corrupt") -- and I take for granted that, insead of backing off, they'll charge ahead further and actually fire him. After all, Cheney and Rove are enthusiastic believers in Goebbels' philosophy that if you're going to lie at all, you should tell the biggest lie possible and as forcefully as possible.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on January 28, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Saying 'I gotta make the president look good' - which IS the guy's job, btw"

He's a PR guy for NASA, if you want to be somewhat cynical his job is to make NASA look good. Ideally his job is to facilitate communication from NASA to the public about what it is doing (good or bad).

The problem is that the Bush administration everyone's primary job is to make Bush look good.

Posted by: jefff on January 28, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, the presidency comes with some prerogatives, such as the authority to appoint right wing Supreme Court justices or maybe even the right to engage in domestic surveillance. But when it comes to endangering our future through dumb-ass ignorance, one has to draw the line. The global warming issue is about as well settled now as the link between smoking and cancer. If Bush wants to argue that black is white, we should not give his argument extra weight just because he's president, setting aside the fact that if the election had been decided solely on the global warming question, Kerry would have won in a landslide.

Posted by: Beale on January 28, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Science should not be an end in itself when it comes in the way of glorification of the dear leader and his pronouncements.

Posted by: lib on January 28, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Cost of global warming rapidly increasing (click for graph)

Posted by: JamesP on January 28, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Global warming and Hurricane Katrina: put them together, America.

Posted by: bebimbob on January 29, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Brazil Connection:

But is Bush's view of the matter founded on scientific advice?

Short answer, yes. More accurate answer: like legal opinions, you can shop around for scientific advice until you get somebody who tells you what you want to hear. Most people who are using science for political ends do this, on all sides of the issue.

***

tbrosz: "There are plenty of scientists who have found themselves on the wrong side of an administration in the past and ended up on the outside looking in."

Patrick:

Cites, please? Let's hear some specific examples of previous administrations who've fired scientists (or even threatened them with firing), not for faulty science, but because their finding contradicted administration policy.

Mostly it's been about being funded, or not being funded, not so much about being fired outright. Get back to me when Hansen actually loses his NASA job, or even gets moved to another project.

I mentioned nuclear science. The Clinton administration essentially shut down research and development for the advanced liquid metal reactor, the gas turbine helium reactor, and improved versions of standard light water reactors.

Now he's giving speeches on global warming.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 29, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Mike also points out SDI, which is another prime example of science used as a political football, and scientists and engineers whose fortunes rose and fell depending on the administration.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 29, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Even Bush admits there is global warming.

Of course he does! Why do you think Republicans are trying to push all the liberals into the costal areas?

Posted by: dr sardonicus on January 29, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon guys. I know he's deliberately obtuse, but Al's 9:58 comment was an absolute hoot.
I'm not too worried about the Oval Office's ability to recognize truth ( any lever will do, they're not fussy ) so much as the lack of reaction to their ongoing program of dismantling free and open exchange of ideas. That won't just kill democracy ; lack of appropriate respose to stimulii is a paralysis which can prove prejudicial to the health of the nation.

Posted by: opit on January 29, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

It was this hot a hundred years ago? How did civilization survive? Was the excess heat the cause of the first Russian revolution and the Russo-Japanese war?

Granted, this is a black eye for the administration, and an embarrassment to me. They should let the scientists say what the scientists want to say. Let the scientists argue the science, and let the politicians debate the policies.

Posted by: contentious on January 29, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

tbroz ... the examples you (fail to) cite have to do with shifting funding in accordance with policy ... the scientists or whomever are still allowed to speak without retribution. your situation is more similar to the complaint by the Natl Acad Science that under bush, global warming research was being underfunded and underprioritized.

hansen is being told to not speak without clearance. He's being censored because this admin finds his science objectionable. jesus fucking christ ... a committee of nobel prize winners and some pretty respectable people actually had to come together in the Union of Concerned Scientists to say that "the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented."

you'd think someone as pasty as yourself would be more concerned about global warming, given your obvious melanoma risk. If not for you, then for your kids. Are you congenitally incapable of unlocking your lips from bush's phallus long enough to overlook your tax cuts? ... think of your childrens!

Posted by: Nads on January 29, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, in the long run we're all dead, remember? Only short-term political consequences count. Bush's cronies and patrons don't want global climate change to exist, therefore, it does not. It doesn't matter if he can fix it or not. He doesn't care.

Posted by: Mark on January 29, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good"

Nice to see yet again how propping up the Dear Leader's image trumps any vestige of integrity.

Posted by: R.Porrofatto on January 29, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

I think your 'nuclear science'information needs a bit of correction.

Advanced Liquid Metal Reactors

This reversal of fortune for plutonium has been reflected in the nuclear-power programs of most major industrial states. The United States, the nation that originally created the plutonium dream through its "Atoms for Peace" program of the 1950s, put the brakes on plans for a domestic closed fuel cycle in the 1970s, as a result of directives from Presidents Ford and Carter. The rejection of plutonium recycle for the U.S. nuclear-power industry was formalized by cancellation of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor and Barnwell reprocessing plant projects in the early 1980s, during the Reagan Administration.

A primary force motivating these actions was concern about the nuclear-proliferation and nuclear-terrorism risks of the plutonium fuel cycle. This concern has been carried forward by the Clinton Administration, which declared in its 1993 non- proliferation policy statement that "[t]he United States does not encourage the civil use of plutonium, and accordingly, does not itself engage in plutonium reprocessing for either nuclear power or nuclear explosive purposes."7 Because of these proliferation concerns, the Clinton Administration halted work on the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor, a modified breeder-reactor technology, in 1994.
(http://www.nci.org/s/sp41696a.htm)

Gas Turbine Helium Reactor

The GT-MHR made the top ten list of cuts in the
recently issued "Green Scissors" report, a project which
includes Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and the
National Taxpayers Union. The Reagan, Bush and Clinton
administrations have asked for it to be terminated. The
National Academy of Sciences, in a 1992 report, recommended
that the government stop supporting this reactor, and
concluded that it would not be a feasible way of dealing
with weapons plutonium. The one prototype version of this
design, Colorado's Fort St. Vrain reactor, was completed in
1974 and compiled such a poor operating record (achieving an
abismal 14% capacity factor) that it was closed permanently
in 1990. The GT-MHR is particularly unsafe because it would
have no secondary containment structure to prevent the
release of radiation in the event of an accident.

Posted by: nepeta on January 29, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

January 28th, it's about 40 here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's the middle of winter and it's been drizzling on and off all day. In 1998, 1999, 2000, I think, there was a week of 70 weather each year in January. I remember forty years ago the idea of a January thaw meant a week of temperatures maybe in the 50s, but until 1998 or so, there was never that kind of warmup here the first month of the year. January in Wiscosin is supposed to be frigid. And it's supposed to stay that way until about March.

But the rain this year is odd. It should be snow.

Posted by: NealB on January 29, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Taobhan :"These people have shown they're incompetent to deal with public policy and execution (Iraq, Katrina, Medicare Part D, etc) and I certainly don't trust them to handle global warming any better."

Their solutions will probably involve tax cuts, slashing the social safety net, relaxing environmental protections and union busting so "free market" will produce the technology to solve everything. What's to worry about?

It's rainy and 34-degrees in Minnesota, land of ice and snow. It is the warmest January on record.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 29, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, nepeta, why must you continue to bring up all those annoying facts? What else could tbrosz do if he couldn't post his usual "but Clinton did this-n-that" obfuscations.

Posted by: Irony Man on January 29, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

good one napeta. if the past is any guide, tbrosz will not comment on this thread anymore.

Posted by: lib on January 29, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

"In one call, George Deutsch, a recently appointed public affairs officer at NASA headquarters..."

George Deutsch? I wonder if it's the same George Deutsch who wrote this Defense of Head Shops. Apparently the Cannibis News liked it enough to feature it.

The article ends on a note of warning against "governmental irresponsibility":

"Unless U.S. citizens hold agencies such as the DEA and individuals such as Attorney General Ashcroft accountable, they will continue to persecute and prosecute innocent Americans, defining federal law as they see fit."

Posted by: LiberalMinded on January 29, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

He who has not seen global warming or major weather changes, hasn't looked out his window. Or for that matter read any news report about the extream weather conditions happening around the world. Ofcourse, the rapture people think its a 'SIGN from their god' that the end is near. Just ask Bushit about this, he talks with the man daily. oops...{reaLLY ! I didn't mean that. Don't come after me, please. I know nothing. }

Posted by: amisstake on January 29, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

He who has not seen global warming or major weather changes, hasn't looked out his window. Or for that matter read any news report about the extream weather conditions happening around the world. Ofcourse, the rapture people think its a 'SIGN from their god' that the end is near. Just ask Bushit about this, he talks with the man daily. oops...{reaLLY ! I didn't mean that. Don't come after me, please. I know nothing. }

Posted by: artemus/ on January 29, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

You stupid liburls make me sick. If you understood the underpinnings of the global thinking that is really taking place you would understand that the perfect yield produced by the rightful judeao-christian attack on Iran will produce a very comfortable "Nuclear Autum" that we will enjoy for millenium ... Mein Furher ... I can VALK!

Posted by: Lucifer on January 29, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is a cruel mistress.

Spooooooon!

Posted by: Simp on January 29, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

"Scientists believe they are superior than others and think everyone else should agree with them just because the "scientific community" thinks one way."

Oh, those elists make you cry wiv their big, big words? It's science, you moron, not opinion or politics.
Eat your pork rinds and shut the fuck up.

Posted by: Kenji on January 29, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

Rove-planted lying PR flacks even in NASA HQ public affairs... Worst President Ever!

Posted by: melior on January 29, 2006 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

""""And what does Hansen have to gain?""""

Uhhh, the embrace of the left, a great review of his upcoming book at the NYT, loving interviews with Katie, Matt and Oprah. A million dollar book deal with a left wing publisher. Touring with the Democrat presidential nominee.

Juast look what Richard Clark, Cindy Sheehan and Joe Wilson got.

Posted by: Patton on January 29, 2006 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

In the Toronto area, there was two weeks of snow before Christmas and then an unbelievably long "thaw". I have never seen anything remotely like it since I first became aware in the early fifties. Winters have gotten warmer and warmer since 1991. I noticed the trend long before I heard of "global warming".

I don't like this at all.

Posted by: Bob M on January 29, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Expect Dr. Hansen to suffer a sudden accident or lose his job for "other" reasons. He has become a liability for the right-wing spin machine.

These dispensationalist nutjobs in the GOP apparently don't give a whit about the future, since the Rapture is coming (yeah, right).

It will be far too late when the average Rush Limbaugh listener figures out the environment is hosed.

Buy oil and natural gas futures, if you want to profit from the coming crisis. Then, you can better afford the lung transplant you will need when you get cancer from the environmental muck big business is being allowed to churn out by the GOP.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on January 29, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

It's ok.

As a commenter a few posts down noted, nobody needs to know that math & science stuff. It doesn't do anybody a damn bit of good.

Posted by: cdj on January 29, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Ms. McCarthy, when told of the response, said: "Why am I going to go out of my way to make this up and back up Jim Hansen? I don't have a dog in this race. And what does Hansen have to gain?"

You have to be born yesterday to take that at face value.

Posted by: contentious on January 29, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Global warming is an issue where the dems can win easily. Most people thinks its happeneing, most care about the environment, the GOP is criminaly out of touch on the issue and obviously in bed with Big Business.

But guess what, we don't get to push these "winner" issues becasue we are still stuck at the NS and fighting terrorist starting gate. We have not convinced the country that we are just as tough or tougher on bad guys as the GOP. That is why we have drilling in Alaska, Alito on the court, and the raise of ID.

Give me democratic candidates that are insane for NS and fighting terrorsim, and we can make progress in other important areas, just like the GOP does today.

Karl Rove is no genius, he's just honest about whats important.

Posted by: The fake Fake Al on January 29, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

If Karl Rove were honest, he would go on prime-time TV and admit he has gerbils skittering around his bunger chute.

My TiVo will be on!!!

Posted by: The Really Fake Fake Al on January 29, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

but pressure on government scientists obviously wasn't suddenly invented when Bush was elected.

tbrosz never gets tired of this straw man, does he?

Of course, it's an acknowledgement that he has no cogent defense of the Bush Administration, but then, we knew that.

Posted by: Gregory on January 29, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ms. McCarthy, when told of the response, said: "Why am I going to go out of my way to make this up and back up Jim Hansen? I don't have a dog in this race. And what does Hansen have to gain?"

contentious: You have to be born yesterday to take that at face value.

You'd have to be "born yesterday" to take a Bushie mouthpiece "at face value."

A administration-appointed PR flack's job is "to make the president look good" much like the conservative commentary posted 24/7 here on Kevin's blog. I find Ms. McCarthy believable on that point. Deutsch probably said it. Liberal media bias is an often-heard regurgitated GOP talking point so that makes McCarthy's version believable, too. Deutsch's denial, that he didn't say what Ms. McCarthy claims he said, sounds like so many flat-out denials we've heard before from a Bushie spokesperson or appointee only to learn, as Patrick Fitgerald described, someone was throwing sand in an umpire's eyes.

If we reduce Hansen's story to the "he said-she said" Battle Over Who Controls The Spin on global warming, we miss another threat besides the obvious environmental one: the undermining of transparency and truth in our government. We taxpayers pay for NASA and I, for one, oppose Bushie bureaucrats limiting access to scientific POVs or free speech and thwarting the public's right to know the full truth. Let us decide for ourselves. We don't need Bushie minders getting in the way.

Too much evidence supports the basis for Hansen's story and I am alarmed at the lengths being taken to control the flow of information by the Administration and its propaganda bureaucracy. Bushies have a pattern of trying to silence or distort the truth. A few examples:

Smearing Joe Wilson when he was right about Nigerian yellowcake [See GOP talking points]
The outing of Valerie Plame's CIA identity and the WH's claims that "no one" was involved [WH quotes]
Scooter Libby's indictment of perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice re: PlameGate
Ongoing Justice probe into Karl Rove's complicity in PlameGate as Official A
Threatening to fire Chief Medicare actuary Foster if he released the real price tag of the prescription drug bill
Formation of WHIG, the WH Iraq Group, whose ambition was the marketing of going to war with Iraq
From the NYTimes article on Hansen: At climate labs at NOAA "many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone."

I can keep going with examples. We've seen muzzling of the truth before and how this Administration spins its version of reality. Lots of "born yesterday" suckers support Bush and his Nixonian-like presidency. Luckily, the numbers dwindle.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 29, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

You might as well click over to Michel Berube's long post about the Religious assault on University autonomy re: fact vs. fiction and divine revelation.

Posted by: opit on January 29, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Sooner or later, we will learn the same thing that Russia learned: physics trump politics. Every time. But by then, with global warming, it will be too late to do anything about the physics but adapt. Fortunately, humanity is very, very good at adapting.

But it will be a very different, and poorer, world to adapt to.

Posted by: ArchTeryx on January 29, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Patton on January 29, 2006 at 7:51 AM:

Juast look what Richard Clark, Cindy Sheehan and Joe Wilson got.

What they 'got', in order:

- Because the Bush administration virtually ignored Al Quaeda, Clark 'got' the deaths of 2,752 Americans etched into his conscience forever.
- Because the Bush administration manipulated intelligence in order to sell the invasion of Iraq to the American public, Sheehan 'got' to bury her son.
- Because the Bush administration chooses to 'rat-fuck' people who speak out against administration policies, Wilson 'got' a spouse whose work as a covert CIA operative was compromised, possibly along with any other operatives she was connected to.

Not everyone is driven by greed and the need to satisfy their own ego...I realize that's a foreign concept to some people, however.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 29, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK
There is one HELL of a lot of politics in science...There's always been pressure to come up with the answers that the community wants to see. Posted by: tbrosz
No, there is one hell of a lot of competitiveness, but the bits about political correctness in science are either very old in Medieval times or very recent in Bush seeking to stifle facts contrary to the Republican Party Line. Not only does the Republican Party pay for favorable opinion, but it also strives to silence opposing factual analysis. Scientists posting inaccurate data will eventually be peer checked. Remember the cloning in South Korea? Remember cold fusion? The community wanted to believe in both but both failed the test of being able to be duplicated.
SDI, which is another prime example of science used as a political football, Posted by: tbrosz
Actually, I recall reading some years ago that the main scientist critiquing SDI was silenced on grounds of national security and secrecy by Republican governments supporting the program. Posted by: Mike on January 29, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

hello u people need to get your act together.
Mr. Bush is doing a GREAT job being president.
and Mr. Deutsch lets not even go there .
I know him. George still gives me advice on how to build my lego`s and takes me to the movies. I mean lets see if democrats ruled the u.s.a. the country will go to the dogs.
democrats want abortion , gay marriges, and welfare for blacks . Now is that going to get us anywhere. No, I did not think so. Republicans rule! and if you think different you can tell me and i will look you straight in the face and say, Am I supposed to care ?? who`s in the White House now . a Republican!
sincerly ,
a concerned citzen

Posted by: beth on February 1, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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