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Tilting at Windmills

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March 29, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE, CONT'D....From the Los Angeles Times this morning:

Following four years of study, senior EPA scientists came to an alarming conclusion....

I hardly need to tell you how this story turns out, do I? We all know how the Bush administration feels about senior EPA scientists and their pansy ass whining about carcinogens and birth defects.

My favorite quote comes from Raymond DuBois, the Defense Department fellow who accidentally admitted why the Pentagon and the White House were fighting the EPA's conclusions about a chemical called TCE: "If you go down two or three levels in EPA, you have an awful lot of people that came onboard during the Clinton administration, to be perfectly blunt about it...."

Click the link if you've already had your coffee this morning. Otherwise you might want to skip it.

Kevin Drum 12:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

CLICK THE LINK. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. The military utterly refutes the propaganda of the liberal "scientists".

Link

"The military says it is only striving to make smart decisions based on sound science and accuses the EPA of being unduly influenced by left-leaning scientists."

"The agencies argued that the EPA had produced junk science, its assumptions were badly flawed and that evidence exonerating TCE was ignored. They argued that the EPA could not be trusted to move ahead on its own and that top leaders in the agency did not have control of their own bureaucracy."

Posted by: Al on March 29, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of having Bush eat yellow cake, perhaps we should insist his appointed administration drink TCE.

Posted by: Hostile on March 29, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Though I admit that all this administration and the GOP in general do seem to be engaging in a war on science, I am very worried about science itself becoming a partisan issue. If science is only taken seriously be one party and the other thinks that science itself is never serious, nothing good will come from it.
I know that the current leaders of the GOP are lost to science, but if we scientists denounce them on partisan lines, we may lose the next generation, too. Is there any way to woo back the Republicans to care about science, and even to respect it when it disagrees with them?

Then again, maybe this lack of concern about science is just a symptom of the lack of concern about effective policy. If policy, as opposed to politics, begins to matter again, perhaps science will matter again, too.

Posted by: LLamura on March 29, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

And hey, Al, if people die from tumors because the DoD is wrong, they were Democrats, right?

Posted by: eponymous coward on March 29, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"If you go down two or three levels in EPA, you have an awful lot of people that came onboard during the Clinton administration, to be perfectly blunt about it...."

Oh no! Actual scientists, interested in actual policy! Heaven help us!

Posted by: craigie on March 29, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

"junk science", like "activist judges" and "state's rights", is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: craigie on March 29, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

CLICK THE LINK. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. The military utterly refutes the propaganda of the liberal "scientists".

By all means, click the link and read the story. Apparently, Al doesn't understand the meaning of the word "refute". "Refute" does not mean to simply say words or to contradict. It means to marshall evidence and argument to disprove a position.


Then, after clicking and reading the article, consider prosecuting Al under the new law against annoying, anonymous internet postings.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 29, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

A bio-molecular-dynamics based simulation of the effect of TCE would suggest that it's the Bush opponents whose arguments are based on science that is somewhat less than rigorous.

It would appear that the liberal scientists' intentionally superficial analyses are generally designed to serve an agenda that is compatible neither with the scientific method nor with the national interest.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 29, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

CLICK THE LINK, ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK.

The scientists utterly demolish the politically-driven "arguements" of the wishful thinking right:

"Following four years of study, senior EPA scientists came to an alarming conclusion: The solvent, trichloroethylene, or TCE, was as much as 40 times more likely to cause cancer than the EPA had previously believed."

(seriously, how much do they pay you. 'cause its too much)

Posted by: brent on March 29, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK
Is there any way to woo back the Republicans to care about science, and even to respect it when it disagrees with them?

I think scientists have been asking themselves this question about corrupt and ignorant authorities since at least the time of Galileo.

The answer probably has something to do with money and power.

Posted by: Windhorse on March 29, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

By all means, click the link and read the story. Apparently, Al doesn't understand the meaning of the word "refute". "Refute" does not mean to simply say words or to contradict. It means to marshall evidence and argument to disprove a position.

Apparently you are unfamiliar with the Republican war on the Dictionary, which is unfairly influenced by liberal word definitions.

To a Republican, "refute" merely means that you really, really believe what you say is right. Evidence and argument, like science, are unnecessary liberal creations that merely obfuscate the truthiness of the issue. (Yes, I have been watching too much Colbert).

Posted by: Monkey on March 29, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Following four years of study, senior EPA scientists came to an alarming conclusion: The solvent, trichloroethylene, or TCE, was as much as 40 times more likely to cause cancer than the EPA had previously believed."

I believe the actual statement, quoted in the article, was "two to 40 times more likely," which shows how tightly it's nailed down. Of course the accurate yet misleading term "as much as" works the "alarming conclusion" angle a lot better, doesn't it?

The idea that the Left never uses science as a political weapon is laughable.

Just wondering: when scientists are wrong, do they have to repay the billions their erroneous conclusions have cost industry and the government?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 29, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think there is a logical argument here for our Al:

The Pentagon fights the terrorists;
TCE is used by the Pentagon;
The scientists hate TCE;
therfore those evil scientists are with the terrorists!

Posted by: robd on March 29, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Just wondering: when scientists are wrong, do they have to repay the billions their erroneous conclusions have cost industry and the government?

They will pay as soon as the GOP and its asslickers pay up the $360B for the Iraq fiasco.

Posted by: nut on March 29, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

"accuses the EPA of being unduly influenced by left-leaning scientists."

Jesus christ.

"A bio-molecular-dynamics based simulation of the effect of TCE would suggest that it's the Bush opponents whose arguments are based on science that is somewhat less than rigorous.

It would appear that the liberal scientists' intentionally superficial analyses are generally designed to serve an agenda that is compatible neither with the scientific method nor with the national interest."

Jesus fucking christ.

Dooooooooooomed this once great nation is.

Posted by: The Tim on March 29, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Just wondering: when scientists are wrong, do they have to repay the billions their erroneous conclusions have cost industry and the government?"

So, are you saying that they're wrong in this case ? Would you be willing to go live near one of those hot-spots and drink the water/shower/let your children live there ? If not, then you're the worst kind of human being - the kind that thinks that suffering from horrible birth defects, genetic diseases, and cancers is something that "other people" do, hence you need not be concerned.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on March 29, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

According to Wikipedia:

"The weak association between trichloroethylene and cancer are responsible for its questionable status: until recent years, the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) contended that it was had little-to-no carcinogenic potential, and was probably a co-carcinogenthat is, it acted in concert with other substances to promote the formation of tumors. More recent analyses indicate low-level evidence of a mutagenic or teratogenic effect; thus, it is known that it promotes the formation of tumors, though the exact pathway is not well-understood. Its long-term safe use as a surgical anesthetic did not lead to an increased incidence of cancer as compared to background levels, indicating that any such effect is most probably extremely low-level. It is current categorized as IARC 2A, analogous to trichloromethanereasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. More information on the carcinogenic potential of organochlorine compounds may be gleaned from the report on carcinogens.

In recent times, there has been a substantial reduction in the production output of trichloroethylene; alternatives for use in metal degreasing abound, chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons being phased out in a large majority of industries due to the potential for irreversible health effects and the legal liability that ensues as a result.

Recent studies have shown a correlation between male fertility and exposure to trichloroethylene. Trichloroethylene has been shown to reduce sperm counts in some cases."

It seems the Pentagon is reasonable to with hold a decision until all the facts are in. Why is that a war on science? Wouldn't jumping to hysterical conclusions by liberals better fit that description?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 29, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

In Ned's defense, I think he would go live near one of those hot-spots. And twenty years later, he'd be flatly denying that he had three ears, eight fingers or helmet-shaped tumors the size of Detroit, even as little children pointed and adults covertly stared.

Posted by: shortstop on March 29, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"So, are you saying that they're wrong in this case ? Would you be willing to go live near one of those hot-spots and drink the water/shower/let your children live there ? If not, then you're the worst kind of human being"

Would you allow your children live or drink from a swamp? Should we spend billions of dollars removing swamps? If not, then you are the worst kind of human being.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz - why don't you link to a publication that has shown a biomolecular dynamics simulation of the effects of TCE so we can debate your statement?

Posted by: James G on March 29, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think the pornification of science can be found in both parties.

"We will do stem cell research, he vowed. "We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases. America just lost a great champion for this cause in Christopher Reeve. People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again with stem cell research."

- John Edwards during the 2004 campaign

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on March 29, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I can google too. TCE sounds nasty.

http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ohb/HESIS/tce.htm

The story is really about the Pent being able to bring political pressure to bear on the EPA to bury its findings. This is probably finacial more then idealogical. They don't wanna cleanup 1000s of sites. Under the current admin, they can ignore the EPA findings and spinning the report as liberal science is SOP.

Kevin's headline, OTOH, is reactionary at best. But he's been sick lately so he's grummpy.

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on March 29, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

First point: it amazes me that political appointees of the Bush administration will do their best to undermine science that shows that people are or may be being harmed by toxic substances as a result of government or corporate action. These people are appointed to be our representatives, and what they do is unconscionable.

Second: whenever you have a post on science, right-wingers always come out of the woodwork to dig up various links to dubious "articles", "reports" or likewise showing that the science that is generally accepted by the mainstream is absolutely wrong. In truth these guys don't understand this themselves, and don't care. They're intention is to muddy the water, to give some kind of credence to their argument despite the clear weight of evidence and authority. Don't listen to them. It's just a ruse.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on March 29, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

BlaBlaBla, the difference there is that Jonathan Edwards was supporting science, while the Republicans are actively opposing it. This isn't an equal opportunity issue-- it's one unique to Republicans, mostly because science has consistently come down on the side of facts including evolution, health consequences of toxic chemicals, and problems related to pollution.

It's no coincidence that the two top Republicans are people involved in the oil industry, a field that involves only the physical extraction of a natural resource rather than research and development into new technologies.

Posted by: Constantine on March 29, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

These same lefties are bringing back "wetlands" to our cities. What is the highest estimate of deaths from TCE? What is the lowest estimate of deaths from malaria and West Nile disease?
My aunt owned land in the McClellan Field TCE plume. The Air Force paid to pipe in city water. The only sign of ill effects might be that much of the plume is under Rio Linda, and all you Rush fans know about Rio Linda, don't you?
Those cited scientists are outright political hacks who have abandoned scientific method for the greater rewards of Sunday Supplement publication.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on March 29, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

OhmiGod, Freedom Fighter thinks Wikipedia is a citable source and may be used to refute the EPA scientists!

Un-frigging-believable.

Posted by: Tripp on March 29, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I actually have some personal experience with one of the contaminated sites mentioned in the article, the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, generally referred to as the Arsenal or TCAAP. I cannot even begin to describe what a drag this site places on the surrounding community. According to the article, the TCE plume at this plant covers 25 square miles. The plant itself is only about 2400 acres. 25 square miles is over 1,000,000 acres.

Actually, I'd never even heard of TCE before. I guess it's just one thing among many which form the toxic stew at the site. PCBs, organic solvents, and neurotoxic metals like lead and cadmium are among the more well known pollutants there.

There have been 20+ years of effort put into cleaning up TCAAP and formulating a redevelopment plan for the area. It's a 2400 acre hole in the middle of a fully built out suburb, so people would really like to find something to do with it. A lot of the site is likely to end up designated as open space or parkland. That sounds nice, but those are the parts of the site least habitable for ongoing human habitation.

Posted by: joe bob on March 29, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

"the difference there is that Jonathan Edwards was supporting science,"

Whatever dude, sounds to me like he was making promises in the abscence of science to secure a few votes. The fact that you would even try and defend that nonsensical statement says it all.

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on March 29, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think the appeal for a "biomolecular dynamics simulation" is a high-fallutin' invocation of the argument that TCE-carcinongen-skeptics have developed. In layman's terms (and i'm a layman, so if anybody with ACTUAL detailed knowledge of the subejct wants to correct me, jump in) says that the research linking TCE to cancer development in laboratory animals is all suspect because those animals develop cancer differently than humans do. They may have a point, although the TCE-critics seem to have an answer to it. But the broader point is that there's uncertainty surrounding all of this stuff, and the question is whose judgement should we believe when it comes to gauging the risks? Scientists employed by the EPA, or those employed by the entities that the EPA is supposed to regulate?

I surmise that the research about these things falls generally into two camps: epidemiological research that can spot broad patterns but can't tell you about specific pathways; and toxicology research that can delineate specific pathways but only in the animal species that are studied. The toxicology research tries to focus on species whose biological systems are very similar to ours, e.g. mice, but it's never identical.

So like any science, environmental health research always contains uncertainty. Drawing prudent conclusions from it takes an understanding of that uncertainty, and judgement about what kind of risks are prudent to take. That gray area leaves plenty of room for valid argument, but also creates opportunities to (a) muddy the waters about the scientific uncertainty, and (b) sneak partisan, interested judgements into the equation under the cloak of scientific disagreement.

And THAT's why, when it comes to interpreting the science, many of us tend to rely more on professional EPA scientists than, say, scientists who are employed by polluters, chemical manufacturers, and large monied organizations faced with billions of dollars in potential clean-up liability.

Posted by: TW on March 29, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever dude,

Brilliant riposte! Wow, you really destroyed his argument there! No wonder everything is going so well, with thinkers like this in line behind the administration!

Posted by: craigie on March 29, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

TCE is complex.

Toxicology in lab animals shows it is carcinogenic. That means, crudely speaking, that there is roughly a 60% probability that it is carcinogenic in humans. However, there is a long history of concentrated use of TCE both as an anaesthetic and for industrial cleaning. That long history of use has not resulted in the kind of epidemiological evidence that would suggest that TCE should be near the top of our list of substances to worry about.

Another point. EPA science is not pure science. EPA operates under several mandates that bend science. First, its statutory base does not allow for any balance between costs and benefits. That is, remedial action, no matter how expensive must be taken to avoid any harm. Second, EPA does not recognize threshold exposures. That is, if a lot of a substance is very harmful, EPA assumes that vanishingly small amounts of the substance cause harm. Sometimes this is true and the dose/harm relationship is linear. Sometimes it is not and very small doses cause no harm at all.

EPA positions on toleration of injury and on threshold dose are arguably the one that we should want them to take. We should not, however, confuse them with science. They are not. They are political judgments.

Posted by: urspond on March 29, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"OhmiGod, Freedom Fighter thinks Wikipedia is a citable source and may be used to refute the EPA scientists!"

Don't you mean the LA Times instead of EPA scientists? I didn't see a single quote from an EPA scientist in the article. Sorry, but as far as credibility goes, the LA Times is only slightly above the NY Times.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 29, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

From the Wikipedia article cited by Freedom Fighter:

Recent studies have shown a correlation
between male fertility and exposure to
trichloroethylene. Trichloroethylene has been
shown to reduce sperm counts in some cases.

Posted by: batavicus on March 29, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Trichloroethylene has unusual regulatory effects on the IFP vimentim, which has been linked to fetal heart and brain development (as far as I know, its precise role is unknown, and it should be noted that knockout mice lacking the vim gene show no major developmentary abnormalities) and the immunoinflammatory response. Since vimentim expression is upregulated by TNF-alpha, there's a solid case for worrying that TCE may have teratogenic properties and may be linked to weak cancer response in the immune system.

Furthermore, the major and minor metabolites of TCE (trichloroacetic acid and dichloroacetic acid, respectively) are peroxisome proliferators; mice dosed with TCAA and DCAA consistently show significant increases in hepatocellular carcinomas. There are specific biological reasons why this does not directly map onto humans (and why what causes cancer in mice may not do so in humans), but any significant increase in PPAR-alpha-linked carcinogenic activity is nonetheless cause for concern, though by no means for panic.

Without reviewing the literature, I'm not qualified to discuss the merits and demerits of the particular models. It is clear that, while there are serious biomolecular reasons to worry about TCE exposure, its risks must be assessed relative to other environmental factors. For example, the clonal capabilities of TCAA and DCAA suggest that any tumor-promoting effects of TCE will be dependent upon background tumor incidence, which also means that we cannot map directly from a mouse model to humans.

Posted by: WatchfulBabbler on March 29, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Administration admits incompetence! Five years on, and they've only managed to purge scientists out of the top few tiers of the EPA.

Posted by: Anon on March 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Word up to fake tbrosz on this thread. He came very close to the actual post by the true tbrosz a little bit later. Fake tbrosz is really getting to be quite good- or is the real tbrosz just beginning to demonstrate how out of touch with reality he is... hard to know anymore.

Posted by: lurker on March 29, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

It seems the Pentagon is reasonable to with hold a decision until all the facts are in.

All the facts are never in.
Therefore, it is reasonable to never take any precautions or evince any concern for dangers.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 29, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK
tbrosz: Just wondering: when scientists are wrong, do they have to repay the billions their erroneous conclusions have cost industry and the government?

nut: They will pay as soon as the GOP and its asslickers pay up the $360B for the Iraq fiasco.

Abosolutely beautiful, nut. Thought it bore repeating.

Also: TCE is not just for cancer anymore. From the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease:

How can trichloroethylene affect my health?

Breathing small amounts may cause headaches, lung irritation, dizziness, poor coordination, and difficulty concentrating.

Breathing large amounts of trichloroethylene may cause impaired heart function, unconsciousness, and death. Breathing it for long periods may cause nerve, kidney, and liver damage.

Drinking large amounts of trichloroethylene may cause nausea, liver damage, unconsciousness, impaired heart function, or death.

Drinking small amounts of trichloroethylene for long periods may cause liver and kidney damage, impaired immune system function, and impaired fetal development in pregnant women, although the extent of some of these effects is not yet clear.

Skin contact with trichloroethylene for short periods may cause skin rashes

How might I be exposed to trichloroethylene?

Breathing air in and around the home which has been contaminated with trichloroethylene vapors from shower water or household products such as spot removers and typewriter correction fluid.

Drinking, swimming, or showering in water that has been contaminated with trichloroethylene.

Contact with soil contaminated with trichloroethylene, such as near a hazardous waste site.

Contact with the skin or breathing contaminated air while manufacturing trichloroethylene or using it at work to wash paint or grease from skin or equipment.

But I suppose when there's future GDP on the line, it's irrelevant to argue about whether your child died from a mere "two times" risk or a liberal and very unlikely "forty times" risk.

After all, the gods of mammon require sacrifice.

Posted by: Windhorse on March 29, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Urspond has it exactly right- EPA makes certain baseline assumptions that are explicitly not scientific- they are policy decisions, imposed by statute and regulation, not be science. This is something that press reports simply can't understand.

TCE is a very volatile chemical- that is, on exposure to air, it evaporates quickly and completely.

If EPA finds that an underground acquifer is contaminated with TCE, it requires that acquifer to be cleaned. How is that done? By pumping out the water and "air-stripping" it - that is, by exposing the water to air, thus putting the TCE into the atmosphere. If you think this sounds like the Cat-in-the-Hat, you're right.

Plus, the entire acquifer must be cleaned, even though most of the water will never be used for drinking and most of it will stay underground for ever.

But TCE is heavier than water, which means when it goes into the ground it sinks. Globs of it sit at the bottom of an acquifer, dozens or hundreds of feet underground, where it slowly dissolves over decades or hundreds of years. There is no way to locate it and no way to pump it out. So all you can do is pump the contaminated water and air strip it. And as the contaminated water slowly moves underground, it creates a "plume," with more highly contaminated water at the center and a much larger volume of less highly contaminated water on the fringes.

The reasonable solution would be to airstrip only the water that is going to be used for drinking. As long as the contaminated water stays underground, it does no harm to humans or animals. But EPA regulations don't allow for that. If the acquifer is contaminated, then it must be cleaned up- no matter how many hundreds of millions of dollars that takes. The level of cleanup is determined by the concentration that is deemed safe to drink- even though no one will ever drink the huge majority of the water that is in the acquifer. So the responsible party has to dig dozens of monitoring wells to locate the outskirts of the plume, and then pump and treat the water until the safe levels are met. If the safe levels are not met, then the pump and treat goes on forever.

This is why the DoD is hysterical about a change from 5 ppb (parts per billion) to 1 ppb - the increase in cost will be, not just five-fold, but perhaps a hundred-fold. What is now a ridiculous waste of funds now will become a genuine drag on the economy.

That doesn't mean that TCE is not a carcinogen at 1 ppb. It does mean that because of the rigidity of EPA regulations, a finding that TCE is a carcinogen at 1 ppb has disasterous economic effects. The DoD is fighting the dispute on the wrong battlefield, but that's the only one that it's got.

Posted by: JR on March 29, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

The correct way to phrase this discussion is the Republican War on Democrat Green Dogma masquerading as Science. I never fail to point out to working-class America just how deeply and cruelly the shrill catch-all precepts of micro-environmentalism impact their lives, and particularly destroy the livings of those involved in agriculture and resource extraction.

I have to go to a real political event tonight or I would really go of on this subject, but I will caution Dems: if you think the backlash against your most extreme exagerrations, distortions, and lies arrived in 1994 and you have weathered it, dream on. I am going to bring you a backlash that will leave junk micro-chemist fearmongerers wondering why they ever could ruin the lives of working class Americans with impunity.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 29, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile , could you plesae run a lab test on the yellow cake to determine if the yellow in the cake is the same as the yellow in the snow ?

Posted by: JOHN DOEBOY on March 29, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

I am going to bring you a backlash that will leave junk micro-chemist fearmongerers wondering why they ever could ruin the lives of working class Americans with impunity.

Whoa, who's writing that over-the-top dialogue for you big guy? Wait a second, I recognize that... you took that line straight from the "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers," didn't you?!? Hey, which supervillain do you like to pretend to be -- the lady pirate Divatox or sexy sorceress Rita Repulsa?

I've got you pegged for a lady pirate guy myself, but I think you'd also make a good evil princess Astronema with those lines.

I'll bet you bug your kids to let you watch it with them and even they're embarrassed to have you around. Maybe if you ditched the constant awkward dance-karate moves, old motorcycle helmet, and obscenely revealing spandex bodysuit from your baton twirling days (oy) you'd get a little pity.

Remember, when you get back from your "real political even't" -- it's Morphin' Time!

Posted by: trex on March 29, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Magnificent, trex.

Posted by: shortstop on March 30, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

The idea that the Left never uses science as a political weapon is laughable.

I nominate this entry for the tbrosz straw man Hall of Fame.

The difference, of course, is that when "the Left" "uses science as a political weapon," science is on their side.

Just wondering: when scientists are wrong, do they have to repay the billions their erroneous conclusions have cost industry and the government?

Just wondering, tbrosz, do you have an actual example here, or are you just bloviating to mask your inability to defend the Bush Administration's behavior on the merits? Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on March 30, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory sez: The difference is when "the left" uses science as a political weapon the science is on their side.

Actually, Gregory, that is the precise point of contention. I really, truly believe that the science is not on your side. The only thing that is on your side is that for 40 years now the scientific establishment has been incestuously grinding out green zealots with credentials in science, who through the power of mass suggestion have promoted the extreme idea that there is no safe minimum level of anything that is deleterious to health in massive amounts and that of all of the dozen major possible causes of global warming, only the "humans do it" theory is valid or matters.

When I rub the magic lamp, I wish the genie would give me three big wishes:

1) That Democrats and other leftists really were as smart as they think they are re global warming.

2) That Democrats really believed in democracy. I see so many danger signs nationally and internationally which indicate that leftist elites intrinsically distrust the messy and inefficient workings of democracy and seek by any means possible to replace the rule of the people with the rule of the empowered experts.

3) That the U.N. policies on Iran's nuclear program actually accomplish something good.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 30, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

1) That Democrats and other leftists really were as smart as they think they are re global warming.

Really whackball assumptions there. First, that only Democrats and leftists are concerned by global warming. Second, that you do. (You provide nothing but snark as evidence.)

2) That Democrats really believed in democracy. I see so many danger signs nationally and internationally which indicate that leftist elites intrinsically distrust the messy and inefficient workings of democracy and seek by any means possible to replace the rule of the people with the rule of the empowered experts.

I suspect this is an example of "accuse your opponent of your behavior". Neo-con thinking is founded upon the anti-democratic thinking of Herbert Marcuse and Leo Strauss. We're in Iraq because neo-cons think they know more about what people need than anyone else.

3) That the U.N. policies on Iran's nuclear program actually accomplish something good.

Simply snark. What do you propose instead? Nuking Iran to glass? That would be wisdom from heaven, yar.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 30, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Would you allow your children live or drink from a swamp? Should we spend billions of dollars removing swamps? If not, then you are the worst kind of human being."

Can you even read ? We're not talking about drinking from swamps in uninhabited areas, we're talking about the water supply of populated areas that are near industrial/military sites. If carcinogens (even low-level carcinogens) are knowingly being introduced into the water supply of a populated area, then that should qualify as a serious crime.

And for all of the ignorant trolls like yourself - the big issue is not one single carcinogen. It is the combination of many different kinds of carcinogens during our life that is causing all of the various cancers. We're exposed to them every day in some form or another, and some more than others.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on March 30, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with exaggerated environmentalism is that the alleged consequences are always so horrible that they justify the hysterical classes to have near-absolute control over the lives of everyone else. You may believe that it is the combination of many different kinds of carcinogens during our lives that is causing all the various cancers. That is an extremely vague type of idea to prove and I distrust your definition of what might or might not be a "carcinogen" to start with.

Most of the various cancers are probably appearing because the rising standard of living in the thoroughly modernized world means that a lot more people are now living long enough to die of cancer. I've always been fascinated by Mt. Shasta in Northern California, where the natural level of airborne asbestos dust is extremely high, or the long running statistical argument over whether natural radon gas in your basement shortens your life or actually makes you live longer. I worked in asbestos construction in the bad old days and certainly inhaled at least ten thousand times the recommended level. Although I've never smoked, for years I had to work in extremely heavy second hand smoke environments.

That is one of the fundamental principles of homeopathy--that very tiny amounts of almost anything are good for you. This is one way of saying that our bodies are so marvelously constructed that a little of almost anything can be put to one good use. Our immune systems love to glom onto a new pathogen and keep it stored in an amazing living reference library.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 30, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

"The problem with exaggerated environmentalism is that the alleged consequences are always so horrible that they justify the hysterical classes to have near-absolute control over the lives of everyone else. You may believe that it is the combination of many different kinds of carcinogens during our lives that is causing all the various cancers. That is an extremely vague type of idea to prove and I distrust your definition of what might or might not be a "carcinogen" to start with."

Are you saying that you don't think that I understand what the word carcinogen means ? You don't know me from Adam, so I suggest you take a pass on the insults. As for multiple carcinogens, try this link for starters:

http://www.pbs.org/tradesecrets/problem/bodyburden.html

Are you suggesting that these types of carcinogens/toxic substances in our bodies are natural and completely harmless ? If so, then why do so many scientists and doctors disagree with you and constantly sound the alarm over exposure to these substances ?

"Most of the various cancers are probably appearing because the rising standard of living in the thoroughly modernized world means that a lot more people are now living long enough to die of cancer."

That's bullshit, and you know it.

"I've always been fascinated by Mt. Shasta in Northern California, where the natural level of airborne asbestos dust is extremely high, or the long running statistical argument over whether natural radon gas in your basement shortens your life or actually makes you live longer. I worked in asbestos construction in the bad old days and certainly inhaled at least ten thousand times the recommended level. Although I've never smoked, for years I had to work in extremely heavy second hand smoke environments."

So what ? There are people that smoke 3 packs a day all of their lives and never get cancer. That doesn't change the fact that millions of people that smoke increase their chances of getting lung cancer quite a bit, and many will die from lung cancer specifically because of their smoking habit. My God man, you sound like you think it's a good idea to eat mercury-laden fish, because somewhere there's a person that once ate such a thing and didn't die. Nobody is arguing that there are anomalies in determining what effect certain substances have on our bodies. We all have different genetic histories. But, that doesn't change the fact that we can most certainly detect and determine trends in terms of what certain substances do to humans when they are introduced into their bodies.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on March 31, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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