on Science) In
case you haven’t noticed (and why would you?), the USA is without a
Surgeon General. The old one, Dr. Richard
Carmona, unhired himself for unclear reasons last July, as noted
on Effect Measure. The
candidate for the position, Dr. James
Holsinger, has proven to be unpopular
with the Democratically-controlled Congress that must approve him.
He’s unpopular here at ScienceBlogs, too. I was going to
write a disparaging post about him, but Ed
Brayton and Revere
beat me to it. As did Pam’s
House Blend, The
To Action, One Nation
Under Blog, Crooks
and Liars, and Daily
Kos (among others). Sparkgrass
Community apparently was willing to suspend judgment.
I was not able to find any blog with something overtly
positive to say about the guy, although, honestly, I did not look very
hard. Interestingly, he’s also been criticized by conservative groups.
Anyway, the point is, what I really want to say is, that the former
S.G., Richard Carmona, announce in Senate hearings that he was
“muzzled” by the Bush Administration (and we have the video to prove he
(Reuters) Jul 10 – The first U.S. surgeon
general appointed by President George W. Bush accused his
administration on Tuesday of political interference and muzzling him on
key issues like embryonic stem cell research.
“Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological,
theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply
buried,” Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation’s top doctor
from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives panel.
“The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a
democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or
marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing
political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the
nation, not the doctor of a political party,” Carmona added.
Carmona said Bush administration political appointees censored his
speeches and kept him from talking out publicly about certain issues.
He mentioned political interference preventing him from discussing the
science on embryonic stem cell research, contraceptives and his
misgivings about the administration’s embrace of “abstinence-only” sex
Carmona’s comments came two days before a Senate committee is due to
hold a hearing on Bush’s nomination of Dr. James Holsinger, who faces
Democratic criticism, as his successor. The administration allowed
Carmona to finish his term as surgeon general last year without a
replacement in place.
Here is one of them:
Pretty damning stuff, as Henry
Waxman notes. Now, the question: who would want to take that job,
knowing what the former officeholder said about it?