Mike the Mad Biologist

And you thought the War on Science was over. Bush appointee Kathie Olsen, who was the deputy director of NSF, and who couldn’t give a straight answer to Senator John McCain when asked about human influences on global warming, might have been “burrowed” into the NSF:

How was Olsen permitted to slip inside the NSF bureaucracy after playing such a front-and-center role in the Bush administration’s politicization of science? We’re looking into whether her case fits the technical definition of “burrowing” — and what the Obama team can do about it — but suffice to say that her survival hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“This internal NSF personnel action raises serious questions concerning whether a high-level Bush White House science appointee is trying to ‘burrow in’ at the agency,” said a senior congressional investigator with knowledge of NSF. “Usually when a director or deputy director vacates their post, they are not given a non-competitive, SES-level job at the same agency. This merits scrutiny.”

We have a call into the NSF to confirm whether the new “senior advisor” post announced last week is senior enough to ensure that Olsen could not be reassigned for several months.

Late Update: An NSF spokeswoman confirms that Olsen has reinstatement rights as a member of the Senior Executive Service, or SES. This could mean that civil-service rules preclude anyone in the Obama administration from acting on the matter. We’ll keep you posted.

There is no rest for the wicked…or the righteous.

The War goes on…


  1. #1 caerbannog
    January 26, 2009

    The NSF folks should give Olsen the “Milton” treatment as portrayed in the movie “Office Space”. And as long as she doesn’t have access to matches or cigarette-lighters, she won’t be able to do much more damage.

  2. #2 James F
    January 26, 2009

    And make sure she has a stapler. The Swingline stapler, not the Boston stapler. It doesn’t bind up as much.

  3. #3 DashRIPROCK III
    January 26, 2009

    Ahhhh the sin of not believing in global warming. There must be punishment. There is no other way. Here are a few other people you can punish when you’re finished with Kathie Olsen.


  4. #4 Wasting Time
    January 29, 2009

    If you’ve ever met her or heard her speak, you’d know that she is almost as incoherent as Sarah Palin. So it could be that she couldn’t give a straight answer on global warming because she simply can’t speak in public. I once saw her give a short talk at a celebration of the USGS centennial. The other guest was Steve Roberts (husband of Cokie), who is a charming speaker. I felt terrible for her … she just cannot speak coherently and smoothly.

  5. #5 hodobax
    June 6, 2009

    And as long as she doesn’t have access to matches or cigarette-lighters, she won’t be able to do much more damage.

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    August 22, 2009

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