The Scientific Activist

And the Saga Continues….

I meant to comment on this when I originally read it in the New York Times article on the political suppression by the Bush Administration of former Surgeon General Richard Carmona:

Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said the surgeon general “is the leading voice for the health of all Americans.”

“It’s disappointing to us,” Ms. Lawrimore said, “if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.”

“Yes, it’s your fault, Mr. Surgeon General, that our political interference kept you from doing your job properly.”

The absurdity of this reaction by the Bush Administration is so enormous that there is not really any need to comment on it at length. However, it should be pointed out (as Dr. X. did in the comments of the last post) that the 27-year-old Emily Lawrimore, who was a speech major at Clemson and later an executive assistant to Karl Rove, is probably not all that qualified to advise the Surgeon General on matters of science and health policy.

In fact, this sounds a little too familiar….

“George Deutsch Did Not Graduate from Texas A&M University”

Hmmmm…. Are we seeing a pattern here yet?


Over at The New York Times’ Opinionator column, Tobin Harshaw sums up the response of the blogosphere (including the thoughts of yours truly). Unfortunately, you have to have Times Select access to read the column, but you can get free Select access if you have a university email address.


  1. #1 social atom
    July 12, 2007

    Doesn’t it just get more depressing by the day? Harshaw’s quote of John DiIulio says it all — “everything is being run by the political arm.” Which effectively means the U.S., at the moment, has government by the Republicans for the Republicans and no one else.

    One might also, of course, recall the affair over NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who the White House tried to prevent talking to the press on climate change. At every stage, it seems, reality is to be suppressed in favor of political expediency.

    But it’s not only the White House who takes this view. Take the attacks on Al Gore’s book The Assault on Reason. Many people express a kind of irrational fear that if science gets in control of policy, we’ll all be turned into automatons….or communists perhaps.

  2. #2 Oliver
    July 13, 2007

    I don’t think as much that science should be IN CONTROL of policy. Being awkwardly aware just what information is missing, science is sometimes very slow in decision-making. However, sound policy should always be BASED ON sound science. That, however, would require politicians to talk less and listen more. An art that the Bush administration is awfully inept at.

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