The Republican War on Science

The Hook reports:

In papers sent to UVA April 23, [Virginia Attorney General] Cuccinelli's office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann's receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann-- now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State-- was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

Cuccinelli isn't just asking for documents relating to his research grants but all correspondence Mann had with Caspar Ammann, Raymond Bradley, Keith Briffa, John Christy, Edward Cook, Thomas Crowley, Roseanne D'Arrigo, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, David Douglass, Jan Esper, Melissa Free, Chris de Freitas, Vincent Grey [sic], James Hack, Malcolm Hughes, Eystein Jansen, Phil Jones, Thomas Karl, Otto Kinne, A.T.J de Laat, Murari Lal, Stephen Mackwell, Glenn McGregor, Stephen McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Patrick Michaels, Jonathan Overpeck, Tim Osborn, Roger Pielke Jr, Benjamin Santer, Gavin Schmidt, Stephen Schneider, Olga Solomina, Susan Solomon, Kevin Trenberth, Eugene Wahl, Edward Wegman, Thomas Wigley, Vincent Gray [again!] and all RAs, secretaries, and administrative staff at the University of Virginia. As well as all correspondence that references anyone in the list above.

Eli Rabett picks up comments from Chip Knappenberger, who is appalled, and S Fred Singer who is gloating. See also Coby Beck.

Update: To his credit, Steve McIntyre separates himself from Anthony Watts with a forthright condemnation of Cuccinelli. Commenters at Climate Audit seem disappointed.

Update 2: Tom Fuller comes up with some, err, interesting spin:

while skeptics and lukewarmers are defending Mann, those on his side seem ready and willing to throw him under the bus

You see, Mann hasn't posted about the matter on RealClimate, so obviously Mann must be throwing Mann under the bus. Fuller pretends that I'm the only one on Mann's side posting in his defence even though this post links to posts from Eli Rabett and Coby Beck. Fuller also missed posts from PZ Myers, Mike the Mad Biologist, Chris Mooney, Thers, Ben Hale, Steve Benen, Phil Plait and Ed Darrell.

Fuller also seems to have missed this, from Climate Change Fraud (listed on his his own blog roll as a skeptic blog)

I applaud Ken Cuccinelli's efforts to figure out whether Michael Mann is what he seems to be, a criminal and a witch that has to be hunted down, and I hope that eventually "bigger fish" will be investigated, too.

And James Delingpole

This blog's hero of the week is Ken Cuccinelli.

Nor can his own post be considered a defence of Mann since he also accuses Mann of being involved in "perhaps the biggest scientific hoax since Piltdown Man".

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Impeach Cuccinelli. Impeach him now (to steal Brad DeLong's phrase). Earlier this week, I discussed Virginia Attorney General Cucinelli's subpoena envy harassment of climatologist Michael Mann. ScienceBlogling Tim Lambert describes what this fishing expedition entails: Cuccinelli isn't just…
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Do something, Virginia. Your attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, is on an absurd crusade against Michael Mann and the University of Virginia. His previous attempt to defame Mann with accusations of fraud was recently shot down in the courts, but now he has thrown another pile of accusations at him,…
The sorry saga continues... WASHINGTON (October 21, 2010) - Yesterday, the University of Virginia made two court filings in its fight against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's politically motivated investigation of climate scientist Michael Mann. In its most strongly-worded court filing to…

Now I'm feeling slighted. I've had a couple of beers with Mann, so where's the subpoena? And I wasn't cited in climategate either. I'm beginning to think I've been a bit too conciliatory.

William Hyde

By William Hyde (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

Wow, a half million dollars in six years. That's almost enough to pay salaries for two grad students and a post-doc. Almost.

I wonder if Cuccinelli had a Doctor Evil pose going on when he intoned, "HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!"

> UVA spokesperson Carol Wood says the school will fulfill its legal obligation, noting that the scope of the documents requested mean it could take some time.

And so once more, the administrators of yet another university reveal themselves to be a bunch of spineless pen-pushers all to eager to kowtow to thugs.

Who is going to review the documents and to what purpose? Will the AG get legislative approval to pay climatologists to review all said documents for any sort of hanky-panky related to cooking the data to make a false case for AGW? And who will reimburse the state university for complying - ahhh the taxpayers will swallow the cost!

What a dumbass.

I dunno about legal junk, but it seems crazy to make schools do policing work, especially lacking cause. Or perhaps the AG has legal cause, but it would be nice to see that laid out/argued. I suspect it would be laughed out of a proper court.

simply insane. and all while the oil is spilling...

by chance, "half a million dollars" seems to be the sum, that BP didn t want to spend on an extra safety mechanism.

if it wasn t so sad, it would be pretty funny...

While it won't be a pleasant experience for Dr. Mann or any of his associates, on the bright side Fred Singer has definitively outed himself as, at best, a credulous twit with no connection to a widely documented reality.

Prof. Curry should note well what happens next.

He's probably going to spend more than that $1/2 M prosecuting his case. After sucking the department budget dry forcing them to comply.

By GrayGaffer (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

This is the same Cuccinelli who tried to bully Virginia universities into dropping GLBT from their diversity and equal opportunity statements. (I am happy to report that the Faculty Senate at my university approved a resolution telling him to go stuff it.) Another recent Cuccinelli move: he distributed state seal lapel pins to his staffers with an overlay of chest armor on the bosom of the figure of Virtue in order to cover up--gasp!--a naked breast. You can read about it "Cover that boob! The Cooch pulls an Ashcroft" http://blogs.roanoke.com/rtblogs/dancasey/2010/05/01/cover-that-boob-th… .

It's all a moot point now.

In 2008 using a cost of coal of $40/ton the CBO concluded that for nuclear power to be cost competitive a $45/ton carbon tax would need to be imposed.

In April of this year the Japanese entered in a long term coal contract with Australia for steam coal at $98/ton.
http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/4075658

Nuclear is now cheaper then coal. No carbon tax is needed. No global 'environmental treaty' is needed.

Market forces have made 'fossil fuels' more expensive then alternatives.

Breaking news...free markets save world.

By Soldier's Dad (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

What are the legal grounds for this? Isn't there something about unreasonable search and seizure in the US constitution?

But given the precedent, if it really is legal, I think John Mashey and Deep Climate's investigations have shown sufficient evidence of likely malfeasance among some others who have university associations, can we get a few attorney's general in sympathetic states to initiate document requests of this sort on the other side?

Can we stop calling it The Republican War on Science and start calling it The Republican War on Reality?

Since really, their issue doesn't seem to lie with Teh Science but with the need to maintain their own delusions.

re: #3 Frank
This may or may not be true, but you are jumping the gun on this one.
They *have* to say something like this upfront, among other things because lawyers rarely respond instantly.

My take is that:
1) VA is heavily subsidized by many other states, including he one I live in.

2) Hence, if VA is going to waste money like this, and harass scientists like this, it's time to zero Federal funding of science in VA. Good scientists can take their grants elsewhere... if Cuccinelli puts up a big sign saying "Scientists unwelcome here."

[Now, this is unfair to VA, and isn't going to happen ... but it might be a good idea to make people understand the consequences of electing somebody like this.]

A few years back, Florida was spending BIG $$$ attracting a branch of Scripps to do biomedical research. Meanwhile, a bunch of folks were agitating for the usual "teach ID alongside evolution in schools." Then it occurred to people that changing FL law to do that might not really encourage top biosciences people to relocate there...

By John Mashey (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

Frank #3

And so once more, the administrators of yet another university reveal themselves to be a bunch of spineless pen-pushers all to eager to kowtow to thugs.

The administrators have no choice. The Attorney General has demanded documentation which he could subpoena if he felt it necessary. Nothing spineless about obeying a demand from a guy who could get people put in jail if they don't do what he wants.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

When nothing is found, I predict we will here the phrase "activist judges" a lot.

"Market forces have made 'fossil fuels' more expensive then alternatives.

Breaking news...free markets save world."

lol....there is nothing the free market fairy can't do!

Man, glad I don't live in Virginia anymore. Too bad, since after the outcome of the presidential election, I thought that Virginians came to their senses. I can't believe that the citizens of the state are just sitting back watching their tax dollars get wasted on a fishing expedition.

Can anyone help with the legalities? We have a state AG who *demands* material from an educational institution.

What happens if that institution says "No, we don't think you have the right to do that", or simply ignores the demand?

Is there a power in the state that can be appealed to to overrule the AG, or at least to question the action? Where do the USA's famous "checks and balances" kick in, or is that applicable only to the federal government?

What does it take to get an AG dismissed on grounds of malice, incompetence, or political bias?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

Truesceptic, I think the "checks and balances" comes in when a trial is held with whatever they find.

#14 Tree: War on reality is right. Has anyone else checked out [AMSU-A](http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/) lately? Follow the [steps I outline on my blog](http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2010/04/warmest-year.html) and you will see for the first 4 months of the year, temperatures have broken away from the previous records (back to 1999; AMSU-A starts 2nd half 1998) decisively. For the first 4 months, I calculate a trend of 5.8°C per century, an increase of nearly 0.3°C over the previous high. Interesting to see if this persists through the year, particularly as the major natural short-term drivers should put us at relatively low temperatures (we should still be in the cooling phase of ENSO for a while, and the solar cycle has barely moved off an unusually deep low).

I know how this ends.

Singer is captured. His mask is torn off to reveal he's ...

OLD MAN PIERS AKERMAN FROM THE MILL!!

By Ezzthetic (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

Pat Michaels gets a mention, being a Virginian, but I can't imagine why he would have communicated with Mann.

[Soldier's Dad](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/the_republican_war_on_science.p…).

I think that you might be holding on to your gun a little too tightly. Are you claiming that, over the same "long term" to which you refer, the cost of nuclear energy will remain lower in the "free market" than the equivalent energy from "$90/ton" coal?

If so, upon what evidence is such a claim based?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

I hope UVA keeps an accurate and very public running tally of how much taxpayer money is being spent on this witchhunt.

That ought to get people wondering eventually.

El Gordo: Mann and Michaels were in the same department at UVa. At some point Eli wished for the minutes of the faculty meetings, however, at a guess, Cuccinelli has or can get Michaels' records of what happened, and try and trap UVa in not providing complete information. Eli doubts that the University will fall into that trap.

"Now I'm feeling slighted. I've had a couple of beers with Mann, so where's the subpoena? And I wasn't cited in climategate either. I'm beginning to think I've been a bit too conciliatory.

William Hyde"

Maybe nobody bothers because Hyde is declining.

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

'Tis Himself, OM:

> The Attorney General has demanded documentation which he could subpoena if he felt it necessary. Nothing spineless about obeying a demand from a guy who could get people put in jail if they don't do what he wants.

The university administration could still force him to get a subpoena, properly signed by a judge, instead of simply agreeing to give him anything he wants just because he "could" possibly get a subpoena. Why didn't they?

* * *

John Mashey:

> They have to say something like this upfront, among other things because lawyers rarely respond instantly.

Well, if so I wonder why the UVa spokesperson didn't simply say 'our lawyers are looking into the legality of this demand', instead preferring to speak in coded messages. But if that's what's happening (and I hope it is), then it's not so bad.

Trying to stonewall the AG would not be a smart strategy. It would just play into the hands of the denialists, who are of course convinced that Mann must be hiding something that the previous 3 investigations didn't uncover.

What I would like to see is some high caliber scientific organizations (including, preferably, the NAS) issue statements denouncing this behavior as a serious threat to the independence and objectivity of university researchers. Cuccinelli has effectively announced that his office is willing to persecute any scientist who publishes conclusions that offend his ideology, no matter how long ago it was or how many times it's been reproduced. The only pretext he needs apparently is for the state to have given a scientist a smidgen of grant money (in this case, barely enough to pay a full professor's salary). That includes just about every university researcher.

*I* don't know what's really going on, and if I did,. I'm sure I couldn't say. I'm just observing that the old military maxim applies:

"The first report from the front is always wrong."

By John Mashey (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

Steve Reuland:

> Trying to stonewall the AG would not be a smart strategy. It would just play into the hands of the denialists, who are of course convinced that Mann must be hiding something that the previous 3 investigations didn't uncover.

Forget the denialists, they'll complain no matter what. If the university would force the AG to get a proper subpoena, perhaps the judge who's to issue the subpoena can get it thrown out, or at least narrow its scope appropriately. And, in the process, save a lot of taxpayer money that might have been wasted on this witch-hunt. How can this not a smart strategy?

* * *

John Mashey:

> "The first report from the front is always wrong."

Hah.

Hopefully this will backfire on them. Apparently, Republicans haven't learned from their scandal over federal prosecuters being politically motivated. Wasn't that less than two years ago? Bring it to the attention of the public in Virginia.

I think the University should resist with all the legal mechanisms it can command. It cannot be short a few good lawyers.

half million or five hundred thousand?

I make that £54,000 per year in English money.

Run for the hills.
It's darn right ridiculous that a professional should get so much money!

If only all research were that cheap.

How long does it take for the A-G from Virginia to chew through $0.5m? (My guess, if we restrict it to himself, his office and drivers etc - and exclude the A-G department, would be about 3 months. If we include his department maybe a week or so?)

Actually, this is probably worse than McIntyre's farce at trying to undermine the CRU.

One wouldn't be surprised by a bunch of internet nutters and amateur climate conspiracy theorists to hack an underfunded college unit in an attempt to waste time.

But for a government law official to also waste a colleges time and resources takes the whole issue into new realms of political extremism.

Can anyone tell me just Cuccinelli is going after Mann. Is Cuccinelli a noted denialist and why now?

Can anyone tell me just why Cuccinelli is going after Mann. Is Cuccinelli a noted denialist and why now?

32 Steve,

I disagree. Simply caving in immediately means that further attacks are more likely. Making Cuccinelli justify the action can only expose his motives for all to see.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Have the deniers been emboldened by the enquiries after the CRU hack? I.e. do they now see investigations into the work of climate scientists happening as a matter of course.

Soldier's Dad, come back to us when the total worldwide wattage of electricity generation by nuclear outstrips that by coal, and when there is a documented decrease in world-wide GHG emissions, AND when the documented trends in increasing average global temperatures are shown to start declining, AND when there is at least one example of a AGW affected ecosystem showing at least one sign of meaningful recovery.

Only then, and not a second before, can anyone talk about "saving" the world, free market or otherwise.

43 Jeremy,

I think they will never stop, no matter how little is found. I'm hoping that

1) the victims of the attacks stand up against them

2) the perpetrators are investigated

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Look, I think if a university takes a government grant, they are obligated to allow *financial* auditing of how it was spent. I think the university said they would comply with that part. I can't imagine the state has the right to the emails, etc. that the AG asked for, and presumably the university is not going to comply with that. This is just a publicity stunt/fishing expedition, and once UVa shows that they spent the $ in concert with the rules (no alcoholic beverages charged to the grant, no academic year salary for the pI, etc.) this will go away.

By deutschdriver (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Arthur Smith brings up a good point. Wegman, et al. were based at GMU, which would also fall under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth (sounds almost social-ist, dosn't it) of Virgina, and is also subject to the Virginia "Fraud Against Taxpayers Act". I wonder whether they received state funding.

My main political interest is Direct Demcoracy a part of which is the right of 'Recall'. e.g. if you think a public 'official' is not doing his/her job correctly, you can organise a referendum with enough support to have a vote to remove said official.

We don't have this in the UK unfortunately - although David Cameron is suggesting this for errant MPs, but I believe many States in the USA do have this option.

Is it a possibility for Cuccinelli removal ?,

(apologies if this has been suggested before - don't have time to read all posts in detail now)

By Clippo (UK) (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Frank #3
And so once more, the administrators of yet another university reveal themselves to be a bunch of spineless pen-pushers all to eager to kowtow to thugs.
The administrators have no choice. The Attorney General has demanded documentation which he could subpoena if he felt it necessary. Nothing spineless about obeying a demand from a guy who could get people put in jail if they don't do what he wants.

I very much doubt that he could get a subpoena for what he's demanding, only one of the grants is funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and Mann isn't the PI! The legislation he cites refers to Commonwealth funded work not federal. UVa should deny his demand, it's a fishing expedition.

Phil - "The legislation he cites refers to Commonwealth funded work not federal. UVa should deny his demand, it's a fishing expedition."

Unfortunately that will not work as denying the request, no matter if there is a valid legal reason, only confirms the leftist conspiracy and that the evil Mann is hiding something.

Witch hunts are not rational as this demonstrates:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071853/quotes
"There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
Peasant 1: Are there? Oh well, tell us.
Sir Bedevere: Tell me. What do you do with witches?
Peasant 1: Burn them.
Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches?
Peasant 1: More witches.
Peasant 2: Wood.
Sir Bedevere: Good. Now, why do witches burn?
Peasant 3: ...because they're made of... wood?
Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?
Peasant 1: Build a bridge out of her.
Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?
Peasant 1: Oh yeah.
Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?
Peasant 1: No, no, it floats!... It floats! Throw her into the pond!
Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?
Peasant 1: Bread.
Peasant 2: Apples.
Peasant 3: Very small rocks.
Peasant 1: Cider.
Peasant 2: Gravy.
Peasant 3: Cherries.
Peasant 1: Mud.
Peasant 2: Churches.
Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!
King Arthur: A Duck.
Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically...
Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood.
Sir Bedevere: And therefore...
Peasant 2: ...A witch! "

I suggest respectfully that they simply send the entire Monty Python script and see if they can extract this quote proving Mann is indeed a witch. Makes far more sense than their present ravings.

By Stephen Gloor … (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Re: Clippo @ 48

Virginia tragically does not allow recall elections exactly. Apparently they have a bastardized system. If 10% of the electorate signs a petition, a recall trial can be initiated in a circuit court "For neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office,"

As a UVa grad student (albeit not one in Climate/EnviroSci), I find this whole affair very disquieting.

By ad_astra_va#89a60 (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

I think the deniers are trying to "keep the rage" alive after the fizzle that was climategate. I can't help but wonder how they charge others with politicising science, and yet at the same time engage in blatantly political stunts like this.

It is an attempt to do two things;

> intimidate and harass Mann

> attempt to scare of funding to this kind of research

I can't help but think of Galileo's (apocryphal) saying "Eppur Si Muove" (And yet it moves...) when forced to recent his support for the heliocentric model by the Church:

[And yet it moves...climotologist michael mann targettd by VA Attorney General](http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/and-yet-it-moves-cli… "Title")

I can imaine the film/VR depiciton 50 years from now...

A climate scientists is dragged before a âSenate Committeeâ demanding he/she provide âproofâ that the planet is warming. Weeks are spent in the presentation of tesimony and evidence, both âsidesâ presenting the âargumentâ. In the end the august body ultimately dismisses the evidence before them.

âProfessor, we find no basis to your claims that mankind is having and effect on the climateâ¦â

The scientist sadly leaves the room.

âAnd yet it warmsâ¦â they whisper to themselves

By Watchingtheden… (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Yes,McIntyre pronounces Cuccinelli overzealous,but the prat is arrogant enough to dismiss Mann's work as "effusions" of "negligible scientific value". So that's why he's obsessed with it...

Of course he would pronounce Cuccinelli overzealous. After all, why use the law to get hold of emails when someone can just steal them for you?

It doesn't matter to me about McIntyre - it's not really to his credit - it's hypocrisy, plus it plays into his Big Lie that he was not doing exactly what Cucinellis is doing. He was.

Unless he admits that and says he's decided to foreswear it, no one should give him any attention or credit.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Now Watts has stepped in at Climate Audit:

Iâm in agreement though that it is probably more political than substantial.

Truly he is master of the obvious.

Unfortunately that will not work as denying the request, no matter if there is a valid legal reason, only confirms the leftist conspiracy and that the evil Mann is hiding something.

And giving them everything they want won't work either, because (a) it allows them to perform a denial of service attack on scientists and (b) they'll quote mine something out of context that "proves" to the faithful that something nefarious was afoot.

Which is why they keep doing it in various different forms - it's a win-win from their perspective.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

This is a classic example of the meaning of witch hunt, as about half a million others have already pointed out. The searching through all correspondence will of course reveal other scientists, editors, publishers, administrators, friends, small furry animals, and other animate lifeforms that are mentioned - and tarred in true witch hunt fashion - by the same brush, merely by association. Then the big hunt will be on for the weakest links among those individuals, and so on ad infinitum. (Well, until 6.8 billion is reached.)

A sensible strategy for the UVA is to bring in the best legal expertise on FATA they can get hold of and have the fishing expedition narrowed to a much more specific scope, if not chucked completely. And to do that before issuing any further comment to the media. Perhaps legal costs and UVA expenses for any unnecessary search and retrieval of documents should be discussed first - who pays for what, and under what circumstances. I think it will run well into six figures just for the direct expenses of search and retrieval alone, because of the implied threat should anything be omitted. Can't be too careful here.

Hopefully some sanity will prevail before this one (ie the CID by the SOB) gets too far gone...

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

The Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi may have indirectly found the âboobsâ who caused a global warming quake in Skeptic Tank Virginia. In Virginia, âA minor earthquake early Thursday in the Richmond area. ... a 2.3-magnitude earthquake struck at 12:12 a.m.â (âMinor quake hits Richmond area; no damageâ; Richmond Times-Dispatch; www2.godanriver.com, 4/29/10). âState of Virginia to Investigate Global Warming Scientist Mannâ (foxnews.com, 4/30/10).

Yes,McIntyre pronounces Cuccinelli overzealous,but the prat is arrogant enough to dismiss Mann's work as "effusions" of "negligible scientific value". So that's why he's obsessed with it...

I wonder if McIntyre has enough self-awareness to realize that his own effusions of negligible scientific value are the sole reason why Mann is being subjected to this meritless investigation. He should be offering Mann an abject apology, and possibly a financial settlement, not patting himself on the back for "supporting" Mann.

I wonder if McIntyre has enough self-awareness to realize that his own effusions of negligible scientific value are the sole reason why Mann is being subjected to this meritless investigation.

McIntyre absolutely knows this. He also knows that the public are going to see this as the political witchunt it is, and that it may curtail the long term effects of the Climategate "scandal" he's fought so hard to maintain (a look at his blog shows he's still trying to squeeze blood out of the emails).

"Update: To his credit, Steve McIntyre separates himself from Anthony Watts with a forthright condemnation of Cuccinelli. Commenters at Climate Audit seem disappointed."

Fine, but I would be more impressed if McIntyre had dissociated himself from the efforts of Inhofe and Barton, apologized for co-operating with them in the past and promised not to do so in the future.

Until he does that, anything he says on the matter reeks of hypocrisy.

I'm no law expert, but the notion that the VA AG can demand whatever he wants for whatever reason at anytime and no one can do anything about it seems like something out of 1930's Germany.

Regarding McIntyre, it's perhaps an attempt to seem reasonable by pointing out the obvious, although it's hypocritical, since he's one of the witch hunt leaders. Or (just a thought)...perhaps he's worried what the witch hunt might reveal. Keep in mind that Mann has already reproduced all correspondence with CRU and it revealed no wrong-doing. On top of that, the university has been asked to reproduce correspondence with McI and other contrarians (in contrast, the CRU emails were selectively stolen and contrarians inherently escaped scrutiny). Maybe that will indicate some embarrassing emails from them - at least enough such that the witch hunt isn't a net benefit.

Watts is just following McIntyre's lead. If McIntyre had supported the witch hunt, so would he.

Re: #51 ad_astra_va#89a60

Many thanks for that interesting (to me at least), info

Regards

By Clippo (UK) (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

Hank Roberts,

"GMU? Lots of private money,"

Be truthful, Hank, is there a US University that doesn't involve lots of 'private money'?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

DC et al, this is just more ambiguous dog shenanigans by McI. IMO, distancing himself from the Virginia AG is probably simply strategy on his part. Tomorrow, or even later today, he'll be back at work attacking the very scientists he so "honorably" defended.

PS: Mosher gave up trying to spin his nonsense at DC and RC, so now he is over at Bart's having a go there.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

The real agenda here is to make it so unpleasant to do high-profile climate science that runs contrary to industry interests that only the hardy or foolhardy will want to do it. Which is why I set up a [petition ](http://www.petitiononline.com/clim4tr/petition.html) to support the right of climate scientists to work without harassment.

These sweeping demands for "FOI" could become a weapon that does more than hunt "witches". They could totally bring the scientific enterprise to a halt. It seems that there is no [general right of privacy in work-related communications](http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs7-work.htm) at least in the US. Those communications are however the property of the employer in the worst case, not the general public. In my non-expert opinion, employers can and should protect their employees against this sort of harassment by setting up reasonable filters, such as requesting that all such demands be fully justified and clearly non-frivolous. Fishing expeditions should routinely be refused. If there is a legal case for the opposite, it should be fought in the courts. The alternative is to publish all employee communications on open servers after a sufficient hiatus e.g. to allow for getting a paper out without risk of being scooped.

He didn't even wait a day. Instead he recycled his latest post accusing Briffa and the other authors of AR4 of "hiding the decline" in chapter 6. It didn't take very long.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

> Mosher gave up trying to spin his nonsense at DC and RC, so now he is over at Bart's having a go there.

Not sure of my memory, but was this the thread (maybe at DC) where Mosher indicated that he, Watts and McIntyre all expect that a full release of the CRU code would not reveal any "smoking gun that explains the warming" - somewhat at odds with the marketing of his book on the CRU e-mails?

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

Lotharsson,

Not sure. I remember him trying to make that point fairly recently, but I recall it being over at Eli's place. This is "new" stuff- well, old stuff getting rehashed by Mosher.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

Wow, you guys are bitter little loons. No matter what McIntyre says it drives you into a frothing rage. You're not going to have much luck convincing people you're right when you act like that.

Toodles!

By Skip Smith (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

> No matter what McIntyre says it drives you into a frothing rage.

Not seeing the rage. Not even when a drive-by tone troll claims it's there.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

Perhaps McI is sincere in his words about the Cuccinelli episode.

Or perhaps he's trying to put the genie back in the bottle ... the genie that is political investigations of "scientists" like Mann, e.g. like His Lardship, like McI, ...

After all, âAnd yet it warms...â

Perhaps McI is sincere in his words about the Cuccinelli episode.
Or perhaps he's trying to put the genie back in the bottle

The latter. Cuccinelli's actions have "backfire" written all over them. The cooler heads obviously aren't happy about the implications, and are responding by opposing Cuccinelli's effort (McI, Mosher, Fuller, among others).

If any of you think that any one of that gang are capable of ethical, as opposed to political, action, you've not been paying close attention.

My best guess ... and its only a guess ...

Guys like McI are getting a little uncomfortable with the mob that is milling about outside their door. Watts revels in it and passes out torches, bricks, and beer.

**Update 2**: Tom Fuller comes up with some, err, interesting spin:

>while skeptics and lukewarmers are defending Mann, those on his side seem ready and willing to throw him under the bus

You see, Mann hasn't posted about the matter on RealClimate, so obviously Mann must be throwing Mann under the bus. Fuller pretends that I'm the only one on Mann's side posting in his defence even though this post links to posts from Eli Rabett and Coby Beck. Fuller also missed posts from [PZ Myers](http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/cuccinelli_is_using_the_law_…), [Mike the Mad Biologist](http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2010/05/re_the_va_ags_war_o…), [Chris Mooney](http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/05/02/attack-on-cli…), [Thers](http://firedoglake.com/2010/05/01/late-night-and-jesus-said-i-say-to-yo…), [Ben Hale](http://cruelmistress.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/ole-virginny/), [Steve Benen](http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_05/023605.php), [Phil Plait](http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/05/04/deniers-abuse…) and [Ed Darrell](http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/cuccinelli-witch-project/).

Fuller also seems to have missed this, from Climate Change Fraud (listed on his his own blog roll as a skeptic blog)

>I applaud Ken Cuccinelli's efforts to figure out whether Michael Mann is what he seems to be, a criminal and a witch that has to be hunted down, and I hope that eventually "bigger fish" will be investigated, too.

And James Delingpole

>This blogâs hero of the week is Ken Cuccinelli.

Nor can his own post be considered a defence of Mann since he also accuses Mann of being involved in "perhaps the biggest scientific hoax since Piltdown Man".

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

>>"Not seeing the rage."<<

And fish don't see the water.

By Skip Smith (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

El Gordo--

I was the person who first suggested that we hire Mann when I was on the UVa faculty, and I initiated the contact with him for recruitment. My motive was that I did not want our Department to be perceived as unidirectional in climate science.

Mike and I always had a cordial intrapersonal and professional relationship at UVa.

Them's the facts...maybe you should have checked into them before blogging.

For verification, please contact the Department Chairman at the time, Joseph (Jay) Zieman, or Bob Davis or Bruce Hayden, two other climatologists in the Department.

Pat Michaels

By Pat Michaels (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

I'm assuming that next on the agenda for the State of Virginia is a law ensuring that scientific theories based on genuine research fully comply with Republican Party policy prior to their publication.

Why are we discussing Tom Fuller, when he's categorically shown that he's fuller shit?

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

80 Pat Michaels,

Thanks for explaining to El Gordo why you might have been mentioned in the material demanded by the VA Attorney General.

I hope that El Gordo understands this better than he understands most of the other things he comments on here.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

> And fish don't see the water.

I bow to your superior knowledge of my emotional state when I write comments - and to your superior detection of the emotional state of other commenters. And I look forward to your insightful analysis of the emotional state of commenters at denialist websites - should be most illuminating.

``

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

I'm glad Pat Michaels cleared up his relationship to Mann. What's less clear to me is why Michael's claimed persecution in academia is a reason *not* to condemn persecution of Mann.

Regarding some of the legal issues, the tricky part of this is that UVa is part of the state, so the action of the AG is the state investigating itself. Legal protections that would apply to a state investigation of a third party might not apply here.

I suspect there might be a free speech cause of action against the AG under both the federal and state constitutions. Who would have standing to bring the action isn't so clear to me. The UVa might, despite being part of the same legal entity as the AG, but only if it decided to stand up for itself.

What's needed here is a First Amendment lawyer familiar with Virginia law.

There's also this part of the law:

"§ 8.01-216.12. Civil investigative demands; protected material or information.

A civil investigative demand issued under this article shall not require the production of any documentary material, the submission of any answers to written interrogatories, or the giving of any oral testimony if such material, answers, or testimony would be protected from disclosure under (i) the standards applicable to subpoenas or subpoenas duces tecum issued by a court of this Commonwealth to aid in a grand jury investigation or (ii) the standards applicable to discovery requests under the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, to the extent that the application of such standards to any such demand is appropriate and consistent with the provisions and purposes of this article."

So UVa could protect itself if it wanted to. I wrote a little more here:

http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2010/05/even-skeptics-see-va-atty-g…

I think it's funny that the crowd here is so stupid that you need to explain to each other when you're being sarcastic.

By Skip Smith (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

> I think it's funny that the crowd here is so stupid that you need to explain to each other when you're being sarcastic.

I think it's highly amusing you don't realise that the "explanation" was aimed at you, and that "the crowd here being so stupid" is far from the only motivation for a `` tag.

So it's a win-win - we're both amused! :-)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 04 May 2010 #permalink

Skip Smith: Define 'frothing rage'. Lotharsson is not the only one not seeing it here.

As to the crowd here being so stupid, every so often a troll like you wonders in and dramatically lowers the (otherwise high) average IQ.

Wow. Good one.

By Skip Smith (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

>*Wow. Good one.*

Such is the level of debate and derth of supporting evidence brought by Skip.

Supporting evidence for frothing rage: jakerman is now following me around from thread to thread.

By Skip Smith (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

> Supporting evidence for frothing rage: jakerman is now following me around from thread to thread.

Skip is clearly aware of all Internet traditions and therefore knows that it's just not done for one commenter to respond to another on more than one thread - unless the respondent is acting out of spittle-flecked anger and out of obsessive focus on the original commenter rather than an interest in multiple threads.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

You forgot the sarcasm tag, so now everyone is going to be confused.

By Skip Smith (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

> You forgot the sarcasm tag, so now everyone is going to be confused.

A good thing you pointed this out then, given that our regular commenters are so clearly less perceptive than you are ;-)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 May 2010 #permalink

1) Both Cuccinelli & his Deputy AG for Civil Litigation Wesley Russell (who signed the letter to UVA) did their JD's at George Mason University (GMU) ~1995.
Anyone unfamiliar with GMU can look it up in CCC, including funding by Scaife & especially Koch (Table A.6.1), various related organizations (CMPA, InstHumn, Mercatus, STATS). Fred Singer was long attached to InstHumn.
Pat Michaels is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow @ GMU, and teaching a Course there this summer. People might want to study that PDF. Look especially for the Michaels&Knappenberger comments on EPA...

2) As usual, I try to âfollow the moneyâ, and when I look at
Cuccinelli AG Funding, 2008-2009.
I notice that âEnergy, natural resourcesâ is reasonably high on the list, and that takes me to:
Energy, Natural Resources.
Unsurprisingly (Western VA is coal country), coal is there, including the (infamous) Massey Coal, the VA coal association, etc. Electric utilities is headed by Dominion.
Natural Gas has a bunch of VA-local entities like âVA Natural Gasâ (unsurprising), but #1 there is Kansas-based
Koch Industries...

Of course, it being VA, tobacco-related folks helped out also.
If you run across Questfore Communications, don't get puzzled by seeing CEO Ken Cuccinelli - that's VA's Ken Cuccinelli II's father, I think. Interestingly, Questfore does work for Dominion.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 12 May 2010 #permalink