Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cuccinelli's Baaaack!: Witch Hunt, Part Two

"Witch Hunt, Part Two" is the title of the lead editorial in today's Washington Post, regarding the report that Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli is not taking "no" for an answer in his effort to hound climate science researcher, Michael Mann, for his 1998 "hockey stick" paper, along with the University of Virginia. Following up on the narrow window of opportunity left by the court, he is investigating Mann again for the one grant he got from the Commonwealth of Virginia, supposedly to detect fraud, which Mann got for a study on "the interaction of the land, atmosphere, and vegetation in the African savannah," which has nothing to do with his hockey stick paper (which was cited in the grant application, giving Cuccinelli his thin shred of opportunity).

Beyond the earlier subpoenas to U.Va. (which is resisting all this), Cuccinelli now wants in addition all emails between Mann and 39 other scientists. The sign of what he is really after is that none of these include the two co-applicants on the grant in question. This is even a worse fishing expedition than the previous one, given that both the National Academy of Sciences and Penn State (Mann's current location) have absolved him of any wrongdoing, even though there are debates over how good his statistical methodology in the original 1998 paper was (which he has changed in subsequent research anyway). I also note that so far, U.Va. has spent $214,700 defending itself from Cuccinelli's earlier investigation, while Cuccinelli has himself spent $350,000 so far on this, with more to come during a period of supposed budget austerity. Of course, supposedly Cuccinelli is the legal defender of the University of Virginia, hack, cough.

There is a lot more I could say here, but I suspect my position on all this is obvious and well known, given that I have blogged on this matter previously. However, I fully agree with all the broader arguments the WaPo editorial brings up regarding this totally appalling matter.

4 comments:

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Robert said...

RE: Cuccinelli's Baaaack!

Your point is well taken; however, after reading the WaPo editorial you may have your numbers mixed up. The grant was $214,700 and UVa has spent $350,000 so far, not counting what Cuckoo-cinelli has burned up.
I guess it is OK to spend way more of the public's money than the value of the (perceived) infraction - but only if you're a Republican.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Robert,

Thank you for correcting this. You are right. So, although some of that UVa money is from tuitions and so on, a lot of it is taxpayer money, and although Cuccinelli's expenditures seem to be unreported, there is little doubt that this will cost VA taxpayers more than would have been saved by not giving Mann that grant, if it has not already cost them more.

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