the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

A half million dollar coverup – and going

Posted by Jeff Id on January 6, 2011

SPPI sent me their press release on Cuccinelli’s efforts to make Michael Mann’s email public.  I don’t for a minute believe that Cuccinelli is interested in protecting government money already spent – which is what the law is supposed to protect – he’s trying to make public Mann’s emails.   This story is getting more interesting because anyone who has payed attention understands that Mann’s emails are probably so full of advocacy and underhanded dealings with the climate science community that it will make climategate look like a junior high love letter.  It seems that the university is highly aware of the problems these emails will create as apparently they have spent over a half million making sure they don’t become public.

In response to a previous FOIA request, UVA had denied these records existed. But during the course of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s pre-investigation under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (“FATA”), a 2007 law passed unanimously by Virginia’s legislature that clearly covers the work of taxpayer-funded academics, UVA dropped this stance. Court records reveal that counsel for the University has indicated instead that the Mann-related records do in fact exist, on a backup server. To avoid University delay or claims for huge search fees, today’s request specifically directs the school to search that server.

While the school has spent upwards of half a million dollars to date fighting Cuccinelli’s pursuit, now before the Virginia Supreme Court, under FOIA it has one week to produce the documents, with no exemption for UVA’s arguments used to block Cuccinelli. These records address one of the highest-profile claims used to advance massive economic interventions policies in the name of ‘global warming.’

In my experience, corporations don’t spend that kind of cash unless they are facing the loss of greater money somewhere else.


85 Responses to “A half million dollar coverup – and going”

  1. Thank you, thank you, Jeff, for keeping the spotlight focused on this story.

    A lot of filth will be exposed if the tip of the iceberg (Climategare) actually melts.

    Literally billions of dollars of government funds for “science” have been misused to fund government propaganda since the 1969 Apollo Mission to the Moon.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Science Blog News. Science Blog News said: A half million dollar coverup – and going: SPPI sent me their press release on Cuccinelli’s efforts to mak… http://tinyurl.com/2fozb5k [...]

  3. Pat Frank said

    From the contents of Michael Mann’s “back to 1400 censored” directory, as revealed by Steve McIntyre, we already know that Dr. Mann knew his MBH98 reconstruction was statistically unsupported (quite apart from the fact that it wasn’t science at all). We also know that Dr. Mann lied before Congress when he claimed that he had not calculated the R^2 statistic for his MBH98 reconstruction.

    Those facts, in and of themselves, seem to prove Cuccinelli’s case, apart from any emails Dr. Mann may have sent. I wonder whether Cuccinelli’s office has contacted Steve to obtain the censored directory. One might guess that Dr. Mann disappeared the original after Steve made its contents public.

  4. Some say it is a political witch hunt. But given the record of their decpetion already, how are we – the tax payer – going to get any accountability other than through the efforts of our public servants?

    This would not be necessary if those involved had not tried to “hide” their decline. They have only themselves to blame.

  5. Brian H said

    Edit: “and growing”, “paid”.

    Yeah, Mann is noted in the CG emails as being arrogant and abusive. I can just imagine the grotty details are pretty ripe!

  6. steveta_uk said

    What on earth is the purpose of blog comments informing you of the existence of the posting that you are currently reading?

    I assume “Tweets that mention A half million dollar coverup – and going « the Air Vent — Topsy.com” is bot-generated, as surely nobody is daft enough to have sent this deliberately?

  7. Ruhroh said

    Horner also hints of evidence of private funding of attorneys attempting to limit the access. This would not be the first time he overplayed his hand, but if true, wow…
    RR

  8. John Lepanto said

    Thank you for contacting the office of Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli regarding the CID (civil investigative demand) to the University of Virginia . Due to the inquiries that this CID request has produced, we felt it important to clarify some misconceptions.

    The attorney general’s office is investigating whether or not fraud was committed against the commonwealth by Dr. Michael Mann while he was a professor at UVa. The office is investigating potential fraud, not Mann’s scientific conclusions. If Dr. Mann knowingly used research containing manipulated or deceitful data to obtain taxpayer-funded research grants in Virginia , he could be liable under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). The attorney general is the sole official charged with enforcing FATA.

    The CID is being used to gather information to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an action under FATA. This is simply an investigation – no charges have been made.

    In his ruling on the CIDs, the circuit court judge hearing the case agreed with the attorney general’s argument – and UVa conceded in court – that there is no “academic freedom” bar that prevents the attorney general from looking into Dr. Mann’s work documents at UVa. The judge also stated that, “…the University of Virginia is a proper subject for a CID, and the Attorney General may investigate grants made with Commonwealth of Virginia funds to professors such as Dr. Mann.”

    The emails and documents requested by the original and the new CIDs are all property belonging to the Commonwealth of Virginia . The CID seeks none of Professor Mann’s private emails or documents. During the CID process and the court hearing, UVa admitted that it did have at least some of Mann’s emails and other documents, even though under the previous FOIA requests, the university said that it did not.

    Finally, the legal standards for the misuse of taxpayer dollars apply the same at universities as they do at any other agency of state government. If a private vendor were alleged to have submitted false receipts to a state agency for reimbursement, the attorney general would use FATA to investigate. This situation is no different.

    Again, thank you for contacting this office with your thoughts and concerns. We hope this information is helpful to you.

  9. Bruce said

    “I don’t for a minute believe that Cuccinelli is interested in protecting government money already spent”

    I do. It may not be his only interest. The whole AGW scam stinks of corruption.

  10. kim said

    As others have pointed out, Cuccinelli is also seeking evidence of the paucity of science behind the EPA regulations, because he has a pending suit about that, too. So any taint here, no matter what, can impact the other case.

    But one wonders if this new FOI request moots the Cooch.
    ==================

  11. GregO said

    Patrick Michaels (author of “Climate of Extremes) also was at U. Va and Greenpeace got his emails on an FOI request.

    Importantly, also under FOIA in late 2009, the pressure group Greenpeace sought, and was promised, e-mails and other materials of Patrick Michaels, who also formerly worked in the same university department. From the article referenced in the link below:

    “While the university proceeded to compile the material for Greenpeace, one of us, Virginia Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, thought to ask for records relating to Michaels’ former colleague, Mann. Oddly, the university informed Marshall that such records no longer existed because Mann had left the department.

    Michaels has stated that the university, in explaining to him these disparate responses, asserted that some people’s records are treated differently than others. Mann’s were allegedly destroyed; Michaels’ were being packaged for delivery to Greenpeace.”

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/01/yes-virginia-you-do-have-produce-those-global-warming-documents#ixzz1AI2vpbcp

    What is the big deal with hiding Mann’s material? Let’s see the big secret. And why the double standard? What is being hidden? Why isn’t MSM more interested in this very interesting story about a cover up?

  12. TinyCO2 said

    Talking of FOIs.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jan/06/nick-clegg-freedom-information-laws

    (UK) Deputy prime minister wants legislation to include more public bodies and length of time government records can be kept secret to be cut to 20 years.

    ….

    “And not only the government. There are a whole range of organisations who benefit from public money and whose activities have a profound impact on the public good.

    “In order to do so, citizens must first know what goes on in these institutions. And they must be at liberty to speak out about the things they discover. It is a modern right to information combined with traditional freedom of expression.”

    Clegg will say progress was made under Labour but this had “stalled”. There are too many exemptions to the FoI Act, while information is often placed “behind tedious bureaucratic hurdles”, he will say.

    Clegg will add: “We still live in a society where information is hoarded by the few. And, as we know, information is knowledge, and knowledge is power.

    cont.

  13. lucia said

    Jeff

    In my experience, corporations don’t spend that kind of cash unless they are facing the loss of greater money somewhere else.

    Universities can do very odd things for very odd reasons.

    On the one hand, I think Cuccinelli is on a witchhunt.
    On the other hand, so was Greenpeace.
    The differential treatment of Mann and Michaels emails is absurd.

  14. RR

    The tab for Hogan Lovells has been picked up by ‘private donors’. Mann will win this case – he has money on his side.

    “The litigation has so far cost the University $352,874.76, Wood said, adding that the fees have been paid for from private funds.”

    http://www.cavalierdaily.com/2010/10/06/cuccinelli-orders-new-investigation/

  15. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    The thing that I find surprising is the lack of an out-of-court compromise settlement, and (apparently) no discussions toward a settlement. All-or-noting bets are unusual in non-criminal cases; if you lose, you lose big. Even if the University does prevail before the VA Supreme Court, they still could face the wrath of the State Legislature, and the Legislature holds the purse strings of the University. The Regents must think this case is very, very important.

  16. gallopingcamel said

    Why pass FOI laws if the rich and powerful can ignore them?

  17. Bill said

    Why pass FOI laws if the rich and powerful can ignore them?

    To give the rich and powerful a talking point when the rubes start complaining about secrecy?

  18. Steve Koch said

    John Lepanto explained what the Attorney General is doing:

    “The attorney general’s office is investigating whether or not fraud was committed against the commonwealth by Dr. Michael Mann while he was a professor at UVa. The office is investigating potential fraud, not Mann’s scientific conclusions. If Dr. Mann knowingly used research containing manipulated or deceitful data to obtain taxpayer-funded research grants in Virginia , he could be liable under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). The attorney general is the sole official charged with enforcing FATA.”

    There is little doubt that Mann’s hockey stick work was bogus and there is no doubt that work was used to obtain grant money. It seems to me that the Attorney General should investigate further.

    What I don’t get are the allegations about the Attorney General’s motives by Jeff and Lucia. You haven’t presented a shred of proof for your allegations. Beyond that, the fundamental question is whether he has the law on his side. Lepanto’s explanation sounds reasonable to me (of course, I love to see corruption rooted out).

  19. Jeff Id said

    #18 the hurdle of actual fraud will be a high one. The hurdle of fraud in work specifically funded by VA govt even higher. However, the public trial and evidence will be the punishment itself because any nefarious activism will be exposed.

  20. kim said

    So some think Cuccinelli is on a witch hunt? What is the prey for the FOI?
    ================

  21. Apparently the funding for Mann’s resistance of the CID is coming from private sources.

  22. kim said

    I note the irony that with this flood of private support the Piltdown Mann apparently never needed government funding for his manufactured science in the first place. How about an FOI for those funding the University’s recalcitrance.

    Several years ago Al Gore bragged about having a $300,000,000 fund to advertise global warming. When asked the source of the money he said that it was from ‘anonymous and internet donors’. Now tell me, little children, what altruistic donor is going to want to hide the fact that they are contributing money to defend the earth? Even Andy Revkin blanched at that one.

    And the Piltdown Mann still insinuates about ‘fossil fuel’ money. Where does he get off?
    ===============

  23. bob said

    How else can you catch a witch except with a witch hunt?

    Michael Mann’s cheating aside, there is a very important principle at stake, the right of taxpayers to see exactly how their money is spent.

  24. Steve McIntyre said

    I wonder if the UVA would be required to disclose the identity of the private sources and the correspondence between UVA and the private sources.

    Would the contributions be tax deductible? Would UVA issue tax receipts?

  25. Chris Horner said

    We also FOIA’d UVA’s internal communications about disclosure and transparency relating to this private funding…of the effort to avoid disclosure and transparency of Mann’s records. As I understand things the legal campaign is being paid out of a FOIA-exempt University foundation, but we shall see. The donor/donation FOIA is available here: http://www.atinstitute.org/uploads/File/ATI_UVA_Donors_FOIA.pdf

  26. kim said

    Interestinger and interesting. Maybe FOI exempt and tax exempt, but surely not receipt producing exempt.
    =========

  27. RB said

    The Regents must think this case is very, very important.
    Perhaps they perceive, with good reason, that they might have difficulty attracting good faculty if there is the fear of political meddling with academic research – and that they are seen to be supporting their faculty against such interference. I doubt that it has anything to do with “corporations don’t spend that kind of cash unless they are facing the loss of greater money somewhere else” .

  28. kim said

    It might not be long before the University perceives its interests are at odds with those private donors backing Mann.
    ================

  29. John M said

    RB said
    January 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Perhaps they perceive, with good reason, that they might have difficulty attracting good faculty if there is the fear of political meddling with academic research – and that they are seen to be supporting their faculty against such interference.

    I guess releasing e-mails to Greenpeace are not a threat to academic freedom.

  30. MikeN said

    Not sure how that name got in there, but the John Lepanto post above is mine, and the post is an actual email from the AGs office.

  31. lucia said

    What I don’t get are the allegations about the Attorney General’s motives by Jeff and Lucia. You haven’t presented a shred of proof for your allegations.

    Allegations that it’s a witch hunt? I don’t really think Cucci expects he will find stuff that sustains an actionable case for fraud. Of course I may be wrong. I also know Cucci’s office says he’s doing it to find fraud. Do I have evidence Cucci’s office is lying about their motives? Absolutely not. But in my life, I have observed that people and politicians can be disingenuous, and I think this is the case here, and I’m letting people know what I happen to think.

    I take no position on whether what Cucci’s office is doing is legal. I have no idea what laws govern Virginia’s AG on this. He may have a perfect right to FOI for whatever reason he wishes– I have no idea. I’m not a citizen of VA, so I’m not going to spend a whole lot of energy worrying about this issue. Certainly, I’m not going to spend my days finding evidence to prove or disprove what Cucci’s motives are. But, I still form an opinion about whether I think Cucci’s motives are as stated by his office: I doubt it.

    Certainly, any private individual has just as much right to use FOIA as Greenpeace.

  32. Jeff Id said

    Lucia,

    I couldn’t agree more. Lawyers love the game of aggressive negotiation. I’ve only met a few small town guys who were naive enough to go only with the first order effects of law, and those weren’t the ones to keep on your side.

    These kinds of people spend their careers looking at nuance of verbiage, potential outcomes and way-points along the trip. They are sophisticated in the art of maximizing their returns. Cucci may be a better lawyer than most govt employed attorney generals. The govt side usually stinks but to the jury has all the credibility on their side.

  33. J Bowers said

    This is Lysenkoism via the back door. So, basically, the net result is that if any researcher produces scientific results which offend special interests and certain ideologies, they can look forward to state-sponsored investigation seeking to find that they have committed criminal activity? Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

  34. Bad Andrew said

    “scientific results which offend special interests”

    J Bowers, what should we do about “scientific results” that are more marketing than they are science?

    Andrew

  35. J Bowers said

    Andrew, tell that the NAS.

  36. Bad Andrew said

    J Bowers,

    You didn’t answer my question. Let’s try again with different wording…What do you think we should do about obviously misleading “scientific results.”

    Andrew

  37. DeWitt Payne said

    On a high profile case, I trust the DA or AG to come down on the side he thinks will benefit his future political career. DA’s and AG’s should be barred from running for public office (other than DA or AG) for life. Or at least long enough so they have to run on a real platform and not on their reputation as a crusading DA(AG). Does the name ‘Eliot Spitzer’ ring a bell? My personal favorite is the fictional character Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face.

  38. Jeff Id said

    “net result is that if any researcher produces scientific results which offend special interests and certain ideologies, they can look forward to state-sponsored investigation ”

    There are no special interests involved in this case. Just a guy who figured out that there was lying going on who knew that no matter which way he prosecuted, it would cause damage to the scammers. Just my opinion, but I really believe that if they actually release Mann’s uncensored emails, AGW “climate science” will experience a 10.6 earthquake.

  39. DirkH said

    Warmists constantly boast that what their climatologists do is science, and that said science is sound and solid. So what would they have to fear from publishing the workplace emails of one of these scientists? Surely not exposure of meddling? Warmist scientists don’t meddle with the results, or do they?

    Any AGW apologist who can answer this?

    Would it not be vindication of the fine work of the esteemed Dr. Mann if he just published his emails, and prove that all that he’s been saying is the finest scientific work since the non-existent MWP? Why does he hesitate?

  40. J Bowers said

    Bad Andrew — “What do you think we should do about obviously misleading “scientific results.””

    What’s always happened; it leads to academic inquiries and the offending PI is lost in the desert of ignominity and disgrace, their work discredited. The overwhelming majority of such matters are whistleblown, by colleagues and/or students. There has not been one single case of this with any of Cuccinelli’s or Inhofe’s targets. In fact, not with any climate scientist as far as I can tell. Keenan tried to do it with Wang and failed dismally, even after he tried to get the FBI involved. Okkam’s Razor says “No way, Jose.”

    As for “Obviously”? Oh, puhleease!

    DirkH: “So what would they have to fear from publishing the workplace emails of one of these scientists?”

    The same that 99% of the world’s population would. Look, Cuccinelli’s a lawyer and lawyers don’t give a stuff about “Truth”. They only care about winning. That’s their raison d’etre, because that’s the way their often whacky world works. You will get no scientific truths from these fishing expeditions, and nothing concerning the outcome, one way or another, will make one jot of difference to the actual science. The laws of the land do not influence the laws of Nature in any way whatsoever.

    Jeff Id — “There are no special interests involved in this case. Just a guy who figured out that there was lying going on…”

    His dad was an executive at the American Gas Association which is the lobby for the gas industry. He now works for Quest Fore Strategic Marketing who donated $96,332 to Cuccinelli Jr.’s campaign. Take a look at their “Experience”, especially under ‘Associations’ and ‘Energy': http://www.questfore.com/ourExperience.html

    Jeff Id — “In my experience, corporations don’t spend that kind of cash unless they are facing the loss of greater money somewhere else.”
    ;)

  41. Mark T said

    Ah, yes, argumentum ad hominem from someone defending alarmism. How surprising. Good thing you went the route oof such moral superiority, otherwise someone might actually listen.

    Mark

  42. J Bowers said

    DirkH — “Would it not be vindication of the fine work of the esteemed Dr. Mann if he just published his emails, and prove that all that he’s been saying is the finest scientific work since the non-existent MWP? Why does he hesitate?”

    Would it not be vindication of the fine work of the esteemed Dr. Lindzen/Singer/Soon/Baliunas/Plimer/de Freitas/Spencer/Christy/Grey/Wegman(the dog already ate them)/etc. if he/she just published his emails, and prove that all that he/she’s been saying is the finest scientific work since the MWP? Why would he hesitate?

    Hey, maybe scientists, every single one of them on the planet, should just use open message boards to communicate, full stop?

  43. Bad Andrew said

    J Bowers,

    You still didn’t answer my question.

    WHAT SHOULD WE DO? (asked a third time)

    Your statement to the effect “that science will always police itself so we don’t have to do anything” is another diversion.

    Andrew

  44. Carrick said

    Lucia:

    I take no position on whether what Cucci’s office is doing is legal. I have no idea what laws govern Virginia’s AG on this. He may have a perfect right to FOI for whatever reason he wishes– I have no idea

    UVa is a public university, operated by the state of Virginia. Emails sent on a government or corporate computer do not belong to you, they belong to the government or corporation that owns the server.

    It’s like the AG has a perfect right to any of these emails (as long as he maintains their confidentiality) simply by being an employee of the state with ‘right to know”.

    So my guess is he’s exploiting the FOIA route not because that’s the only route available to him, but this route is the only one that will allow him to openly disclose any emails he obtains in this fashion. I know for a fact in my state if there is question of malfeasance on the part of an employee, the University officials in charge had better release these to the appropriate legal authorities, or face legal action against themselves (impeding a lawful investigation).

  45. Carrick said

    J Bowers:

    Hey, maybe scientists, every single one of them on the planet, should just use open message boards to communicate, full stop?

    You certainly should be willing to disclose emails to lawful inquiry and not to try and impede legal investigations. That’s not just a question of the law, it’s the ethical thing to do in this case. It’s the flip side of the comment I made above: Mann could easily provide the State AG his emails with the priviso that their confidentiality be protected.

    Citing bad motives on the part of the state judicial authority as a justification for blocking a lawful investigation by them is just bad karma, to say the least. It will run you pretty afoul with the law if you don’t skate very carefully when you are playing that game.

  46. Jeff Id said

    J Bowers,

    While you may be right about the roots of his skepticism, Cuccinelli has almost no personal money in this game. His prosecution is entirely different than a university spending a half million (in profits) to protect emials from being disclosed.

  47. Frank K. said

    “Hey, maybe scientists, every single one of them on the planet, should just use open message boards to communicate, full stop?”

    Actually, for the scientists who are receiving government / tax payer funding for their work, this is an excellent idea. Those receiving private funding from George Soros and Greenpeace would be exempt…

  48. J Bowers said

    Frank K — “Actually, for the scientists who are receiving government / tax payer funding for their work, this is an excellent idea.”

    A sure way to ruin science given researchers need to publish first in order to keep a roof over their heads and food in the family’s bellies, or alternatively shows how ideology overrides reason.

    Jeff Id — “Cuccinelli has almost no personal money in this game.”

    Jeff, how do you know this?

  49. Jeff Id said

    J Bowers,

    Because he’s a prosecutor. He’s spending state money.

  50. J Bowers said

    Jeff, on the state’s behalf, or his own future in politics? An ex-GMU graduate completely ignores what’s going at GMU, but acts like a rottweiler when it comes to an academic who’s been cleared of academic misconduct multiple times, the same uni just so happening to have been the subject of his ire over gay rights? I find it all incredibly odd in all honesty.

  51. Jeff Id said

    I’ve been against the methods Cucci is using from the beginning but after the team’s response to climategate, it doesn’t bother me as much. Cucci in my opinion is only trying to expose someone who is very likely crooked, but has little to gain financially from it. I can’t see how a person would profit from trashing AGW extremists a bit more.

  52. Mark T said

    Yes, we already know Mann lied to Congress while on the record… what exactly is he capable of when he thinks nobody is looking?
    Mark

  53. Kenneth Fritsch said

    What I find interesting and a bit disconcerting is the view of a government investigation from a partisan perspective. The willingness to have the government involved in these matters is invariably a matter of what “bad” person is being pursued by the government and which side he is on. A lot of what these AGs and even federal prosecutors go after is, unfortunately too often, based on political appeal. Often times the feds get the “bad” guy by getting him to lie about some aspect of the case and then they get him on that alone. Whether that bothers anyone would appear to be determined by partisanship.

    I do, however, see a quandary when it comes to government funded projects revealing what they do that in cases of private matters would be an invasion of privacy (if it were government requesting the information). I would think that government investigation could be stifling for research and that is what we hear in defense in these matters by those practicing in the fields. On the other hand, since taxpayer moneys are involved, how can you deny the taxpayer transparency in matters such as these?

    In my view this is major disadvantage of doing government funded research.

  54. Frank K. said

    “A sure way to ruin science given researchers need to publish first in order to keep a roof over their heads and food in the family’s bellies, or alternatively shows how ideology overrides reason.”

    I do not see how requiring researchers performing government-funded work to communicate in an open forum would preclude them from “keeping a roof over their heads and food in their family’s bellies”. Science is about openness and seeking the truth, right? Why should scientists be secretive about what they do? Are you implying there is competition, tribalism, and politics in scientific publishing?! In any case, once a researcher has secured that multi-million dollar research project, the money is guaranteed for the life of the project.

    Of course, there is some evidence to suggest that certain climate researchers could care less if workers in, say, the petroleum or coal industries can “keep a roof over their heads and food in their family’s bellies”…

  55. Brian H said

    Frank K;
    Especially in climate research; it’s not as though the novel tech for a billion-dollar gizmo or software product was the object of the search.

    BTW: pls help fight the reverse-sense misuse of the expression “care less”. It’s “couldn’t care less”, not “could”. ;)

  56. Frank K. said

    BTW: pls help fight the reverse-sense misuse of the expression “care less”. It’s “couldn’t care less”, not “could”.

    You’re correct, sir! Thanks for catching that. :^)

    Next time I’ll use the more colorful expression “don’t give a hoot” as in:

    Certain climate researchers don’t give a hoot if workers in the petroleum or coal industries can “keep a roof over their heads and food in their family’s bellies.”

  57. kim said

    Both usages just fine. More sarcasm in ‘could care less’.
    =============

  58. J Bowers said

    Frank K — “Science is about openness and seeking the truth, right?”

    Tragedy of the commons. Not so open that the contents fall out before the conclusions are made and the truth is found.

  59. Bad Andrew said

    “Tragedy of the commons. Not so open that the contents fall out before the conclusions are made and the truth is found.”

    J Bowers,

    Your foray into poetry here to attempt to maintain your position is kind of silly.

    Andrew

  60. Frank K. said

    Speaking of money, roofs, family’s bellies and such, here’s an interesting article:

    How Can Climate Scientists Spend So Much Money?

    “Until a few days ago I knew that the US government spent an excessive amount of taxpayer money on climate change research. It was just a general notion; I had read occasional articles showing the funding of certain agencies like NASA but I didn’t know many specifics. Then on New Years Day, I wrote a very quick article where I randomly picked a document from a Google search showing funding for climate change. The numbers astonished me. I decided to take a closer look.”

    Read the whole thing…

  61. lucia said

    Carrick

    UVa is a public university, operated by the state of Virginia. Emails sent on a government or corporate computer do not belong to you, they belong to the government or corporation that owns the server.

    Sure. I know private individual can FOIA what they want, using their own time and resources. UVa is subject to FOIA and ought to comply.

    But what I don’t know is whether there are laws restricting government officials from going on witch hunts. I have no reason to believe there are restrictions, but I also don’t happen to know. Presumably, if the VA AG was restricted in any way, UVA would bring that up in court. Have they? (My impression is no. But I’m not following this story closely.)

  62. Brian H said

    Kim;
    False. “Could care less” is nonsensical. As users realize when asked to focus on what they said.

  63. kim said

    It’s short for ‘Could care less, but don’t’ and is sarcastic.
    ==================

  64. Mark T said

    Could care less is actually apathy… “I could care less but that would take effort I’d rather not exert.” ;)

    Mark

  65. Carrick said

    Lucia:

    But what I don’t know is whether there are laws restricting government officials from going on witch hunts. I have no reason to believe there are restrictions, but I also don’t happen to know. Presumably, if the VA AG was restricted in any way, UVA would bring that up in court. Have they? (My impression is no. But I’m not following this story closely.)

    But my point was that the AG probably didm’t need to use an FOIA to gain access to those emails. It’s likely if he had gone through the usual route, they would have likely remained confidential, as long as no law had been violated. That suggests to me his goal was to force their public release, rather than to perform a “witch hunt” per se, so my take is this is being done in an attempt to embarrass or discredit Mann, not to search for possible wrong doing.

    UVa seems to understand what is stake which is why they are (probably at the edge of being illegal) resisting his efforts to get the emails publicly released.

    As I said above, I know for a fact in my state, there isn’t any barrier in sharing emails written by me between my University and my state, in fact quite the opposite, the University officials would likely be in violation of the law (impeding a lawful investigation) to attempt to thwart a lawful request for a copy of my emails.

  66. Mark T said

    UVa may be in violation as well.
    Mark

  67. Paul in Sweden said

    When a man sees signs that the hen house has been raided, I really can’t begrudge him for going on a fox hunt the very next morning. I would think him foolish to wait for a year to go searching for the treacherous raiders.

    When in the middle of the night(for me in Sweden)in November of 2009 some specter pounds on the door of millions of people simultaneously all over the world & leaves a package in the form of a zip file which clearly states there is trickery and deceit in our midst how is it possible that we have waited this long to run for our pitch forks & torches to engage in a proper witch-hunt?

  68. Brian H said

    #63, Kim;
    Nope, still doesn’t make sense. As anyone who says it will acknowledge when “couldn’t care less” is suggested. Try it.

  69. Brian H said

    Carrick;
    You misconstrue the entire affair. The AG did make a routine request, as entitled under the law. It was refused. That’s the core issue, not FOIA at all.

    And the subject matter is not the science, but the misrepresentation of funding requests and misuse of state funds. It’s closer to a theft investigation than a scientific questioning.

  70. Carrick said

    Brain, it is likely (extremely) that I don’t understand the full details. I was trying to parse this sentence:

    The emails and documents requested by the original and the new CIDs are all property belonging to the Commonwealth of Virginia . The CID seeks none of Professor Mann’s private emails or documents. During the CID process and the court hearing, UVa admitted that it did have at least some of Mann’s emails and other documents, even though under the previous FOIA requests, the university said that it did not.

    It appears that VA is consistent with that in my own state:

    In his ruling on the CIDs, the circuit court judge hearing the case agreed with the attorney general’s argument – and UVa conceded in court – that there is no “academic freedom” bar that prevents the attorney general from looking into Dr. Mann’s work documents at UVa. The judge also stated that, “…the University of Virginia is a proper subject for a CID, and the Attorney General may investigate grants made with Commonwealth of Virginia funds to professors such as Dr. Mann.”

    As long as the documents remain confidential, I see no issues that conflict with professorial academic freedom. I took the FOIA as that being the route used by the AG. Sorry if my lack of familiarity with the case made me jump the gun on this.

    As you probably know it’s a steep hurdle to use the AG misconduct argument as the reason for refusing releasing documents that he has ordered released as part of a lawful investigation.

  71. kim said

    Brian, the meaning is the same. ‘Couldn’t care less’ is literal, and ‘could care less’ is sarcastic.
    ==================

  72. Carrick #65 – UVA is a semi-private entity. Which means it is both private and public. As such, it does not answer to the governor (or AG) except in matters of funding. So the only way the AG could “order” the release of the information is through the FOIA.

  73. Brian H said

    #71;
    Nope, just sub-literate and confoozed.

  74. Brian H said

    #71;
    As noted, everyone to whom the actual meaning of what they’ve said is pointed out has said, “Oh, yeah, that’s right!” Except you.

  75. Brian H said

    #72;
    And funding is what the AG is following up.

    However, IMO, once a science claim is invoked to justify public policy, the policy-makers had better be sure they can provide details. Appeal to the unquestioned authoritativeness of Dr. M. Mann’s papers and proclamations won’t cut it.

  76. kim said

    Brian, try asking the next person who says ‘I could care less’ if they are being sarcastic.

    And yes, I’m unique.
    ====================

  77. Brian H #75 – Yes, beause that is the only thing they can control. However, with no direct line authority, the AG has to ask, and when refused, then pursue it in the courts. It is the same way actually for all Executive agencies when the legislature deals with them. The legislature can ask, but the if agency refuses (in reality the governor would since they report to him), the only 2 recourses the legislature has is – cut off funding or take it to the courts.

  78. Brian H said

    #76;
    Wrong question. The answer would be “yes” to “couldn’t care less”, too.

    Ask if they really meant “couldn’t”, and watch the light bulb go on. It seems to be broken in your case! ;) ;p

  79. kim said

    “I couldn’t care less’ has literal meaning. “I could care less’ has sarcastic meaning. Often, when using sarcasm, one says the opposite of the literal meaning. So how is ‘I couldn’t care less’ sarcastic?

    I don’t believe you are going to understand this point. Ask a rhetorician you trust.
    ====================

  80. kim said

    Well, Brian, I gave up and googled it. This controversy is half a century old, and ‘I could care less’ is gaining in usage. I think it is because of its sarcastic appeal.

    Check it out. I think you’ll be amused.
    ===============

  81. Carrick said

    Here, Let me google it for you

  82. Mark F said

    Caring more or less (or not):
    Slow news day folks?

  83. kim said

    Heh, more a case of ‘Somebody’s wrong on the internet’. Thanks, C.
    ====================

  84. Mark T said

    There’s a joke about arguing on the ‘net that I’ll refrain from elucidating except to note that we’re all retarded because of it.

    Mark

  85. woodNfish said

    I don’t really care what Cuccinelli’s reasons for the investigation are, but he does have a legal obligation to protect the interest of the state and that is a good enough reason for the investigation. I also want these AGW charlatans exposed and imprisoned. I wish Cuccinelli complete success.

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