the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion


Posted by Jeff Id on January 19, 2011

Today someone made a comment on the Cuccinelli vs Dr. Man thing which has me stirred up a bit.  I fully understand that some scientists may have the opinion that you don’t want Academics worrying about politics and there is some kind of problem with legal requests for emails.  What unfortunately has happened in AGW though is that politics became some Academics primary concern.  What is not correct though is that some have assumed that subpoenaing emials is unusual.

If you choose the business rout of life, you are the bad guy and therefore forced to comply with endless legal hurdles.  If you are wise, you have a group of lawyers to advise you on those hurdles.  Did you know that if an employer pays 100% of the health/life/dental care for their employees and an employee doesn’t agree to accept the FREE health care, it is discrimination by the employer?!!   Discrimination!!   I would like to start a university which only teaches the degrees of discriminology and discriminology tech – whereby the tech version doesn’t have real math!   What a crazy world when everyone’s opinions average to that kind of stupid.

Anyway, if you are working with a vendor/customer under an agreement and you guys have a falling out, what is the first thing you do when going to court?

YOU SUBPOENA THE EMAILS!!  And if you don’t hand them over, guess what?!!!

sorry for the caps — not really —  but wake up people, this is what lawyers do — every single day!!    This is SOP.  The real question should be – why are academics IMMUNE!

Welcome to Earth, people who believe in massive government–… spank!!  Breathe baby, breathe.

47 Responses to “SOP”

  1. Kan said

    GO Jeff GO! (and have a lawyer on retainer just in case).

  2. Jeff Id said

    You have to love the comments about the slippery slope. We, the unwashed, have been sliding down that cliff for 30 years.

  3. Well, Jeff, I guess that someone was me. But you haven’t answered the key point – you can’t just subpoena the emails. You have to get a writ under authority of the court. You have to convince a judge that they are needed for the case.

    It’s true that in some jurisdictions lawyers can actually send out the demands without formal court approval. But then the other side can immediately challenge.

    But here we don’t even have a properly formulated lawsuit, except for the one brought by UVa after the CIDs were issued. It’s purely a fishing expedition.

    And of course if emails are eventually subpoenaed, they are under the control of the court, not the opposition party.

    Just as a trip down memory lane for those pounding the table about how those paid by the taxpayer should have their emails available for inspection any time. I don’t think anyone ever had much success winkling email out of the Bush admin. In fact, they “lost” a rather large amount of them.

  4. Jeff Id said


    I don’t know how you compare the president’s emails to Micheal Mann. Don’t you think that there might be a slight difference? A tweak perhaps? Where would we be if a president can’t email or write a confidential letter on our behalf? Perhaps a Kim Jung Il letter which says, keep it up and there will be consequences?

    How does that differ from a Mann email which says – why not try my trick to hide the decline!

    It’s ok to discuss these things of course but I really have a hard time with the analogy.

  5. Jeff Id said

    “It’s purely a fishing expedition. ”


    But I do think the pond has some fish.

  6. Kan said

    “Slippery Slope” – funny how many people don’t think they live on that slippery slope. As you said, it has been going on a long time. Now that their house is next, you hear the screams.

    Academia has been all for the AG’s going after Big interests with these tactics for a long time. Think about the current favorite analogy Big Tobacco. It was State AG’s running amuck that brought about the un-legislated taxes in the name of health costs.

    The ivory tower stands on the same hill.

  7. Jeff,
    I agree that the Pres, and all his staff, need to be able to write emails that should generally be kept private. But so should anyone with a job to do, public or private. One could just start with the emails written about potential employees. Or reviews of grant applications.

    Employers like UVa will respect that. They have to, if they want people to do their job. They control the system responsibly.

    Politicians like Cucci, not so much.

    The point of my reminder was not that the Pres’ emails should have been liberated, but in the practice of resisting email scrutiny climate scientists are very small players.

  8. There is no accountability in climate science. 20+ years in the policymaking game, not a single positive result to show for it.

    Climate scientists are probably the only scientists whose only contribution to society is the potential imposition of some kind of a tax.

  9. Frank K. said

    I say let Mann keep his e-mails and in return he can give back all of the UVa research money he spent on useless climate research. That’s sounds fair.

  10. Curt said


    Reasonable investigations have been started on far less justification. I don’t agree with you and Jeff that it’s just a fishing expedition. Offhand I can think of three items in Mann’s conduct from his UVA days that warrant a closer look by authorities:

    1. The “CENSORED” directory files (on a UVA server) that appear to show that Mann’s claims that the hockey stick results were insensitive to the removal of dendroclimatogical (i.e. tree ring) data were a deliberate falsehood.

    2. Mann’s claim to the NAS panel that he had not computed verification R^2 statistics, when his paper said he did, and his code did.

    3. Mann’s Climategate e-mails about trying to eliminate journal editors (and journals) that did not toe the warmist line.

    It would be nice if these things got a valid review short of a criminal investigation, but they have not. Given that organizations that could have done a real investigation have not done so, I don’t think the AG’s requests are unreasonable.

  11. Curt #10,
    None of these come remotely within the jurisdiction of the Va AG.

    But they aren’t crimes in any jurisdiction. Listed:
    1. This is really weird. Censored data is a perfectly normal statistical expression.
    2. Getting something wrong about R2 calcs when talking to an NAS panel is not a crime anywhere, and certainly not a Va crime.
    3. Mann is likely an AMS member, and if he doesn’t like the papers one of their journals is publishing, he’s perfectly entitled to politick about it, even pushing to get the editor replaced. It’s certainly not a Va crime. But there’s not even any evidence that he did.

  12. M. Simon said

    How does that differ from a Mann email which says – why not try my trick to hide the decline!

    That was no trick. That was my SO. – MM

    Repeated from WUWT – since they haven’t got around to posting it yet.

  13. M. Simon said

    Well maybe the AG has more info. Like a list of MM investments. Perhaps a maker of ice hockey sticks. Or a maker of tree rings for Druid weddings.

    Or maybe he has something on MM re: academic fraud. That is punishable if paid by government funds.

  14. Brian H said

    ?? AFAIK, Cuccinelli has been at pains to explain he is demanding specific documents related to expenditures and funds, nothing to do with the science disputes. Nothing to do with R^2s or any other such issue.

    IAC, emails sent from a place of employment and especially those related to duties there are the property of the employer, there is no “right to privacy”. And where public funds are involved the AG has unlimited right to access.

  15. Artifex said

    Nick says:

    Just as a trip down memory lane for those pounding the table about how those paid by the taxpayer should have their emails available for inspection any time. I don’t think anyone ever had much success winkling email out of the Bush admin. In fact, they “lost” a rather large amount of them.

    It’s amusing you should bring that up. I don’t think it supports your case very well. It was a large scandal. The idea behind the Presidential Records Act of 78 was that these records would be available for inspection. The mere fact that an alternative email account was established was a big issue for progressives because although they had no idea what was in these emails, this account “could” be used to shield information and they just knew Karl Rove was up to no good. The first thing Waxman did was to forward a message to the RNC to preserve all emails so they could be turned over. I didn’t notice a single progressives beating the drum about privacy back then. In fact, they seemed pretty vexed they couldn’t embark on their fishing expedition due to email deletion.

    I am not really understanding Nick’s argument here. I seem to recall the progressives moralizing and making the point that taxpayers were entitled to access to the presidential emails. So Nick’s argument is that since the Bush administration thwarted Waxman, we are supposed to suddenly develop amnesia and forget the arguments that the progressives were making to gain access to these emails ? You are telling me the principles they claimed to espouse were just a convenient political device ? Gosh ! That’s hard to believe! Say it isn’t so ….

  16. John Pollard said

    Welcome to the real world. Some call it transparency, some call it an invasion of privacy – depends on which side your on really, doesn’t it?

  17. Brian #14,
    The R2 etc was the justification on the other thread, continued here in spirit by Curt. And it’s the most common justification that I hear.

    Cucci may have taken pains to link to expenditures, but not to good effect. On his first trip to court, four of the five grants that he claimed turned out to be Federal. And I haven’t heard anyone explain just what the current version of those expenditures is.

    “And where public funds are involved the AG has unlimited right to access.”
    As I’ve agreed above (eg see #6) the emails are the property of the employers. And folks like UVa are very careful with privacy. But the AG doesn’t have unlimited right to access. His last trip to court didn’t support that.

    Artifex #15,
    Well, people can swap sides when it suits – the Spitzer/Cucci is an example. Who supports (or opposes) both?
    But my point with the Bush admin was not so much the use of RNC accounts but the scale of deletions. Millions of ’em. I think it was 15 months worth. Cf the fuss about Jones talking about deleting a few emails on Ch 6 of the AR4.

    I’m sure lots of progressives would have liked to go through those emails. But I think most agreed there would have to be proper cause. Waxman asked for them to be preserved, but I don’t think he made a demand for them. The Senate Judiciary Committee did subpoena a particular email sent by Rove about the USA firings but IIRC they never got it.

  18. kim said

    Haha, Nick calls climate scientists very small players with emails. Heh, but look at the size of those emails, and look at the very big sharks swimming around in their midst.

    I pointed out a few days ago the irony that with the private and secret money leaping to the defense of Mann he never needed grant money to manufacture his science in the first place. Ooh, what a mistake those interests made, trying to buy all this with government grants. If only. But the moving hand moves on, much motioning made on all sides.

  19. kim said

    Prosecutorial abuse exists. In a free society, it is generally decried when it pursues the innocent.

  20. Concerned Jew said

    Kevin Trenberth is inciting hate speech against those who question the science of global warming, by calling them “deniers”. Trenberth is promoting hate speech by attempting to label those skeptical of global warming as “holocaust deniers”.

    See his recent speech here, where he maliciously labels global warming skeptics as “deniers”:

    Calling someone a “denier” just because he/she questions the science of global warming is deeply offensive, especially to Jews. Since when has hate speech been ok? Calling a skeptic a “denier” is just like calling a gay person a “faggot”, or calling a Black person a “nigger”. But this is exactly what Trenberth is doing and getting away with, because no one in the climate science community has the cojones to stand up to him.

    And note the timing of the release of his speech–just a few days after the Jared Loughner shootings! I think Trenberth did this on purpose: to encourage unstable individuals to physically harm global warming skeptics–people like the eco-terrorist that took people hostage at the Discovery Channel office.

    So here is my request: please shame KEVIN TRENBERTH for inciting hate speech against global warming skeptics (which is 2/3 of the US population, according to recent polls). In whatever way you can. Stop this guy before his hate speech causes physical violence against global warming skeptics.

    Thank you,

  21. Re: kim (Jan 20 07:04),
    Do you have any information on this “private and secret money” that you can point us to?

  22. kim said

    I’m reminded of one of my favorite birthday and Christmas stories. I’ll always tell people that I know what is inside of wrapped boxes. When they ask what is inside, I tell them that it’s a surprise.

    Around three years ago, Al Gore triumphantly announced a $300,000,000 advertising fund to promote the AGW alarm, and his green interests. When asked the source of the funding he said it was from ‘internet and anonymous’ donors. Even Andy Revkin blanched at that.

    Nick, I know no more than the public does at this stage. But we are learning as we go.

  23. Jeff Id said

    #20, I don’t like Kevin but when are we going to get a thicker skin? It’s a name, plenty have been said to everyone alive. I suggest you send him an email expressing your opinions (without violence), include one name of your own for him and get over it.

  24. Jeff Id said


    Half a million reference –

  25. kim said

    Kevin aims to please as he rips off his shirt to reveal the big red ‘S’. Er, I mean, the big red bullseye.

  26. kim said

    Jeff, I’ve seen another reference in which Chris says they are attempting to find out the identities of those supporting the University’s resistance, but are unsure whether or not that is protected. I’ve said such an entity may be allowed secrecy, it may be tax exempt, but it is not exempt from record keeping.

    Similarly as with Gore’s mere third of a billion. Why would altruistic donors, defenders of the earth and academic freedom, not want their names associated with that defense? Well, maybe their reasons are venal, and maybe they are not. It is easy to see, however, that their interests may diverge from those of the public, or the University.

    And this divergence will make all the difference. The paths lead to paradises and perditions. Choose wisely, friends.

  27. Re: Jeff Id (Jan 20 08:23),

    All I can see in that reference is an unsupported assertion by Chris Horner that UVa has spent .5M$ fighting the case. There’s no mention of secret donors, “private and secret money”, “Friends of Michael Mann” etc.

  28. Jeff Id said

    Nick, there were several other articles in the news at the time this was posted. One cited 380,000 from private donors. I don’t have time now, gotta run to the bank and go to work.

  29. kim said

    Nick, I think I saw it at Pajamas Media. Nonetheless, this fund exists and is seeking to hide the identities of the donors.

    The University of Virginia is in a bind, and its adults will soon step in.

  30. M. Simon said

    A Federal Case:

  31. a reader said

    A few years ago I remember reading a book called “Censoring Science” about James Hansen complaining that his boss had prevented him from giving one of his “hottest ever” reports. FOI’s ensued, people were publicly vilified, possibly fired; I don’t have the book available, so I may not be recalling this accurately. Anyone remember this incident? Anyway it would be interesting to know if Dr. Hansen’s temp. records were some that were subsequently asjusted.

  32. Frank K. said

    I really have no sympathy for Mann and the rest of “the team”. They deliberately and provocatively stepped into the political arena, and now they have to deal with the consequences of that decision.

    As for “secret” donors to Mann defense fund, I could care less. It’s probably the same ol’ well funded, politically-connect green crowd protecting one of their own. Or maybe Mann is just a wealthy guy by now, with all the Climate Ca$h he’s received…

  33. Sundance said

    The climate scientists and institutions receiving public money must feel they are special and better than people that are held accountable for complying with laws. Most private businesses that have contracts involving public funds, can be audited without advanced notice. The state for example can walk into any health care institution and demand to look at any patient or financial records they want.

    “Trust but verify” needs to apply to academicians too.

  34. Phil R said


    Curt #10,
    None of these come remotely within the jurisdiction of the Va AG.

    Clearly, it does come within his jurisdiction or it would have been thrown out by now.I know you have strong beliefs that scientists should not be subject to the same standards as us mortals, but you are wrong on this.

  35. Phil R #34 – is correct. While the law likes to deal with simple things (so juries understand that Sam shot Pam), when necessary, they have to get into complicated issues to determine if laws were broken. Madoff did not get away with his fraud for years because the DA liked him, but because he made it complicated and hard to unravel.

    The points Curt made are both relevant from a scientific standpoint and a legal one. If Mann made mistakes, there is nothing there. If he KNOWINGLY made those mistakes to mislead and obtain more money, he is as guilty as Madoff – and Cuccinelli has a legal and moral obligation to investigate. AGs do not only argue cases before the courts – they also investigate to determine if a case is there.

  36. Bruce said

    “European authorities believe the EU has lost at least €5bn to carbon-trading VAT fraud in the last 18 months. Europol, the EU’s law-­enforcement operation, fears the fraud will be used in other areas, especially gas and electricity trading markets, after criminals found VAT fraud was one of the most lucrative financial frauds.”

    If the question iswhy would carbon fraudsters want to fund Al Gore or Michael Mann or keep Mann’s email from being revealed, the answer is massively profitable fraud.

    Is Nick Stokes a hired gun paid to disrupt blogs? I would like to know.

    Who funded William Connolly’s full time job censoring Wikipedia?

    Is Nick Stokes William Connolly?

  37. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I think this whole discussion of the attempt to subpoena Mann’s emails lacks a discussion of the specifics. A subpoena requires probable cause and a judge has to determine that and subsequently that judgment can be submitted to further judicial review. The case presented against Mann is fraud in using taxpayer funds, I think.

    I would guess, from a practical matter, one who might want to defend the actions by the VA AG, would want to find precedence for such an action. As philosophical matter I think it is important to look closely at the judicial review of these cases and determine whether they are being applied fairly and consistently.

    We just had a discussion about regulating agencies of the federal government and their optional use of an administrative search warrant that by-passes the judicial review. I think that is wrong and have a lot of sensitivity for the judicial review in these matters.

    What really confuses the matter here is that the AG has not gotten a subpoena and if the grounds are indeed baseless why would two Democrat state Senators want to strike down the subpoena power of the AG in order to thwart his attempts that are assumed will fail. And do for one special case evidently. It also leads to the question of what subpoena powers do the AGs in other states have in matters like this one.

    If I were aware of and abhorred the political use and abuse of states AG powers as in the case of tobacco litigation and those used by Eliot Spitzer and many of predecessors in NY and other states for personal political gain, I would be hesitant about what the VA AG is attempting to do here.

    I would also remind that as a political issue – and surely we all recognize Mann as a political player in AGW and its mitigation – I think that Mann and his cause will only gain from this VA AG action. Mann is a prototypical victim and knows well how to play that role for the MSM. I think many of you under estimate what the science is finally getting about the hockey stick and capabilities of reconstructions in general to proxy past climate with any reasonable certainty. Mann et al. (2008) with all its continuing problems and statistical shortcomings, in effect, repudiates the original hockey stick paper – whether Mann will acknowledge that or not.

    I would further remind that hiding the decline and tacking the instrumental record onto the end of almost all reconstructions is a very misleading action by climate scientists. That effort survived all the investigations by other scientists and defenders coming to the defense by concentrating on the trick part and claiming that trick is a common term in the parlance of scientist meaning whatever they want it to mean. The investigations then are used as testimony that that application of science has been validated.

    I would think it would be much better to not get off topic with these investigations and legal actions and continue to show that, for example, hiding the decline, was a way for climate scientists to avoid talking about what the reconstructions look like when the instrumental record is not tacked onto the reconstruction and the reconstruction runs to near present time. In other words, the critics of some of the climate science should attempt to frame the issues for which they have legitimate criticisms and not allow the consensus to take the discussions off topic.

  38. Bruce said

    Kenneth”I would think it would be much better to not get off topic with these investigations … ”

    In the same way Wikipedia let William Connolly airbrush anything that goes against the Team Gospel for 10 years?

    No thanks.

    A multi-pronged attack is best. Those with the money or power and inclination can do what Cuccinelli is doing. Those like Steve McIntyre can make the team squirm in his own way. Attack attack attack.

    Remember the Bill Cosby “Cointoss” routine. Just because the AGW fanatics want their enemies to wear red coats and march in a straight line down the road doesn’t mean we have to.

    “Bill Cosby had a classic bit called “Toss of the Coin.” It went into how much the win of a coin toss could’ve determined who got the advantage during events in history. One excerpt from it went like this:

    “General Cornwallis of the British, this is General Washington of the Continental Army.”
    “General Washington of the Continental Army, this is General Cornwallis of the British.”
    “If you’d shake hands, gentlemen.”
    “O.K., British call the toss.”
    “British called heads, it is tails.”
    “General Washington, what are you gonna do?”
    “General Washington says his troops will dress however they wish, in any color, in buckskins and coonskin caps, and hide behind the rocks and trees and shoot out at random.”
    “British, you will all wear bright red, all shoot at the same time, and march forward in a straight line.””

  39. Tamara said

    “But here we don’t even have a properly formulated lawsuit, except for the one brought by UVa after the CIDs were issued.”

    The whole point of CIDs is that they are meant to be issued before a lawsuit is formulated. They were originally meant to be used in Antitrust cases, allowing the prosecutor to determine whether a case was worth pursuing before filing and formal discovery. It is interesting that this practice is only controversial when its target is a university. Apparently, private businesses have less expectation of privacy than public institutions.

  40. Bruce said

    Mann / Penn State / Conflict of Interest

    Just substitute UVa for Penn State …

    “Over the years, Mann has brought in millions of dollars for the university through his research. For the university to come to any other conclusion than that he acted appropriately would be an admission that the university has been fleecing those who gave the money.

    How would such an admission affect not only future funding but also repaying funds already received? Thus, it is quite apparent what a predicament the university was in and why the university could not investigate Mann — as it was really investigating itself.

    The conflict of interest is so apparent that one wonders why the university even bothered to produce this report on its own.”

  41. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    the Bush administration?? How about the lawsuits against the Clinton Administration where THE SPECIFIC COMPUTER BACKUP TAPE THAT WAS SET ASIDE TO BE ANALYZED WENT MISSING!! How about where Mr. Internet, Al “the inconveniet MORON” Gore, who was the expert, didn’t have his e-mail on the White House System and ALL his mail came up missing!!! Bush??

    Now, try to get something out of Obie’s admin!!! He has spent millions to make sure we don’t even see his EDUCATION Records!!!

    It is an unaccountable GUBMINT issue NOT a PARTISAN issue until YOU start weasling!!

  42. kuhnkat said


    remember, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Do you want some AG doing a REAL fishing expedition on Steve McIntyre, Lindzen, Spencer, our host and anyone else who has’t praised the accuracy of the AGW mantra?? It isn’t what might be found but the disruption of a persoal or business persona which can cause real harm.

    So far Cucinelli doesn’t appear to be using the tactics of Spitzer where he prosecuted people in the press with allegations and innuendos. By the way, have any of those papers apologized for their lurid reporting on all those cases Spitzer sensationalized with their cooperation?? Nope, they simply went on to other stories about people and things they didn’t like, like BIG OIL and Goreball Warming!!

  43. Kuhnkat #42 – So far Cucinelli doesn’t appear to be using the tactics of Spitzer where he prosecuted people in the press with allegations and innuendos

    It is the difference between left and right. The right still sees you as innocent until proven guilty (for the latest incarnation of the left, see Dupnik).

  44. Bruce said

    “It isn’t what might be found but the disruption of a persoal or business persona which can cause real harm.”

    In what way would Mann’s email released to the AG cause such a thing … unless they are evidence of fraud. Billions are being squandered and stolen in the AGW con game. Root it out. If some people are stealing, I don’t care what side they are on.

  45. dougieh said

    sorry to see you go, Jeff, you will be missed (by me & others by the response) for blogging from the heart, giving good info/insights & provoking insightful comments.

    was this really the comment thread that tipped you?

    no matter, live well & prosper.

    to you & your family.


  46. Ryan said

    It seems to me that Team AGW are jumping through hoops to impede the progress of this investigation. I’m not one to suggest that because someone wishes to protect their privacy then they must, by definition “have something to hide”, but in this case one is left to speculate exactly what Mann is trying to achieve. Emails are something that can never be considered private, passing as they do through multiple unknown servers. Work emails are normally considered the property of the employer, and thus can only be considered “private” to the institution in any case, which just happens to be a public institution.

    Team AGW are not doing themselves any favours by impeding this investigation. They should open their documentation to public inspection to demonstrate clearly that everything is above board. People are bound to draw unsavoury conclusions by any attempt at procrastination.

  47. Mark T said

    46.Ryan said
    February 3, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Work emails are normally considered the property of the employer, and thus can only be considered “private” to the institution in any case, which just happens to be a public institution.

    Those that are on Mann’s side do not understand this. Anybody that has ever worked for a public institution does, however, as do contractors for the government. Even inadvertent comments can be construed in a negative light leading to a lot of offline discussions over lunch just to avoid any potential conflict.

    Team AGW are not doing themselves any favours by impeding this investigation.

    What they don’t seem to realize is that they have backed themselves into a lose-lose situation. If they win the appeal, they still lose on FOIA and the emails are made public. If the emails don’t show any impropriety, then everybody views them (UVA and Mann) negatively for protecting nothing, particularly given that the emails are public property anyway. If the emails DO show impropriety, then they are complicit in a cover-up and there could be criminal liability on top of the civil liability. Their funding sources for the legal battle may also come to light making matters even worse.



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