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Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli's AGW Witch Hunt Continues 341

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-mann-up dept.
eldavojohn writes "A letter from Representative Edward Markey outlines Ken Cuccinelli's latest civil investigative demand targeting 39 people instead of just Michael Mann. You may recall that the original investigation was quashed by a judge, but the latest request demands records from people seemingly unrelated to Mann, including an Indian glaciologist. The Bad Astronomer calls Cuccinelli out in a similar manner and lists Cuccinelli's doubts about Mann's papers, including, 'Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.' The school that hosted the research announced the new investigation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists accuses him of harassing scientists."
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Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli's AGW Witch Hunt Continues

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Friday October 08, 2010 @08:51AM (#33834814) Journal
    From the UVA article:

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

    And that's just legal fees from the university's side of things, the state itself has its own costs to look at for the first investigation and I'm sure many people are spending hours handling this. So you might be wondering what the original research that Mann did cost the university? Answer: under $500,000. So with this latest round of litigation, the Attorney General -- who is championing this effort under the guise of protecting tax payer dollars -- will force the state of Virginia to pay up again.

    When I submitted this, I was hoping to find some news of this latest round from the more conservative press (Fox News, Washington Times) instead of the more liberal (New York Times, Washington Post) but there's nothing from that side of the spectrum. I think a local paper put it best in an editorial entitled Cuccinelli Needs to Cut Our Losses [hamptonroads.com].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728)

      There should be a law against misappropriating funds for political witch-hunts, but somehow I don't think that it's fit relative to the selective pressures that act upon laws.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by durrr (1316311)
      You're right in that the research of MMann didn't cost the university more than $500k but if you do a google search you'll find a WSJ article stating that he recived $541k dollars in stimulus funds in june 2009, so his drain on taxpayers money directly is still greater than the litigation costs, and of course the implementation cost of the policy he advocates and do research to support would have a pricetag several magnitudes higher.
      google "michael mann research grants" and it should be your first hit.

      A
      • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:27AM (#33835056) Journal
        "implementation cost of the policy [Mann] advocates"

        I've read a lot of stuff from Mann but I'm unaware of any particular policy he is advocating other than the general "we need to cut emmissions". Can you provide a link to the "policy Mann advocates", and please no hearsay from the usual suspects, I want it in his own words.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:02AM (#33835370)

          He wants us to revert to stone age tools and pray to the Dark Lord and eat our babies and top-post on Internet forums! I heard it on the Interwebs from someone with no expertise in any field relevant to global warming so it must be true.

          • At least he said we could start in the Upper Paleolithic which gives us a huge jump start time-wise.
          • by magarity (164372)

            He wants us to revert to stone age tools and pray to the Dark Lord
             
            Don't be silly. Michael Mann would be perfectly happy if we'd just watch more Miami Vice reruns so he'd get residuals.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:42AM (#33835186) Journal

        You're right in that the research of MMann didn't cost the university more than $500k but if you do a google search you'll find a WSJ article stating that he recived $541k dollars in stimulus funds in june 2009, so his drain on taxpayers money directly is still greater than the litigation costs, and of course the implementation cost of the policy he advocates and do research to support would have a pricetag several magnitudes higher.

        I believe this is the article you're talking about [wsj.com]. And I believe it's referring to 'last June' when Michael Mann was teaching at Penn State. Mann only taught at UVA from 1999 to 2005. Here's the paragraph:

        According to the conservative think tank the National Center for Public Policy Research, Mann received $541,184 in economic stimulus funds last June to conduct climate change research.

        Emphasis mine. So he received another half a million to continue his research this year? And that's wrong because? Also, Ken Cuccinelli holds no domain over Pennsylvania State University. See, when a university is given the authority to decide where its funds go, you usually don't spend twice that much money investigating whether or not the research done meets your statistical muster or political goals -- especially when you're not an expert in that field!

        ... so his drain on taxpayers money directly is still greater than the litigation costs ...

        Yeah, you could look at Mann's whole life and his health insurance and everything but we're not. We're focusing on one particular study done by Mann for half a million dollars carried out at UVA.

        Have fun tracking down every climate scientist gathering funds for any kind of climate research and charging them with wasting taxpayers dollars. By the time you're done, it will be impossible to draw any scientific conclusion about climate change because any indication that you construe to be economically painful will be met with lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.

      • I have this problem on one of my computers for some time now. My solution (when I need to paste a link) is to cut&paste everything to Notepad, insert the link and then copy the whole test back. It seems that when the comment box is empty I can paste into it.
        I have it only on one machine (running Win 7 & Chrome). Maybe I should reinstall the OS? It's about time. /Offtpoic

      • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv...vadiv@@@neverbox...com> on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:45AM (#33835774) Homepage

        Mr. Mann was given that a grant, which was only $214,700, to investigate, and I quote, 'the interaction of the land, atmosphere and vegetation in the African savannah.' (The rest of the $500,000 went to other researchers.)

        Which, of course, has nothing to do with climate change at all, and as far as anyone can tell he's actually done the work he was given the grant to do.

        He's being investigated because he previously wrote an other page, not using Virginia funds, and the Virginia AG claims he got the savannah grant because he listed the climate change paper in his list of credentials.

        In other words, this isn't even about the rather idiotic thing you claim it's about, it's about something even dumber. He wrote a paper, which he actually did, listed it, quite correctly, as one of the papers he wrote when he got hired for some other work, did that other work, and is now being sued for 'fraud' because someone asserts that other paper is somehow not true.

        This isn't just a 'witch hunt', this is an EPIC WITCH HUNT. It's the idea that if you don't like what someone else wrote, and they at any time took any money, from someone they've mentioned that paper to, you can sue them for fraud.

        Do you see how batshit insane this is? This is suing someone for fraud for lying on their resume (Which is crazy in the first place), except the 'lie' isn't even an actual lie or even a careful 'not lie' that's still misleading...he did write the paper.

        This is like suing someone for fraud because they put on their resume 'Worked at Joe's Car Wash', and you claim they didn't work very hard at Joe's Car Wash, so collecting their salary from their new employer was 'fraud'. WTF? That's not any workable legal theory of 'fraud'.

      • by Surt (22457)

        And to a more important matter: since when and why can't i copy paste into my comments?

        That would be an edit control under the sway of your operating system and browser, not slashdot. So look into a local problem. I'd probably restart my browser, and if that didn't fix anything, reboot my computer to see if it was some odd transient error.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Here's a link to an AP article on local News Radio site: http://wtop.com/?sid=1949669&nid=25 [wtop.com] This is not going to lower the cost of education in Virginia. State funded schools could use the money being wasted on this posturing to teach kids instead of helping the deluded SUV drivers of the world to have a clear conscience.
      • by tmosley (996283)
        Don't worry, I think the failing dollar will do that regardless of what the politicians tell people to feel or do.

        Gas is up to damn near $3 again, but this time, people don't have jobs. Environmentalists wanted to reduce our energy use, and they are going to get it. Hopefully we can avoid the starvation and poverty normally associated with reductions in energy use.
    • Washington Post: "Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia" [washingtonpost.com]:

      What's particularly astonishing, though, is that Mr. Cuccinelli's legal case against Mr. Mann seems unrelated to any of the controversial research the attorney general spends so much time attacking. Mr. Cuccinelli is supposedly investigating whether Mr. Mann committed fraud when the scientist applied for and received a state-funded research grant -- to study what Mr. Mann describes as "the interaction of the land, atmosphere and veget

      • by hawkfish (8978) on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:32AM (#33835090) Homepage

        Washington Post: "Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia" [washingtonpost.com]:

        What's particularly astonishing, though, is that Mr. Cuccinelli's legal case against Mr. Mann seems unrelated to any of the controversial research the attorney general spends so much time attacking. Mr. Cuccinelli is supposedly investigating whether Mr. Mann committed fraud when the scientist applied for and received a state-funded research grant -- to study what Mr. Mann describes as "the interaction of the land, atmosphere and vegetation in the African savannah." The topic "has nothing to do with climate change or paleoclimate," Mann says. The attorney general appears to argue that, since Mr. Mann listed his controversial papers on his curriculum vitae when he and two other scientists applied for the savannah research grant, he may have committed some kind of fraud.

        The attorney general's logic is so tenuous as to leave only one plausible explanation: that he is on a fishing expedition designed to intimidate and suppress honest research and the free exchange of ideas upon which science and academia both depend -- all because he does not like what science says about climate change. "

        There is some suggestion that this is test case to see what he can get away with. The last time around, the judge bitch-slapped him so hard, it nearly broke his neck, so now he is trying to see what the judge will tolerate by going after something less directly connected with Mann.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sara Chan (138144)
          The Washington Post seem to be suggesting that the Attorney General does not understand the law. That is false, of course.

          In a grant application, Michael Mann cited some of is his prior research papers that, it is alleged, Mann knew were bogus. In other words, Mann committed fraud in a grant application. That is a crime, as it obviously should be.

          For details, read the Attorney General's letter [washingtonpost.com] to UVA.
      • by Asic Eng (193332) on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:49AM (#33835250)
        On the other hand if he succeeds in his endeavors, then climate change will just not happen saving us billions. Oh wait ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PhilHibbs (4537)

      OK, lets say if someone rips you off for half a million, you decide not to pursue them because it will cost nearly that much again. So, someone else sees that you don't pursue cases like this, and rips you off for another half a million. You don't pursue them because of the cost, so someone else does it as well. Better to spend a million chasing the first guy, so the second (and third, and subsequent) know that you are not someone to fuck with.

      Now of course this may be a politically motivated witch hunt, I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)

      So you might be wondering what the original research that Mann did cost the university? Answer: under $500,000. So with this latest round of litigation, the Attorney General -- who is championing this effort under the guise of protecting tax payer dollars -- will force the state of Virginia to pay up again.

      I have to disagree with your logic. OK, so the Slashdot consensus is that Mann is on the right side of things and this is a witch hunt. Suppose that he wasn't, though. Should the AG ignore the matter just because it might be expensive to prosecute or defend against? And what if there was a hive of scum and villainy that the AG was trying to browbeat into legality by setting an example against one particular actor - surely that's justifiable up to a point?

      Don't interpret this to mean that I'm supporting the

  • Forget something? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday October 08, 2010 @08:53AM (#33834834) Journal
    Link to M. Mann's blog [realclimate.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...the Bad Astronomer is a complete badass and needs to have a bronze statue of himself placed in front of every educational institution across the country. Wearing a cape, and a bazooka, but loaded with knowledge instead of rockets.
  • Professional Conduct (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:13AM (#33834940) Journal

    Here's Rule 3.1 of Virginia's Rules of Professional Conduct:

    ADVOCATE
    RULE 3.1 Meritorious Claims And Contentions
    A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis for
    doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of
    existing law
    . A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that could
    result in incarceration, may nevertheless so defend the proceeding as to require that every element of the case be
    established.

    (emphasis mine)

    Let's hope the judge, knowing Cuccinelli's previous attempt was unfounded and this being a wild fishing expedition, would actually enforce the rules and sanction him with the State Bar association.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Maybe he'll get disbarred, I mean it did happen to Thompson and Nifong, this is sort of like watching the world's slowest train wreck.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:16AM (#33834952)
    STATS, 2007 (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change [wikipedia.org] )

    In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. The survey found 97% agreed that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years; 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; and 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.[98] [99]

    Any questions?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Any questions?

      1. What turned you into an evil, anti-god, pinko communist?
      2. Why do you hate our economy so much?
      3. Why can't you understand that the biosphere should just pull itself up by its own bootstraps?

      • by digitaldc (879047) *
        1. The Sentinels
        2. It's not 'ours' any more, it belongs the the global community
        3. Oh it will, but we will be extinct by then
    • by Frequency Domain (601421) on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:00AM (#33835358)

      As much as I personally agree with the finding of human-induced global warming, your statistics only show what people who work in the field believe, not what ground truth is. If you surveyed the members of a homeopathic society they would probably believe in overwhelming numbers that homeopathy works, but that doesn't constitute proof that it does. Ditto for astrology.

      The strength of science is its openness, but the drawback is that understanding it takes more work than most people are willing to invest. From my perspective, who is better equipped to deal with scientific questions than somebody who has spent their whole life studying those questions? On the other hand, people who don't like the answers can always claim that the scientists have a vested interest in certain answers, or have bought into group think. And sometimes that's true, as with homeopaths and astrologers. The scientific method deals with this - it's perfectly okay to question anything as long as you're willing to use data and evidence to judge the validity. However, the religious right and other anti-intellectuals have learned to use this to their advantage by doing the questioning but ignoring the validation side.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by danbert8 (1024253)

        It's really hard to do validation without the source data... Also, it's really hard to do validation on extrapolations done by computer models. In addition, it's really hard to do validation on climate (which changes on a scale of 10s of thousands of years) with a few hundred years of decent data and only about 100 of good data.

        That's why science is based on experiments that are repeatable, not on computer models. I wouldn't believe in nuclear power either if we didn't have several examples of working re

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NeutronCowboy (896098)

          I wouldn't believe in nuclear power either if we didn't have several examples of working reactors.

          Thank god Einstein, Fermi, Szilard and Co believed in math and science enough to not need working reactors.

          Newsflash: EVERYTHING is a mathematical model. Some theories are based on algebraic equations, some on non-linear equations, some on a set of iterative equations, but they are all "just" equations that model reality.

          Computer models are just a fancy way of doing the same calculations that would be done by hand otherwise.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mpe (36238)
          It's really hard to do validation without the source data...

          Which interestingly climate "scientists" are reluctant to make available.

          Also, it's really hard to do validation on extrapolations done by computer models.

          Without knowing exactly what the program does (which can require more than just the source code) you can't really tell much.

          In addition, it's really hard to do validation on climate (which changes on a scale of 10s of thousands of years) with a few hundred years of decent data and only abo
    • by TimSSG (1068536)
      One, Is human cause warming more than 50% of the cause of warming?

      Tim S.
    • by tmosley (996283)
      Yes, what do the other 3%, 16%, and 26% think?

      Also, I would like to know by what mechanism carbon dioxide increases the heat retention of the atmosphere, from a physics and/or physical chemistry perspective. I ask this because when I made the calculations, I found that the heat capacity of carbon dioxide is actually BELOW the average of other atmospheric gasses, and significantly below the average when you take water vapor into account. Indeed, the variation in humidity on the surface of the Earth seem
      • While you are one of the most reasonable people I've been reading 'on the other side', it's not about heat retention (the atmosphere doesn't conduct to space). It's about radiation to space. Carbon dioxide is reasonably good at absorbing radiation and re-radiating back to the ground, called the greenhouse effect [wikipedia.org].

        Water vapour is a much better greenhouse gas, but water doesn't get 'locked up' in great quantities for long periods of time. Carbon (dioxide) does, and the problem is the rate at which we're rel
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday October 08, 2010 @11:32AM (#33836458)

      Why the appeal to consensus? This is something I see all the time when it comes to global warming, and it is something that sets off a warning bell. The reasons is that, as Feynman noted, consensus is what salesmen and charlatans use. "4 out of 5 dentists agree that using toothpaste X results in less cavities." Well that is marketing, not science, and in fact doesn't mean much. While it might mean that 20% of dentists are dumb, it might mean to opposite: It might mean 80% of dentists are basing their opinion on something other than the pure facts, while the top 20%, those around a standard deviation or more above the mean, evaluated the facts and found that type of toothpaste was irrelevant.

      Good science arguments are not what percentage of people think something they are, well, science. They are the theories, and the facts that back up those theories. In particular they are all the things you've done to try and prove the theory wrong that have failed. A strong theory is strong when you've tried to find alternative explanations and they fail. You have a theory that says X causes Y, and there's evidence that X and Y are found in close proximity. Good start. Then you say "Well Z is found a lot too, what if it is actually Z that causes Y?" So you tests and you find evidence that no, Z doesn't cause Y. You also say "Well maybe there is another factor A, that we haven't seen yet, that actually causes both X and Y," so you search for that, but no evidence of A is found. Each time you do this, each time you come up with an alternate theory (a sane, logical theory) that would fit the evidence, and you test it and it turns out to be wrong, you are more sure you are right with your theory.

      Basically you keep trying to falsify your theory, keep trying to prove it wrong. The more times you fail to prove it wrong, the more likely it is right. You try alternate explanations, and when yours is the only one that fits, well that means good chance it is the right one.

      So I am given to wonder why so often this theory is sold in terms of percentage of believers. It really does seem like it is being sold like a product, or a political process. "Well enough people have voted this is right, so that's the situation. Can't argue, we have a consensus." While that doesn't make it wrong, it sure does set off a warning bell. So why is it done that way?

      Please note before you go off on me, I am deliberately not stating my views on the matter of global warming. Don't think you can correctly infer them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IICV (652597)

        So I am given to wonder why so often this theory is sold in terms of percentage of believers. It really does seem like it is being sold like a product, or a political process. "Well enough people have voted this is right, so that's the situation. Can't argue, we have a consensus." While that doesn't make it wrong, it sure does set off a warning bell. So why is it done that way?

        Because the vast majority of people are morons, and wouldn't understand the science if it was bashed over their heads. In fact a lar

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jwhitener (198343)

        Well, I'll answer with just my opinion on why I trust a scientific consensus:

        I trust that the scientific method has become more objective and accurate over time and that scientific knowledge is moving towards truth on average. References to old scientific paradigm shifts like flat-earth, or earth-centric universe do not apply. That was not an age of real science like we are in now. I guess I'm trying to say that I believe the scientific method to currently be our best process for discovering fact. If a

  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:16AM (#33834954)

    I wasn't sure what the heck this article was talking about, so I had to read the start of TFA.

    So, the Virginia Attorney General is trying to pull in records related to a climate researcher to demonstrate that he has "fraudulently" used his grant money to arrive at conclusions the AG doesn't like, but other scientists agree with his basic methodology?

    WTF is an Attorney General doing investigating scientists. He's not qualified, and it's not within his mandate.

    Am I missing something? The 50's called, they want their McCarthyism back.

    This whole story reads like a witch hunt -- America, you are in decline, and about two elections from being ran by drooling idealogues with no interest in facts. Between the Tea Party and the Social Conservatives, you are being controlled by people who are too fucking stupid to do anything but shout louder than anybody they disagree with.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:22AM (#33835012)

      Rub it in why don't you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Bullies like to beat up nerds when the nerds get attention. That hasn't changed since the '50s.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MotorMachineMercenar (124135) on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:45AM (#33835214)

      That was a poor write-up even by /. standards. I tried to parse it, and for a second thought this had something to do with movies since it mentioned Michael Mann. There was no indication other than glaciologist and the picture of earth this might have something to do with whatever the current term for global warming is.

      Why, oh why, do I even bother coming here anymore.

    • I wasn't sure what the heck this article was talking about, so I had to read the start of TFA.

      You weren't sure? Hell, I thought the article was about Michael Mann, as in the Michael Mann who directed Miami Vice. That's from someone who takes pride in keeping abreast of current events.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Investigating and misuse of government grant money is perfectly within his mandate.

      Of course doing so when there is no indication of such misuse and a previous investigation yielded nothing is stepping out of the bounds.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tmosley (996283)
      Uhhh, I hate to tell you, but those people aren't in power.
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Friday October 08, 2010 @09:48AM (#33835230) Homepage

    The man's a brilliant lawyer. I've read a number of opinions he offered as AG. They are uniformly well argued, even when I wish the conclusions were otherwise. Worse, from the perspective of those who support Mann, Cuccinelli thoroughly analyzes the relevant law and doesn't misinterpret it to fit his preconceptions. Unlike former Virginia AG's, I didn't find a single example where I said, "No, that's obviously not what the law you just quoted means."

    If Mann cut any corners, Cuccinelli will crucify him.

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:34AM (#33835664)

      The man's a brilliant lawyer. I've read a number of opinions he offered as AG. They are uniformly well argued, even when I wish the conclusions were otherwise. Worse, from the perspective of those who support Mann, Cuccinelli thoroughly analyzes the relevant law and doesn't misinterpret it to fit his preconceptions. Unlike former Virginia AG's, I didn't find a single example where I said, "No, that's obviously not what the law you just quoted means."

      If Mann cut any corners, Cuccinelli will crucify him.

      Of course if you read TFS you'd have an example of a much more qualified person than you, Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. of the Albemarle County Circuit Court, saying, "No, that's obviously not what the law you just quoted means" about this specific case!

    • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:50AM (#33835828) Journal
      "Cuccinelli thoroughly analyzes the relevant law and doesn't misinterpret it to fit his preconceptions."

      Cuccinelli claims on page 28 of the subpoena [washingtonpost.com] that since Mann used the word “community” in a blog post, he must be using “Post Normal” jargon, and that might be “misleading/fraudulent” in the context of a grant application. Now if that's not making a pretzelised interpretation of the law I don't know what is.

      Given a fair judge, I cannot see any possibility of Cuccinelli nailing Mann to a cross while simultaneously grasping at such tenuous straws.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:56AM (#33835916)

      Unfortunately for Mann the new case hinges on an issue of fact - the statistical validity of the analysis - that lies deep in Mann's territory. He has to demonstrate fraud on Mann's part, as fundimental requisite of the statute this brilliant lawyer somehow forgot when he filed his first case. There's years of evidence and hundreds of researchers, going back to the original peer review, which have viewed it as being made in good will. What's the plan here? Hire some pseuds and try to bullshit the audience into believing Mann's stats were not bad, but deliberately cooked? It's nonsense.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday October 08, 2010 @10:16AM (#33835456)

    This situation is becoming increasingly dire as we see prosecutors and AGs abuse their position by using the weight of their office against their political opponents. As most are elected positions, it is expected to see their personal motivations in which cases they pursue more vigoursly. However the 'fair' amount you would expect would be measured in slight percentage shifts in caseloads (10% more of this type of case prosecuted under so and so vs the previous AG).

    However, this is a serious problem as we now have people with the weight of the state at their disposal (and therefore effectively unlimited time and money). I've long had issue with the fact that the state can weild disproportionate power in our legal system. My issue stems from the fact that our system is an adversarial system. It works well when both opponents are equally matched in capability and means, but when you allow the state side to fund their case in volumes orders of magnitude greater than what their opponent could expect to literally earn in their lifetime, it breaks and it doesn't fail gracefully like a pair of shoes wearing out, it fails like shattering a plate glass window with your bare hand.

    Back on the main topic of prosecutors using the state as their personal weapons, these sorts of actions need to be stopped NOW and with sufficient force because this is only going to undermine our legal system and eventually put innocent people's lives in danger.

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      I've long had issue with the fact that the state can weild disproportionate power in our legal system. My issue stems from the fact that our system is an adversarial system. It works well when both opponents are equally matched in capability and means, but when you allow the state side to fund their case in volumes orders of magnitude greater than what their opponent could expect to literally earn in their lifetime, it breaks and it doesn't fail gracefully like a pair of shoes wearing out, it fails like shattering a plate glass window with your bare hand.

      Thinking point: So, you're in favor of abolishing the EPA?

  • The Attorney General's investigation is pursuant to the work of Michael Mann on the "hockey stick" graph (of temperatures over the last millennium). For a detailed presentation of the evidence that the work was probably bogus, see the book Hockey Stick Illusion [amazon.com] by Andrew Montford [wikipedia.org]. There is more than enough evidence to justify investigation of Mann's work. And the attempt by Mann's colleagues to cover up for one of their own is shameful.
    • by flaming error (1041742) on Friday October 08, 2010 @12:07PM (#33837022) Journal

      So you value "evidence that the work was probably bogus" from an Accountant who majored in Chemistry over every professional climate science association on the planet? That the UN IPCC is defrauding the world for the sake of "covering up for one of their own"?

      > There is more than enough evidence to justify investigation of Mann's work
      So investigate it. That's what scientists do, that's what peer review is for. The criminal justice system is for murderers and robbers, not scientists with unpopular conclusions.

      Unless ...

      nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @03:23AM (#33843878)

    In the editorial Mann says even if you ignore his work and the whole field of paleoclimate it doesn't change the climatologists conclusions on global warming. [washingtonpost.com]

    So Mann doesn't really matter that much, he's just a convenient boogy man that people have heard about.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.

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