Back to the dark ages

On the heels of the Arizona anti-teacher assault, comes this in Virginia (via Thers):

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

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

“Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,” says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

Mann is one of the lead authors of the controversial “hockey stick graph,” which contends that global temperatures have experienced a sudden and unprecedented upward spike.

Does anyone know if the actual Taliban has a position on global warming?

40 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    The Taliban say that as soon as all the furriners leave their country, the earth will stop heating up.

  2. 2
    Jesse says:

    What’s wrong with these people? Go ahead and rail against “gubbbibmint waste” — while asking highly paid people to waste time trying to uncover a “controversy” that, surely, doesn’t exist. Good one.

  3. 3
    Jude says:

    So let me get this straight. Because some people in England wrote nasty e-mails, some of which were stolen, and then those same people were later cleared of any wrongdoing whatsoever, then clearly this means that there’s a greenlight to harass all climate scientists in the USA.


    “Hey, we might find something–anything! Better look at all your shit!”

    And where are the libertarians on this?

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    Oh my. Mann is greatly respected here and I expect a circling of the wagons at Happy Valley. I was talking to a professor at my campus yesterday and he was alluding to a campaign to “get” Mann. This must be what he was talking about. Believe me, there is nothing that will irritate the sleeping Lion more than an attack against one of their own. And other than the engineering department, there is no department Penn Staters are more proud of than their climate scientists.

  5. 5

    Speaking of AZ, I want to link this essay by Desmond Tutu. It was posted at HuffPo, and he said it better than I could have.

    The stupid is really burning my brain now, and it’s not a dry heat at all.

  6. 6
    El Cid says:

    I guess it’s the time for a “Massive Resistance” campaign to a government of liberal outside agitators and against modern society in general.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    Also, they might be even more effective at getting them liberal pointy-headed elite ‘scientists’ to know what’s good for ’em with some pitchforks and torches.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    This is political intimidation at its worst. Congratulations, Mr. Cuccinelli, on joining the ranks of the modern McCarthyites.


  9. 9
    Citizen_X says:

    What “smoking gun that led to Climategate?”There was nothing there! It all added up to some scientists being snarky in their private emails.

    And “seek the return of research money?” Does this idiot Cuccinelli think Mann put all his research funds in a Swiss bank account? It went to pay graduate students’ stipends, purchase computer hardware and software, get satellite data, and about half of it went to keep the university buildings, etc. running. Does he expect each HVAC guy that ever worked in Mann’s building to pay back part of his salary?

  10. 10
    Proper Gander says:

    a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate

    That wasn’t a smoking gun, that was a bunch of whingenuts blowing smoke out of their asses with thunderous sounds.

    Mann’s already been cleared in the Climatehack smear. East Anglia’s CRU was not only cleared, investigators noted that there was nothing approaching a case against them.


  11. 11
    Cerberus says:

    Okay, as a calm collected scientist, I must respectfully ask…

    Does anyone have a 9 Iron so I can brain both the Confederate Loving Governor and whatever dumbass wrote the original article?

    Nicely, mind you. Wouldn’t want to get their stupid on the nice new carpets.

    And I thought the Bush years were McCarthy-tastic.

  12. 12
    MikeTheZ says:

    I need out of this state, like yesterday.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    The safe havens from the stupid are becoming fewer and farther between.

    The right-wing in this country is making the actual Taliban look enlightened and reasonable in comparison. Plus, the Taliban is far, far, away; I cannot see them from my house.

  14. 14
    gbear says:

    Virginia’s not a college state anyway…

  15. 15
    gbear says:


    …waste time trying to uncover a “controversy” that, surely, doesn’t exist.

    Science itself is “controversy”.

  16. 16
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    He’s projecting. Republicans lie about everything these days, so surely everyone else must as well.

  17. 17
    WereBear says:

    I didn’t want to believe it myself, but they actually have discarded the quest of centuries: endeavoring to discover the true nature of reality.

    They just decide what they would like reality to be, and then bully anyone who contradicts it.

    Aided and abetted by soulless corporations who would blow up the earth for a slight uptick in their stock price.

    I don’t want to complain too much; it’s better than hearing Genghis Khan is headed for my village, and the dental anesthesia alone makes me happy about my timeline. But I thought Devo was joking.

    I was wrong.

  18. 18

    I hear Cuccinelli is a Glenn Beck fan and everyone knows that Beck has not yet publicly denied raping a young girl. Now I don’t know if Beck actually committed the crime, and I doubt he did, but some people are saying he did, and he hasn’t denied it yet. Does Cuccinellit think the chief law enforcement officer of VA should be aligned with a man who won’t deny these heinous charges? When will Cuccinelli publicly reject, rebuke, and distance himself from Beck? When?

  19. 19
    Kryptik says:

    We’ve seen this song and dance before.

    This won’t end until Mann is ruined, and another public relations disaster for the Climate Change crowd, victory for ideologues like Cuccinelli, and the post-scandal verdict of ‘There was no THERE there!’ gleefully ignored because hey, the ideologues got what they wanted, who cares about facts after the fact!

    I look forward to the VA State Gov’t attacking medical institutions for not treating homosexuality as a disease, like they just KNOW it is.

  20. 20
    Citizen_X says:

    Sort of a tangent: I am almost starting to believe that these people are more dangerous out of power than when they were in power.

    Not quite, though; I still remember the Bush years.

    Also, what happened to my comment at #9? OBAMA’S SENSORING ME! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!

  21. 21
    eemom says:

    since I live in this fucking state, I will say it again, because it cannot be said often enough: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE DON’T VOTE.

  22. 22
    Derelict says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: You have that wrong: the charge is that Beck actually raped a young BOY.

  23. 23
    Michael says:


    This won’t end until Mann is ruined, and another public relations disaster for the Climate Change crowd, victory for ideologues like Cuccinelli, and the post-scandal verdict of ‘There was no THERE there!’ gleefully ignored because hey, the ideologues got what they wanted, who cares about facts after the fact!

    The likelihood is that they’re going to use their subpoena power to hand everything to Liberty University, Patrick Henry College and Regent U grads to massage and misinterpret, then use those misinterpretations to gin up both civil suits and criminal prosecutions.

    Obama’s big failure in my mind is in not getting started on building those FEMA camps for the internment, re-education or elimination of white Christian conservatives.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    People remember how many fucking fake Whatever-gates were drummed up during the Clinton administrations by right wing billionaire-funded shitbags and then were picked up as serious by the billion dollar media? I.e., ‘Whitewater’?

  25. 25
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    All the comments are struck through! I guess Ken Cuccinelli figured out some weird way of html censorship

  26. 26
    kay says:


    Virginia’s not a college state anyway…

    I think it backfires. He’s a wingnut and a Glenn Beck devotee. The people who put him office, those elusive, low-information “swing voters” aren’t going to know what the hell he’s talking about, or why he’s pursuing this.
    “A conspiracy….to what?”
    Remember the Birther billboards? Where the Birther lunatics didn’t realize they had to explain? No one knew what they meant by “where’s the birth certificate?”

  27. 27
    Sloegin says:

    If Cuccinelli fails in finding a smoking gun in his wingnutty legal quest, can the people of Virginia seek the return of all the legal fees, and trebled damages from the AG?

    Since it’s public money, ya know…

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I have to think that this is the kind of bullshit Bob McDonnell was trying very hard to run away from in the gubernatorial election, and he’s probably displeased, because he wants to project calm managerial moderation, and meanwhile he’s got an AG behind him acting out that Insane Clown Posse video.

  29. 29
    Americanadian says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: He’s trying to choke off communications to and from WV before McDonnell launches the reconquest next week.

  30. 30
    Bullsmith says:

    America has always been at war with Educationa.

  31. 31
    meander says:

    “trebled damages”

    I’m trying to image how on earth there could be “damages” in this situation, and it’s pretty hard in the reality-based world. But if I go to Greater Cuccinellistan, I can think of a number of damage scenarios: excess defense or medical spending because the money was spent on science instead of a bold initiative of publicly-funded prayers for peace and health; lost profits for coal companies because of any talk about climate change; pain and suffering for the young generation who were forced to worry about potentially devastating climate changes; and so on.

  32. 32
    Martian Buddy says:

    Yeah, that’s a great way to attract scientific jobs to your state; have a witchhunt “investigation” when they produce results you don’t like.

  33. 33
    Redshift says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I disagree, McDonnell is in office now and can’t run for re-election. Projecting calm moderation was just for the purpose of hiding his wingnut nature during the campaign. McDonnell is busy doing things like changing the rules so police chaplains can explicitly invoke Jesus instead of having nonsectarian prayers; he probably appreciates having Cuccinelli make him look reasonable by comparison while he does his part to turn the state into East Wingnuttistan.

  34. 34
    Ella in NM says:

    UVA is too good a school to allow this witchhunt to take place, or it’ll ruin them for generations to come.

    If UVA is smart, they’re filing the requests for injunction right now. There’s a whole lotta research there that could be subject to the whims of whatever political party gets into the AG’s office, and this kinda stuff would so interfere with academic freedom that their school would become a pariah for future researchers and students. I know lots of bright young PhD candidates who would take their education and careers elsewhere if UVA allows a climate of fear to take hold.

    It’s in their financial interest to shut this down, before a precedent is set where the State Attorney General is allowed to act like the fucking Grand Inquisitor.

  35. 35
    Redshift says:

    @meander: The wingnut article of faith here is that Mann was engaged in “fraudulent research” (because “everyone knows” the so-called hockey-stick graph has been “disproven”), so any money he got from the state is “damages.”

  36. 36
    mclaren says:


    We got your witch-burning right here, you betcha!

  37. 37
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Redshift: Perhaps, but my sense is that McDonnell has his eye on higher things: he’s pro-business and pro-Jesus but would rather continue to conceal all his other wingnuttery. I see him as attempting to renew the George W. Bush method of reconciling the old-line Republicans with Big Jesus, while making noises about compassion, in an attempt to distinguish himself from the hardliners in his own party. There’s an opening right now for the media’s favorite Republican, and I think he’d like to fill it. Anti-science and pro-Confederate stuff doesn’t help in that regard.

  38. 38
    Quiddity says:

    I saw that story being teased at FOXNation (where I check out the latest insanity), but from the head/tagline, it looked like a “research scientist” was in trouble for a real crime, like robbery or something. So I passed it up.

    Now it turns out that his crime was doing his work.

    If you read the full story, you see that it’s a pure fishing expedition.

    Republican slogan:

    We’re coming to your place to riffle through your file cabinets, dresser drawers, computer, and anything else we want to look at.

  39. 39
    Redshift says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah, but note that the pro-Confederate proclamation was McDonnell’s, not Cuccinelli’s. I agree that McDonnell is ambitious, but I disagree that he isn’t also trying to push as much of the wingnut agenda as he can without destroying his image. His strongest political skill is clearly the media snow-job, and while that’s enough during a political campaign, it doesn’t seem to be sufficient to avoid embarrassing mistakes once in office.

    For example, he fought off the brouhaha over his thesis, where he clearly stated that it was bad as a matter of government policy to support women working outside the home, “fornicators,” etc., by saying “look, I have daughters who work! And I’ve never personally discriminated against anyone!” To you or I, this is the classic conservative trope of advocating something for thee that of course shouldn’t apply to me (or anyone I know personally.) But the political media took it to mean “oh, of course he doesn’t really think that.”

    Once he was in office, he tried to do a similar thing by changing the executive order to allow LBGT discrimination in hiring, and following up with a non-binding directive saying “of course, nobody should do that,” and it didn’t work as well. It started to establish a pattern, which has established a narrative that allows subsequent incidents to break into the news bubble.

    To make a long story short, I don’t think he’s a Romney who will change his beliefs as necessary, or a Bush who will convince the fundamentalists that he supports them while not giving a fig for anyone but himself. I think the tension is that McDonnell is an ambitious true believer who is willing to lie about his beliefs to advance, but also doesn’t want to miss out on imposing his beliefs at this level if he doesn’t succeed in advancing.

    So far, he doesn’t seem to be very good at balancing that tension. Virginia’s best hope for the next four years is that that continues.

  40. 40
    KRK says:


    I see what you did there, Ian.

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