3.20.2007

Another NASA Jackass

For the last few years this jackass has been at the vanguard of those alleging that the Bush administration is waging a “war on science” by “stifling” views on climate change counter to their own. He accused the Bush administration of threatening him through mysterious back channels and forcing NASA to deny him access to the media*:

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the
University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that
government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for
Senator John Kerry.

[…]

He said he was particularly
incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not
through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

[…]

After that speech and the release of data by Dr.
Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a
century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned
public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would
be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr.
Hansen said in interviews.

He also compared the White House to a “propaganda office” and said "It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States."

Inconvenient to this conspiracy narrative was a revelation yesterday that during the time period where Dr. Hansen alleges being “muzzled” he participated in over 1,400 (!!!) on the job interviews and that the real reason he was denied permission to give an interview to NPR (the only documented “muzzling” – he proceeded to give 15 more interviews later that month) was that NASA was sick of him giving interviews all the time without following procedure rather than doing his job.

Mr. Deutsch, who was 23 at the time, said Mr. Hansen was prohibited from doing
the interview because of his prior refusal to notify NASA officials when he was
granting interviews, not for political reasons.
Citing
what he called his "constitutional right" to give interviews, Mr. Hansen
admitted violating NASA's press policy but defended his actions.

*Note how the NYTimes never questions Hansen’s version of events and treats them as fact despite there being no known evidence to support the allegations. In addition, prior to this article he was a paid advisor to Gore’s Inconvenient Truth and was given $250,000 by Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Heinz foundation. Nothing to see here…

3 comments:

Ben said...

I agree with Glenn Reynolds when he says, "my own position is that it doesn't matter much in terms of policy. We should be trying to mimimize the burning of fossil fuels regardless of whether it's a cause of global warming or not. The rather patent hucksterism -- and outright bullying -- of some global warming advocates, though, will probably hurt that cause more than help it over the longer term."

He also links to an interesting NY Times article; "From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype".
I think the goal of reducing or eliminating that which we befoul the air with, is terrific. But let't be reasonable about it. Gore's argument seems to be that being reasonable takes too much time, and we don't have time. That's his opinion based on his survey of the information and he's certainly entitled to it. But there's also a lively debate over the "nuances and distinctions" that Gore aludes to, only he's made up his mind regardless of the scientific community. One climatologist in support of Gore "questioned whether his presentations were 'overselling our certainty about knowing the future.'" I have very little patience for willingly stretching the truth or sanctimony, and Al has been guilty on both counts. I'm glad he's raised awareness, so some degree, but I'd be happier still if he'd shut up and leave the rest to science and industry, since they're the ones who will have to sort this out anyhow.

Andrew said...

Well as I posted below, I'm inclined to believe that the whole global warming thing hit it's peak about a year ago. 1.) Because the number of scientists who disagree with Gore's point of view is increasing and 2.) because Hollywood has embraced the cause. Entertainment celebrities may have been trend setters 50 years ago when the movie/TV medium was still young and they were not viewed as endorsement vehicles but now as part of a very mature industry what passes as principled activism is more likely to be the result of a marketing strategy or intellectual and psychological deficiencies; a total lack of education in the physical sciences and economics and guilt over the perception of getting vastly overpaid for the services they provide (for the record I'm A-ok with Adam Sandler making $20 mil a movie). So instead of being the tip of the hip-culture spear they seem to be sheep to any prevailing trend; a lagging rather than leading indicator to the national zeitgeist. In a few years I'm pretty sure there will be a different cause celebre that is sure to piss me off. Asteroids....

However what concerns me is that based on the Gore's testimony last week the democratic leadership doesn't share this opinion. They clearly seem to agree with Gore's comparisons of the needed response to climate change to the WWII war effort and that a similar, total reorientation of the US economy is needed. One hopes that they remain as feckless in accomplishing their environmental objectives as they have been in ending the war. Though if the composition of the house and Senate remains as it is currently and Obama gets elected things could change dramatically. Connie Mae, Electra-net....oh I need to move to Australia.

Andrew said...

Just to give an idea of how superficial Gore’s understanding is of the subjects he feigns authority on take a gander the article ( Electra-net -- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16127831/site/newsweek) I cited above. The central rhetorical gimmick of the article, that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” is composed of the symbols of “danger” and “opportunity”, is little more than new age cliché (www.pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html). Any college freshman would (hopefully) get a hatchet job if they made such bunk the thesis of a paper yet Newsweek and the rest of the media keeps giving the Goricle a passing grade for his courage and perspicacity.