Crazy Cooch Launches Climate Change "Witch Hunt" at UVA

Monday, May 3, 2010

As many of us warned during 2009, if Ken Cuccinelli were ever elected as Virginia's Attorney General, he would not hesitate to pursue his paranoid, extremist, radical, hateful agenda. Now, he's proving it in spades, on a wide variety of fronts from anti-gay protections to "states' rights" to the supposed unconstitutionality of the federal health insurance "mandate to climate change to an exposed woman's breast to the Confederacy name it. In short, Cooch is flailing around and lashing out on pretty much everything, from "soup to nuts" (emphasis on "nuts").  In the process, he is helping to turn Virginia into a national laughing stock.Now, Crazy Cooch's latest move is this insanity.
In papers sent to UVA April 23, 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.
Wow, even for Cooch this is off the deep end.  I mean, does Cooch really expect he's going to find some "smoking gun" here that disproves the science of climate change, about which there is both overwhelming evidence and overwhelming consensus among climate scientists?  As UVA climate faculty member Howie Epstein says in The Hook article, "I don't really know what they're looking for or expecting to find."Of course, Cuccinelli's latest crusade has nothing to do with serious scientific inquiry or fact finding. Far more likely, what this is all about is: 1) intimidation of scientists and free academic inquiry; 2) serving his masters in the fossil fuel industry (e.g., Massey Energy); and 3) pandering to his ultra-right-wing, climate-change-denying "base," etc. As even "climate skeptic" Chip Knappenberger acknowledges, this is a "witch hunt," plain and simple. It is truly chilling when authorities use their power to intimidate academics against telling the truth.
What's particularly amazing (and infuriating) is that, even as we destroy the Gulf of Mexico thanks to one fossil fuel industry (oil) and trash our planet's overall ecosystem largely via another (coal), Cooch is not only failing to learn his lessons, he's actually doubling down on his ignorance and insanity. What next, is Cooch going to try and bring back the Spanish Inquisition?  Whoops, better not give him any ideas...