Academic Freedom My A**

There has been a lot of talk about academic freedom lately. Most of that talk has centered on a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) sent to the University of Virginia regarding various records of a former professor, Michael Mann. The CID is part of an investigative process enabled by the Virginia Fraud against Taxpayers Act. This act was passed unanimously by the General Assembly in 2002. The act authorizes the Virginia Attorney General to investigate fraud against taxpayers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The statute applies to people and organizations receiving public monies. It does not exempt professors, researchers, universities or girl scout troops from its scope. A copy of the actual law can be found here.

Mr. Cuccinelli submitted his CID to UVa based on five taxpayer funded grants totaling approximately $500,000. A copy of the CID can be found here.

The predictable and widely-reported response of the liberal and academic communities regarding this CID has been a mixture of screeching and high volume whining about “academic freedom”. The academics and their liberal friends outside of academia maintain that academic research represents some sort of sacred endeavor which should be immune to the normal scrutiny of the use of public funds applied to all other uses of public funds. They say this is to protect the independence of academic research which should never be twisted by politics.

Unfortunately, UVa’s actions prove that the cries of “academic freedom” are only another dose of pap from the fops and dandies who infest American universities.

Here is the timeline of the University of Virginia’s “heroic” defense of “academic freedom”:

1. Dec. 13, 2009 – Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) requests e-mails and other documents involving Michael Mann (a global warming alarmist) under the Freedom of Information Act.

2. Dec. 17, 2009 – Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Carolyn Wood tells Marshall, “The University does not have any e-mail data for Mr. Mann. When Mr. Mann moved to Penn State his e-mail account was terminated and all data was later deleted.”.

3. Dec. 17, 2009 – Greenpeace requests e-mails and other documents regarding the research of former UVa climatology researcher Patrick Michaels (a global warming semi-sceptic) under the Freedom of Information Act.

4. Date unknown – The University of Virginia tells Dr. Michaels that it intends to comply with the Greenpeace request. Greenpeace is reportedly waiting for word from UVa regarding the costs of duplicating Mr. Michaels‘ documents.

5. April 23, 2010 – Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a Civil Investigative Demand with the University of Virginia seeking e-mails and other documents regarding the research of former climatology professor Michael Mann. The CID asked that UVa provide the documents by May 27, 2010.

6. May 19, 2010 – UVa requests a deadline extension until July 26 to comply with the CID.

7. May 27, 2010 – UVa moves to quash the CID in Albemerle County Circuit Court.

I believe that the University of Virginia’s bizarre behavior in this matter highlights the dishonesty and/or incompetence of those who claim to champion “academic freedom”. First, if e-mails from former professors are deleted why is UVa in possession of e-mails from former professor Patrick Michaels? If the e-mails from Michael Mann have been deleted why did UVa ask for an extension to the Attorney General’s CID? If the e-mails from Michael Mann are in UVa’s possession why weren’t they turned over to Del. Marshall? Finally, and most importantly, if “academic freedom” is paramount why would the University of Virginia turn over e-mails from Patrick Michaels to Greenpeace?

It seems that “academic freedom” only applies to academics who practice the liberal religion of insisting that global warming will destroy the world in the very near future. World class researchers like Patrick Michaels believe in global warming, they believe that human activity is the cause of some global warming. They just don’t believe that the demise of the planet is imminent. For that heresy they are abandoned by the champions of intellectual honesty waving their banner of “academic freedom”.

Unsurprisingly, the matter of the Greenpeace FOIA request has received little attention in the MSM. The facts I am quoting in this article come from a podcast with Mr. Michaels, Op-Ed pieces and blogs. In the interests of fairness, I am more than happy to revise this article with new information if credible new information is brought to may attention.


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45 responses to “Academic Freedom My A**”

  1. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Groveton – you are obviously cheating. The audacity of comparing UVA's contradictory behavior with respect to the two FOIA requests for former professors on the same subject – global warming. How dare you?

    I wonder whether Hydra still sees this dog bark as a reaction to "a train whistle in the far distance." How does Mimi answer this one?

    We need a set of laws that apply equally to liberals and to conservatives; to Republicans and to Democrats. If UVA has a policy to destroy email messages once an instructor leaves, why doesn't it apply across the board? Or were they lying to Delegate Marshall and trying to obstruct justice? What sayeth the National Nazi League, aka the American Civil Liberties Union? It looks to me as if UVA and its supporters are playing "heads, I win; tails, you lose." Is that really what we want for government entities in Virginia?

    Larry, do you still trust UVA to engage in a fair screening of the issues?

    TMT

  2. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    as a former system administrator, I can tell you that a lot depends on how long someone has been gone as to how long records are retained.

    Further – most backup systems don't store everything on computers – every day but rather only things that changed on that day – to that day's backups.

    That means a request for old emails may entail looking loading and searching through hundreds of tapes which is where older stuff gets put.

    If you have ever tried to find files on these tape systems, you'll know what a "treat" it is.

    The fact that none of your "sources" has mentioned this is interesting…..

    I'll say this.

    If UVA was stonewalling the FOIAs, it would not be unusual as many Va agencies now engage in this game despite the law and if Cuccinelli REALLY wanted to make his mark – he would lay down a marker on ALL agencies current day practices of actively engaging in ways to evade complying with the law.

    And here's another hint for you.

    The FOIA law in Va has over 100 exemptions including the right to refuse information that they feel MAY be part of a future lawsuit PER the ADVICE of their Counsel.

    However, any Lawsuit – will kick off what is known as "discovery" and you don't need the AG to make that happen.

    You say UVA's behavior is bizarre..

    nope.. their behavior is fairly typical of many Va agencies now days who seek to evade FOIA.

    What's bizarre is the AG's behavior when he COULD have had the same impact by addressing the FOIA weaseling that is going on across Va right now.

    THAT would have been DIRECTLY in the EXPLICIT INTERESTS of the State and it's citizens – AND it would have accomplished the same thing in terms of the FOIA submitted by Marshall and rebuffed.

    Is Cucinelli working in the interests of the citizens of Va?

  3. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "The FOIA law in Va has over 100 exemptions." The Virginia FOIA is a disgrace. It is, indeed, riddled with exceptions for special interests. For example, the law was amended to permit Dulles Transit Partner, including Bechtel, to destroy Dulles Rail documents.

    The AG should study and propose major revisions that make the state FOIA much closer to the federal law.

    TMT

  4. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    I would consider the AG making the FOIA law his crusade would back up his party's complaint that gov should be more transparent and accountable to citizens and fit together perfectly with what McDonnell is a saying and doing with his commissions on PPTA, Transportation and Education.

    and the heck of it is – forcing all Va agencies to better toe the FOIA law would INCLUDE UVA and relieve him of his witch-hunt aura.

    Is Cuccineli that smart?

  5. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    Michale Mann left the University of Virginia sometime in 2005. Patrick Michaels left in the summer of 2007. It is possible that UVA's e-mail retention policy call fro te deletion fo e-mails somwhere between 3 and 5 years. All I can say is that my company is required by law to retain e-mail for 7 years. Maybe this is yet another example of academia being exempt from the laws which apply "to the little people".

    The bigger question remains … why would UVA comply with a Greenpeace FOIA request for documents related to Patrick Michaels?

    Peter says "academic freedom" forbids the release of research documents for political purposes. Can there be any doubt that Greenpeace wants Mr. Michaels' documents for political purposes?

    Larry says there are many ways to foil an FOIA requet. Why isn't UVA using one of those many ways to foil the Greenpeace request?

    As I wrote in the title – Academic Freedom My A**.

  6. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    Also, as a teaser for my next column … Tim Kaine was busy behind the scenes persecuting Mr. Patrick Michaels while he was a research professor at UVA. As can only be expected, the administration at UVA did nothing to protect Mr. Michaels from the clear and obvious persecution by the Kaine Administration.

    Academic Freedom My A**.

  7. Mimi Stratton Avatar
    Mimi Stratton

    I did love Hydra's description of his dog's behavior, and am taking it to heart. Not that I was expecting William F. Buckley, but Groveton's blogging is like fried dough is to nutrition.

  8. Are you just another stable full of hacks? Avatar
    Are you just another stable full of hacks?

    This ad hominem stuff is pretty weak.

    "the fops and dandies who infest American universities"

    There used to be some interesting and thoughtful give and take around here.

  9. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    I don't know UVAs retention policies but it's a major university with a function IT department but having worked for the Feds, I can tell you that trying to maintain a single network with network-wide policies is not the type of failures that folks in the Gov (and I suspect academia) get fired over….

    I know first hand what a mess the backup-tapes can be in some places..though I suspect since NCMI has come online that things are less chaotic (I hope) than before.

    but.. it always makes a convenient excuse for those who want it to be… though… of the 5 responses that can be used by the recipient of a FOIA request, one of them is – that the records no longer exist and/or were accidentally "lost".

    in other words, there's more than one way to skin a cat although an organization like UVA risks big time repercussions if they lie about something like that and an insider whistle-blows them.

    Of course the other problem in Va – generally – is the different ways they respond to FOIA requests – depending on WHO the requester is.

    VDOT is pretty famous for this as are some counties which seem to have exceptionally expensive administrative fees in support of generating FOIA responses.

    I still think, Cuccinelli could cover himself in Conservative government glory and pick up supporters like myself and still get what he wants – under a more legitimate banner.

    I'd let him do a little witch-hunting in exchange for an overall tougher policy on FOIA for all govt.

    give a little.. get a little

    I'm no defender of what UVA is doing.. I'd like to see the AG rip them a new one but I'd like it to be done in such a way that other state agencies also take notice and are properly impressed to attend the revival tent for FOIA religion.

  10. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    Mimi:

    "but Groveton's blogging is like fried dough is to nutrition."

    My e-mail address is Groveton@GMail.Com. Please feel free to send me your best effort at blogging on this issue. I'd be happy to publish it as a guest column.

    Here's a free hint – try to address the issues instead of the author. Perhaps, for example, you could defend UVA's decision to comply with Greenpeace's FOIA request while refusing to comply with Attorney General Cuccinelli's request. Perhaps you could explain when "academic freedom" appies and when it does not.

  11. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    "This ad hominem stuff is pretty weak.

    "the fops and dandies who infest American universities"

    There used to be some interesting and thoughtful give and take around here.".

    Artistic license. A generalized comment, not a specific attack on an individual.

    Since you seem to be something of a connoisseur of ad hominum attacks – I thought you'd like this description of Jim Bacon, et al in a recent comment by Peter G:

    "…but you and other Cooch apologists…".

    It seems that the theory of ad hominum attacks is a lot like the theory of "academic freedom". It only applies in certain circumstances.

  12. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    "I'm no defender of what UVA is doing.. I'd like to see the AG rip them a new one but I'd like it to be done in such a way that other state agencies also take notice and are properly impressed to attend the revival tent for FOIA religion.".

    You and I agree completely. When it comes to government – sunlight is the best disinfectant. That's true whether we are talking about the Pentagon Papers or Cuccinelli's actions. Whether it involves big or small matters, transparency is key to restoring citizen confidence in government.

    Foe example, I believe that both BP and the Obama Administration seriously mishandled the oil spill in the gulf. I was somewhat heartened by BP's decision to put the video of the underwater leak online. I was also somewhat heartened by Obama's press conference last Thursday when he took full responsibility for endingthe spill.

    Admission of accountability is the first step in transparency.

    The oil is still gushing into the gulf but the responsible parties are starting to act … well, responsible.

  13. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    UVA had two global warming doubters — SInger and Michaels — before the flap about Mann. Singer is trotted out by the Fox News people and Michaels works for the ato INstitute. They are still in the debate. My guess is that this makes UVA look rather democratic in its pursuit of scientific research not the "Fops and dandies" or however you characterize them.

    As I tried to explain to Jim Bacon, if an outsider wants to review research they can other go to a library or they can file an FOIA request with the pR department of a public university. Two years ago I spent many hours for richmond.com reviewing secretive contracts Philip MOrris USA had with VCU. VCU had me file an FOIA and gave me some material in a day or so. So this FOIA stuff is a bit of a red herring.It is rather routine.

    CIDs are like subpoenas. They are much more serious than an FOIA request. I used to get subpoonaed a fair amount when I was a young police report for The Virginian-Pilot years ago. Typically, sme lawyer for a criminal defendent would subpoeana me to get me to tell a court what the cops told me about a crime. Usually the newspaper lawyer got them quashed.

    If you are going to go on a tear about the MSM and "liberals" you might want to understand what you are talking about. My guess is that you do not have a legal background and have never worked much with investigative agenices. I have, in a number of countries.

    All the best,

    Peter Galuszka

  14. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    UVA had two global warming doubters — SInger and Michaels — before the flap about Mann. Singer is trotted out by the Fox News people and Michaels works for the ato INstitute. They are still in the debate. My guess is that this makes UVA look rather democratic in its pursuit of scientific research not the "Fops and dandies" or however you characterize them.

    As I tried to explain to Jim Bacon, if an outsider wants to review research they can other go to a library or they can file an FOIA request with the pR department of a public university. Two years ago I spent many hours for richmond.com reviewing secretive contracts Philip MOrris USA had with VCU. VCU had me file an FOIA and gave me some material in a day or so. So this FOIA stuff is a bit of a red herring.It is rather routine.

    CIDs are like subpoenas. They are much more serious than an FOIA request. I used to get subpoonaed a fair amount when I was a young police report for The Virginian-Pilot years ago. Typically, sme lawyer for a criminal defendent would subpoeana me to get me to tell a court what the cops told me about a crime. Usually the newspaper lawyer got them quashed.

    If you are going to go on a tear about the MSM and "liberals" you might want to understand what you are talking about. My guess is that you do not have a legal background and have never worked much with investigative agenices. I have, in a number of countries.

    All the best,

    Peter Galuszka

  15. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    Cuccineli is grandstanding for the Tea Pots..

    like I said.. he could make some important contributions to transparency and accountability of govt and get the stuff he wants as a nifty side benefit but he's specifically making this a quest against Global Warming instead of better government for Virginians.

    too bad.

    and Groveton – you know I'm right on this guy.

    Cuccineli has promise – he's made of the right stuff to not be afraid to challenge.

    Now, we needs to direct it in honorable ways.

    A win-win is easily within his reach.

  16. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Peter – you can do better than this. The issue is not who, if anyone, is correct about global warming. It's about whether Mann presented false or misleading information, in connection with grant applications, in violation of state law. It's also about UVA's seemingly inconsistent treatment of FOIA requests, which could be innocent, negligent or constitute unlawful conduct.

    We need one set of rules that apply to everyone. When we do, we should see both Democrats and Republicans bitten in the a*8 from time to time.

    TMT

  17. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    TMT – do you REALLY want government deciding the veracity of scientific literature?

    Who exactly will the govt consult with to determine the "truthfulness" of scientific thought?

    why does this sound like we're back in the middle ages where the govt sought out the heretics and had wise men on their staffs to determine if the scientists were being "truthful"?

    I do not think you want the govt in this role.

    how many "grants" to investigate tsunamis were "misleading" or gained on false pretenses?

    how about the DNA of dog fleas or fly shit?

    do you REALLY want a govt employee to sit down with the scientist to go over his "findings"?

    Don't they do stuff like this in China?

  18. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    http://www.virginia.edu/recordsmanagement/Schedules/GS-111.pdf

    Retention time is 5 years from research grant completion. The older grants Cooch is looking for is past the deadline. Three newer ones expired in 2006.

  19. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    Peter:

    You are too funny. I am constantly answering some subpoena or another. Usually from the US federal government. I have to give depositions, etc. These inquiries never seem to amount to anything. It's just life in the big city. If you work for a big company some government is always on your butt. It's not just journalists and reseachers who have this fun.

    Most recently, I dealt with the EU on an anti-trust matter. Right now, I am dealing with the DoJ.

    You and the guys at UVa need to dry your eyes and move on. A CID is a very lightweight subpoena. UVa needs to provide the documents and get on with business.

    Answering a civil subpeona is not a big deal. I have dealt with many.

  20. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    So far, not a single liberal commentator has said why "academic freedom" is a valid reson to defend the research of Michael Mann but not a valid reason to defend teh research of Patrick Michaels. I've heard a lot of blather but no defense of UVa's position.

    Should UVa comply with the Greenpeace FOIA request for Mr. Micheals' documents or not?

    Should UVa comply with Sel. Marshall's request for Mr. Mann's documents or not?

    If Mr. Mann's documents have been deleted from UVa's records – why is this an issue?

    Simple questions my liberal friends. When will we hear some simple answers?

  21. We need a set of laws that apply equally to liberals and to conservatives; to Republicans and to Democrats.

    You won't get any argument on that from me. Equal protection for everyone.Equal freedom for everyone.

    I guess I don't understand the issue here. This guy applied for a grant and got it. The grant application described what the money was to be used for.

    Is the problem that he used it for something else, or is it that he used it and someone didn't like the results?

  22. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    Groveton – Was it Micheals' scientific work that got him into trouble or the role he assumed as a spokesperson for the State?

    Just like with your company .. when you speak for your own company – are you speaking for your own views ?

    I do not recall the specifics so maybe you do but as I recall it is was the role he assumed as a spokesperson for the State that got him on a collision course, no?

    Was the issue about academic freedom on the "official" view of the state?

    you tell me.

  23. he's specifically making this a quest against Global Warming instead of better government for Virginians.

    It does appear that way. If that is the case, then he is not defending equal protection and equal freedom for everyone.

    I think that is supposed to be his job.

  24. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    I'm not totally clear on the alleged violations either but as I understand them (someone make this more clear) – there are the type of thing that would be possible on a wide variety of grants on a wide variety of scientific inquiry and it just appears that Cuccinelli is focused very narrowly on one guy on one subject.

    He's not making this a case about the general aspect of whether or not the grants process in general is a potential subject of abuse but rather very narrowly targeted to one particular individual.- essentially making him a "person of interest" for… what appears to me to be " unspecified " acts TBD.

    in other words – a fishing expedition against one person on one issue – apparently in retribution for what he and others felt was bad treatment of a fellow scientist.

    but in neither case is it really about academic freedom but rather it feels like a vendetta… under the auspices of the AG office and to some, it's making a mockery of the idea that justice is neutral and apolitical and instead.. just another political weapon in the hands of whoever can use and abuse it.

    You have to ask yourself – what is Cuccinelli's future when this action becomes associated with his politics as a potential leader?

    If he was governor ..would you think he'd be above "using" the AG office to achieve political purposes?

    I think he would.

    Do I want a governor who would operate that way?

    nope.

  25. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    "he's specifically making this a quest against Global Warming instead of better government for Virginians.".

    To me, it's a question of probable cause.

    Well … maybe this is where we disagree. Michael Mann has been "called out" by some of his own fellow reserchers. In one Climategate e-mail a fellow scientist called Mann's manipulation of the data "Mike's nature trick". And the other scientist was a confederate.

    Did Michael Mann doctor the data to create a false sense of urgency regarding global warming? And did he create this false sense of urgency in order to win grants paid for by taxpayer money which he would not have won without the false sense of urgency?

    I honestly don't know the answers to these questions. However, some other researchers seem to have very legitimate questions about what Michael Mann might have done.

    Here is one description of the issue …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs6ofn46xUY&feature=related

    Here is another which is obviously a parody but (in my opinion) very funny…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1na4adCFiLw

    Is there probable cause for Cuccinelli's CID?

    I think so.

  26. Are you just another stable for of hacks? Avatar
    Are you just another stable for of hacks?

    Groveton-

    As far as far as I can see you and Gooze are birds of a feather.

    If any of you guys were serious about policy you'd be debating a legal case on the case law rather than the politics. There are about a million other places to go for that sort of chatter.

  27. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    Groveton – he's potentially GUILTY of… "creating a false sense of urgency"?

    and the proxy for this is whether or not he dotted the "i"s and crossed the "T"s on a grant application?

    and this is the legitimate interests of govt?

    so.. if you get a grant …you can be found guilty of "creating a false sense urgency" with your conclusions?

    how does govt make such a determination?

    how would a jury judge this?

    this sounds more and more along the lines that you must torture someone who is SUSPECTED of terrorism so that he will then confess and then you convict him.

    due process?

    we don't need no stikin due process or habeas corpus when we know dang well they are guilty from the get go – eh?

    shame on you Groveton.

    you've become so frustrated with the tenor of the times that you've taken up with vandals..and vigilantes…

    tsk tsk

    Groveton – who is the guy who did he video?

    what is his background and politics?

    his website seems short on info about him.

    is he a disinterested 3rd party or is he part of the right wing propaganda machine?

  28. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    sai – As I recall, this is a public policy blog, where discussions of law and politics fit. I think both Peter's and Groveton's comments are well-focused for this blog, whether or not I agree with them. It looks to me as if you oppose an open and vigorous debate on public policy, similar to how some don't want courts to be able to review the validity of legislation they like.

    Larry – "TMT – do you REALLY want government deciding the veracity of scientific literature?" Good question. On one level no; but, as a practical matter, governments pass on the validity of scientific research all of the time.

    The proposal by the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases was certainly based on the agency's review of scientific research. Ditto for what we've generally regarded as air pollutants, water pollutants, etc. Other agencies do the same. So do courts to an extent.

    If you wanted to stop construction of a smelter in your community, would you not present some scientific evidence or, at least, references thereto, in your request for government action? Wouldn't you expect the smelter company to present scientific evidence in rebuttal? With contradictory scientific evidence, wouldn't you expect the agency to evaluate the evidence?

    TMT

  29. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    " With contradictory scientific evidence, wouldn't you expect the agency to evaluate the evidence?"

    yes .. in considering an action – an administrative decision and action, but not potential criminal charges against those providing data.

    What the govt does is it decides what it wants to believe on not as part of a decision-making process that can and is modifiable as new/better information becomes known.

    But they are not engaged in sanctions against those who provided their work in support of or opposition to a proposed action.

    How many scientists would submit comments to a proposed action if in doing so they realized that if someone from the state disagreed with their findings that the AG would soon be on their doorsteps demanding emails?

    I cannot for the life of me – understand why you and folks like Groveton don't see the clear danger in this.

    This is the way they do business in China.

    If you are a scientist in China, your research better support the State's official view or else you better keep it to yourself.

    Is this what we want here?

  30. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton and TMT,
    The mental gymnamistics here are ming-boggling.
    First, you are allowing equal weight to be placed on a Greenpeace FOIA request and a state's top attorney general launchng a probe. This is ridiculous.
    Secondly, Kaine ended the largely ceremonial role of Michael as "State Climatologist" which didn't pay a dime, was an honorary title and dated back to the days when the General Assembly handed out phony titles like knighthoods. True Kaine didn't like Michaels stance on global warming, but then so did a lot of people. But Kaine did not launch a civil or criminal probe into Michael.
    Thirdly arouned 800 Virginia scientists and various national organizations see grave danger in Cuccinelli's ploys. ARe they all stupid? Do you hold the magic insight here?

    Peter Galuszka

  31. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry, you don't seem to be willing to acknowledge that some scientists, just like defense contractors, are crooks, who are trying to bilk the taxpayer by submitting false or misleading information to obtain funding. No one is saying that an academic cannot research whatever he/she wants or come to whatever conclusions that can be supported.

    If we have a rule that anything goes in academia, then anything will go in academia. If it is acceptable for a professor allegedly to falsify climate change data to get funding, it invites another scientist to falsify data about mine safety, water quality, medicine for infants, etc. And don't think it won't happen.

    Either we draw a ring around college scientists that says "no outside accountability" or we don't. Did Mann submit false or misleading data in an attempt to get funding?

    TMT

  32. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    TMT – no guy.. I'm just saying when did we start launching probes into it?

    You know me.

    I am all for transparency and accountability.

    but using excuses to go after one guy out of potentially dozens, hundreds at this point in time when it was never done prior and even now it's about one guy in one scientific field ..

    that's not justice TMT

    that's a vendetta

    this actually HARMS the cause of justice.

    this is sending a clear message that Justice is 'political'.

    What is Kaine had launched a similar probe into Michael's affairs?

    would you have considered that as also appropriate "accountability"?

    I'm for justice and fair treatment as well as transparency and accountability.

    If we are going to investigate these scientific grants – ( a very bad idea).. let's do it – without regard to who the scientists are or what views they hold.

    What this AG is doing is a pretext.. if he actually launched a state-wide probe of university grant practices – how do you think it would be received?

    What evidence would the AG give as justification for his probe?

    Would it be sufficient to say that " we know questionable stuff in going on"?

    What if he launched a probe of NoVa Defense Contractors on that same basis?

    can't you see that what this guy is doing is corrupt?

  33. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    "But Kaine did not launch a civil or criminal probe into Michael.".

    Actually, what Tim Kaine did was force Patrick Michales to sign a conflict of interest form which he had never had to sign in the many previous years he had worked at UVA. As a researcher, Mr. Michales did not "move money". The provost's office agreed that Mr. Michaels should not have been on the "conflict of interest list". However, the heroic defenders of "academic freedom" at UVa decided not to intefere in Kaine's transparent attempt to run Mr. Michaels out of UVa.

    Here is a very good podcast with Mr. Michaels (if you have problems downloading it, try visiting http://www.tertiumquids.com):

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tertiumquids.com%2FPodcast%25205-15-10%2520Patrick%2520Michaels.mp3&h=b843a

  34. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    As for Greenpeace … one must assume that they will do anything and everything possible to destroy Mr. Michael's reputation and standing. They have proven willing to violate maritime law and risk human life in their zealous pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet.

    Mr. Cuccinelli is a duly elected official. He is constrained by several layers of independent judiciary organizations – for example, the Albemerle County Circuit Court. Unlike Greenpeace, I have never heard anybody accuse him of breaking the law.

    If UVa really believed in "academic freedom" they would have refused to participate in the Greenpeace FOIA request. They would have also referred the CID to the independent circuit court for a ruling.

    Instead, they protected the climate alarmist and threw he semi-sceptic to the wolves.

    Academic freedom my a**.

  35. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    what happened to Michaels was not about his scientific views but about his role with the state and how that role was perceived and used.

    and Groveton – you persist in citing clearly biased websites as "objective" sources.

    I keep asking.. was Michaels problems due to his scientific views or how he promoted those views in his state role?

    Was he investigated as a UVA scientist? Did the state seek to see his emails and his grant applications ?

    folks persist in twisting and turning the facts to suit their views.

    that's not very honest in my view.

    why should I believe anything else if objectivity is going to be the first casualty?

    I really don't care about either of these guys.

    but I do know when you speak in a role that represents some entity that you're treading on squishy ground when you commingle personal or professional views that may not be congruent with the views of the entity you represent.

    that's quite different than the state going after you and your research for your conclusions or even worse – how you arrived at your conclusions.

    The University, I'm quite sure has standards for published works and their credibility in the scientific community.

    Is that the appropriate authority for making such determinations?

    Should we change it from the University to some State office associated with the AG function?

  36. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    re: Greenspeace

    what a load of poppycock and horse manure.

    are there not any right wing equivalents to Greenspeace that could make the same requests?

    do I care if the requester is Greenspeace or Faux News ?

    Nope.

    Why would the state investigate Mann but not also Michaels?

  37. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    "Why would the state investigate Mann but not also Michaels?"

    Why did Penn State investigate Mann?

    Becuase there were some very worrisome comments in the e-mails from Mr. Mann which were hacked in the East Anglia case.

    Additionally, my understanding is that Mr. Michales did not manage grants. At least that's what he said in the interview on the podcast I cited. Hopefully, you listened to Mr. Michaels describe what happened to him at UVa.

    1. He was not reappointed to his research position by UVa. No reason was given. He was told that he was a world class researcher. His position was not tenured but the three year reviews were conducted "with a strong presumption of continued employment.". He was also told that his book criticizing the tenure process was causing problems.

    2. The Kaine Administration "cooked up" reasons for Michaels to be put on the "conflict of interest" list at UVa despite the fact that Michaels had worked for years without being on the list. The provost at UVa told Mr. Michaels that he shouldn't be on the list. But UVa was unwilling to defend Mr. Michaels so he stayed on the list.

    3. UVa quickly agreed to comply with a Greenpeace FOIA request for information concerning Mr. Michaels. However, they told Del. Marshall that they had deledted the relevent information he requested, in an FOIA procedure, regarding Mr. Mann. If the documents have been deleted I wonder why they just don't say that to Cuccinelli. You can't squeeze blood from a stone. If the documents are gone forever this matter should be over. But it's not. What's the real story?

    4. UVa will go to court to protect the documents surrounding Mr. Mann. Mr. Mann has already raised enough suspicion to be investigated by his current employer – Penn State.

    Let me take a few guesses about what's going on here (and, I stress, they are guesses):

    1. UVa and the Kaine Admimistration ran Mr. Michaels out of his job because they did not like his conclusions about the dangers of global warming.

    2. UVa is willing to easily comply with the Greenpeace FOIA request because they do not like Mr. Michaels' conclusions about the dangers of global warming.

    3. UVa lied in response to Del. Marshall's FOIA request. They lied because there are some questionable statements made in Mr. Mann's e-mails and UVa likes the conclusions of Mr. Mann regading global warming.

    4. UVa cannot easily lie in response to a CID. Lying in response to a CID might get someone sent to jail. So, they will go to court instead. Anything to keep the documents relating to Mr. Mann out of the public domain. Why? Because UVa likes the conslusions reached by Mr. Mann.

    If UVa really practiced "academic freedom" they would have resisted the Kaine Administration's efforts to push Mr. Michaels out of his long term position. They would have resisted the Greenpeace FOIA request just like they resisted the Marshall FOIA request.

    UVa believes that all academic research is created equal and must be protected. It's just that some research is more equal and must be more protected.

    Academic freedom my A**.

  38. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    Academic Freedom my A__ should be renamed to be "How to defy your employer and then cry that they whacked you"

    because that is really what this is about.

    If Mann had done the same – tried to push his own professional/personal views into his state role – the end result would have been the same.

    It's not his free speech that got him into trouble.

    It was his provocative act to defy his employer.

    He did what he wanted and he suffered the usual response.

    Whether or not his personal/professional view was more "correct" that the state's preferred version is not much different than if you worked for a corporation and your own views different from the Corporate view.

    Making this about "free speech" or "academic speech" is laughable but a standard practice these days of those on the right.

    the same folks who say that "free speech" gives one the right to pray to God at govt functions.

    Same Church – different pew.

  39. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,

    "Why did Penn State investigate Mann?

    Becuase there were some very worrisome comments in the e-mails from Mr. Mann which were hacked in the East Anglia case."

    Please do me a favor. Explain exactly what these emails were, what they said and why they are so damning.
    Txs.
    Peter Galuszka

  40. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    I agree.. let's see those emails Mr. Prosecuter… surely the ones that got the AG spun up should be available for each of us to make up our own minds on the issue – right?

    gawd forbid that Groveton would make up his mind NOT having seen the offending emails and basically did so by listening to the Glen Beck types….

    ball is in your court – Grovteon.

  41. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Because a Greenpeace FOIA request is JUST LIKE a CID from the attorney-general of the Commonwealth?

    Riiiiiight.

    Oh, and hacking emails is … what, good if it gets the result you want?

    By the way it didnt – the East Anglia matter was found not to have changed the widespread consensus on climate change one whit.

    *Yawn*

  42. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    that's not very honest in my view.

    why should I believe anything else if objectivity is going to be the first casualty?

    Umm, you mean like the value of cleaning up/preventing environmental damage?

    RH

  43. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    that may not be congruent with the views of the entity you represent.

    So, if te entity you represent is paying and supporting you to promote one view, and you spend their money doing something else or deliberately doing it badly, then what you are doing is dishonest.

    But, if you then go home and use your own money to publsh a blog or newsleter that discredits the position you have been working for and diavows your personal support for it, then that is not dishonest.

    The entity you work for may not like it but but their have their speech rights and you have yours.

    You just may not have a job.

    —————————–

    Cuccinelli is pursing the wasteful or fraudulent use of state funds. It so happens (by pure chance of course) that he gets to pick a case that involves one of his personal pet peeves.

    If you use your car partly for business use and partly for private use you have to report the usage separately: if Cucinelli is using state moneny to further his own private gains, then he is guiltyof the same crime he is accusing the professor of.

    Cuccinelli could have avoided (some of) this problem by appointing a special prosecutor and giving him full authority to pursue the case or not.

    RH

  44. Larry G Avatar
    Larry G

    " So, if te entity you represent is paying and supporting you to promote one view, and you spend their money doing something else or deliberately doing it badly, then what you are doing is dishonest."

    No.

    Dishonest, is when one portrays the above situation as one in which the free speech rights o the "victim" have been "suppressed".

    What I point out is that there is a difference between your personal and even your professional views and your role as a formal or informal spokesperson of the views of your employer.

    My belief is that Mann got himself into hot water by commingling his own views with that of his employer

    AND NOW –

    it is:

    1. portrayed as an attempt to muzzle him

    2. used as an excuse for the AG to go after another (ex)employee in retaliation.

    Further –

    this is not good government.

    this is turning the AG office into a political instrument.

    my view is that

    1. – it's dishonest to say that people's free speech rights are the same as employer spokesperson "duties".

    2. – building on that dishonesty – as an excuse to use the AG role as one political retribution is NOT something to be admired and congratulated as "sticking up for Virginia citizens".

    Dishonest AND Corrupt.

    and misguided are those that think that Cucci is rightgeous on this.

    If Cucci was doing this UNDER the BANNER of telling all state institutions including those "liberal" colleges that we're going to tighten up the double-dealing FOIA practices – he would have been righteous AND he likely would have achieved the same result with much of the public not caring about the "side benefit" ..

    and the man would IMPROVE his standing not only with Conservatives but others …who are not natural supporters of his politics.

    in other words, – the man was provocative ON PURPOSE – Intentionally – when he did not have to be.

    More of the same old ..really stupoid – "wedge" politics.

  45. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    There are three important points missing here.

    The first is that UVA doesn't have a single e-mail service. There are something like four, IIRC. Different e-mail services have different practices. The e-mail service that one uses depends on department and when they were hired. Each service is on a different server managed by a different IT group. That UVA would have the e-mail for one person but not another is not unusual. Disclaimer: I work for UVA's president's office, although I obviously speak here as a private citizen, writing on my own time.

    The second is that Patrick Michaels did not, as I recall, leave UVA's employ until just a few weeks ago. It was a year and change ago that he went on leave, retaining his position as assistant professor. That leave would have ended, along with his employment, a few weeks ago. That UVA has his e-mail is quite normal, since as of last December he would have been a member of UVA's faculty.

    The third point—admittedly tangential—is that Patrick Michaels was guilty of having spent decades claiming to hold an official state position that he did not hold, that of UVA Climatologist. He may have held that position for several months in the late '70s; although he didn't know it, the governor did not properly submit the paperwork, so he was probably never state climatologist. That he continued to claim that for thirty years was a sham.

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