Year 2, Month 1, Day 21: There’s IDIOTS and Then There’s *I*D*I*O*T*S*

C-Ville Weekly, a local paper in Charlottesville, has more on the Cuccinelli/Mann/UVA harassment story.

Since May, Cuccinelli has sought Mann’s documents as part of an investigation into whether Mann violated Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). UVA hired outside counsel to fight Cuccinelli’s demands, and the case is still before the courts, though UVA won an initial legal victory.

The legal bills for the initial defense cost UVA more than $350,000, paid for through private donations. In a separate request, ATI and Marshall also seek release of documents regarding the funding UVA used to fight Cuccinelli’s demands. The University responded that it has no documents that aren’t protected by attorney-client privilege, according to Horner.

The entire mess stems from so-called Climate-gate, the controversy regarding the contents of a pilfered server from Britain’s East Anglia University published online in late 2009. Global warming skeptics pounced on exposed e-mail chains between climate scientists, pointing to language like “trick” and “manipulation” as evidence of deliberately doctored data. Investigations in the U.S. and abroad have so far cleared scientists involved of wrongdoing.

The only good thing about this whole megillah is that it makes letter-writing easy.

Attorney General Cuccinelli’s continued harassment of Dr. Michael Mann is a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars and an embarrassment to the state of Virginia. Multiply exonerated of any wrong-doing or scientific malpractice by separate independent investigations, Mann has been singled out in an attempt to make the practice of climate science (and perhaps, finally, any and all science) impossible. The cost in Mann’s time and resources required to defend himself against state-sanctioned stalking is ultimately deducted from his scientific work; even in a less critical area of research this would be a shame, but given the magnitude of the problems Mann is investigating, Cuccinelli’s vendetta is particularly ill-considered. The Attorney General is patently unable to comprehend scientific method and practice, and his “climate zombie” stance is clearly designed to ingratiate himself with those voters who are offended by anything they can’t understand — a bloc that is, unfortunately, growing.

Warren Senders