Year 2, Month 11, Day 6: DFH Activist Judge Edition

The L.A. Times runs the story: a rare bit of good news for the overly-harassed Michael Mann:

A county Circuit judge in Virginia has sided with the University of Virginia’s effort to restrict the release of personal emails from one of its former faculty members.

The decision late Wednesday would allow the university to alter an agreement it had reached with the American Tradition Institute, which was seeking communications between Michael Mann, a physicist and climate scientist, and other scientists from 1999 to 2005, when Mann was employed by the university.

The American Tradition Institute, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Colorado, is a nonprofit policy research and education group that has close ties to energy interests that have opposed climate legislation, including the Koch Brothers.

Mann, now a professor at Penn State University, is best known for his contributions to the so-called hockey stick graph that has been at the center of warnings that Earth’s temperature rise has been precipitous and historically unprecedented. It has been used as one of thousands of data analyses that have led the vast majority of climate scientists to conclude that man’s emission of greenhouse gases is trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Perhaps the Tea-Party nuts will start finding Gaylord Finch’s got granite countertops, or something. Sent Nov. 2:

It’s always amusing to see “non-profit” organizations that are closely affiliated with some of the most profit-hungry players in our economy. Groups like the disingenuously-named American Tradition Institute exist entirely to carry out the bidding of their funders — people like the Koch brothers. One wonders if the Kochs would enjoy the experience of legal harassment quite so much if they were on the receiving end.

For make no mistake, the ATI’s demand for emails from Dr. Michael Mann has nothing to do with scientific integrity, and everything to do with hindering the work of a climate scientist whose work might affect the profit margins of the fossil fuel industry.

Perhaps it’s true that hostility to science is a long-standing American tradition — but is the self-serving behavior of the extremely rich and powerful really worthy of adulation?

Judge Gaylord Finch’s decision is the correct one.

Warren Senders

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