Sunday, February 19, 2006

administration prefers soothing science fiction to cold science fact

Scientists at a conference lament the de facto Administration's blinkered self-serving view of science. One scientist, Cal Tech president David Baltimore, pegged it when he said he realized the Bushies' theory about the "unitary executive" and its restrictions on government scientists were part and parcel of its campaign to suppress freedom of expression -- or to be more accurate, to suppress speech that does not agree with its political, religious, and business ethic. People may of course speak as much as they like about how good this Administration is, how swimmingly the war in Iraq is going, how all we need to turn around the deficit is more and more tax cuts for the rich, how killing (excuse me, "privatizing") Social Security will make us all able to live happily in retirement, dining on the very tastiest of pet foods while enjoying the brisk temperatures in an (unheated) home in winter.

Expressions about climate change in particular have been quick to catch the wrath of the Administration. And even more troubling is the fact that best-selling author Michael Crichton, whose novel "State of Fear" says that climate change is NOT happening, was a guest of the White House, revealed in Fred Barnes' new hagiography of the de facto President. Barnes said Bush is a "dissenter" on climate change. That's accurate, and it isn't surprising that Bush would prefer to hang out with (bad) science fiction writers than listen to his own government's scientists hair-on-fire pleas for action. Crichton's popularity has undermined efforts to pass laws to cut carbon emissions; hosting him at the White House just adds to his (undeserved) credibility.

Meanwhile, Lake Erie is in the middle of a vary rare event, an ice-free winter...