The First Amendment’s Greatest Nightmare is Back!

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    Just in time for Halloween – Coochie’s back!  No, nothing can stop this maniac – not common sense, not reams of empirical evidence of human-induced climate change – and certainly not a court order affirming that he’s full of (a certain methane-emitting organic substance).  

    In direct defiance of Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr’s ruling that Cooch’s case against U-VA was so hollow that it echoed (I’m paraphrasing here), Virginia’s Ayatollah General Ken Cuccinelli has issued yet another subpoena (called a civil investigative demand or CID) against Jefferson’s university and its former professor, acclaimed climate scientist Michael Mann.

    In his CID (does he, in his fantasies, call himself “El Cid”?), Cooch shows his characteristic level of self restraint by only asking U-VA to produce

    the original and any copies of any written, printed, typed, electronic, or graphic matter of any kind or nature, however,  produced or reproduced, any book, pamphlet, brochure, periodical, newspaper, letter, correspondence, memoranda, notice, facsimile, e-mail, manual, press release, telegram , report, study, handwritten note, working paper, chart, paper, graph, index, tape, data sheet, data processing card, or any other written, recorded, transcribed, punched, taped, filmed or graphic matter now in your possession, custody or control.

    (Although I’m not a lawyer, I believe that the inclusive nature of the list above would require the university to turn over all colonoscopies of Dr. Mann and related researchers during the period in question.)

    To be helpful, though, Cooch limits the subpoena to only the files of fourteen different academic departments at U-VA, from “Computer Engineering” to “Public Policy Program”, plus “[a]ny person who assisted Dr. Mann regarding any of the Grants…”  

    The only concession to the environment that Cooch makes in this new filing is his ardent recycling of the same worn out old climate conspiracy theories. He reiterates his claim that Professor Mann committed “fraud” by engaging in research that could potentially impact the share prices of major oil and coal companies.

    Screw your aluminum cap on tightly because the conspiratorial thinking is rich here.  Cooch claims that the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were controlled by a small cadre of researchers and that they, like the mad scientists in James Bond movies, are motivated by greed: “Because neither the IPCC nor governmental grants to climate scientists would likely continue were it to be determined that man-made global warming was not a serious threat, potential conflicts of interest flow predominantly in one direction.”

    Cooch’s CID even repeats the right wing media’s favor out-of-context quote from the so-called “Climategate” so-called “scandal” about “Mike’s trick to hide the decline” without even mentioning that the decline in question is a decline, not in temperatures, but in tree ring widths, which Mann replaces in his work with actual temperature data.  So Prof. Mann is being accused of fraud about climate change for focusing on actual temperature data?

    BTW, it’s worth noting that even one of the scientists whose work Cooch quotes in this CID to discredit Mann, Stephen McIntyre, said of his last CID:

    This is a repugnant piece of over-zealousness by the Virginia Attorney General, that I condemn. […] To the extent that Virginia citizens are concerned about public money being misappropriated, Cuccinelli’s own expenditures on this adventure should be under equal scrutiny. There will be no value for dollar in this enterprise.

    Ditto that, dude.

    At a time when secret corporate donors are doing their best to purchase a Congress more to their liking, Cooch seems determined to lead the charge to ensure that the climate denial theories subsidized by Koch Industries and Exxon-Mobil prevail over actual science fact.  And if academic freedom dies in the process – hey, you want an omelet, ya gotta break some eggs, man!

    Will Virginia wake up before this nightmare kills us?  Stay tuned!!