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Judge Preserves Privacy of Climate Scientist's Emails

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the you-can't-see-my-exculpatory-email dept.

Earth 345

ananyo writes "Climate scientist Michael Mann reported Monday that he and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have prevailed in a court case against the conservative American Tradition Institute (ATI), which had sought access to emails he wrote while serving as a professor at the school from 1999-2005. Now at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Mann says the ruling supports the University of Virginia's argument than an exemption to the state's freedom-of-information law 'applies to faculty communications in furtherance of their work.' The Prince William County Circuit Court ruling came directly from the bench in and was not immediately available online. The Virgina Supreme Court tossed out a case against Mann in March. The state's conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, had, among other things, demanded access to the climatologist's emails, arguing that Mann might have manipulated data and thus defrauded the government in applying for scientific grants."

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Hairy pussy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373257)

& stinky balls

Michael Mann (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373285)

I LOVED Miami Vice [imdb.com] !

Michael Mann [imdb.com] is a renaissance mann!

Producer, director, scientist, ..... up yours DaVinci!

It's good to see... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373287)

.. the deniers being refused the opportunity to peddle their big-oil agenda!

This proves that Mann and his hockey-stick are perfectly correct science, and that he has behaved perfectly properly throughout this hideous ordeal.

Congratulations to the County Court for standing up against the combined efforts of the nuclear industry and the tobacco industry...

Re:It's good to see... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374275)

This proves that Mann and his hockey-stick are perfectly correct science, and that he has behaved perfectly properly

No, that's what released emails would have shown. When your salary is from the public you have no expectation of privacy from the public. This was a FOI for work related mails, nothing else.

If anything, the enormous amounts of money having been spent on keeping Mann's mails secret is suspicious.

(Also, the judge expected this to be appealed. That's the motivation for the ruling)

hotmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373311)

Mann (the system always hates a guy whose surname starts with "Mann" - for he might be human!) should take a lesson from Sara Palin, politics' own Hazel Bergeron: do all your work over hotmail, then people going on fishing expeditions can be prosecuted.

"Might have" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373315)

> "The state's conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, had, among other things, demanded access to the climatologist's emails, arguing that Mann might have manipulated data and thus defrauded the government in applying for scientific grants."

Ken Cuccinelli *might* beat his wife. I demand access to his wife's medical records.

Re:"Might have" (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41373545)

The irony is that if Cuccinelli had prevailed, it's hard to see how the same reasoning could not be used for his state-funded office communications.

Re:"Might have" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374443)

It can be. The media was grubbing through Palin's communications as governor during the last election cycle.

The irony is that the judicial system has ruled that the law does not apply to the state religion and its priests. It's Roman Catholicism and separate papal justice all over again.

Re:"Might have" (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41373549)

Mann was part of the earlier email controversy [wikipedia.org] . So Cuccinelli, while no doubt political grandstanding for *his* own benefit, didn't just pull Mann's name out of a hat. There was at least some evidence from that earlier case that Mann may have been *ahem* "exaggerating" certain claims for his own benefit.

Now, how much of this is politics and personal aggrandizement on either side is up for debate of course.

Re:"Might have" (1, Flamebait)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about 2 years ago | (#41374261)

No, there was no evidence. Had there been evidence, the Mann would have been condemned. This is just your average jackbooted terror tactics, to tyranically threaten those who testify the truth against treacherous dogma.

Re:"Might have" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373713)

Also, has Mann denied that he is a witch?

Re:"Might have" (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 years ago | (#41373725)

Yup, but liberals don't listen to reason...or racists which you obviously are :)

Conspiracy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373339)

Clearly the Judges just want their cut of those absolutely amazingly massive government research grants....

How else are they going to buy that used Prius they always wanted?

Public Record? (2)

acoustix (123925) | about 2 years ago | (#41373349)

I didn't RTFA. Doesn't Virgina have an open records law? If he was an employee of the state then his emails are a matter of public record.

Re:Public Record? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373399)

Government workers are not your slaves.

A teacher at a state university is not in the same legal classification as a public servant.

No matter what your Galtian leanings might imply otherwise.

Re:Public Record? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373483)

A teacher who is also a taxpayer-funded researcher performing research that guides public policy certainly is in the same legal classification as a public servant. And communications in that capacity should be public.

Re:Public Record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373521)

Sorry about disagreeing with you, but. Not being a conservitave, but a seeker, If i work for the "government" in education, using the government e-mail system, and say something political, they have the "obligation", to use that in a court case to throw me out of the "office", if I dip a "cigar" and lie about it, i get badly censured and my hand slapped and called names forever, If a high school teacher wants to teach evolution in high school, and they write in an e-mail, the devolutionists can use it. And all proven in court cases in the various states. As an public employee, leader, or politician, you have noright to privicy in electronic communications, and there fore are told to keep it out of you e-mail, for fear of reprisal. Me thinks the local procuter did not do "due dilligence".

Politics is code for... (0)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#41373695)

and say something political

Political any code for any science that disagrees with your politics.

Re:Public Record? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373463)

Wrong. Being an" employee of the state" never means that all your emails are a matter of public record.

Public record laws vary; what matters is what a particular law specifically sets out as included. Several courts have held that a state open records law does not apply to personal email accounts but does apply to ex-officio ones (e.g. president@university.edu), or applies only to those emails in which state business is conducted. For example, Colorado's open records law applies to e-mail communications between more than two elected officials or public employees.

But one important takeaway is that anyone using a state email address is wise to conduct their personal business on their own accounts.

Unfortunately, this now appears to be true for some people's professional work as well. Many university climate research and other controversial programs now incorporate as private "Centers" that run their own email systems so as to provide researchers with an alternative to the state-funded email accounts. Corporate email accounts are generally afforded greater exemption from state open records laws even if the researcher is also an employee of the state.

Re:Public Record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374321)

Just those on a government system, your yahoo account, is not on a public system. Yuhoo's and bozo don't count.

VA Code definition of a "public record" (3, Interesting)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#41373721)

"Public records" means all writings and recordings that consist of letters, words or numbers, or their equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostatting, photography, magnetic impulse, optical or magneto-optical form, mechanical or electronic recording or other form of data compilation, however stored, and regardless of physical form or characteristics, prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. Records that are not prepared for or used in the transaction of public business are not public records." VA Code 2.2-3701 [state.va.us]

IANAL, but it seems this case would likely hinge upon whether Prof. Mann is considered an employee of the State, and whether his emails were documenting transactions of public business.

Re:Public Record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374317)

RTFA then. You are wrong that if he was employee of the state then his emails are a matter of public record.

Wouldn't be the 1st time (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373367)

"Hide the decline"
The UN-IPCC Hockey Stick graph made from a knowingly BS formula.
The blind sheep in Patagonia
The seas will rise by X-feet in the next 20-50 years
etc...

What is that saying about outrageous claims? I guess that rule does not apply if your position matches a certain political platform.

No amount of Data can convince them (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 2 years ago | (#41373511)

>

What is that saying about outrageous claims?

The saying is "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof." For a claim that the laws of physics are exactly the same for human generated carbon dioxide as for carbon dioxide measured in a laboratory, measurements used to understand the surface temperature of all of the planets with atmospheres in the solar system (as well as one moon), and supporting atmospheric science that has been known since the late 1800s, what kind of proof might you demand? Perhaps you'd want detailed numerical models to match with the back of the envelope calculations, and you'd want to ask nineteen different groups on four continents to make different computer models; you'd want temperature measurements taken from a variety of different methods-- say, ground, ocean, balloon, and satellite-- to all agree; you'd want satellite measurements of infrared; you'd want vertical temperature profiles...

Well, ok. We've got all that. But it turns out that, if someone has a profit motive to deny the facts, or a political agenda funded by the people with a profit motive to deny the facts, no possible amount of data can change their mind.

What's that other saying? Oh, yes: "It's hard to get a man to understand something when he is being paid to not understand. .... "

Re: (0, Troll)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#41373787)

One thing you're missing is the condition of the data. Unfortunately, it's not very good, especially temperature data. There are gaps, there are insturmentation issues, there are siting issues, and, the 800lb gorilla in the room, there's just the simple fact that climate changes happen in geologic time frames, and we literally don't have any direct measurements of that scale.

So we must proxy, and normalize, and adjust, and model. Really, I don't think anyone can definitively prove anything one way or the other yet. It's not like people have no legitimate reason for doubting claims on either side.

Re: (5, Informative)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 2 years ago | (#41373965)

there's just the simple fact that climate changes happen in geologic time frames, and we literally don't have any direct measurements of that scale.

I'm sitting less that 250 metres away from a giant freezer full of Ice and sediment core samples that would disagree with your statement.

Re: (2, Interesting)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#41374273)

... and that would be a proxy for temperature, not a direct measurement.

Re: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374345)

The volume of the mercury in your thermometer is only a proxy for temperature too.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374319)

there's just the simple fact that climate changes happen in geologic time frames, and we literally don't have any direct measurements of that scale.

I'm sitting less that 250 metres away from a giant freezer full of Ice and sediment core samples that would disagree with your statement.

These are indirect measurements. Are you really a scientist?

Re: (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374015)

Temperature data back to 1850 is pretty good, yes some adjustments are necessary, but the denial community can't decide whether they like that or not. If it is adjusted, "LOOK it's been adjusted", if not "LOOK you didn't adjust for that". Deniers like Watts and McKintyre have been unable to find anything significantly wrong with any of the temperature record. Watts inadvertently confirmed the USA temperature record with his surface statiosn project. McKintyre put in dozens of FOI requests to the University of East Anglia for its temperature data so he could analyse it. He has not yet provided any analysis even though he has had the data for a couple of years.

Prior to 1850 the records depend on proxies because there weren't enough thermometers. But that works both ways. Deniers use the temperature data to point at things like the little ice age and medieval warm period, but then say the record is inacurate. Double standards?

As you will remember the BEST project funded by deniers like the Koch brothers endorsed teh existing science.

If you have any evidence suggesting the temperature record is incorrect I suggest you publish it.

Re: (2)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#41374309)

Watts published an entire paper on siting problems for temperature recording stations. But in any event, even temperature going "all the way back" to the 1800s doesn't do much to help us with the problem of a geologic time scale. We can see that temperatures are cyclical, but on which side of the slope are we? Probably something in the magnitude of the interval between ice ages is about as fine as one should cut it.

Lots of data [Re: (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 2 years ago | (#41374251)

One thing you're missing is the condition of the data. Unfortunately, it's not very good, especially temperature data.

And one thing you're missing is that there are multiple sources of data from independent methods of measurement, with data analysis being done by multiple independent groups around the globe. This is not simply one single data set that is ambiguous; there is everything from balloon measurements to satellite infrared, and even gravity measurements of the thickness of polar ice taken by satellites.

Most notably, there is the Berkeley independent reanalysis of temperature data ("Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature"), which was done explicitly to try to address the claims of bias in the data: http://berkeleyearth.org/ [berkeleyearth.org] . This is the work of which climate skeptic Anthony Watts said--before the results were released-- "I will believe this study", and which, as it turns out, shows results that pretty much lie exactly on top of the graph produced from the NOAA data, the NASA data, and even the CRU data. (see the comparison here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15373071 [bbc.co.uk] )

There are gaps, there are insturmentation issues, there are siting issues

All of which are addressed.

, and, the 800lb gorilla in the room, there's just the simple fact that climate changes happen in geologic time frames, and we literally don't have any direct measurements of that scale.

And that is an "800lb gorilla" for what reason, exactly? The question is about the effect of human-generated carbon dioxide over time scales of decades-- questions about the temperature record over time scales of millions to billions of years ("geologic time frames") is of great scientific interest, but not really relevant to criticizing the record over time scales five to eight orders of magnitude shorter.

So we must proxy, and normalize, and adjust, and model. Really, I don't think anyone can definitively prove anything one way or the other yet.

Sorry, but this is what science does: take data, analyze it, and compare it to models. Science is remarkably good at this.

Another thing science is remarkably good at is comparing two different models and determining which one works. The problem is, there isn't a credible model that doesn't show global warming. The deniers don't have any models. (Haven't you ever wondered how come the results from climate modelling are often critiqued, but the critics never show their own models? That's because they don't have any.) There have been many attempts to find a model with negative feedback loops that cancel out the greenhouse effect, but none of these have ever worked even at the top level.

The "denier" claims aren't falsifiable, because there isn't actually any model to falsify. Their entire model consists of "you're wrong".

Re:No amount of Data can convince them (0)

Dunkirk (238653) | about 2 years ago | (#41374263)

... the laws of physics are exactly the same for human generated carbon dioxide as for carbon dioxide measured in a laboratory...

There's the problem right there. To mangle the quote: You can't very well dust CO2 for fingerprints. If we could pinpoint how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is actually generated by humans, we wouldn't be having this debate. Unfortunately, all we can do is infer through other means of estimating, and that wiggle room is all people need to start an argument about the data.

Re:No amount of Data can convince them (3, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | about 2 years ago | (#41374427)

Isn't that kind of dumb? It's like there's a guy standing at the edge of an overflowing swimming pool with a running garden hose and he claims "you can't prove that it's *my* water spilling out of the pool, therefore I don't have to turn the hose off".

Re:Wouldn't be the 1st time (3, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#41373637)

What is that saying about outrageous claims? I guess that rule does not apply if your position matches a certain political platform.

Exactly! You should not be able to make the outrageous claim that artificially increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, an empirically proven greenhouse gas, by approximately 30% has no effect on global temperatures just because your position matches a right-wing political platform.

Re:Wouldn't be the 1st time (1)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#41373715)

"Hide the decline"

Only someone in a cognitive bubble could possible believe these snippets cast a pall of the science. Go educate yourself, and but that, I mean try to understand what the counter-arguments are -- not by reading counter-counters, but by actually reading the original source material well enough so that you can explain it accurately.

Openness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373377)

Hey where's Anonymous on this one? I thought all information was supposed to be available to everyone all the time for any reason.

Not conservative (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41373387)

The state's conservative attorney general,

Not conservative. A conservative would want things to stay the same, to oppose human change for good or bad solely because its a human change, would want to conserve natural resources, be a "good steward of Gods creation" or whatever religious claim floats their boat of preserving the status quo.

Yes I know "political conservative" means the exact opposite since the neo's kicked all the normal people like myself (uh, more or less) out, so all we have left is the Santorums (the politician, not the "frothy liquid") and Rmoneys. The bigger point is you know a society is completely F'd when its words become doublespeak. When I was a kid it was a running joke that any country name including "peoples" "democratic" or "republic" almost always was the opposite. Its a dark day in America, I'm sad to say.

Re:Not conservative (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373413)

I wonder what Teddy Roosevelt would say to someone spouting the current Republican platform of "environmental regulation is bullshit!" if he was still around? Knowing his temper, he'd probably start punching people in the face.

When did the party of Lincoln, TR, and Eisenhower turn into the party of Nixon, Regan, and Dubya?

Re:Not conservative (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373441)

When did the party of Lincoln, TR, and Eisenhower turn into the party of Nixon, Regan, and Dubya?

Sometime between Eisenhower and Nixon?

Re:Not conservative (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41373473)

When did the party of Lincoln, TR, and Eisenhower turn into the party of Nixon, Regan, and Dubya?

Sometime between Eisenhower and Nixon?

Close, wiki for the "southern strategy"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not conservative (2)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#41373507)

Nixon actually started the EPA.

Re:Not conservative (3, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#41373647)

Nixon probably did more for the environment than any other president in history, arguably even more than Teddy Roosevelt.

Re:Not conservative (1)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#41373733)

He started the EPA, but was resistent, and personally didn't give fsck.

Re:Not conservative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373909)

Nixon formed the EPA out of a collection of organizations already existing within the Federal government.

His role was of structure, not initiative.

Re:Not conservative (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373635)

You attack Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency. You can't spell Reagan...

IF that quote is really in the GOP platform you'd have a front-page story. Of course, it isn't. Of course you're a troll. Republicans are not against "environmental regulation" they're against environmental extremism. They're against stopping progress over fetishism. They're against making decisions in a vacuum.

Re:Not conservative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373881)

You're presuming that Nixon "created" the EPA in a genuine sense.

Everything the EPA did at the time was already being done by existing entities in the Federal government. Nixon just consolidated them.

Thereby giving conservative Republicans a single entity to demonize and propose to eliminate.

I can't say that Nixon's actions therefore had purely benevolent results. But even if I did, it's like saying that the Department of Defense was a creation, when it was just reworking the existing structures.

Sorry, not quite how you want to put it forward as some crowning achievement of Nixon. Which is strange anyway, since Nixon isn't running for office anymore.

Re:Not conservative (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#41373487)

Well Romney types were in before the neocons. The Rockefeller republicans have been around a while although Romney's foreign policy is all neo.

But just vote libertarian. Some people see it as a throw away vote, but Perot's performance in the 90s actually got both sides talking economically and probably played a big part in getting the budget balanced towards the end of the 90s (unified budget, not actual). Unfortunately, it also made both parties come together and collude and make rules to disenfranchise the 3rd parties and their voters even more.

Re:Not conservative (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41373627)

But just vote libertarian. Some people see it as a throw away vote

You only throw away your vote when you vote for someone who doesn't represent your interests, like for 99% of the population a -R or a -D. I'm voting -L. I used to vote -R and if they toss out the current crop of lunatics I might go back.

Re:Not conservative (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41373707)

No, what made both parties come together and work things out was having a republican congress and a democrat president. Both knew that in order for anything to be done, they had to temper their ideals.

And a vote for libertarian is a vote for the incumbent no matter how you look at it. If you don't mind 4 more years of Obama, then go right ahead. If you are like me and trying to pick the least of two evils who will do the least amount of damage, then determine who is the greatest evil and vote for the most likely person to beat them.

Re:Not conservative (1)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | about 2 years ago | (#41373841)

And a vote for libertarian is a vote for the incumbent no matter how you look at it.

Factually Wrong.
Emotionally Correct.

A vote for a Libertarian, or Green, or whatever you choose is factually a vote for a person of X party.
Only those who can't control their own emotions, and are cowards, would view it is a vote for or against a target of their choosing.

Stop regurgitating this crap.

Re:Not conservative (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41374163)

Any vote that isn't for a candidate capable of beating the incumbent allows the incumbent to stay in office. It is effectively voting for them. It's factually correct if you use simple tools like math. Ross Perot and Ralph Nader proved this a couple of times in recent history.

Here, lets play with this complicated math stuff. Suppose you have 10 voters. All anyone would need is 6 votes to have more then the incumbent to oust him. If those 6 votes are divided between someone likely to win and someone with no chance in hell of winning, the incumbent wins by default. Lets Say the incumbent only got 4 of those ten votes. The remaining 6 votes is split between two parties, that's 3 + 3 votes which would equal 6 votes, enough to oust the incumbent, but not for the same guy meaning the incumbent wins. Clinton became president without even half the country voting for him. Bush win the election in 2000 largely because what would have made the difference voted for Ralph Nader. Florida wouldn't have even been in question if the Nader raiders voted for Gore.

But do not take my word for it, look at the official results. [wikipedia.org] In these results we see that Bush officially received 2,912,790 votes or 48.847% of the votes cast. Gore received 2,912,253 votes or 48.838% of the votes cast. There is a difference of 537 votes or .009%. Ralph Nader who's voters would have typically voted democrat had he not run, received 97,488 votes or 1.635% of the vote. Less then one quarter of Nader Votes could have gave us 4 years of Gore instead of Bush. Of course nether was the incumbent but it goes to show that voting for who you want to be president even though they have no chance in hell of winning allows who you do not want to be president to take or keep office.

In damage control, the least evil of the bunch, you have to vote against the biggest evil else you allow them to win. It is really that simple.

Re:Not conservative (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41373525)

It's the fundamental problem of a two-party political system; it pays to oppose eachother. And opposing eachother means pushing eachother ever further into extremist corners of any debate.

For instance take "Obama-care". If you ask politicians it's either the highway to hell or the road to salvation. Few politicians will actually weigh the good and the bad and try to resolve any issues. It either has to stand exactly as it is or be reverted completely.

Most democratic systems share power among a larger number of political parties, forcing them to work together and to maintain a working relationship for the long term.

Re:Not conservative (1)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#41374215)

But of course the USA does not have a "two-party political system". There is nothing in the Constitution about political parties [usconstitution.net] at all. And there is in fact a richness of parties [wikipedia.org] (see the list of so-called minor parties underneath the majors). The only problem is nobody votes for any of them except R and D. I fantasize that it would be far better to have no parties at all, but I recognize that you can't outlaw them without making a mockery of liberty (freedom of association, anyone?).

It would be interesting to hear substantive ideas on why no parties beyond R and D ever gain traction at the national level in the USA. The most obvious possibility is that there is a sinister conspiracy between R and D or at some level of shadow control above the parties. It is difficult to imagine a more evil and treasonous act than subverting the political system itself.

Re:Not conservative (2)

d3ac0n (715594) | about 2 years ago | (#41374385)

It would be interesting to hear substantive ideas on why no parties beyond R and D ever gain traction at the national level in the USA.

The best explanation I have heard yet for this is the "scope" phenomena. Simply put, the alternate parties platform scopes are almost always very narrow, (IE: Single issue platforms or focused around a particular segment of interest such as the economy, to the exclusion of other interests such as foreign policy or social issues.) whereas the major party platforms are very broad.

Also, if the alternate party platform is enough "in line" with the major party, they may "absorb" that issue into their own platform, thus rendering the alternate party irrelevant.

Ultimately, politics in America is very much a game of "Not letting the good become the enemy of the perfect." Thus we get candidates like Mitt Romney, who is viewed by the base as somewhat "soft" on the real hard conservative values, but was easily the most likable and "electable" of the available choices and is ideologically "right" enough to be deemed acceptable. So while Romney is not the "perfect" conservative candidate, he is considered "Good Enough" and thus gets the party nod.

It goes the same way with party politics. People have very diverse interests and very few are willing to vote on a single issue only. So the parties with the broadest appeal within a range attract the most votes. Bell curve, baby. Bell curve.

Re:Not conservative (5, Insightful)

Bongo (13261) | about 2 years ago | (#41373535)

There's a couple of poles:

Conservative – Progressive : stick to what works –trust we can adapt to new stuff

Left – Right : the system is rigged, so increase taxes and redistribute to make it fair –people are lazy, so reduce taxes to increase incentives

Politically there's also some other poles.

The "climate skeptics" don't fit either pole particularly because they're actually resisting "post modern science" where science and social values and social issues get all intermixed. Protesters hold up placards saying "we come armed only with peer reviewed literature" to protest against a new runway, but they don't hold up that placard when medical science says there's little evidence that GM crops are bad.

Likewise an environmentalist told me, "it doesn't matter if global warming isn't caused by man made CO2, because by forcing a cut of CO2 you cut production and you cut consumption –– it is about reducing GREED"

Social issues, morality, and ethics all wrapped up in "science".

The science part is there to a degree, but the case gets overstated significantly for political reasons.

Get the motivations correct (3, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about 2 years ago | (#41373791)

Left -- the system is rigged, so increase taxes and redistribute to make it fair

I see this so often, but honestly think it is baloney. Some liberals eye others' stuff -- the homologues to Hannity and Beck -- but the *vast* majority of liberals do not believe that taxes should be increased to make a rigged system fair. There are two orthogonal concerns there. The first is social justice, which doesn't involve raising taxes at all. (Most social justice programs are generally cheap.) The second is about balancing the budget -- something that the GOP seems unable to do, but the Dems have a fine record. And the second is also about Kensyian economics, and liberals have the record on job creation by 2-1. (Rich people take money out of the system because they save moe. This slows down the economy. Poor people spend everything, and this raises demand and speed the economy. Trickle-down economics is about increasing the amount of investment money; however, we already have a glut of that.)

So please get the motivations correct.

Re:Get the motivations correct (2)

phlinn (819946) | about 2 years ago | (#41374223)

Really? the only balanced budget in recent history happened with a republican congress. I may be alone, but I think we might get an optimal outcome with Obama retaining office but congress shifting to a republican majority in both houses. Going by party in control of the house, Dem presidents with R house happened for the first time in 50 years under clinton. http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html [adelphi.edu] is an interesting collection of data.

For job growth, I didn't quickly find a good source. It's inherently tricky, because policies rarely have effects right away. How much lag time do you assume when trying to decide who is or is not responsible for job growth? You would almost have to go on a per policy change basis, which would require more knowledge of the effect of particular policies than anyone actually has.

Re:Get the motivations correct (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374435)

Clinton had to resort to shutting down the Federal Gov't before he could get that Republican congress to move on the budget. Very similar to the mess the current Republican congress has caused for Obama. If you had said ' the only balanced budget in recent history happened under a Dem Pres with huge freaking balls willing to face down two Republican houses', we would be in agreement. However for further research check out the definition of a minority gov't in the parliamentary system. That is a case where having the opposition parties, (yeah more than a two party system), hold more seats in the House often leads to very effective government.

Re:Get the motivations correct (1)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#41374325)

Most social justice programs are generally cheap

Are you mad? Welfare, pensions (largely social security), education, and health care account for 60% of Federal spending [usfederalbudget.us] in FY 2012. Defense is 24%, and EVERYTHING ELSE is 16%

Re:Get the motivations correct (1)

Bongo (13261) | about 2 years ago | (#41374355)

Yes, no problem, I added taxes just as an example. So without that awkward example, that leaves the basic difference as, the right looks for problems in the individual (eg. responsibility, incentive, lack of morality, etc.) and the left looks for problems in the system (eg. the banks, the lack of medical care, corporations, the loopholes in taxes, etc.)

And they can always argue because the world is both a system and individuals.

Maybe global warming tends to resonate more with the left because it looks so much like a big systems issue, with big corporations, and the right, as the enemy.

Re:Not conservative (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41373555)

When has language NOT been used in less than straightforward ways? Doublespeak and revisionist history aren't new tactics. "The House Committee on Un-American Activities," prosecuting free speech and thoughts, dated back to 1947. And that's obviously not the first either.

Re:Not conservative (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41373593)

A conservative would want things to stay the same, to oppose human change for good or bad solely because its a human change, would want to conserve natural resources, be a "good steward of Gods creation" or whatever religious claim floats their boat of preserving the status quo.

What you're describing is Conservationism [wikipedia.org] , not Conservatism.

Re:Not conservative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373681)

The state's conservative attorney general,

Not conservative. [Not that I have any clue what a conservative is.]

FTFY.

Re:Not conservative (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 2 years ago | (#41374203)

Not conservative. A conservative would want things to stay the same,

In this case, "things staying the same" is dependant on the public not changing their oil purchasing habits due to the findings of climate scientists. So yes, conservative is the correct label.

Lesson? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373403)

I wonder if he, or anyone else learned a lesson from this. Setting aside the whole climate change issue and focusing only on the facts that he had to bring a court fight and spend money to prevent someone else from accessing his emails from 13 years ago.

Had he not kept those emails, the demand could have been simply responded to with: No Longer Exists.

Keeping email forever will bite you in the ass! Even if you never face a demand for your historical emails, storage issues, database fragility, low performance, something will cost you for keeping it.

Purge that shit!

Why not release them? (0, Troll)

clonehappy (655530) | about 2 years ago | (#41373419)

Let me start out by saying that I don't have any dog in the global warming fight, whatsoever (don't own any stock/have no affiliation with big oil OR big green). I think that, as a whole, people need to conserve resources and embrace new technologies to make the world a cleaner place. But I won't take it as far as the anti-human agenda of many of the fundie AGW supporters. That being said, why would you NOT want to release emails/research? It just gives the conspiracy theorists more fuel for their fires! It's things like this that make those who are not in the know skeptical about the things we say.

If anything, I say release all the emails, release all the data, be as open and transparent as possible. Funny how the people who scream about openness the most are the first to hide when the request comes their way.

Re:Why not release them? (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41373509)

email is email. It contains more than simply work related stuff, and rarely contains anything useful to someone trying to judge the quality of some work.

If I had to publish all my email from work for the past 20 years simply because someone wanted to prove I was a terrible programmer, it would be massively humiliating, and wouldn't prove jack shit about my programming ability, which would be more easily done by demanding to look at the code I write.

The FoIA request is about intimidating climate research scientists, not about trying to determine the truth behind the science. The science is already in the public domain. It's well described, people can repeat it, add to it, or theorize as to how it could be wrong and devise experiments to determine whether those theories hold.

Re:Why not release them? (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41373551)

I mostly agree with you, other than something you're overlooking.

That being said, why would you NOT want to release emails/research?

According to GOOG analytics my gmail account got over 2000 emails last month, times 18 months... You can't "just release everything" because some conversations have to remain private. HIPPA violations for students providing way too much detail about why they were out sick, etc. NDA info for unrelated topics. Closed source code license issues (so you're talking about a bug in non-free software and including code excerpts). Its a non-judicial punishment assigned by politican ... err, until a judge overturns it, which is exactly what just happened.

Re:Why not release them? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41373809)

Where they looking for all his email or all his email mentioning his research? I was under the impression it was only all concerning the research paid for by the government and not the the email tech support for his toaster oven.

Re:Why not release them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373889)

FERPA, probably, rather than HIPPA. Student-faculty email exchanges are protected under the Federal Educational Records Privacy Act.

Re:Why not release them? (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41373613)

Let me start out by saying that I don't have any dog in the global warming fight, whatsoever (don't own any stock/have no affiliation with big oil OR big green)

I question the equivalence here. "Big green"? Big oil made 137 billion dollars in profits in 2011 and owns more politicians than you can shake a stick at. How many billions of dollars does "big green" make in a year and how many senators do they control?

But I won't take it as far as the anti-human agenda of many of the fundie AGW supporters.

Anti-human? You do realize the fossil fuel FUD about "Al Gore wants to TAX YOUR BREATHING!" is complete BS, right? Coal is the target of AGW supporters. Not humanity. You seem to be judging the movement by the extremists. That's always a foolish move: you wouldn't say that Anne Coulter represents America, would you?

If anything, I say release all the emails, release all the data, be as open and transparent as possible. Funny how the people who scream about openness the most are the first to hide when the request comes their way.

Okay, put your money where your mouth is. What is your personal e-mail address and password? Where are the e-mails from the fossil fuel industry? The issue here is not data, the issue here is e-mails. As in they were fishing for something to smear the guy with. The data is out there for legitimate criticisms to be made.

Re:Why not release them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373705)

The data is out there for legitimate criticisms to be made.

No. It's not "out there".

The original dataset was destroyed deliberately precisely to prevent the debunking of AGW, as there are global powers behind the AGW agenda that seek to use it as a trojan horse for laws, regulations, treaties, and policies that would accelerate the de-industrialization of the West and the US in particular, and shift global power and wealth away.

Re:Why not release them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373749)

Don't bother around here. Slashdotters know all, and they have so much neckbeard they cannot be questioned. AGW is real, period. The revolution will not be televised, (or slashivised, however you want to look at it).

Re:Why not release them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374071)

Don't bother around here. Slashdotters know all, and they have so much neckbeard they cannot be questioned. AGW is real, period. The revolution will not be televised, (or slashivised, however you want to look at it).

What's really funny is that their solution is to give more power and authority over their lives to the same people who have given us USA-PATRIOT, NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, Guantanamo, the War On (some) Drugs, etc etc, on and on. They will rail against them in the comments on one story involving civil liberties and security theater, and yet are ready to turn their lives over to them in the very next climate story.

It's like watching a bunch of bipolar dyslexics trying to decide if they love or hate Dog.

To which they answer; "yes".

The combined abilities of Letterman's, Lenno's, and Stewart's comedy writers couldn't equal the comedy gold the AGW crowd produces unintentionally, all the while remaining mystified and baffled by all the laughter.

Some reasons why not [Re:Why not release them?] (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373873)

Let me start out by saying that I don't have any dog in the global warming fight, whatsoever (don't own any stock/have no affiliation with big oil OR big green). I think that, as a whole, people need to conserve resources and embrace new technologies to make the world a cleaner place. But I won't take it as far as the anti-human agenda of many of the fundie AGW supporters. .

The purportedly "anti-human agenda" of the "fundie AGW supporters" is almost entirely a myth created by the deniers. In general, these are scientists working very hard to try to understand the atmosphere, who are being attacked by people who have no interest in understanding the research, only in discrediting it.

That being said, why would you NOT want to release emails/research?

Because releasing the email wouldn't be the end of it-- it's the beginning. It's their expressed intent to waste all of his time, so that he never does any actual work again. Every typo in the email will spur a query: "what did you mean by xx?" and if he doesn't answer immediately, a flurry of blog posts about withholding information and not answering questions. Every single statement of fact will spur another FOIA demand (note that the word "request" is a euphemism): "We demand that you give us all the information in your files you used to support statement Y, and also all of the information in your files that may support the opposite conclusion which you withheld from the public". And, for that matter, every statement of opinion will trigger a FOIA demand. There's no limit on number of FOIA requests-- they can file a dozen requests a week, and every single one must be answered.

And if, by chance, you wrote about a preliminary analysis that differs in any way from the final analysis, or speculated about a result, or failed to draw a conclusion the very first time you saw some data-- oh, you're going to spend the rest of your life explaining that. A computer model that had an error that you found and fixed? We will use that to completely discredit you and everybody you know.

"Why not release the email" you say?

OK, you first. I want every e-mail you ever sent-- I want all your passwords, and root access to the e-mail servers-- and here's what I intend to do: I am going to destroy you and to discredit you personally and professionally. Failing that, I intend to destroy and discredit everybody you may have communicated with personally or professionally. Nothing will be considered private; if you ever accidentally mentioned anything about your personal life, consider it public knowledge. And if you expressed a less-than-flattering opinion of anybody, it will be out in public.

And I don't care anything about facts, only appearances. Any offhand opinion you may have typed is fair game, any typos you've made. If you've ever typed the words "I don't understand"-- well, that will be headline news: "admits he doesn't understand the science!" If you've ever been wrong, well, that will also be headline news-- and I have a team of people to comb through them in exacting detail with the intent of picking out anything that might be useful.

It just gives the conspiracy theorists more fuel for their fires!

And you think "give people who have stated that they intend to destroy you personally and professionally by any means that they can" unlimited access to comb through your email on a fishing expedition won't give them more fuel? Are you so personally pure that you've never ever even once written anything in a private email that could be misinterpreted by people who intend to damage you and don't care about facts?

Here's a suggestion for you. Have you actually read the "climategate" emails? Not just the selected excerpts picked out of context to discredit the scientists, but the whole file, from the beginning? Try it. (And if you can, not just the first 2000 emails released by the hackers, but also read the 8000 that they held back in the first release). These give a picture of a group of people who are under a barrage of attacks from people whose main purpose seems to be to disrupt their research, and who are trying to actually understand the science while still responding to the requests and explaining what they are doing to the public. Out of those 10,000 emails, about three sentences were plucked out. It's interesting to read the whole file.

"Their" work. (4, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | about 2 years ago | (#41373467)

If your work is paid for with government money, your work emails should be public. Simple as that.

Re:"Their" work. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373623)

I'm a government worker, and I have no problem with your idea.
We're not talking about personal emails, but work emails. The idea of "privacy" here is stupid.
What is Mann trying to hide?

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374167)

I'm a government worker, and I have no problem with your idea.
We're not talking about personal emails, but work emails. The idea of "privacy" here is stupid.
What is Mann trying to hide?

Please, feel free to leak something labeled 'confidential' by your employer, and see how far that sentiment gets you.

The only idea of privacy that's stupid is the idea that you have privacy from your employer.

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374295)

He's a government worker. Therefore, there really is in theory, nothing "confidential" when it's being done with the public's money.

That's the whole point of FOIA.

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373763)

I'd like to see Ken Cuccinelli's emails,

Re:"Their" work. (5, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 2 years ago | (#41373813)

Fuck you.

The AG, Cuccinelli, is conspiring with extremest political groups to suppress scientific research. To say the work was "publicly funded", therefore research personal have no private communications, is bullshit. It was and is a gross political smear.

Lets put the shoe on the other foot. I propose that Michael Mann sue the AG and the American Tradition Institute for slander. As a first step he should request all communications between the AG and ATI to see if they conspired to wreck his career. Remember, the AG's work is "paid for with government money", so all the AG correspondence should all be "public". How does that shoe feel now?

If these records became public, Cuccinelli would clearly be found to be misusing his office. He invested significant resources in a purely political effort. This is misappropriation of public funds, along with a conspiracy to break the law with a non-governmental political organization. He clearly shared information with ATI that should have been not allowed outside his office. (This is exactly what Ken Starr did during the Clinton witch hunt. During the Watergate probe they planted insane smears in the press, none of which were true. Starr's office also broke confidentiality with the Republican operatives who were working the civil side of the conspiracy.)

The AG deserves to be sent to jail. That will never happen. When conservatives break the law they always get away with it, because law and order only applies to minorities and Democrats. The last time a conservative insider got put away was Scooter Libby, and he was taking a bullet for Chaney's leaking Valery Plame's status as a CIA operative. Chaney put the lives of CIA assets at risk. I would not be surprised if people died from this. If it did happen, we'll never know. The coverup was successful.

So like I said at the beginning: Fuck You.

Re:"Their" work. (1)

Third Position (1725934) | about 2 years ago | (#41373937)

The AG, Cuccinelli, is conspiring with extremest political groups to suppress scientific research.

Indeed? Who's the one trying to have his working letters suppressed? I don't think it's the AG...

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374333)

I propose that Michael Mann sue the AG and the American Tradition Institute for slander

Michael Mann is a liar, a hypocrite, falsifies research knowingly and is obviously trying to hide cheating on his wife. That's the real motivation for not releasing his work emails.

Btw, I'm not a US citizen. Please, oh please, "sue" me.

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374429)

Fuck you.

[... meaningless and cretinous blather ...]
So like I said at the beginning: Fuck You.

Is there a moderation for "smug, supercilious son of a bitch?

Re:"Their" work. (2, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#41373815)

So if Romney is elected, we get to see all his tax returns?

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373825)

Every time I log in to my government computer, I click a popup that says that I consent to monitoring of all of my communications. However, some people, I guess, are better people. Yup, I've had my email searched for FOIA requests. It does help keep people honest.

Re:"Their" work. (1)

dirk (87083) | about 2 years ago | (#41373831)

While this is an awesome idea in theory, in practice, it just isn't tenable. So, if we went with this theory, should every government email be open to the public? So if a spy sends an email back to his handler, that email should be open to the public? If someone in the government gets an email from someone wanting to leave Cuba, that email should be open to everyone? If there are emails about an upcoming secret mission (say for the raid to get the next Osama Bin Laden), these should all be open to the public? What if it is an email between someone in the government and their attorney (either work related or not)? You are then breaking attorney/client privilege by releasing the email. What about emails about how to weaponize a disease or about the new bomb we are creating?

I am all for open government and I think our government should be working towards being a lot more open, but the idea that it should just open everything is silly. I don't want the nuclear launch code being public just because they are government information; there has to be some limits.

Re:"Their" work. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#41373917)

Making a rule that says that is fine. But only for emails going forward. It shouldn't be applied to emails going backwards. Face it, most of us have some degree of personal and private emails. And the way we communicate with people we know well may not always be understood in the way it was intended by third parties.

Would you honestly be happy to have your last 20 years worth of work emails published on the web? If not, then you do understand the problem.

Re:"Their" work. (1)

Troed (102527) | about 2 years ago | (#41374351)

Would you honestly be happy to have your last 20 years worth of work emails published on the web? If not, then you do understand the problem.

Of course I would, as long as they're not company secrets. If I was paid by the public the public would of course be free to read every single one of them.

For private communication I have a private email account.

Re:"Their" work. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373985)

If your road is paid for by public money, your whereabouts should be public. If the bandwidth used by your phone is public property, your phone conversations should be public. If your cash was made and printed using government money, your finances should be public. If your high school education was paid for by public money, your school reconrds should be public....

You know what ad ad hominum attack is? If you don't like the science, refute the science. I pay my taxes in the interest of preserving and building a society I would actually want to live in, not to support the stupid idea that giving someone money means you can deprive them of dignity.

Re:"Their" work. (2)

c (8461) | about 2 years ago | (#41374073)

> If your work is paid for with government money, your work
> emails should be public. Simple as that.

Agreed.

Also, if you receive government support like, say, food stamps, your grocery receipts should all be public. And if you live on welfare, disability, or a publically funded pension of some sort, any member of the public should be allowed to inspect your home upon request.

If you use public roads for transportation, anyone should be able to get detailed access to all your travels.

See where this is going?

Re:"Their" work. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374255)

Receiving government benefits =/= working *for* the government on things that will affect government policies, laws, and regulations.

Apples & oranges.

Try again.

Re:"Their" work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374121)

No. This is unreasonable. Your work product should be public. Your work emails, time sheets, et al should be a concern between you and the government itself. We elected representatives for a reason. Stop taking the 'servant' in 'public servant' so literally.

Watermelons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41373539)

Green on the outside, red on the inside.

You're not fooling anyone.

You went too far, too fast.

Now the sleepers have awakened.

We will not comply.

Of course (0, Flamebait)

J'raxis (248192) | about 2 years ago | (#41373643)

I mean, why should someone working on the public's dime be accountable to the public?

Another conservative asshat. (1, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 years ago | (#41374191)

Just another anti-science, anti-intellectual, conservative shithead abusing his position of power to push a totally fucked up ideological fantasy onto everyone else. Republicans complain about government wasting money, yet they're the worthless fucks who waste the most with stupid shit like this.

Bush Patriot Act Appointee (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374197)

He's another of these Bush Patriot Act appointees
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._Michael_Fisher

Do you recall the outcry over the political motivated dismissal of Attorney Generals and the subsequent cover up?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy

The Patriot Act changed the way Attorney generals are appointed. Bush sacked a bunch of Attorney Generals because they wouldn't do political prosecutions and put a lot of conservative stooges in their places. One of those political stooges was this Michael Fisher, another was the the U.S. attorney in Alabama.

They went on to do a political prosecutions including prosecuting Dan Siegelman, the Democrat governor for Alabama, using a witness that claimed to have been at a meeting when a donation check was handed over.

The witness said the donation was for passing legislation, and thus a bribe not a donation, and he claimed to have witnessed the discussion and the signing of the check. However the check was signed days later so the witness was lying. However it did get the Democrat out, and a Republican in his place.

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/11/former_alabama_gov_don_siegelman_speaks

In a hand basket. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41374373)

So, lets recap. Occupy Wall Street electronic exchanges, not private. Scientist electronic exchanges that may show tampered results... private.

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