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NASA Public-Affairs Appointee Resigns in Disgrace

jamie posted more than 8 years ago | from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.

NASA 698

belmolis writes "George C. Deutsch, who tried to muzzle top NASA climate scientist James Hansen and ordered NASA web designers to add the word 'theory' to every mention of the Big Bang, has resigned. The New York Times reports that NASA declines to discuss the reasons for his resignation, but that it came the same day that Texas A&M University, from which Deutsch claimed on his resume to have graduated, revealed that he had attended the university but did not complete his degree." The New York Times reports it today, but as of yesterday, it was the Times that had unquestioningly passed along the falsehood of Deutsch's graduation, and it was the blog Scientific Activist whose investigation revealed he'd left before graduating to work on the Bush reelection campaign. For more on the 24-year-old political appointee's interesting viewpoints, see World O' Crap; on Monday, we covered the anger over his attempts to squelch science -- something that, sadly, Jim Hansen has gotten used to.

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698 comments

Good News and Bad News (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668758)


The increasing availability and ease of access of information is making it increasingly difficult to get away with lying.

Good news for the people, bad news for governments.

On a related note, that same increasing availability is starting to render traditional news outlets [nytimes.com] obselete. No wonder they're so upset [slashdot.org] .

Re:Good News and Bad News (5, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668831)

I'd just read the article below before seeing this as well.

86 Evangelical Leaders Join to Fight Global Warming [nytimes.com]

Could this actually mean that well intentioned christians are actually beginning to crawl out from under the thumb of the right-wing extremists like Dobson, Robertson, Bush, etc?

I know this is only a small beginning and may be offering false hope, but at least its better than the complete lack of any hope for American socieity I'd been feeling recently.

Re:Good News and Bad News (4, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668884)

Don't forget the 10,000 member of the clergy [uwosh.edu] who signed an online petition explicitly stating that Intelligent Design is a religious idea trying to be passed off as science and should not be taught.

For as much as I like to harp on the religious right (all religions, not just christianity), it is refreshing to see people who understand that science is science and religion is religion and there is no problem with the two co-existing so long as neither tries to intrude onto the others territory. Though it is interesting to note that religion has asked science to help solve at least one of its mysteries, the shroud of Turin.

Every time I hear someone say, "But it's only a theory, not a fact" I cringe and then immediately ask them if they have a problem with the Theory of Electromagnetism or the Theory of General Relativity since they too are "just theories" and not facts. The usual response is a blank stare as their mind tries to not assplode from having to defend such a ridiculous statement.

Re:Good News and Bad News (2, Funny)

koreaman (835838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668977)

Most people don't know what those are. Try the Theory of Gravity and the Theory that the Planets Revolve around the Sun.

Re:Good News and Bad News (3, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669028)

The only problem with the Theory of Gravity is it isn't really called that. It is called the Law of Gravity or, more formally, The Universal Law of Gravitation.

The moment you say Law people assume it means an absolute fact, which, in a sense, it is. However, it is still a theory in the sense that it makes a prediction and as far as we know holds true but it is only for one specific event whereas a theory describes a series of events.

I'm having a running discussion on a tv web forum re: Evolution and ID and every time I use the Theory of Gravity the person keeps saying it's the Law of Gravity, as if that negates the fact it is still a theory.

Then again, the person has never admitted that my original statement, that Electromagnetism or General Relativity are also theories and I don't see them having an issue with them or any other theory.

Re: Shroud of Turin (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669029)

The Shroud is old news. . . the Church had a bunch of different scientists attempt to date it years ago.
"In 1988, the Vatican allowed the shroud to be dated by three independent sources--Oxford University, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology--and each of them dated the cloth as originating in medieval times, around 1350." (Source [skepdic.com] )

But hey, faith's a funny thing. And not funny haha, unless you think drowning cats are hilarious as well.

With Increasing Information comes.... (1, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668846)

With increasing information to the general public comes people who spin it and use that information to justify many things. Then, there is representation of information and how people look at organizations as authority figures. An example here is the Big Bang. To be scientific, as the organization is, shouldn't the big bang be described in accurate scientific terms with using terms such as model or theory? How will misrepresentation of information lead people into paths of believing things that just aren't true. Just because information is out there, doesn't mean the reporting source is honest in the way it conveys that information.

Re:With Increasing Information comes.... (4, Informative)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668971)

"Misrepresentation" is a pretty harsh word. There's a decent description of the Big Bang on NASA's website at http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_uni/uni_101bb1.html [nasa.gov] . Do you think this is a misrepresentation?

meta-moderation (-1, Offtopic)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668895)

Meta-moderation ought to take care of the moderator.

Troll? I think not. I wouldn't moderate up, but I wouldn't moderate down, either.

Re:meta-moderation (-1, Troll)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668969)

Heh, I suckered the moderator to lose a point. See if it works again.

Re:Good News and Bad News (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669005)

The increasing availability and ease of access of information is making it increasingly difficult to get away with lying.

Hey, I'm doing fine so far.

Love,
George W.

Forced to resign is more like it (0, Flamebait)

thewiz (24994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668759)

Nice to see that Deutsch-bag got outed by his alma mater.
Even Aggies have high standards!

Re:Forced to resign is more like it (-1, Offtopic)

koreaman (835838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668813)

Discothèque means "Discbrary".

It's a combination of the French words for "disc" and "library".

Offtopic: Discotheque (2, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669001)

No.

Discus is greek for plate, and theke is also greek for table. A discotheque is a table with plates on, in this case the table of the disc jockey. It has indirectly to do with the bibliotheque, the table for books (biblio: greek for book).

Re:Forced to resign is more like it (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668867)

Ominiously for him, two days ago George Bush held a press conference where he said, "Heck of a job, Deutschie!" This is, of course, the kiss of death to a Republican flunky.

Jim Henson spins in his grave (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668768)

He never would have thought that he would be on the receiving end of a puppeteer's hand.

Number of points (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668771)


1. Deutsch is young. True, while at 24, Deutsch is young, that really does not say anything about his ability to be a spokesperson for science policy....if he is capable of representing the science for NASA and not necessarily a political agenda.

2. Deutsch did not graduate college. The fact that he is not a college graduate does not in of itself eliminate him from a spokespersons job. However, the major issue is that he lied about his graduation and because of that lapse in integrity should not be trusted.

3. Scientific integrity. NASA is an organization that should be proud of its scientific accomplishments and should care enough to represent those achievements to the world through the best possible spokespersons possible. Having these positions as appointed posts rather than earned posts or hires based on merit circumvents this process.

4. Motivations. Placing limits on science by appointing sycophantic toadies who are carrying out a politically and/or religiously motivated agenda is becoming a recurring theme in this administration which leads one to suspect potentially other agendas.

24 years old? (2, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668940)

Sorry I missed this the first time this story came out, but the guy who's muzzling scientists at NASA is a 24-year old stooge? Talk about adding insult to injury. The only thing that would have made this more humiliating is if the guy had failed to graduate from Oral Roberts University or Bob Jones University.

Re:Number of points (1)

koweja (922288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668946)

1. Deutsch is young. True, while at 24, Deutsch is young, that really does not say anything about his ability to be a spokesperson for science policy....if he is capable of representing the science for NASA and not necessarily a political agenda.

Which he is clearly not capable of doing

How do you pronounce his last name? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668777)

is it pronounced as douche?

Re:How do you pronounce his last name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668916)

Doitch. D'Oi'tch.

I assume, anyway. Deutsch is a wierd name that might be pronounced Dutch, but Doitch sounds about right.

Re:How do you pronounce his last name? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669031)

For someone who is deutsch (e.g. german), d'oi'tch sounds about right.

Could be a win-win... (5, Funny)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668789)

This could be a win-win situation. NASA has an opening for a job to be filled by a Republican crony. Michael Brown is unemployed. Looks like a natural fit! Give that man a call!

Re:Could be a win-win... (4, Funny)

anothy (83176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668910)

i hereby mod you "-1: Don't Give Them Any Ideas".

Re:Could be a win-win... (0)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669068)

Absolutely, he'd make a great PR man! He'd do "a heck of a job!"

Stupid (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668801)

He should have kept his feet calm instead of walking out into political territory with creationist thing.
Nobody would have ever noticed his non-existant degree.

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668886)

He should have kept his feet calm instead of walking out into political territory with creationist thing. Nobody would have ever noticed his non-existant degree.

I have been 24 years old. And, at that age, you think you know EVERYTHING. And, I have been involed in politics (when I was about 24 years old, as a matter of fact). Guess what? In politics, when you are on the winning side and you get a political appointee job, you have a huge "ego factor".

A 24-year old political appointee is, almost by definition, a cocky S.O.B. (not to say all 24-year old political appointees are cocky, but there is a high probability). Asking him to "keep his feet calm" is like asking a shark to ignore the chum in the water.

What you people don't understand.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668805)

....is that he could have graduated from college in theory!

Theory not a bad order (3, Informative)

millahtime (710421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668808)

The "Theory of the Big Bang" is at the least how it should be described. NASA is a scientific organization. They should not be trying sell ideas but do strict science.

Theories, Models, and Laws are all terms that mean something. It's not just a matter of verbage but a title given to the status of something in the scientific methods. The Big Bang is actually a model according to scientific methods. To call it a theory is a stretch. To have something as a model is not a bad thing it's just a different descriptor for it.

Re:Theory not a bad order (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668891)

Some people think the word theory is just an insult. You often hear "Intelligent" Design proponents saying "it's not a fact, it's only a theory" as if the phrase demonstrates anything other than their own ignorance about the scientific process.

Re:Theory not a bad order (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668921)

Taken in the context of the memo it is quite clear that Deustche was using "theory" in the derogatory sense, not in the technical sense. He refers to it as "just somebodies opinion".

Semantics (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668952)

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans are just as ignorant of science and the scientific method. To them, the words 'theory' and 'hypothesis' are roughly analogous. And, of course, since 'hypothesis' is usually defined as 'educated guess', you can imagine why we have so many problems.

Re:Theory not a bad order (4, Insightful)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668913)

Really? When I studied for my degree in physics the Big Bang was certainly described as a theory. I'd understand a "model" to be something you construct around a "theory" - the two are not really alternatives.

That said, the problem here is not the description of the Big Bang as a theory (clearly correct) but that the word is used in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by confusing the colloquial meaning of "theory" (i.e. not much more than a guess) with the scientific meaning of "theory". I'm betting that this guy didn't insist on NASA desribing rocketry as a "theory".

Re:Theory not a bad order (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668980)

When I studied for my degree in physics the Big Bang was certainly described as a theory. I'd understand a "model" to be something you construct around a "theory" - the two are not really alternatives.

I recall the terminology being 'the Hot Big Bang model'. The theory this model was based upon was the General Theory of Relativity.

The Big Bang is pretty well established, as I understand it, insofar as the Universe was certainly much hotter and denser in the distant past, and that at something like 300,000 years in the expanding, cooling universal fireball cooled sufficiently to become transparent, leaving its mark in the cosmic microwave background to this day.

It's what happens before that which is interesting. The details of the microwave background indicate that there's more to the story than just that. There's inflationary theory, which is fairly well accepted as the most likely scenario but not entirely well explained, and a whole zoo of weirdness falling out of the GUT du jour. And then there are the string theorists, who I swear just sit around doing acid and playing with hypergeometry equations...

Re:Theory not a bad order (1)

gregmark (750089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668944)

Parent poster makes an excellent point:the lexicon of sceince is being trampled underfoot. But it almost sounds like we're defending the misusers when we try to correct them.

The right - usually the religious right, but not always - seems to be trying to attach a negative connation to the word "theory", demoting it to the status of "opinion" if not "wild spec'a'lay'shun". So you have this new wedge that separates scientific theory from theocratic fact. The trick is to diabuse potentinal converts of this notion without creating a new lie, that it's a FACT and not a theory.

The Big Bang (2, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668814)

Has the Big Bang been established as scientific fact? Not saying it isn't, just would like some more info.

Re:The Big Bang (4, Insightful)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668850)

From now on, we should only speak of the 'Christianity theory' and the 'Islamic theory', as neither is scientifically proven. For some reason however, I have the feeling that the 'theory' zealots won't like this...

Re:The Big Bang (2, Insightful)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668985)

Yeah, probably not. Religions, generally, can't even qualify as theories. A theory requires some amount of factual evidence to support it. Not a lot, but at least something. Some religious events or aspects may qualify under that, but if you take the entire religion as one large entity, it would not.
An idea that has not been supported by facts yet would be a hypothesis.
So it would be better worded the Christian Hypothesis. :)

Re:The Big Bang (4, Informative)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668866)

Look up "cosmic microwave background" on google.

That's probably a good place to start learning about the current state of cosmology. It usually takes more than a decade of dedicated learning to master the topic, so take your time.

Re:The Big Bang (4, Interesting)

arkanes (521690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668877)

I'm not an astrophysicist (I can't even spell it!) and I'm not even an interested amateur, but the blog linked from the previous covererage of this story said that the Big Bang model has been extensively proven out by observation, and while the origin of the bang itself is unknown, what happened during and immediately after the Bang is considered extremely solid and proven.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669039)

what happened during and immediately after the Bang is considered extremely solid and proven.

From everything I've read, there is quite a bit of a debate as to what happened during and immidiately after the big bange (as in the first seconds.) One of the more popular theories of what happened, is the Inflationary Theory [wikipedia.org] , but it's hardly the only one.

Re:The Big Bang (4, Insightful)

grimJester (890090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668882)

Read up on the scientific method, look up the word "fact" in a dictionary and rephrase your question.

Fact (1)

willCode4Beer.com (783783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668973)

From: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=fact [reference.com]

fact
n.

      1. Knowledge or information based on real occurrences: an account based on fact; a blur of fact and fancy.
      2.
                  1. Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed: Genetic engineering is now a fact. That Chaucer was a real person is an undisputed fact.
                  2. A real occurrence; an event: had to prove the facts of the case.
                  3. Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts.
      3. A thing that has been done, especially a crime: an accessory before the fact.
      4. Law. The aspect of a case at law comprising events determined by evidence: The jury made a finding of fact.

Re:The Big Bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668888)

No. It has not. It is, indeed, a theory. People are mad at Mr.Deutsh because he silenced scientists, lied on his resume, and brought politics in to an agency that should be above all politics. Next, the government placed him in his NASA job because he helped the Bush campaign by writing a few slogans for them.

The issue isn't the question whether or not the big bang is a theory or not. The issue is corruption boiling over everywhere.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668928)

No. The "big bang" issue was addressed since Deutsch has been quoted (via his email) that he wants NASA to consider the possibility of Intelligent Design by a creator ass a possible explanation for it.

The Big Bang theory is a theory, indeed. It's fully testable scientifically, too.

Re:The Big Bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668893)

It's been established as the model based on observation and reasoning. Along with other theories, like the theory of relativity, theory of gravity, Newtonian mechanics, and various other theories.

Okay. Bored now.

Re:The Big Bang (4, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668896)

There's a lot of compelling evidence for some sort of Big Bang. The universe is clearly expanding: further galaxies show a distinct "red shift", a change in the light coming from that can be measured and shows how fast away they're going. Their distance is estimated by looking for bright, measurably bright objects like nova or supernova and extrapolating their distance from the brightness.

The further away they are, the faster they seem to be going. That hints at some sort of event, roughly 10 billion years ago, that forced them all away and in fact created these objects. That's coupled with a background microwave radiation we'd expect from a universe at about 3 degrees Kelvin, as if the matter that spread out has cooled down to about that average temperature.

Other theories, such as the "Cyclic" theory assume that the universe keeps exploding and contracting, but it's hard to detect enough matter in the universe to allow it to re-contract from gravitation. Or the "Steady-State" theory assumes that the matter, the universe itself somehow keeps regenerating itself over time: some weird quantum ideas describe universes where matter forms from vacuum, but those theories don't predict the actual measurements very well.

So there are 3 common theories: the Big Bang explains the existing evidence well, but leaves people wondering "what happened before" and "what will happen later". Like gravity or light, the basic facts seem well explained, but there are weird details that do require more work to really understand.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

Fiachra06 (945611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668907)

The answer is no. I'm also not looking to be shouted at here. I'm not a creationist.

You can't really prove things as scientific fact. It's the nature of the game. There's a lot of evidence to support the theory but nothing to prove it. If you ever get a chance to read up on some of the philosophy of science, it's very interesting. As a researcher myself I like knowing the limitations of what we understand to be science. That is a great way to understand your area.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668927)

Has conservation of energy been established as a scientific fact? Not saying it isn't, just would like some free lunch.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

oops (41598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668951)

I've just been reading "Big Bang" [amazon.co.uk] by Simon Singh, a compelling account of the history of astrophysics and in particular the history of the Big Bang theory. I'd never appreciated how much observational astronomy had contributed to this theory beyond Hubble's original work, and I'd strongly recommend it as a fascinating read. (I haven't attached my Amazon associate id to the above URL - in case anyone's wondering!)

Re:The Big Bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668998)

Yes. One of the earlier Popes said it is okay.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

old man moss (863461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669000)

I'm always amazed at just how many people are patiently waiting for all the hard questions to be resolved into easily digestible facts and falsehoods.

You think the earth isn't flat?

You think space is flat?

You think time is what?

It's just a theory? OK, call me when you've proved it...

Re:The Big Bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669012)

Has the Big Bang been established as scientific fact?

Adding "theory" to "Big Bang" would require adding "theory" to "God", wouldn't it?

Re:The Big Bang (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669040)

Has the Big Bang been established as scientific fact?

The point isn't that it's wrong to call it a theory, but that it is wrong to require the word "theory" to be included with every use of the term. Especially when the religious motivation for that requirement is so totaly transparent.

Re:The Big Bang (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669044)

Has the Big Bang been established as scientific fact? Not saying it isn't, just would like some more info.

Yes, and although scientists lend different terms and phrases to the subject, they privately know that it was the first, and most powerful, roundhouse kick by Chuck Norris.

Relatedly, this same event is the crux between science and religion. The Bible tells us, "In the beginning God said, 'let there be light,'" but theologians privately know that Chuck Norris said, "say please...."

Also, the Bible clearly details that God created everything, but it leaves out the part known only to theologians where Chuck Norris created God....

Cronyism doesn't work (5, Interesting)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668820)

Let this be a perfect example of why cronyism is not a good practice.

Now that this guy is found out to be a fraud, it begs the question as to how many other people are holding positions that they neither deserve nor are qualified to hold?
And how many more qualified individuals were passed over because of cronyism?

The US Government should do a resume audit to find out who actually went to college and worked where they say they did.
But, of course, this will never happen.

Re:Cronyism doesn't work (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668941)

eh. why? this is one guy; that does not establish any sort of trend. besides, if some NASA data processor who's been sitting at a desk doing his job quite well for the past 20 years lied about some degree or certification two decades ago, is it really that big a deal? sure, it's certainly wrong, and if found out he should be punished, but we don't really need a witch hunt here. i think it's a better use of everyone's resources to just examine the problem cases.

Re:Cronyism doesn't work (2, Informative)

ctid (449118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668978)

eh. why? this is one guy; that does not establish any sort of trend.

Do you remember Browny, who was "doing a heck of a job" at FEMA?

Re:Cronyism doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668950)

They do. But Deutsch was a political appointee.

Re:Cronyism doesn't work (2, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668960)

Have we already forgotten Mike Brown, the ex-head of FEMA who had practically no experience in emergency services, disaster response, or incident management. Heck, in his previous job (Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association) he was forced our for "accounting irregularities".

I'm expecting a good many of Bush's appointees follow the same pattern, much as Clinton's did (Chief of White House Personnel Security was a bouncer at a strip club). This is just how the Executive Branch of government works today. Credentials be damned, which of my childhood friends/campaign supporters/cronies needs a job?

Finkployd

Re:Cronyism doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668968)

I can think of 535 in fact and their names are prefixed with "Congressman" and "Senator".... wait, make that 537...

Thank God. (0, Flamebait)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668830)

I don't want to further the agenda of the people responsible for placing this asshat in office, but

AAAAAAAAAAAMEN.

Bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668836)

Being a german myself and reading his surname was "Deutsch" (German for "German") even I care about this and feel delighted that such an individual, who can't even distinguish science from religion (obviously a common problem in your country, recently), is rightfully kicked into the nuts.

I wonder if he would have been fired out of NASA even if he had graduated.

It's people like this... (2, Insightful)

inphinity (681284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668842)

It's people like this that force me to carry around a copy of my college transcript to all of my job interviews. Honestly, it shouldn't be this easy to say, "Yeah, I have a degree from xxxx University," without any reputable employer (and I usually lump the Feds into this category) checking up on such claims...

Re:It's people like this... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668929)

And I have friends without degrees who get their resumes discarded even before job interviews if they make it clear on their transcript. They've learned to fudge: their qualifications are excellent, but they wound up doing other things their final year (such as having kids, founding start-ups, or building houses for the poor).

But not having that degree often gets the HR person to take you off the list of candidates: it's a real problem for some very skilled people.

Re:It's people like this... (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669009)

There was an interesting article in Reason a several months back about people working for the government who had degrees from the various degree mills pitched on television and spam.

"He did a heckuva job!" (5, Informative)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668849)

Let's recap for those at home keeping score.

MIchael Brown, the guy Bush picked to head FEMA, had no experience doing disaster recovery, having been fired from his previous job as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Assocation. However, Bush appointed him because he was the roommate of the college roommate of Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and Brown's predecessor at FEMA.

Next, he nominated to the Supreme Court his personal lawyer Harriet Miers who had absolutely no judicial experience. Luckily she didn't get her "up or down" vote due to a Republican backlash (but probably for the wrong reasons).

And now we find that Bush appointed to NASA a 24-year old journalism major who dropped out of college but had all the qualifications of someone who worked on his campaign. And the guy was censoring real scientists!

This problem of Bush cronyism goes much further than just giving plum jobs to to one's friends. These types of appointments are dangerous to our democracy because they can do real damage (as we saw in Brown's case). The fundamental problem is Bush and his ilk value loyalty more than experience or expertise; they value faith more than facts.

Re:"He did a heckuva job!" (5, Informative)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668915)

Don't forget:

Bolten as U.N. Ambassador.

Ellen Sauerbrey as (recess appointment to) Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration ($700M budget).

Melvin Sembler, youth cult leader, appointed to Amabassador to Italy.

Re:"He did a heckuva job!" (5, Funny)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668932)

Considering that the Bush campaign won in 2004 with all sorts of problems. I'd say anyone working on that campaign is qualified for any PR positions in any company or government agency.

Re:"He did a heckuva job!" (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668989)

While "Brownie" was a shit choice, the statement:

"However, Bush appointed him because he was the roommate of the college roommate of Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's 2000 campaign manager and Brown's predecessor at FEMA."

has no factual proof. One can make assumptions left and right but no one knows for sure why Bush appointed that dumbass.

I'm not a fan of Bush by any stretch but statements like the above are the kind of stuff and nitpicks that the likes of Hanity and Coulter use to attack opposing opinions.

The fact that Bush appointed Brownie and this dumbass are just stupid appointments and just speak to his compentence in general.

What's going on? (5, Insightful)

Fiachra06 (945611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668852)

This guy was able to hold a prominent position in the government? Only a day ago we were discussing how this guy was trying to influence NASA's output for a political end and now we find that the people who put him in the job weren't smart enough to do a background check. If you've ever been in poltics this is Lesson #1. Before you put someone in front of a camera to represent you, you make sure of their job credientials.
It's bad enough that a 24 year old was trying to tell NASA what to do but he never even graduated college. Whoever gave him that job should be fired along with him.

On a more personal note, Serves you right you dozy eejit.

Re:What's going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669066)

...and now we find that the people who put him in the job weren't smart enough to do a background check.

Of course they did a background check! It says clearly: he worked on the Presidential reelection campaign. Are you questioning the perfect judgement of Eternal Leader?!?

Heliocentrism (3, Funny)

soshdin (848718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668854)

I wonder if Deutsch had a problem with heliocentrism. The idea that the earth goes around the sun is as much a theory as the Big Bang or evolution.

Re:Heliocentrism (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669006)

no, it's not.
you don't understand science. heliocentrism is testable, measurable, and observable. we've shot probes out from earth which have confirmed this. we've sent humans onto other orbiting masses or out into space who can see it first-hand. the big bang, by contrast, has lots of evidence and measurements that point to it, but the bang itself is long past.

I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently False (-1, Troll)

ThatsMrGregToYou (919274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668875)

I work in the Exploration Systems dept. at NASA.

So I am really getting a kick out of most of these replies.

Some of you guys are very good at making it sound like you know what you are talking about.

But trust me.... You don't.

I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you dont know what you are talking about.

This is how bad info gets passed around.

If you dont know about the topic....Dont make yourself sound like you do.

Cuz some /.ers belive anything they hear.

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (1)

cerebud (868302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668904)

Nice way to insult everyone here when you don't say anything to discredit their posts. Please enlighten us with your 'inside info'.

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668920)

If you're "Mister Bright with the inside scoop", why not educate us all, instead of just rubbing in our face how wrong we all are?!?

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (1)

thenetbox (809459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668935)

Oh no. The fark liters are here.

This is a running joke at Fark.com. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fark [wikipedia.org]

So don't mod his post as interesting. It's not.

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668938)

This looks like a copy/paste troll.

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668954)

...Most of This is Patently False

Ok, what exactly IS false? That Mr. Deutch didn't graduate? That he is a political appointee? That he was injecting politics into science?

You are more than welcome to make an assertion disputing any of those above points (or any other point you desire to make). So, go ahead an actually MAKE ONE, instead of just asserting "Most of this (whatever that means) is false".

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668956)

Care to share what is false and what is truth? Otherwise you are no different, nay worse than any /.er because you profess to have first hand knowledge.

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668966)

Didn't you post something almost word-for-word identical in the last NASA story? Again, without any backup, links, or even specificity.

I suspect you may be a bullshitter, just like those you are disparaging.

Justin.

Stop feeding the troll (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669035)

> Didn't you post something almost word-for-word identical in the last NASA story?

Don't bother. The guy's script is a word-for-word Fark.com cliche. Someone posts that to every story over there. It's not funny there, and it's certainly not funny here.

Instead of responding, people should click the "metamoderate" link and mod down the moderator who marked the post "Interesting".

I guess we'd get the same response if someone posted a Slashdot cliche (e.g., Natalie Portman and hot grits or something about Soviet Russia) on Fark.com.

Re:Stop feeding the troll (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669061)

Ta. Not being a farker, I didn't get the 'joke'.

J.

Re:I Work For NASA and Most of This is Patently Fa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668976)

At the same time, other slashdotters may have a hard time believing someone who works "in the Exploration Systems dept. at NASA" can only communicate like a teenager using text messaging.
Seriously, "cuz"? "belive"?

One wonders whether you are a troll or not. I suppose it is possible for you to be telling the truth... in theory. But, more likely, George, you should give up on trying to repair your image here and go back to University to finish your studies.

Thank You Republicans (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668892)

Should red states be allowed to vote? Shouldn't there be some baseline intellegence level across the board for a state to be allowed to participate in the presidential balloting?

The rightwing entertainment channel 'Fox News' has got to be making the dumb hicks in red states dumber over time.

Re:Thank You Republicans (-1, Flamebait)

bermudatriangleoflov (951747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668931)

Its funny how when republicans win elections the left calls the voters "stupid" rather than examine their own failed policies (or utter lack of new ideas) and finally come to the conclusion that all they have ever produced is economic and social destruction.

Ah; so all red-staters are automatically dumb (1)

Hasai (131313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669024)

I take it you also hold that all black people love chitlins, all hispanics snuck through a fence, and all Jews are sleazy bankers?

Really, tell me; what is the difference between your sweeping, stereotypical statement and one made by some bigot running around in the woods with a pillow case over his head?

Theory (1)

bermudatriangleoflov (951747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668900)

Obviously the guy had an agenda regarding creationsism/evolution, etc. Arguments like these should not take place within NASA...however, calling the big bang a theory is actually correct.

Re:Theory (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668962)

The problem is that people seem to get caught up in semantics. Maybe we should start using another word for evolution.

See the ID crowd has coopted and smokescreened the definition of the "theory". I mean gravity is a theory but no one seems to question it. I blame the science community for not smacking down people on the basis of the word theory.

Re:Theory (3, Informative)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669027)

however, calling the big bang a theory is actually correct

Yes and no. Yes Big Bang is just a theory, like every single scientific "law" or "fact". There is not absolute truth in science. The problem is not calling Big Bang a theory, the problem is that theory, for the common mortal is nothing more than a "hunch" a "wild idea".

Scientists need to come up with a different term for theory. Or they need to push a major PR campaign explaining what a theory is for science, that a theory for science isn't just a hunch but something that is backed up by empyrical evidence. They have to stop giving fundamentalists a way to attack science by calling everything that goes through the scientific method "just a theory".

Deutsch called Big Bang a theory to imply it's not good science and that there is a good alternative in God/Creation. He clearly aimed to discredit the scientific work done on Big Bang to advance his radical and/or fundamentalist and/or religious view.

The progression at Texas A&M (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14668905)

I went to Texas A&M. I saw the following Progression:
-People who couldn't do engineering changed majors to Computer Science
-People who couldn't do CS changed majors to Business
-People who couldn't do business changed majors to Journalism

It looks like this guy couldn't even do journalism.

Please allow me to say: (4, Insightful)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668906)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!!

Disgrace and shame is better than folks like this deserve, but it's the best we can realistically hope to see. The appointment of political officers to oversee scientific speech smacks of the bad old days of the Cold War, and I mean the BAD guys.

Unfortunately, this is only one small win for the side of truth, justice, and the American way. We've still got a *long* way to go before honesty and integrity are restored to the government.

To the blackboard, please (0)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668924)

Now, write 100 times "I will not mix personal life with business life..."

Appointees (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668945)

I generally laugh when an appointee fails. They aren't a good example of the success of representative democracy, and no matter which side is in power, there are people crying foul about whoever is appointed.

They lie? Don't all politicians? They're too white? They're too left? They're too right? They're unqualified? They're qualified but they don't have real life experience? They're cronies?

Let's look at how this works in a free market:

John Johnson hires his son John Johnson, Jr, to help run his company. Nepotism. John I dies. John Jr takes over, and the general history of business shows us the John Jr has never felt pain, so he doesn't work as hard as he should. Business fails. The market solution is to give the person with the best output and lowest price the work. John Jr rarely will be that person.

In the market of government, we don't really have much to control. We can't vote with our dollars OR vote with our ballot. We can't directly affect the actions of the appointee, and some appointees are so powerful it amazes me that the country doesn't cry foul more often (see Ben Bernanke).

Positions of power are better suited to be competitive rather than elected, and better elected rather than appointed. Do you feel better when "your man" is the appointee? Do you forget all the damage that occurs when it isn't "your guy?"

doesn't make a difference... (2, Insightful)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668953)

Because some other asshole will be asked to step into his place.

Confusion (0)

PulledPorkNacho (647764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668965)

Not to defend Deutsch in anyway, but I'm confused. From the first story on Slashdot, it seems like this guy was 'censoring' a web site and was not connected to the Hansen issue. Maybe I've got it wrong, but it seems like its important to realize that there are multiple occurences of this sort of thing and not just Mr. Deutsch.

More cronyism, what the hell? (5, Informative)

cerebud (868302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14668974)

I can't believe this administration hired some young kid to this position (well, I can but...). Besides the Michael Brown/FEMA disaster, there's this shocking bit (from Al Franken's latest): And then there was Scott Erwin, twenty-one, a former intern for Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay, who didn't need a job because he was still in college. Erwin marveled to the University of Richmond newletter that "in one week I went from chatting on the quad, eating in the Heilman Dining Center and attending ODK [Omicron Delta Kappa] meetings to being briefed in the Pentagon, flying in a C-130 military plane from Kuwait City to Baghdad and living in one of Saddam's many palaces." Erwin soon landed a gig as the top Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) official managing the finances of Iraq's civilian security forces -- fire units, customs, border patrols, and police. What a great job! Almost as much fun as his previous favorite job, which he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch was "my time as an ice cream truck driver." Erwin was one of the six youngsters given control of Iraq's $13 billion budget. ... CPA Inspector General Stuart Bowen concluded that no less than $8.8 billion went unaccounted for ...

And to think .... (2, Funny)

bombadillo (706765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669053)

Only days ago Bush praised George Deutsch for his work at NASA, "Deutschy your doing a heck of a job!"

Resume (5, Funny)

TheZax (641389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669063)

I guess he should have added the word theory after Texas A&M everywhere on his resume.
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