Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Va Climatologist Michaels resigns year after ouster attempt

Charlottesville, Va.— What a difference a year makes.

Last August local blogger Waldo Jaquith and outgoing city councilor Kevin Lynch led a McCarthy-style campaign to have Patrick Michaels fired because Michaels' expert opinion on global warming differed from theirs. But they couldn't say that. So their grounds to have him removed was appearance of a conflict of interest. Michaels' position cannot be refuted. Hence the smear tactics and emotional reasoning.

That was not a proud chapter in Charlottesville’s history. So you’ll rarely see mention of this story, except by those few who stood up for intellectual freedom and prevailed.

Below are excerpts from a year ago.

UVa climatologist sparks controversy”, By Carlos Santos, Media General News Service, The Daily Progress, August 2, 2006

The state climatologist's office was run by the federal government in Blacksburg until it was discontinued in 1973. UVa revived the office in 1977, when [Bruce P.] Hayden was appointed by Gov. John Dalton to be the acting state climatologist until Michaels was recruited for the job.

Global Warming Rhetoric Heats up in Charlottesville August 2, 2006

Jaquith's response:

Jack, the person who posted that is Blair. He’s the sketchy, unshaven, wild-eyed guy who used to stand outside of Council chambers after meetings and push copies of his mimeographed conspiracy theory sheet, “The Witness Report,” accusing Councilors of working with the Illuminati to take away private property rights to give them to the space aliens.

He’s also the guy who tried to get the Republican nomination for the House of Delegates a few years ago, to the shame and horror of local Republicans. It turned out he was too incompetent to even file the paperwork, though that didn’t keep him from, bizarrely, trying to get the nomination anyhow.

I imagine he’s upset that he didn’t spot this particular conspiracy theory first such that he could include Masons and Mitch Van Yahres into an otherwise-reasonable accusation. It’s tough being crazy, I guess.

Hawkins' response:

Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t see anywhere a mention of global warming or anything weather related or scientific. Oh, did you mention, I also kill puppies and eat babies while I’m not playing devil’s advocate. I’ve never called Mitch a bad name. I simply pointed out his record (the only bad thing I could find) and acknowledged that he believed in his heart what he was doing was and is the right thing to do, results be damned. I realize many people prefer candidates to be unopposed when they run for elected office. What we have here is a clash of cultures, and hatred of one toward the other. Guess which one.

McCarthy crusade to purge diverse views on global warming at UVa August 11, 2006

The effort to rid the academic community of differing conclusions on global warming have this summer been spearheaded by Charlottesville City Councilor Kevin Lynch and blogger Waldo Jaquith. Here's their argument.

The state climatologist has no credibility because he solicits and receives private funding from electric companies for some of his research. Under this rule, all scientists who are paid to do scientific work lack credibility.

Letter to governor to keep Michaels as state climatologist
August 12, 2006

Dear Governor,

I ask that you keep Patrick Michaels as the state climatologist. Michaels was appointed by Governor John Dalton in 1980. Michaels has much experience and institutional memory. He has observed Virginia's climate with his own eyes for decades.

Michaels is an independent thinker and has the integrity and character to stand by his conclusions. I hope you will see through the arguments for his dismissal.

Va Education Secretary: UVa has oversight of state climatologist
August 17, 2006

Dear Mr. Hawkins:

Governor Timothy M. Kaine has asked me to thank you for and respond to your electronic mail message regarding your concern of Virginia’s climatologist.

Please be advised that the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Secretary of Education have no authority or jurisdiction over the issue discussed within your correspondence.

Blair Hawkins endorses George Allen October 8, 2006

Dear George Loper,

It seems to be the year of smear. First, blogger Waldo Jaquith and Charlottesville Councilor Kevin Lynch smeared UVa state climatologist Patrick Michaels by suggesting Michaels' research on global warming is dishonest (biased) because Michaels is funded in small part by a Colorado electric company. In so doing, Jaquith and Lynch smeared all researchers who accept funds for research.

And now, UVa political professor Larry Sabato has spread rumors on national television (Sep. 24, MSNBC with Chris Matthews) that Senator George Allen has been heard to say the N-word in past years. I heard the replay on WINA's "Charlottesville Right Now" with Coy Barefoot last week. Two listeners called in to the show and condemned Sabato for his slander.

You know you're living in an Orwellian universe when the controversy involves a word protected by the First Amendment and also forbidden from utterance.

Former climatologist will pursue research work: Climatologist out after 28 years
By Bob Gibson, September 26, 2007, The Daily Progress

Patrick J. Michaels' role as state climatologist at the University of Virginia came to a quiet end this summer, UVa officials and Michaels acknowledged Tuesday.

"He has officially resigned as state climatologist," said Joseph C. Zieman, chairman of UVa's Department of Environmental Sciences, where Michaels has worked since 1979.

Michaels, 57, negotiated a retirement package with UVa officials and will remain as a part-time research professor on leave, Zieman said.


Post a Comment

<< Home