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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Playing UVa's Game

You may have read here (twice) recently about the two-faced approach officials at the University of Virginia are taking when it comes to records warehoused there pertaining to work performed by Professors Michael Mann and Patrick Michaels.  If you're not familiar with the story, see this Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial that includes the following;
In asking a circuit court to set aside Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's demand for information about climatologist and former professor Michael Mann, the University of Virginia has taken a strong stand in defense of academic freedom. Planting a flag on the moral high ground, rector John Wynne says the school is fighting for nothing less than "the basic principles on which our country was founded."

... UVa would have done its case a world of good if the school had had its come-to-Jesus moment a little earlier. The scholars who are now in high dudgeon over Cuccinelli's inquiry took a remarkably blasé attitude when former Gov. Tim Kaine and environmental activists drove Pat Michaels, also a UVa climatology professor, out of both that position and his role as state climatologist.

Nor did the academic community seem the least upset when Greenpeace filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the same sort of information about Michaels that Cuccinelli is demanding about Mann. There have been no Faculty Senate resolutions deploring Greenpeace's demand. No hiring of outside counsel to fight it. Casteen has not lamented about Greenpeace's inquiry, as he has about Cuccinelli's, that it "may be as much a political gesture as a search for scientific truth."
It's obvious that UVa's selective interest in academic freedom and justice smacks of gutter hypocrisy.

But still.  If officials there want to play that game, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is willing to engage.  UVa has its undies in a bunch over the heavy hand of government going on a witch hunt but doesn't have a problem at all with requests from private entities seeking documents?  Fine:
CEI Seeks Climategate- and FOIA-Related Documents from University of Virginia
By Richard Morrison, CEI

Washington, D.C., May 24, 2010—On Friday the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, DC free-market think tank, filed a Request seeking records from the University of Virginia under that state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). CEI seeks, among other records, those elaborating UVA's procedure and rationale for disparately maintaining and releasing faculty records, particularly those of certain faculty who have left the University. CEI also seeks certain other "Climategate"-related records.

Earlier this month UVA’s policies and practices regarding document retention and provision became the focus of national attention thanks to a distinct inquiry under a taxpayer protection statute by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. As has also become known, if the subject of less media interest, UVA has refused a FOIA Request for the files of former Associate Professor Michael E. Mann on the basis that Mann’s records were destroyed by virtue of his having left the school.

Inconsistently, however, UVA has acknowledged retaining, and is preparing to provide the pressure group Greenpeace with, files of former Research Professor Patrick J. Michaels. Michaels had worked in, and also departed, the same department as Mann. Michaels asserts that the school informed him that some people’s records are treated differently than others'. CEI expects to learn the basis for and means of such disparate treatment.

CEI Counsel and Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner, who filed the Request, states "Given what we know we about UVA’s practices we are curious about their internal policies and deliberations, among other issues apparently made relevant by the University’s inconsistent words and deeds. For example, have they considered possible taxpayer exposure to claims of ‘malice’, for example?" [link]
Will the University of Virginia comply with CEI's request as it so readily did to that of Greenpeace?  I wouldn't count on it.  Ethical and moral outrage, it now appears, can be turned off and on depending on who it is that is "witch-hunting."

We Want In On The Oil Spill Fear Game

Any bets on whether these are the same people who fear global warming?


The only thing we have to fear is ...

... well, everything.

Why Am I Only Reading This Now?

The Roanoke Times on ObamaCare, in March:
But that noise aside, the bill is passed. It will become the law of the land. And the American people will start to see the good the bill will accomplish. They will also come to realize how dishonest the Republican caricature of the bill was.

The nation now has the opportunity to discover the truth about health care reform -- and about those who opposed it.
And discovering the truth we are.

Appearing in that same Roanoke Times this morning:
Medicaid costs to take bite out of Va.

Richmond -- More than 800,000 low-income Virginians depend on it to stay healthy. It costs more than the state's college system and prisons. And signs are that Virginia's Medicaid program is only going to grow even more, thanks to the federal health care overhaul and other trends.

Even though the federal government is expected to pay a large share of Medicaid expenses under the health care overhaul, Virginia will see higher costs as well. Between 2014 and 2022, the additional state costs are estimated to be $1.5 billion.

[Dr. William Hazel, Virginia's health and human resources secretary] has said Virginia's Medicaid rolls could grow by 270,000 to 425,000 recipients in the coming years under the new requirements.
There are those who claimed - whether willfully or ignorantly - that Obama could dramatically increase the number of dependents on the government health care dole, dramatically improve their health care, and yet dramatically reduce costs.

There are those of us who said they were stark-raving nuts.

To revisit the Roanoke Times declaration: "The nation now has the opportunity to discover the truth about health care reform -- and about those who opposed it."  We now know the truth.  It is as those of us who opposed it predicted it would be.  DISASTROUS.

Will an apology be forthcoming?

Recess From What?

Our senators had been working?

Some think so:


Hope they get some rest. Laying low while America battles crisis after crisis can take it out of a guy.

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Stop the presses.  Liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has decided that maybe conservatives were right all along about crime and the reasons criminals do what they do:
Did liberals get it wrong on crime?

The good news is that crime is again down across the nation -- in big cities, small cities, flourishing cities and cities that are not for the timid. Surprisingly, this has happened in the teeth of the Great Recession, meaning that those disposed to attribute criminality to poverty -- my view at one time -- have some strenuous rethinking to do. It could be, as conservatives have insisted all along, that crime is committed by criminals. For liberals, this is bad news indeed.

Whatever the reasons, it now seems fairly clear that something akin to culture and not economics is the root cause of crime. By and large everyday people do not go into a life of crime because they have been laid off or their home is worth less than their mortgage. They do something else, but whatever it is, it does not generally entail packing heat. Once this becomes an accepted truth, criminals will lose what status they still retain as victims.

[I]n the immediate aftermath of the Newark riots (26 dead), I conducted a one-man, totally unscientific survey of looted stores. I detected no pattern. Generous owners were trashed. Good guys suffered. The mob was not administering justice. It was getting stuff for free.

Common sense tells you that the environment has to play a role and the truly desperate will sometimes break the law -- like Victor Hugo's impoverished Jean Valjean, who stole bread for his sister's children. But the latest crime statistics strongly suggest that bad times do not necessarily make bad people. Bad character does. [link]
Or, as that famous line goes: "Guns don't kill people.  People kill people."

Welcome to the real world,  Richard.  Better late than never.

Hey, Let's Raise The Minimum Wage

The New York Times:
The unemployment rate for the 16-to-24 age group reached a record 19.6 percent in April, double the national average. For those job seekers, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, “This is the worst year, definitely since the early ’80s recession and very likely since the Great Depression.”
Can we talk about all those "jobs that Americans won't do"?

Here's To Arizona