Science and the new Inquisition 1

 From Power Line:

Professor [Frank] Tipler notes the discreditable role played by Obama’s chief science adviser, the left-wing partisan John Holdren:

 AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one’s scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical  Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would  have been fired. …

 I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition’s case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama’s new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I think it is people like Holdren who are  dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.

Finally, he points out how toxic the combination of government (which is to say, politics) and science can be:

 I agree … that the AGW nonsense is generated by government funding of science. If a guy agrees with AGW, then he can get a government contract. If he is a skeptic, then no contract. 

 This is why I am astounded that people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no  centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the Einsteins of today? …  

 Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production. Why can’t Newt Gingrich understand this? Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government  funding for science.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 28, 2008

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A question of corruption 1

 Power Line aptly comments:

Eric Holder has come in for considerable criticism from conservatives for his role in the pardon scandal at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term. And properly so. But conservatives have had little to say about substantial allegations of corruption on the part of Hillary Clinton throughout the Clinton presidency.

All but our youngest readers will recall the particulars – Whitewater (which led to the appointment of an independent counsel), cattle futures, and the White House travel office scandal. In fact, Clinton was nearly indicted by Ken Starr’s office for giving testimony inconsistent with what the prosecutors had learned from other key witnesses and that the prosecutors were convinced was false.

Hillary Clinton was also involved with the pardon scandals that may come back to haunt Holder. Her brother Hugh Rodhamreceived $400,000 for working on two pardons, one of which was granted and the other of which resulted in commutation of the sentence. (Hillary claimed that she was unaware of the transaction, and Rodman apparently returned the money). Tony Rodham, another brother, also received financial consideration in connection with another of the Clinton pardons.

Bill Clinton also pardoned the FALN terrorists, pardons that have led to criticism of Holder because federal guidelines were circumvented. But the impetus for the pardons seems to have been Hillary’s race for the Senate, a number of prominent Hispanic politicians from New York having pushed on behalf of the terrorists. Absent such political calculation, it is almost impossible to understand why Bill Clinton would have pardoned this lot, the members of which apparently had not even asked to be pardoned (two of the terrorists refused their pardons). Hillary backed away from the pardons at the last minute, but her fingerprints are on them nonetheless.

Why are we hearing so much criticism of Holder and so little of Clinton? One explanation might be that Holder has been nominated to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and Hillary has not. But this is hardly a satisfactory basis for giving Clinton a pass; having a corrupt Secretary of State is no small matter.

It’s also possible that conservatives are holding their fire because they are reasonably happy with the Clinton nomination for substantive reasons, considering the alternatives. But Clinton is hardly the only mainstream liberal Democrat Obama could have selected, and it’s become clear that Obama has no interest in offering high profile positions like Secretary of State to someone from the far left wing of the party.

In any event, it’s not as if conservatives can block the nomination of Clinton (or, for that matter, of Holder in all likelihood). The point in both cases should be to raise legitimate questions, and the questions about Clinton seem at least as legitimate as those about Holder. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 30, 2008

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