Bush vs. the Laureates
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|Wed, 10-20-2004 - 10:45pm|
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/19/science/19poli.html?pagewanted=4 (registration is free)
This is a long but fascinating article about the current administration's unwillingness to deal with scientific facts if it does not suit their agenda. The article mentions problems in previous administrations but never anything of this scale.
"This year, 48 Nobel laureates dropped all pretense of nonpartisanship as they signed a letter endorsing Senator John Kerry. "Unlike previous administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy making that is so important to our collective welfare," they wrote. The critics include members of past Republican administrations.
And battles continue to erupt in government agencies over how to communicate research findings that might clash with administration policies."
But the part that really got me was this:
" Despite three years of charges that it is remaking scientific and medical advisory panels to favor the goals of industry or social conservatives, the White House has continued to ask some panel nominees not only about their political views, but explicitly whether they support Mr. Bush.
One recent candidate was Prof. Sharon L. Smith, an expert on Arctic marine ecology at the University of Miami.
On March 12, she received a call from the White House. She had been nominated to take a seat about to open up on the Arctic Research Commission, a panel of presidential appointees that helps shape research on issues in the far north, including the debate over oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The woman calling from the White House office of presidential personnel complimented her résumé, Dr. Smith recalled, then asked the first and - as it turned out - only question: "Do you support the president?"
"I was taking notes," Dr. Smith recalled. "I'm thinking I've lost my mind. I was in total shock. I'd never been asked that before."
She responded she was not a fan of Mr. Bush's economic and foreign policies. "That was the end of the interview," she said. "I was removed from consideration instantly."
That's just ridiculous. I expect a President to be someone willing to deal with reality as it is, not reality as it suits them to believe.