Ken Cuccinelli is on a witch hunt

The Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, is on another witch hunt.

When Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II on Monday revived his anti-climate science crusade with a new, 30-page civil subpoena demanding boatloads of documents from the University of Virginia, we wondered what he might have discovered recently about the work of former U-Va. researcher Michael E. Mann, the object of the probe, that would justify further investigation. The answer: essentially nothing.

Slapped down once by a Virginia judge in his effort to investigate Mr. Mann, the attorney general is trying again with a screed that rehashes a lot of the old arguments about Mr. Mann’s findings, including the complaint about his famous “hockey-stick” graph in 1998, which shows a spike in world temperature during the 20th century. What Mr. Cuccinelli doesn’t discuss is a 2006 inquiry from the National Academy of Sciences on reconstructing historical temperature data, which found that Mr. Mann might better have used some different statistical techniques but that his methods weren’t unacceptably poor. Instead, the academy stressed that his basic conclusions appear sound.

As I’ve said before, people like Cuccinelli don’t have the qualifications to read, understand, and appreciate scientific papers. It’s frustrating when jokes like this guy go out and attack good science out of political and economic ideology.

Oh, and the cost?

To defend itself from Mr. Cuccinelli’s investigation into the distribution of a $214,700 research grant, the University of Virginia has spent $350,000, with more to come, and that doesn’t count the taxpayer funds Mr. Cuccinelli is devoting to this cause. Sadly, though, that’s the smallest of the costs. The damage to Virginia’s reputation, and to its universities’ ability to attract and retain top-notch faculty and students, will not be easily undone.

The record of Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli is a sexually immature, anti-scientific, bigoted conservative who unfortunately holds the high position of Attorney General for Virginia. He has been in the news recently for a few things.

Among the documents Cuccinelli demands are any and all emailed or written correspondence between or relating to Mann and more than 40 climate scientists, documents supporting any of five applications for the $484,875 in grants, and evidence of any documents that no longer exist along with proof of why, when, and how they were destroyed or disappeared.

Pure witch hunt.

I find politicians being involved in science like this especially frustrating given my most recent college semester. I spent a lot of time reading and summarizing a number of scientific papers, so my familiarity with their complexity has only increased. There are a number of things I wouldn’t have understood just a year ago; there are even more things I would have thought I understood, but I wouldn’t have appreciated their importance to the paper. This stuff is not easy. So when people like Cuccinelli pretend like they have the knowledge, qualifications, or honesty to make the accusations they do, it’s frustrating. They have no idea.

Virginia AG gets bitched slapped

On March 4, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to Virginia’s public colleges and universities telling them they ought to allow discrimination against gays. (Because gay people don’t deserve employment or education, I guess.) Less than a week later, Governor Bob McDonnell issued an Executive Directive (which I apparently missed until today).

“Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution,” the new directive said in response to the letter.

“Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited.”

I love it…”without a rational basis is prohibited”. No one can offer a legitimate argument as to why sexual orientation is relevant to any public job. The only basis is bigotry and unqualified hatred.

But I’m torn. I can’t decide if the best part of this is the fact the equality is being enforced or if it’s Cuccinelli’s bitch slap reaction.

“I applaud Governor McDonnell for the tone he is setting for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I will remain in contact with the Governor and continue to work with him on issues important to Virginians,” Cuccinelli said. “I expect Virginia’s state employees to follow all state and federal anti-discrimination laws and will enforce Virginia’s laws to the fullest extent.”

“Because I don’t want to get fired.”

Okay, that whole equality jazz is always better, but there’s still a satisfaction in seeing a bigot’s views pushed to the side.

Your kid is a reflection of you

It looks like Huntington, Virginia may be losing its title of most disgusting place in America. The new title holder will be…the rest of America.

A striking new study says almost 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese, and the rate is alarmingly higher among American Indian children, with nearly a third of them obese. Researchers were surprised to see differences by race at so early an age.

Overall, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese, the study suggests. Obesity is more common in Hispanic and black youngsters, too, but the disparity is most startling in American Indians, whose rate is almost double that of whites.

The lead author said that rate is worrisome among children so young, even in a population at higher risk for obesity because of other health problems and economic disadvantages.

“Economic disadvantages” is the biggest cop-out. It is wholly possible to eat healthy without spending a load of money on food. Beside that, it’s really quite easy for most people to go for a fucking walk, even if they do decide to have that diarrhea-inducing chalupa from Taco Bell.

Dr. Glenn Flores, a pediatrics and public health professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, said the research is an important contribution to studies documenting racial and ethnic disparities in children’s weight.

“The cumulative evidence is alarming because within just a few decades, America will become a ‘minority majority’ nation,” he said. Without interventions, the next generation “will be at very high risk” for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, joint diseases and other problems connected with obesity, said Flores, who was not involved in the new research.

The thing is, the numbers released are alarming no matter the ethnicity or race. They are all absurd. No 4 year old should be obese. In fact, no person without an uncontrollable medical condition should be remotely close to obese.

Willingly fat and obese people are immoral monsters. They are willfully throwing away a human life due to laziness. This is hardly any different from being able to prevent a person from being shot in the face but deciding that the re-run of Seinfeld is just too good to pass up. Both instances are wastes of human lives due to being a lazy fuck-up. Overweight people who do not put forth any effort to become healthy and thus save a human life (their own) deserve absolutely no respect. These people should be helped as much as possible until it becomes clear they have no desire to be good individuals. At that point, they deserve all the scorn we would give an attempted murderer. If they die due to their obesity – without ever having attempted a healthy lifestyle – they deserve to be remembered as killers.