Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Running With Scissors

Sometimes the simple act of a child gives rise to a stern warning from a concerned parent. Don't eat with your mouth open. Don't talk with your mouth full. Don't run with scissors.

Once again, a federal agency has attempted to play the role of stern parent to its children/employees.

PEER link


Washington, DC — Federal climate, weather and marine scientists will be subject to new restrictions as to what they can say to the media or in public, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under rules posted last week, these federal scientists must obtain agency pre-approval to speak or write, whether on or off-duty, concerning any scientific topic deemed “of official interest.”

On March 29, 2007, the Commerce Department posted a new administrative order governing “Public Communications.” This new order covers the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Weather Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Commerce’s new order will become effective in 45 days and would repeal a more liberal “open science” policy adopted by NOAA on February 14, 2006.


Putting the lid on more talk of global warming apparently. Just ignore it and it will go away is now official policy.

PEER:

“This ridiculous gag order ignores the First Amendment and disrespects the world-renowned professionals who work within Commerce agencies,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Under this policy, National Weather Service scientists can only give out name, rank, serial number and the temperature.”


Having experienced professionals subject to the authoritarian whims of politicians is highly damaging to both the effectiveness of those federal agencies and the goals of a healthy democracy. But in Bushworld, democracy has been left far behind and science is secondary to corporate profits.

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