Virginia's Tea Party AG--Ken Cuccinelli
So here's a perfect example of why prosecutors with a political agenda are so damn scary. The Attorney General of Virginia is on freakish crusade to enforce a set of norms the Tea Party and Taliban both love. He's used the power of the state to try to rescind anti-discrimination policies for gays and lesbians, approved a new policy allowing sectarian prayer by state police chaplains at public events, and even tried to cover up the bare-breast of the Roman Goddess who has graced the state seal since 1776. Now he's been turned back on several of these efforts, but he seems undeterred. His most recent target of intimidation? A climate scientist.
As Dahlia LIthwick ably reports in Slate, the AG has filed " A civil investigative demand (or CID, which is basically a subpoena) with the University of Virginia on April 23, giving the school 30 days to produce more than 10 years' worth of documents related to the state-funded research of a former faculty member, Michael Mann. Operating under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, the CID seeks from the university, among other things, "any correspondence, messages or emails" to or from Mann and 40 named climate scientists; any documents sent to or from Mann that reference any of those 40 scientists; and any "documents, things or data" submitted in support of any of five different grant applications that amounted, in total, to almost $500,000. The university is also expected to turn over "any and all emails or pieces of correspondence from or to Dr. Michael Mann since he left the University of Virginia."
And why? Because while he'd like to further the science deniers who persist in thinking that global warming is a hoax, Cuccinelli understands that issuing CID's and targeting academics will have a chilling effect--making scientists and academics fear that research with politically sensitive implications will bring down the heavy hand of the tea-party taliban upon them.
And that, is a scary world indeed.
Posted by Indefensible at 11:33 AM