Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't confuse them with the facts...

The Bush administration is at it again, editing out real science from reports and congressional testimony when it doesn't fit "the national priorities of the administration." That quote is from an AP story as carried by Yahoo!News* and is credited to Office of Management and Budget spokesman Sean Kevelighan. Yes, he actually admitted that "lining up well" with the goals of the administration is one of the considerations involved when the OMB reviews reports written by government offices.

If you've read The Republican War On Science by Chris Mooney (and if you haven't, you should), you won't be surprised that this has happened again, this time in a report from the Centers for Disease Control on the effects of global climate change on human health, about which CDC director Dr. Julie Geberding testified before a Senate committee today. According to a CDC official familiar with the report, it was originally fourteen pages long. By the time the White House, via the OMB, was done with it, it was four pages long. As finally presented to the committee, it was six pages long.

What was missing? Specific examples of how climate change will impact on the health of Americans. A CDC spokesman (not the same person, presumably, as the official who commented on the various forms the report took) minimized the importance of the administration cuts in the report and said that most of the information that the CDC wanted to have heard was presented in the course of Dr. Gerberding's testimony. Things like the effects of increased heat on health; injuries and deaths that can be expected from an increase in severe weather events such as hurricanes; and an increase in water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as cholera and malaria respectively.

That's just great. They're finally realizing that they can't deny that the global climate is changing, so now they've decided that they'll just play down the effects the changes will have on the human population. Because if people realized what global warming will do to them, to their children, and to their grandchildren, they might demand that something be done to try to stop...or at least moderate...it. Which might inconvenience some of the administration's rich corporate friends.

Well, for awhile now the right wing has been making snide remarks about the "reality-based community", making it clear that they themselves are not a part of that. I guess they really believe that all they have to do is say something...something, oh, like that global warming doesn't really exist and even if it does it just means more warm weather - "And how can that be a bad thing?"...and it will be so.

I guess they don't want to be confused by the facts.

*As so often happens with Yahoo!News, the link I originally included didn't work. I'd try to fix it but I'm tired, I think I'm coming down with a cold, and I just don't feel like doing it right now. Maybe tomorrow. If the story hasn't completely disappeared into cyberspace by then, as this sort of story so often seems to do. Sorry.

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