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April 28, 2007


The WaPo piece is well researched... what else is out there?

In another blow for science and the public interest, the Ninth Circuit struck down the Bush Admin's attempt to gut the dolphin-safe tuna regulations to allow importation of tons of dolphin-unsafe Mexican tuna. The Ninth said that science had been twisted in favor of politics.

With diligence, a new administration might be able to remove the Bush political appointees throughout government.

However, there is simple way to count or to undo the damage caused by the loss of personnel who have already left--and in many cases I am sure the ones who left were the most talented and principled.

The story of this administration's "clear cutting" of effective government personnel is just being written.

Your conclusion could not be more accurate. The corruption of the HR process - hiring, reviews, day-to-day people and work management - is NOT limited to the CDC and Justice. It is rampant throughout govt, from the Consumer Products Safety Commission and FCC to the Defense Department.

Gutting the bureaucracy of all but the zealously faithful was one of Mr. Cheney's highest priorities. A speech by then WH chief of staff Andrew Card puts it in a nutshell. He was a keynote speaker at an event to celebrate the promise of top govt interns as the stars of tomorrow. Supposedly departing from prepared remarks, Card instead gave them his "honest" advice: working for the govt was a waste; they should devote their energies to the private sector.

Returning non-political appointee hiring decisions to careerists will work only at some agencies. Zealots have infiltrated into career slots, and many professionals have left or been fired. Moves such as Bradley Schlozman's return to Main Justice, at the Exec. Office of USA's no less, spell out why any careerist should keep their head down until the Bush administration is safely in the dustbin, and a new administration shows what it's made of.

That will be months after the next inaugural, as new political appointees are identified, nominated and confirmed, which collectively denies everyone of leadership, mentoring and basic management, and leaves agencies hobbled by inefficiencies.

A new administration will have to clean house on an objective and documented basis. That will slow down rebuilding, but put it on a sound footing. It should rehire some of the pros, and revamp its hiring process with peer reviews and other techniques. It will also have to reinstate formal and informal policy review process that the Bushies have tried so hard to shut down. They keep such things within a tight WH circle, and delegate only blind execution to others.

Lots to do. The Democrats should be planning for it now.

well said.

the bush admin's broad-front attack on science

- astronomy and physics (nasa/ hubble)

- biology (stem cell) (forestry)

- health and medicine (nih and cdc aids)

- fda (contraception)

- noaa (weather/global warming)

- slowing supply of foreign (science) graduate students

- putting nat science found under nsa

i'm sure i have left out lots.

this society and its economy lives by science and technology. it is the only edge we have left.

to meddle in the scientific process for political benefit,

to slow some scientific research down for eight years,

goes beyond incompetence to serious malfeasance in office.

slightly OT, but I was thinking recently of going through a months' worth of postings on major blogs or media op-eds and scoring how often, this year, Hurricane Katrina is mentioned with Bush compared to, say, Iraq.

I mention it here because I think it was FEMA that really opened public outrage at these politicized hirings. Yet we seem to be starting the outrage clock from zero with DOJ as if Katrina/FEMA hadn't happened.

In fact, one can go back to 2000/1 and find an abundance of coverage of Bush loyalty tests (and in the sciences recall Blackburn's firing from bioethics council in 2001, marking an end to even a pretense of nonideological appointments.)

So why does public outrage start from zero with each fresh "Breaking"? One is reminded of Douglas Adams's description of a sheep's amazement, each morning, at observing a sunrise.


It's because in the US everyday is Groundhog Day.

Okay, I'll own up to one thing that worries me. I've long said I expect a Democrat to win the White House next year, with significant gains in Congress. This should set up the prospect of massively changing all this mess Dem recounts; it's something we all hope for.

But don't you expect the rules to suddenly be inverted? When President Edwards/Obama/Clinton replaces these hacks with qualified professionals, I anticipate the press (at the goading of right-wing groups) minutely examining the backgrounds of every single appointee -- no matter how qualified -- and declaring many "political appointees" for the slightest hint of a campaign contribution. Replacing GOP hacks with qualified Democrats will, in some reoprts, be treated as politicization. And forget about the day the new president fires all the US attorneys, as of course he will -- we'll hear instantly that this proves he's "just as corrupt as the last guy", and far too many people will buy into it.

I realize this is a pretty arcane thing about which to worry -- and if we have the presidency and solid Congressional control, I'll gladly accept the trade-off. But I do think we should be prepared for the onslaught. It'll come.

yo, demtom:

the mighty repuglican wurlitzer has been reduced to Morbo, The News Monster

Morbo says "I will Destroy You", and the audience laughs

repuglican complain about EVERYTHING Democrats do

Dogs chase cars

and the Sun rises in the East

is there anything else that is so predictable ???

The Yankees are in last place so seldom, you have to celebrate every single time (adapted from W. P. Kinsella) (Yes, the pitching will come back)(After they win tomorrow, the Cardinals will not be in last anymore)(Awful statistic from last night's game: Marquis 3-1, ERA 2.35; Reyes 0-4, ERA 5.73)

Posts from all over show that those who have power in this administration are interested in a permanent Republican majority and in getting revenge. If these are the priorities people will look to enforce them in the petty ways such as eliminating references to global warming as well as in the grand ways such as the courts.

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