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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 11, 2010

 
More Burrowers

by digby

... and not enough will to get them out.

When he ran for president, Barack Obama attacked the George W. Bush administration for putting political concerns ahead of science on such issues as climate change and public health. And during his first weeks in the White House, President Obama ordered his advisors to develop rules to "guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch."

Many government scientists hailed the president's pronouncement. But a year and a half later, no such rules have been issued. Now scientists charge that the Obama administration is not doing enough to reverse a culture that they contend allowed officials to interfere with their work and limit their ability to speak out.

"We are getting complaints from government scientists now at the same rate we were during the Bush administration," said Jeffrey Ruch, an activist lawyer who heads an organization representing scientific whistle-blowers.
[...]

Scientists and environmental groups have lauded Obama for appointing highly regarded scientists to top posts within the administration. But so far, critics said, those appointments have not eliminated the problems faced by lower-level government scientists..."Basically, science is still being scuttled," Fite said. "We are heartbroken."

Most critics said they were disappointed that protection of science and scientists did not become more of a priority after the election.

Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington attorney who has filed suit to block projects approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies, said he had expected the culture to change under Obama.

"The administration's been in long enough that if that was going to happen, we should have seen it by now," he said. "We simply haven't."


I don't know if it's a matter of poor management or philosophy or both, and perhaps a thorough housecleaning is underway. I certainly understanding that reforming bureaucracy is harder than moving a mountain. But there can be no doubt that this sort of thing should have been a top priority of the new reality based administration. Continuing the criminal neglect of science and reason in policy making is governing malpractice.

Post partisanship or "changing the culture of Washington" was always a facile pipe dream based upon the delusion that Obama's personality was so intense that he could mesmerize Republicans into doing his bidding. But the one thing he does have the capacity to reform is the executive branch, which had been turned into a partisan patronage machine under Bush and still has people working in a political capacity. So far that doesn't seem to have happened.

Read the whole article for the examples of scientific finding after scientific finding all over the federal bureaucracy being suppressed. It's depressing.


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