(UPDATE on the Attorney General's version of the state seal: My pal Valerie Garner sends these links to update and give a little background on the AG pin squabble: here and here . Seems our AG's seal has its genesis in secession. My post on the seal is here.)
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's is moving from the comic to the expensive. According to the national The Hook, the AG now wants to have a look at records the University of Virginia owns concerning climatologist and former UVa professor Michael Mann, who worked at the university for six years, up to 2005.
Mann was ostensibly involved in that tempest in a teapot referred to by global warming deniers as "climategate," wherein some e-mails that appear to contradict research were hacked by ... well ... party hacks hoping to debunk the science and let the polluters continue to pollute. The e-mails have seen been clearly shown not to deny that global warming is happening.
Cuccinelli's request could result in a court case costing as much as half a million bucks, according to the Virginia Sierra Club's Antigone Ambrose (quoting Sen. Donald McEachin)--hardly a conservative handling of a very tight budget. Ambrose calls the move "fiscally irresponsible," and McEachin adds, "That’s money that we simply don’t have."
Mann received nearly $500,000 in state financing for climate research while at UVa. He has been investigated by Penn State University (where he works now) since "climategate" made news, but was cleared. His work has been considered to be of considerable value in the scientific community.
Brian Gottstein, a Roanoke finance guy and libertarian voicebox in recent years, who is now serving as Cuccinelli's mouthpiece, says, "The attorney general’s office can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of any pending case or investigation." He's not clear on why an elected official can't discuss state business.
Here's a complete report on this nonsense in the Lynchburg News & Advance.
(This note is from scientist Diana Christopulos of the Cool Cities Coalition: "Interesting that they are going after U Va. Have to wonder if this is not a reaction to the semi-dismissal of Patrick Michaels, climate denier, as State Climatologist after word got out that he had accepted $150,000 from a coal-burning cooperative out West. By the way, Michaels is now a very vocal employee of the right-wing Cato Institute, and he is often interviewed on climate 'science' to give a 'balanced' perspective."