[permaculture] Anderson Cooper 360: Blog Archive - Obama’s Science Team: Reshaping Our Long-Term Future « - Blogs from CNN.com

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Tue Dec 23 12:39:03 EST 2008

Obama’s Science Team: Reshaping Our Long-Term Future


Over the past seven plus years, many leaders in the science and technology community feel they have been in a virtual 
war with the Bush administration. They despaired, as one told me this weekend, that “no one was ever home” and that the 
Bush team was so dismissive of key scientific research that it threatened our future.

In a brief capsule, here are some of their key complaints:.

     * The President and the men around him have been so ideologically opposed to the idea of man-made global warming 
that they first put their heads in the sand, refusing to accept evidence and editing reports from scientists inside the 
government such as the EPA, sending morale down the tubes. More recently, President Bush has acknowledged that man has 
contributed to warming, but the U.S. continues to drag its feet in international negotiations and Bush has resisted 
mandatory emission standards.
     * Top scientific leaders in the administration have sometimes been silenced, including a top NASA climate scientist 
James Hansen and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona. A number of government scientists have resigned.
     * The President twice vetoed bills for stem cell research over the objections of many in the scientific community 
as well as Bill Frist, the cardio-surgeon who was a GOP leader in the Senate.
     * The President allowed funding for the National Science Foundation to go essentially flat and after sizable 
increases, also allowed a flattening of the budget for the National Institutes of Health.
     * The President did sign onto the competitiveness agenda proposed by a special commission of the national academies 
of science and engineering – and he helped to secure Congressional passage of legislation endorsing the agenda. But, 
stunningly, the Congress refused to fund it – and the President put up very little fight.
     * This November, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science publicly lambasted the 
administration for putting unqualified political appointees into permanent civil service jobs that make scientific 
policy decisions. A case in point: Todd Harding, a 30-year old with a bachelor’s degree from Kentucky’s Centre College, 
was named to a permanent post at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration working on space-spaced science for 
geostationary and meteorological data.
     * Even as some positions were filled with non-entities, the White House left vacant the post of Executive Director 
for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the scientific community began rallying to Barack Obama months ago.


For at least half a century, America has been the world’s premier nation for scientific and technological research. 
Remaining at the cutting edge is not only important for the advancement of knowledge, but it is also critical – 
absolutely critical — for the creation of high-powered jobs and meeting the challenges of global warming. In his 
Internet address on Saturday, Obama said, “It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to 
restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology.” He’s right – it is none too soon to call off the 
war and build a strong, new alliance between government and science. .

More information about the permaculture mailing list