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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

NY Times, 6/9/05

Bush administration officials said yesterday that revisions to reports on climate change made by Philip A. Cooney, a former oil-industry lobbyist now working at the White House, were part of the normal review before publishing projects that involved many agencies.

Apparently this administration’s “normal review” of scientific reports prior to publishing involves non-science policy wonk editing. OK, so long as they are not fixing the intelligence to further a policy goal. Oops …

Mr. Cooney, 45, is chief of staff to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which helps shape and carry out the president's environmental policies. A lawyer with no scientific training, he moved to the White House in 2001 after having worked for more than 10 years for the American Petroleum Institute, the oil-industry lobby. His last title there was climate team leader, and his focus was defeating plans to restrict heat-trapping gases.

Don’t you just hate it when facts and expert opinion get in the way of ideologically driven policy?


… C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action …

… The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force …

But, at least in the lawyer playing scientist case, someone is being held to account.

NY Times, 6/10/05 (a.k.a. Take Out The Trash Day)

Philip A. Cooney, the chief of staff to President Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality, resigned yesterday, White House officials said.

Astonishing! A corporate-shill appointed to a government position being held responsible for misconduct. Well, no. According to deputy White Press Secretary, Dana Perino,

“He (Cooney) had accumulated many weeks of leave and had decided to resign and take the summer off to spend the time with his family.”

Oh, my mistake. He probably wanted to see some nature before his former lobbying interests consumed it all. I'm more surprised that this guy wasn't promoted to head the EPA or at least given some honorary environmental conservation award.

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