house-science-committee

Petitioning the US House of Representatives House Science Committee: Remove Rep. Paul Broun

Rep. Paul Broun publically and vocally has stated that he does not agree with the most basic tenets of scientific process and critical thought. He is incompetent scientifically and damages the Committee and its purpose with his presence.

We the undersigned respectfully request Rep. Broun’s removal from the committee immediately. 

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell… And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

-Paul Broun, Republican Member of the House Science Committee

Congresswoman Defends NOAA Scientists From Lamar Smith 'Witch Hunt'by Katherine Bagley

House science committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is seen here at a committee event at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

InsideClimate News

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson sends Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee, a blistering critique of his ‘ideological crusade.’

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson delivered a blistering critique of a Republican campaign to discredit the work of federal climate scientists, branding the effort “hyper-aggressive oversight,” a “fishing expedition” and an “ideological crusade.”

The months-long probe of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers is being led by Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee. Johnson is the committee’s ranking democrat.

“In six separate, and increasingly aggressive, letters,” Johnson wrote in a Nov. 19 letter to Smith, “the only thing you accused NOAA of doing is engaging in climate science—i.e., doing their jobs.” The letter charges Smith of “political posturing intended to influence public opinion” ahead of the Paris climate talks.

Smith responded to Johnson on Monday, calling her “characterization of the Committee’s efforts to obtain data from a government agency under its jurisdiction… inaccurate and misleading.”

The congressman is targeting a June 4 study by federal researchers that refutes the so-called “hiatus” in global warming. The hiatus theory—favored by climate denialists—argues warming has paused or slowed since 1998. The study was led by Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, and published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

Since July, Smith has sent NOAA letters and subpoenas asking the agency to provide “all documents and communications” related to the study. NOAA has refused to comply with Smith’s requests for emails, citing the importance of confidentiality among scientists.

“The whole thing is really disconcerting…somebody doesn’t like the result you publish and all of a sudden you have this huge hammer of a congressional subpoena hanging over your head. It has a chilling effect on scientists,” said Andrew Rosenberg, the director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In her letter, Johnson, also from Texas, criticized Smith for not explaining why he was investigating NOAA, as well as for making “sweeping indictments” to media that federal scientists manipulated data to advance President Obama’s climate change agenda.

“In one fell swoop, you have accused a host of different individuals of wrongdoing,” Johnson wrote. “You have accused NOAA’s top research scientists of scientific misconduct. By extension, you have also accused the peer-reviewers at one of our nation’s most prestigious academic journals,Science, of participating in this misconduct (or at least being too incompetent to notice what was going on). If that weren’t enough, you are intimating a grand conspiracy between NOAA and the White House to doctor climate science to advance administration policy. Presumably this accusation extends to [NOAA] Administrator [Kathryn] Sullivan herself.

"And all of these indictments are conjured out of thin air, without you presenting any factual basis for these sweeping accusations—exposing this so-called 'investigation’ for what it truly is: a witch hunt designed to smear the reputations of eminent scientists for partisan gain.”

Johnson first contacted Smith with her concerns about the investigation in October. When Smith didn’t respond, she decided she needed to write him again, said Kristin Kopshever, a House science committee spokeswoman for Johnson.

“Over the past couple of years, the committee has had a lot of investigations,” said Kopshever. It has investigated the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation, she said. In September, Smith launched an investigation of Jagadish Shukla, a climate scientist at George Mason University in Virginia who called for a federal probe into whether fossil fuel companies knowingly misled the public on climate change.

What made her word these recent letters [to Smith] so strongly, Kopshever said, “is that he doesn’t have any fact-based allegations against NOAA for wrongdoing or misuse of power or funds that would typically prompt an investigation.”

Smith also wrote two letters to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging her to pressure NOAA to cooperate with the House committee probe. The most recent one was sent on Nov. 18. In it, Smith claimed to have whistleblower communications that show “wrongdoing.”

“Information provided to the Committee by whistleblowers appears to show that the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists,” Smith wrote. Pritzker was out of the country last week and asked Sullivan of NOAA to respond on her behalf. “Let me assure you that I am not engaged in or associated with any 'politically correct agenda,’ Sullivan wrote in the Nov. 20 letter. "I have not and will not allow anyone to manipulate the science or coerce the scientists who work for me.”

Johnson requested that the whistleblower information be shared with Democratic members of the science committee. She called Smith’s criticism that the study was “rushed” a “mild accusation"—one not serious enough to warrant a congressional investigation.

"The Constitution doesn’t provide you with a blank check to harass research scientists with whose results you disagree,” she wrote.

In his response letter Monday, Smith said that asking for the source’s information “in a public setting is not only harmful to the Committee’s current investigations, but may have a chilling effect on the willingness of federal employees to report waste, fraud, and abuse to the Committee in the future.”

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you believe the Earth is 9000 years old and act on that belief.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you don’t believe in evolution and act on that belief.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you don’t believe in global warming and act on that belief.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you put your own beliefs ahead of actual science.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you hold positions contrary to scientific consensus without good reason.*

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you are scientifically illiterate.*

You are living in another reality, a dangerous one, and as a person the people trust (as they are the ones who elected you), you are knowingly leading them down a path away from facts. It’s harmful and it’s dishonest. This is why so many people are misinformed. Because we have these idiots sitting in a committee supposedly dedicated to science saying how evolution and the big bang are, "lies straight from the pit of Hell.“

*Statements by my good friend, Evan W.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) has publically and vocally demonstrated his rejection of even the most basic tenets of scientific progress and critical thought.

Evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are some of the major underpinnings of modern science. Broun condemns them as “lies straight from the pit of hell… to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

This man has no right to sit on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and his very presence there discredits the Committee and its purpose.

We’re calling on Ralph Hall, the Committee Chairman, to remove Rep. Broun from the committee immediately. Join the call: sign our petition now!

PETITION TO RALPH HALL: Rep. Paul Broun has no place on a committee dedicated to scientific progress and critical thought, as his recent comments and past actions have proved. Please, remove Rep. Broun from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee immediately.

Agency won’t give GOP internal docs on climate research

Agency won’t give GOP internal docs on climate research

The Hill The federal government’s chief climate research agency is refusing to give House Republicans the detailed information they want on a controversial study on climate change. Citing confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it won’t give Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) the research documents he…

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Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): Evolution, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’


“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” Rep. Paul Brown (R-GA)

(Full Video Here)

Rep. Paul Broun serves on the House Science Committee (with Todd Akin), and also Michelle Bachmann serves on the Intelligence Committee. 

I kind of want to laugh, but then I realized these nut-cases are controlling our country. 


PS. The deer heads in the back makes it looks like he’s talking at the pit of hell.

We talked yesterday about Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who believes that cosmology, biology, and geology are, quite literally, “lies straight from the pit of Hell.” The kicker, of course, is that Broun is a member of the House Science Committee. As several commenters reminded me, he’s joined on the panel by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who has his own unique insights on biology. But this led Jillian Rayfield to ask a good question: who else is on the House Science Committee? Let’s start with the chairman himself, Ralph Hall of Texas. Though he was once a Democrat, Hall was behind a 2010 effort by Republicans to cut off billions in funding for scientific research and math and science education. He did this by rather cannily tacking onto a bill a provision that would have forced Democrats to vote in favor of letting federal employees view pornography while on the job. Hall also once said of climate change: “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.” It’s quite a panel. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), who drafted a resolution for Americans to “join together in prayer to humbly seek fair weather conditions” after a series of destructive tornados and droughts, is also on the House Science Committee, as is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who suggested “dinosaur flatulence” may have caused climate change 55 million years ago. They’re joined by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who has characterized climate science as an “international conspiracy,” as well as Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), who supports having public-school science teachers offer lessons on “theories that contradict the theory of evolution.”
salon.com
House bans the military from acknowledging climate science, national security be damned

A budget amendment forbids the Pentagon from spending to study or prepare for the impacts of climate change

1. Why is the House Science committee allowed to exist when they are filled with idiots that know nothing about science, and are often very hostile to entire fields that fall under the category of science?

2. Why is a committee that is so obviously being funded/lobbied/whatever by a group with an obvious agenda allowed to exist?

3. Why are these people allowed to have any say over issues of national security?

4. Why is this group allowed to demand things that will actively harm this country?

5. Who the hell is voting these clowns in?

6. On a practical level, what does that ban even mean? Can the Pentagon not check the Weather Channel now? Are preparing for natural disasters off the table, or do they just need to note on any official government documents that this natural disaster is definitely not linked to climate change or…what?

Congressional committee says NASA’s Mars mission is in critical need of a plan

At a special hearing today, members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tore apart NASA’s Journey to Mars initiative, claiming the program needs a much more defined plan and clear, achievable milestones to work. Those in attendance also doubted the feasibility of a long-term Mars mission; they cited the massive amount of money needed for the trip — much more than NASA currently receives year to year — as well as a significant leap in technological development. Because of these enormous challenges, a few witnesses at the hearing suggested that NASA either rethink its approach or divert its attention to a Moon mission instead.


Above all, Congress members and the three expert witnesses who testified argued that NASA lacks a clear road map for Mars. “We do not have a planned strategy or architecture with sufficient detail,” said Tom Young, the former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The space agency is currently building a rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) and a crew capsule called Orion, both of which are supposed to transport humans to the Red Planet. But NASA is going to need a lot more hardware for a Mars trip — including habitat modules, landing systems, and launch systems for a return voyage back to Earth. None of those pieces have been clearly defined by NASA yet, according to John Sommerer, chair of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We do not have a planned strategy or architecture with sufficient detail.”

The timeline for the Mars trip is also unclear. The first test flight of the SLS and Orion combo is scheduled for 2018, but beyond that, the rocket’s future is up in the air. The first crewed flight of Orion and SLS is tentatively scheduled for no later than 2023, though NASA is working toward a launch date of 2021; the agency doesn’t have any launches scheduled after that. And while numerous missions have been proposed for the SLS, the rocket is really only slated to participate in NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). That’s the initiative where a robotic spacecraft will capture a small piece of an asteroid and bring it into lunar orbit, where humans on the SLS can visit it.

An artist rendering of what the Asteroid Redirect Mission could look like. (NASA)

ARM may be one of the only defined goals of the SLS, but many at today’s hearing criticized the mission heavily as well, characterizing it as nothing more than an extremely expensive stunt. NASA has stated previously that the main goal of ARM is to demonstrate new solar electric propulsion technology that the agency wants to incorporate into the Mars mission. But a few witnesses noted that such a demonstration can be done through other, less complicated measures. And Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) said it was concerning that the main focus of ARM wasn’t on studying the asteroid itself. Many planetary experts have claimed ARM doesn’t advance scientific knowledge very much at all. “This is a misguided mission without a mission, without a launch date, and without ties to exploration goals,” concluded Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). “It’s just a time-wasting distraction.”

“It’s just a time-wasting distraction.”

The hearing eventually delved into whether or not the entire Mars initiative is even feasible based on how much it is expected to cost. Sommerer estimated that NASA would need upwards of half a trillion dollars to reach the Red Planet. Researchers will need a lot of that money to create new technologies, as well as engineering solutions to challenges the crew will face during the trip, he said. A big concern is the deep-space radiation exposure astronauts will experience en route to Mars. But NASA currently has no technical solution for the radiation risks, and even more money will be needed to develop one.

Given how much funding NASA needs, the committee says it is even more critical that the agency develop a concrete plan, especially with a new presidential election on the horizon. A clear vision will be necessary to receive the money and support needed from a new administration. Otherwise, the initiatives face the risk of cancellation.

But Sommerer and fellow witness Paul Spudis, a senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, testified that NASA should consider returning to the surface of the Moon instead of going to Mars, since such a mission would provide an equally exciting and much more achievable goal. The international community is focused on establishing a presence on the lunar surface and in the space surrounding the Moon, Spudis argued, so the United States should maintain leadership in those areas as well. Additionally, missions to the Moon could focus on mining water at the lunar poles, to help sustain a human presence on the surface or create rocket fuel for future missions into deep space. “The moon is reachable, it’s close, it’s interesting, and it’s useful,” Spudis said.


Verge Video: What liquid water on Mars means

More from theverge.com:

Hearing News: House Committee On Science, Space And Technology To Hold Hearing On Midnight Regulations

On Wednesday February 10th at 10AM the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a hearing entitled “Midnight Regulations: Examining Executive Branch Overreach”.

Midnight regulations is a term for United States federal government regulations created by executive branch agencies in the lame duck period of an outgoing President’s administration.

Witnesses at the hearing will be:

Ms. Karen Kerrigan
President and CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Mr. Jerry Bosworth
President, Bosworth Air Conditioning

Ms. Kateri Callahan
President, Alliance to Save Energy

Mr. Sam Batkins
Director of Regulatory Policy, American Action Forum

NASA’s Mars Mission Is Too Expensive, Space Experts Warn

Space experts and U.S. lawmakers have poked holes in NASA’s ‘Journey to Mars’ plan, claiming that it is too expensive to achieve.

At a recent hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, expert witnesses argued that the funding needed to get to the red planet far outstrips the money currently pledged to NASA from the U.S. government.

Sending humans to Mars would also require significant technological developments, heard the committee.

Lawmakers at the hearing stated that a more detailed plan is needed for a Mars mission, with more achievable milestones along the way.

“What we do not have is a plan, strategy, or architecture with sufficient detail that takes us from today to humans on the surface of Mars,” said Tom Young, former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

As an expert witness, Young argued that NASA can’t afford to pursue both a deep-space Mars mission and a low Earth orbit programme, referring to the International Space Station.

Some suggested that NASA should ditch its Mars mission and divert its attention to returning to the moon instead.

As the end of President Obama’s stint in the White House nears an end, a concrete plan is crucial if NASA is to stay on track with its plans to get humans to Mars by the 2030s.

NASA boss Charles Bolden has previously emphasised the need for the space agency to stay focused and expressed concerns that a new president or Congress could ditch the planned mission to Mars.

“If we change our minds at any time in the next three or four years, which always is a risk when you go through a government transition, my belief is that we’re doomed,” he said in 2015.

Image credit: NASA

Via: The Verge

youtube

“Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) tore into scientists as tools of the devil in a speech at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet last month.

“'All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell,’ Broun said. ‘And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.'”

(via Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): Evolution, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’ | TPM2012)

NASA’s Mars Mission Is Too Expensive, Space Experts Warn

Space experts and U.S. lawmakers have poked holes in NASA’s ‘Journey to Mars’ plan, claiming that it is too expensive to achieve.

At a recent hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, expert witnesses argued that the funding needed to get to the red planet far outstrips the money currently pledged to NASA from the U.S. government.

Sending humans to Mars would also require significant technological developments, heard the committee.

Lawmakers at the hearing stated that a more detailed plan is needed for a Mars mission, with more achievable milestones along the way.

“What we do not have is a plan, strategy, or architecture with sufficient detail that takes us from today to humans on the surface of Mars,” said Tom Young, former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

As an expert witness, Young argued that NASA can’t afford to pursue both a deep-space Mars mission and a low Earth orbit programme, referring to the International Space Station.

Some suggested that NASA should ditch its Mars mission and divert its attention to returning to the moon instead.

As the end of President Obama’s stint in the White House nears an end, a concrete plan is crucial if NASA is to stay on track with its plans to get humans to Mars by the 2030s.

NASA boss Charles Bolden has previously emphasised the need for the space agency to stay focused and expressed concerns that a new president or Congress could ditch the planned mission to Mars.

“If we change our minds at any time in the next three or four years, which always is a risk when you go through a government transition, my belief is that we’re doomed,” he said in 2015.

Image credit: NASA

Via: The Verge