Friday, July 30, 2010

Bush Tax Cuts: Orrin's "Analysis"

Orrin Hatch thinks you're stupid, and if retweets are any indicator, many Utah conservatives are proving him right, buying his over-the-top double speak hook, line, and tea bag.

Orrin on July 22nd:

Introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment today, because our country cannot afford the spending binge Congress is on! #utpol
Orrin today:
Letting Bush Tax Cuts Die Would Kill Recovery: Analysts http://bit.ly/9oIFJ0 #utpol via @CNBC
Forgetting, for the sake of argument, that this is most likely some inattentive, poorly paid staffer (perhaps Utah GOP Chair Dave Hansen himself?), and ignoring that Orrin's analysts are the executives of a the large Deutsche Bank (the article may be better titled: Letting Tax Cuts Expire Would Kill Recovery... of Deutsche Bank!), let's take a look at what Orrin's "analysts" are actually saying.
The nascent US economic recovery would be halted in 2011 if Congress fails to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, analysts at Deutsche Bank said.

The cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush and in part covered those earning more than $250,000, but they are set to expire at the end of this year. Tax decreases for lower-earning people likely will be continued, but the ones for the top end of the income scale are in danger of going away.
Oh Noes!  Sure, the tax cuts for the middle class will stay in place, but what about the rich?!  Won't someone think of the wealthy bankers of the world?  Forget that this "analysis" runs contrary to all the "non-big-bank" analysis out there.  The rich are suffering, people!  Why is the middle class being so selfish?  Come to think of it, What About Our Stockholders' Profits?! is a more accurate headline for this piece.  The Douche Deutsche analysts continue:
The impact would be worse, the analysts said, if Congress fails to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was enacted in 1969 to make sure rich people pay taxes but was never indexed for inflation, and thus is now hitting middle-income workers.
"In a worst-case scenario, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and failing to fix the AMT could result in (1.5 percent) of fiscal drag in 2011 on top of the 1 percent fiscal drag we expect to occur as the Obama fiscal stimulus package unwinds," Deutsche said in a note to clients. "If the recovery remains soft/tentative through early next year, this additional drag could be enough to push the economy to a stalling point."
Catch that?  If the upper end of these tax cuts expire, we're all going to die... but if we don't adjust the AMT to make sure the rich pay their fair share... we're all going to die.  Wow, this is confusing.  Which is it?  Either the rich need to catch a (continued) break, or they need to start paying their fair share.  Can it be both at once?  (Hint: No.)  

So what Orrin has served up here is an article by bank "analysts" pretending to be concerned about the economy by arguing both for an extension of tax breaks for the wealthy, and an inflation based adjustment of the AMT so that the wealthy will be paying more taxes, and so that you'll be fooled into thinking it's you they had in mind when they penned this piece.  And Orrin serves up this blustery support for the tax cuts that will add $3 trillion dollars to the national debt  a week after sponsoring a balanced budget amendment because he can't sleep at night worrying about the national debt.

AMT was designed as a extra tax on high earners, but the the income level above which someone is subject to AMT isn't designed to change with inflation so it requires an act of congress to change it.  Without adjustments, each year people who didn't have to pay AMT last year and aren't the tax's intended target will have to pay AMT (usually a grand or two at the bottom of the range, going up from there).   An adjustment for inflation -- especially an automatic adjustment so we don't have to do this every year -- is a great idea.  But Orrin has stumbled on that nugget of smart by sheer accident as he trudges through a self induced marsh of contradictory, hypocritical, hyperbolic stupid.  He's not linking to this article for the insight, he's linking to the article because some bankers are really really really concerned that tax cuts for the rich may expire, and they are apparently his constituency.  That and they used the word "Kill," which is always scary.

Letting the upper end of the Bush Tax Cuts expire will reset the revenue sets to those of the Clinton years, which if you'll remember were pretty super years, economically.

As I began: Orrin Hatch thinks you're stupid.








 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

National Security Letters

Ick.  Rawstory:

The White House has asked Congress to make it possible for the FBI to demand that Internet service providers turn over customers' records in cases involving terrorism or other intelligence issues without first obtaining a court order.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act currently states that companies are required to provide basic subscriber data to the FBI, but lists only the four kinds of information that might be found on phone bills -- customer's name, address, length of service, and toll billing records.

In 2008, the Justice Department ruled that those four categories were "exhaustive," making some companies reluctant to provide any additional information. The proposed amendment would add the phrase "electronic communication transactional records" to the list in order to include the recipients of emails and when they were sent and received -- though not their content. It might also cover web browsing history.

The administration is describing the proposal as intended to prevent "confusion" on the part of service providers, but the Washington Post notes that "what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters."

Welcome to the Republican Tea Party


Crooks and Liars:
Behold, the Republican Tea Party Contract ON America, where Democrats are prepared to remind the country of what Republicans have been up to this year.
Contract high points include:
  1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Insurance Reform)
    Put insurance companies back in charge, repeal tax credits for small businesses, allow insurance companies to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions and to drop coverage when a person gets too sick and make prescription drugs for seniors less affordable.
  2. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether
    Turn the guaranteed retirement benefits of America's seniors over to Wall Street CEOs by putting Social Security at risk in the stock market or, as some Republicans have called for, phase out Social Security altogether and end a program millions of American seniors rely on for their survival.
  3. End Medicare as it presently exists Phase out and end Medicare as it presently exists for future generations of seniors -- ending Medicare's guaranteed healthcare benefits for more than 40 million American seniors -- and replace it with a voucher system which will result in higher premiums and fewer services for seniors.
  4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil
    At a cost of nearly $700 billion, extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and big oil, which are set to expire and which have and will continue to explode the federal budget deficit.
  5. Repeal Wall Street Reform
    Roll back the toughest consumer protections ever enacted, allow banks to continue to grow too big to fail, and ensure that predatory lenders continue to utilize their most abusive practices.
  6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes
    Cap liabilities for those responsible for environmental disasters like the Gulf oil spill and let companies like BP decide which victims deserve compensation for the disaster and what the timeline for relief should be.
  7. Abolish the Department of Education
    Put the big banks back in charge of student loans and put an end to federal assistance for public schools.
  8. Abolish the Department of Energy
    End America's investments in a clean-energy future and disband the organization responsible for oversight of nuclear materials.
  9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency
    Gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act -- which together protect our kids from air pollution and keep drinking water safe -- and disband the watchdog that holds polluters accountable.
  10. Repeal the 17th Amendment
    Take away your right to pick your U.S. Senator
That's what they've promised. Not just a walk back to the Bush years, a walk back to another century. Perhaps they could repeal the Emancipation Proclamation, too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chart of the Day: It Trickles Somewhere . . .

According to Reagan et al this should be good for everyone right?

Meanwhile, we still have this going on.

Herbert's "Reasons"

Defacto Governor Gary Herbert's blog:

Best Choice for Governor: Reason #100

Exports gain momentum in Utah economy

SALT LAKE CITY — As the once-reliable twins of the local economy — real estate and population growth — have faltered, a smaller but more solid sector — exports — has been picking up the slack and gaining momentum.

Despite all the hand-wringing about the U.S. trade deficit that posted an 18-month peak earlier this month as the value of imports surged and exports nationwide have been bumping along or sinking into the negative, Utah has been quietly holding its own.

"And it has three of the top 10 metro areas in our study that appear to be the beams of a new economic era that could shoulder in a new wave of jobs and innovation," said Mark Muro, a co-author of a Brookings Institution report released today stating that the Mountain West, and Salt Lake metro areas in particular, could well be the new home of national export growth and the new hope for global competition.
Exports are great. They can -- can -- create jobs consistently enough to produce economic health. Export growth can be -- can be -- a sign of a healthy economy. But not when they are the only sign of growth to be seen.

Economics lessons for the Governor aside, it's worth noting that Gary's "Reason #100" is something he had not a single bit of involvement with.

Not a damn thing.

Same can be said for his Reason #101, where he takes credit for internet use. Reason #98, taking credit for our commuter friendly roads. Reason #104, slight growth in construction (cough Federal Stimulus cough) jobs. And by all means, lets not forget Reason #102!

Herbert's campaign seems to consist of asking Utahns to vote for him because 1) Praise was given while he was Lt. Gov, busy not replying to email requests from voters, 2) Achievements were made by others,  3) Scott Jenkins and ALEC think he's super, and 4) All of his stuff is already in the office... why make him move it?

So what's Gary not taking credit for?  Well, there's this...
Utah is expected to receive $1.4 billion ARRA funds through a variety of programs, including $498 million for State Fiscal Stabilization. For additional budget stabilization, Utah maintains the Budget Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund) and Education Budget Reserve Fund (Education Rainy Day Fund) with a combined total balance of $418.5 million.[3] Utah faced a $872 million revenue drop for FY 2009 and $956 million for FY 2010, making general state government cuts of 16% and using $391 million of federal money in FY 2009 and $782.5 million in 2010 to balance its budget.
Just like all that internet a-usin', Gary, this happened on your watch too.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis

Most of my chosen experience at Netroots Nation '09 and '10 is in the form of campaign type training, and doesn't make for an exciting post.  I did step outside of that more this year to catch panels on Social Security (more on that later, but for now: there is no crisis), immigration, and other policy issues.  Due to conflicting panels, I had skipped all but the Q & A of this one.  Craig attended and will probably have more to say later, but in the Q & A alone I learned quite a bit, so I wanted to post the entire video of the discussion.

The Forgotten Foreclosure Crisis: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Professor Elizabeth Warren ("Godmother" of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and CPA nominee), and Firedoglake financial blogger David Dayden (DDay).  Moderated by HuffPo's Ryan Grimm.

About 2 minutes swapping panelists mics, but at 19 minutes Warren is asked a question, and continues until about the 30 min mark with one of the most concise explanations of the crisis, how we got here, and what it means for the entire country going forward.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The SideTrack @ Netroots Nation '10

Somewhere in the Nevada desert... (Bat Country!)

We'll be meeting up with other Utahn's in attendance later tonight after check in, and doing our best to cover the entire experience, at least the family friendly portions.  The "official" Twitter hashtag for the conference, for those interested, is #nn10.

Details about panels for 2010 Netroots Nation.  Follow us via Twitter, and the CoverIt Live viewer when/if possible (RSS feed here) below (thanks to Josh Loftin for tipping us of on this live blogging tool):

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reasonable Expectation

...of email privacy?

The Court held that Mr. Rehberg's privacy interest in his emails held by his ISP was not "clearly established" and therefore his claim against the prosecutors could not proceed. The Court relied on a legal doctrine called qualified immunity, which holds that lawsuits against government officials for violations of constitutional rights cannot proceed unless those rights were "clearly established" at the time. The Court declined to rule on whether individuals have a privacy interest in the content of their emails.

We're disappointed in this decision. Not only is it wrong for Mr. Rehberg, who had his emails turned over to a prosecutor based on a sham subpoena, but it's troubling for the millions of individuals in the Eleventh Circuit who have their email stored with ISPs. Our most sensitive and private thoughts, ideas and correspondence are contained in our emails. The Fourth Amendment requires judicial supervision (usually a warrant) before the government can access your personal papers in order to protect against just the sort of abuse that Mr. Rehberg suffered -- a rogue government official seeking get your emails from your ISP with no court oversight and then turning it over to others who seek to harm you.

While the decision is very bad news for Mr. Rehberg, the Court did take the opportunity to correct some erroneous analysis in the panel's previous decision. The earlier decision had held that the Fourth Amendment did not apply at all once an email was received by your ISP. The Court had written that a "person also loses a reasonable expectation of privacy in emails, at least after the email is sent to and received by a third party" and that "Rehberg's voluntary delivery of emails to third parties constituted a voluntary relinquishment of the right to privacy in that information." This is not the law, and the incorrect statements are no longer precedent. In other words, the Court did not rule out the possibility that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in your email. That is useful and will be important to other cases moving forward, as law professor Paul Ohm, who wrote an amicus brief in the case, has noted.
I'm firmly hold the belief that if you do it online, you shouldn't expect a high level of privacy in general.  It's the nature of the beast.  But I understand the need for determining the legal definition and precedents necessary for courts to rule on issues of internet privacy, and this ruling is faulty in so many ways it's very discouraging -- if not surprising.  The precedent has been set.  Defeatist?  Maybe.  Realist?  Yes.  In the age of endless "wars" on "terror" and high-tech national security concerns, our privacy online won't be coming back.

The road of warrantless surveillance is one we never should have taken.  But we did.

As a boss of mine at an old job once said:  Assume they are watching at all times, and you'll be okay.

And if you're want of losing sleep over a grand conspiracy theory, go buy this book, and it's sequels.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fixation on Reagan Not Helping the GOP

538's Tom Scaller on Reagan's "New Directions" speech (30 years ago!) and it's continued influence over the GOP:

What's remarkable is how we still hear the same, core arguments about the role and functions of government--and how the policy-specific debates over matters like offshore drilling persist as well. And yet here we are, 30 years later, and the tax burden is at its lowest since 1950, the regulatory state has been cowed if not captured by the industries it is supposed to oversee, and America stands as the world's lone remaining superpower. The antipathy toward government Reagan popularized has, even if indirectly and merely in spirit, contributed to a governing approach that has led to everything from coal mine disasters to the BP oil spill. (Just to preempt comments, I'm not blaming Reagan for the BP spill; indeed, I too wonder "What Reagan Would Do" if he had cogently witnessed the de-regulatory behaviors of the previous administration. But anyone who thinks energy policy deregulation had nothing to do with the spill should read this first.) But because a lot of the goals Reagan set forth in his 1980 Detroit speech have been achieved, even if in part, it is tempting for Republicans and conservatives to conclude, "Hey, Reagan was right, so let's duplicate his model"--when, in fact, 2010 is not 1980, and a continued fixation on Reagan may be doing more to hamper than help the modern GOP. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GOP Economics: Intellectual Flatulence

MondayMorningEconomist's Stephen Herrington (via HuffPo)

From the right wing punditry to the Republicans in government, all conservatives are expounding the intellectual flatulence that "unemployment compensation makes people lazy." One is doubtless tempted to offer the obvious rejoinder, "there are no jobs for the unemployed to take," or "there are six applicants for every job opening in the country." Maybe screaming would make it more satisfying. Somehow the act of applying for jobs creates more jobs?

Let me suggest something else to the Republicans and to our gutless press. The fact that they're obviously not trying very hard to do anything for the American people in this Great Recession means that they are not trying hard enough. It means that they are, in fact, lazy. Cockamamie social Darwinism is fine for their base voters and, apparently, the mass media, but to everyone out of a job it feels like rubbing scalding salt in a gaping wound. For some it means the destruction of a life that has already been a struggle to build.

Republicans got that way, lazy, by being elected again and again without ever proposing anything much more thoughtful than "unemployment compensation makes people lazy" or Trickle Down or religious war on the Muslims. Their laziness is built on success at pushing public opinion hot buttons through the stupefying drivel purveyed by our compliant mass media as actual political discourse. But in that overconfidence in their lap dog media propaganda conduits, they have failed to consider the real outcomes for the public that the media can't hypnotize away. [...]

Republicans, you made the mess and you don't have a clue how to fix it anymore than Hoover. You absolutely refuse to consider that your philosophy is a demonstrated failure and that it is your philosophy that unemployed more people than were newly employed under the Bush years. It is your philosophy that gave the modern world the two greatest economic calamities it has endured. What thinking citizen would now heed your screeds, much less elect you to office?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Herbert Ignores State Budget Realities to Chase Cheap Political Point

Governor Gary Herbert Hoover's Magic Pixie Dust Plan for Utah's Budget

[...] just a few days removed from the summer meeting of the National Governors Association, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said he disagrees with the majority of his colleagues.

“I don’t think we can afford it,” Herbert said Monday in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. “Some states are hurting and they are looking for some kind of lifeline, or life preserver. In Utah, we are not in that situation, so maybe if I was from California, Arizona, Michigan or New York, maybe I would be a little more desperate.”

Governors from 42 states signed a letter in February asking Congress for an additional six months of extra Medicaid payments first made available through the economic stimulus bill.
Naive, at best.  Considering that the stimulus money bailed Utah out two consecutive years, and you can only do so much with "fees" (they will not, nope, never raise taxes... except on smokers), is this Herbert's way of announcing a tax increase, a "leave taking" of the balanced budget, or just more proof that proving your conservative bonafides has nothing to do with the real world?

He's either implying massive (MASSIVE!) spending cuts in 2011, or tax increases on the state level because the fed's shouldn't spend anything more.  The reality is, there is little more cutting the legislature can do, the essentials are already gone... except that 12th grade! 

So Herbert thinks what would be best is if the fed's keep your money, and Utah either a) take more of it or b) stop offering law enforcement, fire departments, roads, education, water, etc.  That or he's just saying this so you'll think he's cool at the next Tea Party and to sure up that ever important Patrick Henry Caucus vote.

Trashing the federal government while ignoring the practical realities this would have on Utah isn't leadership, it's middle school.

In the words of a few real Governors:
Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., said: "We need more help from Washington to protect against job cuts and health care cuts. If we don't do that, we're following Herbert Hoover economics."  Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, said that without Washington's assistance, "the danger of a double-dip recession is greater." Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, called for "a little less talk and a lot more action" from Washington.

A Lesson for Rep. Sandstrom (and other Nativists)

The Washington Independent (with graphs!):

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s claims about illegal immigrants and violent crime have been pretty thoroughly debunked, but pro-reform non-profit America’s Voice takes it one step further, circulating a graph today indicating that Arizona’s SB 1070 could actually increase crime in the state. The graph shows rates of violent crime in Arizona jurisdictions from 2002 to 2009. Violent crime rates are all down — statewide numbers included — except for in Maricopa County, the jurisdiction of pro-enforcement Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Crime in Arpaio’s county has gone up 58 percent since 2002, according to America’s Voice data.
Emphasis mine.  Shut it, Stephen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mittens! Takes Republican Heat for "Hyperbolic" START Op-Ed

Poor Mittens.  What happened to the good ol' days when saying something uninformed was tantamount to a Presidential Campaign, huh?  Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), in a statement via The Hill:

[...] Governor Romney also cites Russia's stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons as a reason to oppose New START.  Russia does have more tactical weapons than we do, but he distorts their value by implying that they constitute a serious missile threat to Europe.  In fact, most of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons either have very short ranges, are used for homeland air defense, are devoted to the Chinese border, or are in storage.  He also ignores that our NATO allies have endorsed the New START Treaty.  A Russian attack on NATO countries is effectively deterred by NATO conventional superiority, our own tactical nuclear forces, French and British nuclear arsenals, and U.S. strategic forces.  An agreement with Russia that reduced, accounted for, and improved security around tactical nuclear arsenals is in the interest of both nations.   But these weapons do not compromise our strategic deterrent.

Rejecting the Treaty would guarantee that no agreement on tactical nukes would occur.  It also would mean giving up our human verification presence in Russia that has contributed greatly to strategic stability under the expired START I Treaty.  Having inspectors on the ground in Russia has meant that we have not had to wonder about the make-up of Russian strategic forces.  New START would strengthen our non-proliferation diplomacy worldwide, limit potential arms competition, and help us focus our defense resources effectively.  It offers concrete national security benefits that will make the American people safer, and it should be ratified.
An irresponsible hack just can't get a break these days (unless he's running for Senate in Utah, of course).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The (New) Rule of Law

Glenn Greenwald with a concise, accurate rundown of how this whole "rule of law" thing seems to be working out in modern times:

* If you torture people or eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, you receive Look-Forward Imperial Immunity.
* If you shoot and kill unarmed rescuers of the wounded while occupying their country and severely wound their unarmed children sitting in a van -- or if you authorize that conduct -- your actions are commended.
* If you help wreck the world economy with fraud and cause hundreds of millions of people untold suffering, you collect tens of millions of dollars in bonsues.
If you disclose to the world evidence of war crimes, government lawbreaking, or serious corruption, or otherwise embarrass the U.S., you will be swiftly prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and face decades in prison.
Bradley Manning, the person charged with leaking classified miliatry material to Wikileaks, could face up to 52 years in prison for his "crimes."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Deficit Hawk? Get Behind the Climate Bill.

Lest it prove true that "deficit," like "Constitution," is just Another campaign buzzword GOP candidates pull out to get your emotions overruling your ability to connect cognitive dots, every Republican representative hand-wringing deficits over economic recovery will be out in full support of the Kerry/Lieberman Climate Bill.  Right?

Right?

Nah:

So I get an email announcing that Kerry's energy bill reduces the deficit by some rounding error over the next 10 years according to the CBO. It depressed me because it made me realize Kerry and his people actually think deficit hawks genuinely care about the deficit. More than that, this piece of information won't even stop them from claiming that the bill "costs too much" or whatever.

People may oppose the bill for a variety of reasons, including simply a desire for this Congress to achieve nothing, but caring about the deficit is not one of them no matter what they say.
It's unbelievable how gullible they think we are (and how a few of you keep proving them right on that).

Kaplan, Kerry Respond: Romney "Ignorant"

Poor stupid Mittens!

So you read Mitt's op-ed and maybe laugh at the extraordinary retro feeling of it all--you know, all the Cold War hostility to the godless Russkies--and note the many right-wing boxes he checked off, from the ancient conservative pet rock of missile defense, to the ill-repressed desire for war with North Korea and Iran, to the ritual denunciations of Obama for his alleged fecklessness in negotiating with bad people. But initially, few if any Democrats had anything to say about it.
That certainly changed today, when Sen. John Kerry took to the same WaPo pages to pen a devastating riposte to Romney for getting, well, just about all the facts wrong. After tearing Romney apart on missile defense, on MIRVs, on what the treaty would and wouldn't let the Russians do, and on the bipartisan support for what Obama's done, Kerry concluded with this well-placed jab:
I have nothing against Massachusetts politicians running for president. But the world's most important elected office carries responsibilities, including the duty to check your facts even if you're in a footrace to the right against Sarah Palin. More than that, you need to understand that when it comes to nuclear danger, the nation's security is more important than scoring cheap political points.
As it turns out, Kerry was nicer to Romney than was foreign policy wonk Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate:
In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and--let's not mince words--thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney's attack on the New START treaty in the July 6 Washington Post.

Herbert Campaign Bites Off More Than They Can Choke On

Humorous little dust-up between the Peter Corroon and Gary Herbert campaigns.

Herbert camp sends a letter with 8 debates.  Complains that 35 days go by without a response.  Statement (D-News):

"[...] more than 35 days have passed since I sent the request without reply" [...] "commitment to engaging in substantive dialogue on important issues affecting all Utahns."
Corroon issues a response, agreeing to the 8 debates, and adding 14 more.

Herbert campaign response?  Um...  Ah...  Well...
"[...] willing to talk about others here and there, but we think eight is enough. That's plenty of opportunity to get in front of folks."
So there you have it, folks.  Eight is the magic number for an "engaging and substantive dialoge."  Not seven, not nine.  Eight.  Got it?

Considering that Corroon is going to wipe the floor with Herbert's just-a-simple-good-ol'-boy-whats-not-good-at-them-fancy-pants-words-n-stuff speaking style, the Herbert camp has got to be regretting that petty 35 day complaint.

Not that anyone will notice...

Contrived faux-scandal, foiled

A British panel issued a sweeping exoneration on Wednesday of scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate, saying it found no evidence that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming.

The researcher at the center of the controversy, a leading climatologist named Phil Jones, was immediately reinstated to a job resembling his old one, at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. That unit, often referred to by its initials, has played a leading role in efforts to understand the earth’s past climate.