By Matthew Rothschild on May 22, 2010

On April 23, the rector of the University of Virginia received an astonishing letter. The state attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, slapped him with a “civil investigative demand”—essentially, a subpoena—to produce reams of documents about a climate scientist who left the university five years ago.

The scientist is Dr. Michael Mann, who now works at Penn State.

But since Mann wrote one of those controversial e-mails on global warming statistics that leaked out of the University of East Anglia last year, Cuccinelli saw him as a ripe target.

Cuccinelli demanded that the university turn over “any and all documents and things in your possession” over the last 11 and a half years that relate to the five grants Mann received at UVA, which totaled $484,875.

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In addition, Cuccinelli demanded all correspondence that 39 professors or researchers mentioned in the East Anglia controversy had with Dr. Mann. Plus “any and all e-mails or pieces of correspondence from or to Dr. Michael Mann since he left the University of Virginia that are in your possession.”

“I think he's simply trying to smear me,” Mann told the Washington Post.

On May 18, more than 800 Virginia scientists and professors, including almost 300 from UVA, wrote a letter to Cuccinelli urging him to withdraw his demand.

“The request is unfounded and could undermine the effectiveness of not only climate scientists but also thousands of other Virginia researchers,” the letter said. “Science thrives on rigorous debate and a frank exchange of differing ideas and perspectives. . . . Scientists who face unwarranted legal intimidation will be less able to make new discoveries that can protect our health, safety, and environment. . . . In the interests of the people of Virginia, we urge you to halt this burdensome and entirely unwarranted investigation.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists is coordinating this protest.

The University of Virginia is supposed to turn over the documents by May 27.

Addendum: More than 250 scientists have decried the neo-McCarthyite tactics by the anti-global warming crowd. See the following letter:
http://www.pacinst.org/climate/climate_statement.pdf.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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