Thursday, September 27, 2007

Listen to the bunny (Part XIV)

A couple of years ago, when Tim Kaine did the two step about Pat Michaels' being the VA State Climatologist, and said, well a) this ain't any authorized state office and b) if UVa want Michaels they can have him , Eli remarked

Now it gets amusing. First, is UVa a state agency? Commonly state agencies are directly under the control of the executive. UVa is a state university, but recently it has become essentially independent under the Virginia Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act

Second, and most important, is the clear implication that the position of State Climatologist ain't no more gonna be a line in the STATE budget, and that if UVa wants Michaels to continue in the position, they are going to have to come up with the $.
Well, pretty clearly UVa has decided not at any price. Steve Bloom in a comment at Real Climate points to an article in the Daily Press
Michaels, 57, called his resignation a sad result of the fact that his state climatologist funding had become politicized, compromising his academic freedom.
The Rabett also explained
If someone is called a Research Professor or an Adjunct Professor, you can bet that the University is not paying his or her salary. In many cases the person works at a research institution/national lab, etc. and has the title so that he or she can supervise student research. In many other cases the person brings grants and contracts into the University from which his or her salary is paid. Since Research Professors of the later type occupy lab/office space there is not much of a margin when their grants run out. The rule is that when the support goes so does the Research Professor (I know you can find the occasional counterexample, but these are the general rules).
Pat knows very well that he was in a soft money position, and when the external funding goes the clock runs very fast. And, oh yes, live by political funding decisions and die by them
In 1994, Allen restored a cut of more than $100,000 to Michaels' office that had been proposed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. Eight years later, as a senator, Allen rescued Michaels' office from other proposed cuts that Michaels said would have wiped out his entire funding.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's satrt a pool on where Michaels ends up for a professional home. Inhofe's staff? A CEI sinecure? Fox News climate commenter? Or a presidential appointment by Vaclav Klaus to the faculty of the University of Brno? Bets are being accepted in Eli's PayPal account.

boris said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Who will erase the lines from the graphs? Won't someone think of the graphs with their crazy lines?

Isn't Michaels a Cato guy already? His handiwork is on their website.

Anonymous said...

Climate contrarian Pat Michaels refused to disclose funding in ...
Climate contrarian Pat Michaels refused to disclose funding in Vermont court case. Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 ...
http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/michaels_vermont/

Anonymous said...

"Michaels said he will continue to work at the libertarian-conservative Cato Institute in Washington, where he works while on leave from U.Va.

"I feel I can speak more freely," he said.

That's a good one: Michaels speaking "freely."

CHIC-HANDSOME said...

great week-end

Anonymous said...

So we leave the week with a blogospheric s#@tstorm stirred up by the IBD's bogus attack on Hansen and his purported Soros connection, and nary a word on secret funding for Michaels, and the certainty that he won't in future ever be anything more than a shill for Cato's funders, science be damned. ("Peer review" for him will in future be a favorable comment from Viscount Monckton....) Ahh, what a world we live in.

Anonymous said...

It may have been a quiet transition for Michaels, but sometimes the events that go unnoticed or unacknowledged are the ones that have the greatest impact in the long run.

I'd say this represents the end of an era.

Steve Bloom said...

I've never looked to see any of the details of Michaels' VSC work product, but it's possible that he was using those funds for partial support of the Chipster and his other regular collaborator (can't remember the name). I'm not suggesting that anything legally inappropriate went on, just that part-time VSC work might have helped to enable the other activities.

EliRabett said...

Not that I care, but IEHO, it was more likely that the support Michaels got from the State freed him of the burder of supporting himself via competitve grants and contracts. This left any funds he and Chip brought in to first be used to support Chip and then as extras for Pat (not that I know them on a first name basis, but WTH)

The pressure in a research position is raising salary, without which you are gone. Since, until this year, Michaels was pretty sure of getting his salary, it made all the other activities possible. The delay (6 mo-1yr) between the cut off of funds and the bye-bye from UVa is quite typical.

OTOH he is no longer constrained by his quasi state position as to what funding he can accept through his company.

John Mashey said...

re: "no longer constrained by his quasi state position as to what funding he can accept through his company."

I don't know how their rules work. What kinds of constraints were there? Any?
Anybody know?

Steve Bloom said...

Well, taking money from the fossil fuel industry certainly wasn't a problem, so I really can't imagine what would be.

On a related subject, it's pretty common for public universities to demand disclosure with regard to outside work. Maybe that information would be confidential, maybe research profs don't have to comply, or maybe UVa has no rule, but if it isn't, they do and it does, perhaps a public records request can be made.

Brian said...

Great to see the muckraking work by Eli and the Tims finally pay off - the denialist liar Michaels stops sucking away taxpayer money, and his denialist friends have to start calling him "former state climatologist."

So now we need to focus on George Taylor, the Oregon version of Pat Michaels. Anyone know if the bill to strip the title from him went through?