Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Richard Courtney neither lives in, nor visits, nor passes through, nor flies over a small village a block or two from Epsom


UPDATE 3/4: Freely admitted, this is, at best a tempest in a thundermug and if you don't know what a thundermug is, go google. The endpoint, such as it is, is that Mr. Courtney worked for a publication CoalTrans International that was headquartered in Epsom until ~2005 and is now HQ near Epsom Surrey. As one Cymraeg llygoden says in the first comment someone working as a technical editor may never have visited the HQ site although they are perfectly correct to use the address on their correspondence. - - - - -

Back on the DotEarth USENET thread, one Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, also known as the occasional rabble rouser raypierre, Louis Block Professor of Geophysical Sciences and The College at the University of Chicago, was seen to write (#550) that one Richard S. Courtney, not Professor at Kutztown University (who would appreciate someone at the Heartland Institute recognizing this), was

“a Technical Editor for CoalTrans International (journal of the international coal trading industry) who lives in Epsom, Surrey (UK)."
to which wrote (#558) Richard S. Courtney, not Professor at Kutztown University,
The veracity and value of Pierrehumbert’s comments is demonstrated by his claim that I live in Epsom. My complete address is stated in the above reference that he could have found merely by googling. (In fact, I have never lived in Epsom, never visited or passed through Epsom, and – to my knowledge – never flown over there.)
Now comes raypierre in the comments over here to point out that
I wonder if Courtney is even being honest in claiming (so vehemently) he has never been in Epsom, Surrey. I went over to Sourcewatch, which is a wiki, with the intent of correcting the address they list there, but first I checked the link they got the address from. The link is to an op-ed Courtney published in an Australian paper, and that article lists the following as an address:

*Richard S. Courtney is Technical Editor, CoalTrans International,
42 Rutherwyke, Epsom, Surrey, KT17 2NB, England,

See that? Epsom, Surrey. Maybe the guy doesn't live there, but given that he is or was employed by CoalTrans International, it's strange that he has never, ever been to his place of employment. Not impossible, but certainly strange.
The link is redirected to an archive, by the name of pandora and the article does open up some fascinating issues. Courtney not only said that he "never lived in Epsom" but he added that he "never visited or passed through Epsom, and – to my knowledge – never flown over there".

Did Courtney work there when he was with CoalTrans International? Their address is

CoalTrans International
WCN Publishing,
Northbank House,
5 Bridge Street,
Leatherhead,
Surrey KT22 8BL,
England.
But dear bunnies, you ask where is Leatherhead, a few miles southwest of Epsom of course, and who could blame someone for wanting an Epsom address rather than the down market Leatherhed, although he has sworn an oath that he never crossed the M25.



Richard Courtney may simply never have visited the publishing office and you can come up with a whole lot of other implausible possibilities. Courtney threw a hissy fit over this on dot earth. Courtney seems to make a habit of this mode of reply. See this thread on the Scotsman pointed out by Slioch. Look at 46, 52, 56, 57, 61, and 66.

So where does this leave us. Perhaps with Dean Dad, perhaps not. We report you decide.

UPDATE: Some minor glitches corrected.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

[Apologies in advance for the length of this.]

I actually find it quite believable that Richard S Courtney, even if having been remunerated by CoalTrans International Publishing for work as a technical editor, might never have been to Epsom (or to Leatherhead).

I base this (1) on the assumption that most people (even when known to lie) tell the truth most of the time (i.e. that he was a technical editor and he's never been to Epsom), (2) from analysis of the Electoral Roll in the UK (he has lived in Falmouth since at least 2002, and this probably means from at least 2001; there is an RA(G) Courtney and an R Courtney living in Surrey in that time period, but no RS Courtney -- and no one in their right mind would register for voting in two electoral wards), and (3) from personal experience of a technical editor's role generally in the publishing scheme of things.


CoalTrans International Publishing's website lists the current editorial staff. However, "Technical Editor" is a position they do not list. There may be three reasons for this: (1) it's an in-house position (possibly not full time), but it's too lowly a position to include on the front page of the website; (2) they've changed their top-line editorial job descriptions (which I think unlikely); (3) it's not an in-house position (which is common in the publishing industry, from the large company to the small).

[Aside: from the CoalTrans sample issue available on their website, it seems reasonable to conclude that CoalTrans International Publishing moved from their Epsom location some time probably in 2005 or early 2006, since in that sample issue there is an ad to remind readers of their new address in Leatherhead. That should remove possible confusion over any Leatherhead/Epsom issue.]

Now I've alluded to the following elsewhere here, but perhaps it needs firming up. I'm a technical editor, working from home (freelance) for quite a few of the major science journal and book publishers. It means I use my knowledge and work experience in science, maths, engineering and R&D and my command of the English language to copyedit cutting-edge and the rather more mundane (but no less worthy) manuscripts from scientists (perhaps one could say from the science "coalface" to the science "pithead"). "Technical editor" is often simply a glorified monicker for a copy-/sub-editor, whether an in-house position or not.

Of course, CoalTrans may not follow this model exactly. I see in the editorial listing inside the cover of this industry newspaper that they list "Contributors" (which I wonder whether is a more recent description of the job title for a technical editor here), but there are no bylines in the copy. It looks possible that the Contributors may well rehash (in the nicest possible sense) copy from other sources (a sort of technical editing) for publication (but I could be wrong on this).

I'd say, then, that the chances are better than evens that this is what Richard S Courtney's technical editorship involved and that the chances are almost certain that he's not lying about never having been to Epsom. I've done work for more than a dozen technical and scientific publishers/imprints in the UK, continental Europe and the USA over about the last 15 years. I've visited two of them (in the UK), and only once on an actual business-related matter.

Of course, none of the above invalidates raypierre's comment that "Ordinarily, published arguments trump qualifications, but when one has no published arguments worth speaking of, and when one argues from authority instead (as Courtney does) there's no alternative but to look at the basis of that authority.", since I would concur that Richard S Courtney's output is ... suspect with regard to his sceptical beliefs about AGW.

The problem, of course, lies in Richard S Courtney's unwillingness to fill in the details that are lacking about how senior his jobs were (since one gains the impression that they are meant to convey seniority), what his diploma qualifications actually are in (and what does "Cambridge" mean), and why he hasn't come straight out and said I'm no "doctor" and I wish that these doctor attributions on the web be retracted. I would say he should do so on all matters, since it does have bearing on the notion of authority. By not doing so, I personally think this makes him look a little bit like a Thurber or Waterhouse character.

Now, if one could track down his Kempe's contribution to the "Coal" chapter he is said to have written, then one might be able to elucidate his actual qualifications (at that time). He hasn't contributed to the "Coal" chapter in my edition, which is now a rather dated (1979) 84th edition. In that edition, the "Coal" chapter is written by a Dr Forrester (with an arm's length list of qualifications and affiliations); and all contributors and associate editors in that edition have their qualifications listed. I wonder if they still do. But I suspect one would not learn much new from that exercise either.

Since he has responded after a fashion at dot.earth, perhaps he'll poke his head around the door here and answer the criticisms.

Cymraeg llygoden

guthrie said...

Our Welsh contributor has a definite point.
However, given my experience of COurtney, he will only harrumph and complain, and the label "victim bully" perfectly applies to him.

I had a look in the 1989 Kempes yearbook. The name Courtney does not come up in the contributors page. The section on mining engineering is by "British coal et al". Unless Kempes has their sections re-written every 3 years, I do wonder about the claim.

Because he got up my nose with his high handed arrogant style on the Hootsmon, I have also had a look round the internet for the other claims on the wind farm article. It strikes me that someone could go through patent archives and see if he really has some. The article:
http://heartland.temp.siteexecutive.com/pdf/18870.pdf

I cannot find any mention of the BAAS (BA as they are now known) being able to appoint people as Members of the association of British science writers. It seems that the ABSW has been tied in with the BA in the past, with the BA providing accomodation and an honorary secretary in 1983. I cannot find anything at the ABSW site about specific members, but as far as I can see, you join by paying them some money.

The Royal Society for Arts and commerce, (the RSA) charges fellows £140 a year, or several thousand for a life fellowship. You do not, as far as I can see, get appointed, you apply, with a referee backing you up. The fellowship directory is only open to actual fellows, so I cannot search it for Courtney. It is worht nothing that the RSA claims over 26,000 fellows from industry to journalists to architects to music etc etc. All they require is:

"Those who are accepted into the Fellowship join individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who have either achieved, or are demonstrating the potential to achieve eminence in their chosen profession or calling, and who want to see action to change society for the better."


So, my summary so far is that the bio of Courtney seems worded to impress, rather than be fully accurate.

guthrie said...

Another reason to dislike COurtney is his gratuitous mis-spelling of "Slioch". Slioch is a nice mountian in the North west of SCotland, and also the name of the poster referred to in the above post. However courtney spells it "Schlioch", which is pretty damn hard to do except either through stupidity or deliberately.

For fun, I shall now eviscerate some of his dicombobulated rantings.


I speak for me. However, among your insults you seem to be trying to talk some science. Let me help you.
"I'm better than you so I can patronise you"


{lots of mumbling about the scientifici method removed}


In the absence of evidence any hypothesis is equally valid.
No, in the absence of evidence, the validity of a hypothesis is non-existent.


There is no evidence for AGW; none, not any of any kind. Indeed, some of the facts you cite are counter-evidence. For example, since 1990 it has been known that atmospheric CO2 concentration follows temperature by months (the original study was Kuo, Lindberg & Thompson, Nature) and several other studies have since confirmed this (e.g. Callendar, Nature (1992)). So, it is likely that the CO2 responds to temperature and does not drive it although the CO2 may enhance temperature changes.

"I'm so stupid that I don't understand the carbon cycle." Why else would Courtney court ridicule by claiming that warming causes more CO2 every season, but then ignores that it is proven that the carbon cycle, which is of course driven by the seasons, is responsible for the ups and downs?

I do not ‘cherry pick’ data. I merely inform you that there are several hypotheses. I am not claiming to know what causes climate change. Indeed, I am telling you that nobody can know because there is no evidence.

"I'm omnipotent, because I know there is no evidence for global warming." Note the complete assertion of fact here, as if COurtney knows what he is talking about.

AGW is a superstition of exactly the same kind as astrology. It has no supporting evidence but many people believe it and think it can tell the future.
Again, an argument from ignorance.

Perhaps it can, but it is very risk to act on that belief.
Any competent scientist would at this point be saying "So we're not sure, lets do more research."

As I wrote above,
There is a severe risk in preparing for warming and not cooling. And there is most risk in preparing for neither but trying

At this point it cuts off. It appears Courtney is not intelligent to work out there is a word limit on the Scotsman postings.

David B. Benson said...

Be nice if somebody could track down:

(1) just where the culprit does register to vote;

(2) just what, if anything, his post-graduate qualifications are.

guthrie said...

To back up a bit- Courtneys post #37-

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a “consensus” of governments and not scientists. Many – perhaps most – of us scientists who are involved in the IPCC do not agree with contents of IPCC Reports.
Paranoid ramblings not backed up by any evidence.


The most important fact about climate change is that there is no evidence for anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) global warming (AGW); none, not any of any kind.
So he claims.

A claim that AGW exists is merely an assertion: it is not evidence and it is not fact. And the assertion does not become evidence or fact by being voiced, written in words, or written in computer code.
I say exactly the same thing about claims that AGW is not occuring.

he existence of global warming (GW) is not evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) because warming of the Earth does not prove that human activity warmed it.
Except when many years of work finds various fingerprints of humanity in it.


The fact is that any warming that may have happened during the last 100 years is within natural climate variability that has occurred in the past.
Only an idiot like COurney would claim that the entire 100 years is within natural variablity. Everyone agrees that the early 20th century was so. Everyone agrees that by the end of the 20th century, we were outside natural variability.

And that warming could be a completely natural recovery from the Little Ice Age that is similar to the recovery from the Dark Age cool period to the Medieval Warm Period.
There is no evidence for this hypothesis.

Various bits of mince snipped.
The replies to his ill-informed and evidence and logic lacking screed were interesting. The usual suspects hailed it as a masterpiece of incivise evedential critique. We begged to differ.
After being challenged by Slioch, Courtney then said:

Slioch:
You are impertinent. But, since you ask, I am an Expert Peer Reviewer of the IPCC who was appointed to that position by the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is my job to comment to and for the IPCC on every word of every draft of each IPCC Scientific Report being prepared. Simply, I am one of the thousands of climate scientists whose views eco-terrorists proclaim.

Note that he spells SLioch correctly this first time. Then he rambles on about why he is so wonderful and knowledgeable, and finishes with INSULTING everyone who disagrees with him.

I fully understand the nature of “scientific discovery”: I have made some.
Unfortunaately, we cannot find any evidence of him doing so.


You call AGW a theory. It’s not. AGW is a hypothesis. And a hypothesis does not become a theory until it has some supporting evidence.

You say there is no proof of AGW. I agree and I point out that there is no evidence for it, either. You claim there is some evidence but cite none. Your waffling about the moon etc. is irrelevant.


More claims without any evidence to back them up.

{Bits of pointless rambling snipped}

There are several good explanations for the variations in global temperature. For example, clouds reflect solar heat and a mere 2% increase to cloud cover would more than compensate for the maximum possible predicted warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air. Records of cloud cover are very short because cloud cover is measured by satellites that were not launched until the mid 1980s. But it appears that cloudiness decreased between the mid 1980s and late 1990s such that - over those 15 years - if the Sun’s heat was constant then reduced cloudiness provided an extra surface warming of 5 to 10 Watts/sq metre. This is a lot of warming. It is between two and four times the entire warming estimated to have been caused by the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases
Here Courtney makes a claim, WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE TO BACK HIMSELF UP! And no mechanism, either.

Anonymous said...

Re David B Benson's first query:

As of the Electoral Roll in 2007, he is registered to vote in Falmouth. The available data also lists the other two occupants of the house, which I won't repeat here.

Electoral roll data are limited, though you can find out slightly more by paying an agency fee.

As to the second point, I think the only way to find out is if he decides to divulge it himself. There seems no web record other than what is listed in that wind farm piece, as far as I can gather. Or perhaps there's someone out there who was on the same course as him ...

Cymraeg llygoden

guthrie said...

It would however be worth putting up his letters to nature. A sockpuppet has claimed on the SCotsman page that COurtney was "published" in nature meaning he had a few letters printed. It would be nice to know what these letters said, because if someones bio says "and has published papers in many journals including Nature, microscopy, and Filtration", I would expect them to have published real peer reviewed papers in said journals, rather than letters.
So, enquiring minds want to know, how much of that bio is puffed up?

guthrie said...

I got halfway there myself, but lack a subscription so cannot read the letters. According to a search of Nature website using, in quote marks "Richard S Courtney", I find these:

Nature 379, 109 (11 January 1996)
Purpose and function of IPCC
Richard S. Courtney


Nature 366, 606 (16 December 1993)
On changing water into wine
Richard S. Courtney


Both appear to be under the heading "Correspondence". Thus I can only assume that either Mr Courtney has not got an idea of the correct usage of words, or someone else made up the bio we are reffering to, or else Mr Courtney has a hyuuuuge ego.

Note for the braindead- in no way can a letter to the editor be considered a paper. A paper is a peer reviewed summation of work that has been carried out or an interesting hypothesis which is being presented. Correspondence is where you get to claim that someones paper is wrong, but without in turn getting peer reviewed and with less impact on the scientific literature.

Marion Delgado said...

guthrie, not only is a letter to the editor a paper, but so is a blog comment.

In fact, I, your peer, am reviewing this vital document (your post 1:57 pm). I, and I suspect the other referees, would prefer you remove the scare quotes from 'Correspondence', tighten up the third sentence, and expand and provide documentation for the point you made in your last paragraph.

Nonetheless, your work there so far squares not only with the literature, but according to a couple of phone calls I made, is very plausible. Tentatively, good work!

Now, when are you providing an abstract of "Courtney Citations in Nature Articles" Dr. Guthrie?

Steve Bloom said...

Ethon may wish to pay a visit to Texas.

Anonymous said...

Conclusion: Courtney is a f***ing buffoon.

Saturnian.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I am simply appalled that Ray Pierrehumbert would have the gall to suggest that Richard Courtney was ever in Epsom.

Mistakenly concluding that someone once lived and/or visited the town where their employer is headquartered is FAR worse than "resume enhancement". Simply no comparison.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "feigned indignance" Anonymous 7:43 PM should revisit the comments in Ethon brings news and read what Ray Pierrehumbert actually said. Most people do still visit their employer's premises at least a few times in a year, so it's not an outlandish premise anyway.

And since Courtney's appeal to authority is largely based on his CV, then I'd suggest there is simply no comparison too, but not in the way you suggest.

[And guthrie, there is Courtney's failed peer-reviewed Letter (as opposed to letter) submission to Nature that I linked to somewhere hereabouts.]

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

I was being sarcastic.

Courtney's changing the focus to Pierrehumbert's statement about Epsom is an obvious diversionary tactic: "Cast doubt on one thing someone claimed in order to cast doubt on everything they have claimed."

Signed: "feigned indignance" Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Ah! We need a sarcasm tag/flag. 'Fraid I (obviously) didn't see it as such.

But now you point it out, it's clear. But it can be read both ways.

Good point, you sarky ol' devil.

Cymraeg llygoden

guthrie said...

Cymraeg llygoden- would you mind translating that for us? I don't have a Welsh dictionary.

As for Courtneys failed LEtter, could you enlighten us as to the status of such things. Is there a 2 tier system, with peer reviewed "Letters" and ordinary letters to the editor? As far as I can see Courtney's publications in NAture look like the latter.

Anonymous said...

Cymraeg llygoden means Welsh mouse.

I post elsewhere under my real moniker (which if anyone requests, even a Scandinavian troglodyte, I will readily reveal), but it seemed that "anonymouse" was de rigueur when I first got here and so I stuck with it here.

As to two-tier system: no (at least not as I'm aware).

A failed attempt to get a Letter-type paper published in Nature is just that, a failed attempt to get some work peer reviewed (and such work is generally too long for normal correspondence-type letters I'd warrant). The failed Letter-type paper has the same credibility as any other non-peer-reviewed work. It may have merit, but be unworthy of publication for the stated reason (and possibly unstated reasons). Indeed, it may pass muster elsewhere. Or it may just be unworthy.

Cymraeg llygoden

John Mashey said...

Maybe it is time for some reader who has ht time right now to go ver to http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Richard_S._Courtney

and do a few updates.

(In fact, as a general rule, after we have one of these investigations, it's really a nice idea to collect the results and update Sourcewatch (and Wikipedia, if appropriate) so that information about interesting people gets collected in a more accessible form.)

Anonymous said...

Minor correction to my previous post:

"A failed attempt to get a Letter-type paper published in Nature is just that, a failed attempt to get some work peer reviewed" and published "(and ..."

since RSC's submission (which I linked elsewhere hereabouts) was peer reviewed.

Cymraeg llygoden

raypierre said...

In Nature a "Letter" is a peer-reviewed short article. The equivalent of a "Letter to the Editor" is called "Correspondence" in Nature, and this is what Courtney's two bits of writing are in Nature. Contributions of this sort are short remarks with a maximum length of a few hundred words, similar to a Letter to the Editor in a newspaper. It is not primarily a vehicle for technical commentary.

I read both of Courtney's letters, though for copyright reasons I don't think I can post them. As I said over on Dot Earth, one of the letters (the one published under the title "Water into Wine") was a remark on a Nature article on psychological basis of religion, primarily a retelling of Courtney's feelings while preaching. By the way, Nature picks a single title for a whole group of letters on a topic, and the "Water into Wine" heading actually refers to a different letter on a certain well-known and highly reported chemical transformation of H2O.

The second letter was a comment on the procedure IPCC used in the Second Assessment Report to deal with inadequacies in the Working Group III report. That's the economists' report that had, among other flaws, a completely uncritical use of economic models without verification, plus questionable valuations of human life (most infamously valuing one first world life at 10 Indian lives, based on discounted earning power). It was a comment on procedure, not methodology.

In no way can either of these be considered "articles." Even as letters, neither one deals with scientific, or even economic or technological, issues.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to raypierre's comment about Courtney's publications in Nature and for completeness here (since I've already linked to it on this site), Courtney did submit an actual paper (Letter) for publication in Nature. It was entitled Significant differences in determinations of mean global surface temperature trends for recent decades. It was rejected in 2003 for the reason stated in that link. It surfaces as a reference in Global Warming: Myth Or Reality: The Erring Ways of Climatology
by Marcel Leroux (which I won't link to), published by Springer, where on p. 476 it is stated as published in 2004 in "Comm. to 'climate sceptics', whatever that may be.

Cymraeg llygoden

Nick Barnes said...

Our Welsh friend says:
no one in their right mind would register for voting in two electoral wards
He is broadly right, and may have been writing humorously, but as a card-carrying pedant I should point out that this used to be, and AFAIK still is, normal and legitimate practice for students and possibly some other categories of people who have genuine homes and interests in more than one ward/constituency. It was (is?) illegal for such a person to cast more than one vote in a general election, although I believe that 20 years ago there was no mechanism for checking this.
SWITCH NOPEDANT.

Anonymous said...

[PEDANT mode on]

nick barnes is correct. My comment was tongue in cheek. The only illegality is casting a vote in two or more wards at a UK national election.

Specifically, students and those with second homes in the UK (who can prove they live at both regularly) can vote in respect of both addresses at a local election, but at only one address in a parliamentary election.

[PEDANT mode off] :-)

But since no one votes in local elections ... ;-)

This probably adds credence to RS Courtney not living anywhere in Surrey (or Epsom in particular) in the period he was registered to vote in Falmouth.

Now, about that "Dr" attribution ...

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid none of the following adds to knowledge about our friend's qualifications, but it does flesh out a bit of his history going back to 1983.

I needed to check up on a patent ref. and took the opportunity to search for our friend's "patents" in an online patent search. I came up with the following:

****************
GB2107052 1983-04-20
Inventor: COURTNEY RICHARD STANLEY
Applicant: Coal Industry (Patents) Limited (Great Britain), Hobart House, Grosvenor Place, London

Abstract: A method of detecting heatings in coal seams comprises monitoring the concentration of HCl gas in a mine atmosphere and producing an alarm signal if the concentration rises above a predetermined level. Preferably a tube bundle system is used for monitoring the mine atmosphere.
*****************
A search on just his name comes up in the World patent database, but not (it seems) in the GB or EP database searches, but the patent number does come up in the GB search -- which might say something about the search capabilities at the UK Intellectual Property Office's website (didn't go back to check EP).

No other hits came up. So there's definitely one patent to his name.

Also, in odd moments, I've tried to chase up his supposed representations to the House of Commons(Lords) Select Committee on Energy(Environment). This has so far proved fruitless (probably because any representations might be before they started cataloguing things electronically). But in searching this aspect I did come across the following references to Richard (S) Courtney.

Apart from the items raypierre has already brought up, Richard Courtney has had a number of letters in New Scientist (NS): in Aug 1990 (taking issue with John Gribbin over a few things, including JG's comments about the IPCC and the George C. Marshall Institute), in May 1991 (about coal vs nuclear research investment), and in Nov 1992 (about the IPCC and storms); and he's had a contribution to NS's "Last Word", which then appeared in book form in The Last Word 2.

[Aside: Since his NS May 1991 contribution makes mention of "House of Commons Select Committee on Energy in June 1990", I wonder whether this gives a time frame on when he'd have made such representations.]

Then there's a letter contribution in 2001 to the The Guardian, on Lomborg.

It seems he might also have stood for election as a Labour Borough Councillor for "Leckhampton with Up Hatherley" on 2 May 1991 (but I suppose it could be someone else of the same name -- note they've spelled "Stanley" wrongly here). He got 308 votes. Probably not bad for Labour in Cheltenham, home of the famous Ladies' College.

The thought of a possible prospective Labour politician extolling the virtues of the George C. Marshall Institute somehow boggles me (but perhaps there's another Richard S Courtney in fair Blighty -- though the trail suggests they're probably one and the same)!

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

John Hunter's comment about Richard S Courtney at dot.earth and the link therein are worth reading. I'd previously come across Hunter's link but not reported on it.

Could it really be true, that Richard S Courtney is "an accomplished expert in both [sic] invention, obfuscation and bluster ... [and] an entertaining, though rather unconvincing, line in threatening litigation"?

(Rhetorical, obviously.)

Cymraeg llygoden

guthrie said...

My catty comment regarding Courtney is that it is thanks to union leaders like him that this country is in the state it is in. But that is a reflection of my own personal political views, not of base reality.

The link to John Hunter is very interesting.
To summarise- Courtney appears to be an apparatchik who with some luck was in the right place at the right time to parley his job into something more interesting during his retirement.

Anonymous said...

I see (Dr - TBC) Richard Courtney is a speaker at the current Heartland bash (the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change -- or not!) on Tuesday, 8:45-10:15, in the Julliard Complex, on the 5th Floor.

I knew you'd all be grateful for that info.