One of the controversies I missed while I was gone was a threatening letter (PDF) sent by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tx.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to the heads of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Science Foundation, along with three respected climate scientists who produced the fabled "hockey stick" study. (For background on the hockey stick controversy, see here.)

Chris Mooney led the brigade, as he tends to on these matters. He reported the letter on his blog. Everyone and their cousin then linked to his blog. Tim Lambert rounds up blogospheric reaction here and here. Over at Prometheus, Kevin Vranes had some insightful thoughts on what he found reasonable and unreasonable about the letter. Mooney also has a couple of follow-ups (the latter on a challenge to Barton from Rep. Henry Waxman), and Michael Dumiak has more good stuff at ScienceG8 (a new science blog tracking developments at the Gleneagle G8 meeting — check it out).

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I don’t have much to add to what’s been said. This is just yet another case of a modern-day movement Republican taking a perfectly legitimate process — in this case, Congressional inquiry into the use of public research funds — and using it as a political bludgeon. It hardly registers any more.

Update [2005-7-6 8:27:41 by Dave Roberts]: Oh, good grief. I forgot the most important link: Mooney’s American Prospect column, which summarizes the whole brouhaha.

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Update [2005-7-6 10:7:31 by Dave Roberts]: See also this ES&T summary.