… is streaming live. Drama!

Update [2007-3-19 8:57:46 by David Roberts]: Wow, this is squirm-inducing. Deutsch is on the stand. He is getting drilled. One member of the committee actually offered him a chance to apologize to Hansen.

Update [2007-3-19 9:1:28 by David Roberts]: Oh, man. Chris Shays talking-points-I-got-from-some-right-wing-staffer vs. James Hansen I-know-WTF-I’m-talking-about.

Advantage: Hansen.

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Update [2007-3-19 9:21:54 by David Roberts]: Oh lordy, they’re back on Deutsch. Van Hollen is stringing him along. Deutsch said they had “media practices” that “even Mr. Hansen will admit he didn’t always follow.” Then Van Hollen reads him his own words: he was concerned about “hitting their message.” Doesn’t that sound political? Deutsch says no, because the other people he offered in Hansen’s stead were also experience. (Case closed!)

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Then Hansen said, “this is the rare instance where it was caught on paper. Most people were more experienced than George and didn’t write anything down.” Ouch.

Now Darryl Issa’s jumping in and offering Deutsch answers to previous questions! Hacktastic. Now he’s asking Hansen about comments he made on the Bush administration (referring to Nazi Germany). Hansen: they were suppressing my speech. Issa: you’re hardly suppressed, you speak all the time. Hansen: I’m an American, I speak when I want. Issa: you’re being paid by the federal government. Hansen: that’s the point, the taxpayers deserve to be availed of my expertise, and I shouldn’t be forced to hew to some company line.

Waxman: you’re smearing Hansen. Issa: I hope his political activism isn’t affecting his ability to recognize that Congress funds lots of climate change research and appearances by him. He’ll chafe against any administration.

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Hansen jumps in: I’m not a Democrat, I’m an Independent. I only said I wanted to vote for Kerry because of climate change. The “Nazi Germany” comments weren’t about Bush, they were entirely about constraints on scientists. “It’s not the American way.”


Update [2007-3-19 9:29:2 by David Roberts]: Waxman: Mr. Cooney, all your edits certainly seem to be pushing in one direction, toward increased uncertainty. Cooney: I “aligned” the communications with the administration’s stated policy. Waxman: did your boss Connaughton know about or review your changes? Cooney: he knew we looked at them, but he didn’t review our changes. Waxman: were others besides Connaughton in the White House aware of your changes? Cooney: blah blah. Waxman: Andrew Card? Cooney: No. Waxman: Karl Rove? Cooney: no. Waxman: Kevin O’Donnovan (sp)? Cooney: we spoke on occasion. Waxman: what about? Cooney: [looong pause] Different things. He was a colleague. Waxman: did you get any directions from the OVP? Cooney: not “directions,” but we got notes from them. This is all normal. Waxman: did they ask you to highlight uncertainty. Cooney: I don’t recall specific conversations.

Update [2007-3-19 9:52:55 by David Roberts]: Now Cannon’s going after Hansen, somewhat more subtly than Issa. He’s trying to box Hansen into admitting that he called people who oppose his position on climate change “evil.” Hansen said, “I’ve never done that, I don’t know where you get that. I was referring to constraints on free speech, not to a person.”

Oh christ, this is idiotic. Cannon’s entire turn here is devoted to trying to get Hansen into a gotcha. “You called somebody evil!” Is that really the point here?

Update [2007-3-19 9:52:55 by David Roberts]: Ooh, this is rich. Waxman’s referring to a document. The CEQ lawyer says, we haven’t given it to you … but we’re not withholding it based on executive privilege! We just haven’t decided to give it to you yet.

This is about a memo from Cooney to the White House, which sounds a lot like Cooney is pushing a single paper that casts doubt on climate change. Cooney inserted the paper into the White House climate change report to “invigorate debate” (ha). Turns out the paper is partially funded by the American Petroleum Institute.

Yarmuth: were you trying to be fair and balanced. Cooney: exactly! Yarmuth: here’s a memo from EPA professionals saying that your changes are completely dishonest and push uncertainty at the expense of accurate science. Are you concerned? Cooney: that wasn’t just about my changes. Yarmuth: but aren’t you concerned? Cooney: yes, I’m disappointed. But! An EPA guy was in our office. The development of this report “was not smooth.” The EPA “was not sufficiently responsive.” Not just our office thought that. Yarmuth: sounds like the process was fatally flawed.

Now some Republican is whinging that Spencer got relegated to the third panel (he’ll testify later).

Update [2007-3-19 9:52:55 by David Roberts]: Souder: do you think Nazi Germany would have let you get away with ignoring these restrictions? (Wait, is that really a point he wants to make?) The administration should let people speak, but not in every case. (Again, is that a well-considered argument?) This has all become ideological. The political consequences are enormous. So political officials have some say. Hansen: sure, I have no problem with that. I don’t specify policy. I just try to make the science clear. If I speak on policy, I make it clear it’s my personal opinion. Souder: how do you separate them? (Uh, Souter, just because you can’t separate ideology and science …) Hansen: we can’t burn all the fossil fuels without creating a different planet. That relates to policy. Something needs to be done about it. But I don’t say what has to be done about it.

Update [2007-3-19 10:5:51 by David Roberts]: Welch v. Cooney. Welch is wrangling about Cooney. Cooney is too smooth to get pinned down.

Shays v. Hansen. Shays: do you really think you have no restrictions whatsoever on what you can say? The media affairs rules were established in 1987. That means your right to speak out is restrained! Would you acknowledge that? Hansen: sure. Shays: there are times you can speak out and other times you can’t. Correct? Hansen: probably that’s true. Shays: no, it’s true. Do you edit what your employees do or question what they say? Hansen: in terms of science, yes. Shays: do your employees have the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want? Give me an honest answer, you’re under oath. Hansen: within the constraints of what’s reasonable, I don’t constrain employees. Shays: so any employee of your institute can say whatever they want about the institute? You’re under oath saying you’ve never constrained an employee? Hansen: yes. Shays: so if an employee said, based on my work I don’t believe global warming is getting worse, you’d allow that? Hansen: absolutely. Shays: do you think there should be rules?

And thus the time on the first panel runs out. Connaughton’s up next. I’m not liveblogging that. I have my limits.

Update [2007-3-19 10:23:33 by David Roberts]: OK, one more comment: Darryl Issa is a friggin’ clown. Now that’s all. Watch it yourself if you want — Spencer should be a hoot.