McAuliffe sways left and right on coal

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Several Virginia cities recently hosted the odd couple of gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe and climate-change celebrity Michael Mann. In Charlottesville, Mann proclaimed, “(AG Cuccinelli) thinks that climate change is a hoax.” No informed person claims climate change a hoax because it is the normal and natural history of the Earth over all geologic time spans.

After all Mann’s legal travails, McAuliffe surely knows that Cuccinelli’s legal process was based on Mann’s contested climate data analysis techniques, and conclusions derived from statistical analysis of tree growth-ring variations — and not on “constraints based on a politician’s personal beliefs.”

Google links “Mann” with “the hockey stick,” “hide-the-decline” and “Climategate.” The ill-defined “climate change” obscures the true scientific goal of identifying and quantifying human vs. natural contributions to climate variability. All-encompassing “climate change” replaced “global warming” once the actual record of global temperature inconveniently plateaued. The past 16 years of global temperature records show no increase, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide rose 10 percent, thus breaking the claimed fossil-fuel causation.

McAuliffe charges: “When science doesn’t agree with what the attorney general wants, he went and sued them.” HemoSonics’ president, William Walker, commented: “Scientists need the chance to work without political interference. The scientific community needs to be safe from political attack.”

McAuliffe continues in the tradition of “I was against it before I was for it.” At Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources, he talked to the company about what needs to be done “to make sure we have a healthy workforce of coal, that coal can continue.” Yet, in 2009, McAuliffe stated he “never wants another coal plant built.”

Meanwhile the poor folks in Tunica, Miss., are still waiting for his promise of a new car plant.

Charles Battig. Charlottesville.

Electing Republicans would be harmful

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

“Which is more dangerous? Someone who says extreme things or someone who votes for them?” State Sen. Mark Herring, Democratic candidate for attorney general posed this question in the first debate against Republican candidate State Sen. Mark Obenshain.

I’ve thought about this question a lot in the context of the 2013 election. Herring was referring to Obenshain’s abysmal voting record which includes sponsoring an unconstitutional “personhood” bill, voting against closing Virginia’s gun-show loophole, sponsoring unnecessary and expensive voter I.D. laws, and voting against the bipartisan transportation bill this past session.

Most Virginians have heard of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s unprecedented attacks on women’s clinics, his witch hunt against climatologists and now his latest push to invade the personal lives of Virginians by defending blatantly unconstitutional anti-sodomy laws.

Without any previous political experience, E.W. Jackson has already gained the same notoriety saying homosexuals made him feel “icky,” comparing black voters to “slaves” on the Democratic Party “plantation” and claiming yoga leads to Satanism.

The extreme social views of all three men are offensive and alienate thousands of Virginia voters. All three men stand against the majority of Virginians on issues of gay marriage and women’s rights. It would be equally harmful and embarrassing to elect Cuccinelli, Jackson or Obenshain in November.

Amy Weiss. Richmond.

How will Cuccinelli treat educators?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As an earth science teacher for 38 years, I know that we cannot allow the pursuit of scientific discoveries to be constrained by political interference.

All Virginians should be alarmed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s repeated attacks on academic freedom and his misstatements about climate science.

Cuccinelli’s ill-founded and unsuccessful pursuit of former U.Va. climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann was a threat to the process of academic inquiry. The Washington Post concluded that the attorney general “is on a fishing expedition designed to intimidate and suppress honest research . . . all because he does not like what science says about climate change.” That state taxpayers had to underwrite a chunk of Cuccinelli’s ill-conceived quest only adds insult to injury.

He has ridiculed the notion that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide can pose environmental risks, going as far as telling people at a political rally to “hold your breath” for a moment to “make the EPA happy.”

When I see Cuccinelli’s dismissive words and deeds regarding science and those who research and teach it, I worry about how educators would be treated should he be elected governor.

Meg Gruber, President, Virginia Education Association. Richmond.

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