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Archive for March 31st, 2006

Taxpayer-funded fluff from my rep in Congress

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I just sent the following letter to the editor to my local paper.

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To the editor:

Once again, my representative in Congress, the Honorable John R. “Randy” Kuhl, has sent me a four-page, four-color, eight-photograph “Legislative Report” extolling “a tremendously busy and successful year in Congress.”

This report, “prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense,” provides little concrete evidence on how Rep. Kuhl voted in this congressional session. As such, this “report” serves more as public relations vehicle for a congressman seeking re-election than as an effort by a responsible elected public official to fully and fairly inform his constituents of his activities.

The “report” is less than forthcoming in several statements.

Rep. Kuhl claims that “gasoline prices have settled back to pre-hurricane levels.” The federal Energy Information Administration, however, said March 27 that U.S. motorists paid $2.498 a gallon on average the previous week and that pump prices are 34.5 cents higher than a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 31, 2006 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NASA scientists free at last …

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NASA scientists are now free to speak with journalists without fear of reprisal from agency officials — or, worse, Bush administration political appointees.

At least that’s what the new “NASA Policy on the Release of Information to News and Information Media” appears to say. NASA administrator Michael Griffin released the new rules earlier this week.

The new rules come in the wake of allegations that NASA political appointees sought to suppress NASA scientists’ free speech rights by restricting information that did not mirror the political views of the Bush administration.

Here’s the paragraph that counts:

NASA employees may speak to the media and the public about their work. When doing so, employees shall notify their immediate supervisor and coordinate with their public affairs office in advance of interviews whenever possible, or immediately thereafter, and are encouraged, to the maximum extent practicable, to have a public affairs officer present during interviews. If public affairs officers are present, their role will be to attest to the content of the interview, support the interviewee, and provide post-interview follow up with the media as necessary. [emphasis added]

I guess that’s better than nothing. And I wonder why the policy, “written by an internal team of scientists, lawyers, public affairs specialists and managers,” according to the Post, had to be eight pages long.

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 31, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized