Thursday, February 01, 2007

Existential Threats

Abigail Kimbell has just been put in charge of the US Forest Service. PEER explains why this is interesting:

The new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Abigail Kimbell, was responsible for the largest reprisal action ever undertaken against agency whistleblowers, according to documents posted today by two whistleblower advocacy groups. In all, Kimbell purged 44 whistleblowers while she was Supervisor of the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. Of those 44, eight ultimately won a $200,000 settlement with the agency in 2003, while Ms. Kimbell was promoted to Regional Forester.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection wants to punish an employee whose lab results were “not ambiguous enough”:
White’s lab showed water pollution levels so high that, in some cases, samples had to be substantially diluted just to get them on scale for instrument concentration determination. These profound pollution levels make the issue of Data Qualifiers largely irrelevant to the purpose for which the data is used – establishing whether water-bodies are considered impaired for purposes of the Clean Water Act....

“These charges are utterly ridiculous; in essence, DEP is saying that the water pollution numbers are too awful to be true,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney, whose organization is putting together a defense team for White.
In related news, a safety inspector with the FAA may be fired “for helping two reporters write about dwindling federal safety oversight of commercial airlines.” And corporate e-mails reveal that GlaxoSmithKline “distorted trial results of an anti-depressant, covering up a link with suicide in teenagers.”

All of this can only mean one thing: Regulatory agencies are trampling the rights of private enterprise, and must be brought to heel:
The directive issued by Mr. Bush says that, in deciding whether to issue regulations, federal agencies must identify “the specific market failure” or problem that justifies government intervention.
With this problem solved, the government can devote more resources to fighting terrorism…whether that means deploying new surveillance cameras to protect existing surveillance cameras, or shortening the response time to blinking signs with cartoon characters on them.

Personally, I think anti-terrorist agencies need to hire more members of LGF, who have an unexcelled grasp of the existential threats facing the civilized world.

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