Courage in Congress

It’s hard to believe. But it can happen.

And it did happen. Not from Lamar Smith, who is on a rabid witch-hunt against scientists from NOAA. The courage came from another Texan, congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has stood up to Lamar Smith and his smear tactics.

You really ought to read the letter she wrote. And we should all thank her.


39 responses to “Courage in Congress

  1. Well! I felt like cheering after reading that and I’m not even American. Courage indeed, and wonderfully blunt!

  2. A superb letter …

  3. That is an impressive letter. I will send her a thank you note. Thanks for finding that for us.

  4. Johnson’s response was excellent but she’s a Democrat so I don’t know if ‘courage’ is the right word. On the other hand there are 21 other Republicans on the Science, Space & Technology Committee and not every one of them is a denier. Maybe some of them could speak up.

  5. Johnson’s letter is excellent but she’s a Democrat and the Ranking Minority Leader on the Science, Space and Technology Committee so I don’t know if ‘courage’ is the right word. On the other hand there are 21 other Republicans on the committee and not every one of them is a denier. Maybe some of them could speak up.

    • I went back and did my homework. Looks like 2/3 of the Republican committee members are global warming deniers to one degree or another, and none of the remainder have publicly stated that they accept the scientific consensus on AGW. So there will probably be no breaking of ranks.

  6. Read it twice. If Smith had had guts in the first place, they would now be missing–if I may indulge in a spot of metaphor.

    • Johnson’s first letter was a gentle tap on the shoulder. The second was an evisceration. I wonder if Smith is bright enough to realize it.

  7. The one waste, fraud and abuse worthy of an investigation is the wasteful, fraudulent and abusive ‘investigation’ of Lamar Smith himself…

  8. I used to live in her district and got to vote for her several times.

    But I am concerned. During her space walk, Sullivan may have been probed by an alien, and it could now be controlling her mind. This alien could come from a planet that cannot invade if ACO2 levels are too high. She could be siding with the Hansen followers in order to keep ACO2 levels from doubling.

    Consequently, earth could be invaded and conquered. Therefore, it’s only sensible to side with Curry and Smith.

    • Yes, the Republican response to the Paris massacres makes clear that we should accept no amount of risk at all, no matter how infinitesimal, when we are making decisions on national policy. That would presumably include colonization by CO2-phobic aliens, as well as by non-Christian refugees.

      Though I do worry a little bit about becoming both brainless and heartless as a nation. That couldn’t be a good thing, surely?

  9. That is a tour de force. Its heartening to see that there are good and very talented people in public service in America.

  10. On a completely unrelated topic: When I try to access realclimate, I get a screen that says the domain name has expired. Hacked?

  11. Amazing letter. I was so pleased that I decided to send Rep. Johnson a “thank you” email. Sadly, her website only allows constituents to email her, and I live quite a long way outside her district!.

    [Response: I ran into the same problem. But I have emailed my own congresscritter, and I suggest we all write our own representative and urge thanks to Eddie Bernice Johnson. That just might get some notice.]

    • My congressman, Ryan Zinke, is a tea partier so that might be a tremendous waste of electrons, but Ill send off an email nonetheless…

    • Daveye,

      I called to her DC office inquiriing about the schedule for the NOAA hearings and mentioned to her staff memeber that there were folks who wanted to extend their appreciation to her for her strong stance on this issue but could not reach her by email. He indicated that messages could be left at her Facebook page which is linked at her website,

  12. Reblogged this on Don't look now and commented:
    My first reblog. This would make an stirriing speech. Can it be recorded – with background umages?

  13. hey, where did go?

  14. That was certainly an excellent letter. Eddie Bernice Johnson won her seat with 88% of the vote in the 2014 election, so I don’t think much courage was required for her to sign her name to it.'_30th_Congressional_District_elections,_2014

  15. Susan Anderson

    Thank you for posting this. That is a superb letter, well researched, and presenting none of the mannerisms of ignorance or pitfalls for the unwary. Whoever helped her write it really knows their stuff.

    I have been furious all week that the NYTimes has not published anything. The only press is negative. Whats up with that/!!

  16. I don’t think Johnson or her staff would be upset by out-of-district expressions of support for her principled stand. Here’s the address and ZIP Code of a shopping mall within her Congressional district.

    4515 Village Fair Dr
    Dallas TX 75224-5115

    • Susan Anderson

      Thanks for the address. I find her district office is this:
      3102 Maple Avenue, Suite 600
      Dallas, TX 75201

      So if one wished to support her to the shopping mall, to whom would one address this, and should one assume they know her?

      I thought I should check on this heard recently on the news:
      “Hand-written letters may feel antiquated, but they remain one of the single most effective tools for advocating for an issue you care about and influencing elected leaders and officials. Members of Congress and Parliament count every single hand-written letter they receive. With all the quick and short ways to communicate today, a personalized letter can make all the difference in breaking through the noise.”

      I was going to leave it at the link, but using a narrative and asking for a response would not have occurred to me. In this case, of course, it will just be offering praise, but one might send a rocket to Lamar Smith as well:

      Be respectful. A sincere, polite letter will get a better response than an angry one. Address them by their title and use formal greetings and closings.
      Be clear and concise. Respect the time of the person reading your letter by laying out your argument as clearly and simply as possible.
      When possible, include a personal connection. Political leaders need to frame issues before tackling them. Giving them a personal narrative can help them recognize how the issue at hand matters to the people they represent.
      Write it by hand. Hand-written letters are more impactful and, in most cases, greatly increase the chance your letter will reach your representative.
      Always ask for a response. If you ask for a response, in many cases you’ll get one. A letter is a great way to get your elected official on the record.

      Rep. Lamar Smith
      1100 NE Interstate 410 Loop # 640
      San Antonio, TX 78209

      • This is just an address to get through the automated mail screener on her official website, without stepping on any individual resident’s privacy. Any writers doing so could (or should) include their real contact information with their comments.

        Or, as suggested, send an actual letter by mail.

  17. That truly is a great letter. And she documents everything she says–unlike Brother Lamar.

  18. Excellent letter! My first thought is that she’s got some smart people on her staff. There’s probably some junior fellow (from one of the professional organizations, maybe?) who knows how the science enterprise works.

  19. Ouch. That must sting.
    What a remarkable summary of a baseless witch hunt.

  20. Xavier Onnasis

    seems like the folks at Science magazine aren’t all that impressed with Lamar Smith either…

  21. Below is a link to a Vox article which summarizes the Smith-NOAA fiasco to date. So after Kathryn Sullivan called his bluff and told him he’s got all he needs he’s now going after the Secretary of Commerce and threatening her with a subpoena.

    And what’s he got that’s so devastating? From the letter to the Secretary (and other letters):

    “the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists.”

    These NOAA scientists are apparently the whistleblowers he claims to have and those who Judith Curry alluded to “hearing behind the scenes”. The Washington Post article linked by Xavier Onasis above contains some comments by Thomas Petersen which gives some clues on whom they might be. He basically indicates that the software engineering team wanted more test time and were frustrated with the research team’s impatience regarding the time it was taking to get a product out. The research team used an older data product which may have been less reliable. There are some ambiguities and lack of detail as to what the issues were but he is describing a typical battle in software development between (usually) Software Quality and Management. Petersen puts the testing time frame in years and states that the new product confirmed the results.

    Assuming all that is correct and based on the timing of research paper releases in the Johnson letter posted here it is not clear that the research team actually circumvented software quality control procedures. Petersen seems to indicate that they did but tries to justify it. That would leave him and Thomas Karl open to some tough questions but he seems to be able answer what has come up so far.

    Smith is such a jackass. He’s claiming the reason NOAA rushed this out was that they wanted to influence the Obama Green Power Plan. First of all as we all know the so called hiatus has been under relentless attack for at least a year now. This blog has lead the charge with a number of posts on the topic and has remained consistent in its message: there has been no slowdown. The Foster/Abraham paper is one independent peer reviewed paper refuting it that resulted from this blog and was publicized in mainstream media (the Washington Post). There have been a number of others at least one of which was reviewed here. In fact you might say that Karl and Petersen were kind of piling on. Second although it might have been good for Obama to have the Karl et al paper for his Green Power Plan it was not an absolute requirement given all the myriad of published papers out there on why the world needs to keep the carbon in the ground.

    Do ya kind a get the feeling that Smith is out on a limb? Kind of like what the republicans did to themselves with the debt ceiling? Go ahead Penny call his bluff.

    I guess the next step for the nation is to get ready to pick up the tab when Karl and Petersen file their $500M libel and defamation of character lawsuits against Smith and the gov’t based on that idiots Breitbart article (for one).

  22. Governor Brown of California calles out the Attorney Generals of Texas and West Virginia for climate denial here

    Brown has gotten much more vocal in recent months about climate action. Hopefully more governors will become outspoken and people will start to listen.