An online edition of a British newspaper featured a joint column by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Michael Mann, Penn State meteorologist and creator of the once-iconic, now thoroughly discredited “hockey stick” graph purporting to prove late 20th-century global temperatures were alarmingly hotter than any in the preceding 2,000 years.
Their joint effort is fitting. Mann and Weingarten both specialize in bludgeoning the public with demands to modify reality in service of interest-group politics: Mann, by conflating unrelated and in some cases wholly inappropriate data into an historical temperature chart that makes the well-known Medieval Warm Period disappear; Weingarten by insisting that unionized public education is an unalloyed boon to schoolchildren.
That wasn’t precisely the point of their Guardian piece. Their point was that Governor Walker wants to gut tenure at the University of Wisconsin in order to clear his path to wage War Against Science, science being recognized as the most dreaded threat to all conservative policy ideas.
Yes, we remember the budget initiative removing tenure language from statute law made Wisconsin consistent with the 49 other states that leave tenure policies to their university systems. (Evidently every state has been hijacked by knuckle-dragging fundamentalists—Michael Mann, check your voicemail!)
Mann and Weingarten call tenure a necessity to protect those whose work constitutes “original contributions to the body of knowledge”—a worthy goal except that the person likeliest today to be denied tenure would be one venturing that carbon dioxide might not roast the Earth after all.
Read the Guardian column. Dip your toe in their alternative universe, but only for a moment: it will give you the creeps.