Sunday, February 05, 2006

Red State Red Pencil
George Deutsch is 24 years old, a 2003 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in journalism. He's got a nice gig for a kid so young--as a public-affairs officer at NASA, appointed by the White House. His primary qualifications are that he interned with the Bush/Cheney campaign, and he produced state-of-the-art wingnuttery while a columnist for the campus paper at A&M. And that would be fine if that's where it ended, but George--remember, he's a 24-year-old kid with a degree in journalism--took it upon himself to edit the findings of NASA scientists in technical reports on subjects such as global warming and the Big Bang. For example, he insisted that the word "theory" follow every mention of the Big Bang in one scientific report, and according to the New York Times, got snippy in his memo:
The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."
The Times article reports that NASA's style guide does indeed mandate that "Big Bang" be followed by the word "theory." Now, if I were a 24-year-old on my first bigtime gig, I'd have noted that on the draft and stopped, because my job would be done. But not little Georgie, who couldn't keep his little wingnut piehole shut without making the baby Jesus cry.

NASA's administrators have criticized Deutsch's actions--but they should have put him on the first plane back to College Station, Texas, and told him to take a couple of goddamn science courses. As it is, he'll probably be running for Congress in a couple of years.

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