Kathie Olsen, a Bush climate change denier in the National Science Foundation “burrows” into a civil service position.

A Loyal Bushie Burrows Into Obama’s System
By Elana Schor
Talking Points Memo

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Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

8 Responses to Another "Burrowing" Bush Loyalist

  1. Salle says:

    The article states that this is a “new” position… recently created. That begs the question; Can the position itself be removed or uncreated?

  2. kt says:

    Here is what cencerns me:

    We have suffered through 8 years where Range con type science – which largely ignores ecology and what is really happening to arid public lands – has been what gets funded. So there is all kinds of junk built upon junk science being applied. Scientists could only ask certain questions – those that did not upset the cattle industry too much – and get funding.

    Then, if something was funded, and the study found something that Energy Companies or Ranching interests did not like, it was buried and hidden from use. That happened with a series of Ecoregional Assessments – one was done for the Wyoming Basin (of course it found Oil and Gas doom and a bleak, bleak picture for wildlife). Two others were done – one was for Nevada, and another for a broader area of the Great Basin. Those too found Doom descending on sage-grouse and pygmy rabbit. And the Doom findings did not even factor in many grazing effects. Anyway, these were buried, with the Wyoming Basin one kept in “draft” – from 2005 or so on. The NV and GB ones were posted as a series of Chapters of a sort – by Rowland, Wisdom, Suring on a USGS site, but not as a complete study.

    Ecological studies of western public lands are not like the climate arena – where a broad range of scientists the world over are aware of what is going on. AND the folks that do do research are “controlled” by limited funding doled out t those who toed the Bushco line.

  3. steve c says:

    I guess if Obama fired people just because he didnt agree with them he would be no better than Bush. You also never know what some of these people said or felt they had to say to keep their jobs.

  4. Steve C.

    If I may explain-

    The way it works is that all political appointments can be replaced at any time, and they usually are by a new President.

    Under the political leadership of a federal agency — beneath the Secretary, assistant secretaries, deputy assistant secretaries, etc. is the career Civil Service, the permanent bureaucracy.

    These people cannot be fired for political reasons. The President, nor his appointees cannot fire them. These career people can only lose their jobs for “cause.”

    By “burrowing,” it is meant that Bush political appointees managed to somehow secure high level, career positions in the federal agency in which they used to be political appointees. This happened at the last minute.

  5. JEFF E says:

    “These career people can only lose their jobs for “cause.”…….
    However there should be a probationary period which an employee can be dismissed for any reason at all. At least I should be surprised if this is not the case. Usually 90 days is about standard and I would think that would fall under “due diligence” for any sort of human resources department.

  6. Mike says:

    Steve, I hope she is fired. Anyone who denies climate change has no business being involved in government science positions.

  7. Salle says:

    It seems possible that she could be transferred… or maybe just deemed not performing to the standards of the position. If not embedded within a group of superiors of her mindset that could probably be handled within a ~I’m guessing~ 90 day period when the first performance evaluation would be completed; either within 90 days or by the end of 365, I can’t remember what it is at that level.

  8. steve c says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Ralph. Not that this applies to Kathie Olsen directly, but I just feel that Obama shouldnt target people lower down who may have had to keep quiet or march in step with their respective agency to keep their jobs. It was a very hostile few years and I think some of these people should be given a chance under a new administration.


January 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey