William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Bernie Madoff To Join Peter Gleick’s Pacific Institute: Work-Release Program

Perhaps we should file this under Nobody Saw This Coming. Here is a (second) press release issued in the dead of night from the Pacific Institute.

Tip o’ the hat to Anthony Watts, who alerted us all to the first press release.

PACIFIC INSTITUTE BOARD OF DIRECTORS (CORRECTED) STATEMENT

The Pacific Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Gleick back to his position as president of the Institute, and a joyous greeting to Bernie Madoff who will now be keeping the Institute’s books as part of a unique work-release program

An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his, uh, interaction with the Heartland Institute. Which is to say, Dr. Gleick admitted to cheating, lying, conning, conniving, scamming, manipulating, and misrepresenting himself in a manner most sleazy in what has become known as Heartlandgate. We forgive him his trespasses.

Just as we forgive Bernie Madoff, the infamous Ponzi-scheming shady operator and convicted felon who absconded with millions from dozens of innocent victims, and who has agreed to join the Pacific Institute as part of a unique work-release program.

Mr. Madoff said from his cell at the Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium that, “I can’t wait to get my hands on the Pacific Institute’s donor list.”

“Dr. Gleick’s and Mr. Madoff’s situation illustrate what America is all about,” said Pacific Institute board member Gigi Coe. “Doing something uniquely egregious and hoping people forget about it.” Coe added that she thought Gleick and Madoff had learned their lesson and would not scam anybody again soon.

Gleick apologized publicly for his nefarious actions, which are not condoned by the Pacific Institute and run counter to the Institute’s policies and standard of ethics over its 25-year history. “We’re willing to look past all that,” said board member Dr. Robert Stephens.

The Board of Directors accepts Dr. Gleick’s apology for his lapse in judgment. “We are sincerely sorry that Peter got caught,” said board member and Berkeley Professor Michael J. Watts. We look forward to Gleick’s continuing in the Pacific Institute’s ongoing and vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, social equity, and fund raising; but especially the fund raising.

“That’s the area where we hope to utilize Mr. Madoff’s unique talents,” said board member Margaret Gordon. “Mr. Madoff, like Dr. Gleick, has apologized for misusing his gifts. We hope to bend all that misplaced energy into bulking up our bottom line.”

“I am desperately glad to be back and thank everyone for continuing their important work at the Pacific Institute during my absence,” said Dr. Gleick in a statement. “I am returning with a renewed focus and dedication to the ideology and fund raising that remain at the core of the Pacific Institute’s mission.”

Asked if she thought Mr. Madoff’s past crimes and Dr. Gleick’s shenanigans would damage the reputation of the Institute, board member, Nancy Pelosi supporter, and Stanford Professor Dr. Anne H. Ehrlich said, “Are you serious?”

15 Comments

  1. William Sears

    7 June 2012 at 10:03 am

    I love the final sentence! By the way, are you competing with The Onion now?

  2. They should have at least honored his actions with a new title. “Slimeball in Charge” has a nice ring and it fits.

  3. You’re comparing Peter Gleick with Bernie Madoff?

    Oh yes, very comparable. Talk about tarring by association.

    You could have tried to compare Mr Gleik with Clive Ponting, but of course that wouldn’t have been sensational, and might have involved some work on the part of yourself and your readers.

    You seem certain Mr Gleick did wrong; a jury took a different view of Mr Ponting’s actions, deciding his actions were in the public interest. No one could claim a public interest defence for Mr Madoff, are you really so certain Mr Gleick is the same?

    The Heartland Institute doesn’t cover itself in glory in its coverage of Climate Change. No doubt distortions are made on both sides of this particular debate, and I applaud your efforts to improve the science and its use of statistics, but I’d be careful saying there aren’t public interest issues in the tactics and strategy of the Heartland Institute and the way it portrays the consequences of humanity’s use of Carbon.

    You dislike it when the alarmists distort, I hope you have the same opinion when people with the opposite view do the same.

  4. @Chinahand: First, Mr. Gleick didn’t uncover anything that was in the public interest. He forged the only “incriminating” document and put it in with the other (unremarkable) documents he stole.

    In fact, he was first fingered because some net sleuths figured out that he’d forged the document. It was only AFTER being fingered as the forger that he confessed to everything except the forgery.

    So, no, Clive Ponting is not comparable to Mr. Gleick. Unless you’re saying that Mr. Ponting forged key documents.

    In fact, Mr. Gleick was simply waging a campaign against a direct (financial) competitor to his Pacific Institute. Both institutes cover similar ground, both fund creation of textbooks, etc. Just opposite sides of the issue and competitors. How can you possibly compare Mr. Gleick’s actions to those of an actual, honest whistleblower?

  5. @Wayne, obviously it is impossible to know, but Mr Gleick insists he did not forge any documents, and the contents of the forged one were basically contained in the others which Heartland admits are genuine, so the issue isn’t particularly important.

    Here is Peter Gleick’s apology giving his description of how he obtained the documents.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html

    And here is a stylometry and textometry analysis which points to the document being from Heartland.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-lawrence-otto/joe-bast-fake-document_b_1297042.html

    Gleick is a whistle blower who used underhand methods to leak. I agree it can be debated whether his actions were in the public interest or not. But the idea his actions are comparable with Bernard Madoff is ridiculous and shows how distorted this debate has become.

    Prof Briggs will claim irony, I disagree. This post worsens and politicizes the divide on climate science; I’d have thought Prof Briggs would want to work to clarify it and separate the politicized policy debate from data driven science.

    Something I think is everyone’s intersts.

    Prof Briggs, is saying a doubling of CO2 will lead to between somewhere between 2 and 5 degrees of warming alarmist?

  6. Wonderful, simply wonderful.

    I sort of agree with Chinahand; you should not have demeaned Bernie by comparing him with Peter. :)

  7. @Chinahand: Typical propaganda technique when you say, “… so the issue isn’t particularly important.” It’s actually critically important.

    Without the forged document, the rest of the documents are boring. They don’t show any smoking gun in terms of Big Oil funding, etc. In fact, they show that climate is a fairly small part of their budget and that their budget is pitiful compared to opposing organizations like Greenpeace.

    It is the forged document that talks about “keeping teachers from teaching science”, and talks about funding levels 10x actual. You say that it contains much of the same stuff as the other documents, but that’s the boring part. All of the soundbites and the claims of “public service” come from two or three sentences in the forged document.

    So yes, it is a critically important distinction.

    And no, Gleick has not denied the forgery. Read his apology/confession closely. He talks about this document and that document without making clear which is which.

    Last, this discussion would be one thing if Gleick has stepped forward and confessed and THEN was accused of forgery. That would just be a smear tactic. But it happened the other way around: several people identified his fingerprints on the forgery and called him out, and it was only then that he confessed. (With a confession obviously crafted by several lawyers.)

    You don’t have a leg to stand on. The forgery was identified as a forgery and its author was identified LONG before anyone had any other reason to suspect it was Gleick behind it.

  8. Now if only you could fill us in on the odd money problems that the Heartland Institute seems to be experiencing, even as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Exxon.

  9. I love it that ethics and honesty are no longer “particularly important”. Especially when their absence contributes to a “narrative”. Such an enlightened and superior viewpoint! If only I could adopt that mindset without feeling guilt. Woe is me. A post-modern failure.

  10. So when is Heartland going to sue Gleick? I wouldn’t be surprised if he did write the spiced up memo, so when are they going to sue?

  11. 49erDweet,

    Remember the immortal words of Dr. Stephen Schenider.
    “To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.
    Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest.”

    Lying for a good cause is ok. Dan Rather said so.

  12. @Chinahand.

    There was another independant stylometry and textometry analysis done by and independant company that specializes in such analysis that concluded that when the sections of text obviously coppied from the legit documents are removed from the forgery, what remains was most likely authored by Peter Gleick.

    See here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/14/professional-forensic-stylometric-analysis-of-the-fake-heartland-climate-strategy-memo-concludes-peter-gleick-is-the-likely-forger/

  13. @Chinahand:

    “Prof Briggs, is saying a doubling of CO2 will lead to between somewhere between 2 and 5 degrees of warming alarmist?”

    In a word, yes.

    1. The IPCC, WUWT readers et al broadly agree that doubling CO2 will lead to approx 1.2 degrees warming. The extra 0.8 – 3.8 degrees the IPCC etc gets by assuming that positive feedback dominates the climate – ie that more warming from CO2 leads to more warming from other sources. Skeptics believe that negative feedback dominates – that warming from CO2 causes things like cloud cover to increase, which act to reduce the warming felt.

    2a. Most media reports about global warming assume that warming the Earth up a little will be catastrophic. For human civilisation however, warmer = better (within limits, obviously). It’s been both warmer and colder in the past, and the cold periods are when we’ve suffered the most. However many deaths you see from summer heatwaves, you get far more from cold winters. In other words, the negative effects of global warming on humans have been overhyped.

    2b. Speaking of which, what’s the cost / benefit of “fixing” global warming? And if we’re going to spend trillions on it… are we doing it right :P ?

    3. Hype over CO2 is distracting us from far more pressing concerns. Human issues like poverty, environmental (Amazon rainforest anyone?), rising food prices (thanks to car fuel crops), diseases (malaria etc)… the list goes on.

    4. Consider: if positive feedbacks dominate in any system, then the system rapidly approaches an extreme. If the positive feedbacks dominate up to a point, then you get the system bouncing up and down like crazy. However, if negative feedbacks dominate, then any change is slow and gradual. Just like the Earth’s climate, in fact.

  14. @ Ray
    If Rather says it then the point must be fake but true.

  15. Great post, by the way I am an engineer & I want to join a community where I can get spiritual as well as I can help others. I heard about global community communications alliance in AZ. As far as I got know it is the nonprofit organization. They have many outreach programs and services for community. I think I should join then. What do you guys say? Pls let me know.

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