Monday, February 14, 2022

Top Science Official is Fired

Pres. Joe Biden ran on trusting the science, and appointed the first cabinet-level science advisor. Apparently Biden neglected to have him castrated first.

SciAm reports:

On February 7, Eric Lander, White House science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) resigned in the wake of an internal investigation.* That investigation into Lander’s management of OSTP found “credible evidence” that he had bullied and mistreated staff. Lander’s own statements and letter of resignation verified these findings.

Lander had to resign—there was no way the Biden administration could allow him to stay while abiding by their stated zero-tolerance principles—but the story shouldn’t end there. ...

Many groups, including 500 Women Scientists, posed serious questions about Lander’s management record before he was appointed to OSTP and named science advisor.

No, forcing him to apologize for some unspecified rude comments does not prove his guilt. It only shows the futility of apologizing to today's woke vultures.

This is so bizarre. He is not accused of sexually harassing women. But 500 women do not like his management style. Are these women experts on management? Why does it matter that women are posing questions?

Politico accuses him of financial conflicts:

Under the White House’s ethics agreement Lander signed, he had 90 days to divest his stocks after he was confirmed by the Senate on May 28. While Lander shed the bulk of that stock in June — including shares of BioNTech SE, the German biotechnology company and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine partner — he waited until Aug. 5 to sell the remaining $500,000 to $1 million worth of stock he held in that company. When Lander ultimately sold the stock 69 days after his confirmation, ...

Lander, who is the richest man in Biden’s cabinet with over $45 million in assets when he was nominated,

Wow, he has been working for universities and govt science labs all his life, and he is worth $45M!

The law said he had 90 days to divest. He sold most immediately, and the rest after 69 days. This seems like compliance with the law to me.

If he is smart enough to make a fortune for himself, and apply himself to govt service, we should be happy. I worry more about the conflicts of those who were never able to save any money. If he is worth $45M, then obviously he was not taking a govt job for personal profit.

Nature magazine reports:

“Eric Lander is a successful researcher, but everyone knows that he is a bully,” says Kenneth Bernard, an epidemiologist and biodefence researcher who has worked for the US government under several presidential administrations. “He is widely known as arrogant and controlling.” ...

“I am hoping they push women, and especially women of colour, to the top of the list,” says Emily Pinckney, the executive director of 500 Women Scientists

So a bunch of woke women want to replace him with a Black woman.
Lander was in charge of Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, a revival of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce rates of death from cancer, and he was leading efforts to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, a high-risk, high-reward funding agency to push for biomedical breakthroughs. He was also in charge of the search for a new director of the National Institutes of Health, following the retirement of Francis Collins last year.
In the original moonshot, we hired ex-Nazis, if they had the necessary expertise to get the job done.

Now, appeasing the feelings of oversensitive women, and filling diversity quotas, is much more important than getting anything done. Lander was mostly taken out by some Biden administration woman lawyer who complained that he was rude to her. This shows screwed up priorities, if the snowflake lawyer's hurt feelings matter more than a scientist getting something done.

I previously mentioned gripes about him, including that "Eric Lander is an evil genius at the height of his craft." I went to school with him 46 years ago. I am sure I do not agree with him politically. He should have gone to work for the Trump administration, where they might have let him do some good.

This is not good for science. They created a high-status position just so a science leader would have some clout, and yet he still gets taken down by his personal enemies.

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