Inside the Capitol

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Gov a Fan of Pseudo-Science?

SANTA FE – Gov. Bill Richardson appears to be headed for more trouble with his latest request for full disclosure by the federal government of everything it knows about the crashed flying saucer the military originally claimed to have found near Roswell in 1947.
Richardson made his request in the foreword of a book about a recent archeological dig at the crash site by scientists from the University of New Mexico. Both the dig and the book were sponsored by the SCI-FI Channel. Richardson says he wants to get to the bottom of what happened so he wants the case reopened and our best scientific investigation to be conducted.
That sounds suspiciously like what Richardson wants done with the Billy the Kid case. He thinks modern scientific methods should be able to reveal secrets that historians for over a hundred years have not been able to find.
The sheriffs who want to dig up Billy and his mom to compare their DNA, now have brought Dr. Henry Lee into the case. Lee, a nationally-known forensic scientist, has been asked to find Billy’s blood on a carpenter’s bench he might have been laid on, since the grave-digging project still is in limbo.
I currently am interviewing other nationally-known forensic scientists and soon will have some possibly-surprising information for you about what they think of Dr. Lee’s qualifications and research methods.
Possibly Richardson can get away with asking that the UFO investigation be reopened without harming his reputation. The late Rep. Steve Schiff, of Albuquerque, seemed unharmed by his request for a congressional investigation into the Roswell UFO. He even got some action out of the government. The Air Force switched its weather balloon explanation to a spy balloon before closing the case again.
But Rep. Schiff had such a button-down reputation that he survived any image problems. Gov. Richardson’s quest for Billy’s bones, followed by a search for UFOs, however, may cause some chuckles around the state and nation from those who don’t see eye to eye with our governor. It’s not that he’s a kook, but he may be a little too anxious to promote interest in our state.
The use of science to prove what one wants to find has cast a shadow, lately, on the scientific community that worries serious scientists. Recently, in Russia, scientist Yuri Labvin announced that a research team he heads intended to find evidence that aliens were involved in the tremendous blast that leveled hundreds of square miles of Siberian forest, without leaving a crater.
Labvin said that the intention of the expedition was to find remnants of an alien spaceship. And whadda ya know? A week later, they found one. An “extra-terrestrial technical device” and a large block of metal were recovered and taken to a laboratory for study. The complicity of laboratories in such pseudo-scientific hoaxes also is becoming a concern.
To his likely detriment, Gov. Richardson has also picked up on Los Alamos National Laboratory director Pete Nanos’ characterization of scientists who don’t follow security laws as being “cowboys.” That’s what he called them on Don Imus’ morning talk show recently. It is surprising that Imus didn’t call him on it, since Imus grew up on a ranch and fancies himself still as a cowboy.
It may not have bothered Imus, but in Cowboy Country, which includes much of New Mexico, those will be fighting words come next election.
Richardson isn’t running this time, but that won’t keep Republicans from running against him if it can help them. GOP legislative candidates from throughout the state ran against “Manny and Ray” even though they represented districts a hundred miles away. Back in the ‘80s, Republican legislative candidates still were running against former Gov. Toney Anaya even after he had left office.
With Manny and Ray no longer on the political scene and Bill Clinton long gone, Republicans have to find an unworthy opponent somewhere. And it might as well be old Bill.


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