Was it just coincidence that on the 10th anniversary of the first publication of this smart-mouthed rag the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression released its annual list of the “winners” of this year’s Best Censors Award?

The longer Static lives, the more karma seems a viable concept (think Tom DeLay, yes!). Going on that theory, maybe there is something magical in the timing – especially since one of the winners is a guy this paper has expended a generous amount of ink on over the years: our good neighbor, congressman, and pollution control expert “Smokey” Joe Barton.

There are of course other winners, among them the usual suspects: King, uh, Prez George the II for authorizing government eavesdropping on citizens’ private conversations, and lesser-knowns such as several school administrators around the country who confiscated student newspapers because they objected to the content.

But our old Smokey, who is the powerful chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and has tremendous influence over who gets federal energy research money, won big for using the clout of his office to exert a chilling effect on scientific research into global warming. Barton, as anyone who’s been paying attention knows, is the best friend of the cement kiln and coal-fired power plant industries that are the biggest industrial pollution contributors to the melting of the Arctic ice cap and the Alpine glaciers (among the many such red flag warnings the Earth is sending us). Don’t even think Barton will be deterred by the fact that many scientists are warning that these things could spell doom for the planet.

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