1. Kassul says

    Because a showman will attract a crowd of people to your cause, hopefully including a number of people deserving of the superhero name Action Man(tm)?

    I wouldn’t call myself impressed by the pick of Gupta, but neither do I think it’s a terrible one.

  2. Nerd of Redhead says

    Oooh, nice radical rant there PZ. I take a wait and see attitude with this appointment.

  3. porco dio says

    From Orac, “Dr. Gupta has shown a maddening tendency to straddle the fence and play both sides in his reporting.”

    The Chief Doctor” of the united states needs to be able to treat a flu, not report on it.

    In short, a S.G. needs to be decisive with clear direction… not just chosen for his initials!

  4. Praetorianstalker says

    I just think that PZ has become bored with picking on Creationists and wants to pick a play fight with poor old Orac…

  5. says

    This pick has the scent of “Shit, we haven’t found anyone good yet. Who’s visible, with a good smile and screen prescence to act as a placeholder?”

    Obama is all about the good theatrics. I like his substance where it shines through, but I have no illusions about exactly how well Obama and company can put on a show. This is still politics, after all.

  6. Avon says

    He can’t be all bad, he is a Blake’s 7 fan, or really into Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacities… I too gave a “huh?” when I heard Gupta’s name.

  7. says

    Gupta is already a household name associated with medicine. By choosing him as Surgeon General he gets an instantly trusted spokesman. This could let the President quickly make radical changes to the American healthcare system and have a powerful tool to get the message out.

  8. Aaron says

    As others have pointed out elsewhere, the Surgeon General’s main job is mainly as a spokesperson. He really does not do much. Gupta fits that mold well.

    It’s not like he will run the NIH or control Medicare. He’s basically just there to tell the people to wash their hands after they sneeze.

  9. SC, OM says

    I’m still laughing at Comrade Physioprof’s take – waiting for Update III reversing his position yet again…

  10. says

    Yes, English is my first language. Sigh.

    In my comment #9 assume the word “he” is valid for all values from “President Elect Obama” to “President Obama”.

  11. Joe Mc Faul says

    I applaud the choice.

    I’m also pleased that Michael Egnor’s other duties precluded his nomination.

  12. says

    @Bourgeois Rage: I don’t think anyone’s actually hating on Orac. Except for possibly 6 or 7 unrepentant Maoists left in the world, nobody would say “running dog” and mean it.

    Incidentally, I read Respectful Insolence semi-often and I hadn’t actually noticed that he was a conservative, even a moderate one.

    You learn something new every day

  13. Chris says

    I don’t blame the Clonaid idiocy fully on him, CNN is a terrible “news” organization with little interest in facts.

    I have some confidence that given his own agenda, he could transcend CNN’s self-limited capabilities.

    “Where does Gupta stand on Imaginary Medicine like chiropractic and homeopathy?”

    This would be great to know.

    Really though, I’m interested to know how this turns out, and I hope to all that is holy/secular that the CAM idiots don’t get their foot in the door at any point in this administration.

    Strangely enough, the Conservative movement is VERY keen to the alt-med peddlers. That goes all the way back to John Brinkley and how he revolutionized both talk radio, conservative politics, PR, and goat gland implantations ;)

  14. recovering catholic says

    Once again:

    “Where does Gupta stand on Imaginary Medicine like chiropractic and homeopathy?”

    I was lazy and I just Googled for a half hour or so, but couldn’t find Gupta endorsing any quackery.

    By the way, at the right to choose one’s own means of treating an illness and having it covered by insurance is standing now at 7 of the top 10 that the organization will be submitting to Obama et al. You all might want to go there and vote for other topics that make more sense:

    (This is where you can read about the proposition and the comments the loonies have to make about wanting their reflexology and crystal therapy paid for by insurance…go to the home page to join and vote.)

  15. Chris says

    “(This is where you can read about the proposition and the comments the loonies have to make about wanting their reflexology and crystal therapy paid for by insurance…go to the home page to join and vote.)”

    Is there a more direct route we can take to plead with the new administration to not support CAM on our dime?

  16. Praetorianstalker says

    No hate for Orac here I think – I just think that PZ enjoys getting a rise out of people, even if it is in a friendly sort of way… I only read a little of what he had to say (slow reader here) and he seems fine, just not quite as entertaining as the Cracker Destroyer here… heh…

  17. Paul says

    As PZ mentioned in the previous thread, Gupta is a US Healthcare apologist. To add insult to injury, here’s a transcript of him kissing Deepak Chopra’s ass on CNN. The last thing we need is a Surgeon General who is going to kowtow to touchy-feely woo.

    And before anyone brings up the “well, it’s CNN so he has to go with his producer’s opinion” angle, is that really what we ant? Lies and deception to bring home a paycheck?

  18. Chris says

    Thanks Paul, that’s exactly what I was hoping not to see.

    I can only hope that he has the potential to do good and somehow leap over this potential to do ill for our country’s health care system, and hell, our understanding of science and medicine.

  19. Carl says

    The far left is SO disillusioned that Obama has actually turned out to be someone who actually plans to GOVERN, and get something done, rather than pursue an ideologically pure leftist agenda. Come to think of it, the far right is equally disillusioned because their worst fears have not materialized and they don’t have a Liberal demon to attack. If both extremes are equally angry then Obama must be doing something right. As one who took a long time to be convinced–I have to say, Obama is a freakin’ genius and, so far, a great leader.

  20. Robert Byers says

    From Canada
    This is racism. Identityism, anti-whiteism.
    The only reason this indian was picked,if so, is because he’s not white (or Jewish but its still wrong) and they couldn’t find a good enough black.
    Come on liberals who voted for Obama. You are being told loud and clear this administration is about non white identity. You are not welcome but thanks for the votes.
    Is this Indian really the best doctor in America.? Really. Not a American of ancient heritage in the land but a very recent immigrant people.
    The job is useless anyways but the selection should be questioned in whether it was discrimination against whites/Jews.
    The whole Democratic and liberal establishment is based on the concept of race/ethnicity/sex as a important value in who gets and deserves what in America.
    Obama is being spiteful here. This tv doctor, cnn’s quota for non whites, is no more prestiges then Dr Who or Dr No.
    If this guy was not a dark skinned indian he would not be considered. I insist.
    This is traitorous, bigotry, and a profound agenda of malice toward the true American people and their beliefs and their being held to equality ideas by those who do not in their hearts.
    Well all those “white” people who voted for Obama are finding out, if clearly thinking, that the identities and leaders that are the heart of the democratic party don’t welcome them or believe in their right to do as well as they can without interference based on race/ethnicity/sex.
    One reaps what one sows.
    In the world created by the left in America it is legitimate to question the motives behind decisions for what identities get what.
    The whole cabinet and this must stir some suspicion among normally very suspicious liberals.

  21. says

    And then again, Orac’s also not impressed by Sandy…

    I actually find this quite frustrating, because both Orac AND Sandy look good to me. He’s got no real take-down, just assertions. I taught statistical analysis to undergrads before I ran off to do IT research support in biological sciences. Usually her statistical arguments seem sound to me. The whole diet/weightloss industry is desperately in need of a hefty dose of skepticism that we can trust; it’s the biggest and most lucrative form of quackery, myth, and pseudo-science out there.

  22. Katkinkate says

    I think it’s a bit like religious indoctrination. We’ve had the ‘fat is bad’ meme blaring out for decades now, from the women’s magazines first, then the ‘health’ industry. Most people just take it as established fact ’cause they’ve been hearing it since they were little kids and they’ve never thought to look at the research to check the claims for themselves. They’ve been indoctrinated.

  23. Falyne says

    Robert. Byers. Please. Go. The. Fuck. Away.

    You are a silly racist git who is making my head hurt.

    As for Gupta, I need to look into him more, as pretty much my only association is “that guy from CNN”. But I my inclination is to go with the the interpretation that this is a PR job as much as anything else, and going with a guy who can work well on-camera is probably a reasonable call. Plus, the sciencey-people-quotient of the cabinet is already incredibly high; it may just be time to throw the silly demographics a bit of a bone, and a name they may have heard before.

  24. says

    *points and laughs at Robert Byers*
    Ah yes one South Asian ina fairly minor role definitly mean Obama is anti-white. After all it’s no like he’s named white people to the two top jobs of Secretary of State and Secretary of Treasury. Oh wait.

    Well still, his ethnicity can’t be a coincidence. After all if you picked a random MD there are no chance of hitting an Indian; Indian-American medics are almost unheard of right? Oh, wait again.

    You’re a racist retard.

  25. SC, OM says

    The far left is SO disillusioned that Obama has actually turned out to be someone who actually plans to GOVERN, and get something done, rather than pursue an ideologically pure leftist agenda.

    Well, speaking as someone on the far left, I can say in full honesty that I never expected Obama to pursue a leftist agenda, ideologically-pure or otherwise. Nor did any other anarchist I know of. What a dipshit notion. I can’t see what that comment had to do with the Gupta pick, so I assume it referred to my links @ #23 to the interview about Dennis Blair. If appointing someone to a top position who (if the allegations are true, and you haven’t suggested they’re not) actively supported massacring civilians is “governing” and “getting things done,” I can only assume you think to come out strongly against it and cease all US government programs that enable it constitutes following a far-left agenda. I hope you keep this principle in mind they come for you – whoever they may be (we’ve left behind global human rights standards, you’ll remember).

  26. Carl says

    “I can’t see what that comment had to do with the Gupta pick, so I assume it referred to my links @ #23 to the interview about Dennis Blair”

    It’s not about you. What a dipshit notion.

  27. SC, OM says

    It’s not about you. What a dipshit notion.

    Then please explain what you were trying to say in reference to the pick of Gupta for a primarily PR-related position. Try to do a better job of it this time.

  28. clinteas says

    First,I find it highly irrelevant who Orac finds impressive.
    Second,its been said that as assistant director of Neurosurgery he wouldnt have enough administrative experience for the job.Reminds me of the stuff they said about a certain senator from Illinois.
    Third,I only know the guy from CNN and am in no position to comment on his knowledge or stance on certain issues mentioned here,but to me as physician his sciencey/medical comments seemed reasonably lucid and understandable to the average layperson.

    And its not that its a cabinet position,so I say take it easy and give him a chance.If the claims of him being into diet woo etc would be true,that would constitute a problem for a public health figure in a country with some of the worst eating habits after Tonga.

  29. senecasam says

    Gupta’s appreciation with “woo” extends to “facilitated communication”, which has been proven to be without merit.

    Jeff Wagg discusses this on the current JREF page,

  30. SC, OM says

    And since “what a dipshit notion” referred to your stupid claim about the alleged disillusionment of the “far left” with Obama, then it was about me, moron. Or are you crazy enough to think US liberals are the far left? And what is the evidence for your assertions?