I find Hansen’s choice of words interesting. “tempest in a teapot dome”.
As most students of American History are aware, the “teapot dome” is a reference to a major political scandal early in the last century.It involved bribes and kickbacks and went pretty high up into the executive branch. I believe “teapot dome” itself was a geological formation that held oil.
Teapot Dome was an oil scandal in a Republican administration (Harding) in 1921.
Well, perhaps because my ears are more attuned to purely political discourse, this strikes me as being pretty obviously a bald joke. A teapot's surface is rounded and smooth. Hansen is describing someone within the Denier community as being balding and stupid. The question is, who?
And the problem is, it could probably be anyone! There are more crazy bald-heads in the skeptics camp than there are at a convention of Kojak impersonators. For example, Timothy Francis "Cue" Ball. But for my money I'm betting it refers to Mr. McIntyre himself. Witness the sketch left, the only pictorial representation of Steve I've ever found on the Net.
Now, I'm not entirely sure where this came from before it appeared L. Motl's blog (which I won't link to because it keeps crashing my browser), but it looks like a pic from the Wall Street Journal from around the time of the original McIntyre/Mann clash--lets say from the late 1990s.
I imagine it isn't just the glaciers that have receded since that time.
And to forestall the obvious response: yes, it true, but at least Hansen has enough to attempt a comb-over.
And as a rhetorical flourish, Hansen's choice of words is inspired. A bald man can never become President; they naturally inspire distrust and suspicion: "hide your women... the bald-headed men of Rome have come" and all that.