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Apr 29 2013

Bad laws for science and all growing things

Now it’s getting personal. When the Republicans were just dedicated to making the poor poorer and the rich richer, I could shrug it off. When they kept arguing for the righteousness of bombing foreigners (well, Democrats do that too), I could console myself that they weren’t bombing me, yet.

But now they’re aiming to destroy science in the US, and I have to complain.

The legislation, being worked up by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), represents the latest-and bluntest-attack on NSF by congressional Republicans seeking to halt what they believe is frivolous and wasteful research being funded in the social sciences. Last month Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) successfully attached language to a 2013 spending bill that prohibits NSF from funding any political science research for the rest of the fiscal year unless its director certifies that it pertains to economic development or national security. Smith’s draft bill, called the "High Quality Research Act," would apply similar language to NSF’s entire research portfolio across all the disciplines it supports.

Oh, the “High Quality Research Act”…given the Republican’s fondness for giving their bills the most misleading names possible, we already know this intends the opposite.

What they intend to do is write patriotism into the funding of science. Our work most promote AMERICA, and also must be of utmost importance, where importance is to be defined by Texas a-holes in shitkickers and big ol’ cowboy hats, who probably don’t care much for them fruit flies.

1) "…in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science;

2) "… the finest quality, is groundbreaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large; and

3) "…not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies."

If the Republicans really want to start a brain drain, pass that bill. Great way to poison science.

Oh, and yeah, I also hate what they’ve done to both domestic and foreign policy. Is there anything Republicans do that is less than soul-destroying evil?

76 comments

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  1. 1
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    3) “…not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.”

    yeah. Because repeatability in science? Just a matter of whimsy and paycheck-padding.

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    “When they came for the poor, I did not speak up….”

  3. 3
    Strewth

    As a Canadian, I have a horrible and unworthy thought of the researchers we chased south returning, but frankly our current federal government is pretty anti-research funding, too.

    Now I’m sad.

  4. 4
    fernando

    This is the problem of ignoring/despising History.

    These people are fools, taht ignore the role of Science has one of the foundations of the power of you country (USA).

    The good thing is that, some scientists, could go to Europe and help us improve (even more) our scientific research. :)

  5. 5
    boskerbonzer

    In answer to your very last question: no.

  6. 6
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    “In 1948 Shostakovich, along with many other composers, was again denounced for formalism in the Zhdanov decree. Andrei Zhdanov, Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, accused Shostakovich and other composers (such as Sergei Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian) for writing inappropriate and formalist music. This was part of an ongoing anti-formalism campaign intended to root out all Western compositional influence as well as any perceived “non-Russian” output. The conference resulted in the publication of the Central Committee’s Decree “On V. Muradeli’s opera The Great Friendship,” which was targeted towards all Soviet composers and demanded that they only write “proletarian” music, or music for the masses. The accused composers, including Shostakovich, were summoned to make public apologies in front of the committee.[29][30] Most of Shostakovich’s works were banned, and his family had privileges withdrawn. Yuri Lyubimov says that at this time “he waited for his arrest at night out on the landing by the lift, so that at least his family wouldn’t be disturbed.”"

  7. 7
    anteprepro

    Fuck replication of results! Fuck obtaining background information! Either science benefits us right here, right now, or science can go fuck itself!

    I think I’m actually alarmed to see Republicans pretending to be pragmatic. I suppose it is a comical attempt to conjure the specter of “fiscal responsibility” in order to make them seem like Very Serious People to the people who don’t dare to glimpse behind the curtain and see the incredibly short-sighted mouthbreather, scrawling angry fantasies on the wall in only the bland colors of Crayola that they can tolerate.

  8. 8
    Nerdette

    At least someone had the ovarian fortitude to stand up to him:

    Smith’s request to NSF didn’t sit well with the top Democrat on the science committee, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). On Friday, she sent a blistering missive to Smith questioning his judgment and his motives.

    “In the history of this committee, no chairman has ever put themselves forward as an expert in the science that underlies specific grant proposals funded by NSF,” Johnson wrote in a letter obtained by ScienceInsider. “I have never seen a chairman decide to go after specific grants simply because the chairman does not believe them to be of high value.”

    In her letter, Johnson warns Smith that “the moment you compromise both the merit review process and the basic research mission of NSF is the moment you undo everything that has enabled NSF to contribute so profoundly to our national health, prosperity, and welfare.” She asks him to “withdraw” his letter and offers to work with him “to identify a less destructive, but more effective, effort” to make sure NSF is meeting that mission.

  9. 9
    David Marjanović

    The good thing is that, some scientists, could go to Europe and help us improve (even more) our scientific research. :)

    We’re hardly funding it either. Brazil and China are investing in science, the EU not so much.

  10. 10
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Last month Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) successfully attached language to a 2013 spending bill that prohibits NSF from funding any political science research for the rest of the fiscal year unless its director certifies that it pertains to economic development or national security.

    Big fucking deal. This is already necessary.

  11. 11
    Pteryxx

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

    …wtf

  12. 12
    johnharshman

    Wait. NSF funds political science research? Since when is “political science” even science?

  13. 13
    Kurt

    A gem from the comments section of the original article at sciencemag.org:

    “Sounds fair, as long as the scientists get to decide which bills get enacted into laws.”

  14. 14
    Glen Davidson

    The Wedge Document in the idiom of patriotism.

    Well, seriously, how long would it take for evolution to be ajudged contrary to national interests?

    Glen Davidson

  15. 15
    Roestigraben

    On the plus side, this is boding well for my proposal to unskew godless liberal polls that show Republicans losing.

  16. 16
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Pteryxx:

    I like how we both came up with examples of what the Republicans are doing – by relating them to Communist practices in Russia.

  17. 17
    raven

    The usual.

    Republicans: We want the worst for everyone.

    Democrats: We are incapable of governing.

    Bush wrecked the US economy and produced a lost generation.

    Although the Democrats have proved their motto wrong. What Obama has done is slowly working. Unemployment is down a lot, housing is recovering, our economy is growing, the stock market has set all time records, yearly deficits are starting down, and we are winding down the Bush wars.

  18. 18
    Bronze Dog

    Republicans look at all the things that made America great and seek to undermine them. They look at all the great things America could be doing and demand that we instead rest on our laurels instead.

  19. 19
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Will they insist that every grant application include at least three quotes from Limbaugh, Perry and Bachmann? (well, as long as they are going down the Stalinist route of science, it only seems appropriate)

  20. 20
    SallyStrange

    Since when is “political science” even science?

    Since it occurred to people that there are empirical questions about politics and political behavior that might be answered by some experiments and research.

    Duh?

  21. 21
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I’m trying to imagine any of those requirements being applied to funding for Congress itself, much less all of them.

  22. 22
    raven

    GOP: We want the worst for everyone.

    This gets proven true every day.

    The US is an exceptional country. But it has nothing to do with imaginary sky fairies.

    With 4.8% of the world’s population, we spend ca. 1/3 of the total world R&D. Something like 300 or 400 billion USD/year. This makes us a leader in science and technology and that translates into economic growth.

    A report during the Bush administration pointed out that 1/2 of our astonishing economic growth during the 20th century was due to advances in science.

    No science = poor economic growth and falling behind the rest of the world instread of leading it.

    Lamar Smith Idiot Texas wants to do more damage to the USA than 10 al Qaedas. Or a few nuclear bombs. It will be much slower but last a lot longer.

  23. 23
    David Marjanović

    “Sounds fair, as long as the scientists get to decide which bills get enacted into laws.”

    QFT!

    Wait. NSF funds political science research? Since when is “political science” even science?

    It can be done as a science. You can use history to test hypotheses just fine.

    Of course, “the closer you get to humans, the worse the science gets”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

    Also Marrism.

  24. 24
    Becca Stareyes

    So, how many NSF grant applications will just add a paragraph that basically reads ‘rah, rah America!’ if this is passed? I’m a novice scientist, but I always thought ‘put something in to explain how your research fits into the Big Picture’ was expected.

    Of course, being a scientist, I also understand that sometimes you need a thousand fruit fly and zebrafish studies to set up the next Darwin’s work, or discover the interesting thing that becomes an awesome cancer treatment, rather than an interesting thing that no one outside of your field knows about and really only applies to a single species.

    Seriously, it’s like trying to budget by only putting in ‘new car’ and ‘new computer’, and not including things like ‘toilet paper’ and ‘breakfast cereal’ (or at least a general ‘weekly groceries and toiletries’ estimate and leaving that money to be distributed as needed).

  25. 25
    raven

    The value of science R&D is well enough known that few question it.

    The US government spends ca. 160 billion USD on it.

    Around 80 billion USD is spent by the US military.

    They have a compelling reason to do so. They are very result oriented. With a technological advantage, we win more wars faster with less dead US soldiers. When your lives are on the line, the value of science becomes obvious.

  26. 26
    w00dview

    Katherine Lorraine @ 6:

    One of the most tragically ironic aspects of the Republican Party is for all their screeching that the tiniest effort to help the poorest in society will lead to North Korea/Nazi Germany, their ideological rigidity, distrust of intellectuals and efforts to suppress and meddle with any aspects of science or the arts which contradict their ideology is fucking identical to the efforts used in the most vicious, totalitarian communist regimes that popped up in history. It would be hilarious if it were not for the fact that these policies are horribly destructive to society and the environment.

  27. 27
    raven

    Chairman Mao, among his other atrocities, tangled science up with Maoist and communist politics.

    It was a disaster. Among other things they promoted Lysenkoism pseudoscience instead of real biology.

    Most of the people killed during that era died from political and governmental incompetence. They starved to death.

  28. 28
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @w00dview:

    It’s truly amazing, if you read what the Republicans want, and then look at what’s happened in the past. They claim it’s the Democrats who are the Nazi Stalinists (no, I don’t understand how that happens either) but in truth it’s the Republican ideals which are more fascist and more proletarian (is that the right word?)

    Wanting equal access for people to all things and to provide for those of us who need it most is, to them, more fascist and proletarian than demonizing science and art and trying to pass laws that allow a rebirth of the Gilded Age.

  29. 29
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Becca Stareyes:

    I’m a novice scientist, but I always thought ‘put something in to explain how your research fits into the Big Picture’ was expected.

    There is. For proposals submitted to the NSF this is called broader impacts. It represents one of two review criteria. NSF panelists take this seriously.
     
    What our esteemy Republican law-makers don’t understand is that what they are proposing is already de facto law.

  30. 30
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    What our esteemy Republican law-makers don’t understand is that what they are proposing is already de facto law.

    Passing laws to tell agencies to do what they are already doing is pretty normal small-government policy for the GOP.

  31. 31
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Also, anecdatally, the founders of Google (Sergey Brin and Larry Page) developed the search engine as part of an NSF DLI funded project.
     
    If the internet is right*, Google is worth more than $200 billion. Even if everyone else that NSF funded was the suckiest suck that ever sucked, the investment has turned a profit (the whole NSF appropriation last year was ~$7 billion) Google alone justifies the investment for ~28 years.
     
    *I googled** “google”.
    **I’m not even counting as part of the return on that investment that we got a whole new fucking verb.

  32. 32
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Brother O: Word.

  33. 33
    kantalope

    But will my study “Why are Republicans so stupid?” get the funding it needs?

  34. 34
    w00dview

    Katherine Lorraine:

    Just checked the wiki page on Lysenkoism, this part leaped out at me:

    Genetics was stigmatized as a ‘bourgeois science’ or ‘fascist science’

    Reminds me of the ruling against sea level rise in North Carolina because Global Warming is seen by Republicans as a liberal science’ or a ‘socialist science’ and is therefore anti proletarian free market! History really does repeat itself, fuck me.

  35. 35
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @w00dview:

    Pretty much. It’s kinda scary in a way, if you think about it. If the Republicans ever actually get both chambers and the White House, I’m going to be looking for the fastest route out of Dodge as I can find, cause the fascism and proletarianism are coming right afterwards.

  36. 36
    w00dview

    Katherine Lorraine:

    it’s the Republican ideals which are more fascist and more proletarian (is that the right word?)

    I would say “authoritarian” sums it all up in a tidy manner.

    PZ:

    But now they’re aiming to destroy science in the US, and I have to complain.

    Uh, PZ, the Republicans have being waging war on science since Reagan was in office*. Granted, they are being even more blase about it but this should not surprise you. They have been gunning to dismantle that fancy shmancy elitist egghead science for quite a while now. Who needs science when you can learn everything from the Bible and Atlas Shrugged to be the best country evah?

    *For all his accomodationism, Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science has detailed the anti-science attitude of the GOP really well and would recommend it to anyone who pulls off that inane “but liberals are just as anti-science!” nonsense.

  37. 37
    alwayscurious

    After reading the headlines about the immediacy of funding TSA better (but not consider anything else), I feel like Republicans are trying to deconstruct everything. As if by turning ever government function into a disaster, they can then reallocate funds to only the programs that people scream the loudest for. If insufficient screams are heard (insufficient rich people screams), than the program must have been useless after all. I hope China catches up soon–might motivate some progress again.

  38. 38
    w00dview

    I’m going to be looking for the fastest route out of Dodge as I can find

    And I would not blame you, they really are becoming the perfect storm of greed, bigotry, anti-intellectualism and sociopathy. Can you imagine what shit these fuckers would be pulling if Romney actually won?

  39. 39
    Nick Gotts

    History really does repeat itself, fuck me. – w00dview

    As one K. Marx said: “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

  40. 40
    NitricAcid

    Thank you, Becca Stareyes (#24). Now I have “Rasputin” stuck in my head.

  41. 41
    reasonbe

    I’m so tired of this crap. Republicans are championing the type of government they fear most. And the stuff that comes out of Texas is mind-blowing.

  42. 42
    Spoon

    This bill was clearly written by someone who doesn’t understand and doesn’t care how scientific research actually works.

  43. 43
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull ) wrote a song, “Living in the Past”, though he is Scottish, must have been all about the current Republican Party. They truly do live in the past and want us all there too. The past was so much better, all our troubles are the direct result of all that ‘newfangled’ science and stuff. So we need to be where we were 150 years ago, and get rid of all that “science” to get us into this evil 21st century, the 19th is better for all. Is all they say. phooeey.

  44. 44
    Roving Rockhound, collector of dirt

    These are the awards that Smith listed (from the comments on Sciencemag):

    1. Award Abstract #1247824: “Picturing Animals in National Geographic, 1888-2008,” March 15, 2013, ($227,437);

    2. Award Abstract #1230911: “Comparative Histories of Scientific Conservation: Nature, Science, and Society in Patagonian and Amazonian South America,” September 1, 2012 ($195,761);

    3. Award Abstract #1230365: “The International Criminal Court and the Pursuit of Justice,” August 15, 2012 ($260,001);

    4. Award Abstract #1226483, “Comparative Network Analysis: Mapping Global Social Interactions,” August 15, 2012, ($435,000); and

    5. Award Abstract #1157551: “Regulating Accountability and Transparency in China’s Dairy Industry,” June 1, 2012 ($152,464).

    I didn’t read the abstracts, but I can imagine lots of potentially interesting hypotheses for each of them. That !@#**@ idiot probably just picked them because they had simple-sounding titles, which is why we should always follow the PhD Comics formula for titles:

    PhD Comics: Your Thesis Title

  45. 45
    feralboy12

    I would like to see all these Republicans take a vow to do without all the technology that came about after research done without these sorts of goals in mind. They’ll need a lot of calm weather to get their smoke signals high enough in the air to be seen from coast to coast.
    No more radio and TV, no more wireless internet. The idea of using electromagnetic waves to carry information started with guys screwing around with naturally occurring magnets, and others who were trying to write equations to describe vibrating violin strings.
    Fucking ignorant chickensuckers, they are.

  46. 46
    Jadehawk

    Wait. NSF funds political science research? Since when is “political science” even science?

    social science denialism at its “finest”; the hallmark of a Real True Skeptic™

  47. 47
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Cheeses! What’s with the ridiculously rhetorical questions?????

    “Republicans” – in this age of horror – are all (without exaggeration) stupid, ignorant, insane and/or evil.

    At the level that is weirdly described as “Republican leadership,” however, such distinctions are now unneeded: they are have the effect of being evil.

    You cannot be a good human being and vote “Republican,” given that the only legitimate excuses, justified fear or honest ignorance, do not apply to anyone in the USA any longer.

    If you vote “Republican,” you’re a clueless shit. If you are involved in promoting any “Republican” politician or position actively, you’re a twisted and evil human being and will reap the rewards of evil – pain and a bottomless emptiness.

  48. 48
    Jadehawk

    That !@#**@ idiot probably just picked them because they had simple-sounding titles

    two look like they’re about environmental stuff, two look like they’re about international politics, and one is not just about a country that’s not the US, it’s about regulation.

    I can imagine quite well why these were picked as examples of “bad” political science, by a Republican.

  49. 49
    obscure1

    The Green Party recently introduced the idea that another government is possible and are launching a green shadow cabinet to serve as an independent voice of reason. http;//www.greenshadowcabinet.us

  50. 50
    grumpyoldfart

    “The Rise and Fall of the US Republic” – it will be a good read when it’s finally published.

  51. 51
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    grumpyoldfart:

    Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers”. From some years ago, of course . . .

  52. 52
    shockna

    I had a friend try to argue that point number 3 (“…not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.”) wasn’t a bad thing because “The rule says ‘Being funded’. You can retroactively go back and double check data once the project is done.”

    Which really seems like it’s inconvenience for the sheer sake of inconvenience. I can’t begin to understand the mind of people who rationalize attacks on science.

  53. 53
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    While Lysenko was the most famous example of politicization of science under the Bolsheviks, it was far from the only one. The Politburo also forbade the study of rare earth chemistry as a folly–after all what good could the chemistry of rare elements do “the people”.

    This very nearly led to the destruction of the Soviet Union as they struggled to develop a nuclear capability after WW II, since the actinides have similar chemistry to the rare earths. The day was saved by the mimeographed handwritten notes of a chemistry prof who had done his research on the rare earths in the dead of night.

  54. 54
    unclefrogy

    It really amazes me how narrow minded, short sighted small minded the conservative reactionary authoritarian mind is. It is as if they think that thinking with all the facts possible is a bad thing.
    They seem to have the same thinking abilities as the gambler who thinks the roulette is a game of skill.
    uncle frogy

  55. 55
    alwayscurious

    It’s also good to keep in mind the value of duplication. Another set of eyes observing the same or similar thing is invaluable.

    On the other hand, BOO! Down with duplication! We have too many scientists studying global climate change!! Isn’t one enough?

  56. 56
    Azuma Hazuki

    We’re past the tipping point now, I’d say. Until maybe 2004 or 2006, we had a chance to keep the nation largely as it was including standard of living if we’d acted fast enough.

    Now? Too late. Too much infrastructure had been lost or left to rot, too much has changed about the political process (Citizens United in 2010 will be where the history books peg our fall into terminal decay), and too much has altered about the economy and the distribution of wealth and income.

    We can and will rebuild, but we’re committed to a massive collapse before it happens. Keep your heads down, save what money you can, maintain some solid assets instead of pure liquidity, and stay in touch with your family and friends. These, too, are the “times which try mens’ souls” (and women too, thankyouverysomuch!). All we have left is human capital.

  57. 57
    brucegorton

    So not only are Republican policies disconnected from reality, they are actively hostile to research that may reveal it?

  58. 58
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    “First they came for the poor people,
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not poor.

    Then they came for the foreigners,
    And I did not speak out
    Because I’m American, dammit!

    Then they came for the science
    And now it’s personal.”

  59. 59
    MetzO'Magic

    The parallels with Lysenkoism are astounding. These authoritarian nutjobs won’t *ever* give up trying to pass laws that are an affront to humanity, will they?

  60. 60
    Air

    Could all of this have anything to do with the fact that, for example, academics in Arizona made 85% of their political donations since 2008 to Democrats?
    Let me hasten to add that I attribute the increasingly Democratic stance of academics to their tendency to continue to align with reality (more or less – I know plenty of academics) as the Republican Party inexorably drifts farther into a hermetic fantasy of their own. Of course, we will never be able to fund a study to verify this hypothesis…..

    Linky

  61. 61
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Air,
    Bullshit. The Rethuglicans even turn on their own when they insist that reality trumps ideology–e.g. climate scientists James Hansen and Kevin Trenbreth. The basic problem is this:

    The Republican ideology is toxic to any but the richest of the rich–a tiny minority. To be viable, the Republicans must cater to ever nuttier special interests–folks so crazy that they will vote against their own well being to further their pet cause (be it guns, anti-women…). As more and more quasi-sane people are driven to the Democrats as the lesser of two evils, the Republicans must either disenfranchise more Democratic base groups (hence the Voter ID laws, purging of voter roles…) or recruit more nutjobs. It is not a sustainable model, but they’re hoping to bring on the collapse of human civilization and initiate the birth of a libertarian paradise (e.g. like Somalia) before their own shell game collapses. And I wish I were exaggerating.

  62. 62
    Air

    Ray,

    Intemperate, much? What part of your response negates any part of mine?

  63. 63
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Air,
    It is not a reaction to the political donations of scientists/academics, but rather an attempt to play to their nutjob base. Rethuglican money doesn’t come from the 99%, but rather from the 0.000001%

  64. 64
    raven

    Could all of this have anything to do with the fact that, for example, academics in Arizona made 85% of their political donations since 2008 to Democrats?

    That is just a correlation.

    It could equally be the cause and case that intelligent and educated people donate and vote for Democrats. Some of whom happen to be academics.

    IIRC, the Democrats did well among urban professionals.

    The GOP party base is known to be the dumb and undeducated on average. As Satanorum pointed out, “”We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country.
    We will never have the elite, smart people on our side,” Santorum said in a …

    It’s just another GOP war. They have wars against college students, educated people, and smart people. And against science and reality.

  65. 65
    wpjoe

    Were I director of the NSF, I would state that the US’s “economic development or national security” was best served by having scientists rank the best proposals for funding as the NSF has done for the last x years. Maybe I wouldn’t last as director, but I would gladly put my head on the block for the ability of scientists to choose the best research projects.

  66. 66
    Air

    Thanks for the interesting alternative hypotheses (which I don’t think are in any way mutually exclusive, which was my point above)…..let’s put in a proposal to NSF to figure out who’s right!

  67. 67
    David Marjanović

    While Lysenko was the most famous example of politicization of science under the Bolsheviks, it was far from the only one. The Politburo also forbade the study of rare earth chemistry as a folly–after all what good could the chemistry of rare elements do “the people”.

    I didn’t even know that. But I’m not at all surprised.

  68. 68
    RFW

    This proposal is a close analogy of the disastrous meme that infects finance these days: immediate high ROI is required. Nobody cares about fundamentals except Warren Buffett; the stock markets are nothing more than casinos with only one guaranteed result: the rich will get richer and the poor individual investor will be well and truly fleeced.

    The sad fact is that the US is a society in the process of disintegration, thanks to the baleful influence of greed and money (and pseudo-religion). You can thank the GOP for this development, though the Democrats are by no means innocent.

    The cure? Start with confiscatory tax rates with the avowed purpose of redressing the current horrible maldistribution of wealth and income. Yes, Barbra Streisand, you will have to sell five of your mansions, maybe all of them, to pay the tax man. Yes, John McCain, you too. And corporate executives who have sent jobs overseas and in the process sold out the US to China (yes, Walton family, that’s you) will be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of treason.

  69. 69
    Rich Woods

    1) “…in the interests of the United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science;

    Translation: Must have a definite economic or military aim.

    “Mr Edison, what on earth would be the point of anyone shouting nursery rhymes into a conical tube? Next, please.”

    2) “…and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large

    Translation: We decide which matters are of importance to society. Climate change and gun ownership researchers need not bother to apply.

    3) “…not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science agencies.”

    Translation: No more than one troublesome reference to reality somehow sneaking its way through our filtering system at a time, please. Unless maybe you plan to confirm results we already approve of.

  70. 70
    Ichthyic

    She asks him to “withdraw” his letter and offers to work with him “to identify a less destructive, but more effective, effort” to make sure NSF is meeting that mission.

    more effective effort?

    that’s easy:

    TELL CONGRESS TO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND JUST FUND SCIENCE ALREADY.

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    The sad fact is that the US is a society in the process of disintegration, thanks to the baleful influence of greed and money (and pseudo-religion). You can thank the GOP for this development, though the Democrats are by no means innocent.

    It’s not much better here in NZ, which i left the US for largely because of the very thing you just noticed.

    However, NZ does seem to be about 20 years or so behind the curve the US has plotted.

  72. 72
    Ichthyic

    To be viable, the Republicans must cater to ever nuttier special interests

    Actually, it’s not the nuttiness that is the issue, it was the realization many decades ago that the best voting blocks are composed of authoritarian personalities, and manipulating them to your side was a near guarantee of success.

    hence, the abundance and overuse of hotbutton issues in politics over the last 40 years. It was all intended as nothing more than manipulating authoritarian voting blocks.

    However, history SHOULD have taught the neocons what empowering authoritarians does to societies in the long run. Check the runups to each world war for example, and it goes much further back than that. eventually, if you empower them long enough, they strangely start to get the idea THEY should be running things… and you get things like the teabagger party.

    Until we stop allowing others to manage things for us, others who see only the potential for power, this kind of manipulation will only repeat itself, with disastrous consequences every time. It hardly matters WHAT political system it even happens in, so long as manipulating authoritarians will be of personal benefit to someone, it will go on as long as the rest of us don’t participate to stop them.

    you’re not going to change anything in the US from the top down at this point; it’s far too late for that. There is only one way, and that is to bite the bullet and participate in democracy yourself. Take the time to become a school board member, a city council member, a state representative… or at least find someone you know personally who you can trust will have the best of society’s interest in mind, instead of their personal pocketbooks, or their religious imaginings.

    it’s really the only way.

  73. 73
    MetzO'Magic

    Well said, Ichthyic.

  74. 74
    inquisitiveraven

    So, does anyone know where one can find a copy of the actual bill online? This blog post claims that various science related sites are misrepresenting the bill. One notable claim is that the “duplicative funding” criterion is intended to prevent research projects from getting grants from multiple sources rather than being aimed at replication. If so, and if the parts quoted in the OP are accurate, it’s very badly phrased.

    I also fail to see how replacing expert review of applications with having the NSF director make the decisions directly would improve things. Assuming that NSF grant applications are at all comparable to NIH applications in length and complexity, I would guess based on the times that my dad has been a grant reviewer that the director would never have time for anything else and would never get through them all, unless the number of openings was drastically reduced.

  75. 75
    Gary Goode

    Just wait until GOP thinks (I know, I am assuming a lot here) out they may just need a lil’ science to win elections. THEN they will get oh-so-interested in SCIENCE! But that dumb ole’ science thing seems to be serving them quite well on the economics front, particularly at Harvard. That is if you consider economics,,,science, which I believe the verdict is still out on at Harvard, how ever else can you explain Excel spreadsheet errors? An act of God?

  76. 76
    ericblair

    I heard a rumor that “Being A Republican is going into the DSM 5 as a subheading under “Sociopathy”.

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