They’re only bugs


There is an important research facility in Florida that studies exotic insects and invasive species. You’d think a state like Florida, which is swarming with invasive plants and animals, would consider this a useful and practical operation.

The UF/IFAS (Institute for Food and Agriculture) quarantine facility is a highly secure state of the art lab in Ft. Pierce.

Security is top priority because if any insects were to escape, their impact in our environment would be unclear.

Those of us in agricultural states think that matters. It’s valuable work.

Not Governor Rick Scott! He was handed a budget by the legislature that funded it, and also gave them an increase this year (a miracle!), and Scott used a line-item veto to kill the increase, and if that wasn’t enough, killed their entire budget. His rationale is chilling.

Gov. Scott’s line-item veto eliminated both the increase and the previously allocated funding. Scott’s reason for eliminating the money was that a clear state return on investment has not been demonstrated at this time.

Remember, this is an institute dedicated to applied research. I wonder what Republicans think of long-term basic research that has no immediate return on investment?


  1. says

    As some one who works with invasive species, Florida is pretty much ground zero for new bugs coming into the country. Florida is already suffering big from the Asian Citrus Psyllid. There are a couple of mites that are starting to reek havoc on palms. Not to mention the dozen or so invasive plant species. Governor Scott is a fucking moron.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    The time has come for my plan to insert breeding colonies of Brasilian killer bees into Tallahassee…

  3. steve1 says

    As resident if Florida and a firmer resident if Fort Pierce I did not vote for him. The budget for clean water for the Indian river was also gutted.
    The Indian river is one of the most diverse estuaries in the world.

  4. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    I was under the impression that Florida had experienced problems with invasive species in the past (the Cuban treefrog and Burmese python spring to mind), particularly in the Everglades. I’d have thought a Floridian would have an appreciation for scientific work surrounding invasive species, but apparently Republican stupidity can overcome even past experience.

  5. Dreaming of an Atheistic Newtopia says

    Florida is riddled with invasive species…but perhaps the area where introductions are most dangerous is precisely the invertebrates…Species like the pythons are going to impact biodiversity but are unlikely to have any effect on your crops and the livelihoods of most people. The wrong species of beetle, though…and you have a crisis. But fuck it, it hasn’t happened yet so clearly there’s no reason to be cautious. Let’s do nothing until everything’s fucked and then try to find a solution while trying to not drown in shit.

  6. Richard Smith says

    Heck, Scott’s just taken to heart the claim that God is inordinately fond of beetles. If God likes them, who are we to argue where He (through whatever natural or human agency) decides to put some of them?

  7. Sili says

    Perhaps the brain parasites have already escaped and invaded the governors mansion.

  8. steve1 says

    Rick Scott is one of the republicans who says he is not a scientist and has tried to eliminate any mentioning of climate change in The Florida government.
    He moved to Florida in 2003.
    He was a Florida resident for Deneb years before becoming it’s governor.

  9. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Perhaps Governor Scott means to extend his willingness to house the labs’ specimen populations at his mansion?

  10. Ragutis says

    Pythons. Tegus. Nile Monitors. Giant African snails. Lionfish. What’s a few more invasive species?

    I don’t have much good to say about “Jeb!”, but he was actually almost halfway decent on environmental issues (for a Republican). Scott and the legislature have amended, repealed, defunded or just disregarded just about every positive policy Bush put it place, supported, or expanded. Seriously, about the only way it could get worse is Manatee Hunting Season.

  11. opposablethumbs says

    They probably think it’s intrinsically anti-free-market, anti-capitalist and anti-‘merkin to seek to control (with evil big gummint controls!!!) invasive species; if new species are out-competing old ones, heck, they must deserve their success. They must be better! If the lazy freeloading native species don’t like it, they’re free to move, or breed faster or something.

  12. unclefrogy says

    I suspect that the farm and citrus lobbies have not spoken to him yet unless they are backhanding them some other way.
    uncle frogy

  13. robro says

    Yep, Florida’s an agriculture state. Oranges and grapefruit, sure. Pecans. Truck farms. Shade tobacco. Commercial and tourist fishing. As my dad often said, “More cattle in Florida than in Texas.” Lots and lots of commercial pine forests, a gazillion dollar industry that the predecessors of IFAS were instrumental in developing (I often passed by their tree farms as a kid), and I’m sure IFAS still contributes to that industry significantly.

    In any case, somebody should play Scott one of the many boll weevel songs (I recall hearing Tex Ritter’s version a lot when I was a kid), and ask him what the hell that was about any way. Maybe there’s a corn worm song out there, too. Idiot. “ROI” my eye.

    That institute also studies mosquitoes. Let’s have a nice mosquito born disease or two to kill a bunch of people…that’ll sure pump up the tourist industry, which really isn’t that important to the ROI of the state’s investments.

    He’s about as dumb as a Republican can come…I’m surprised he hasn’t crawled into the clown car. According to a post from a relative, he signed an open carry law recently. My mom despises him, considering him a crook for some health insurance scam.

  14. gijoel says

    I can’t even begin to imagine the uproar that would happen if an Australian politician even thought of pulling this kind of shit.

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    robro @ # 14: …some health insurance scam.

    More precisely, the largest medical scam in US history*, for which the Columbia/HCA “health care” conglomerate he put together and ran had to pay a fine of $1,700,000,000 (though Scott himself got off scot-free, with a bit under $200,000,000 sticking to his fingers as he settled into a nice Palm Beach mansion).

    For fear of – shudder! – being called liberal, no one in Florida media has ever asked Scott for an estimate of how many people died so he could buy his yacht, jet, governorship, etc. Occasionally we an allusion to his “controversial tenure” in corporate hospital management.

    * at the time – the medical-industrial complex has enterprisingly broken records in that field repeatedly since then, though Scott’s scam still holds the title for hospital-corporation monetary malfeasance.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    correction to my # 16: …occasionally we see an allusion to his “controversial tenure”…

  17. Ragutis says

    Let’s have a nice mosquito born disease or two to kill a bunch of people

    Aside from our semi-regular breakouts of West Nile, and a few types of Encephalitis, weren’t there some Dengue Fever and Chikungunya cases recently?

    More precisely, the largest medical scam in US history

    I will never understand how he got elected. Twice. Thank Blibdoolpoolp for term limits. Unfortunately, next we’ll likely get Gov. Bondi, or worse, Gov. Judd.