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Sunday, August 27, 2006


Dispatches from the GOP's War on Science

This NYT article is just another sad artifact blowing around the ruins of our science community. People who pay attention to science are used kicking through this gargbage that spills, like the so many greasy Taco Bell bags, out of this adminstration on a dialy basis.

Evolution Major Vanishes From Approved Federal List

Evolutionary biology has vanished from the list of acceptable fields of study for recipients of a federal education grant for low-income college students.

Bob S is a fellow traveler from my Howard Dean days who knows a bit about science policy. This is from a recent email:

"One of the hallmarks of the Bush Administration is its haughty
disregard, if not contempt, for advisory processes of any kind.

Whether the issue is pre-war State Department concerns about
aftermath planning for Iraq, four-star generals worried about wartime
force levels, or, now, protests by highly respected scientists about
crippling NASA's science program, intolerant arrogance is the order
of the day.

Concerns about the viability of NASA science led to the departure of
three of the NASA Advisory Council's (NAC's) most deeply-thoughtful
members last week. It is important to realize both that high-level open
discussion is precisely the historical function of the NAC and that 2
of the 3 departing scientists are former Associate Administrators of NASA
science offices who both understand precisely how the NAC is supposed
to work and are passionate about the success not just of science but
of the agency itself.

Below are this morning's comments by NASA Administrator Mike
Griffin. The tone speaks volumes." is neither germane nor useful for NAC members to offer
advice on whether Science ought to have greater priority within
NASA as compared to manned spaceflight, or whether the SMD portfolio should
be rebalanced to emphasize Earth science over planetary science, or
whether the Moon is an appropriate focus (in comparison to Mars) for the next phase
of the manned spaceflight program, or other similar issues. As I am sure
you know, there are other venues (such as your own NAS/Space Studies Board)
for such questions, but the NASA Advisory Council is not one of them.

The most appropriate recourse for NAC members who believe the NASA
program should be something other than what it is, is to resign.

An article on this topic also appears here.

The bottom line: Once again thoughtful people who try to advise this administration are given the second-finger salute and told to like it or leave. How many wonderful, talented people have been driven from public service by this group of dumb-asses? How much have we lost? It is impossible to measure.

If we don't get a Conrgess that can say "NO!" to this President I think we can forget about being a "second rate power" - we'll be lucky to rise to the level of "fourth rate power".

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