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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Straight Talker

First--I'm a little bleary today, so excuse me for any mistakes or gaps in logic.

So McCain made a shot across the nose of research spending. It's a campaign ad, so it's the usual fare. I guess what gets me is it's the usual sort of Republican rhetoric that harkens back to the days of Newt. In a way, it's good to see were on regular footing again. Spendocrats and Defeatocrats. I don't mind it so much cause the rhetoric is old, tired. It's still effective, but it doesn't have the glitz of the freshly minted pejorative. Don't worry, I'm sure we'll start seeing them soon.

What gets me about this whole thing is that the ear mark problem has nothing to do with money set aside for research. For 8 years the Republicans have been siphoning funds away from the NIH. Research money that really ought to go medical study. The ear mark problem is for the side projects that give money to Congressmen's constituency. Here are some notables, compiled by ThinkProgress:

42. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to steer earmarks towards to one of his closest friends and major campaign contributor. [Link]

45. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) earmarked funds to increase the property value of lands that he later sold for a profit. [Link]

55. Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) accepted contributions from disgraced lobbyist Mitchell Wade and MZM, Inc., her largest campaign contributor, in return for a defense earmark. [Link]

63. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) secured a federal earmark to increase the property value of his land and reap at least $1.5 million in profits. [Link]

I mean, that's what I think about when I hear the word earmarks. Frankly, I think spending 3 million dollars on compiling the DNA of bears is a wonderful thing. God knows that they, like every other animal save homosapiens, will be extinct in fifty years. Or relegated to zoos and circuses. And the fact is--I might know some of the poor gradstudents who will be receiving that money. And they deserve it goddamn it!

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