When Science Goes Political

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about a spending program by the Biden administration that will award grants through the National Science Foundation to address what it calls “systemic racism” in the country and to advance “racial equity” in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

This is getting ridiculous.

The article reports:

“Persistent racial injustices and inequalities in the United States have led to renewed concern and interest in addressing systemic racism,” reads a synopsis of the Racial Equity in STEM Education Program on the NSF website. “The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) seeks to support bold, groundbreaking and potentially transformative projects addressing systemic racism in STEM.”

Although these grants are funded by the federal government’s primary source of support for basic science research, the agency emphasizes that proposals are to be developed by and reflect the perspective of aggrieved groups and individuals who perceive themselves as victims of undefined “inequities” assumed in advance to be caused by “systemic racism.”

We are moving farther and farther away from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, statement, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

The article notes:

The NSF stipulates that research funded by these grants should be designed to produce predetermined outcomes that benefit those engaged to conduct the research.

“The proposed work should provide positive outcomes for the individuals and communities engaged and should recognize peoples’ humanity, experiences, and resilience,” according to the program description.

The grant work should also consider systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits and show how these barriers impact access to and success in STEM education and research.

A synopsis on the government’s grants.gov website shows $30 million will be awarded to an expected 45 grantees beginning in July.

Since Biden took office, the NSF has awarded millions in grants related to equity, diversity and inclusion, a review of government spending by Just the News showed.

This is government-subsidized racism.

Why We Can’t Afford A Democrat Congress

The Democrats control the Senate. The Republicans hold a 33 seat majority in the House of Representatives. The Republicans can occasionally pass something or delay something from taking effect, but generally those odds make it very difficult for either party to get much done.

Recently, the Republicans gained a small victory for common sense and against crony capitalism.. On Thursday, Investor’s Business Daily reported that in explaining why he wanted to stop a federal ban on incandescent light bulbs, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, said, ‘If the new energy-efficient light bulbs save money, and if they’re better for the environment, we should trust our constituents to make the choice on their own to move toward these bulbs. Let the market decide.”

Oddly enough, if the ban had gone into effect, one company that would make a tremendous amount of money selling very expensive light bulbs would be General Electric. I know it is simply an incredible coincidence, but General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt was appointed to lead the President’s new jobs council in January 2011.

In addition to being more expensive, there are some significant problems with the compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. The Daily Caller posted an artlcle in July 2012 reporting that scientists at the National Science Foundation are warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects energy-saving CFL light bulbs can have on skin. In December 2011 the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about the fire hazard of a burned out CFL bulb. CFL bulbs also produce a hazardous waste situation when they break.

I think it really is time to celebrate the joys of the incandescent light bulb until some of the bugs get worked out of the alternative.

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The Spending Game

One of the tricks the government uses to avoid having its budget trimmed is to make sure that when cuts are called for they are very visible and very painful. Local school departments will threaten sports programs or art and music programs. It’s a game that has been played forever.

The thing to remember about the sequester is that even with the sequester, federal spending this year will be more than it was last year. The culprit is something called baseline budgeting. The basic concept of baseline budgeting is that the federal budget for the year automatically increases a certain percentage from the federal budget from last year. If the budget does not increase by that percent, the smaller increase is seen as a spending cut–even though the spending has increased. Anytime you hear Congress cry ‘wolf’ about spending cuts, you need to remember that they are not spending cuts–they are small decreases in the rate of growth. Please keep that in mind as you read the following.

On Tuesday, the Military Times reported that the military has closed or cut hours at some outdoor swimming pools and water slides on our military bases.

The article reports:

The pools and water parks are typically open to active-duty personnel, family members, military retirees, Defense Department civilians and their guests. The costs can range from free to just a few dollars. The cutbacks are one tangible way the automatic spending cuts are affecting the broader military community.

“Everybody’s a little bit emotional,” said Michael Martin, a spokesman for Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. “People are a little upset … These decisions are tough. They really are. But in the budgetary climate we’re working in, these are the types of decisions we have to make. It’s unfortunate.”

Martin said the commander for the joint Army and Air Force base had already planned to close the outdoor pool at Fort Eustis in Newport News prior to sequestration, but made the decision to close the outdoor pool at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton following the automatic spending cuts ordered by Congress.

This kind of thing sends me through the roof. Our military works hard, makes unbelievable sacrifices, and is paid little. They don’t deserve to have what little family recreation they have taken away.

In October 2012, the Heritage Foundation listed some of the recent examples of how the government spends money:

  1. “RoboSquirrel.” $325,000 was spent on a robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel.” This National Science Foundation grant was used to create a realistic-looking robotic squirrel for the purpose of studying how a rattlesnake would react to it.
  2. Cupcakes. In Washington, D.C., and elsewhere across the country, cupcake shops are trending. The 10 cupcake shop owners who received $2 million in Small Business Administration loan guarantees, however, can only boast so much of their entrepreneurial ingenuity, since taxpayers are backing them up.
  3. Food stamps for alcohol and junk food. Though they were intended to ensure hungry children received healthy meals, taxpayer-funded food stamps were instead spent on fast food at Taco Bell and Burger King; on non-nutritious foods such as candy, ice cream, and soft drinks; and on some 2,000 deceased persons in New York and Massachusetts. Food stamp recipients spent $2 billion on sugary drinks alone. Improper SNAP payments accounted for $2.5 billion in waste, including to one exotic dancer who was making $85,000 per year.
  4. Beer brewing in New Hampshire. Despite Smuttynose brewery’s financial success and popularity, it is still getting a $750,970 Community Development Block Grant to build a new brewery and restaurant facilities.
  5. A covered bridge to nowhere. What list of government waste would be complete without a notorious “bridge to nowhere”? In this case, it’s $520,000 to fix the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge in Green County, Ohio, which was last used in 2003.

Follow the link above to read more. To Congress this is a game. To the American military and the American taxpayer it is not a game.

In March, I posted an article about the Congressional Democrats in Massachusetts. They spent nearly $200,000 in bonuses, pay hikes and new hires in a timeworn tradition of end-of-the-year handouts. Despite their concern about closing the federal deficit, the Massachusetts congressmen increased their payroll by $196,000 in the last three months of 2012.

Let’s cut Congress’ budget and leave the swimming pools for our military and their families. While we are at it, let’s ground Air Force One and open up the White House for tours.

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Another Place The Federal Budget Could Be Easily Cut

Remember the leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) which brought into question the validity of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s work, with the reported statements “hide the decline,” and “Mike’s Nature Trick.”? Remember IPCC claims that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by the year 2035, which the IPCC, in a statement, later admitted was based on inconclusive data? According to CNS News, the questionable reports of the IPCC released in recent years have been funded more than 50 percent by the U. S. taxpayers.

According to the article:

In a Nov. 17, 2011 report, “International Climate Change Assessments: Federal Agencies Should Improve Reporting and Oversight of U.S. Funding,”the GAO found that the State Department provided $19 million for administrative and other expenses, while the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) provided $12.1 million in technical support through the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), averaging an annual $3.1 million to the IPCC over 10 years — $31.1 million so far.

The IPCC runs an annual budget of $7 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, making the United States a major benefactor for its global warming agenda.

This is one place we truly need to cut the budget.

The article further reports:

The $3.1 million annual U.S. funding goes towards the IPCC’s “core activities”: meetings of the governing bodies, co-ordination meetings, support for the developing country co-chairs, the IPCC Web site and Secretariat.  The IPCC assesses scientific information, but does not conduct any research of its own.

According to the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, the United States “has made the world’s largest scientific investment in the areas of climate change and global change research” with a total of nearly $20 billion over the past 13 years.

As a government, we are broke. We are borrowing the dollars we are spending. We also need to realize that most of the solutions proposed by the climate change proponents involve crippling the American economy while not dealing with the countries that are actually creating more pollution than the United States. It’s not about climate change–it’s about the redistribution of wealth. There is a mentality among some of those involved in climate research that the rest of the world will be made richer if America is made poorer. It never occurs to them that if they would focus on working toward building their own country’s economy rather than tearing down America’s economy, they might actually accomplish something positive. It’s time for someone in Congress to put a stop to this.

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