John McCain still really hates science

By Phil Plait | February 27, 2009 6:00 pm

Oh John McCain, I’m so glad you’re gone. But I wish you would actually leave!

Through Cosmic Variance I found out John McCain has a Twitter feed. That’s pretty amazing for a guy who doesn’t understand computers or even use email, but hey, everyone’s capable of change.

Or maybe not all of us. McCain posted a list to Twitter of the "TOP TEN PORKIEST PROJECTS" in the stimulus Omnibus spending bill.

Now c’mon, guess what number 2 was. Guess!

OK, did you guess that it would be some small amount of money that went to science and public education? Good for you! You win… well, nothing, except the chance to bang your head against a wall. Here is the tweet in question:

#2. $2 million “for the promotion of astronomy” in Hawaii – because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy

Ah, McCain. Maybe you’ve changed enough to learn some new tech, but it’s nice to know some things don’t change, like that you’re an antiscience know-nothing. But then, he helped set that standard with his ridiculous planetarium ravings.

Let’s be clear: astronomy needs to be funded. It’s one of the best public-relations field science has. People love astronomy. And putting that aside, astronomy is important. I don’t think I need go into that here, but you can always read this if you’re fuzzy on the details. Also, it touches the philosophical aspects of our lives, like how we got here and and where we’re headed. Perhaps platitudes about such things satisfy some people, but some of us are pretty well concerned with reality. That’s why we study it.

And then there’s the bottom line: that 2 million dollar investment will keep people employed in a high-tech industry. What is it about Republican leaders that they don’t understand it’s not pork, it’s investment and that equals stimulus. Building a bridge that isn’t needed to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars is pork. Putting money towards science is making sure that we stay on the cutting-edge of technological capability in the world. See the difference?

Geez, this isn’t rocket science.

Speaking of which, let me point out the contrast of McCain still actively unwilling to support science and science education to Obama’s wanting to fund NASA and science in next year’s budget and in the stimulus bill. Interesting, isn’t it?

So, Senator McCain, let me make this clear: you, amateur exorcist and creationist Bobby Jindal, and the rest of your backwards-facing antiscience reality-denying brethren may huff and puff and say ridiculous things — and I’m sure you’ll continue to do so — but a lot of people see right through it, and a majority of the American voting population rejected it last November.

But please, feel free to cling to such notions. Those of us in the reality-based community will make sure we wave as we pass you, but don’t expect us to linger on your reflection in our rear-view mirrors. We’re too busy looking ahead.


Given the nature of this post, please avail yourself to both my commenting policy and my stance on politics and religion posts before commenting below. Thank you.

Comments (176)

  1. Viewer 3

    The “big thing” in the media right now and the GOP especially is making anything that doesn’t seem like it directly creates jobs as “unpatriotic”. So they bang the war drum on things like this to try and make it sound foolish and unproductive. I know certain people/organizations have been on an anti-science streak, but I think a lot of this just has to do with trying to stir up outrage and make these kinds of things seem like an “un-American waste of tax-payer’s dollars” simply to try and posture themselves to be seen as the “champions of the people”.

  2. It’s only pork if it happens in a state that the criticizer (in this case, John “Tweets” McCain) doesn’t represent. As I mentioned in my own blog entry about this earlier today, ol’ Tweets has a lot of astronomy money flowing to his OWN state that he’s not yelling about. Yet he’s been an epic fail when it comes to getting earmarks for Flandrau Planetarium in Tucson, which is shutting down because of budget cuts brought on by the malfeasance of the past administration and its GOP enablers. So, really, Tweets oughta shut up before he swallows more of his left leg and the rest of his right leg.

    I’ve been following both of these stories off and on, and apparently Jindal and McCain stand by their foolish statements. Of course they can’t back down now. They’d look foolish to their own constituents.

    Oh. Wait. They already DO look foolish.

    Jindal’s turning down desperately needed unemployment money. McCain’s planning to urge that Az do the same.

    I wonder how that’s gonna play with the hungry folks in La and Az? Maybe Louisiana doesn’t need all that federal money that’s sluicing in for the botched Hurricana Katrina recovery. If he’s willing to give up unemployment money, then Jindal doesn’t really need the rest of it, does he?

    And, I’ll point out here also that both LA and AZ routinely take in MORE federal money than they pay in taxes. Interesting, that. My taxes (and yours if you live in a state that pays out more than it gets back) go to pay for this horse hockey going on in La and Az.

  3. Russ

    I’m all for funding astronomy, but PUT IT IN THE BUDGET. Not in some emergency stimulus bill. Astronomy as a federal program, I understand. Hawaii is an idea place for observatories, so its not really a state thing. Chicago is not some special place for planetariums. That makes it a state thing, not a federal thing.

    And also, you continue to be an insensitive jackss. Perhaps you’d have trouble using a keyboard if you were brutally tortured for several years. HAHAHA so funny.

  4. Russ

    [BTW, as far as turning down federal stimulus money, it comes with strings attached such as funding mandates, some of which are permanent]

  5. hehe, love the footnote. How many will actually avail themselves.

    Wonder which intern he hired to run his twitter for him, and exactly how poorly equiped for reality they may be?

  6. Sundance

    So did the McCain frozen foods company only use the ad slogan “Ah McCain, you’ve done it again” in Australia? It would have made a perfect title for this particular post.

    And really, $2 million dollars? two-times-ten-to-the-SIXth? That’s about one minute’s worth of a mid-budget Hollywood movie. Maybe someone needs to create a picture of McCain as Dr Evil, carrying on about “Two million dollars” while not realising that he’s the only person who thinks it’s a lot of money.

  7. So, McCain doesn’t think that average Americans build detectors, maintain high tech facilities, or write software? Or even operate telescopes. Or hey, work in admin jobs in observatories. Gee.

    Doesn’t he actually realise where the money to support science goes? No, I suppose not.

    I was hovering over the follow button on McCain, but now I’m glad I hesitated. I don’t need the blood pressure problems… Man’s an idiot.

  8. Windyshrimp

    Truely why I do not understand Republican and Libertarian politics. Most of this money is going to things that will largely help us, taxes are a Good thing and it is foolish to believe that all of your tax money goes to waste. Without taxes, the United States would fall apart. However, it is true that some of it may go to waste…

  9. I find it ironic that McCain would criticize science, since science is probably the only thing keeping him alive…

  10. A year ago I thought that this sort of thing only comes out of GW Bush and his bushies… Man, did we have it good then. Now that Bush is gone, the entire GOP pols turn up sounding just like him. I wonder when did this ‘we’ll see only our own delusion as reality’ brain disease become infectious. :oP

    Thanks for another great read as always! :o)

  11. jed3d

    OK,

    I love astronomy as much as the next non-astronomer, but this is non-essential PORK pure and simple. If you want it so much, write a check. In the mean time, bridges are collapsing, the infrastructure of virtually every major city is being held together by bubblegum and union cards, and the west is going to run out of water.

    If you stop looking at the tree, you’ll see a whole forest on fire.

  12. “Put it in the budget” is, I have to say, an odd sentiment. Ideally, *none* of the things in the stimulus bill should be in the stimulus bill. They should *all* be in the regular budget. Infrastructure? Tax incentives? Tax *cuts*? None of those things *needs* to be in the stimulus bill, and logically should be in the regular budget.

    But, then again, if we were in a position where putting all those things into a separate, emergency stimulus bill didn’t make a ton of sense, then we wouldn’t need an emergency stimulus bill to begin with.

    McCain isn’t simply anti-science. He’s anti-Jobs that I don’t understand or particularly like all that much, too.

  13. Russ

    Windyshrimp. I don’t think you get the point of libertarianism. Government not waste money? That is a riot. If government is so wonderful and so good at finding good things to spend money on, why not give the government all our money?

    The fact is, this nation is founded on liberty and the right to pursue happiness. If you don’t have the right to spend the money you earn the way you want, those rights are being taken away. The higher the taxes, the lower the liberty. If I were to work extra hard and take a second job, the government would end up getting more than half the money that I earn from the second job. How is that liberty?

  14. Russ

    And with Mooney, same token, if the government can create more jobs by taking money from business and individuals than those businesses and individuals could otherwise, then why not tax everything 100%. We’d like in such a beautiful utopia. Truth is, the government sucks at creating jobs and wealth.

  15. Brian

    While it is a shame that John McCain, Bobby Jindal, and others have singled out legitimate science projects as targets for derision, these choices suggest that they were unable to find any major items in the stimulus bill that they thought the majority of voters would consider wasteful. If Mr. McCain is leading with his best shots and this is number 2, then he is very low on ammo.

  16. Zaphobia

    Not sure how “promoting” astronomy is stimulating the economy, but hey, whatever. I suppose it would be too much to ask that the $2 million dollars was used to actually fund an astronomy project, thus keeping scientists employed. Nancy Pelosi thanks you for the blank check because you know that politicians hate allocating funds in something like… oh, I don’t know… a budget maybe?

  17. Helioprogenus

    As a resident of the Aloha State, let me tell you, McCain’s not the only threat to Astronomy hear. We have a chance, as a State, to really dig into something other than tourism, to allow a high tech industry to flourish, and come together as a people for something other than ourselves. But, alas, there is a strong native Hawaiian movement to keep the area around Haleakala, and Mauna Kea free from further construction. Although I support certain native issues, this goes far beyond America dictating its will on the Hawaiian people. Instead of playing politics and victims, the two groups, both astronomers and native Hawaiians must come together and support something more than self. The support must be for humanity and mankind in general. In another 500 years, who cares what little arbitrary land disputes occur, when the discovery of an entire universe is at stake.

    John McCain can continue his ignorant and oblivious tirades, but even without him, further development is actively being blocked and that bodes horrible for science.

  18. I’m beyond getting worked up over this type of post, but let me just make a couple observations:

    1. McCain’s not on Twitter, his staff is. I’d heard he had a pretty legitimate reason for not using email.

    2. One congressperson’s important project is another congressperson’s pork

    3. While earmarks were a small portion of the HUGE bill just passed, their dollar figures in local projects can have a big impact in buying votes or campaign contributions…that’s why earmarks are an issue

    4. Many projects labeled as pork are actually pretty good ideas, just not really good enough (or nationally important enough) for federal tax dollars expenditures

    5. Neither party holds the high ground in this arena

  19. Brian

    @Russ

    “The fact is, this nation is founded on liberty and the right to pursue happiness.”

    You have hit the nail on the head, Russ. From some other angles, a religious person might say that life is a gift, and, oh heck, having fun just really feels good. You should pursue whatever floats your boat, but the rest of us will also do the same according to our own preferences.

  20. Doug

    It’s not the time to fund this with this package. Yes, it’s important. Very important, but that money, my money, should be going to things that really help. Also, resorting to name calling of Mr. Jindal is childish and sophomoric. That’s not intelligent and makes your stand seem political, not scientific.

    Windyshrimp, what are you thinking? We republicans don’t mind paying fair taxes, but this is wrong. In time, I’d be glad to pay for this, but let’s save this country from economic disaster first. You must be one of the folks getting my “wealth.” I’m 400% underwater with my house, not because I got into a bad loan or purchased something I couldn’t afford, but because the people around me did.

  21. chief

    You know I don’t mind the money being spent elsewhere, once the dust settles from the one that made it past the detectors for near earth objects (which had to be shut down). we can just name it after him. 2 milli0n, what percentage of the bill is it… and how much went to homeland security for a new HQ….

  22. Republicans must stop another New Deal any way they can. Another New Deal would succeed (as the last one did). They can’t let that happen. If it does, then they will languish for decades in electoral obscurity and they know it. (Of course, the Democrats can figure out a way to screw up. You never can tell.) The Republicans will obstruct a known, proven solution that has already worked once before.

    Republicans have made much mileage since the 70s over taxes. Taxes have no constituency to defend them. No one likes them. Attacking taxes has strangled programs (whether good or bad) by making the constituencies attack each other. Now that government is the only lifeline available to a growing number of people, their self-interest informs them a bit differently now. Those taxes don’t look so bad anymore.

    And if the worst McCain can find to complain about is $2 mil for astronomy, then stick a fork in him – he’ done.

  23. Charles Boyer

    “I’d heard he had a pretty legitimate reason for not using email.”

    Yup, it’s easier to remain in the last century that way.

    The good news is that neither Democrats OR Republicans listen much to John McCain any longer.

  24. @ Helioprogenus:

    Well said. Reminds me of the final line in the old H.G. Wells film, Things to Come:

    “Which shall it be Passworthy? All the universe, or nothingness? Which shall it be?”

  25. If astronomy is such a drag, McCain surely wouldn’t mind moving Kitt Peak and Lowell Observatory to some other state.

  26. Helioprogenus, I see a compromise. Astronomers have an enemy (besides ignorance) and its name is light pollution. Let them build the important observatories and tell people further construction in those areas would interfere with the astronomy. It’s a bit like building a library on a spot you want people to whisper.

  27. It seems like quite the testimonial for POTUS Obama and his goverment that his detractors can’t find anything more hard-hitting to object to in his budget than this.

  28. eric

    McCain’s list refers to the omnibus spending bill, which is the appropriate place to include budgetary spending. This is where our government doles out our tax dollars. This is where you’re senators and representatives earn your vote by making sure some of that money goes to projects that make your life better. It’s concerning that 6 of his 10 items are involved with scientific research. (Studying pig odor is important if you live downwind from a pig farm in Iowa…but it’s “pork” if you’re a Washington fat cat enjoying your morning bacon.)

    This bill is $410 billion. McCain’s list adds up to a total of about $10.5 million, or less than .003% of the total spending. That’s like going out to dinner, spending $1000 on a new TV and then complaining that you wasted 3 pennies.

  29. Jack Mitcham

    @Russ:

    “Perhaps you’d have trouble using a keyboard if you were brutally tortured for several years. ”
    ————————————————————————–

    My sister is a C4 quadriplegic. She was shot in the neck with a 9mm handgun, and has no movement below her shoulders. SHE USES A COMPUTER SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK.

    Sure, it’s not a keyboard, but she has no trouble using the voice command, and before that, she used what’s called a “head mouse” where a sensor tracked a reflective dot on her head, and she could type with an on-screen keyboard.

    So, I don’t want to hear any physical excuse why McCain can’t use a computer. Maybe the man’s just not smart enough.

  30. David D

    For all those quick with the quips about McCain and e-mails, remember it was JOE BIDEN, our illustrious Veep, who said:

    “What was that website number?”

    Biden alone is going to make the next 4 years fun. I say four, because I can’t see how someone as (supposedly) intelligent as Obama can keep him on after 2012.

  31. holastefan

    Even with McCain leaving/gone, I’d feel much better if 46% of the US population had not indicated in November that they believe what he does. That’s an exasperating number of antiscience people.

  32. Zane

    Too early to start hyping O’s funding for science. What’s it been, two months? Smoke and mirrors.

  33. Ray

    “That’s pretty amazing for a guy who doesn’t understand computers or even use email, but hey, everyone’s capable of change.”

    Phil, he never said he doesn’t understand computers, he said he can’t use one. Having both shoulders dislocated numerous times and his fingers stomped on makes it kinda hard to use a keyboard.

    You’d think that someone of your alleged intelligence would know better than to introduce their unscientific biases into the argument.

  34. Jack Mitcham

    “Having both shoulders dislocated numerous times and his fingers stomped on makes it kinda hard to use a keyboard.”
    ———————————————————————————

    See my post above about my computer-using quadriplegic sister.

    He doesn’t use a computer because he’s powerful enough to have underlings use it for him. That’s all there is to it. If he really wanted to use a computer, he doesn’t need a keyboard to do so.

  35. Windyshrimp

    Russ: I am not saying either all freedom or all taxes. There can be balance between the two. Of course the government wastes some of our money on pointless things, but most things, like science research, education, and etcetera are mostly government funded.

  36. The stimulus bill is an investment package. Not every investment works out and for a balanced investment platform you have to invest in short and long term assets – just as an individual would. Investing in the sciences has proven time and time again that it is not only profitable but inspiring to the public for generations to come.

  37. John
  38. Matthew

    I gotta disagree with the bad astronomer. In the context of stimulating the economy, investing in astronomy does produce a nice pay out but down the road. Since McCain was referring to an emergency stimulus package with the whole point being to stimulate the economy now, astronomy could be considered pork because there are other industries that could do more for all of us in getting the economic ball rolling now.

    Of course I read bad astronomy for the insights in astronomy and science, not for critical economic thinking.

  39. tacitus

    Maybe someone should remind Russ who it was that got us into this mess in the first place. A clue: it wasn’t the government who was responsible for the near total collapse of the banking system last year. Unfettered private enterprise isn’t all that libertarians claim it’s cracked up to be. The public trust in having the private sector spending money wisely isn’t exactly at an all time high these days.

  40. Russ

    Libertarianism is a lie. There is no way a party can impose strict ideology and still claim to be liberty loving people. Libertarians tend to be so black and white that the only way they could protect their ideology is to repress or destroy everyone that doesn’t believe in it. Libertarian Utopias are nothing but a glorified fascist state under the guise of imposed liberties.

  41. LukeL

    I am very conservative and no fan of John McCain or the current spend happy Republican party. However being disabled myself I do not like the ad hominem attacks based on his disability. Sure he could have some hands free mouse or keyboard, but as someone who is disabled knows, it is often easier just to have someone else help in certain situations.

    I know McCain has a very hard time dressing himself and am sure would rather have his wife help him then use the special rods and devices and take triple the time to do it himself. Being disabled often means knowing when you have to humble yourself and ask others for help.

    With that out of the way, these types of projects should be in the budget or given out as special grants, or better yet let the private sector take care of it and see it take effect a lot quicker.

    I am amazed that it can take over a year to build a simple two lane bridge over a 100 foot span of water, while a private firm can put up a Wal-Mart in three months.

  42. “The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.” — Albert Einstein

  43. Brian

    @Windyshrimp

    “Russ: I am not saying either all freedom or all taxes. There can be balance between the two. Of course the government wastes some of our money on pointless things, but most things, like science research, education, and etcetera are mostly government funded.”

    Hear, hear. The private sector provides some great opportunities for many people and does a reasonable job of providing some goods and services, but a well-run government can also be a tremendous asset. There are, after all, some advantages to collective action.

  44. LukeL:

    What does very conservative even mean these days? What does should be in the budget mean? Does that mean Bush shouldn’t have ignored all these line items and they should have been funded better for the past 8 years? If the private sector is so good at public service where the hell have they been and where the hell are they today? I mean, where is private sectors economic plan? Where is new investment? Where is all the great news about investment banks not being over leveraged 120:1? Where is all the great news of super banks that actually have money to lend people, businesses and jump start the economy?

    From my perspective being conservative is meaningless.

  45. Brian

    There are several strands running through this thread. It would be most disturbing and despicable if any of the remarks in the original article were intended to ridicule John McCain’s physical problems. I have reread this article several times in search of any such innuendo, and I just cannot find one. I have read and posted on this blog I believe since its inception, and the only intolerance I have ever detected on the part of Phil are for stupidity, bias, and misrepresentation.

  46. Reverend J

    I’m just curious what the money is really going for? It reminds me of the who Jindal “what’s a volcano” thingy from all way back on Tuesday. Also, I caught a similar story elsewhere *cough* Fox News *cough* that said almost the exact same thing. Me thinks it’s just bad talking points getting a lot of air, again.

  47. Speaker2a

    Phil, not sure what the 2 million is going for but it says “for the promotion of astronomy” above. So eventually it may lead to some high tech jobs. But I don’t think spending 2 million on PR is that high tech.

  48. Scott

    Unfortunately I have to disagree with the BA on this one. That $2M is going to a worthy cause but it doesn’t belong in this bill. The stimulus bill is supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs for the millions of Americans who are currently out of work. The question is what will that money actually be used for? Will it simply be PR money or will it fund new researchers, lab techs and buy new equipment? Is there something that money could be used for which would create more then the few jobs it woudcreate going to astronomy research. The point isn’t that the money would be a waste going towards astronomy research. The point is that this isn’t a science research bill. It is a stimulus bill and there are more effective ways to spend that money which will have a greater more immediate effect on the economy. It doesn’t really matter anyways. The stimulus bill won’t have its intended effect. As the Pres likes to remind us so much, He inherited a trillion dollar deficit from the last guy. What he fails to mention is that he has more then doubled that deficit and he hasn’t even been in office two months… I’m just looking forward to my $13 a week lower with holding comming out of my paycheck. In just two weeks I’ll be able to afford half a tank of gas with my Obama tax break.

  49. Militant Bibliophile

    Oy. For what it’s worth, I do think the objection is more along the lines of “it’s not immediately creating jobs for everyone so therefor it’s port” rather than the Luddite strain that runs through BOTH parties (yes, it exists on the Left too. You know who you are). Admittedly, the Republicans have not done themselves any favors with the scientific community, but I think some of that comes not from an innate loathing of science, but rather from the ideological standpoint that science funding should come not from the government, but from private industry (an argument that has some validity, but is contentious to say the least).

    All the same, it DOES look bad. Still, before thinking that all Republicans are know-nothing anti-intellectuals, recall that Goldwater, an arch Conservative if ever there was one, was HUGELY in favor of the Space Program and other scientific endeavors, and that it was the “idiot” George W. Bush who called for a return to manned planetary exploration (both to the moon and Mars). He deserves SOME credit for that one, at least in my book…

  50. StevoR

    Go Phil! You tell ‘em! I couldn’t agree more. 8)

    Why any sane American could even contemplate voting “Retardican” is beyond me.

    Unfortunately, I heard something in the media the other day about Creationist, exorcism-beliverer and all-round nutter Bobby Jindal being regarded as a likely Retardican candidate for their next Presidential nominee. Haven’t they learnt from the whole Sarah Palin and McCain experinece that being anti-science & anti-sanity makes them losers? Haven’t they got sane people in the Republican party? To this outside but close observer it certainly seems not.

    Sadly US politics does all-too strongly influence the rest of the world,
    esp. the West & my own country. If only we followed the Scandanavian or Irish politico-cultural model more .. Sigh. :-(

    I just hope the Republicans (or “Retardicans” as I call them) NEVER regain any sort of political power ever again and deservedly fade away into history.

  51. If Taxes is the polar opposite of Liberty, then to have the most Free and Liberated society we should logically have 0% taxes. Of any sort. The government should have absolutely no revenue, because any revenue it could acquire would perforce be coming from sources that *could* have been harvested by private investment.

    And once we’ve got that government with no money in place, we’ll be just as free and secure as, say, all those other places that have had flat-broke governments with no resources at all. Like Somalia, or Cambodia right before the Khmer. Sounds wonderful.

    Absolute analogies are ridiculous. The choice isn’t between 100% taxes and 100% Freedom. Oxygen can be harmful, so logically we should ingest no oxygen at all. But we need it, so logically we should ingest nothing but oxygen. See how useless that form of argument is? Better we drop the ideological pigeonholing and actually think about reality for while.

    And anyone who thinks that governments can’t create jobs has never been a part of a tax-incentivised film production, or has never bothered to look at Hoover Dam.

  52. phil, excellent rant. loved it.

  53. The gretatest waste of money &worst “pork” inreality is the colossal amount going to aid , fund and arm the fascist apartheid theocracy of Israel. Why Americans allow their nation to be so badly exploited and manipulated by the lobby of the most extremist fundamentalist jews is a real mysterry and a real problem for our planet. The rest of the world is waiting and longing for y’all to wake up & cut all funding and arming to this brutal nation of destructive rightwing sadists which is dragging the whole of the Western world down into its needless morass of violence bloodshed and religious fanaticism. :-(

    Incidentally please note the Palestineans and Arabs are also Semitic making Israel ironically & hypocritically an anti-Semitic state itself.

    Also note the fundamental, core premise of Judaism is that God is a racist (y’know, allthat guff about Yahweh supposedly making their tribes the “Chosen people” & giving them somebody elses “Promised Land” provided they exterminate its rightful inhabitants. Far from being a normal religion, Judaism is esentially a religious fig-leaf for a form of racism. Think about it logically and you will see this is true and that the silencing of Israel’s critics by accusing them of being somehow “racist” is the most hypocritical and cynical of non-sequiteur ad homimams. :-(

    —–

    Amalekites : Asemnitic tribe that fell victim to a Jewish campaign of genocide against them. As the Jewish Encyclopedia put it, “David waged a sacred war of extermination against the Amalekites,” who may have subsequently disappeared from history. King Saul was supposedly stripped of Jehovah /Yahweh’s favour and the Kingship for showing mercy and sparing an Amalekite’s life. The term has been used … to refer to certain types of enemies of Judaism … Jewish ultra-rightists compare the Palestineans to Amalekites. Eg. Rabbi Israel Hess claimed once that Palestineans are Amalekites. The concept has been used by hassidic rabbis (particularly the Baal Shem Tov) to represent the rejection of God, or Atheism.

  54. matteus

    So, a person on the government dole gets mad when someone opposes giving more of that money to him and people like him. Big surprise there.

  55. So where does the money wasted on supporting and arming the apartheid military theocracy of Israel rank on McCain’s list of “pork”? It certainly tops mine!

    Jews voting for the extreme lunatic right-wing and committing genocide against the Palestineans – who’d have thought. :-(

    BTW. Click on my name to see a link to who the Amalekites were.

  56. The largest waste of money & worst “pork” in reality is the colossal amount of Americas’ money that’s going to aid, fund and arm the fascist apartheid theocracy of Israel.

    Why Americans allow their nation to be so badly exploited and manipulated by the lobby of the most extremist fundamentalist jews is a real mystery and a real problem for our planet. The rest of the world is waiting and longing for y’all to wake up & cut all funding and arming to this brutal nation of destructive rightwing sadists which is dragging the whole of the Western world down into its needless morass of violence bloodshed and religious fanaticism.

    Incidentally, please note the Palestineans and Arabs are * also * Semitic peoples making Israel ironically & hypocritically an anti-Semitic state itself.

    Also note the fundamental, core premise of Judaism is that God is a racist. Y’know, all that guff about Yahweh supposedly making their tribes the “Chosen people” & giving them somebody elses “Promised Land” provided they exterminate its rightful inhabitants! Far from being a normal religion, Judaism is esentially a religious fig-leaf for a form of racism.

    Think about it logically and you will see this is true and that the silencing of Israel’s critics by accusing them of being somehow “racist” is the most hypocritical and cynical of non-sequiteur ad homimams.

    —–

    Amalekites : A historical Semitic people that fell victim to a Jewish campaign of genocide against them. As the Jewish Encyclopedia put it, “David waged a sacred war of extermination against the Amalekites,” who may have subsequently disappeared from history. King Saul was supposedly stripped of Jehovah /Yahweh’s favour and the Kingship for showing mercy and sparing an Amalekite’s life. The term has been used … to refer to certain types of enemies of Judaism … Jewish ultra-rightists compare the Palestineans to Amalekites. Eg. Rabbi Israel Hess claimed once that Palestineans are Amalekites. The concept has been used by hassidic rabbis (particularly the Baal Shem Tov) to represent the rejection of God, or Atheism.

    Clcik on my name for more Amalekite info. via Wikipedia.

  57. matteus

    Re: Comment above by me. I withdraw it (I wish there were editing). It was inappropriate, and I apologize.

  58. matteus

    The truth of the matter is, and as a conservative on most things it hurts to say this, but the Republicans are rapidly becoming (have become) the anti-science party, and any prominent Republican who is not fighting the race by radicals to make ‘conservative’ equal ‘religious rightwinger’ deserves to be mocked.

  59. OT but very important. The Maine Legislature is moving forward on a statewide law against light pollution:

    AUGUSTA — A bill to keep Maine’s dark skies dark got committee approval this week, paving the way for House and Senate votes.
    Rep. Jim Schatz, D-Blue Hill, is sponsoring LD 11, which sets up lighting standards for commercial and residential developments under the supervision of the Maine State Planning Office and Department of Environmental Protection.

    “This is probably one of the only times a piece of legislation was designed to keep the public in the dark, but for good reason,” Schatz said in a statement. “If implemented, this will be one of the most important measures in preserving Maine’s quality of life since outdoor billboard advertising was banned in 1977.”

    Schatz believes that light pollution hurts nocturnal animals and disrupts sleep and circadian rhythms in humans.

    The Business, Research and Economic Development Committee unanimously endorsed the bill, which will go to the House for consideration.

    http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/6003522.html

  60. MadScientist

    He’s complaining about $2M? Wow. That’s peanuts – surely the operational costs of the Mauna Kea Science Complex is way more than $2M per year. I wonder what the $2M is for? At any rate, I don’t see how an additional $2M provides much of a ‘stimulus’ other than employing some people for a relatively short period of time to do some much needed maintenance or to replace some bits and pieces.

    Folks should check out the Mauna Kea web site – and if they’re on the Big Island they should plan on checking out the observatory complex (if their bodies can take the abuse) – Mauna Kea is just AWESOME.

  61. bad Jim

    It’s rather amusing to find so many people insisting, in comments posted on a website devoted to astronomy, that the last thing that an economic stimulus program should promote is … astronomy.

  62. Ad Hominid

    We could excuse McCain and Jindal if they were ignorant yokels, but both have decent educations. McCain in fact would have been required to study astronomy at the Naval Academy. They have to know better than this but they persist in taking shots at science. Some GOP strategist somewhere has advised them that these facetious distortions will play well with the target audience. They aren’t just pandering, they are pandering to what they obviously regard as an ignorant and shallow audience.

  63. Gary Ansorge

    The one aspect of science that really bugs people like McCain is that it teachs critical thinking SKILLS. W/O the techniques of critical thinking, we’re just spinning our wheels, which serves people who need to control others, as in those who “sheer the sheep”,,,(suckers)

    GO PHIL!!! Nail the suckers! Love the passion!!!

    GAry 7

  64. Brian

    @Scott

    “The question is what will that money actually be used for?”

    One interesting aspect of this discussion is that I do not know, in this case, what the term “promotion of astronomy” designates.

  65. DavidONE

    I love the accompanying mugshot thumbnail below that Twitter – it reeks of “Don’t know nothing, don’t need to know nothing, ‘cos I know I’m right – always am”.

    Has conservative always been synonymous with anti-intellectual?

  66. Mike

    I think the personal attacks here are unproductive. Phil, you seem to assume that astronomy belongs in a stimulus bill, but you provide no evidence whatsoever that investments in astronomy would stimulate the economy. I also think we should be wary of how even good causes, such as “promotion of astronomy,” might well be pork projects for particular states. If you were confident in your position that astronomy was a wise investment, I think you would have spent more time defending that position and less time personally attacking John McCain.

  67. Hey Phil – another example of being politically impartial?

    It’s a perfectly legitimate question to wonder if funding an observatory will provide an economic stimulus (you know, Keynes, multipler, etc). Because if it doesn’t provide a stimulus you will get less public money for astronomy in the future because you’ll all be poorer still and in even more debt.

    ‘your backwards-facing antiscience reality-denying brethren’

    Yeah. So Obama’s against gay marriage because of his religious beliefs. You’ll be attacking that, no doubt. Phil? Phil?

  68. Matthew

    Was I the only one who just find it downright scary that someone who wished to be our president thinks so lowly of astronomy? It may be quite a while, but we know, ultimately, our fate lies in the work we do in regards to that scientific subject.

  69. John Davis

    LOL, Like anyone with a single ounce of common sense cares what McBush thinks or likes.

    RT
    http://www.privacy-center.pro.tc

  70. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Republicans are arguing that money spent on tech companies and big-budget scientific research will “trickle down” to the rest of the economy. . . .

    Hey, isn’t $2 million the price of, like, twelve minutes of the Iraq War or three ashtrays at the Pentagon?

  71. Basically McCain and Jindal are grandstanding for their base. They get a lot of press for it because the media, being essentially led by conservative ownership, give it to them for free. Over and over again. I find it amusing and just more than a bit sad that these two are grandstanding over such small amounts of money just so they can puff up their media images. They are making fools of themselves and pissing off generations of voters in the process.

    There are many ideas out there that should be discussed fairly in the marketplace of ideas, but all we get from a subset of our “leadership” is the same old dross. Jindal and McCain don’t speak to or for me or many of the people I know. I brought up their words in conversations with a variety of people (of all viewpoints) over the past few days, and nobody I talked to thought these guys were making any sense. Sure, we all realize that the budget is problematic, but it’s going to be that way when you have a bunch of senators and lobbyists squabbling over where they and their states and contributors get to sit at the sluice gate.

    But, why McCain and Jindal continue to pound and rant about these relative minor things when much bigger issues remain to be solved is beyond me. I can only assume that they are one-trick ponies doing the same trick over and over for a rapidly shrinking but still energized and out-of-touch base.

  72. Frank Ch. Eigler

    “They have to know better than this but they persist in taking shots at science.”

    It is laughable to equate “preferring not to spend emergency money on particular science projects” to “taking shots at science”. Only to a zealot does “science” mean “appropriating more federal taxes”.

  73. J Earley

    For me, this was two attacks on my well being by the Republicans in one week. I teach Astronomy and I can SEE a dormant volcano from two blocks away from my house on my way to work.
    Jindal is apparently ignorant of the fact that out here in the West (I’m in Oregon) we have volcanoes. Maybe he needs to travel more? It as a stupid comment, and he has paid a hard price for it on the Daily show and elsewhere.
    After reading this post from Phil last night, rather than blog here as I am doing now, I wrote to Senator McCain. I pointed out the science and education are one of the keys to economic recovery. I also challenged him to debate it with me, anywhere, anytime. Quixotic, I realize, but it made me feel better than sitting and grousing about it on line.
    No word back from the Senator, by the way.

  74. David D

    @Frank Ch. Eigler–

    Thank you, for making the most cogent and logical post on this thread. Being against a budgetary line item does not mean one “hates science.”

  75. Why hasn’t there been a post title “Obama Still Really Hates Gay People” since he decided to push allowing gays into the military into the future and still doesn’t believe in gay marriage. His religion, not science, is affecting his views on these very serious civil rights issues.

    Who cares about the party that *isn’t* in power, we should be hammering the one that is.

  76. holastefan

    @Shane P. Brady said: “Obama…still doesn’t believe in gay marriage. His religion, not science, is affecting his views on these very serious civil rights issues.”

    Could you please name the legislation he passed that prevents gay marriage? Or any other Obama presidency legislation that is based on his desire to impose his personal religious beliefs?

  77. David D

    @Shane–

    Because it’s Phil’s blog, and he’s not partisan, and he is the voice of reason, that’s why.

    :)

  78. Bob

    Not considering any other statements by Mr. McCain, this is the stupidest line of reasoning that Mr. Plait has ever come up with. It’s like saying, anyone that opposed the bank bailout hates money.

  79. Robbie

    “Republicans must stop another New Deal any way they can. Another New Deal would succeed (as the last one did).”

    Hahahahahaha! The New Deal worked? Now THAT is anti-science.

  80. holastefan – it’s my view that Phil is consistently supporting a liberal / Dem political viewpoint – which is understandable and it’s fine, it’s his blog – but that he won’t acknowledge it and pretends he’s talking impartially about science policy. I think that’s not true.

    Your question about Obama and policy is a red herring. He’s said he doesn’t support gay marriage and he’s only been President for a few weeks.

  81. David D

    @Blake Stacey–

    Obama is seeking some $75.5 billion dollars to send MORE troops to Afghanistan. Obama–not McCain, or Jindal.

    I wonder how much astronomy that would buy.

    Or extra equipment for the USGS.

    Hope and change!

  82. So the latest newspeak is that the New Deal did not work?

    Orwell lives!

  83. matteus

    @Pieter Kok

    Actually, yes, as any competent historian can tell you, the New Deal did NOT work economically, except indirectly perhaps as a moral booster; it was the beginning of WWII and the resultant military-industrial shot in the arm that ended the Depression.

  84. Matteus, got some data to back that up?

  85. Robbie

    matteus: “it was the beginning of WWII and the resultant military-industrial shot in the arm that ended the Depression.”

    That is seeming not to be the case. Look into the work of Robert Higgs for specific information and analysis.

    ccpetersen: “Matteus, got some data to back that up?”

    The length of the Great Depression and employment figures from that time should be more than enough data, which you can very easily find. Wikipedia would probably even be a good enough source for something so obvious.

  86. nikolai

    McCain hates science because he doesn’t understand it, like many folks, repubs and dems alike.

    McCain doesn’t understand economics either (as he confessed during his failed presidential bid) but that doesn’t stop him from loving unsound fiscal policy and runaway defense spending.

    The lesson here is to hate things you don’t understand, unless they put money in your pocket.

  87. Thanks for the post Phil. Things like this remind me of why I’m so happy Obama won. He may not be perfect (he is a politician after all), but at least he’s not anti-science.

  88. I know all of you “pro-science” people have a hard time with facts when it comes to economics, but, yes, the sainted FDR’s New Deal didn’t work and actually prolonged the Great Depression:
    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/FDR-s-Policies-Prolonged-Depression-5409.aspx

  89. David D

    Actually, there is a lot of controversy even among academic economists. It is still very difficult to assess the effects of New Deal policies on the economy of the time. Some parts of it probably worked. Other parts–like a top fed tax rate of 79% in 1936 most likely deterred investment.

    It is interesting to note that unemployment was double (15%) in 1940 what it was in 1930 (8.7%), even though GDP was rebounding nicely. THere are a lot of complex variables at play, and the output figures are subject to widely varying interpretations.

    Kinda sounds like climate modeling.

  90. Jeff

    You know, all this talk of McCain not able to use a computer because of his injuries sure seems funny given how much even he admits he’s on a cell phone. I for one believe that using the number pad on a cell phone far harder than a keyboard.

  91. JHGRedekop

    So, the #2 porkiest thing in the bill is 0.00025% of the total bill? That is one *efficient* bill! If all 10 were at that level, then the bill is 99.9975% pork free!

  92. Andrew

    I think they should be spending orders of magnitude more on this sort of thing.

    That said, there’s a place to get the funding, and it’s not this bill. It’s a bill for funding astronomy. Or, heavens forbid, we write it into the budget…

  93. Look, I’m no fan of John McCain. On my podcast, I have publicly slammed him as being completely unfit for office for his lack of knowledge about economics to his pandering to the hard right of the Republican Party.

    But he’s not in power and neither are Republicans. So how about we look at these science related issues by the people who actually are in power:

    * Obama made a big deal about expanding the Faith Based Initatives
    * Obama is well on record of not supporting gay marriage, and will not move to fix this civil rights issue
    * Obama has expanded the group responsible for promoting organic farming, a method of food production that is neither sustainable or as productive as current methods. The *science* is not on the side of organic
    * Obama’s original choice to enact universal health care (Daschle) is on record as stating that the way to curb health care costs is to limit cutting edge medications to patients and have a federal board that decides what treatments should be used (instead of the doctors actually treating patients)
    * Obama is pushing to implement cap & trade, which will have tax implications. What will those implications be in the future for taxes, private investment, and how they relate to science funding

    Aren’t all those a bit more important that whether or not McCain thinks “promoting astronomy” is pork or not?

  94. David D

    @Shane–

    Not according to BA. But he’s not partisan or anything.

  95. Holy Sega-Genesis! This thread has went every possible way it could have down the various roads of way-not-applicable.

    From the alarmists admonishing Phil for being insensitive about McCain’s war record (ummm…what? McCain never said that he can’t use a computer because of his injuries, you people just made that up), to the anti-Israel posts. From the “libertarianism can save the world but never mind looking at the last 25 years of deregulation that has spoiled this economy because corporations were allowed unfettered free-access to incredible greed”, to the “Obama’s against gay-marriage, how come you’re not writing against that eh? MR. SCIENCE!?!?!”

    Come on people. Get serious, and stay relevant.

  96. Some Canadian Skeptic – look, Phil’s not successfully talking about science, astronomy, or government science policy if he continually bashes only one side – the side that as it happens isn’t in power in the Senate, the House or the White House. if he wants to talk politics and take sides – which he clearly does – then don’t suggest I’m not being on topic. Phil has chosen the subject of conversation and it isn’t science, it’s partisan politics.

  97. Jeffersonian

    @Russ, @Mooney
    The regular budget doesn’t happen until the end of the year and doesn’t go into place until 2010. That’s why this is called “stimulus”; it’s an earlier, additional budget. If it’s in the regular omnibus budget bill, science stuff still gets in as “pork”. The point is that many things can’t wait for the regular budget because we’re strapped by the cost of Iraq. Without Iraq a bank bailout would be relative small potatoes and fixing the economy would be short term. But with Iraq hanging over our heads there are fears (and calculations) that time is not on our side.

    @Libertarian
    We have just the right amount of Libertarianism in this country. I say this as a reformed Libertarian who used to volunteer for the party (which was originally refounded in my state and enjoys no small success in our regional politics and which I still admire). I would welcome a 3-party system with open arms but pure Libertarianism doesn’t work any more than pure Socialism. Failed experiments.

    @Progress via Stimulus
    Anyone who has spent time in western Europe in both the 90s and 2000s knows how America is no longer leading the world in many areas. She has fallen behind due to the war and becoming closer and closer to being a developing nation. We have too much talent and pride for that.

    @McCains complaint
    Cost of war in Iraq (c.f. senate 5May08):
    $2 million every 6 minutes
    But McCain knows damn well that constituents have short attention spans. He doesn’t hate science or economics, he just loves marketing (votes).

    @New Deal
    I use things brought about by the New Deal weekly. And that was 70 freaking years ago. Just one example: a majority of roads and trails in the Forest Service system. Our country is different today because of the New Deal – it was profound says I.

    @Shane
    The Republicans aren’t in majority power but they’re still in power and in many ways. It’s not like Republican influence is gone or lobbyists aren’t still spending billions on Republicans. Checks and balances.

  98. Anders

    @David D.

    1930 was before the depression started. The stock market crash was in late 1929, in 1930 business hadn’t been affected yet.

    The unemployment in 1933 was well over 20%, compare with that instead

  99. Robbie

    It is funny that a guy named Jeffersonian is railing against Libertarianism.

  100. @Jeffersonian : ‘Anyone who has spent time in western Europe in both the 90s and 2000s’

    I live in Western Europe. Care to share which areas the US was leading in recently but now isn’t?

  101. David D

    @Jeffersonian–

    Which “western Europe” would that be? The UK (aka Londonistan for a reason), now with MORE CCTV? Maybe France, with its growing racial and cultural problems? Perhaps you are referring to the Dutch, who were witnesses to the broad daylight murder of Theo Van Gogh?
    Nice high speed trains, and the cities are pretty clean, but maybe things aren’t as sunny in western Europe as you seem to think.

    Yes the Iraq war was (and is) expensive. But now it’s got Obama’s name on it, too; he’s calling the shots (yeah, pun intended). Last I checked, the troops are STILL THERE at $2million every 6 minutes, and he’s looking for an extra $75.5 Billion and more troops to Afghanistan.

    But I guess you think that’s because the Republicans are still “in power.”

  102. Luke

    Economists have shown that typical returns on investment in education and in scientific research are around 40% and 120% respectively. This is much higher than most Wall Street investments, and orders of magnitude higher than bank interest rates and government bonds. What does our society not understand about basic investing? It’s that we’re all too focused on instant gratification and aren’t willing to invest for the benefit of future generations.

  103. @David D: ‘the cities are pretty clean’

    It’s far too heterogenous to say that. Rotterdam literally had pavements full of dog…er…excrement…(don’t know this blog’s policy) last time I was there. London’s pretty filthy in some areas. Streets pretty unclean in Spain, Northern Italy’s a bit better, I was jst over in Munich and that was ok. France ok-ish. I was in the US again last summer and everything seemed very clean where I was – certainly cleaner than the UK.

    I suppose @Jeffersonian must be thinking of something more significant. Healthcare, perhaps.

    I think Phil and others especially associated with US Skeptics are doing a great disservice by unneccessarily alienating large numbers of people throught their smug partisan politicking. Despite US religious fundamentalism being associated particularly with the Right in the US, woo-stuff is Party neutral. All the New Age crap, for example, finds a more comfortable home on the Left, doesn’t it?

  104. The Mutt

    I’m sure McCain wonders why we need to spend money promoting astronomy when there are horoscopes printed in the paper every day.

  105. David Jones: “Phil has chosen the subject of conversation and it isn’t science, it’s partisan politics.”

    Can you please explain how this post was not science-related? As any good skeptic, Phil discusses when politics intrudes on science. McCain’s long history of anti-science certainly fulfills this criteria.

    Partisan politics has been all over this thread (especially those who were crying about Phil supposedly being insensitive about McCain’s arms, and the gay-marriage thing, which I still can’t understand why it was brought up), but Phil did not throw the first punch…McCain did (and the second punch, and the third punch).

    Don’t pretend to get offended when Phil, a scientist, responds when a politician tries to influence science policy in what is clearly an anti-scientific direction.

  106. @Some Canadian Skeptic : Can you please explain how this post was not science-related

    Yup. The question is about the proper spending of tax dollars during a financial crisis, not a question about public funding for astronomy per se.

    When the post title reads, ‘John McCain still really hates science‘ don’t you stop and think, that’s probably not really true, is it? And then search in vain for the point of such rhetorical overreach.

    When Phil says McCain ‘doesn’t understand computers‘ do you think he’s meaning McCain understands computers more than, say, Hilary Clinton? Less than Pelosi? What’s the benchmark?

    And Phil’s statement ‘Let’s be clear: astronomy needs to be funded’ is not quite the same as demonstrating that it needs to be publically funded, by any amount Phil decides is necessary, during this financial crisis.

    And when he says, ‘that 2 million dollar investment will keep people employed‘ he’s simply ignoring the fact that that $2m won’t now be spent by people themselves to provide an economic stimulus in the way they choose. What does he think people would have done with the $2m otherwise? Set it on fire?

    See, none of this is science, some of it is science policy and all of it is hideously one-sided, a fact Phil might consider when he thinks about his supposed educational role.

  107. Phil,

    I might have been more confrontational in my comments than I intended to be, since I really like this blog, and it’s been a constant one in my reader for years. In my humble opinion, now that we’ve had a significant party change in government, it’s time to hold the Dems’ feet to the fire now that they run things. Dems are probably better than Repubs at the moment, but woo is not foreign to the Dems, and that was my point all along. John McCain just seems so irrelevant now.

  108. David D

    @Some Canadian SKeptic–

    “As any good skeptic, Phil discusses when politics intrudes on science.” Not exactly.

    Any “good” skeptic would respond to any and all political “intrusions” on science (again, not sure how objecting to a line in a budget proposal translates to “hating science”) no matter what the political persuasion was, and as I have pointed out in a previous post’s comments (“Republican party *still* shilling antiscience?”), Phil does not seem to want to examine some of the Obama administration’s anti-science attitudes.

    A “good” skeptic is a lot more non-partisan than what is being demonstrated here.

  109. David Jones, now who’s being partisan?
    “do you think he’s meaning McCain understands computers more than, say, Hilary Clinton? Less than Pelosi?”

    “The question is about the proper spending of tax dollars during a financial crisis, not a question about public funding for astronomy per se.” No, that is the question that you have imparted on this entry. John McCain has a long history of this kind of anti-science rhetoric, even in better financial times. And moreover, how is investing 2 million into a high-tech industry that will provide jobs to a state that is known for little more than tourism, Don Ho, and volcanoes? (Sorry Hawaii, truly no offense meant)

    This was an entry about science policy. McCain may have lost the presidency, but he’s still a sitting senator, which makes it relevant, and important to talk about. Just because you happen to disagree with Phil over astronomy funding at this particular time, does not make you right to accuse Phil of mindless partisanship. This is the same sort of sabre-rattling that you pulled over at Skephick. If you disagree, express your counter-points….don’t hide behind fox-news-like rhetoric about how unscientific Phil is, or how this is supposed to be an astronomy blog.

    The fact is, McCain chose (once again) to divert funding away from astronomy. This makes it Phil’s business. And you should be embarrassed for calling him a partisan on only this ground. This entry is well within the purview of this blog, Phil’s qualifications as not only as scientist, but as the president of the JREF speak to a) his education b) his mission of spreading science education. Disagreeing with Phil is fine (I do often), but don’t use that disagreement as the impetus to accuse him of being an Obama sycophant.

  110. I also want to point out how insane it is that Phil can’t make a comment on science policy that mentions John McCain without also mentioning Barack Obama…that that somehow makes it partisan all of a sudden.

  111. David Jones, you are right that New Agers are more at home on the left side of the political spectrum, but a) they are probably far to the left of the (mainstream) Dems, and b) how many blatantly anti-science Democrats in Congress or as Governors can you name?

  112. @Some Canadian Skeptic …’accuse Phil of mindless partisanship’

    I didn’t say ‘mindless’, although now you mention it I do suppose it to be a thoughtless liberal reflex.

    ‘you should be embarrassed for calling him a partisan on only this ground (sic)’

    He keeps doing it. Find him slamming Obama for, say, promoting ethanol-based biofuel? No chance.

    You overstate your case, @Some Canadian Skeptic, such as it is, and seem even more partisan than Phil. The fact of the matter is – as a quick read through the comments will tell you – Phil is in danger of obscuring his educational message by his frequent, partisan blog posts, tweets, and so on.

    The fact that I might disagree about astronomy funding – and I’m not sure if I do, I haven’t read much about this particular tranche of tax dollars – is fine. The fact that Phil unfairly and indefensibly typifies people on the Right who take a different view on the economy to himself as being hostile to science is most certainly not fine. Phil’s doing a bad job here.

  113. This is all a shame, because “watch out for overreaching government” is a useful stance to have represented in government, but linking that to anti-intellectualism and theocracy deflates the value of the package.

  114. David D

    @Some Canadian Skeptic–

    ” . . . how insane it is that Phil can’t make a comment on science policy that mentions John McCain without also mentioning Barack Obama . . .”

    Please read my comment above–more closely this time. Phil can comment on anything, anytime, anywhere he feels fit. If he chooses to close his eyes to the anti-science follies of the Democrats, then he is engaging in partisanship and will be called on it.

    @Pieter Kok–

    “. . . how many blatantly anti-science Democrats in Congress or as Governors can you name?”

    Right off the top of my head: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) for his love of all things that go quack. And maybe you should check out Dennis Kucinich, a recent Presidential candidate (not exactly out of the mainstream, right?). Don’t forget Cynthia McKinney, who only recently left the House of Representatives.

    Sorry–the lack of critical thinking is NOT confined to the other side of the aisle.

  115. @Pieter Kok – unlike Phil I don’t think people are wholly anti-science or wholly pro-science, wholly irrational or wholly rational.

    So if I could, instead of singling out a single abominable person, suggest some Democrat-ish polict tendencies that will have pretty poor science behind them: ethanol biofuels; nuclear power; suggesting the science is undecided on the link between childhood vaccinations and autism; the dangers of second-hand smoking; GM crops, ‘complimentary’ medicine.

    But here’s one name for you anyway. Democrat Senator Tom Harkin:

    >*In 1992, at my urging, Congress passed legislation creating the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. In 1998, I sponsored legislation to elevate that Office to what, today, is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine*

    Whoopty-do.

  116. Yes, Harkin definitely seems to fit the description; whoopty-do indeed.

    Regarding your list (excluding the antivax and alternative medicine), however, I think you got a bit carried away in your enthusiasm. One can have a fairly reasonable stance on these isues either way.

  117. jason

    I didnt vote for McCain and I like astronomy alot and do want it to get funding, however at this time, its not the best use of our money. Our primary concern is getting the economy moving and getting the most people back to work. This is just not best use of the money. Once the economy is going and we can start spending more money on it but now is just not the right time.

  118. Nat

    I love the vitriolic bias in this thread. Yes, McCain “hates science” as do ALL 46% of the people that voted for him. We ALL hate science and are racists and want to kill children and are creationists. I’m not sure if you realize how dumb you sound when you attack people for being anti-science or anti-intellectual then go on to make the dumbest intellectual mistake by assuming all people who voted McCain are the exact same person.

    Seriously, you look ridiculous.

  119. @Pieter Kok I think the case against ethanol biofuels is far stronger than Phil’s case that McCain hate science.

  120. Phil Somerset

    The Republicans are calling the spending “pork” and “earmarks” because it’s being spent in states. Well, where else are you going to spend it. How are you going to create jobs unless you spend money in places where American workers live; those places are called STATES. And it’s sure better than spending it overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan!

  121. Richy

    McCain is the only sane politician left in Washington. If you folks think staring at planets and comets is so important, then FUND IT YOURSELF. Don’t force the rest of us to pay for your hobby.

  122. @David D: “If he chooses to close his eyes to the anti-science follies of the Democrats, then he is engaging in partisanship and will be called on it.” So, now we’re admonishing Phil for what he doesn’t say now? Sheesh….

    @David Jones: “…I do suppose it to be a thoughtless liberal reflex.”. Ahhh….so you bad-mouth Phil for partisanship and in the next breath you reveal your hubris, in that “liberal” is clearly an epithet with you. Classy.

  123. I apologize for holding the gun to so many people’s heads forcing them to read this blog.

  124. David D

    @Some Canadian Skeptic–

    I wish you would read what I wrote more carefully. I’m not admonishing Phil for what he doesn’t say, I am admonishing Phil for not being a “good” skeptic. If I am not mistaken, the BA himself had staunchly maintained that he is non-partisan, and that he only takes the side of science. Yet he only seems to rant against the Republican misuse of science, when there are clear anti-science issues in the Obama administration.

    Some of us in the “reality-based community” would define that as partisanship.

  125. DavidD: I got you, but I don’t see you provide an example of “clear anti-science issues in the Obama administration.”

    Unless you meant that spending more money in Afghanistan was being irresponsible or hypocritical (if that were the case than that’s a different issue, a different war, and not at all science-related). Or was it your admonishing Obama for not evacuating US troops from Iraq in 30 days?

  126. Mark

    McCain’s entire top 10 is only $10,457,000 total.

    $2 million = 0.00000254% of the stimulus bill and is a very small amount overall, even if you consider it pork.

    Compare that to Pork spending in 2005 under a Republican House, Senate, and Presidency: 29.6 BILLION

    However, I will give props to McCain for being consistent. He has been fighting against Pork for many years now. I just don’t agree that this is pork.

  127. David D

    @Some Canadian Skeptic–

    I referred you to a previous post on this blog. ONE of the things I commented on was Dr. Chu’s recent apocalyptic pronouncements.

  128. Jeffersonian

    Behind McCain’s complaints:
    Monies examples from the Stimulus:
    Colorado $2,447,922,036
    New York $1,272,563,174
    Arizona $5,574,053,222

    I looked for what McCain’s complaining about but couldn’t follow him. Maybe somebody else will have better luck:
    stimuluswatch.org/project/by_state
    You can look to see what your area is getting/not getting.

    @Davids+
    Right, the issue on the table is the Stimulus Package so murder is a bit beyond the scope. It’s not like it’s a secret that many things in the US have been on hold for years and that Europe has seen advancements in infrastructure, education, healthcare, etc. A lot can be learned from studying foreign successes/failures but one attitude that prevents this is the thinking that America has nothing to learn because its already the leading country in all areas. Those that travel are less likely to have that ‘tude, imo.

    I’m not entirely thrilled with Obama’s Iraq timetable but then, by comparison, when Ford came in in ’74 funding for Vietnam was cut but it still took almost 2 years of phasing for withdrawal.

    Of course Republicans are still in power. In many ways. Some entire states are red/GOP where Democrats have the power of 3rd parties. Some of the most powerful organizations in the country are Republican. Republicans have significant committee powers in congress where policy isn’t made without GOP influence. If the Dems had the 2/3 majority outright, things would then be clearly different in congress but still not in other areas of government. 3rd parties have nil; there are 2 parties in power.

    @Robbie Says:
    “It is funny that a guy named Jeffersonian is railing against Libertarianism.”

    Not at all. I support Libertarianism. Just not as an idealist construct, where it fails.
    As an aside, Libertarians used to tell me that a 2-party system was like being told you could only choose between Coke and Pepsi. I felt the implication was that they wanted me to choose only between Coke, Pepsi and 7up. Sometimes a 7up is refreshing.

  129. Jeffersonian

    oops, didn’t mean to turn on Bold like that

  130. Bruce Olson

    Thanks for the blog, nothing goes with Astronomy like “Religion & Politics”.

    It started out pretty well, GOT IT, McCain is firing on half his cylinders (most of us figured that out long before Obama was elected). Roger Wilco, Check, we already know that, that’s why he remains a dottering old Senator.

    But then it became clear halfway into it that this is just worthless partisan outburst from a Democrat. Hey, Bobby Jindal was in TV a few nights ago as the GOP Spokesman, so let’s bring HIM up too, he MUST be a foe of science and astronomy too. Right? I watched a vid interview with him, I got the exact opposite impression.

    And incidentaly, how DOES being net-savvy make someone more suitable for elected office? What would give you that idea exactly? Would you say it is the charming people you meet online, or the informed opinions they proffer?

  131. David D

    @Jeffersonian–

    THere is no doubt that Americans can learn from the lessons of foreign countries’ experiences. With the number of overseas trips that our governmental leaders take (from both the local and national levels), I don’t think you can say we are close-minded about this. :)

    The Democrats hold a pretty solid majority in both Congressional houses; as such, they can influence almost unheeded our national policy. No–it’s not the 2/3rds outright, but that’s a good thing, right? Having the influence of an opposing viewpoint hopefully keeps the tyranny at bay, so to speak.

    You don’t strike me as one of those totalitarian types.

  132. David D: I looked through your posts on the other thread, and it was as equally as irrelevant to that post as your(and others) comments have been on this thread. Dr. Chu was hardly apocalyptic, and even if it was, I would never call it “anti-science”, as he’s not advocating we STOP funding science. That’s McCain’s bag.

    Again, McCain is a sitting senator. That means he has real power, real influence, real sway. His repeated comments are indeed anti-scientific, (he has often used funding of a scientific project as a tool to insult), and this is no different. It’s not a republican-democrat thing, no matter how much you huff-and-puff that it is…it’s a government thing. It’s about a sitting senator needlessly opposing the government and siding with what is clearly an anti-science stance. If you want to talk about how this is a bad economic stance of Obama, than that’s an entirely different issue, and the “anti-science dems” tirade should be put aside were that the case.

    You keep talking about how this blog should be non-partisan, but really what you want is bi-partisanship. For every commenter or blogger who talks down the republican commitment to science, you (and others) have this weird obligation to talk down how a democrat has done so on a completely different account. Sort of sounds like the Tu Quoque fallacy.

    Besides, I seem to recall Phil digging to RFK Jr’s anti-vaxx nonsense on several occasions. I’m not faulting you for selective memory, (we all have it), but it does sort of throw your whole “Phil never admonishes democrats” thesis into serious doubt.

    And your repeated sarcastic comments that end with “Hope and Change!” betrays your opposition to real dialogue in the place of name-calling.

  133. george

    Your article has nothing of substance to it. You bash John McCain, but you fail to explain how astronomy == stimulus.

    There’s certainly a lot of things that we could invest in right now that will give us a benefit 20 or 50 years down the road. But the whole point of this stimulus bill is to stimulate the economy NOW. At least, that’s what the Republicans are trying to keep the focus on. We should not be on some wild, drunken spending spree in a down economy.

    Maybe we need to spend more money on astronomy, and that’s fine. But is a new telescope a HIGH priority project or a LOWER priority one? Can it not wait until the American economy is on a more sure footing?

    Sorry Phil, but you’re nothing but a troll if you can’t build your case beyond trash talk. Here’s a tip to make you an EFFECTIVE writer — when you write, write something that would convince your CRITICS, and not just gin up your liberal fans.

  134. David D

    @Some Canadian Skeptic-
    You seem surprised that the comment threads veer off topic. It happens here (and elsewhere) all the time. Big deal.

    Again, my comment was about Phil’s partisanship on this issue, and I agree with others here that this post was more about politics than it was about “hating science.” See David Jones post above (2/28, 3:50 pm).

    Dr. Chu predicted that by the end of this century, California’s agriculture would disappear along with its cities–and that (to you) is “hardly apocalyptic?” OK . . .

    As far as I can see, neither McCain (nor Jindal) have advocated that we stop funding science. Their arguments have been how and where these funds should come from, which is NOT the same as “hating science.” Yes McCain is a sitting senator. But–who do you think has more sway in the Obama White House: Chu, or Obama’s vanquished rival?

    Maybe I expect a blog that I have respected as a voice of rational thinking and that seeks to expose the misuses of science to do so fairly and in as nonpartisan a manner as is humanly possible. Is that too much to ask? Yes, I agree that Phil has spoken out about RFK Jr. I rarely see him call out “anti-science” on the other side of the political spectrum. I don’t think I said “Phil never admonishes democrats,” but it is an extremely rare occurrence if he does.

    And yes, I often append some of my sarcastic comments with the phrase “Hope and Change” (exactly how is that name calling?). Unlike Phil, however, I never claimed to be nonpartisan.

  135. matteus

    @Robbie @ccpeterson
    My assertion about the New Deal was based on history classes in college; I would be glad to review the latest studies to see if I was taught something incorrect. I’ll start with Robbie’s recommendation.

  136. @David D:

    “You seem surprised that the comment threads veer off topic. It happens here (and elsewhere) all the time. Big deal.” But why try to intentionally derail the conversation? That amounts to little more than obscurantism.

    “Dr. Chu predicted that by the end of this century, California’s agriculture would disappear along with its cities–and that (to you) is “hardly apocalyptic?” OK . . .” I’ll repeat what I said earlier, I would never call that anti-science…not by a long shot. Especially not with your mangling of what Chu said/meant.

    “Their arguments have been how and where these funds should come from, which is NOT the same as “hating science.” Do I need to send you link after link after link of McCain laughing derisively, and repeatedly over funding a planetarium? Or Jindal’s muscling-through of creationist propaganda in the schools? And you still want to let them of the hook as being anti-science? Please.

    ” But–who do you think has more sway in the Obama White House: Chu, or Obama’s vanquished rival?” Vanquished rival? Talk about rhetoric! (Besides, I thought that was Clinton) Obviously a member of Obama’s cabinet has more sway in the white house, because that’s the seat of the Executive Branch! Who holds more sway in the Senate, Chu or McCain? While the president DOES set the agenda, it’s up to the legislative branch to push it through or block it. This isn’t even my country and still I feel like I’m giving you a much-needed civics lesson.

    “And yes, I often append some of my sarcastic comments with the phrase “Hope and Change” (exactly how is that name calling?)” You know you’re being sarcastic. You know what you’re doing, and you know it’s childish. You don’t have to literally call a person an idiot to still be engaging in name-calling.

    “Unlike Phil, however, I never claimed to be nonpartisan”. Firstly, I don’t remember Phil claiming non partisanship, but that is ultimately irrelevant. I find it grossly hypocritical of YOU to proudly commit the kind of partisanship you admonish Phil for.

  137. holastefan

    @Nat said: “Yes, McCain “hates science” as do ALL 46% of the people that voted for him.”

    Assuming you are referencing my “46% voters” comment at the top of this (entertaining) thread, my quick remark was simply an observation that the McCain+Palin platform was *significantly* more anti-science than the Obama message. That’s all.

    >”We ALL hate science and are racists and want to kill children and are creationists.”

    Hyperbole city, here we come. I don’t remember mentioning racism, murder, or creationists.

    >”I’m not sure if you realize how dumb you sound .. Seriously, you look ridiculous.”

    Wow. Um, okay. Your rant really wasn’t warranted, since you said lots things that I did not even imply. I’m sorry you were offended; wasn’t the intention.

  138. David D.

    @Some Canadian Skeptic–
    I’ll go point by point:
    1. I don’t think I intentionally derailed the conversation. My first comment was about people commenting on McCain and e-mails, a point that I didn’t raise. Can you point out to me where I derailed the conversation?

    2. on Chu–I did not mangle what Chu said; it’s a direct quote. If you twist science for political needs, that’s anti-science, a poin that this blog has repeatedly made for the last 8 years. There was NO SPECIFIC SCIENCE to back up what Chu said.

    3. I understand your point about McCain and the planetarium. Same thing about Jindal. However, this post had nothing to do with that–it had to do with a budget line item about astronomy, and the idea that THAT is the same is “hating science “. Say–you wouldn’t be derailing the conversation, would you?

    4. If John McCain is now calling the shots for either the GOP or the Senate and can effectively block the passage of Obama’s stimulus bill–oh wait, that didn’t happen, did it? Thanks for the civics lesson, by the way, but I’m pretty sure that McCain ran against Obama, not Clinton.

    5. Sarcasm, or snarkiness, can be childish. But, calling people “Retardicans” or “Rethuglicans”–now that’s real maturity, isn’t it? And if you are really concerned about the level of childishness or sarcasm here, read Phil’s original post.

    6. If memory serves me right, Phil has claimed (in previous comments on previous posts) that he is definitely NOT partisan. More than once, I believe. Your charge of gross hypocrisy is empty.

  139. EllsworthT

    Astronomy *is* important and just because idiots like John McCain don’t think it is, or think the federal government has no legally legitimate role in promoting science in this manner, or think government programs like these consistently prove to be extraordinarily wasteful and ineffective doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put a gun to the heads of these ignoramouses and force them to hand over whatever money we need (i.e., tax them) to fund projects a few of us find appealing. So what if the objectives are vague, the execution is mostly bureaucratic, the program is not permitted Constitutionally, and we can’t afford it? How can a free society like ours endure people who oppose science?

    Please cancel my subscription to Discover immediately.

  140. @David D
    “Can you point out to me where I derailed the conversation?” That was not directed at you, but in response to your attitude of “so what if gets derailed?”

    “…this post had nothing to do with that–it had to do with a budget line item about astronomy, and the idea that THAT is the same is “hating science” Why does McCain seem to target science funding so often? Why are science projects the butt of so many of his jokes? $2 Million? He’s loosing his mind over $2 million? That’s not even a drop in the bucket!

    “but I’m pretty sure that McCain ran against Obama, not Clinton.” That was a joke to try and ease the tension to show you that I’m not angry at you and that we can still at least try to talk like adults. Thanks for throwing it in my face though. And besides, McCain is still a leading, senior senator…people listen when he talks…It’s kind of ironic that I’m giving him more respect than you are, who seem to think that he’s a mumbling invalid who should be applauded for not crawling into a hole crying with a bottle of Jack Daniels after being “vanquished” in November.

    “Sarcasm, or snarkiness, can be childish. But, calling people “Retardicans” or “Rethuglicans”–now that’s real maturity, isn’t it?” Of course it is. Sounds more like your Tu Quoque tactic. I didn’t use such words, and if I saw them, I’d either admonish the speaker (or typer), or not participate at all. This thread (and others) have been full of the word “liberal” being thrown around like it was an insult, so be thankful I don’t engage in similar rhetoric that gets thrown MY way from those on YOUR side of the isle.

    “If memory serves me right, Phil has claimed (in previous comments on previous posts) that he is definitely NOT partisan. More than once, I believe. Your charge of gross hypocrisy is empty.” As I said, it’s irrelevant whether or not Phil claimed non-partisanship. You are being a hypocrite because you engage in the very partisanship that you admonish Phil for. It doesn’t matter if he was not up-front about it or not, nor does it matter how much you wear your ideology on your sleeve. Otherwise you are calling Phil a liar (about what? His opinions?)

    And for all your talk of presenting both sides of the republican/democrat divide (which you have created out of thin air): It’s a bit like people preaching that science teachers teach both sides of the creationism/evolution debate. It’s nearly a false dichotomy in this case: Has it ever occurred to you that the reason that Phil often attacks a republican’s stance on science more than a democrat’s is simply because the republicans have a much worse track record? It wasn’t democrats who banned embryonic stem-cell research. It’s not democrats who are pushing creationist/ID down the throats of public schools. It’s not democrats who have been denying for years the anthropogenic nature of global warming. It’s not democrats who used fraudulent science research to justify bans on abortion. These, and countless more, were Republican agendas. Maybe Phil admonishes republican politicians more than democrats is because more often, they are the ones generally making the most egregious scientific errors/anti-science policies and as an added black-eye of embarrassment, they wear it like a badge of honor.

  141. @David D: I forgot to mention this: I’ve seen you sabre-rattling on just about every post of Phil’s where he has the audacity to express his opinion. You know, you don’t HAVE to read this blog. If your political opinions seem to be so frequently under attack, why keep coming back and yelling at all the “liberals” who seem to get under your skin so easily?

    After all, how dare Phil have opinions on his blog that he’s created 15+ years ago! How dare he SHARE them! It sure sucks that every single person is being forced to read this blog!

    Even if this entry was titled “Republicans are bad for science, and I want to give Obama a hot-stone massage”, that’s Phil’s business, Phil’s right. I’m glad that this isn’t some bland science blog that only mentions science. I’m glad that the author of this blog has some frakking passion! I suggest you develop a thicker skin if you can’t handle Phil occasionally going off-astronomy when he finds it relevant.

  142. David D

    @Some Canadian Skeptic–

    Easy, guy.

    I feel like I’m repeating myself, and we could go back and forth all night long. You have a legitimate point of view, and I respect that. I hope that you can respect my opinion also. Remember: opinions are like, umm, fundaments; everyone’s got one–you, me, even Phil.

  143. @David D

    I feel kinda sheepish for getting so riled up. In the interests of not being one of the ones dragging this thread further down the vitriol that usually follows political entries at BA, I’m not going to click the “comments” section of this entry.

    Why not check out my photostream, http://www.flickr.com/photos/32804459@N06/ where I posted some pics I took recently of Venus, the Moon, Comet Lulin, and the Orion Nebula…since we’re all fans of stars here.

  144. dietbrisk

    your post is incoherent.

    you know john mccain doesn’t own the twitter
    you know john mccain didn’t read nor write the top ten list
    you don’t know whether or not mccain agrees with the no. 2 on the list
    you respond to mccain

    add vague, ambiguous and unspecific sentences and unnervingly bad logic (astronomy doesn’t make jobs? everyone LOVES space, it’s based on reality, people love reality!) and you have your blog post

    pls stop giving liberals a bad name
    k thx bai

  145. CowCaBob

    No it doesn’t need to be funded. I don’t want my tax money taken to fund Big Science. especially the promotion of a science, running ad council ad’s about how great such and such field of science is is about equal to the amount of good the warmth generated by lighting 2 million dollars on fire is. NASA destroyed private space industries ability to grow. Burt Rutan could turn 2 million into something really useful, so could private astronomers. But we need government to support these ventures right? cause you know the government had to provide the funding for the Allen Telescope Array, oh wait they didn’t Paul Allen funded that all himself. And if it makes sound fiscal sense to invest in then people will put up the money, if it doesn’t they won’t. The free market is a far better allocator of efforts and cash than whiny socialist science bloggers, congress and the executive branch. For that matter people should have a deep moral problem with the fact that the government takes our money to spend it on telling us what we should do and act like.

    PS. I hate John McCain. Him and GWB are also crazy socialist.

  146. AnthonyK

    You know, in some ways, I’m rather glad that Obama won rather than John McCain. Or is that just me?

  147. Sharkey Mayall

    Is it not funny how the hardline republicans get all, government is not the solution for everything, expecpt thier masters, big biz/fascism, so when AIG, and GM fail, its open the sluice gates big government and save us all. Nice little magic trick that.

  148. gary

    It is one thing to criticize the man for his views, but not for his handicap from war injuries. He is unable to use a computer because it is painful for him to put his arms forward to use a keyboard for extended amounts of time.

  149. As the last 8 years or so have shown, Republicans have no issue with spending public money (and spending money while cutting taxes is still spending money!). The difference is they object when the public gets anything for their money (no objection if corporations or select individuals get something, though, it seems). Building public transportation, funding science: pork and waste. Wars of choice, vast military spending, internal spying networks: spend away!

  150. rochi sousa

    one can love science and technology and hate the pseudo scintists…as i do.
    and maybe McCain is just like me and had been branded as science hater by pseudo scientists….like who? you?

  151. Paul Yannuzzi

    Not to mention #10. Why is he questioning the construction of a bee factory? We are in dire need for bees as they are mysteriously dying. Without the bees we wouldn’t have a lot of our fruits and vegetables and it would through the whole system out of balance. Cmon John, learn the facts before you judge them.

  152. Will

    It would be easy to get McCain to support astronomy. Just tell him we need astronomy to figure out which alien planets to invade! Neoconservatism, FTW!

  153. Beelzebud

    It’s funny watching conservatives squirm as their political leaders take more steps toward irrelevancy every day.

    During their 8 year run they wasted more federal dollars than any liberal in history.

  154. @Paul Yannuzzi : ‘We are in dire need for bees as they are mysteriously dying.

    I’ll think you’ll find it’s not bees, it’s skies, and they’re not dying, they’re falling in.

  155. Let’s be clear: astronomy needs to be funded. It’s one of the best public-relations field science has. People love astronomy.

    Yup.

  156. Curt

    Funny that you call a bridge that isn’t need pork…yet “for the promotion of astronomy” isn’t. Takes alot of workers and supplies to build a bridge = jobs. As far as I’m concerned they’re both pork.

    Facts are facts…this stimulus package is pork. And the gov’t is going to have to launch a full blown assault on the paychecks of the middle class to fund it.

  157. Mark

    McCain’s number 2 porkiest project in Obama’s nearly trillion dollar bill is for $2 million? Boy, this spending bill must really be the most pork free in legislative history!

  158. Todd W.

    Sorry to be late to the conversation, but I feel the need to point out that, just as in the other thread about Jindal, David D. has misquoted Dr. Chu, by stating that Dr. Chu said the CA agriculture would disappear by the end of the century, when, in fact the quote is that, in a worst case scenario, CA agriculture could disappear.

    @David D.

    Please try to quote correctly, if you are going to claim that you are citing a direct quote.

  159. David D

    @Todd W–

    I went back to the post (“Republican party still shilling antiscience”) and looked very carefully at my comments in that thread.

    You state that I

    “misquoted Dr. Chu, by stating that Dr. Chu said the CA agriculture would disappear by the end of the century, when, in fact the quote is that, in a worst case scenario, CA agriculture could disappear.”

    Here are my relevant statements:

    Somehow, this rather inept performance by Jindal is “republicans shilling anti-science, but recent statements by Dr. Chu about the end of California agriculture, or Dr. Hansen’s coal deathtrains or his endorsement of civil disobedience are NOT anti-science?

    I alsodirectly quoted Dr. Chu, as follows:

    “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.” And, he added, “I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going” either.
    (emphasis added)

    Hence, I never stated that Dr. Chu said that CA agriculture would disappear by the end of the century,, contrary to what your comment says. Nor did misquote anyone.

    Fail.

    Not only are you late to the party, you can’t even get the address right.

  160. Todd W.

    @David D.

    At February 28th, 2009 at 7:57 pm, you stated (emphasis mine):

    Dr. Chu predicted that by the end of this century, California’s agriculture would disappear along with its cities–and that (to you) is “hardly apocalyptic?” OK . . .

    I did not misquote you in this thread.

  161. Todd W.

    @David D.

    Also, regarding the other thread, I admit my error, that you did not state explicitly that Dr. Chu was saying that CA agriculture would end. However, given the context of your initial posts on his statements, the implication of your post was that he was saying that CA agriculture definitely would end, rather than simply stating a possibility. At least, that’s how your post seemed to me. Thank you for the correction.

  162. McCain’s number 2 porkiest project in Obama’s nearly trillion dollar bill is for $2 million? Boy, this spending bill must really be the most pork free in legislative history!.

  163. It is one thing to criticize the man for his views, but not for his handicap from war injuries. He is unable to use a computer because it is painful for him to put his arms forward to use a keyboard for extended amounts of time..

  164. Orb

    I scanned the many comments, so forgive me if someone else already pointed this out, but the things McCain’s Tweets are listing are in the budget and not the stimulus package. A lot of people commenting here seem to be under the impression this is a part of the stimulus bill designed to stimulate the economy. Some even suggested something like this should be in the actual budget. Well … it is in the budget. Just so you know.

  165. sweetie

    “Let’s be clear: astronomy needs to be funded. It’s one of the best public-relations field science has. People love astronomy. And putting that aside, astronomy is important.”

    With arguments so unbelievably irrefutable as “best”, “people love…”, and “[it’s] important”, it’s a wonder you didn’t study public policy, or the fine art of saying nothing.

    Let’s be extra clear: Astronomy does not need to be publicly funded. Private donations work just as well, and are not nearly as economically and democratically immoral. Tax money is not intended for scientific research. Saying such doesn’t make anyone “anti-science”, it makes him someone who has read history and the Constitution, and understands trade offs.

    But using your line of thinking: you want tax money to pay for astronomy research, fine. But every dollar to astronomy is a dollar that could’ve brought us closer to a cure for cancer. So every dollar spent in your field is a dollar that could’ve saved a life. So, if you are pro-science, you are anti-saving the lives of children. Oh, and did I mention they are adorable children? Try to sleep at night now, you monster.

    Then again, maybe the free market and free people could handle funding scientific research. Astronomy funding came on-line during the Cold War, not because of any curiosity on the part of benefiting mankind’s understanding of the universe, or whatever. With then end of the Cold War, we have no incentive to compete in every scientific field. Our greatest strength is in allowing for market forces to drive research, anyhow, hence how the US had scientific advantages in the Cold War.

    John McCain ain’t coming to your telescope opining about your job, but as a public official, you can criticize him. Because his job is public. But his job is not to serve the public, his job is to serve the law. Just because people want something, doesn’t mean they should get it, baby.

  166. Steve Jones

    For the democrats to put funding for astronomy in the Omnibus bill is ridiculous. You say it will create jobs; but just how many? I will wager about three. How this is stimulus for our country I am still putting two and two together. Yes, John McCain’s state does have astronomy funding, but that is appropriated by the state with their money depending on their need. The United States does not need astronomical funding at this point in time because, “people love astronomy!” (as the writer of this blog suggests)

  167. Todd W.

    @Steve Jones

    You say it will create jobs; but just how many? I will wager about three. How this is stimulus for our country I am still putting two and two together.

    You’re looking at this in a very limited sense. Suppose that such funding creates only 3 astronomer positions (or protects three existing ones from being eliminated). Those three scientists can then hire grad students and lab techs, so there’s a couple more jobs. They need equipment (e.g., computers, software, etc.) so there’s money for the companies making those items, meaning more money for jobs building computers and programming software. Those companies also need to buy parts, so the parts manufacturers can keep or hire people. That’s another couple jobs.

    Now, the jobs created or saved (scientists, grad students, lab techs, programmers, computer assemblers, parts manufacturers, and so on) lead to more money in the hands of individuals to spend on stuff. Their spending in turn means that other people keep or find jobs.

    So that astronomy funding actually creates or saves more jobs than just 3 astronomers. Look at the bigger picture.

  168. Sweetie said:

    Our greatest strength is in allowing for market forces to drive research, anyhow, hence how the US had scientific advantages in the Cold War.

    Um. Yeah. Never mind those trillions of dollars the government fed to NASA, the military, university grants, and on and on.

    Just gotta love that “free market über alles” thing. Hm, let’s try deregulating the savings and loans, or the financial industry…. Bet that’ll work out fine.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »