Rant of the Day: Hitchens Slams Palin on Science

By Melissa Lafsky | October 27, 2008 4:15 pm

Here at Reality Base, we’ve taken great pleasure in covering the irreligionist arguments of anti-theist writer Christopher Hitchens. We’ve also delved into the world of GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin, whose ruminations on science have been most…interesting. So when we saw that the former had taken on the latter today in Slate, on the subject of none other than science, we were about as thrilled as anyone with a 401K could be these days.

Hitchens takes the well-heeled (literally) candidate to task for recently denouncing fruit-fly research as a wasteful and unnecessary—not to mention “un-American,” since some of the research took place in France—expense. Fruit flies, or Drosophila, will likely ring a bell for most readers—as they should, since they’re one of the great laboratories of all genetics research. As Hitchens points out, the fly can be easily grown in a lab and is a valuable research tool because it lives for a very short time, breeds vigorously, and displays plenty of genetic mutation in each generation. He writes:

[S]ince Gov. Palin was in Pittsburgh to talk about her signature “issue” of disability and special needs, she might even have had some researcher tell her that there is a Drosophila-based center for research into autism at the University of North Carolina. The fruit fly can also be a menace to American agriculture, so any financing of research into its habits and mutations is money well-spent.

He then goes on to lambast Palin’s reported belief in creationism:

With Palin, however, the contempt for science may be something a little more sinister than the bluff, empty-headed plain-man’s philistinism of McCain. We never get a chance to ask her in detail about these things, but she is known to favor the teaching of creationism in schools…and so it is at least probable that she believes all creatures from humans to fruit flies were created just as they are now. This would make DNA or any other kind of research pointless, whether conducted in Paris or not.

To conclude, he points a finger at the Republican party as a whole for “plac[ing] within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus.” And then closes with a little bit of advice: “On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.”

Hey, we’re just quoting.

UPDATE: The Loom blogger Carl Zimmer notes that there may be some confusion about the type of Drosophila Palin was referring to:

A lot of people thought at first that Palin was dismissing basic research on Drosophila melanogaster, which has yielded lots of profound insights about human biology. Palin herself hasn’t cleared up the issue, but on further reflection, the consensus is that she was complaining about research on the olive fruit fly. That insect is a nasty crop pest in the US. It’s also a pest in Europe, where people have been studying ways to control it–hence the need for funding research there.

So perhaps Hitchens’ fire and brimstone was misplaced…though to be fair, we have no way of knowing whether Palin herself knew which type of insect she was referencing.

Related:
RB: Palin: Pro-Intelligent Design, or Just Anti-Thought?
RB: Rumors Aside, Sarah Palin Is Still Butchering Science
RB: Sarah Palin Still Butchering Science, Redux

Discoblog: Fruit Fly Brains Stay Alive in a Dish, Teach us About Nerve Damage
Discoblog: For Fruit Flies, Turning Off a Gene Means Turning On the Same-Sex Love

MORE ABOUT: genetics, hitchens, palin

Comments (221)

  1. Based on your blog roll, I guess Gov. Palin never stood a chance here anyway did she?

    Good luck with communism…..

  2. Daddy Stegosaurus

    Gov. Palin never stood a chance anyway. She is an embarrassment to this country and to the party that nominated her.

  3. Rosemary Sage

    Hey Buffoon, what an apt handle for you. The blog roll has nothing to do with the subject of this post, that being Hitchen’s excellent piece on Sarahcuda’s vast ignorance and stupidity. I disagree strongly with Christopher Hitchens on some issues and on others I concur completely. Like this one.

    Good luck with your Disaster Capitalism.

  4. Jen

    It was the Olive Fruit Fly. The earmark in question was made famous by Citizens Against Government Waste. The grant was for pest control, not medicine. Though you wouldn’t know it from reading Hitchens’ piece, because he devoted half of it to Drosophila, and never mentioned Bactrocera Oleae–a species that has never been used for the purposes mentioned by Hitchens.

    And should we remind ourselves–Palin was in Pittsburgh to promote research and science to help America’s disabled children. Excuse me, but I’m not in the least bit “anti-science” and I think that grant money would have been much better spent studying a potential genetic link to autism. The USDA already gets plenty of money.

    Hitchens’ piece, proporting to uphold science, is instead inaccurate and filled with unsupported venemous conjecture. I would expect something better from the scientific community. Not in this election cycle I guess, from the reactions of people who both read and write this blog.

  5. Jen

    Oh, and after reading your bio–I must comment on the complete irony of you calling your blog “reality based.”

  6. Dave L

    Supporting crap like this just tipped me. I will not be re-scribing to your biased, partially factual publication.

  7. CEB

    Well said Jen -

    Here is some back-up for Palin from the New Scientist:

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/10/sarah-palin-does-her-bit-for-s.html?DCMP=ILC-arttsrhcol&nsref=specrt13_head_No%20fruit%20flies

    A quick glance and you can see that there are several Palin bashing articles on this reality de-based ‘science’ blog.

  8. Jen

    Should we add that the USDA has a budget for FY2008 of 89 billion per its annual report? Should we also add that poorly crafted research projects bypass peer review by earmark funding?

    Kind of changes things, doesn’t it.

    But no!!! Let’s use one little sentence, lather ourselves into hysteria, and go after the evil witch from Wasilla!

    What more should one expect from a HuffPo alumni.

    Science has absolutely NOTHING to do with this non-scandal.

  9. BradW

    It’s truly amazing how people accuse other people of doing what they are themselves in the process of doing!

    Some of the comments above mine have slammed C.H. for talking about Dros. as opposed to Bactro. Gosh folks she was in P’Burg at the time!

    Also non of these “quick draw”, let’s put an ignoramus in position to be pres. of the US, experts (“ex” is a “has been” and “(s)pert”(the way it’s pronounced in our country) is a “drip under pressure”) has provided any proof that palin had any briefing to make her aware of the different types of fruit flies anyway; she certainly doesn’t appear to be aware of them through any study of her own!

    I’m also sure that all the folks involved in the olive industry in cal., USA will be happy to know that money is being wasted to try to eliminate a very real problem that impacts their lives on a continuing basis. Should have gained Obama some cal. votes at least.

    Keep up the good work sarah; your blind, blind faith followers will continue to be sheep!

  10. Jen

    “I’m also sure that all the folks involved in the olive industry in cal., USA will be happy to know that money is being wasted to try to eliminate a very real problem that impacts their lives on a continuing basis. Should have gained Obama some cal. votes at least.”

    Tell you what, you can have the 400 California olive growers, and I’ll take the 1 in 100 children currently being diagnosed with Autism.

    Weak Tool

  11. Jen

    And for those of you interested in REALITY BASED science–a little tranche from a USDA-ARS report on Olive Fruit Flies!

    “These observations suggest that olive fruit fly will not become a major pest in the hot and arid interior valleys of California where canning olives are produced, but may develop into large pest populations in the temperate coastal areas where olives are grown for oil.”

    So in other words, not even a big problem for most of California’s $68-100 million a year olive production (and that’s statewide, not just one grower!)–but we sure have to protect those makers of carefully blended organic olive oil for the William Sonoma loving gastronomes.

    And remember, the study in France required an earmark! It seems the USDA has already spent quite a bit on the ole Olive Fruit Fly. But the ARS couldn’t find a little something extra in its $1 billion annual budget to meet this most special of needs.

    USDA pork at it’s finest!!!! Oink Oink Oink.

    No wonder this country is trillions of dollars in debt.

  12. Jen

    Oh, and another thing. I’m not going to bother checking, but I’d be willing to wager that the owners of those “olive oil” producing groves were campaign donors to Rep. Thompson (D-California)–winner of the CAGW award for this little pe(s)t. Nothing like a little “oil” (or should we say, bacon) to grease the gears of science!

    Any journalists out there-or maybe even some former blogger for the NYT- want to write a real story? Here’s your chance.

  13. BradW

    The reason that my reply to Jen is in sections is the fact that I apparently ran afoul of some sort of limit parameter on this site.

    • Jen Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 7:01 pm
    “I’m also sure that all the folks involved in the olive industry in cal., USA will be happy to know that money is being wasted to try to eliminate a very real problem that impacts their lives on a continuing basis. Should have gained Obama some cal. votes at least.”
    Tell you what, you can have the 400 California olive growers, and I’ll take the 1 in 100 children currently being diagnosed with Autism.
    Weak Too
    Let’s look at a part of the C. Hitchens quote:

    Jen hasn’t responded to the original issue of what palin did or didn’t know at the time of making her ridiculously impolitic statement.

    “[S]ince Gov. Palin was in Pittsburgh to talk about her signature “issue” of disability and special needs, she might even have had some researcher tell her that there is a Drosophila-based center for research into autism at the University of North Carolina. The fruit fly can also be a menace to American agriculture, so any financing of research into its habits and mutations is money well-spent.”

    C.H. makes clear in the above quote that he is clearly aware of the diff. between Bactro. and Dros. fruit flies. Palin didn’t. C.H. also makes it clear that he is aware of the impact on US agriculture of different types of fruit flies. Palin didn’t. C.H. also points out the Dros based research in autism going on at UNC. Palin showed no indication of awareness of this fact. Since her running mate has expressed a particular interest in autism, it seems as though she missed another chance to make political hay. Just total lack of awareness and knowledge; even with a staff supporting her.

    It should go without saying that some of us are not only interested in making sure that all of our citizens have adequate health care, we are also interested in making sure that the US agricultural industry is able to continue to feed us.

  14. Jen

    “Jen hasn’t responded to the original issue of what palin did or didn’t know at the time of making her ridiculously impolitic statement.”

    That is the most RIDICULOUS garbage I’ve ever heard. It’s just a way for PZ Myers, Hitchens and all the rest of the Palin haters to cover their lazy asses. They jumped the gun, and now, to anyone who has half a brain, and isn’t an out and out “flat earth” loather of “Caribou Barbie” they look like idiots.

    They are the ones who got it wrong–and now they have to read something into what Palin is suppose to have thought WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE WHAT SO EVER. Obviously she knew about the earmark–it was in her speech. The earmark was FAMOUS thanks to CAGW–how else do you think the campaign knew about it?

    And of course, they never bothered to actually ASK anyone in the campaign to clarify the governor’s remark–BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T GIVE A GOD DAMN ABOUT THE TRUTH.

    Palin was ABSOLUTELY correct in her remarks. The Olive Fruit Fly earmark was pork, given by Mike Thompson to his rich constiutents who give him lots of money. There are only 220 acres of olive trees in his district–most of them owned by hoity toity wineries. The Beer Wine and Liquor industry has given Thompson over $200,000 in recent election cycles–one of his biggest donor bases. And the earmark was in ADDITION to millions already spent by the State of California and the USDA-ARS on the OLFF.

    Sorry, but the money needs to be spent on sometyhing more important. Francis Ford Coppola (a big Thompson donor) and his fat cat buddies can shell out their own money if they don’t think what the federal government is already doing is not enough.

    This non-scandal has turned into a scandal alright! It has shown how utterly nonsensical, anti-reason and illogic the so called “scientific” cummunity has become. Frauds and liars who care NOTHING about the truth.

  15. BradW

    Well, the site is screwing up by the numbers. Perhaps I will try again later, but you readers get the idea!

  16. Jen

    Make that “if they think” and “illogical”

  17. BradW

    Jen Says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    “That is the most RIDICULOUS garbage I’ve ever heard. It’s just a way for PZ Myers, Hitchens and all the rest of the Palin haters to cover their lazy asses. They jumped the gun, and now, to anyone who has half a brain, and isn’t an out and out “flat earth” loather of “Caribou Barbie” they look like idiots.”; etc., etc., etc.

    Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

    It certainly appears that it is Jen who has a hate problem; to say nothing about general abusiveness and bad manners!

    I bet Jen didn’t even view the available clip of palin’s actual comment! For those of you (if any other than Jen) who may not have seen it, pay particularly close attention to the last 6 seconds; the body language and voice intonations are very clear to anyone who pays attention and isn’t priorly biased toward palin.

    http://beltwayblips.com/video/palin_hits_fruit_fly_research_but_it_has_helped_autism/

    Ohhhh, what the hayseed! I’ll take one more crack at this.

    Same “Jen” ref. as above: “. . . Obviously she knew about the earmark–it was in her speech.”

    I don’t remember anyone here saying palin didn’t know about the earmark! The issue is that, in her remarks, (view the video!), she didn’t even take into consideration what the research was all about! Her body language and voice intonation tell it all! To say nothing about, “I KID YOU NOT!” Now if that doesn’t tell any reasonably rational person that palin had no idea of what the research was about and doesn’t graphically demonstrate her lack of concern and respect for it, it is hard for me to imagine what would!

  18. Jen

    You can keep on moving your imaginary goal post all you like. But the facts remain. Myers and through him Hitchens made the assumption that Palin was talking about Drosophila (and I have no idea why–there are a myriad of “fruit fly” species!) They were dead wrong, and looked foolish when the actual facts behind Palin’s words were shown by more careful and impartial observers. Now you and the rest must twist and turn not to look like the biased idiots that you are.

    Inquiry is the job of science. Fact is the basis of Scientific inquiry. Neither exists in this non-critique of Palin.

    I KID YOU NOT! It is a national disgrace that federal monies are earmarked based on how much money a US congressman gets from his organic, hand pressed, certified extra virgin for for those with a discerning palate at $20-50 dollars a pop olive growers–who already get millions for research on their #1 pest–when those dollars could be spent on something more valuable like Autism research.

    That’s the facts, Jack. Deal with it. And stop trying to defend what can’t be honestly defended.

  19. BradW

    Jen Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    And for those of you interested in REALITY BASED science–a little tranche from a USDA-ARS report on Olive Fruit Flies!

    “These observations suggest that olive fruit fly will not become a major pest in the hot and arid interior valleys of California where canning olives are produced, but may develop into large pest populations in the temperate coastal areas where olives are grown for oil.”

    Well, again, no site reference. But here is also some info from usda-ars with a site:

    “1a.Objectives (from AD-416)

    Based on previous successful results showing the potential of Psytallia cf. concolor for biological control of olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae, in California, the objectives are to begin augmented releases of the parasitoid in regions in which the olive fruit fly has become a devastating pest; . . . “

    “. . .This research helps protect the canned olive and olive oil industry in California valued at $75 million annually. Cooperator activity is monitored through technical meetings, visits to the laboratory, email exchanges, and telephone conversations.”
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects/projects.htm?ACCN_NO=409882&fy=2007

    Since USDA is such a large organization, it is understandable (if not forgivable) that the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing!

    “Jen again:

    “This non-scandal has turned into a scandal alright! It has shown how utterly nonsensical, anti-reason and illogic the so called “scientific” cummunity has become. Frauds and liars who care NOTHING about the truth.”

    Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I think she means her version of the “truth”.

    I am only speculating in the following: this type of emotional tirade is what many of us have come to expect from those people who are convinced that their religious beliefs are the only valid ones in the universe and all others be “damned” (literally in the case of christians (and yes the lower case “c” is intentional)).

  20. Jen

    Hey I followed your link. Here are the areas the ARS is monitoring!

    Los Angeles, San Deigo, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Clara, and Butte ,

    Notice something? How many “interior” counties are they concerned with?

    Butte.

    http://www.oliveoilsource.com/scripts/statistics_tree_county.asp

    Seems like the USDA is listening to its own scientists! Maybe the left hand does indeed know what the right hand is doing.

    And as for emotional tirades– You must be joking. Did you actually read Hitchens piece? Not to mention, just take a trip around the blogsphere and see what the “rational” crowd has been writing about this issue.

    Besides, you have not addressed one single factual point I’ve made. Not that expected a toadie like you to do so.

  21. JohnD

    “Jen Says:
    “Myers and through him Hitchens made the assumption that Palin was talking about Drosophila (and I have no idea why–there are a myriad of “fruit fly” species!)”

    You have “no idea why” because you know nothing about science. Drosophila is the most famous example and has lead to many genetic discoveries. It’s even used in high school biology to show simple, but key biological concepts.

    “Inquiry is the job of science. Fact is the basis of Scientific inquiry. Neither exists in this non-critique of Palin.”

    Palin has gross misconceptions about scientific inquiry to begin with, most of her career being an advocate for injecting creationism in schools. Fruit fly research is important in terms of genetic discoveries, REGARDLESS of the species of fruit fly. Any research is good, and putting down one or the other is just stupidity. This work will also benefit American olive workers.

    “..It is a national disgrace that federal monies are earmarked based on how..when those dollars could be spent on something more valuable like Autism research..”

    Instead of harping on ‘prioritizing’ scientific research, go and harp about wasteful multimillion dollar sports complexes, which Palin was having built in Wasilla. Increase funding for all scientific research and giving more grants to scientists is the key. Anti-science comments like putting down ANY genetic research (whether sequencing the genome of bears or studying fruit flies) is a hallmark of anti-science (backwards) thinking.

  22. Jen

    You jerk. I can spot a male from a female drosophila from a distance. I worked with thousands of them in my university level genetics course.

    Unlike Hitchens and Myers, I know exactly what they are. And what they aren’t.

    All science is not by definition “good.” There are very poorly crafted projects that waste money and contribute little or nothing to the body of scientific knowledge. That’s why public monies are aloted through a process of peer review etc.

    I stand by my point. The USDA-ARS has an ample budget. If the study in question is of importance–then it needs to go through peer review, and the usual budgetary process like everything else–not get preferred treatment from a porker like Thompson.

    Besides–ever hear of the private sector? Doesn’t any science get done there?

    And as for “sports complexes” they contribute just as much to the health and well being of American citizens as organic extra virgin olive oil. God, what do you want the people in Wasilla to do during the dead of winter–march in place in their living rooms?

  23. BradW

    Hey JohnD!

    Thanks for jumping in with some sanity!

    Isn’t it interesting that Jen still hasn’t addressed the basic issue. And she won’t because deep down she knows that she’s on the losing side of the argument. And even though she may have gone to the site that I provided, she just can’t bring herself to admit the language that the usda-ars actually used on that site.

    Methinks it is not the honesty or knowledge of Myers or Hitchens that people need to be concerned with here. Imagine anyone arrogant enough to say, “You jerk. I can spot a male from a female drosophila from a distance. I worked with thousands of them in my university level genetics course.” Gosh! She must be a super genius! One whole university level genetics course gave her supervision and made her an all knowing expert! Amazing!

    There just really is no hope of winning a battle of wits with someone who is so obviously unarmed as this person is.

  24. Jen

    Brad, as I said–you are a weak insulting tool. Your main point is…pointless. You concentrate on Palin’s body language, and not on what she was actually saying.

    I did read your link. It didn’t contradict what I read at the USDA site in the least. Potential was a key word for the USDA. As their own scientists reported, OLFF should not become a major problem in the arid interior where they have the most trees–though it may occasionally cause some loss in crop production. That’s why they were putting their traps on the coast, and only one in Butte. Infestation is directly related to heat and moisture conditions. And name me a single crop in the US that doesn’t suffer from some blight or pest. You can’t.

    Palin was speaking up for the rights of disabled children to get their fair share of science/research dollars. BRAVO. You and others have twisted one little sentence, that you interpreted to mean something that factual analysis showed to be utterly false–into a jihad. But that’s your problem.

    I’ll just add, that there is no proof that in all of her years of public service, Palin has ever added one paragraph of “creationist” content to a school book or class–so that’s a lie too.

    It would be just fabulous if we could fund every little experiment of every little person who decides to call himself a “scientist” with hard earned tax payer cash–but we live in the real world. Ever hear the words “Junk Science” Not all science is equal. What science is funded by the feds–as in us– should not depend on the donor list of a congressman. Bad policy. Palin was correct in pointing it out.

    I repeat–the California olive industry is very small and “specialized” in broad economic terms. Bactrocera Oleae (not even in the same blessed family as Drosophila) is a world wide pest, that has been a problem in Europe for millenia. It has been extensively studied, they know it’s genome, The USDA-ARS and the state of California have already invested lots and lots of cash on the problem. Just how far should the American tax payer go for the California olive growers? Why are they so special? Don’t they have any responsibility in protecting their own commercial interests? What good project got dumped because federal dollars were bushwacked by Mike Thompson?

    I have never claimed to be a super genius. But I’m certainly glad I’m not a dishonest evidence-proof partisan hack like you.

    So you and your friends can continue in your little echo chamber. I feel very sure that anyone who reads what I’ve presented will see that I have made (unlike Hitchens, Myers and You) a fair, honest, accurate and factual case.

  25. BradW

    Jen Says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    “So you and your friends can continue in your little echo chamber. I feel very sure that anyone who reads what I’ve presented will see that I have made (unlike Hitchens, Myers and You) a fair, honest, accurate and factual case.”

    You stay right where you are dear heart; you’re doing a fantastic job of destroying your own credibility; if you ever had any!

  26. Jen

    Carefully read the pdf link from UC Davis

    http://www.sfc.ucdavis.edu/research/olive.pdf

    In a concise way, it proves everything I’ve said.

    California Olive growers already have organic methods of pest control that reduce pest loss to 3%. Thompson’s earmark was NOTHING but pork for his boutique growers that produce Olive Oil at more than $50.00 a gallon. Since the OLFF ONLY targets olive trees–the earmark could only benifit a small priviledged groupe of farmers to find pest control methods that they don’t need–because they already have them.

    As for Autism…

    Palin was absolutely right. She’s not anti-science, she’s anti-corruption and waste.

  27. BradW

    Look at all the words that poor Jen has written!

    Among all of them one is unable to find a single “large picture”, basic issue addressed or answered! Some place in the jumble of words she accused me of moving the target; let’s see if that is true or simply a very sophomoric diversionary tactic commonly used by those who know deep down that they are wrong.

    The original, and still existing, real issue, as clearly stated by Hitchens, is whether or not palin, at the time of this particular faux pas, had any idea of the real nature of the actual research being conducted, jointly by the US and France by the way (Jen has also conveniently left out that detail), in paris.

    One of Jen’s off the target responses was something on the order of stating that palin knew about the research because she mentioned it in her speech. Well, duh! Doesn’t that just happen to be the whole basis of the faux pas? Would any competent, knowledgeable, politician have put himself or herself in a position to potentially alienate any portion of his/her voting population? Political Science 101 would answer emphatically “NO”!

    Instead of addressing this very basic issue, Jen chooses to try to make it look as if Hitchens is some sort of dummy because he would dare point out that palin was in P’Burg PA when she made this particular faux pas and that there is significant Dros research being conducted locally. Jen tries to make it appear that Hitchens is the one that is unaware of the nature of the subject of the paris research. All of this is diversionary from the basic issue that Jen still hasn’t directly addressed; and of course can’t afford to because she knows deep down that she is wrong. I don’t even claim to have the fuzziest understanding of how P.Z. Myers suddenly appears in the non-reasoning; but he does! Perhaps in Jen’s mind it is because Hitchens and Myers know each other? Hasn’t a thing to do with the basic issue!

    Next Jen engages in more diversionary tactics by going off on a tirade about the fact that the research with respect to the olive industry(paris) is (again so obviously) about the inherent evils of the “earmark” system and that that is all that matters with respect to palin’s faux pas; palin was really addressing the “earmark” issue so it doesn’t matter whether she actually knew anything about the actual research being done in paris. Really?! Apparently neither Jen nor palin is capable (or even aware) of the larger picture here; that or each of them thinks that other people are too stupid to get it! Just think of the potential good that could come to one of our allies (although one has to wonder about that at times too) through the application of a piddling little $200k grant to help in an issue that certainly potential to impact france (economically) a lot more than it does the US. But what future political payoff might such help have; perhaps a lot and perhaps none. Those are the risks that every nation takes in the world political shell game. Of course none of this matters to Jen or palin. Most probably Jen would say that now I’m guilty of being diversionary; but am I?

    Jen proceeds to belittle the ca. olive industry because of its relatively small size; I suspect that the people involved in that industry feel differently about it! This, of course, is more diversion from the simple, basic issue as to what palin did or did not know at the time of her faux pas. I think that palin is probably politically astute enough to not have used the example that she did if she had been properly supported by her staff; maybe one or more of them is intentionally torpedoing her on the realization that she is currently not qualified to be POTUS (pure speculation on my part). I hope Jen is smart enough not to embarrass herself more by making some comment about the fact that that palin isn’t running for Pres.; I mean, really, as angry as mccain gets it’s a wonder he hasn’t popped a major blood vessel before now! Even an extremely remote possibility that palin could beomce president within the next four to eight years is, indeed, very frightening to intelligent voters. Back to the olive industry! If anyone thinks that the impact of the research involves only the olive industry, that person, or those persons, just don’t understand the situation. If anyone thinks that the ca. olive industry is an unimportant part of the US agribusiness, it is due to a basic lack of understanding. These people talk to each other! When you dis one sector, you dis them all! No knowledgeable politician would be guilty of such an ignorant action; but palin is!

    Well, I could go on and on just as Jen has, but I won’t. There are only a couple of possibilities here. Either palin didn’t know the real nature of the paris research or she chose to ignore it and hope that no one would call her on it. Neither is forgivable in one who might very well become POTUS! Most of us have had more than enough of that over the past eight years; an m/p victory will only be a continuation, so I for one hope beyond hope that that does not occur.

  28. BradW

    Oops!

    “. . . certainly potential. . .”: change to “certainly has potential”.

    “. . . that that palin. . . “: eliminate one “that”.

    “. . . beomce. . . “: = become

  29. Jen

    “There are only a couple of possibilities here. Either palin didn’t know the real nature of the paris research or she chose to ignore it and hope that no one would call her on it. Neither is forgivable in one who might very well become POTUS!”

    Utter tripe.

    How about Palin KNEW the real nature of the USDA-ARS research–and chose to inform the voting public. The OlFF earmark shows what’s wrong with the federal government. Federal dollars spent for priviledged special interest for redundant research to solve a problem that already has solutions.

    While the needs of kids with disabilities go unmet.

    Science by donor list–quid pro quo. No peer review–just who you know. It sucks. By bringing that out, the only people Palin “alienates” are those who already hate her–so what.

  30. BradW

    Fascinating!

    So now, according to Jen, palin intentionally chose to write off the olive growers of both the US and france! All of that political damage just to complain about a $200k earmark when there are so many others, with higher dollar amounts, to choose from! All of that blatantly demonstrated scientific and political ignorance at the same time! And I’m sure Jen thinks that palin would make a wonderful POTUS!

    Keep digging Jen, your hole is inexorably beginning to collapse on you!

    Isn’t it interesting that Jen hasn’t even hinted at the “bridge to nowhere” or the fix that palin’s apparent mentor sen. stevens has created for himself? Here’s just one link:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/01/palin_was_a_director_of_embatt.html

    I continue to be intrigued by Jen’s repetitive assertions that only people who hate palin are the ones criticizing her outlandish gaffs! I certainly don’t hate palin; my goodness, I don’t even hate Jen even after all of the names she has called me! I just take those things in stride as normal signs of emotional and intellectual immaturity. Probably most of us went through at least one of those types of periods in our lifetimes.

    Jen also seems to be confused about “peer review”. Peer review is one of the most important steps in the scientific method and it takes place after at least an initial report has been written about any specific scientific experiment. If scientific researchers are unable to obtain funding to conduct their research, no report of results can be written, therefore no “peer review”. Peer review can only take place after the fact of the research, not before. Of course the way palin has been going, it’s not inconceivable that palin may think peer review occurs before research.

  31. Jen

    Here are Palin’s ACTUAL WORDS from the Pittsburgh speech:

    This is a matter of how we prioritize the money that we spend. We’ve got a three trillion dollar budget, and Congress spends some 18 billion dollars a year on earmarks for political pet projects. That’s more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA. And where does a lot of that earmark money end up? It goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good — things like fruit fly research in Paris, France, or a public policy center named for the guy who got the earmark. In our administration, we’re going to reform and refocus. We’re going to get our federal priorities straight, and fulfill our country’s commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life.

    Notice honest readers, she is discussing ONE EARRMARK–not all fruit fly studies. Notice that it is ONE OF TWO earmarks that she lists. So we’re not talking about a jihad launced by even a complete sentence–just a mere sentence fragment THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH DROSOPHILA.

    I have given the details of the earmark–made famous by Citizens of Government Waste. Since the Olive Fruit Fly ONLY attacks Olive trees, and Olive farmers already have organic pest controll methods, NO ONE could possibly argue that this money was being spent for the broader public good.

  32. JohnD

    “Jen Says:

    Notice honest readers, she is discussing ONE EARRMARK–not all fruit fly studies..”

    She is just reading her script; I doubt she knows the difference, the doubt being compounded by the other anti-scientific rethoric comeing out of their side (anti genome sequenceing projects, anti funding of planetarium, etc)

    “…THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH DROSOPHILA.”

    Palin, having insane creationist views, might as well have targeted Drosophila. And stop screaming you nut!

    “..I have given the details of the earmark–made famous by Citizens of Government Waste”

    You mean the “Citizens of Government Waste” linked to convicted GOP felon Jack Abramoff? You mean the organization that essentially lobbies for the Tobacco industry?

    So Jen-”I can spot a male from a female drosophila from a distance”, go back to your hobby of getting-off of the genetallia of Drosophila and leave science to the scientists.

  33. Jen

    Jeremiah Wright thinks that HIV/AIDS was a government plot to commit genocide against black people.

    Louis Farrakahn, who calls Obama the messiah, (And Obama did attend the Million Man March!) believes that the mother ship is circling the earth, and that white people aren’t really human.

    Obama has spent his life in the company of anti-science racists and bigots for two decades.

    So you can take the unsubstianted crapola about Palin believing that dinosaurs and people walked the earth together, and the idea that she believes in witchcraft (based on ONE word on youtube–delivered by a preacher from Kenya–hey in Africa “witchcraft” is part of the cutlure–what are you, a racist? I bet Obama’s relatives believe in witchcraft! For all you know, maybe he does too.)
    And stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    Facts are facts. Your jihad is based on thin air. So run along to DailyKos where you belong and leave real science to people who care about the truth.

  34. JohnD

    “Jen Says:
    …Obama has spent his life in the company of anti-science racists and bigots for two decades.”

    I don’t care who Obama (or Biden for that matter) “spends his time with.” It’s what Obama/Biden stands for that counts. I know many people who are ardent creationists…and so what? It’s always good to have conversations with people who disagree with you..so you can be open minded, not a close minded anti-science bigot like Palin!

    “..hey in Africa “witchcraft” is part of the cutlure..”

    This statement speaks for itself, you clueless bigot!

    “..leave real science to people who care about the truth.”

    Let’s compare some nice attitudes towards science:

    Obama:
    “I’m a Christian, and I believe in parents being able to provide children with religious instruction without interference from the state. But I also believe our schools are there to teach worldly knowledge and science. I believe in evolution, and I believe there’s a difference between science and faith. That doesn’t make faith any less important than science. It just means they’re two different things. And I think it’s a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don’t hold up to scientific inquiry.”

    Biden:

    I refuse to believe the majority of people believe this [Creationist] malarkey!”

    To a retarded and ignorent (like you?) one:

    Sarah Palin
    “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. “Healthy debate is so important and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject — creationism and evolution. It’s been a healthy foundation for me. But don’t be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.”

  35. BradW

    Jen needs to go here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/02/palins-church-may-have-sh_n_123205.html

    and here:

    http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2008/09/11/assemblies_of_god/index.html

    and here:

    http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_short.cfm

    watch, listen, and read and then come back here and tell the rest of us why we are wrong about palin; can’t be done by an honest person!

    It never ceases to distress me when I come back to basic documents such as the AG Fundamental Truths (link immediately above). It’s just graphic proof of the amazing capability of the human animal to be able to compartmentalize information. How in the universe can anyone, who on a daily basis uses all the advantages that “real science” has provided for us, still maintain a belief in such ridiculous myths and superstitions”

    AMAZING!!!

  36. Jen

    I don’t use Huffington Post or Salon for sources. They are proven to be unreliable and biased. The only “young earth” witness they have ever found is a bozo progressive named Mugher, who has been an enemy of Palin’s for years and can’t be trusted.

    Palin is not a Pentacostal. She no longer attends the Assembly of God. The campaign has officially stated so. The rest of her faith is her business. You can not point out a single policy or law in her years of government service that has been influenced by her faith–or lack of it.

    On the other hand–Obama has sent millions in government money to the kook ball racist church of Jeremiah Wright that he attended for 20 years. He has never repudiated Louis Farrakahn–only his filthy anti-semite statements. He both attended Farrakhan’s Million Man March, and has been endorsed by Farrakahn. His church–Trinity Church of Christ–honored Louis Farrakahn on it’s magazine cover. So by your standards of blame–I get to stick Obama with every filthy thing Farrakahn and Wright have ever said or done.

    The Witchcraft charges are a total joke. Mufthee is a Kenyan. He was a visiting pastor at a church that Palin no longer attends. She barely knew him. The vast majority of Africans–whether Christian, Muslim or practitioners of native religion–believe in witches. Kenyan politicians routinely use witchcraft in politics. This is documented in multiple sources. The government of Kenya has had an anti-witchcraft Act since 1927, so, if it’s nothing but bullshit–why would that be the case?

    If you want to call the vast majority of Africans superstitious nutbags because they believe in witchcraft–go right ahead. Mufthee is simply a product of his culture. The fact that Palin received a short blessing from him–during which she remained completely silent–and Mufthee mentioned the word witches once, is a nothing. There no evidence that Palin shares Mufthee’s beliefs about witchcraft–only Jesus. Since all four candidates are practising christians, it’s pretty stupid just to target her.

    The ceremony I saw on youtube is no more unusual than simular “blessings” that occur in both protestant and Roman catholic churches all over the country every single sunday. Sorry if you have a problem with the African cultural flavor of the ceremony.

    On the other hand– I have only heard one American pastor say God Damn America from the pulpit. It was Obama’s at a time when he was a member of the church.

  37. Jen

    “..hey in Africa “witchcraft” is part of the cutlure..”

    This statement speaks for itself, you clueless bigot!

    Actually–you’re the clueless bigot. You were deriding a Kenyan Christian whose faith reflects widely held African spiritual beliefs.

    Tell you what–go to your library, and find one scholarly article that says a belief in witches is not a widespread spiritual practice among the people of Africa. (Hint–you’re going to be there for a long long long time.)

  38. JohnD

    “Jen Says:
    Tell you what–go to your library, and find one scholarly article that says a belief in witches is not a widespread spiritual practice….”

    African spiritual beliefs generally have nothing to do with the “witches” as referenced in your Christian mythology. Your bigoted and ethnocentric comment here is telling. Oh and stuff your inflated ego in your behind, you mutt.

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