Tag Archives: The Obama Stimulus

Reid caved, America suffers

Last month, I was temporarily impressed with Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, when he vowed to use the Senate’s power to hold up the confirmation of Roland Burris, appointed by former Governor Blagoevich. But Reid, as those who thought less of Reid than I did expected, caved to identity politics and made Burris the junior Senator from Illinoise. Burris’s vote became critical for the Obama stimulus. And now, everyone is regretting it:

Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) must go. – washingtonpost.com
From the moment that Mr. Burris was selected, he strove to portray himself as a blameless public servant. The sad pictures of Mr. Burris being cast out into the rain by the Democratic leadership of the Senate, which initially refused to seat him, turned public opinion in his favor. Mr. Burris got his seat. But this latest revelation makes a mockery of his professions of no quid pro quo. It is a violation of the public trust. The people of Illinois have suffered enough. Mr. Burris should resign.

If Reid had kept his word, Burris would not be a Senator, Illinois would not be embarrassed again, and the Obama Stimulus would not have passed in its current form.

As I said, Tammy Duckworth would have been a better choice.

Obama abandons the McCain Amendment

More on the fallout from the stimulus, and Obama’s failure to defeat “Buy American” legislation in the Congress (again). While it was watered down, it still goes the wrong-way with respect to international trade and commerce:

Obamas pyrrhic victory on the stimulus package By Phil Levy | Shadow Government
On the international front, the bill portends trouble. The original excesses of the Buy American clauses were trimmed back, but President Obama missed a golden opportunity. Had he embraced Sen. John McCains amendment to remove the clause, he would have demonstrated bipartisanship, assured the world that America was not embracing protectionism, and still retained existing legal authority to direct some contracts toward domestic producers. Instead, Sen. McCains amendment was defeated. The remaining clause sends a bad signal, allows protection, invites retaliation and risks provoking numerous trade disputes.

Except in security, where it does well, Obama’s administration’s main themes have been an allergy to addressing social issues (which is fine) and a general incompetence (which is also fine).

Anti-Science Republicans (with special guest star, John Conyers)

There is a lot to be said about the stimulus debate, both good and bad. Obama’s stimulus will increase our debt, of course.


The stimlus was passed in a procedurally very messy way, with a crippled PDF circulated to legislators, with not even 48 hours of open comment, and with Obama using a military plane to fly in a Senator. Obama’s Stimulus will be Obama’s “Iraq War,” a controversial early decision which shapes everything else.

It also may work.

Just like the Democrats, who made many brain-dead arguments against the Iraq War (Howard Dean’s “mayor of Baghdad” quip being one of the stupidest), the Repulicans are busy crticizing thee stimulus because it supports science. Demonstrating a complete lack of knowledge of how science actually works, Powerline, for instance, issues this angry post:

Animal rights groups obviously have an agenda that is unfriendly to NIH, whose research projects involve lots of experimentation on animals. However, in a letter to Harry Reid, In Defense of Animals presented substantial evidence to back up its critique of NIH. For example, Dr. Brian Martinson, a researcher who headed-up an NIH-funded survey, has published results indicating high percentages of self-reported scientific misbehavior on NIH-funded projects, ranging from falsifying data, to using inadequate research designs, to using funds from one project to complete another, to cutting corners to complete a project. 28 percent of “early-career” respondents admitted to cooking data, dropping or overlooking data points, and/or failing to present data that contradicts their previous research. 50 percent admitted that they cut corners. For midcareer researchers, the percentages were 27 and 66, respectively.

No reference is provided, but this sounds like “Global warming advocates report that 66 of all drivers admitted to killing a pedestrian, intentionally running over a small animal, or breaking applying pressure to the car’s breaks, within the past month.” The first two are inexcusable. The third is the appropriate course of action in all cases. Indeed, there is a whole literature surrounding outliers, their detection, and treatment.

Similar some Republicans, having forgot the high oil prices and resulting geopolitical instability of the summer, are mocking Harry Reid for pushing mass transit.

Just as bad, other Republicans are joining with John Conyers (D-MI) to subsidize publishign companies by allowing them to charge for access to research paid for by taxpayers. Bailing out publishing companies by making science less accessible is against science, public health, and open access.