Lamar Smith continues waging his three-year war on the National Science Foundation. If Congress has its way, the next round of grants by the National Science Foundation, a hallmark of government funding for graduate students and scientists, will no longer be based on scientific merit. Proposals would not be reviewed by panels of preeminent scholars across the United States as they have been for more than a half-century; instead, they would all be “in the national interest,” with strict new rules adopted earlier this month by a Republican House committee. Previously. This is not the first time Smith has tried to impose Congressional control on the NSF's budget.
Technology to reduce speeding trains absent from many train lines, including the section of the most recent derailment. Just one day after the Philadelphia train derailment, the House votes against increased Amtrak funding [more inside]
Now, there's good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible. So the right wants smaller government. When Al Gore was Vice President, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported back to me, the response was, "Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?" [more inside]
The US House of Representatives has voted to cut all federal NPR funding. To take effect, this would still need to make it through the senate, which most likely would not succeed. [more inside]
"Pentagon Budget Blackmail" A milblog is reporting that there's some funny accounting going on with the funding that's used to pay US troops. "I think it's early May when we run out of money," reads one ominous quote. This is all tied into the supplemental funding the Bush Adminstration has requested of Congress; in a related (hopefully soon to be non-)issue, the specific request for increased death benefits seems to be on a bit of a spacewalk at the moment.
Is this a real chance at campaign finance reform or are we just in for more partisan back and forth that in the end won't change much of anything? (NY Times link) And how long will the "Enron effect" last?
The first cut is the deepest: Smithsonian to take massive money cuts Under the budget submitted to Congress this week, deep cuts to be made in Smithsonian programs and divisions, as well as personnel. It is, I believe, cuts, seldom making big media stories, that give us an idea of what is viewed as important by our political figures