teisipäev, juuni 22, 2004

And the War on Relevant Criticism continues...

John Kerry now has the support of 48 Nobel laureates. Sounds like trouble for Bush, right? Oh, no. See, they've got a response to that:

Mr. Schmidt answered the attack by pointing out that 22 of the 48 Nobelists who signed the pro-Kerry statement also signed a statement in January 2003 opposing war in Iraq, and 16 had given money to Democratic candidates.

Damn. Can't be honest and oppose the war in Iraq. And contributing to Democrats? Did the Bush campaign figure out they favored Democrats before or after they endorsed the Democratic nominee for president? Next time, Kerry needs to find some Republican-supporting scientists to endorse him.

One can only assume that we can now dismiss the endorsement of any Republican or Iraq war supporter who ever said anything nice about Bush.

"Only John Kerry would declare the country to be in scientific decline on a day when the country's first privately funded space trip is successfully completed," Mr. Schmidt said in a statement, referring to the rocket plane SpaceShipOne's journey 62 miles from earth and back.

Yes. This privately funded research program is the strongest evidence possible that federal R&D is going just fine. No holes in that logic.

Mr. Schmidt said the administration had increased the budget for research and development 44 percent since 2001, to $132 billion next year, and pointed to the president's plans to develop hydrogen fuel cells, promote clean coal technologies and modernize the electricity grid.

The budget for R&D has increased 44%. The budget for SCIENCE R&D, however, has not. Which is why John Kerry was criticizing Bush's SCIENCE R&D policies.

Now, this last distinction is actually kind of important. If you just read the article, it sounds like John Kerry is lying. What could be wrong with Bush's R&D policy if he increased R&D by 44%? Wilgoren of course doesn't tell you. A less "liberal" newspaper might inform you that the vast majority of that increase was for defense and homeland security and that much of the increase that did occur in science R&D was due to a Clinton era decision to double the NIH budget over five years.

(Ezra and Jesse at Pandagon both see the problem here too.)

Update: Just in terms of actual figures, I've thrown this together from a quick look at my 2005 budget analysis: Of that $132 billion in 2005, only $60 billion goes to federal science and technology. $28.6 billion of that is for NIH, completing its 5-year doubling that began before Bush took office. Which leaves a little over $30 billion for S&T R&D Bush had real control over. All areas of R&D outside defense, homeland security, and the NIH are flat or declining and Bush's budget projections for the next few years are even worse.


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