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October 14, 2014

Things the NIH *Did* Have Enough Money For

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If so, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins must really admire Barack "The Buck Stops There" Obama, whose legendary ability to blame everyone but himself for his administration's incompetence (if only there were an elected official whose job it was to run the Executive Branch!) is rapidly gaining Guinness Book of World Records stature. Dr. Collins recently blamed complained his agency's failure to produce an Ebola vaccine on a lack of funding.

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,’” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.” … “We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference,” he said.

Oddly, despite lacking funds to develop a vaccine for a deadly disease with death rates between 25% and 90%, the NIH had plenty of money for far more urgent tasks like these:

$2.4 million for a new condom whose inventor is now being investigated for fraud

$939,000 study: Do male fruit flies prefer younger females?

$257,000 to create a website for first lady Michelle Obama's White House garden

$592,000 study: chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators

$117,000 study: most chimps are right-handed (who knew?)

...and these:

$325,525 study: wives who remain calm during marital spats are happier.

$666,000 study: why do people watch re-runs on TV?

$702,000 study on impact of TV's and gas generators.......in Vietnam

$500,000 in federal $$ on canine beauty products

$90 Million in taxpayer funded grants to China

Betsy Newmark goes on to note:

...NIH funding has doubled since 2000 and the funding for the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases went from $1.8 billion in 2000 to $4.3 billion in 2004.

Kinda makes one nostalgic for the Evil Bu$Hitler years, doesn't it? But wait - there's more where that came from!

... cuts that have happened over the past few years are due to sequestration. Remember that idea originated in the White House and it was passed by both the GOP House and Democratic Senate.

Y'all remember the sequester, don't you? The one that Obama promised (Holy Insurance Cancellation, Batman!) would not happen?

Last fall during the third Presidential debate, President Obama laid this stunner on a waiting nation:
“First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen."

Something Congress proposed? Not according to Bob Woodward:

No one disputes the fact that no one wanted sequestration, or that ultimately a bipartisan vote in Congress led to passage of the Budget Control Act. But the president categorically said that sequestration was “something that Congress has proposed.”

Woodward’s detailed account of meetings during the crisis, clearly based on interviews with key participants and contemporaneous notes, make it clear that sequestration was a proposal advanced and promoted by the White House.

If only there were a profession whose job it was to protect the President. And no, we're not talking about the Secret Service:

... it is strange to see prominent journalists, notably Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, react to ostensibly forthright critiques of Obama's policies by expressing shock at the disloyalty of former administration officials, as if the highest loyalty they owe is to the president rather than their countrymen or the truth. Perhaps it is to be expected that the ruling elite would extol a self-serving variation on omertà. To see members of the press police that code is confounding. The matter at hand is the wisdom of U.S. policy in both Iraq and Syria. Milbank's curious focus: "Leon Panetta, other former Obama subordinates show stunning disloyalty." He goes on to write that "the lack of message discipline is puzzling, because Obama rewards and promotes loyalists. But he’s a cerebral leader, and he may lack the personal attachments that make aides want to charge the hill for him."

Why would a journalist lament a dearth of "message discipline," a euphemism for willful lying? And ponder the "charge the hill" metaphor. It implies an enemy shooting at the man charging up. In this case, the "enemy" would seem to be those who criticize Obama's foreign policy, whether other politicians or journalists.

More message discipline - that's the ticket.

Posted by Cassandra at October 14, 2014 07:23 AM

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"$592,000 study: chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators"

Well, they certainly see to win US elections in "Blue" states. Maybe that was the point of the study?

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at October 14, 2014 09:29 AM

I wonder what they thought the chimpanzees were doing besides communicating? It always struck me as a pretty clear message.

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2014 10:06 AM

Grim, you ignorant slut :p

The temerity of you little people never ceases to amaze me. How dare you question the priorities of The Greatest Administration, Ever, In All Time?

We know all about priorities - we invent a new #1 priority almost every day, and sometimes we have multiple #1 priorities!

Posted by: Valerie Jarratt at October 14, 2014 10:18 AM

“But he’s a cerebral leader...”

There is much about Ophilia that warrants a purging upchuck, but as bad as he wants to be, the boys in the chorus are worse – it’s one thing to be an asshole, it’s a whole different thing to esteem one.

Apologies to Mr Milbank if he had simply gotten muddled and meant to say celebral – someone known for being known. In the case of O, his chief claim to fame is being "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" – of which there is nothing that is true, relevant, or pertaining to either 'celebral' or 'leader'. The hell with the message – kill the messengers.

Posted by: George Pal at October 14, 2014 10:19 AM

$939,000 study: Do male fruit flies prefer younger females?

This is a statement that so cries out for comedic abuse that I can barely restrain myself. Barely. But this is a very serious issue, too serious to excuse the indiscriminate lobbing of low-brow snark grenades - even if such rude and anti-social behavior could be sympathetically viewed as naturally-occurring defensive reaction to the bleak, bottomless dread summoned by the specter of a virulent, indiscriminate human plague.

Oh what the hell: Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 14, 2014 10:20 AM


Sometimes for 20 or 30 minutes at a time.

Posted by: Valerie Jarratt at October 14, 2014 10:21 AM

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

...or a fetching young fruitfly with long, shapely legs and a "Come hither, Big Boy" look in her eye. Or so we've been told :p

Posted by: Cass at October 14, 2014 10:36 AM

There is much about Ophilia that warrants a purging upchuck, but as bad as he wants to be, the boys in the chorus are worse – it’s one thing to be an a**hole, it’s a whole different thing to esteem one.

Aren't these the same folks who drive around with Question Authority bumper stickers plastered all over their cars?

Hard to think of too many people with more authority than the President of the United States, but somehow we're not supposed to question him.

Posted by: Cass at October 14, 2014 10:57 AM

There's a saying, "Image trumps reality"; 0 seems to think that by manipulation of image he can change reality. Doesn't work that way, dude, only thing that changes is people's opinion. When they catch you doing this, they don't like it.

Posted by: htom at October 14, 2014 01:30 PM

I think he got used to the press uncritically repeating whatever excuses he throws out - it went on so long he seems surprised and offended when anyone questions his constantly changing stories.

Posted by: Cass at October 14, 2014 01:58 PM