The sequester has now killed bunnies. Yes, furry, innocent, blind, lab-test bunnies have been put to sleep because of a $1.7 billion cut in the budget for the National Institutes of Health. A research ophthalmologist writing to the Huffington Post in response to a story about science cuts says Congress is the reason why he killed the bunnies he petted, played with, and experimented on. (Via Grist)
I have riffed one postdoctoral fellow and euthanized many beautiful, rare, and expensive transgenic rabbits that were new, exciting models for testing new therapies for human retinal degenerations. We petted them, played with them, fed them treats. Now they are dead. I blame Congress directly for that.
The bunnies are indeed a sad loss. But perhaps more illustrative is how the researcher describes how the funding cuts forced him to end his project early, thus wasting a lot of money that had already been spent.
Moreover the sequester’s cost is tremendously understated as no one is counting the destroyed investments. I’ve spent over $25,000 developing a colony of animals who have a progressive age-dependent blindness. Because of the sequester we’ve killed them before we could finish the treatment study. We saved about $4,000 from this year’s budget. We thus wasted 5x more money than the sequester saved. When and if Congress ever does anything again, it will be years before we get our new blindness-treatment study back on line. If it doesn’t get better soon, I’ll retire early and then 15 people will be unemployed.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
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