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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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."