An already stagnant budget was made worse this spring when Congress and the White House failed to prevent sequestration. The NIH was forced to cut $1.7 billion from its budget by the end of September, lowering its purchasing power about 25 percent, compared with 2003.
Roughly six months into sequestration, however, the situation is worse than predicted. Internal NIH estimates show that it will end up cutting more than the 700 research grants the institutes initially planned to sacrifice in the name of austerity. If lawmakers fail to replace sequestration at the end of September, that number could rise above 1,000 as the NIH absorbs another 2 percent budget cut on top of the 5 percent one this fiscal year.
"It is so unimaginable that I would be in a position of somehow saying that this country is unable to see the rationality of covering what biomedicine can do," Collins said, in an interview with The Huffington Post. "But I'm not sure from what I see right now that rationality carries the day."
The real-world implications of irrationality, Collins added, are quite grave. His most vivid example is the flu vaccine, which he says could be as close as five years away from discovery. NIH officials are working to insulate that program from budget cuts. But sequestration will, at the very least, mean that research goes slower than it could.
"If you want to convert this into real meaningful numbers, that means people are going to die of influenza five years from now because we don't yet have the universal vaccine," he said. "And God help us if we get a worldwide pandemic that emerges in the next five years, which takes a long time to prepare a vaccine for. If we had the universal vaccine, it would work for that too.
"The clock's been ticking on the potential of the next eruption of a pandemic outbreak from South Asia or wherever. And we've gotten lucky so far [that it hasn't happened]. But are we going to stay lucky? So, how can you justify doing anything other than pulling out all the stops in that kind of circumstance? And yet we're prevented from doing so."
I'd like to know more about him before I make up my mind. I don't think it helps that liberal groups are coming out swinging so soon. It has the appearance that they would oppose anyone Bush would nominate.Now her position is eminently reasonable -- in both senses of the word. Jeralyn is taking the classic rationalist approach to questions of fact: let both sides argue their case, sift and weigh the evidence, then decide. It's how lawyers, and most particularly judges, are trained to look at the world.
The worst thing the left could do at this point is to give a knee-jerk, predictable response. Let's just wait and see.
Of all the choices he was seriously considering, I think John Roberts is one of the least objectionable mainly because of his superlative legal mind.
We definitely need to hear more, but we need to use caution in opposing him just because he's conservative.These aren't trolls. These are liberals talking. But if you scroll down towards the bottom of the thread, you finally get the conservative response:
The heading of this blog tells it all - "Too soon to bash John G. Roberts" .... LOL. I read that to mean...you'll eventually bash him, just not yet...!And of course, Jeralyn's anonymous troll picks out the one comment on the thread that suggests Roberts should be opposed simply because Bush appointed him -- a remark posted by someone using the World Socialist Web Site as a return email address. This, our troll screeches, is the "typical lefty reaction."
You cannot cripple an opponent by outwitting him in a political debate. You can do it only by following Lenin's injunction: "In political conflicts, the goal is not to refute your opponent's argument, but to wipe him from the face of the earth."Lenin: (teary eyed) He's like the son I never had!
The act of defining combatants is analogous to the military concept of choosing the terrain of battle. Choose the terrain that makes the fight as easy for you as possible.Stalin: (puffs out his chest) I always knew that boy would make good!
Let’s stop all this crap with all of these high fallutin’ thoughts and ideas. You know what happens to people their eyes glaze over, I don’t know what the hell he’s saying.This may, by the way, be the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say “high fallutin” outside of an old Western.
Unlike Obama's tenure, there was no successful attack on the homeland after 9/11.Thus do we confront what we can call The Great Mulligan, which is granted by the dimmer lights in the chandelier to the president and to the national security team — Hi, Condi! — who presided over the most massive intelligence failure in American history, and over the greatest loss of life to an enemy attack on American soil since everybody hugged it out at Appomattox. This has popped up from time to time in the years since it became obvious what a complete and utter failure the Bush presidency really was. Sorry we lied you into a war, but we kept you safe. Sorry we demolished American values, and just about every shred of American moral credibility in the world, but we kept you safe. Sorry we let New Orleans drown, but we kept you safe. Sorry we allowed the national economy to blow up, but we kept you safe. In fact, if you sent C-Plus Augustus into his own museum, and had him take that interactive quiz, and provided he didn't break a thumb trying to get a Diet Coke out of the exhibit, his answer to everything would be I kept you safe.
'Anti-Occupy' law ends American's right to protest:Thanks to almost zero media coverage, few of us know about a law passed this past March, severely limiting our right to protest. The silence may have been due to the lack of controversy in bringing the bill to law: Only three of our federal elected officials voted against the bill's passage. Yes, Republicans and Democrats agreed on something almost 100%.
The First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees us the rights of free speech and assembly. A fundamental purpose of our free speech guarantee is to invite dispute. Protests can and have been the catalyst for positive change. Thus while we despise that protestors can burn our flag as protected political speech, and we hate that Neo-Nazis can march down our streets, we recognize the rights of these groups to do what they do and we send our troops across the world to fight for these rights.
Last year's "occupy movement" scared the government. On March 8, President Obama signed a law that makes protesting more difficult and more criminal. The law is titled the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, and it passed unanimously in the Senate and with only three "no" votes in the House. It was called the "Trespass Bill" by Congress and the "anti-Occupy law" by everyone else who commented.
The law "improves" public grounds by forcing people - protestors - elsewhere. It amends an older law that made it a federal crime to "willfully and knowingly" enter a restricted space. Now you will be found guilty of this offense if you simply "knowingly" enter a restricted area, even if you did not know it was illegal to do so. The Department of Homeland Security can designate an event as one of "national significance," making protests or demonstrations near the event illegal.
The law makes it punishable by up to ten years in jail to protest anywhere the Secret Service "is or will be temporarily visiting," or anywhere they might be guarding someone. Does the name Secret tell you anything about your chances of knowing where they are? The law allows for conviction if you are "disorderly or disruptive," or if you "impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions." You can no longer heckle or "boo" at a political candidate's speech, as that would be disruptive.
After you swallow all of this and correctly conclude that it is now very easy to be prosecuted for virtually any public protest, you should brace yourself and appreciate that it is even worse. Today, any event that is officially defined as a National Special Security Event has Secret Service protection. This can include sporting events and concerts.
The timing of the law was not coincidental. The bill was presented to the Senate, after House passage, on November 17, 2011, during an intense nationwide effort to stop the Occupy Wall Street protests. Two days before, hundreds of New York police conducted a raid on the demonstrators' encampment in Zucotti Park, shutting it down and placing barricades.This law chips away our First Amendment rights. Its motivation is 100 percent politically based, as it was designed to silence those who would protest around politicians giving speeches. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed they did not want hecklers at their rallies. If you want to protest a politician speaking to a crowd now, you can do so maybe a half mile or so away.