It’s less than a month since President Bush announced his AmericanCompetitive Initiative that consists of doubling “the federalcommitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physicalsciences,” coupled with a permanent research and development tax credit“to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology.” What hedidn‘t say was that to fund these research efforts, he would cut $2million that supports a network of 27 libraries, including anelectronic catalog of holdings within that network, which is used bythose very scientists and corporations whose work he is encouraging.
But what does 'cutting the budget' mean in real terms? Check this out (yes, I the bolds are mine):
The $7.3 billion proposed EPA budget would trim $2 million from the$2.5 million EPA library fund, which, according to the watchdog groupPublic Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), may causemany regional libraries to shut down. The pared-down library budgetwould de-fund the agency’s electronic catalog and pull $500,000 fromthe EPA headquarters library coordination network, according to EPAdocuments released by PEER.
Point #1: A Network of 27 libraries is only going to get $500,000 a year in funding? I live in Alabama, and we - who have proven over and over that we don't care about even our children's education - have public libraries that are better funded than this! Public libraries that exist to give people thrilling material to read. Now, libraries that really and truly hold information that could save lives is being given less money than ones that buy romances and mysteries? I love me some romance novels, but I think I know what my priority would be if I had to choose.
Point #2: they're going to "de-fund the" the library catalog. Wow. I'm assuming that the EPA doesn't have an old card catalog dinosaur sitting in its basement, being added to on a regular basis. So I wonder if 'defunding' means that only what's available in the catalog would be accessible, or if the whole thing just wouldn't be there anymore. Neither is really a good option.
Point #3: I'm out of coffee and really need to go look something up for this guy at the Pentagon since my break is over.
So....george wants people to do research, so that we can take better care of ourselves in the future. "Be Bold!" he says, riding on his inner high of self-righteousness. "Go and do research! We Will Take Care of You!"
Then he cuts the budget of one of the best sources of material that those researchers have.
You go, george. You have absolutely won the idiot's prize for the month. But don't give up yet! The year is still young - you might win that annual prize too! Think of all the idiocies you could commit between now and December 31st!