"The" fish atlas for economic stimulus

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Tue Apr 20 16:57:16 EST 1993


Please note that I've tried to set distribution to USA only.


Our local Rush Limbaugh tv station (yesterday) ran his Friday night show
and I'd have to say that the public is going to remember "it" when it comes
to a public discussion of the value of high-priced "academic" research.

The so-called stimulus proposal before the Senate contains what some are
calling "pork."

Limbaugh repetitiously stresses that the stimulus package contains no jobs.

To prove his point, on past shows he has pointed out the $3.1 million item
for a "fish atlas."  And he kept asking people to tell him 1) what is a
fish atlas 2) why do we need it (for $3.1 million) and 3) where are the
jobs in the $3.1 million fish atlas ticket item?

Well, what yesterday's show was about was "how hard" is it to pry out of
the "government" what the fish atlas is...or for that matter, whether
anyone in the government knows.  Are you getting my point?  This is not
good PR for the kind of funding many reading this newsgroup depend
on.

Linbaugh recounted the telephone query trail....starting with a government
agency likely to fund such an item......13 calls later the "culprit" was
tracked down (the fish atlas).

Though I don't recall the precise agency names, I'll state as an
agricultural scientist they made sense, especially since the lead from one
to the next was given by each agency called....the Library of Congress was 
on the trail ("plenty of them on the shelf here").....13 agencies later,
with calls to USDA, Commerce, US Wildlife and Fisheries, locations all over
the countries, and many "yeah we heard about it but not ours..."'s later...
it turns out that one can buy the "Atlas of North American Freshwater
Fishes" for $25 right downtown *here* in Raleigh NC from the NC Museaum of
Natural History and Science.

Well, if the current fish atlas is destined/commissioned to NC, then most
of the public probably also knows 1) none of that money will create an
infrastruture job nor 2) help the unemployment situtation in the RTP area,
which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country despite a
series of layoffs-buy outs of employees here at IBM, Northern Telecomm,
and a number of other high profile Fortune 100 companies.

This little exposition is neither pro nor con on anything other than to say
that when "scientific" funding is held up to scrutiny in the light of day,
it's none-to-hard to make us look like shit....and I can't ethically or
morally think of how funding for yet-another-variant of a fish atlas (4 to
5 inches thick) is justifiable as an "emergency" appropriation!

So, does anyone know the specifics of what-who-when-why this "fish atlas"
item has made it into emergency legislation?  Again, this is not a partisan
diatribe....just wondering out loud when we will choke on our own greed.

Steve
  
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