Mike the Mad Biologist

Hannity and Carlson’s War on Entomology

Right wing TV bloviators oppose scientific research. And in other news, dog bites man. By way of Bug Girl, I came across this story about Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson opposing the use of $187,632 of stimulus money to buy storage cabinets for Michigan State University’s Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection which houses over 1 million insects collected over 143 years:

Fox News host Sean Hannity launched a series of “investigative” reports this week, in which he claims he will reveal oodles of wasteful stimulus spending by the Obama administration. In his first report, Hannity and his sidekick Tucker Carlson blasted Michigan State University for using stimulus funds to preserve their historic arthropod collection. MSU’s entomology department received a $187,632 grant from the National Science Foundation.

So why did MSU apply for a $187,632 grant? MSU just doesn’t have the space needed to store such a vast collection properly. Some of the Lepidoptera collection filled hallways. Much of the collection was still housed in vintage 1950s cabinets that don’t protect specimens from pests (yes, bugs that feed on the preserved bugs). The arthropod collection was at risk, and MSU didn’t have space to expand or funding to purchase pest-proof storage cabinets.

With the $187,632 grant, MSU can purchase 13 storage cabinets, enough space to store at-risk specimens and expand their collection for the next 10 years.

Fortunately, Debbie Hadley defends the Cook Collection, so I don’t have to.

Look, if this were funded through the regular NSF budget, these morons would be asking why we’re storing bugs in closets (“I try to keep bugs out of my closets. Har har”). Or else they would want to know why the Smithsonian isn’t getting the money (“Why do we need two collections of bugs?”). Or some other daffy shit that exceeds my powers of imagination.

They’re anti-science assholes trying to poke fun at the pointyheads. It’s nothing more than Palinist politics of the blood, with scientists cast in the role of the ‘unreal’ Americans.

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    March 16, 2010

    Tucker Carlson has always been an idiot. I especially loved it when Jon Stewart took him apart.

    Hannity is nothing but an ignorant, malicious liar and blowhard fuckwad.

  2. #2 mousedude
    March 16, 2010

    number of NSF grant reviewers that take Sean Hannity seriously: 0

    number of Right Wing anti-intellectuals reading this blog: 0

    We all play to our base.

  3. #3 Moopheus
    March 16, 2010

    “Hannity is nothing but an ignorant, malicious liar and blowhard fuckwad.”

    I just had the displeasure of having to read his new book, and that pretty much sums it up.

  4. #4 Abdul Alhazred
    March 16, 2010

    Failing to pay for your storage cabinets is equivalent to an act of war?

  5. #5 ENT-TT
    March 16, 2010

    *twitch*
    Well… at least MI might get some more funding in the future, what with the Texas Board of Ejoomuckashun claiming that the American War of Independence was led by Charltan Heston and the NRA against hordes of giant spiders whose young hatched from the host bodies of minority children from the cast of “Thomas and The Jeffersons”. Maybe then they’ll protect their heritage.

  6. #6 Phillip IV
    March 16, 2010

    They’re anti-science assholes trying to poke fun at the pointyheads.

    Well, or at least Hannity is. In Tucker’s case, I understand his distaste for entomological storage cabinets – he might yet end up in one, sooner or later.

  7. #7 BaldApe
    March 16, 2010

    More fundamentally, they don’t understand real economics. Spending money stimulates the economy when you pay people to do something. It really doesn’t make a great deal of difference what you pay them to do, so long as they spend what they earn.

    That’s why tax cuts for the rich don’t stimulate the economy. Rich people don’t spend much of their money in ways that actually puts people to work (IOW, on consumer goods).

  8. #8 Desertphile
    March 16, 2010

    Over 655,000 human beings dead due to the invasion of Iraq, and FOX “News” thought that scientists spending money on science was more worthy of “reporting?”

  9. #9 Desertphile
    March 16, 2010

    The dollar cost to the USA of invading Iraq and Afghanistan so far: over $770,000,000. Where is Hannity’s outrage over that?

  10. #10 UK Resident
    March 16, 2010

    @Desertphile: Aren’t you missing three zeros there? You only have $770 million, whereas surely you’re after $770 BILLION?

  11. #11 Alex
    March 16, 2010

    An employee of the company that supplies the Cook collection wrote this in the comments over at Fox:

    “My job is one of the many that were either created or saved by this particular grant. I work for BioQuip, the company, based in California that manufactures the drawers and unit trays that MSU purchased with their stimulus money. Our company employs 27 people and we purchase wood and other supplies used to construct said drawers from other American companies and those companies purchase lumber harvested and milled in the United States by still more American workers. There is also the local, US based glass company that manufactures and cuts the glass that we use on the tops of the drawers. All of these materials then have to be trucked to us by still more US workers, employed by US freight companies, and then the finished products have to be shipped to MSU, again, using a US freight company which employs American drivers. I could continue on and include the mechanics who work on the trucks used by the freight companies and so on and so forth but I think you get the idea. When you take the time to really examine the facts, this $200,000 stimulus grant has benefited the US economy, created and maintained American jobs and businesses on a level far greater than 4 jobs at a single university.”