Myrmecos

Blagojevich and the Ants

I can’t help but feel gleeful at this morning’s news.   Back in January I had landed, I thought, a postdoctoral position at the Illinois Natural History Survey.  It was a dream job.  I’ve been itching for years to figure out what’s really going on with the evolutionary history of Camponotus, a hugely important ant genus with a godawful mess of a taxonomy.  The State of Illinois had finally provided the wherewithal, an independent postdoc to do research on a project of my choosing.  That would be Camponotus.

So forgive me if I seem petty when I explain that’s exactly when Mr. Blagojevich pulled the rug out from under the Survey, slashing their budget and eliminating several positions.

Suddenly, no job.  No Camponotus.  At that point we were already moving to Champaign-Urbana so I had to scramble to find another position.  Thanks, Blagojevich.  Perhaps next time I’ll have my bribe all packaged for you.  That’s how your system is supposed to work, no?

Sadly, the list of charges leveled against Mr. Blagojevich does not seem to include “Impeding the Phylogenetics of Camponotus“.  But, I’ll settle for the lesser crime of trying to sell Barack Obama’s old senate seat, if that’s what it takes to get rid of him.

Comments

  1. #1 James C. Trager
    December 9, 2008

    I knew well of his slashing and burning of INHS, but hadn’t realized the gov. had pulled the rug out from under you in the process.

    I hope that Camponotus funding does come through some day. W.S. Creighton once described Solenopsis as the crux myrmecologorum (the cross that myrmecologists must bear), but I opine that he wasn’t thinking about Camponotus when he wrote this.

  2. #2 myrmecos
    December 9, 2008

    Thanks James. I’ve been thinking about reworking the proposal to submit to NSF. We stand a fair chance, I think, as Camponotus is marketable from many angles: Co-evolution with their Blochmannia symbionts, the evolution of caste polymorphism, the pending C. floridanus genome, the pest status of several species, the coming and going of the metapleural gland, etc.

  3. #3 coffee fiend
    January 7, 2009

    i’m hoping Blagojevich will inspire Congress to finally grow a pair and do what’s best for the people they represent (by putting this guy away for a long time)