As yet another examples of the derangement of conservative thought, Sean Hannity has been pushing a list of 102 examples of ‘wasteful’ stimulus spending. I don’t quite get it; this is money the government is disbursing to encourage jobs for the sake of jobs, and if they were hiring people to dig holes and fill them in again, it would accomplish their task. However, the money is being spent sensibly on projects that also improve the nation’s infrastructure in small ways and increase knowledge.
One of the targets of their scorn are science projects, including this one, improving the facilities at an insect collection in Michigan. You might not want to watch this if Hannity and Tucker Carlson make you gag, but the scientist in charge, Anthony Cognato, does a good job of making his case.
The bad guys are really reaching here. Carlson tries to imply that they didn’t need the money, that all they had to do was stick the ‘bugs’ in a refrigerator, but that doesn’t work — this is a working collection, you can’t just archive them away in a deep freeze, and storing a million-specimen collection in a bank of -80° freezers would be rather substantially more expensive than putting in more effective shelving. Cognato addressed this (that link is behind a paywall, sorry):
The interview began and Carlson transformed into an effective pundit for the Right; the questioning was quick, the topics a little disconnected, and at times he seemed to fish for a particular sound bite that would support the opinion that funding the collection was a waste of money. For example, he asked me a couple times if I could have controlled collection pests by just continually freezing the drawers that contain the specimens, thus making our purchase of new storage cabinets unnecessary. I answered repeatedly that freezing our thousands of drawers was not optimal for long-term preservation, that it drained time and resources, and kept researchers from using the collection for scientific studies.
Then they try to suggest that all the $200,000 did was to hire a few students at $8/hour, which is not true: those students weren’t in charge of building shelves. That was a professional job from a company called BioQuip. One of the workers at that company wrote in:
My´╗┐ job is one of the many that were affected by this grant. I work for BioQuip, the California company that manufactures the drawers that MSU bought. Our company employs 27 people whose jobs were all affected by this grant as well as the lumber company, glass company & trucking companies we use along the way. This grant has benefited the US economy, created & maintained US jobs on a level far greater than 4 jobs at a single university. Hannity & Carlson need to do their homework.
Of course, the Right doesn’t see this. Read the comments on Hannity’s site about this subject: it’s insane. Most of the people are ranting about Pelosi and Obama with no connection at all to the topic of the video…except for the weird Cyrillic comments (Russian spam of some sort?).
We’ve got to keep these nuts out of power.