Its Stooopid Season at Fox

Well, it’s that time of year again in congress: the time of year when demagogic politicians produce misleading reports to prove to their ignorant constituents just how ridiculous scientists are for locking themselves up in their laboratories and conducting absurd experiments when they should be at home watching Dancing with the Stars or Desperate Housewives like everybody else.

Reports such as these are usually authored by Republicans and typically call special attention to studies of the mating habits of insects, probably because of the simultaneous appeal to the target audience’s prurience, uwarranted sense of superiority, and scientific illiteracy: how many Fox News viewers are even dimly aware that some of our most effective pesticides work by interfering with an insect’s reproductive cycle? Not many, we’d wager, and so it’s not very difficult for a demagogue to convince his hillbilly constituents that entomologists who exhibit a curiosity over the mating habits of fleas surely must be up to no good, and should probably be added to the sex offender’s registry for good measure.

Tom Coburn’s latest report on government waste is a good example of the GOP’s politics of ignorance, with Exhibit A, a shrimp on a treadmill, receiving top billing on Fox New’s website. One can almost hear the conversations firing up down at the Flinlock Saloon: “Did y’a hear? They got this scientists who the government is paying millions of dollars to put shrimp on these little treadmills and watch ’em go ’round and ’round all day! Millions of dollars!” Because, honestly, what possible value could there be in studying the effects of environmental pollution and pathogens on Shrimp, when the U.S. Shrimp industry pulls in a mere 150,000 tons of shrimp a year, directly and indirectly employs thousands of people and is reponsible for just billions of dollars in economic activty? There can’t possibly be a national interest in assessing risks to and protecting the nation’s fisheries, after all.

Given that stupidity and ignorance are the grease that oils the Republican political machine, it’s not all that surprising to find little pushback on these sorts of things. Nor is it all that surprising to discover that the following item features at position  #78 in Sea Hannity’s list of the 102 most wasteful government spending initiatives:

18 North Carolina teacher coaches to heighten math and reading performance ($4.4 million)

After all, who needs math and reading when you can get all the information you need from Fox News? No math or reading required… in fact, they probably get in the way.


I know that I have certainly been hin… hein.. hund… slowed down by knowing how gram… gum.. words and things go together like.

Why are we using tax dollars to exorcise shrimp?


Well, if you can’t get the oil off them any other way… ;)

@nojo: I couldn’t afford to pay for my exorcism, so the Church re-possessed me.

@al2o3cr: Pro-activ.

I enjoyed reading this. I’ve been lying down in a darkened room most of the day. I’m just not quite sure what it has to do with John Edwards.

I think this is kind of awesome. Treason in Texas. I had no idea such a thing was possible.

TJ/ (Why do we even announce these things anymore?) You have a friend in Pennsylvania

ADD: Er. Um. Er. I saw “Keystone” and got a little confused.

ADDD: That makes even less sense. Forget the Keystone thing. I’m going to beD now. It’s been one of those thoses.

Apparently it’s stooopid season here (by “here” I mean, “in my head”), too. I’ll blame the monsoon that just rolled through and knocked out the power.

Seems rich to me that the generally science challenged viewers of Faux would have the intellect and background to “judge” science studies. Sure some of them sound stupid, but how do you think the Fuel Air Bomb that gives the war chickenhawks hardons began?

This is the kind of idiocy I have to combat every day as a science writer, and I have to make it explicitly clear the benefits of the science. Unfortunately, that paragraph is conveniently A) misread or B) ignored when one of my news releases gets distributed, at least by the lamestream and conservatard press. Actual science writers? They get it, and they are a dying breed, with so many news organizations cutting back. /end sciencey rant in defense of the NSF

@Benedick HRH KFC:Treason plays big in Texico. Guess where they got it from. The real reasons the Texicans violently seceded from Mexico were: they had to join the Catholic church to enjoy full citizenship rights and Mexico wouldn’t let the Texicans own slaves. The God fearing Baptists who illegally immigrated there from Tennessee wouldn’t have none of it and whupped some Mexican ass over it, once Sam Houston had the Mexicans eliminate all his political competition at the Alamo that is.

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