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Old 02-15-2009, 10:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Arlen Specter is my new hero!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/he...gewanted=print
Just the first few paragraphs.
Quote:
WASHINGTON — For years, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has been the National Institutes of Health’s most ardent champion on Capitol Hill. Having survived two bouts with cancer, open-heart surgery and even a faulty diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, he has long insisted that research that results in medical cures is the best service that government can provide.

But even lobbyists are stunned by the coup Mr. Specter pulled off this week. In return for providing one of only three Republican votes in the Senate for the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package, he was able to secure a 34 percent increase in the health agency’s budget — to $39 billion from $29 billion.

After money intended for highways, schools and states, it is the largest of chunk of financing in the budget and is almost three times the $3.5 billion first approved by the House. Nearly $2 billion is intended for building and equipment projects at the N.I.H. campus in Bethesda, Md., as well as at universities across the country. But most of the money will go to pay for as many as 15,000 additional grants submitted by scientists at universities across the country.

The health institutes currently issue 45,000 such grants at an average cost of $360,000 a year. And although most grants are financed for four to five years, administrators said they would give priority to projects that could be completed in two years.

House Republican leaders argued that the health institutes, flooded with cash, would pay for unworthy projects that would create few jobs. But the institutes finance only about 40 percent of grants deemed meritorious, so advocates say that there is a huge backlog of beaker-ready projects.
Wow, that's more than the EU, WHO, and CIHR. Wow, that's a lot of money for foreign researchers to travel to the U.S. and use state-of-the-art facilities to try and address all sorts of health issues instead of money for piles of food to sit unused in warlord-controlled warehouses. Wow, and that doesn't count the nearly $9b for the CDC. Or the ACS. Or the Komen foundation. Or the Gates foundation. Or... I could go on for a while.

The holy grail of grants for startup scientists is the K99/R00 bridge grant, and the holy grail of holy grails is the R01 grant. Not to say that the NIH grants the majority of the money, but it is the biggest (and most underfunded with Bush) single player.

I left the last paragraph in for any aspiring optometrists or opthamologists as an example of severe myopia.

Good time to be a startup scientist.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you a startup scientist yourself?
 
Old 02-15-2009, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Anything to encourage scientific progress, even in the medical field, is a good thing in my book. I'm a huge fan of increasing funding for the progression of science. This coming from a guy who reads Popular Science as if it were a new bible at arriving at the church's door.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, me and the wife both.

and

Put sciencedaily.com as your home page. Lots of stuff on Biology, Materials science, and Space science. Endless font of coolness.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, me and the wife both.
What fields are you in? I'm just finishing up my MD/PhD right now. PhD is in cellular and molecular biology.
 
Old 02-15-2009, 09:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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While I agree more is needed in the medical field, does it really belong as part of an economic stimulus bill? Maybe I should shutup and take it however it comes but I would rather have seen it as it's own bill.

This is an insane amount of cash that's being thrown around here. I can't wait to see the amount of waste when it's all said and done. Not that money spent on medical research is wasted, I'm a huge supporter of medical research being a nursing student.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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BTW this Science Daily appears to be one of your better "liberal sources" wolf. I like it so far. And it's not packed w/ ridiculous editorials & opinion pieces
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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While I agree more is needed in the medical field, does it really belong as part of an economic stimulus bill? Maybe I should shutup and take it however it comes but I would rather have seen it as it's own bill.
Do you expect this bill to stimulate the economy? Then it's in the governnment's best interest to actually keep the stimulus parts of the bill in the bill instead of passing it down the line for another day. You can only downsize, trim, and remove the stimulus portions of the stimulus bill before it won't do much stimulating. Leaving it for later isn't really stimulating. Funding the NIH is economic stimulus. It invests in the immediate future in the jobs creation and it's a giant investment in the future of the country. It IS stimulation. It's like saying the stimulus bill would be more palatable without so much stimulus in it.

Life Sciences research and Medicine are two different things with only a few overlaps in the clinical trials setting. Step into a research lab and your nearest patients are still on the other side of the city in the hospital. The fields are coming much closer lately, particularly with rational drug design and custom therapies, but there's still a HUGE gap there.

It was better to get it through now than later when the Repubs will fight it out of general principle and it won't get as much support because:
1) The D.C. Repubs feel education spending is a waste of money. No really, look at the history of house and senate votes. This mentality boggles the mind.
2) This stimulus bill will be brought up and used as a rallying point by every last D.C. Repubs when they debate and oppose ANY piece of legislation that spends even a penny (unless we're spending it to kill people in the Middle East), including any money for research, which they feel is a waste of spending anyway.

LATE EDIT: Wait. I said it was more than the EU, CIHR, and WHO.. I was wrong. What I meant to say it that it's more than the EU, CIHR, and WHO combined. Sorry for the mistake.

Last edited by MunkySpunk; 02-16-2009 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Arlen Specter is one of the few Republicans who i don't think twice about pulling the lever for. I'm glad he is my senator
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izibo View Post
What fields are you in? I'm just finishing up my MD/PhD right now. PhD is in cellular and molecular biology.
I'm not going to play the wave my personal info around on the internet so future employers can locate me and see my four letter word-laced posts and my more not-moderate opinions and not hire me game. I've already commented about myself more than I'd like in other threads. I'd be happy to take it to PM, however.

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Originally Posted by HouseMuzik View Post
Arlen Specter is one of the few Republicans who i don't think twice about pulling the lever for. I'm glad he is my senator
I can see my thank you notice to him:

Dear Senator Specter,

Inasmuch as you are concerned, I take back one nasty blanket comment I've made about the severe myopia and hypocrisy of the 'fiscal conservatives' in D.C. and amend it to mean all 'fiscal conservatives' in D.C. except for you.

Thank you,
A citizen

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