Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me ...

Now, we can't be overly cynical here.

I'm sure it was just a coincidence, a bump in the schedule of such a high-flying campaign, that Mommy Moose gave here first "Policy" speech on the same day that she, and First Busy Body, husband Todd, gave (Wink, Wink) their testimony to the "real" Troopergate inquiry.

And, believe it our not, she still managed to screw things up, and generate head-shaking and headlines.

Richard Wolfe, of Newsweek, on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night called it "The most mindless, ignorant, uninformed comment we've seen from Governor Palin ..."

On top of the gaffe, her speech also, as Glenn Greenwald points out, goes against Stumblin' Bumblin' Fly Boy's much-heralded "Spending Freeze".

The "policy speech" chosen for the Wasilla Whiz Kid was on Special Needs, something, naturally, she could speak of personally, a sort of home-field gimme.

Here's the video of it;

Palin hits fruit fly research but it has helped autism

Got that?

This is a matter of how we prioritize the money that we spend. We've got a three trillion dollar budget, and Congress spends some 18 billion dollars a year on earmarks for political pet projects. That's more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA. And where does a lot of that earmark money end up? It goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good -- things like fruit fly research in Paris, France, or a public policy center named for the guy who got the earmark. In our administration, we're going to reform and refocus. We're going to get our federal priorities straight, and fulfill our country's commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life.
She's dissing the research community and their use of Fruit Flies to combat Autism.

As Think Progress notes;
Palin did not specify what fruit fly research earmark she was referring to (presumably a grant for olive fruit fly research), but she is apparently unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research, as a study at the University of North Carolina demonstrated last year:

[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for..nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

The study of fruit flies has also been used for other autism research and “revolutionize[d]” the study of birth defects.

Or, what PZ Myers says, in his "Sarah Palin: Ignorant and anti-science";
This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work? — and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada and China and India and others are all respected participants in these efforts.

Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.

This is where the Republican party has ended up: supporting an ignorant buffoon who believes in the End Times and speaking in tongues while deriding some of the best and most successful strategies for scientific research. In this next election, we've got to choose between the 21st century rationalism and Dark Age inanity. It ought to be an easy choice.
So, what is this?

Palin just being her usual, vapid self?

The staff, the speechwriter, forgetting to vet the speech, to employ that obscure tool called "The Google"?

Or, is it the beginning of politicizing the Fruit Fly, running the Fruit Fly through the Right Wing Freak Show grinder, noting Ms. Ya'Bet'cha's designation of the "Paris, France" Fruit Fly.

Will we soon see charges of researches being targeted for "pallin' around with Paris, France Fruit Fly researchers", or pitting those with the "Paris, France" autism, versus the Real American, "Freedom Autism"?

Rumor has it she's going to give another "policy" speech on Energy next week.

Boy, I can hardly wait for what comes out of that one.

Bonus Shoo Fly Links

Wonk Room: Analyzing Palin’s Special Needs Policy Address

Tristero: Republicans vs. Science

Christian News Wire: Pro-Life Reaction to Gov. Palin's Policy Speech Addressing Special Needs Children

Boston Globe: Palin spotlights special needs in first major policy speech

New York Times: Palin Promises Choice for Disabled Students

John Cole: The Cure to Autism Involves Mocking a Route to the Cure

1 comment:

libhom said...

Fundies like Palin sure do hate Science.