Was Palin misled by tightwad-taxpayer group?
In a speech about her running mate John McCain's policies on children with disabilities, Palin condemned so-called earmarks, congressional mandates to spend money on specific projects. "You’ve heard about some of these pet projects, they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good," Palin said. "Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not." . . . .
. . . .. Palin's example came from the Web site of Citizens Against Government Waste, a private group claiming to fight government mismanagement that awarded Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) a "French Kiss Off Award" in April for obtaining $211,509 for research on the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae). As some bloggers were quick to point out, recent results from studies on other fruit fly species may help scientists understand autism, a disease Palin mentioned in her speech because her nephew has it. But the Thompson earmark is for the European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL), administered by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which studies ways to control invasive species in the United States by using their natural enemies. . . .. .In lab tests, one parasitic wasp from southern Africa called Psyttalia lounsburyi appeared able to control populations efficiently and to attack only the olive fruit fly. It has recently been introduced in several areas in California and has brought down fly numbers by as much as 96% . . .
"As some bloggers were quick to point out"? Virtually every Darwinist blogger on the planet from Fatheaded Ed Brayton to Sleazy PZ Myers has jumped all over Sarah Palin because of her above statement.
So the research funding was not especially huge ($211,509), it went for an important cause, and it yielded excellent results (of course, it could be argued that the research should have been funded by one of the main beneficiaries, the olive industry, but that is another matter). Palin's poor example of "wasteful" research funding was probably the fault of the tightwad-taxpayer group, not her. However, while I recognize the importance of having priorities in research funding, IMO just expanding knowledge is a worthy goal of research funding even when there are no practical benefits.
Anyway, the Darwinists have blown this whole thing way out of proportion.