Friday, May 18, 2012

Stupid Politician Making Stupid Rants!

In another example of a politician shooting off his mouth without doing any kind of basic investigation, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who himself is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (meaning, he should KNOW better), ran off a series of rants against science funding that involves US collaboration with China.

Here's some example of the stupid remarks that he had made (you can read it for yourself if you have the stomach for such silliness):

Why did the Department of Energy give $5.3 million to Brookhaven National Laboratory in the Daya Bay nuclear project in China? That’s over $5 million. By the way, that’s $5 million to this nuclear facility.

Let me just note that, in my district, we have a problem with a nuclear power plant that’s going through some very serious problems right now, San Onofre. We maybe could have used that $5 million to help us correct the problems at the San Onofre plant. But no. We borrowed the money from China to give it back to them to solve their problems while our children will be forced to pay that debt off. We get no benefit out of it except a load of debt on our children.

Why did the Department of Energy give $256,000 to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for research at the Daya Bay nuclear project in China? Again, another $250,000 to this Daya Bay nuclear project. It could have been the next year because this is over a 3-year period. These are some of these. By the way, it’s not anywhere near all of them over the 3-year period, but all of these are taken from a list over that 3-year period. Yes, we could have used some of that money to make sure that we didn’t have a problem in our own districts.

Why did the Department of Energy give over $500,000 to the University of Houston for a proposal to measure neutrino mixing at the Daya Bay nuclear experiment in China? Again, over a half a million dollars while we’re having trouble with our own nuclear program. We should be developing our own new generation of nuclear power which will be safe—and we can do it—but we don’t have the money to do it. Why? We’re giving millions of dollars to China and to others, money that should go to developing our own new technology here. Of course, we are borrowing the money from China in order to give it to them, which leaves our children in debt, and they’ll have to pay it all off with interest
Can you believe such crap?

The astounding issue here isn't that he disagree in the funding of such projects. The astounding part is that HE COULD HAVE EASILY ASKED the relevant officials on why such fundings were given in the first place! I mean, DOE officials, etc. could have easily briefed him (if they haven't done so already) on not only why these were funding, but also the NATURE of the funding. For example, the Daya Bay project is NOT about nuclear power plants, even though it uses neutrinos generate from nuclear power plants. It is a project that is funded out of DOE's Office of Science High Energy Physics division, NOT nuclear physics division. So to say that the money could have been used to help solve some problems at a US plant is hysterically off-base! It shows a complete ignorance on what the project is all about and what the money is being  used for! And the fact that he could have easily found out boggles the mind on why he has no qualm in making such stupid statements first before checking.

And oh, here's another thing. Why don't you fund such projects in the US if you really want to money to stay here? You make such rants, yet, you cut fundings to high energy physics. The biggest neutrino project that has been proposed, LBNE, has now had to rethink of what it can do based on the severe funding cutbacks. So when you limit such funding, how do you expect people do continue doing their scientific research? Why, they go ELSEWHERE to where they can continue with their work!

In other words, the funding to various projects outside of the US, including China, is a DIRECT RESULT OF budget cutbacks to science research funding, especially in physics! In other words, Representative Rohrabacher, you only have you and your colleagues to blame for this!

BTW, this obviously isn't the first time these people are not ashamed to reveal their ignorance AND to show their unwillingness to try and LEARN about the things they are ranting about. Read an earlier blog entry on other previous silliness coming out of the US Congress. You can't read that and not be skeptical that these clowns have learned anything. This is why we need more scientists, and more physicists, in such circles.



Doug Applegate said...

And of course he makes it difficult for anyone outside his district to drop him a casual e-mail, explaining his mistake.

physics4thecool said...

@ Doug: that is typical, as most politicians don't receive/respond to email outside their districts. It is a sad indictment of our leaders basic understanding of science.

davidryu said...

There might not be a link visible, but you can still access the contact form at Not sure that the message will even be read if it's from someone outside his constituency, but at least we can try to make him aware of his misconception.