Thursday, Mar 05th

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Palin First Policy Speech Against Fruitflies

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Friday Night, Governor Sarah Palin made her first Policy Speech in Pittsburgh, PA. She gave her first policy speech urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), “a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.” In the speech, Palin cited the need to do more for children with disabilities such as autism.



A noble cause.
So, what does Palin propose to prioritize the money to fund research for autism? Palin claimed that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks “is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA.” She then ridiculed some of the pet projects — such as “fruit fly research” — saying they have little or no value.


Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? 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. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not. Link

Drosophila melanogaster = Fruitfly
I was a Biology Major during my undergraduate. There were 2 Bio courses I had to take: Bio 102: Botany and Bio 202: Genetics. Both classes included laboratory work where I had to breed and learn the cycle and habits of FRUITFLIES!
Why do we use fruitflies to study Genetics?
One reason fruit flies were used was the similarities between their genes and human genes. Although a fruit fly carries only around 135,000 genes, which might seem few in comparison to a human being's 4 billion genes, a large number of genes that suffer from human genetic disorders can be found in the fruit fly. Flies are cheap to breed, and their genes can be manipulated quickly. Moreover, better understanding of genes would allow scientists to search faster for novel therapeutic drugs for healing diseases like Alzheimer's. Link
Fruitflies have a short life-span but a quick reproductive cycle. They are excellent models to understand the science of genetics in one semester. In the advanced field of Genetics, fruitfly research has revolutionize the study of birth defects and even Palin's own desire to cure autism. Fruitflies have also been used to study cancer, diabetes, Huntington Disease and aging.

So it is clear that Sarah nor any of her advisors understood science when she publicly denounce fruitfly research in her first policy speech. I can accept Palin's lack of knowledge in this area. But the misinformation fed to her in which she did not even question why and publicly mock it as irresponsible spending does a great disservice to the McCain Camp.

In summary, I don’t think Palin is stupid; I think she is proudly ignorant, incurious and a cynical opportunist. She so desire to be in the White House but truly lacks the wisdom and leadership that is profoundly critical for the Oval Office!

I suspect that Palin’s first answer to people who have special needs consists of praying to God for healing. Anything else would be far beyond her comprehension.

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