Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union

Last night I went ahead and tuned into the President's last State of the Union address. One of his introductory lines set a nice tone,

"In the work ahead, we must be guided by the philosophy that made our nation great. As Americans, we believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of history. We believe that the most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens."

Hooray for less government. Other highlights along these lines included the elimination of 151 "wasteful or bloated" government programs, the demand for Congress to rein in "pork-barrel" spending, and the promise to veto any bill that raises taxes.

It was also nice to hear him tout alternative energy, carbon sequestration, and nuclear power. Quite a change from a couple of years ago when the Administration wouldnt even admit global warming existed.

However, the best part of the whole speach was when he suggested we double funding for basic physical science,

"To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust in the skill of our scientists and engineers and empower them to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow.

Last year, Congress passed legislation supporting the American Competitiveness Initiative, but never followed through with the funding. This funding is essential to keeping our scientific edge.

So I ask Congress to double federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on earth."

Gotta love that. Having just finished graduate school where I received funding from such a DOE grant , I can appreciate the need for money for the sciences. Without it I, and many others, may have pursued other interests. These grants are crucial for keeping more American students in the engineering and science fields and keeping more top level professors here, in the US, developing new technologies.

Of course all this has to be taken with a grain of salt as lets face it, how much of what is said in the State of the Union actually gets accomplished??

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