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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Palin Displays Party Ingorance Mocking Olive Growers in California

In a line of speech probably engineered by Republican party writers, Sarah Palin said "Youíve heard about some of these pet projects, they really donít 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."

While the audience was snickering, the 11 million dollar plus California Olive Industry was not laughing.

According to researchers, the pests must be comparatively studied in their native environment in order to find natural predators and other solutions that Mediterranean olive growers have to managing pests. The program, based out of the European Biological Control Laboratory, has uncovered a parasitic wasp that can control damaging fruit flies - in one trial reducing post losses by up to 96%. A $750K price tag to protect 11 million isn't too expensive, and the Department of Agriculture's international ties were probably necessary to broker this deal - in which European resources are used to help out competing U.S. growers.

I'm not blaming Palin here, I'm blaming the Republican speech writers that misinformed her as to the importance of this not-very expensive research to California economy. Republicans generally have a low opinion of real research science, preferring grandiose popular wastes of money like "Moon bases" and "Men on Mars" (wheras a realistic scheme to bioengineer mars for human habitation with robots has been sacked).

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