Friday, January 5, 1996
FLASH! HOUSE JUST VOTED TO PUT FEDERAL WORKERS BACK ON THE JOB!
Uh, sort of. A testy Tom Delay (R-TX) snarled that some federal workers will be
getting notices that they better look for jobs after January 26 because their
agencies will not be funded.
1. TRAIN WRECK IV: PARTIAL END TO THE PARTIAL FEDERAL SHUT DOWN?
Freshman kamikazes are still sealed in their cockpits, but House leaders are
expected to prevail today in a plan to return federal employees to work--until 26
Jan 96--then it's train wreck time again. Although workers would return, they
might not accomplish much; the compromise would still block funds for contracts
and grants, leaving research universities in a jam. A meeting with
CERN Director General Chris Llewellyn-Smith, called by DOE for next week to
discuss American participation in the Large Hadron Collider, will go on without
NSF if the shut-down continues.
2. RESEARCH: IMPACT OF THE SHUTDOWN IS JUST BEGINNING TO BE FELT.
An article in Newsday reports that on December 31, NSF had to cut off funding for
156 research grants. The awarding of new NSF grants, which normally averages
80 per day, is suspended. If and when the budget mess is resolved, it will still
require weeks or even months to work through the backlog of grants and
proposals. The same is true of NIH and NASA grants. Even the release of data
gathered by NASA's Galileo probe during its plunge into the clouds of Jupiter has
been postponed. Calls by WN to university grants offices found the anxiety level
right on the threshold of panic. Another 300 NSF grants will expire at the end of
3. VETO POWER: HOUSE FAILS TO OVERRIDE THREE TIMES IN TWO DAYS.
The Defense Authorization Bill, vetoed because of missile defense provisions
(WN 29 Dec 95); Interior appropriations, vetoed
on environmental grounds; and Commerce appropriations, vetoed in part because
it failed to fund the Advanced Technology Program.
4. MRS. O'LEARY'S COW: GAO REPORT INFLAMES CONGRESSIONAL CRITICS.
First, it was her "enemies list" of unfriendly reporters (
WN 10 Nov 95),
then it was the image consultant hired by DOE to make the Energy Secretary
into a celebrity (WN 17 Nov 95), next came
complaints of lavish travel arrangements on over 100 domestic and foreign trips.
Now GAO has raised question about unsubstantiated DOE travel payments. On a
trip to New Delhi, for example, $31,000 was charged for lodging in Stockholm and
Vienna. Which was odd, since the entourage had no stopovers in either Sweden
5. ANTIMATTER: CERN SCIENTISTS PRODUCE 11 ATOMS OF ANTIHYDROGEN.
They hung around 40 billionths of a second before annihilating in collisions with
ordinary matter. But until cooler atoms are made and trapped, as several US
groups are trying to do, there is not much in the way of serious research that can
be done with them.