A crock of talk

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By Roger Snodgrass

So what was all that drivel about making a big investment in science this year?In fact, for two years now, the U.S. political establishment has been on the verge of fulfilling a commitment that one face of the two-faced world of public life has wanted, needed desperately and promised devoutly to support.We’ve spent a bundle on wish lists and dreamy seminars. Bureaucrats and legislators have flown around the world several times to see with their own eyes and become experts on how uncompetitive we’ve become as a nation.There’s no free lunch, but what is there when your lunch keeps getting eaten?“Almost giving,” as the public service radio spot for charitable activities says, “is not the same as giving.”Here we are at the end of another appropriations cycle and “bupkis” – or beans as they say in Yiddish.We had a deal last year, but it pooped out. We had a deal this year. We had the National Academy of Sciences report by Norman Augustine, “The Gathering Storm,” and all that.We had the American COMPETES Act that laid out the grand plan, that passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate and was ceremoniously signed into law by the President.What happened?

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