In 1995, the Republican Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, dismantled the Office of Technology Assessment, a bipartisan consultant to the government on matters scientific. For over two decades the OTA had provided extensive expert advice to the President and Congress, but was defunded and shut its doors... a sign of things to come.
In January 2009, when Barack Obama took the oath of office, he said, "We will restore science to its rightful place."
It's time we held him to that. Blogger Darlene Cavalier met with Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) recently, and he will be pushing to reopen the OTA. In early May he will defend this act on the floor of the Capitol.
I cannot stress enough how important this is. The thread of science runs through a huge number of major decisions the President must make, from health care to the economy to biology (stem cell research) to the space program. Science Progress has more on why this must happen.
You can join the Facebook group for this, but more importantly, Darlene started an online petition to help us show our support for Representative Holt. It's not binding, of course, but if we get a few thousand signatures it might help win enough hearts and minds.
I don't ask you BABloggees for much, but I'm asking you for this. Join me, Darlene, Chris Mooney, and others. Read those links, and then if you feel you can, sign the petition. Let's get science back in the government's good graces... and vice-versa.