Vol. 1, Issue 17, September 9, 2003
Bush Funds New National Lab In Texas
President Bush announced today that a new national laboratory is being funded on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, at a cost of $3 billion over the next five years.
"These are challenging times for all Americans, and it's time we made sure we have the tools to keep our nation safe," Bush said in a Rose garden ceremony today. "I think it's high time Texas steps up to the plate and shows us what it's made of."
The impetus for the new national laboratory has puzzled many in the scientific community, as existing institutions such as the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories (in California and New Mexico, respectively) already conduct a great deal of vital research in a number of areas. However, White House sources suggest that the President is not happy with the nation's return on investment in these existing institutions.
"Let's face it, a lot of what they produce goes nowhere," said White House aide Jeremy Owens, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "So-called 'blue sky' research just doesn't make sense to the President, especially in times such as these when our resources are needed to complete making Iraq a free country."
One of the guiding principles of the new institution, which has scientists nationwide shaking their heads in disbelief, is the lack of advanced degree requirements for those working in the new lab. Provisionally entitled the "Texas Regular Guy Institute," or TRGI, the new lab will not employ scientists trained in traditional degree programs.
"This is because our President is so concerned with education," said Owens. "Research has shown that the school systems are broken, which is why we needed the No Child Left Behind act."
"I look at the problems in NASA," said Bush. "I look at the failure of our schools to produce high school graduates who can read and write. Now, where do college graduates come from? High school graduates. And where do scientists come from? College graduates. It stands to reason that if a high school diploma isn't worth anything, neither is a doctorate."
Reaction at the national level has been highly stunned.
"I really don't know what to say at this point," said Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academies of Science. "I mean, really. I don't know what to say."
The director of the new TRGI institute already has plans for a new orbital defense system based on launching scaled-up conventional assault rifles into space.
"The beauty of this is no one's thought of it," said Milton Redfern, a neighbor of President Bush and newly appointed director of TRGI. "If we build a 50-foot assault rifle and hang it in orbit over Afghanistan, you bet those Taliban hiding in the hills are gonna think twice about attacking Americans."
"It sounds like a Texas plan," responded Alberts.