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Mon Feb 25, 2013, 05:18 PM

Tonight On EyeCenterwitness News

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/sequestration-by-state-022513

Tonight On EyeCenterwitness News
By Charles P. Pierce
at 3:00PM


The administration made a sharp play today, releasing a list of how the upcoming Sequester Plague is going to affect each individual state. (You will note the predominance of red states with Republican governors in the Top 20. Here's Kansas, the most enthusiastic lab rat in the Republican experiment, and it will lose $5.5 million in school funding and have around 8000 defense-related employees furloughed. When will someone take these moochers and looters in hand?) There's some not unexpected bleating coming from John Boehner's office, as they duck phone callsfrom the district and hide behind either the curtains, or behind Bob Woodward's reputation, whatever's handiest.

"This would probably bring us to our knees," said Dr. Thomas Boat, dean of the University's College of Medicine and vice president for health affairs. He was referring to a possible 8 percent cut in federal research grants, which support everything from clinical trials to the development of new drugs. The university receives about $111 million annually from one federal agency alone: the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the National Institutes of Health. A bevy of other agencies, from the Defense Department to the National Science Foundation, also fund research projects at the school. In all, the university and its affiliates, such as the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, received $404 million in federal research funding in 2012, according to a tally compiled by university officials. If the cuts go through, "we're talking about probably close to $30 million in lost funding," Boat said. "That's money we can't really make up."


This is where the Republicans can possibly lose this gamble in a big way, because they don't appear to see that the administration's greatest ally in this isn't the cadre of people it can muster to The Sunday Showz. It's local TV news and what's left of the local newspapers around the country. In the Beltway view of things, The Sequester Pandemic is a series of numbers arrayed as though on a scoreboard, as a way to judge who's up and who's down, and who's winning and losing. That's how the Republicans have come to decide that there's some coherence in the position that the cuts don't really matter, except in that they are both cataclysmic and the president's fault. They can sell that in the Green Room, and in the vast spaces for entertainment in Cleveland Park. But none of those people have 35 minutes of air to fill every night before Jeopardy! comes on.

Out in the country, every truncated grant proposal is a story.("Marilyn is a local Hamilton County girl who worked her way through college and medical school after growing up in a homeless shelter. She has an idea for cancer research that the NIH says i the most interesting it's seen in years. But, because of sequestration..." Cue Marilyn, and some cancer patients.) Every laid-off defense worker is a story. Every closed national park is a story, weeping children live at 5:30 with Sarah, or Jennifer, or Russell from Our News Team discreetly herding the distraught tot into camera range. Local columnists can find easy columns in closed Head Start classrooms. Empty airport terminals make for outstanding video. This was a serious act of pre-emption aimed at using everything that's maudlin and provincial about local TV news. You wanted the White House to play tough. This is Ronnie Lott stuff right here.

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