Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner looks for answers on H5N1 research

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) today wrote to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find answers on the decision to reconsider the publication of the H5N1 bird flu virus study.

The National Science Advisory Board of Biosecurity (NSABB) initially recommended that journals refrain from publishing the details of the H5N1 research because it believed that the benefits were outweighed by the risk that terrorist groups could use it as a recipe to create a biological weapon. NIH asked that the NSABB reconvene to reexamine new versions of the two studies, and the NSABB reversed the decision and allowed for publication.

A leaked April 12, 2012 letter to NIH from Dr. Osterholm, who is a member of the NSABB, argues that the board’s final decision to publish the potentially dangerous research was based on a biased presentation of the evidence that was “more about how to get us out of this difficult situation” than hearing from disinterested experts in the field.

Sensenbrenner released his letter to NIH with this statement:

“It appears that the Administration was unprepared for the possibility that the NSABB might recommend against publication, and then, caught on its heels, sought to avoid the recommendation. If true, this response does little to prepare the United States government to better handle similar issues in the future. I am asking the NIH to clarify exactly where the new government policy guidelines came from and how they will be implemented.”

“The risks of misuse are not going away. The U.S. government needs to make sure we are better prepared to deal with potentially dangerous research.”


Martin Heinrich generates support for satellite programs at KAFB

U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) continued his fight earlier this week to protect small satellite programs such as Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) and the Space Test Program (STP) at Kirtland Air Force Base, critical to national security and New Mexico’s economy. In a letter sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), Rep. Heinrich and a bipartisan group of colleagues urged that HASC leadership reject the Department of Defense’s proposal to repeal ORS and instead continue its long-standing support for ORS and STP.

“I will keep fighting for these space missions so that Kirtland remains a leader in cutting-edge research and development and that the jobs remain intact,” said Rep. Heinrich.

“Given the increasingly competitive environment in space and the high cost of procuring traditional, multi-billion dollar satellites, we fear these cuts are penny-wise and pound-foolish,” wrote Rep. Heinrich in the letter. “We must cut federal spending but spending cuts should not come at the expense of proven technologies that are also intended to lower costs.”

In a March 2012 Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Heinrich questioned Air Force officials about the proposals, and sent a letter opposing the cuts to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on February 14, 2012.


Ron Paul fan funds 'The Road to REVOLution' video game with Kickstarter

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has become the inspiration for “The Road to REVOLution” video game,  according to Kickstarter. Daniel Williams, the programmer and co-founder of, recently turned to Kickstarter to help fund his video game idea.

With 12 days to go before the project is funded, Mr. Williams has already raised $6,739 (his goal was $5,000). So far, 103 people have backed the video game with contributions ranging from $1 to $150 or more. Backers will receive various levels of rewards depending on how much they contribute. Anyone who contributes $150 or more will receive a signed, hand-drawn picture of the Texas Republican’s character as well as a number of other prizes.

“As far as I know, there’s nothing out there like it,” Mr. Williams said in a video posted to YouTube. “I got to work almost within minutes. You couldn’t keep me away from the keyboard, but if there’s a game about Ron it’s got to be awesome.”

“The Road to REVOLution” will have 50 plus levels of game play and will feature Mr. Paul as the central character. Players will try to grab as much gold and as many delegates as they can. The game will have an old-school look, much like Super Mario Brothers.

Mr. Williams says that the helped drive interest to his Kickstart project. “Completely took me off guard, and I am eternally grateful,” the programmer wrote about the support he has received.

“The Road to REVOLution” is still in the development stages and Mr. Williams is always open to suggestions. “I feel like it’s a big responsibility to represent Ron in a video game, and I definitely don’t want to misrepresent or trivialize the liberty movement.

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John McCain: China can exert influence over North Korea

Arizona Senator John McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, slammed North Korea’s Friday rocket launch Sunday. “For twenty years now we’ve been going through this Groundhog Day exercise,” Mr. McCain said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“Confrontation, followed by negotiations, followed by aid, followed by confrontation. I mean, it is remarkable how many times we have seen this movie.”

North Korea’s long-range missile technology failed to put a satellite in orbit to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung. The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed the unsuccessful launch of the North Korean Taepo Dong-2 missile.

Mr. McCain told Bob Schieffer that China still has the ability to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. “China is the only country that can really exert influence over North Korea,” the Arizona Republican said.

China is likely to have some interest in helping North Korea conform to international norms, as a refugee crisis in the event of war with South Korea would threaten the sovereignty of China’s border with North Korea.

“In the Bush administration we lifted restrictions against them in hope that they would be coming back to the table. This is a failed policy by numerous administrations. And again, what would we suggest? Make sure China understands that this is a key issue in our relationship with China,” Mr. McCain added.

The Arizona senator was not the only public figure to take umbrage at the North Korea rocket launch. The White House and the U.N. Security Council also condemned the rocket launch.

“Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea’s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a press statement.

During a meeting Monday morning, the U.N. Security Council called the rocket launch “a serious violation” of U.N. sanctions, according to the AP.


Sarah Palin wants Allen West to be Republican VP nominee

Fox News contributor Sarah Palin thinks that Representative Allen West (R-FL) should be the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee. “Top of my list is Allen West, ” Ms. Palin told Fox News’s Sean Hannity Tuesday. Ms. Palin was Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) running mate during the 2008 presidential race.

The former Alaska governor cited Mr. West’s military experience as her primary reason for selecting the Florida Republican. “He is a public servant willing to serve for the right reasons, ” Ms. Palin said. “He understands the Constitution. He understands our national foreign policy issues that must be addressed.”

Speculation over the eventual nominee’s selection for running mate has increased in recent days as it looks more and more likely that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination. Following his victories in Maryland, DC and Wisconsin, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s chances of grabbing the nomination have grown very slim.

Ms. Palin offered the eventual nominee some advice. “What I want to do is encourage the GOP nominee to not think that they have to go with somebody necessarily safe,” she opined.

The reality TV star warned that a “safe” pick would be “clobbered” by the media. “The media will make things up about them and their record and their reputations and their families.” Ms. Palin’s family struggles, including her unwed daughter’s pregnancy, became the subject of media inquiries during the 2008 presidential race.

“So no matter who it is, so they might as well get someone who is passionate and strong, as I say, like about Allen West, understands the Constitution and wants to put government back on the side of the people,” Ms. Palin argued.

There has been talk of a Romney-Ryan ticket as Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Mitt Romney campaigned together in the Badger State.



Sarah Palin will co-host episode of 'Today' show

Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will reportedly co-host Tuesday’s episode of the ‘Today’ show.

“She’ll reveal a different side of her than you’ve seen before, ” the morning show’s website boasted Sunday.

Ms. Palin, who resigned from the state’s top office in 2009, will host the program with Katie Couric, who is slated to fill in for Robin Roberts as co-host of “Today’s” rival morning show, “Good Morning America,” all week.

The co-hosting gig is likely to spawn a mixture of memories for Ms. Palin, who gained national attention following her interview with Ms. Couric. The Alaska Republican failed to produce an answer to a question put forth by Ms. Couric regarding which newspapers she read.

The appearance by Ms. Palin comes as the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination has provided the Alaska Republican with a platform from which to offer advice and criticism of the current field. The former Alaska governor announced in late 2011 that she would not seek the 2012 nomination, despite speculation that she would enter the race. Polls at the time showed Ms. Palin the middle of the pack.

Ms. Palin is now a paid contributor for the Fox News Channel.