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View Diary: MI-15 "A stuffed Dingell trophy on the wall would send shock waves" (34 comments)

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  •  Yeah OK . . . . (1+ / 0-)
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    But did you mean to respond to my comment? I don't get the connection . . .

    •  Some context . . . (0+ / 0-)

      And this doesn't even cover his harrassment of Dr. Gallo . . .

      Sunday, November 23, 2008
      John Dingell
      I remember John Dingell from my days writing for The Tech, the campus newspaper at M.I.T. He had a reputation as a bully, who liked to hold hearings and conduct investigations on fraud and waste in science to grandstand. The two I remember best ended up being busts as far as actually uncovering waste or fraud--audits of funding by research universities and a fraud case involving a researcher in David Baltimore's lab where the all charges were eventually dismissed.

      The Tech, Feb. 7, 1992

      The government -- particularly Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the Oversight andInvestigations Subcommittee -- tried to publicly embarrass MIT and other universities for alleged misuses of funds, even before formal evidence was presented before the committee.

      The Tech, June 6, 1997

      What had originally been a matter of Imanishi-Kari's questionable research data quickly swelled into a thorny and divisive debate over the validity of scientific research.

      Baltimore derided the controversy as a witch hunt and believed that some people, like U.S. Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.), were using it unreasonably to call into question government money spent on funding research.


      More, from Nature Medicine:

      At its basest level, the story revolves around a 1986 immunology article in the journal Cell. Entitled "Altered repertoire of endogenous immunoglobulin gene expression in transgenic mice containing a rearranged mu heavy chain gene," the paper purported to shed light on how immune-specific genes could be rearranged to produce a variety of antibodies. The paper's authors represented two different laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one led by Thereza Imanishi-Kari, and the other by Nobel Prize winner David Baltimore. Although considered important by reviewers and experts in the field, no one realized what other part this paper would play beyond the field of immunology.

      Shortly after its publication, one of Imanishi-Kari's postdoctoral fellows, Margot O'Toole, raised questions about the truthfulness of some of the data included in the paper, particularly on the part of her mentor. David Baltimore's spirited and somewhat imperious defense of Imanishi-Kari and his resulting downfall (specifically, his resignation of the presidency of Rockefeller University) gave the entire affair its name. Although initial inquiries by appropriate personnel found no evidence of fraud, the allegations took on a life of their own.

      How did what should have been a minor difference of interpretation become the most infamous scientific fraud case to date? Kevles documents with great care and almost numbing detail the rising political and personal pressures that consumed scientists during this period. Once sparked, flames of accusation and recrimination spiraled ever higher, despite increasingly desperate attempts to control them. Soon the principal players were buried under an overwhelmingly large supporting cast, all hell-bent on having the final word in this tragic story.

      The devils of the supporting cast are perhaps the characters that are most completely drawn in Kevles' fine prose, and they are legion. Many are merely incompetent (such as the FBI and Secret Service investigators) or opportunistic (a few well-known scientists who see a chance to get back at Baltimore for some undefined or imagined injury). But some seem outright evil. The infamous Stewart and Feder, the self-appointed watchdogs of science, are primary targets for Kevles' bite. They were determined to find and prove scientific fraud at any cost and saw in the Baltimore case a vindication of their own belief that fraud is rampant in the scientific community. Representative John Dingell (D. Mich), at that time head of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is determined to crush Baltimore for what he and his staff believe was their public humiliation at Baltimore's hands in the first set of hearings in this case. Kevles suggests that Dingell's bulldog tactics had the slightly more noble purpose of proving that science must answer to its federal benefactor. As a former Washington D.C. resident and science reporter, I am willing to believe that, far from being noble, his purpose was petty.


      And those articles describe this clown's actions very, very charitably.  It's decades past time to get him out of congress . . .

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