It is remarkable that so little attention has been paid to the crisis in funding of basic science with the passing of the federal omnibus budget and the serious impact on the two important Illinois national energy labs, Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory.
Hundreds of the highest tech jobs and scientists, along with university participation, are leaving Illinois and the U.S., taking with them their research projects and expertise. Fermilab alone is home to advanced technology research for 2,000 international scientists and engineers. These are not people that can be easily hired back. The high-tech corridor, and all its support businesses, will be permanently impacted in the western suburbs, not to mention major research programs at Illinois' renowned universities - University of Chicago, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, University of Illinois to name a few.
High energy physics and Fermilab gave us the WorldWide Web and built the Loma Linda Medical Center accelerator for cancer therapy, recently patenting and pursuing new innovations in cancer therapy accelerators - that is, before the funding crisis.
With Rep. Hastert's retirement, our other representatives and senators did not step up to fulfill his critical role. We need extraordinary leadership to recover our lost capacity and prestige of the last several years.
One has to ask whether Barack Obama can successfully weather a Republican onslaught, in light of his association with and the recent arrest of Tony Rezko, his recent endorsement of driver licenses for illegal immigrants or the relentless digging into personal history awaiting any presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton has made it clear she supports a strong research initiative, particularly in advanced energy sources, but also many other strong economic measures and policies which will not only secure the U.S., but advance us intellectually as well.
She has also weathered 16 years of Republican smear and attack, exceeding all expectations to become a very tough presidential contender. We will likely need both as presidents -- Hillary, followed by a more seasoned Barack Obama, to regain our lost competitiveness.
M. A. Cummings