Feds Spent $412,930 to Apply Feminist Theories to Study of Glaciers

By Lauretta Brown | November 28, 2016 | 3:11pm EST
(U.S. government, public domain)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) released his second “Federal Fumbles” report on Monday, citing 100 examples of the misuse of taxpayer dollars through government spending and regulation.

One example: The National Science Foundation (NSF), the report said, spent $412,930 to fund a study that argued "that scientists should use femnist theories and a feminist point of view to sudy glaciers and the relationship between glaciers and humans."

Other examples include a regulation that requires convenience stores that accept food stamps to increase their offerings of "healthy" foods (such as "tofu" and "catfish"), more than $3 million spent for a soap opera to raise awareness about AIDS, and a university spending taxpayer dollars for custom snuggies.

“The American people have signaled a bold new direction for Washington with the election of President-elect Donald Trump,” said Sen. Lankford upon the report’s release. “Although the federal debt wasn’t a major focus during the presidential campaign, it remains a serious impending crisis that must be addressed.”

Here are 10 over-the-top examples of government waste and over-regulation from Lankford’s report:

Gas Station Tofu

The report documents a 2016 Department of Agriculture regulation that requires stores that accept food stamps to double their selection of “healthy food items,” suggesting “businesses that want to meet the new regulations begin selling items like almond milk, tofu, fresh or frozen catfish, goat’s milk, and shrimp.”

The report notes that 195,000 small gas stations and convenience stores would be impacted by the rule and that “many small gas stations have already stated they would be forced to stop accepting food stamps, thus eliminating an option to buy food for many food stamp recipients in rural areas and inner-city food deserts.”


AIDS Soap Opera

The report highlights $3.1 million in NIH grants since 2008 for a “12-episode soap opera video series” called Love, Sex, and Choices, which is “intended for women and viewable on cell phones, is intended to encourage smarter decisions and protection.” The program follows the lives of four women and their relationship issues. According to the report “the grant recipient acknowledged that the difference in smarter decisions among viewers of the show and those who just received a text message about HIV was not ‘statistically significant.’”

Feminist Glaciers

The NSF has spent the last several years funding a $412,930 study that culminated in a paper entitled “Glaciers, Gender, and Science: A Feminist Glaciology Framework for Global Environmental Change Research.” The report quotes the authors’ belief that “the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to a more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”

"In other words," the report said, "the authors argue that scientists should use feminist theories and a feminist point of view  to study glaciers and the relationship between glaciers and humans. The authors also argue that 'the feminist lens is crucial given the historical marginalization of women, the important of gendera in glacier-related knowledges, and the ways in which the systems of colonialism, imperialism, and patriarchy co-instituted genderered science."

Medieval Smells

The National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Institute of Museum and Library Services teamed up to spend $495,000 in taxpayer money to fund “A Sense of Beauty: Medieval Art and the Five Senses,” featuring “130 works of art focusing upon the senses created from the 12th to the 16th centuries.” The temporary exhibit intends “to provide attendees with the sights, sounds, smells, feel, and tastes of medieval times.”

Sea Duck Census

The Fish and Wildlife Service announced a $180,000 funding opportunity for organizations to develop a more effective method of counting and tagging sea ducks to “decide whether there is an adequate number of each species of sea duck.” The current tagging method the FWS uses “may actually kill the ducks,” according to the report, which also notes that current FWS “bird counts could be off by as much as 10 percent to 75 percent, depending on the species and the person conducting the count.”

Custom Snuggies

A 2016 audit of National Science Foundation grants to the University of Washington over the past few years questioned the use of more than $2 million, which largely went to inappropriately high salaries. This included $1,179 on embroidered Snuggies and $3,920 on promotional items, which included more custom Snuggies as well as canvas bags, and mini optical computer mice.

Old Tanzanian Fish Bones

The National Science Foundation approved a $200,000 multi-year study last year entitled “Fish as a delicacy and a staple: Social status and the daily meal at the 14th to 16th-century town of Songo Mnara, Tanzania.” The study aims to determine if there is a correlation between a family’s place in the social ladder and the type of food eaten, specifically “fish bone and ceramic fragments from a selection of households representing diverse levels of social standing.”

Tanning Intervention

Despite a general decrease in the use of tanning beds in the United States, the National Institutes of Health have provided $1.3 million since 2015 to fund a social media campaign to encourage mothers to tell their teenage daughters not to use tanning beds. The campaign is titled “Likes, Pins, and Views: Engaging Moms on Teen Indoor Tanning Thru Social Media.”


Drug Addicts Might be Stressed Out

Since 2007 the NIH has provided $10.7 million on a grant to “learn more about the connection between illegal drug use and stress levels.” The studies “provided a small electronic device to those who admit to using illegal drugs, cocaine, or opioids, to log their stress levels and drug use throughout the day over a period of several months.” One of the studies found that cocaine users did the drug after an increase in the severity of their stress level.

No Swimming with Dolphins

The Department of Agriculture revived a rule this year that would prevent swimming with dolphins. Attempts to regulate this tourist industry date back to 1995 when the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service used their authority under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 to restrict businesses' ability to let tourists swim with dolphins. At the time the affected businesses successfully argued to USDA that the regulations were poorly written, burdensome, and unnecessary and it announced in 1999 that it would no longer enforce them.  

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