‘Coked-up stimulus monkeys’ roped into Nevada’s Senate race

By Ron Brynaert
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 10:30 EDT
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The first season of HBO’s The Ricky Gervais Show ended months ago, but “Monkey News” lives on.

Two weeks after monkeys were cleared of accusations that the Taliban was training them to kill US troops, Republicans are accusing Democratic-enabled primates of stealing US taxdollars to get high.

“Okay, Sharron Angle campaign,” Jim Geraghty blogs at the National Review’s Campaign Spot. “With a subject line like this, you’ve got my attention.”

The Hill reported Monday, “Republican Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle used a new report from two GOP senators that detailed alleged waste of stimulus dollars to attack Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Tuesday.”

The report, released by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), detailed some 100 stimulus projects the senators considered wasteful and questioned whether they actually resulted in job creation.

In a news release, Angle focused her attention on a $71,623 grant awarded to the Wake Forest University Medical Center. Part of the university’s research involved studying the effects of cocaine on monkeys.

“We had no idea Harry’s plan of ‘more’ meant spending millions on coked-up monkeys and exotic ants while our state is ravaged by the worst foreclosure rate and highest unemployment rate in the nation,” an Angle spokesman said in a news release.

At the Washington Post, Emi Kolawole notes, “A full read of the ABC News report features a quote from the recipient of the ‘coked-up stimulus monkeys’ grant. Bonnie Davis, a spokeswoman for the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, told ABC the “small grant has helped protect very important research that will have significant impact on public health in regards to cocaine addiction and the issue of relapse.”

CNN adds,

Titled “Effect of Cocaine Self-Administration on Metabotropic Glutamate Systems,” the project calls for monkeys to self-administer drugs while researchers monitor and study their glutamate levels, the report said.

It cited a March 8 Raleigh News and Observer article that quoted Wake Forest University School of Medicine spokesman Mark Wright as saying the stimulus money would allow the university to continue a job that otherwise might have been cut.

Paula Faria, assistant vice president for media relations at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, said the grant will “have significant impact on public health in regards to cocaine addiction and the issue of relapse.”

“It’s also important to note that the applications for these grants are peer reviewed and this study was deemed of merit by a panel of scientific experts, and then reviewed by the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse before funds were awarded,” Faria said in a statement to CNN.

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