Menu

Waste 102: Michigan's Dead Bug Collection

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 8, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight, we begin our "Waste 102" countdown. And we will be giving you a full list of the 102 worst ways that the president's stimulus bill has been wasting your money. And then on Friday night, make sure you tune in for an hour-long special edition of "Hannity". We're going to take you all the way down to number one.

Right now we kick it off with 102 in East Lansing, Michigan, where our own Tucker Carlson is standing by, about to make your skin crawl.

Mr. Carlson, what have you got?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Sean, as part of our ongoing effort to find out what happened to all the stimulus dollars, we came here to Michigan State University, right behind me, which has a large bug collection. More than a million bugs on needles and preserved in alcohol.

The bug collection just got almost $200,000 in stimulus money. It turns out bugs were eating the bug collection. And so, the faculty here, the entomologists here, applied to the National Science Foundation for that money and got it.

We talked to the one of the head bug guys here, Anthony Cognato. He's a bark beetle expert. And we asked, among other things, how did you get this money? Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: So how did you get a federal grant?

ANTHONY COGNATO, BARK BEETLE EXPERT: You — you write a grant proposal, and you submit it. And it's that easy. But you have to have a sort of a good reason to actually ask for a grant.

CARLSON: So what was your reason?

COGNATO: Our reason was that the collection, we did not have up-to- date and standardized storage. And so this allowed for some insect pests (ph), which are common among entomology collections, to get into our collection and to start eating our insect specimens.

CARLSON: So bugs were eating your bugs?

COGNATO: Yes. Yes.

CARLSON: And what were you doing about it?

COGNATO: Well, we were taking a proactive stance by looking through each of our thousands of drawers. And when we found damage, we froze our drawers in a minus 80 freezer. And so — and so then we thought we need to write a grant to get better cabinet storage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: So in other words, the university had found a way to stop bugs from eating the bugs: just freeze the bugs, and the bugs die. But a lot easier, as Mr. Cognato said, just to apply to the federal government and get almost $200,000 for new trays.

Now, the stimulus, of course, was designed to stimulate the economy but also to create jobs. And so we asked Dr. Cognato, what jobs did this create? And here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: The stimulus was designed to stimulate the economy and to get Americans working again.

COGNATO: Yes.

CARLSON: How many jobs are created by this proposal?

COGNATO: OK. Well, for — well, for all those American companies that built our cabinets and our drawers, we've most likely preserved some jobs there. At least gave people jobs.

And here in Michigan, we're supporting four students for over two years.

CARLSON: So four students are working on this collection who would not be working on it otherwise.

COGNATO: Correct.

CARLSON: How much are they getting paid?

COGNATO: They get paid between $8 and $10 an hour.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: So four kids are making eight bucks an hour to move dead bugs from old trays to new trays. This is the job-creation engine of the Obama administration.

I asked why should the federal taxpayers be paying for this? It may be a noble cause. Perhaps it is. Why should we be paying? Here was his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: If someone is asking, you know, why is this a good investment of my tax dollars to save these bugs from other bugs, how would you respond?

COGNATO: Well, I would respond that a collection is like a library, and it contains knowledge. And each specimen, insect specimen is like a book, and that has information about where that insect was collected, how it was collected, what potentially it was eating.

So people, especially that are attached to agriculture and, say, forestry, need this information to help fight insect pests. And they cause a lot of damage to the U.S. natural resources in our food.

So — so, for example, this collection, the specimens from this collection were used to help to identify a very destructive, exotic pest.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: By the way, that discovery was not funded with stimulus money.

HANNITY: All right. Tucker Carlson, thanks for being with us in Michigan tonight. Appreciate the report.

CARLSON: Thanks Sean.

HANNITY: It's just bugging me to death.

And by the way, the countdown will continue tomorrow night as we head to Kennewick, Washington, for No. 101.

— Watch "Hannity" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.