Although it is admirable that Mr. Simpson is concerned with the distinction between grant making (distributing the money of others) and grant receiving (using the money of others), the greater concern should be with "what is going to be done."
Going to a theme of aircraft, circa World War I (of some interest to Simpson), one recalls that Langley got $50,000 from the US government and the Wrights spent about $1000 of their own money. The Wrights' plane flew and Langley's did not. Nevertheless, the "good old boys" of that time created the "Langley Prize" and bestowed it on the Wrights. The benefit to society was a plane that flew, rather than the chattering of academics.
Separately, if one looks to the newspapers of that time, one can find the same arguments NOW used by Simpson against the patents of WARF were THEN used by Curtiss (invoking Langley) against the Wrights' patent. There is nothing new about what Simpson is saying in 2008. One does note that in the duration of time that CIRM has been around, the Wrights did their experiments and flew.
Of state public financing of scientific research on stem cells, the people of California said yes and the people of New Jersey said no. As ordinary people worry about their mortgages, getting to work, and simply getting food, one wonders how those votes would come out in mid-2008.
concerning The Perils of Group-Think at CIRM.