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Stem Cell Research and Science

August 9th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

This morning, Laura Bush defended this adminstration’s policies regarding stem cell research: “We don’t even know that stem cell research will provide cures for anything – much less that it’s very close.” I would submit the following question to Mrs. Bush: shouldn’t we find out?

In a related article, Anne Applebaum argues for against the abuse of this topic as a political weapon by the Democrats: “Talk of ‘magic’ doesn’t do much to reverse widespread scientific illiteracy either, which remains a far greater obstacle to scientific progress than the president.” She argues that Bush’s policy of using existing stem cell lines doesn’t actually inhibit stem cell research, and that the scientific reaction against it is a matter of prinicipal: “Although this compromise will soon become a real obstacle to research, for the moment the irritant is largely philosophical.” I have two responses to this. First, I would like to direct Mrs. Applebaum to the Union of Concerned Scientists, and this report that explains how the Bush administration is setting science back by decades:

When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions. This has been done by placing people who are professionally unqualified or who have clear conflicts of interest in official posts and on scientific advisory committees; by disbanding existing advisory committees; by censoring and suppressing reports by the government’s own scientists; and by simply not seeking independent scientific advice.

But then gain, only 48 Nobel Prize winners signed that document; what do they know? That’s not even half a buck.

Secondly, I think it’s about damn time the Democrats started using rhetoric and punditry to their advantage; it seems to have worked pretty well for the Republicans (see Fox News). Bush is screwing things up far too badly for the Democrats to wear kid gloves, especially when the other side isn’t playing fair. This year matters.

Deja Vu?

August 4th, 2004 | Comments Off | Posted in Politics

From this month’s Kiplinger California Letter:

The new Republican governor is getting credit for compromising with a Democratic legislature. Some conservatives are miffed that he hasn’t cut government spending enough in his new budget, but they like the way he uses his personal charm to get what he wants.

His stature is growing as a national figure, adept at fund-raising. The actor-turned-politician relies on advice from business, supporting efforts to close loopholes in a troubled workers’ comp system, fighting minimum wage increases and combating the growth in taxes.

That comes from our 1967 Kiplinger California Letter archives, documenting Ronald Reagan’s first year after his election as governor. What seems new, often isn’t, especially in Calif. politics.

Incredible, isn’t it?

Anyways, this week has seen a serious influx of new music. Turns out The Pillows released an album and an EP while I wasn’t watching. In case you’ve never heard of them, they are a kickass Japanese rock band who did the soundtrack for the greatest anime of all time, FLCL. I finally picked up the Moving Units EP, I got the Madvillain record, and after seeing Sufjan Stevens on Saturday and thinking he was great, I also grabbed Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State. Plus I finally found the eagerly anticipated Black Keys album online; it’s a little different from the last two but still fantastic. They are coming in September, and if you miss them you are pretty much an idiot.

In the world of Rok, Tuesday was the advent of 5 character slots and double drop week! Yay for my new Hocus Sage! Now what to name him…