Wednesday, November 3, 2004
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Always look on the bright side of life.
The guy I voted for lost. Worse, the median voter in the United States appears to be a populist -- not exactly encouraging for a libertarian.
But you know what? The last time my candidate for president lost (1996), the next four years turned out swimmingly for most people in the country. So in the spirit of optimism, here are the good things to think about in the wake of Bush's re-election [What about the bad things?--ed. I'm sure those will come up in the comments section. And here.]:
posted by Dan on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM
"Patrick Belton argues in The Hill that the Bush administration's relations with most foreign governments are pretty good:"
No irony. Its better to be feared than loved. Foriegn policy isnt the election for homecoming king, there's your lesson.posted by: Mark Buehner on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Is there something special about stem cells that makes research on them possible only by governments, or did I wander out of the libertarian section of the internet?posted by: Josh on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
I'm shocked there's no mention of the much sought-for disentanglement of Teressa Heinz-Kerry from our collective lives.
Or did I wander out of the snarky section of the internet?posted by: PD Shaw on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Bush's ban of funding for embryonic stem cell research is moronic - based upon non-viable "moral" objections. Yay for CA though - statutory funding there for stem cell research passed!!!
As a politically(for now)-minded cell biologist, I gotta say I'm pretty bummed today...
The percentage of voters who were "youth voters" stayed the same in 2000 and 2004, but the total number of voters went way up in 2004. Doesn't that mean the total number of youth voters also went way up?posted by: Brian Ulrich on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"Bush's ban of funding for embryonic stem cell research is moronic - based upon non-viable "moral" objections. "
Here's another great example of the democratic party being outside the mainstream and not knowing it. Doing research on embryos freaks a lot of people out. Dismissing that very real reaction as moronic isnt going to win you any votes or make you any friends, particulary with Catholics and Hispanics.
Its perfectly fine to be pro-research, and perfectly fine to support government sponsered research, but when you utterly dismiss the concerns and objections of the other side, you are only shooing yourself in the foot. Has any democrat answered the objections? Or have they just attacked the people that make them?posted by: Mark Buehner on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Oh, stop w/the gov't funding already.
Just have Warren Buffet die, he's already said most of his money is going to medical research.
Or try and convince him to start spreading it around now. I think he could survive on $30 billion.posted by: Sandy P on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Standing in line for hours and hours to cast a vote isn't a scandal?! I'm not saying the GOP stole the election or anything, but noone should have to stand in line longer than 20 or 30 minutes in order to vote.posted by: (d)avid on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
The embryos used to develop new stem cell lines are typically leftovers from groups that had been frozen for in vitro fertility bids. If not used for research, they are discarded.
I doubt that the people freaked out by embryonic research would be mollified to know that the embryos were being disposed of unceremoniously instead.posted by: Dave Straub on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"I doubt that the people freaked out by embryonic research would be mollified to know that the embryos were being disposed of unceremoniously instead."
You're probably right, but I didnt hear the Kerry campaign arguing that point. I heard them basically saying that George Bush was personally preventing Christopher Reeves from standing up and walking. If I was against the research, what that would tell me is that John Kerry has no regard at all for my position on the matter or respect for me. Thats my point.
I am utterly convinced that Dems could instantly pick up a possibly decisive number of 'morality' voters if they simply leveled with them and acknowledged an honest difference of opinion. John Kerry might have won this election had he said he supported gay marriage but respected those who opposed it... and here is why. Instead he came across as a phoney and Bush got the votes he was afraid honesty would cost him anyway.posted by: Mark Buehner on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Am I the only one who thinks that what the California stem cell referendum really showed is the strength of the public consensus on behalf of more government spending than voters are willing to pay for?
Sure, stem cell research is this year's version of breast cancer research: it's trendy, aims in a general way easing suffering, someday, and has some very famous and telegenic mascots. But is California really in a position to take on $3 billion more in debt?
Frankly, this sounds like another California governor buying popularity by supporting a "party now, pay later" referendum.posted by: Zathras on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
The bright side? The Republicans will have to come up with funny new excuses in 2008 (and probably already in 2006) why bad stuff keeps happening in spite of their full control of all branches of government.
Here are some suggestions:
1) Kerry would have been worse.
2) It is STILL Clinton's fault.
3) We actually lost fewer jobs in the second term than in the first term!
4) As a percentage of GDP, the deficit was smaller in 2006 than in 2005.
5) Problems? What problems? Everything's just great!
6) Bush made it through 6/8 years without making[err, admitting] a single mistake!
7) At least he didn't cheat on Laura.
8) He didn't even get arrested for drunk driving while in office!
9) He started fewer wars in his second term than in his first term.
10) There was no increase in the number of terrorist attacks, if one counts the attacks on 9/11/01 as four attacks.
But no, actually, forget all that. Instead use this one in 2008:
1. [insert name of 2008 Democratic nominee here] is a LIBERAL!
That alone will do. No further excuses required.
The comments you wanted to hear from Kerry were explicitly said during the campaign. The following verbatim from the second debate- "We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today from fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something like that. They're from a fertility clinic. And they're either going to be destroyed or left frozen."
The larger point is your argument is rather specious, many arguments made by both sides are distorted and simplified to fit into the 60 second sound bites. Rationale for Iraq? It wasn't a desire to transform the Middle East by establishing democracy, etc. but rather "war against terrorism" and "attack them there before they attack us here." I'm not sure that is any more direct than pulling at heart strings for Christopher Reeve.posted by: Jason Brauner on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Salma Hayek is also reflecting upon the elections.
You're right, to overtly label those who haven't gotten the info on stem cell research "moronic" for their uninformed negative reactions to this research could be improved on my part. But the fact is that I have not heard one single argument that justifies the blocking of funding for this research so that these embryos can be destroyed and wasted instead. Please forgive my harshness today - but really, you're guy one, so why do you feel the need to slam me for being bitter when I so strongly dislike Bush?
For your statement asking why the stem cell thing wasn't discussed during the campaign - Jason's right, it was - you just missed it. But it wasn't stressed because the country was so focused on other issues.
For the other issues you mention Kerry should have approached differently with a "difference of opinion" attitude - do you really think that would have had an effect? I don't think so - seems to me like the groups that found that issue important recognized that Kerry had a difference of opinion, and still voted against him, and that people that agreed with Kerry on "moral values" didn't find that issue important in deciding who to vote for.
"We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today from fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something like that. They're from a fertility clinic. And they're either going to be destroyed or left frozen."
Babies are babies - you don't kill them; one of them could be the next Messiah! We have a mandate here in the USA now; we're going to put a stop to abuses like the above. And overturning Roe v Wade is now within our grasp.posted by: Sam on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
One of the reasons stem cell researched passed in California is that CAians can't get their minds to realize that "$3 billion" represents a lot of money. Arnold supporting it played a part, but CAians continually select bond issues and such that no one who's fiscally prudent should support.
I have also issued the following statement: "Although I was a Kerry supporter, even going so far as to consider the possibility of a dynastic horror such as that described in the second part of this, I have now come to the full and voluntary realization that four or more years of the Bush administration will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for our great nation."posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
>Babies are babies - you don't kill them; one of them could be the next Messiah! We have a mandate here in the USA now; we're going to put a stop to abuses like the above. And overturning Roe v Wade is now within our grasp.
Is this a spoof on the Christian right, or are you the real thing? Just curious, cuz it sounds crazy enough to be either... the next Messiah?!
Assuming you're for real - you're opinions on abortion are fine, and you have a right to them. But for the research, we're talking about destroying embryos with the potential for life for a purpose, versus destroying these embryos for no purpose. Where's the conflict?posted by: Democrat Dan on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
I've heard a lot of debate over whether stem cell research should be funded by states, the federal government or private organizations, but I think we have another option. Why not let other countries fund it? The argument I always hear against letting the private sector fund basic research is that it doesn't directly lead to patentable results, so private companies won't do it. It's better to have government funded research that goes into the public domain allowing private companies to develop specific patentable products. So why not let Europe fund basic research? American companies would probably be in no worse position to make profitable developments later, and even if they weren't, American consumers will still be able to take advantage of stem cell therapies.
When basic research is unpatentable, it suffers from a free rider problem. America might as well take a free ride. Let European taxpayers foot the bill.posted by: Xavier on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
In line with Dan's and GW's "bright side," the Republicans won't have anybody but themselves to blame if the second Bush Administration leaves us a legacy of a failed state in Iraq and disastrous fiscal imbalances here at home. Maybe they will try to pin such an undistinguished record on terrorists internationally and recalcitrant Democrats here at home, but that dog shouldn't hunt...
It's not something for Democrats to wish for though. If we have four more years like the last, I'd be even more afraid for the future of this country (and the world). Maybe that sounds maudlin and we'll get by muddling through as we always have, but I felt like this election was a test of the American people to select s competent team to get us on track (if possible) in Iraq and back to some semblance of fiscal discipline.
It's profoundly disappointing that gay-baiting and stem cell research were flashpoints (much like flag-burning, Willie Horton, and the Pledge of Allegiance were in the 1980's), kind of second-tier issues in my book at a time when we have nearly 140,000 troops in Iraq and a burgeoning deficit with entitlements as far as the eye can see. (I'm from College Station, Texas so I understand the conservative impulse [I just disagree]).
Maybe Bush will pull a Reagan II and come out more moderate with an agenda (--please say goodbye to Rumsfeld--) to attract independents to his side, but if he thinks he's got a mandate to stick it to his opponents with more of the same, then I'm at a loss.posted by: Josh on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Even if the U.S. government continues to deny funding to stem cell research, the state of California has picked up the torch. Thank you, California taxpayers!!
Gee, I must have missed the part of the Libertarian Manifesto that explains how multi-billion dollar government funded research boondoggles are the way to smaller less-intrusive government.
Jimposted by: scarhill on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
I'm probably on the few voters in the country whose most important issue is free trade, but I really view it as a proxy for how brave and pro-free market a candidate is. And there was no question in this election that a victory for Bush is a victory for free trade, and we free traders should rejoice.posted by: dellis on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Bush the consummate free trader? What about the farm bill and the steel tariffs? Maybe Robert Zoellick's moves in the last year or so have put the Bush team back in the free trade camp, but it has seemed to me that the Bush team has wanted free trade for our commerce into other markets but has not reciprocated in kind.
While Kerry flirted with protectionism during the campaign, his voting record was pretty solidly free trade.
How is Bush's victory a victory for free trade?posted by: Josh on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"But for the research, we're talking about destroying embryos with the potential for life for a purpose, versus destroying these embryos for no purpose. Where's the conflict?"
The rational mind says that once the stem cell research has run it's course, we may have learned enough to not have to destroy babies to get the benefits. But that's just the rational mind - the cost/benefit of destroying babies. I can't sympathize with someone who has a disease he will gladly sacrifice babies to try to cure.
And how can you tell which baby won't be the new Messiah?
Mr. Bush is a good man. He knew how to lay low on this issue until after the election! And now we have the Presidency and Congress on our side. It's a new day, America!
Calling much of America that supports Bush Populist implies a certain contempt for a large portion of the electorate. I would suggest that kind of thinking erodes the Democratic base.
On the other hand I seem to be accusing you of being Eliteist, does that make me a Populist?posted by: Jeff on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
I'm glad that you found some solace in the stem cell issue. But, respectfully, I'm even happier that a few million more Americans didn't drink the tortured logic kool-aid for why Kerry would be better on foregin policy advanced by you and others (like Andrew Sullivan).
The Republic remains strong!posted by: jim on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Kan populists spel rite? Welcome to the new Republican party: not conservative, it's populist. It's all happened so fast that many, including most liberals, remain confused. So we hear about the "ultra-conservative" Republicans, still.
But Bush, after going far down the path of protectionism and subsidim, is relatively free trade, at least compared to Kerry.
I can't count the number of women who told me they couldn't stand Teresa, including many who said they were voting for Kerry. I wonder how much of an effect this had on the election.
I didn't vote for Bush or Kerry. But it does feel good that George Soros can't buy an election.posted by: Dallas on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Concur that with the election complete, there is more time for Salma Hayek.posted by: William on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Regarding the apparent hypocrisy of Mr. Drezner claiming to be a libertarian, but cheering for a massive new state research program, the most plausible explanation would be that his glee at giving a thumb in the eye to religious believers is much stronger than his libertarianism. That sentiment would certainly put him in goood standing among his fellow academics.posted by: mm on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"But for the research, we're talking about destroying embryos with the potential for life for a purpose, versus destroying these embryos for no purpose. Where's the conflict"
Its conversations like these that just remind me how divided in perspective this country is. Do you realize how disturbing that comment comes across? The ends justify the means?
First off, im pro-choice, and lean pro-embryo research. However, I was raised Catholic and understand the mindset of someone who believes life begins at conception. Now like it or not, the concept of when a cluster of unique DNA develops into an honest to Bob baby is highly contentious. Pro-choicers have intentionally ignored that fundamental gray area in their logic. The difference between an embryo, a fetus, and an tri-mester X baby is one of arbitrary definitions. That is what a whole lot of people in this country think about when the words 'abortion' or 'embryonic research' come up, even a whole lot who became pro-choice. Just because you believe abortion should be available doesnt mean that carving up an embryo (or a 8 month old 'fetus' for that matter) is happy behavior, for whatever the cause. Im not trying to debate the specifics here, im just trying to get across the mindset.
I think all President Bush and many, many others are asking for prudence in these matters. Look before you leap. I dont think that the democrats have taken it that way, which is just miscommmunication.
"So why not let Europe fund basic research?"
Remember this statement, friends. It is a clear signal of the start of the decline of the American empire.
posted by: lansing on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Mark - The problem with your explanation is the fact that "prolifers" aren't out trying to close fertility clinics or the places that these embryos lie frozen and are being destroyed after the happy couple finally conceives. What's up with that?posted by: murphy on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
it does feel good that George Soros can't buy an election
I wasn't too happy about supporting Kerry because of people like Soros, etc.
However, don't you think that Bush's major supporters are at least as bad if not worse than Soros?
And, if you ask who those people are, then I guess that's further proof just how feckless the Dems are.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"Foreigners will definitely not perceive the American electorate as soft on the sustained use of force. Although I thought this was an overblown argument, many people I respect made it."
More to the point; foreigners will experience Americans' disregard for collateral damage as we exercise our right to pre-emptive force in our war against terrorism.
But at least we will feel better about ourselves in our new-found mandate for morality here at home.
mm: No, this has nothing to do with poking an eye at anyone. I view stem cell research as your classic public good, and think its inefficient to bias funding away from it -- in the same way that the EU has foolishly bypassed funding for GMO research.
Plus, I don't live in California :)posted by: Dan Drezner on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"mm: No, this has nothing to do with poking an eye at anyone. I view stem cell research as your classic public good, and think its inefficient to bias funding away from it -- in the same way that the EU has foolishly bypassed funding for GMO research.
Plus, I don't live in California :)"
posted by: Xavier on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"If you believe that, then how do you respond to my suggestion above that we let Europe pay for it?"
Wait a minute... I get it - we don't kill any American babies; foreign countries kill their own (or somebody else's!) Once the research leads them to profitable exploitation of dead babies, we step in and buy the therapeutic results.
I still don't like the dead baby part, but at least they're not ours.posted by: Sam on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
'Foreigners will definitely not perceive the American electorate as soft on the sustained use of force.'
That`s never a problem. Only Americans ever perceive themselves as soft or peaceful.posted by: peter on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"And any Senate with Jim DeMint replacing Fritz Hollings is more likely to ratify the Doha round."
It's pretty far-fetched to include the introduction of Jim de Mint as somehow a hopeful sign for libertarian policies. He is one of the most rabid social conservatives in Congress. Moreover, his constituency interests will make it very unlikely that he will approve of any trade agreement that includes major cuts in textile and agricultural subsidies.posted by: zaoem on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
7) Even if the U.S. government continues to deny funding to stem cell research, the state of California has picked up the torch. Thank you, California taxpayers!!
Again, little optimism here. It is a dreadful idea to have voters oblige legislatures to spend money this way. This is how California's budget deficit arose in the first place.posted by: zaoem on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Sam and Mark,
Furthermore, as these are embryos at the blastocyst stage (blastocyst=a ball of a few hundred human cells that haven't begun to form tissues yet), there's the "at what point does it become murder," and I would argue that it's not murder at that stage. But that's debateable; I think it's obvious where I stand on that.
For the "let Europe do it" comment - yes, that's one way of passing the hot potato. And that's the defacto position that we're at now. It's not ideal, but, alas, for at least 4 more years it looks to me like that's going to be the case.
Josh Busby wrote:
Bush the consummate free trader?
Compared to his opponent? Yes.
What about the farm bill and the steel tariffs?
What about them? The steel tariffs were also supported by his opponent and have long since been repealed. Moreover the tariffs were about half of those that were imposed by President Clinton when he took office – something that has never prevented anyone from labeling him a “free trader.” The farm bill was passed by a Democrat Senate and supported by his opponent who also voted against abolishing farm subsidies in 1996 and has long been a supporter of farm subsidies.
While Kerry flirted with protectionism during the campaign, his voting record was pretty solidly free trade.
An obvious lie since Kerry has been a staunch supporter of farm subsidies while in the Senate, during procedural votes has voted in favor of adding protectionist language to free trade agreements such as his vote for the Dayton-Craig Amendment which would have gutted trade promotion authority but for VP Cheney’s tie-breaking vote, his support of the Byrd Amendment (opposed by the Bush administration) which authorizes tariffs, and his support of tariffs in the Andean trade agreement. He was also opposed to CAFTA and the recent free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore.
Seriously, do you bother to actually look at any facts before posting?posted by: Thorley Winston on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Whats with these libertarians like Drezner being in favor of the government taxing individuals to pay for scientifically sketchy and morally dubious scientific research? Could anything be less libertarian? Geez you pretend-libertarians are embarassing.posted by: Reg on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Daniel Drezner wrote:
The Republican party may be Jacksonian, but it's definitively shed its isolationist wing. One thing that haunted me the 24 hours before the election was that if Bush lost, one possible take-home lesson for the Republican Party was that an interventionist foreign policy was political poison. That's not going to happen
Did it ever occur to that had Bush lost the election that the take home lesson might have also been that Social Security privatization and opposition to pharmaceutical price controls were also political poison? Or perhaps that the GOP needed to come up with a new $895 Billion health care entitlement – much like the previous “take-home lesson” that we needed to support a Medicare prescription drug benefit?
posted by: Thorley Winston on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Daniel Drezner wrote:
The guy I voted for lost. Worse, the median voter in the United States appears to be a populist -- not exactly encouraging for a libertarian.
Just a reminder, Daniel Drezner’s “guy” was the guy who campaigned against Social Security privatization, in favor of tax increases on the “wealthy,” wanted a new $895 Billion health care entitlement, demonized outsourcing, said he would renew the assault weapons ban if he were president, and wanted to import Canadian price controls on pharmaceuticals.
How Daniel Drezner can profess to be a “libertarian” particularly after one of his seven talking points is in favor of tax payer funding of medical research is truly bizarre.posted by: Thorley Winston on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
An honest question: if we open up federal coffers to stem cell research as you advocate, how soon before scientists move beyond the "past their sell-by date" frozen embryos and start growing their own in the lab? And I'm deliberately (yes, crudely) comparing human embryos to frozen dinners because the commodification of the former truly is disturbing to my non-religious pro-choice sensibilities.
From what I have read, the whole thrust of medical research is potentially moving toward an individual-based model--where we don't just say you have cancer, but identify which variant you suffer from and then, based on your specific genetic makeup, formulate a personalized drug and therapy regimen. It seems to me, then, that using someone else's discarded blastocysts is not going to be very useful. Who knows, we may have to allow ourselves to be cloned to provide us the embryonic stem cells we need for treatment. Are we ready for that day?
Feel free to tell me I'm going way down the wrong path. I don't bruise easily.posted by: Kelli on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Thorley Winston asserted that Kerry was anti-free trade and gave some examples (some of which were wrong...)
Here is what Cato had to say about John Kerry:
"As a four-term Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Kerry has compiled an impressive record of support for free trade. He voted in favor of every major trade bill to come before Congress: the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement, normal trade relations with China and then permanent NTR in 2000, more generous market access for imports from Africa and the Caribbean, and trade promotion authority for Presidents Clinton and Bush. He was one of a minority of his party in the Senate to reject steel quotas in 1999."
"Kerry's record on trade has its blemishes. He voted for the huge farm subsidy bill in 2002 that President Bush signed. He voted for more restrictive language on labor, environmental, and human rights standards in trade agreements. He voted to make it more difficult to reform America's much abused antidumping laws in World Trade organization negotiations. But those deviations aside, his record in Congress has been pro-trade, especially for a Democrat."
Your other comments on the state of medical/scientific research is pretty near the mark. Yes, individualized therapies are very in vogue, especially tailoring drug prescriptions to individual cancers, but also in this case, to avoid having an immune reaction to stem cells injected to renew a diseased or damaged tissue (much like making sure you don't reject an organ transplant in some ways, or more relevantly, the transplant of bone marrow, containing a type of stem cells which can only develop into blood cells). To that end, yes, creating a source of stem cells for a patient from his/her own body is a possibility - not necessarily from cloned embryos, but that is something that probably would at least be tried to determine just what the benefit is.
A lot of this is uncertain and hopeful theory, and there's precious little evidence for or against the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in patience. Again, this is legitimate cause for regulating funding, but in the hands of experienced researchers some solid conclusions could be reached, and re-evaluating whether to continue funding this line of research could occur.
I understand completely not being comfortable with the "commodization" of anything with the potential for life, but I also think that in this case, the "potential for life" issue is blown out of proportion, and that an all-out ban on funding an avenue of research for non-scientific reasons is bogus.
Anyway, I hope I succeeded in keeping that semi-brief...posted by: Democrat Dan on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Gosh, where is everyone? Still in mourning?
Mourning in America, oh well.
Long timers will remeber that quite some time ago I posted :
Given the two primary options, all that was needed for re-election was for no more than 2% of those who pulled the lever for Gore in 2000 to think that the events of another tuesday morning were important enough to change their minds about how they felt about party priorities and national security. That's all the more shift that was required.
Thanks America - you warm my heart.posted by: Tommy G on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Yeah, Now I remember, that happened then also:
The character that represents the 'less than' sign wikkies up the works.
what I tried to post was the simple argument taped to my monitor:
"Less than sign"2%910
Except with the sign. Which won't...Oh, never mind.posted by: Tommy G on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
To Dan from a California Taxpayer,
You're welcome. Are we libertarians yet?posted by: Jarrett on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Of course, the possibility of the positives is offset by the fact that our government is now firmly in the control of hate, theocracy and plutocracy. Seperation of church and state will be squarely under attack, as will free speech. And, while the uber-wealthy continue their gains, it is likely that the drop in normal people's wages will also continue under a government that thinks minimum wage fast food jobs are "good" jobs.posted by: flaime on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"Of course, the possibility of the positives is offset by the fact that our government is now firmly in the control of hate, theocracy and plutocracy. Seperation of church and state will be squarely under attack, as will free speech. And, while the uber-wealthy continue their gains, it is likely that the drop in normal people's wages will also continue under a government that thinks minimum wage fast food jobs are "good" jobs."
This kind of exaggeration and overwrought hyperbole is exactly why the Democrats lose and the left continues to be marginalized. Get some perspective, for God's sake. I voted for Kerry too, but "hate, theocracy, and plutocracy?"posted by: MWS on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Thanks for taking the time. Most interesting stuff.
Kelliposted by: Kelli on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Please learn the difference between "denying" and "not giving". Give stem cell researchers as much money as you want. There's nothing magical about money coming from the feds that makes cures occur sooner, and I thought you were a libertarian anyway.posted by: J Bowen on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"Did it ever occur to that had Bush lost the election that the take home lesson might have also been that Social Security privatization and opposition to pharmaceutical price controls were also political poison?"
God, I hope not. You know, stem-cell research isn't the only thing that drives the introduction of new medicines. Pharmaceutical companies being willing to do the work to bring basic research and wild ideas all the way to market (and it's a hell of a long way and outrageously expensive) because they expect to be allowed to make a profit if their customers consider the end product worth the price is also helpful in getting new medicines for all of us. And if you don't like the price of the new medicines, just wait until the patent runs out - then your kids can have that same medicine dirt cheap until the end of time.
"The difference between an embryo, a fetus, and an tri-mester X baby is one of arbitrary definitions."
The presence of a brain is not an "arbitrary definition". And since the human brain is the person, and the rest of the body is there to feed him nutrients and data and do what he decides needs doing, any organism without a brain cannot be a person. Stem cell research is perfectly kosher, and preventing it by force of law is profoundly immoral.
"It seems to me, then, that using someone else's discarded blastocysts is not going to be very useful. Who knows, we may have to allow ourselves to be cloned to provide us the embryonic stem cells we need for treatment. Are we ready for that day?"
"The bright side? The Republicans will have to come up with funny new excuses in 2008 (and probably already in 2006) why bad stuff keeps happening in spite of their full control of all branches of government."
Well, if the Democrats actually allow some deregulation and fiscal restraint in the form of domestic spending cuts, and it looks like Republicans have the numbers so that they'll have no one but themselves to blame on that front if they don't deliver, I see lots of good stuff happening in the next few years.posted by: Ken on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
"Feel free to tell me I'm going way down the wrong path. I don't bruise easily."
The issue of stem cell research is, in general, grossly misunderstood. We don't really know how stems cells differentiate into the various parts of our bodies. If we understood the process, it seems we might be able to generate specific body parts. This is what happended with insulin - we originally obtained it from the animal pancrease. Once we understood insulin better and understood how to use recombinant DNA, we were able to generate bacteria that create the insulin.
And more than likely, the final processes we develop from the fundamental understanding of stems cells won't use embrionic stem cells any more than we use animal pancreases now for insulin.
The issue today is that we don't know! Right now embryonic stem cells SEEM to have a tremendous potential for differentiation. But it's like a brick wall - we can't see past it until we do the research. We may well be dying on this side of the wall while some solutions are just on the other side.
Medical advancements that we all benefit from today are based upon the accumulation of observations from everyone who died before us. And throughout history, medical advancements have had to acommodate the tender sensitivities of those who believe it is God's will or our own fault we are suffering and shouldn't try to learn how to improve our lives.posted by: germ on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Roe v. Wade will only be overruled if (1) O'Conner (or one of the liberal justices) resigns and the President nominates a justice to replace her who would vote to overrule Roe and (2) at least 5 Democratic senators vote to cut off the Democratic filibuster. Possible, but not likely. Replacing Rehnquist with another conservative would have no effect.
It would, however, be a good thing for both the country and the Democratic Party, and a bad thing for the Republican Party, if this were to come to pass. The result would be to return abortion to the states. Given that a majority of Americans favor abortion rights, with reasonable restrictions (no third trimester abortions, parental notification, etc.), one might expect the result to be a that most states will legalize abortion with reasonable restrictions. Some states would adopt the NARAL line (no baby is entitled to life until it reaches the parent's home and is placed ceremoniously in a well decorated crib), and some would prohibit abortion altogether, but most would probably fall in the middle. The return of abortion to electoral politics will eliminate a lot of the bitterness that has resulted from judicial disenfranchisement.
However, the return of abortion to the state legislatures will create a battle royal within the Republican Party, with the Guiliani/Schwarznegger forces on one side and the Santorum/Christian right forces on the other. It would no longer be possible for Republican politicians to avoid taking a stand on whether abortion should be legal or not. I would think Democrats would love to see this become a wedge issue to be used against the Republicans, but then, like the Palestinians, the Democrats never miss a chance to miss a chance.posted by: dbl on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
You know, a libertarian would never vote for Kerry. A libertarian would not vote for Bush either, except perhaps to poke his finger in Michael Moore's eye. That might be worth doing.posted by: Marvin Thulenberg on 11.03.04 at 04:43 PM [permalink]
Babies are babies - you don't kill them; one of them could be the next Messiah!
Perhaps the next Messiah might hail from the part of the world the last one came from, in which case it could well be a Bush bomb that prevents his appearance.
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