Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Can Stem Cells Cure Stupidity?

So our glorious leader is a bit miffed that the House of Reprentatives, last week, voted handily to provide federal funding for stem cell research.

You see, he came up with this ridiculous compromise that only allowed the use of existing stem cell lines while not allowing those extra embryos that are routinely discarded to be used for anything other than, well, garbage.

Sure these folks are encouraging the "adoption" of embryos, and I am all for it, however, only a tiny fraction of extra left-over embryos are "adopted" and a majority of those that are "adopted" die during implantation anyway.

So when the Republican controlled house votes 238-194 in favor of not falling any further behind South Korea in the area of curing diseases than we already are, Bush gets mad.

He says the bill "violates the clear standard I set four years ago."

Um. No it doesn't.

Our glorious leader seems to forget that he doesn't get to make the laws, and that Congress doesn't have to follow his standards, no matter how clear they are. You see, we have this little thing we like to call separation of powers. The Legislature writes the laws, and the President enforces them. Just like we learned in the sixth grade.

When the President lays out a standard, assuming it isn't violative of a statute or the Constitution, administrative agencies like the NIH are supposed to follow it. He can tell them what to do. Thus, they can presumably violate it.

No, Congress writes the laws. The law in this case is the 1996, Dickey Amendment passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton which seemingly outlawed the spending of federal funding on any research that would lead to the death of an embryo. Later, once it was discovered that stem cell lines could be isolated and replicated, Clinton (in true Clintonian fashion) found some wriggle room and the NIH started funding aspects of stem cell research which led to the sixty some cell lines we are stuck with today. (they just made sure it was private funding that did the killing and federal funding which did the replicating)

Bush crafted his compromise from this framework. His "clear standard" is merely his own squishy interpretation of the Dickey Amendment. Just as squishy as Clinton's. But it isn't like President Einstein understands that. He apparently thinks he wrote the law, and furthermore, that Congress, in passing a bill, somehow violated his law. It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

Sorry Mr. President. You don't get to tell Congress what it can or can't pass. You can veto it, and we all expect that you will (because Mr. Dobson told you to), but you cannot say they violated anything.

In a perfect world, the Senate companion to this bill will pass the Senate and it will become law (despite your inevitable veto) and then someone uses federal funding for stem cell research to discover a cure for stupidity. Then we will never have to endure another president like you.

Dare to dream.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

That Silver Ring Sting


I visited the website.
I went to the concert.
They told me that condoms don't work.
I took the pledge.

Like 88% of my fellow pledge-takers, I broke that pledge.
Of course I didn't use a condom. Now I have that Silver Ring Sting* when I pee.

Not really. You see, at my highschool they didn't teach us that condoms don't work. If we asked about the proper way to use a condom, they were allowed to tell us. They told us that when condoms were used properly, they almost never fail (which is true). They didn't play up the "emotional devastation" that follows from premarital sex because they knew that we had friends that had already had sex and weren't devestated by it. They didn't base our health education on a book written by long dead jews. They didn't waste our tax dollars spreading this nonsense.

This bullshit is as useless as Dare at getting kids to not have sex. 88% fail. Which means 12% succeed. (See, I rock at math) Heck, 12% probably couldn't get laid if they chose to.

And, those that do "succeed" are more likely than the rest of us to keep their "virginity" by employing the Italian Solution (which, for those of you not Italian is anal sex). Even if this nonsense wasn't a violation of the establishment clause, it is a public health disaster.

Remember, 88% break the pledge. That's 88% having sex. 88% who have never been taught how or why to use a condom.

Those that stay with the program? They are more likely to be married young and to have kids early in a young marriage. If that isn't a recipe for lots of future custody battles, I don't know what is. As these kids realize getting married at 19 isn't such a good idea. They will have lots of nice kids to divy up.

Thanks Christian Right. Yet again with the smart policy decisions based on that special book you claim God wrote but that you never actually read all the way through. (I mean really. If I thought that God himself had actually written a book, I would have read it. Honestly. If I thought Stephen King was God, I wouldn't have stopped reading The Dark Tower after book two.)

*As far as Google can tell me, I have coined the term "Silver Ring Sting." Feel free to use it, just give F-ing Glad a shout out when you do. And if you get it, don't blame me. And see a doctor and get rid of it. If you can.