Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Chance favors the prepared mind - Louis Pasteur

Friday, May 27, 2005

Gay Marriage and Country Clubs
by Lee

There’s a court case here in California that is going to prove integral in the debate on gay marriage.

The California Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over whether private country clubs can refuse spousal discounts to lesbian couples who by law cannot marry.

The suit was brought by Birgit Koebke, who pays the Bernardo Heights Country Club in San Diego about $500 a month in membership fees. Married members can have their spouses, children and grandchildren play golf for free.

Under club rules, Koebke must pay as much as $70 for her partner, Kendall French, 43, to play a round of golf, and French can only be Koebke’s “guest” six times a year.

“Why should a business be able to treat these people differently?” the couple’s attorney, Jon Davidson, asked the court.

Club attorney Jeremy Rosen told the justices that, despite California’s 2005 domestic partner law nearly guaranteeing same-sex couples the same legal footing as married couples, the country club is not unlawfully discriminating against the pair.

He said the law allows for businesses to distinguish between married and unmarried couples in certain circumstances, adding that the club needs to make that distinction to limit how many people use its “scarce resources.”

The justices’ decision, expected in 90 days, is expected to play a role in the ongoing battle over same-sex marriage in California. The state is appealing a judge’s ruling in March that declared the state’s ban on gay marriages unconstitutional.

Okay, this is a 14th Amendment case of equal protection.  Let’s assume that they court finds for the plaintiff, and rules that her lesbian lover should have the same rights as spouses and family members of heterosexual couples.  The same 14th Amendment argument can then be used for single men who want their girlfriends to be able to use the club in the same manner.  The net result here is that being the spouse of a member loses all significance.

This, in a way, justifies Andrew Sullivan’s argument for giving gays full marriage rights.  (Yes, Andrew Sullivan, boo, hiss, get it out of your system.) Sully’s argument is pretty simple:  if you deny gays marriage rights, and give them a separate-but-equal civil partnership exception, eventually that same civil partnership will be made available to heterosexual couples on 14th Amendment grounds.  So the net result of denying marriage rights to gay couples is that marriage as an institution is marginalized into virtual meaninglessness, because the benefits of marriage can be obtained without actually getting married.  And in the country club case, the benefits of membership become marginalized because anyone can use the club if they claim to be “dating” a member.  If you’re a swinging bachelor type who’s dating five woman at once, would all five women be permitted to use the club?

Then, of course, there’s the flip side argument, that the law allows people to distinguish between married and unmarried couples.  This is true, and I don’t think anyone would argue against this.  The distinction comes in whether or not you consider a gay relationship to have as much social validity as a heterosexual one.  The social left claims that there is, and the social right claims that there is not.  The recent spate of state constitutional amendments to specifically ban gay marriage would indicate that American society does not seem to agree with the social left.  That being said, I do tend to agree with Sully in his prediction of what marriage will become if gays are marginalized out of it.  But it seems that the people have spoken, and that as a whole the people don’t agree.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 11:29 PM in Politics  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

How’s That Feel, Bitches?
by Lee

Monday:

Fourteen Republican and Democratic senators broke with their party leaders last night to avert a showdown vote over judicial nominees, agreeing to votes on some of President Bush’s nominees while preserving the right to filibuster others in “extraordinary circumstances.”

Yesterday:

So much for the era of good feeling in the U.S. Senate. After weeks of fighting, a pact among Republican and Democratic moderates to forestall a meltdown over judicial nominees seemed to hold promise for a new period of cooperation.

“I think the good faith and the mutual trust that we have achieved here will carry over into this Senate on other business as well,” said Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who was one of the 14 senators who forced the agreement on leaders of both parties.

That was Monday. Three days later Democrats united to delay the confirmation of John R. Bolton as U.N. ambassador, and the recriminations started right up again.

“This filibuster is particularly disheartening after all the expressions of good faith,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

The Republicans are suckers, gutless wimps, and have absolutely no idea how to exercise the power that the American people have bestowed them by repeatedly electing a Republican Congress.  This is what you get when to negotiate with the Democrats.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 07:47 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

There Was A Crooked Man
by Lee

Who tried to drive his SUV down Lombard Street.

A tourist flipped his rented SUV on the world-renowned “crookedest street,” police say.

The unidentified man, driving the sport utility vehicle with Washington state license plates, realized Thursday he was driving with his emergency brake on. He tried to fix the problem, but soon smelled smoke and burning brakes. He pulled over, put the car in neutral and looked for the brake release, said Sgt. Neville Gittens, San Francisco police spokesman.

He found it, but as soon as he released it, the vehicle started to roll downhill on Lombard Street. Eventually, the SUV flipped onto its side. Gittens said at least three other passengers also were in the vehicle.

No other cars were hit, but the man’s daughter received minor cuts climbing out a window.

If you’re not familiar with Lombard Street, here’s a picture.  I’ve driven down it at least ten times.  It’s not rocket science.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 04:53 PM in Cullyforneah  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Checkmate in Saudi Arabia
by Lee

It looks like Saudi King Fahd is about to meet Allah.

King Fahd, the elderly Saudi ruler whose actions to strengthen the oil kingdom’s ties with the United States provoked the wrath of Islamic militants, was hospitalized Friday, apparently suffering from pneumonia.

Fahd’s half brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, has been Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler since Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke in 1995. Abdullah is expected to become king should Fahd die.

This is a huge, huge development, which was inevitably the reason for the recent meeting between Bush and Abdullah.  There is going to be an enormous power struggle once the king dies.  Over at Daily Pundit, Bill Quick has an excellent overview of what’s at stake.

While most Americans have no clue about the inner workings of the Saudi royal family, this is a struggle that should be of intense interest to everybody even remotely concerned with the issue of Islamist terror. There can be no doubt that one of the mightiest wellsprings of support, training, funding, and ideological spread of Islamofascism are the Saudi Wahabbist believers and sympathizers both in and out of the Saudi government. Prince Naif is the Wahabbist champion. If Fahd ends up in control of Saudi Arabia, no matter what innocuous words are spoken for public consumption, Saudi Arabia will become, and act, (even more openly) as the enemy of the United States. This is what GWB has tried to avoid with his foolish pretense that the Saudis are our “good friends.” Even the least radical of them are not “good friends,” but Naif will be a nearly open enemy.

Absolutely.  I’ve never been comfortable with how friendly Bush has treated the Saudis.  Yes, there are elements in the Saudi hierarchy who are nominally friendly, as Bill rightly states, but eventually diplomatic niceties are going to have to give way to practical political realities, and that is the recognition that Saudi Arabia is one of the largest state sponsors of terror in the world.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 04:41 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Movies About Gladiators
by Lee

"Billy, have you ever been inside a Turkish prison?”

“When the prisoner first claimed that she was pregnant, nobody believed her,” a spokesman for Kartal prison in Istanbul told reporters, “because it didn’t seem technically possible. She’d been in solitary confinement for months, and we thought she had just been overeating, and that this was just a ruse to get herself moved to a better cell. But then she showed us the hole she’d drilled in the concrete wall separating her from her lover, and told us that they’d been having sex for months, and we realised it was all true.”

The spokesman was commenting on the case of a twenty-seven-year-old female prisoner, Kadriye Fikret Oget, who had just given birth to a child fathered by forty-year-old convicted murderer Seylan Corduk, despite them both being in solitary confinement. “The walls between the cells are 9cm thick and made of solid concrete, but they’d somehow made a hole with their cutlery, and were having sex through it. They admitted they’d been doing it for months, and Corduk is obviously a man of some length, because he’d managed to impregnate Oget. When we discovered what had happened, we held an enquiry, and the prisoners have both been found guilty of damaging public property. Each has been fined 128 euros, and had their sentences increased by four months.”

I wonder if the male prisoner was saddened when he found out that the guy he was having sex with through the glory hole was actually a woman.  “In the name of Allah, have I not been buggering?”

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 03:22 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Kentucky Fried Heterosexuality
by Lee

There’s strange doin’s down there in Kentucky.

A judge on Thursday upheld the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, saying it was properly presented to voters last fall.

As required by the state constitution, the amendment dealt with a single subject and properly informed voters of what it meant, Franklin County Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden wrote.

Opponents seeking to invalidate the amendment claimed it would reach much farther than a simple ban on same-sex marriages. They maintained domestic partnerships and other agreements between straight and gay couples could also be at risk.

Kentucky was one of 11 states that changed their constitutions last fall to outlaw same-sex marriages.

Kentuckians voted by nearly 3-to-1 in favor of the amendment defining marriage as being limited to one man and one woman. It also prohibited unmarried people from ever obtaining “legal status identical to or similar to marriage.”

There was a last-minute rider to the bill offered by State Senator Cletus Spunckler, which exempted from the marriage regulations any man and woman who happen to share a parent.  In a statement Spunckler said, “I’s jus’ so used to introducin’ Brandine as my wife an’ sister.”

(Oh, lighten up, it was a joke.)

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 04:41 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Indonesian Railroad
by Lee

Following up on this post, an Indonesian court has found Schapelle Corby guilty of drug smuggling and sentenced her to 20 years.

An Indonesian court sentenced a young Australian beauty therapist to 20 years in jail on Friday for smuggling 4.1 kg (9 lb) of marijuana into the holiday island of Bali in a case that has transfixed Australia.

Lawyers for Schapelle Corby, 27, said they would appeal the verdict, which triggered outrage from her family and thrust Bali under the spotlight with Indonesia’s police chief labelling it a hub for international drug trafficking syndicates.

“The panel of judges declares the defendant legally and convincingly guilty of the crime of illegal importation of narcotics,” chief judge Linton Sirait told a hearing that was watched live in Australia.

As soon as Sirait read the verdict, Corby’s mother, Rosleigh Rose, shouted at the three judges on the panel: “Liar, liar. Honey, we are going to take you home.”

Wearing pink trousers and a black blouse, an emotional Corby turned to her mother and pleaded with her to calm down. “Mum, stop, it’s okay,” she cried, holding her hand up in a motion for her mother to stop yelling.

Standing for the verdict and occasionally slapping her forehead with her palm in grief, Corby kept mouthing the word “20” in Indonesian, clearly stunned by the sentence. She shook off the arm of a court official who appeared to want to calm her as she was on the verge of breaking down.

Then there was this.

The trial has gripped Australia, which enjoyed a period of warm relations with its giant neighbour after years of rockiness.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he did not believe the case would damage ties.

Horeshit.  If there is anything that should damage ties it is something like this.  If I was John Howard I’d send a team of Australian SAS commandos in to break her out of prison.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 02:24 AM in Down Under  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Nine Inch Dick
by Lee

Ah, the joys of irony.  Trent Reznor is broke.

NINE INCH NAILS’ TRENT REZNOR is suing his manager, claiming he had just $400,000 (£217,000) in cash, despite earning millions with his band.

The singer claims that John Malm duped him into signing a bad contract and claims that his former friend misled him into a deal which gave Malm 20 per cent of Reznor’s earnings.  ...

In 2003, Reznor said, he asked Malm to tell him how much money he had.

The singer said that he was sent a financial statement that revealed he had at most $3 million (£1.6 million) in total assets and as little as $400,000 in cash.

Trent Reznor needs to promote his new CD to make some cash, so he agreed to play the MTV Movie Awards.

Eminem and Nine Inch Nails are booked to play the 2005 MTV Movie Awards.

The show will be taped on June 4 and is set to air on Thursday, June 9 on MTV. During the show and for the first time ever on television, Eminem will perform his song “A-- Like That.” Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails are scheduled to play the single, “The Hand That Feeds” from the latest NIN album, “With Teeth.”

Remember, this is a guy who won a Grammy in 1992 and refused to go pick it up because that wasn’t his scene.  Now, 13 years later, he’s broke and trying to tap into that lucrative Eminem demographic.  How proud he must be.  But then, today, this appeared on his website.

image

Obviously MTV just wants to have an enjoyable show, but making his political feelings known in such a public venue, and pissing off a large chunk of his fan base, was obviously more important for Trent than trying to plug his album and make up the money that he had stolen from him by Malm.  MTV isn’t just going to ban him from the show for suggesting the Bush picture, he obviously made it a deal-breaker, and MTV told him to go screw himself. 

Anyone else find it ironic as hell that the song he was going to sing is called “Bite the Hand that Feeds”?  What a fucking schmuck.

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 02:14 AM in Celebrity Idiots  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Loganberries
by Lee

From the You Can’t Make This Shit Up file:

A&E doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.

A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase - and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.

They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.

The research is published in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.

They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.

None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.

Where does it end?  The UK is already a police state, with government cameras filming just about everything in true Orwellian fashion.  So they ban guns, and criminals turn to knives.  Now they want to ban knives?  Where does it end? A broken bottle can make a hell of a weapon, are they going to ban glass bottles?  When criminals turn from bottles to sharpened sticks, are they going to ban trees?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  When the UK banned guns there was an immediate and dramatic increase in gun crime.  Rather than recognizing the futility of banning weapons, they’re hoping for the same success with the knife ban.  Here’s my prediction: this will do jack shit as far as reducing knife crime, and will accomplish nothing but pissing off the 99.9999999% of Britons who somehow manage to use a kitchen knife in a legal, appropriate manner.

This isn’t just the UK, either.  Hot on the heels of their rousing gun banning success, Australia has called for all kinds of ridiculous bans.  After a student shot a couple of his classmates with a crossbow, they implemented crossbow control legislation.  Then criminal gangs started patrolling the streets with swords, so they enacted sword control.  Again, I ask, where does it end?

Posted by Lee on 05/27/05 at 02:04 AM in 2nd Amendment  • (19) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Four Year Plan
by Lee

Check out what the German Ambassador said yesterday.

Wolfgang Ischinger, the German Ambassador to the United States, who attended the conference in Munich and listened with interest to McCain’s speech, tried to explain the view from the other side. “As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve, and we tend to be skeptical of Americans who seem to think that if you believe hard enough, and you muster enough resources, you can change the world...In the last year or so, as we’ve engaged in discussions about the transformation of the Middle East and democracy, I have told my American friends that the region in this world that has seen the most transformation and change is Central and Eastern Europe--without shedding a drop of blood. So don’t preach to us. And don’t think transformative change will work according to mechanistic rules. This is very complicated. Changing the way people think often has to do with religious and cultural issues--we tend to think of them as long-term, and Americans think, Let’s solve the problem in the next four years!” [Emphasis added]

Now, take a look at this article, which covers a scathing indictment of the US human rights record by Amnesty International.

Against this backdrop, armed groups had continued to make shocking attacks on civilians, Amnesty reported. These included the murder of hundreds of parents and children in Beslan, the massacre of commuters in Madrid and the beheadings and bombings in Iraq. Yet governments had persisted with failed, but politically convenient, strategies on tacking terrorism, Ms Khan said. ”Four years after 9/11, the promise to make the world a safer place remains hollow.” [Emphasis added]

Interesting, isn’t it.  We’re four years into the war on terror.  When some European twit wants to criticize the US it’s because we expect things to happen too fast.  When some other European twit wants to criticize the US it’s because we can’t get things to happen fast enough.  The only real common denominator here is that people who want to criticize the US will find any way to do so, and that what they think of us really assumes less and less importance.

Posted by Lee on 05/26/05 at 09:59 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wicca Wacciness
by Lee

When does the ACLU fight for someone’s religious freedoms?  When it’s some weird, kooky religion that isn’t Christianity.

An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge’s unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.”

The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple’s divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.

Bradford refused to remove the provision after the 9-year-old boy’s outraged parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, protested last fall.

That’s right.  Some moron judge has decided that Wicca isn’t a legitimate enough religion.  Apparently worshipping the Earth is weird, but worshipping a carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago is perfectly logical.

Jones has brought the case before the Indiana Court of Appeals, with help from the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. They filed their request for the appeals court to strike the one-paragraph clause in January.

“This was done without either of us requesting it and at the judge’s whim,” said Jones, who has organized Pagan Pride Day events in Indianapolis. “It is upsetting to our son that he cannot celebrate holidays with us, including Yule, which is winter solstice, and Ostara, which is the spring equinox.”

The ICLU and Jones assert the judge’s order tramples on the parents’ constitutional right to expose their son to a religion of their choice. Both say the court failed to explain how exposing the boy to Wicca’s beliefs and practices would harm him.  ...

Jones and the ICLU also argue the order is so vague that it could lead to Jones being found in contempt and losing custody of his son.

“When they read the order to me, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ “ said Alisa G. Cohen, an Indianapolis attorney representing Jones. “Didn’t the judge get the memo that it’s not up to him what constitutes a valid religion?”

Someone remind them of this the next time they argue that someone in a government building putting a manger display on their desk at Christmastime is unconstitutional.  The ACLU’s motto:  “We only hate Christians.”

Posted by Lee on 05/26/05 at 06:09 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

The Hildebeast, Part II
by Lee

It’s going to be interesting in 2008.

More than half of those responding to a new poll said they would be at least somewhat likely to vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2008.

But those saying they are virtually certain to vote against her topped those virtually certain to support her by 10 percentage points.

The release of the poll comes amid steps by Edward Cox, son-in-law of President Richard Nixon, to challenge Clinton for her U.S. Senate seat from New York.

Clinton served on the staff of the congressional Impeachment Inquiry in the wake of the Nixon’s Watergate scandal in 1974.

A poll earlier this month by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute found overwhelming support for her—67 percent—among New York voters, if she decides to run for re-election next year. Among Democrats, however, 65 percent surveyed want her to pledge to serve out a full term if she runs, negating a 2008 White House bid.

Sixty-one percent also said they’d like her to run for president.

Asked by CNN whether she could pledge today that she would serve out her U.S. Senate term if re-elected, or whether she would pursue a White House run in 2008, Clinton declined to say. “I am focused on winning re-election,” she said.

If I was on the Cox campaign I would put a lot of pressure on her to state whether she’d fill out her second term as senator. 

Posted by Lee on 05/26/05 at 04:52 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Not Flushed
by Lee

Remember the Koran that was flushed, then wasn’t flushed, and then was flushed again?  Well, now it’s once again not flushed.

The Guantanamo detainee who told an FBI agent in 2002 that U.S. personnel there had flushed a Koran in a toilet retracted his allegation when questioned this month by military investigators, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

“We’ve gone back to the detainee who allegedly made the allegation and he has said it didn’t happen. So the underlying allegation, the detainee himself, within the last two weeks, said that didn’t happen,” chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita told a briefing.

An FBI document, dated Aug. 1, 2002, contained a summary of statements made by the detainee in two interviews with an FBI special agent at the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The names of the detainee and the agent were redacted.

“The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet,” the FBI agent wrote.

Di Rita told reporters on Wednesday the U.S. military, as part of an inquiry into Koran treatment at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, interviewed the same detainee on May 14, and that the man did not corroborate the earlier allegation. But Di Rita at the time said he did not know whether the man actually had recanted his earlier statement.

During his news conference on Thursday, Di Rita said he changed his account of what the detainee had said after getting more information from the commander of the Guantanamo prison, Brig. Gen. Jay Hood.

We should get a pool going on when the next Koran-flushing allegation is going to appear.

Posted by Lee on 05/26/05 at 04:34 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Placementator
by Lee

This was a pretty stupid move on Arnie’s part.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should pull a political commercial off the air that promotes the junk food products of his campaign donors, consumer advocates said.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Schwarzenegger to return the quarter-million dollars he received from companies featured in the ad, and for the corporations to pay the market value of the advertising to the state because it is improper for the governor to use public office to sell corporate products.

The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for one-third of the ad.

Donors connected to Pepsi Co. and Arrowhead Water’s parent company, Nestle, gave the governor a total of $279,800 in campaign contributions. Also recognizable on-screen are Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cheetos and a SoBe Beverage, all brands owned by Pepsi.

You can see the movie here.  The Pepsi and Arrowhead bottles are clearly faced towards the camera so that their logos are visible.  If this turned out to be merely a chance placement, they could have very easily blurred out the product logos during editing.  In and of itself this isn’t a huge deal, but you can’t have a politician advertising products in a campaign advertisement.  That’s just tacky, more than anything else.

Posted by Lee on 05/26/05 at 12:54 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Hasta La Vista, Stem Cells
by Lee

I supported Bush’s decision on embryonic stem cells.  While I don’t necessarily agree with his idea that we are creating life solely to destroy it, I do think that his decision was Reaganesque in the way placated his religious base but still promoted the science.  An unsigned editorial in Opinion Journal covers the issue quite well.

So what’s happened, research-wise, since 2001? Given the rhetoric of some of the President’s critics, you might think the answer is nothing. In fact, federal funding for all forms of stem-cell research (including adult and umbilical stem cells) has nearly doubled, to $566 million from $306 million. The federal government has also made 22 fully developed embryonic stem-cell lines available to researchers, although researchers complain of bureaucratic bottlenecks at the National Institutes of Health.
At the state level, Californians passed Proposition 71, which commits $3 billion over 10 years for stem-cell research. New Jersey is building a $380 million Stem Cell Institute. The Massachusetts Legislature has passed a bill authorizing stem-cell research by a veto-proof margin, and similar legislation is in the works in Connecticut and Wisconsin.

Then there’s the private sector. According to Navigant Consulting, the U.S. stem-cell therapeutics market will generate revenues of $3.6 billion by 2015. Some 70 companies are now doing stem-cell research, with Geron, ES Cell International and Advanced Cell Technologies being leaders in embryonic research. Clinical trials using embryonic stem-cell technologies for spinal cord injuries are due to begin sometime next year.

True, many privately funded researchers complain about what they call Mr. Bush’s “antiquated stem-cell policy.” But we have yet to meet the CEO or entrepreneur who doesn’t bridle at government restrictions, or who wouldn’t welcome more in government subsidies under the heading of “basic research.”

These companies are still raising private equity on the capital markets, and CFO David Greenwood tells us that Geron has been developing its own stem-cell lines, a process he says has only gotten cheaper as they get better at it. “When Bush made those comments in 2001 we applauded,” he says. “We thought at the time, ‘hey, this is a victory.’ There was a minimum sufficiency of material to get the ball rolling.”

All of which is to say that if embryonic stem-cell researchers can get this far within the regime Mr. Bush imposed in 2001, then surely they can go further without additional federal help. The same goes for the $79 million the President and his allies in Congress are proposing to spend on umbilical cord stem-cell research. Here, too, the government is spending tax dollars to subsidize a private sector that already has every incentive to invest.

Now, I’m on the record as having voted in favor of California stem-cell research grants proposed by Gov. Terminator.  I think that this is one of those instances where it is in the public interest to invest tax money.  If one of these California-based businesses manages to get a breakthrough that leads to a treatment for some horrible disease then it will be money well spent.  I look at it much in the save vein as highway construction.  When the highways were being built is was through grants to contractors.  This investment has proven to a huge boon to the economy where the highways lead, and has created far more jobs that would have been created had we waited for private enterprise to come along.  So, in general terms, I think the state’s investment was a good one, as was Bush’s decision to only work with existing lines of cells.

Bush is a deeply religious man, and given that circumstance I think his decision was a good one.  It doesn’t ban stem cell research, it just said that the funding will not be coming from the government.  It isn’t preventing the research, despite the way Bush’s political opponents describe it.  Good for Bush for taking a principled stand on the issue, and good for Arnie to proposing a federalist solution, whereby the people in each state can set their own policies for research.  Winners all around.

Posted by Lee on 05/26/05 at 04:11 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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