Sunday, July 23, 2006

Current Events

- Is the Iraq War over? It's not? Oh, well, I guess I got confused because the media never mentions it anymore. They have totally switched over to 24-hour-a-day coverage of the Israel/Lebanon situation. What is it with cable news especially that they seem capable of covering only one crisis at a time? I care about what is going on in Lebanon but not to the exclusion of everything else in the world. As it is, I believe more people have died in Iraq in the last ten days than in Lebanon and Israel together. Has Iraq gotten boring because its drug on for so long while Israel and Lebanon offer fresh, exciting carnage?

Meanwhile, our government seemed to be, once again, Katrina-ishly, a day late and a dollar short in evacuating our refugees from Lebanon. And Condi sort of ambles her way toward a diplomatic meeting to discuss intervention in this latest middle-east conflict, saying, "I could shuttle off but what would I be shuttling for?" Well, I'm not sure but I think knowing that is why we pay her the big bucks.

Grover Norquist, one of the gurus of modern neo-con Republicanism once said he wanted to shrink government to the size where it could be drowned in the bathtub. The fact is that people who hate government do a terrible job of governing and that's what we're seeing today in Washington. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I've been a government worker for many years. If there was no government, there would be no cops, no firemen, no snow plowing, no courts, no state or federal highways. If it wasn't for government, you'd get no unemployment check when you're laid off. Your food wouldn't be inspected; your lakes and rivers would still be polluted; there would be no rules for the safety of your workplace. If we'd "drowned" government long ago, there'd be no FDA to ensure that medicines we take have been tested for safety or no weather bulletins from NOAH telling us when a hurricane was coming. If we'd killed off government even longer ago, your elderly parents would not get their social security checks, children would still be working in the mills or mines for 12 hours a day, there would be no such thing as overtime pay.......

- One thing that happened here in the USA this week was the president casting his first veto -
against stem cell research. I am personally in favor of stem cell research because I simply don't equate embryonic stem cells with real live people but I can respect the feelings of those who believe they are imbued with human potential. But here is something that I would like to have explained. If you truly believe that stem cells are humans, how can you possibly be in favor of in vitro fertilization? In vitro fertilization is the reason there are so many stem cells to debate about. As currently practiced, many more cells are harvested than will likely be needed. They are like tiny little insurance policies to ensure that a pregnancy will result. A very few have been "adopted" but most will simply be discarded at some point. I don't understand why the moralists believe that is a preferable option to using them for research. But I've heard none of the politicians who pontificate about the immorality of stem cell research also arguing to outlaw in vitro fertilization.

If it is wrong to use stem cells for research as George Bush argues, then it seems as if it has to also be wrong to over-produce them in the first place. And if objections to stem cell research are based on religious grounds, then shouldn't women who can't get pregnant have to put their faith in God and perhaps, only create, say, two stem cells and then resign themselves to the outcome in the belief that they will get pregnant if it is God's will? It seems to me that the anti-stem cell research folks have to pick a side and stick with it. Instead, they are trying to have it both ways. That's called hypocricy.

- The president used one of his recent radio addresses to trumpet the news that our budget deficit will only be $299 billion instead of the $329 billion they'd originally predicted. Wow, I'm impressed. Meanwhile, we've spent half a trillion dollars on Iraq.... with no end in sight....of either money or bloodshed.

- In other political news, Dan Quayle stalked out of a John Mellencamp concert in a huff because Mellencamp made a disparaging remark about George Bush. Charles Barkley sided with John saying, "I used to be a Republican until they all lost their minds." Two Hoosier icons - John Mellencamp and Dan Quayle - choose up sides.