SCIENCE, SCHMIENCE

Last week President Bush replaced two stem-cell research advocates from his bioethics advisory panel with three opponents. This makes the 18-member panel largely opposed to the therapeutic cloning that could one day spare you or your kids from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, or paralysis.

Meanwhile, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a 37-page report accusing the Bush administration of distorting / suppressing findings they didn’t like and stacking panels with like-minded and underqualified scientists with ties to industry.

God has told Jerry Falwell to tell George Bush that if he wants evangelicals to turn out November 2, he’d better put the interests of five-day-old blastocysts ahead of the interests of millions of fully formed humans. It’s a choice the Bush administration may be entitled to make, but a choice with enormous consequences for your health and the health and longevity of your loved ones.

Already they have largely shut down stem cell research here at home (outsourcing an entire leading-edge industry). Now they are working to shut it down altogether, worldwide.

For more on last week’s panel shuffle, click here. To help fight back, consider supporting this fledgling nonprofit.

MARTHA, PETER AND GEORGE

A lot of people were undoubtedly rooting for Little Ms. Perfect’s comeuppance – we are human – but this promises to be just a GIGANTIC comeuppance. And it’s not so great for Martha’s 550 employees, either. As for my friend Peter Bacanovic, one impulsive mistake (‘Call Martha!’), perhaps made poolside, without any significant reflection (he was on vacation?), cell phone in one hand, beverage in the other . . . and then one thing leads to another (how do you tell Martha Stewart ‘no?’) . . . you dig yourself in deeper and deeper . . . and soon your life is completely ruined. The whole thing is just sad. But the lessons are clear: never trade on inside information; never, ever lie – least of all to federal agents.

The irony, many of you will be very tired of my pointing out, is that a member of the three-man Harken Oil audit committee sold a much more significant lot of stock not long before the company released very bad news . . . later told the feds his disclosure form for this trade had been ‘lost’ for eight months . . . and, far from being extensively investigated as a potential high-profile, example-setting, no-special-treatment-for-anyone defendant, he and his case were not pursued. One need not be a cynic to suspect this was in part because his father was President of the United States. Several of you have written to tell me that the insider in question did nothing wrong, because his family lawyer (later named ambassador to Saudi Arabia) told him it was OK. The truth is, we’ll probably just never know.

Tomorrow: A Column That Could Actually Make You (or that ne’er-do-well son-in-law of yours) Some Money

 

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