Drooling on the Pillow

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Exit 0 

Okay,this is getting out of hand, now. Joe Piscopo is telling the Daily News he's thinking of running for governor if McGreevey pulls a Torricelli.

Also, Tina Brown in the Sun points out something that went completely by me. McGreevey used his gayness as a shield to deflect heat from the patronage charges. We are so hip in New Jersey. Who knew? We're metroareasexual. This makes me think of the ultimate curveball insult from that noted southpaw out of London, Samual Johnson: "Sir, your mother, under pretence of running a bawdy house, is a purveyor of stolen goods."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

In My Heart I'm From Montana 

The tabs now refer to McGreevey as "The Love Gov".

Also, there seems to be several different notions about what "pulling a McGreevey" represents. One school of thought is that it simply refers to a male politician getting caught with a live boy. Others insist it requires an overt act of corruption. I'll catch you up when this sorts itself out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Well, That Explains It 

The estimable James Taranto's Best of the Web Today points to an interesting (for about 90 seconds) web site called Word Count. It has a data base of 86,800 words and you type in a word and it ranks the word by frequency of use. "Hill" was way up there at 1446 right behind "conservative" (1443), "reduce" (1444) and "vote" (1445). "Liberal", by the way, comes in at 1839.

Stem Cells 

I'm a moderate on most social issues. Which is to say my views are rather conventional and reflect, often, the views of most Americans. Which is also to say that in the context of the Democratic Party I am a full bull goose looney. I don't believe the government has any role in restricting abortion in the first trimester and I don't believe they should be permitted in the third trimester at all. I believe the government needs a reason specific to me to restrict my access to firearms. I'm all for the death penalty, but I'd be interested in a couple of reforms.

As for the wedge issue du jour, stem cells, my opinion is a little less certain, but just as conventional.

First, there is an ethical dimension to the controversy. (I'm talking only about embryonic stem cells, of course.) The "material" used and destroyed in this research is, at the least, proto-human. However, the point at which the "proto" is dropped is not, I believe, a bright line, or perfectly self-evident. And I also believe that the line is affected, if not moved, by the results contemplated by the research. That doesn't diminish the ethical issues in the least, only that if there are miraculous goods to be got, you may make the decision to cross a line you know is there. (You've got a gun in your hand. There's Hitler. But it is murder.) Those results have been absurdly oversold by the proponents and the ethical issues have been dismissed out of hand. So you have to take all this into account. And taking all this into account, I could be sold on this.

My problem is more political. There is a large minority in this country that are dead set against this. They cannot be sold. For the most part, these people are not zealots, they're not anti-science, they're not selfish and cruel. They simply are unable to reconcile embryonic stem cell research with their beliefs. That doesn't mean their opinions should prevail, even though the government would be using their money for the research. But why don't we get a little more engaged in questions regarding the time frame for progress, the real or merely intuitive difference between adult and embryonic stem cell prospects and those basic ethical concerns before we label opponents fanatical, ignorant, knuckle dragging buffoons who want to keep my cousin Katie in her wheelchair.

This issue, like all wedge issues, is being driven and framed from the edges. Those of us in the middle may wind up jumping one way or the other not by the merits of the issue, but because one side or the other pisses us off.
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