If there’s one thing guaranteed to spur this normally quite reserved and reticent (no, really, I am) gentleman into voicing his opinion, it’s an assault on science and reason — especially one, as my regular readers will know, that comes from a nonscientific background. The Bush administration, for this and many other reasons, was therefore of great concern to me, and the consequences of what may have happened had Obama not won the presidency simply didn’t bear thinking about.
So when Obama promised during his campaign and his inaugural speech to reverse Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research I was, naturally, over the moon. Yes, I was a little sceptical. Obama has a great deal to live up to — too much, I think — and there was a niggling doubt at the back of my mind over whether he would actually fulfil this particular promise. I am, however, happy to now say that it looks as though my scepticism (“caution” might be a better word) was unwarranted.
There are people out there who will argue that embryonic stem cell research is immoral/unethical, and even some who will argue that it is a futile or unnecessary line of research. I would disagree with both of these positions. We have a duty and responsibility to at least try to explore all treatment possibilities and, until the alternatives are perfected, this for me is a significant step in the right direction.
The possible scientific/medical benefits apart, it strikes me as hugely symbolic. Obama is clearly sending out a very strong message. A message I for one appreciate.
Yes, I know, I’m probably having rather too much fun at Sarah’s expense, now, but with a bit of luck this kind of humour will be past its sell-by-date within a couple of days — so I’m using it whilst I can.
It’s a Sunday and as those of you who actually pay attention will know, I’m not exactly the type to do church. My head spins round and I vomit pea soup at the mere thought of it. So, instead, I spent the morning productively.
I have no idea how Mr Schwarzenegger’s rhetoric and hyperbole sounds to your average American voter, but I would seriously hope that they find it as unimpressive and hollow as I.
A couple of points that got me shaking my head and sighing:
Apparently, Mr Obama — with the money he used for television ads — could have bailed out the banks and paid off everyone’s mortgages. This was hyperbole, wasn’t it? He wasn’t really being serious, right? You see, from this side of the pond it’s difficult to be completely certain — but I’m going to assume that he was speaking literally, even though I realise he probably wasn’t, because I can 😉 Obama’s campaign budget was estimated at the beginning of October as being somewhere in the region of $450 million. This was money raised for campaign purposes. The money allocated to television ads would have been a percentage of this. I don’t know the actual figures and it’s irrelevant, anyway. The point is, this money was never intended to be used as an economic crutch — or anything else other than campaign funds. It is preposterous to even suggest (with or without hyperbole) that it could have been used in any other way. Yes, it is rather excessive but, on an interesting side note, back in 2006 Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal wealth was said to be around the $800 million mark. Hey, Arnie, why don’t you bail out the banks? Jerk.
John McCain was a prisoner of war. D’you know something, I have a deep-seated suspicion of war heroes who use their past exploits in this way. My great-grandfather (who died when I was about eight or nine) fought in the trenches in France during the First World War, and no one in our family knew anything of what he went through during that time — other than the fact that it was so distressing that he chose not to talk about it. Now this isn’t to say, of course, that everyone who talks about what they went through during battle is somehow embroidering the facts. People quite often need to talk, to share, to help others — from friends to historians — understand the reality of the situations in which they found themselves. But to use those memories, the dead colleagues and friends, the suffering… to use them on the campaign trail, to allow fellow campaigners to refer to them, that I’m afraid strikes me as cynical and inherently suspicious. There were many heroes during the Vietnam War, some in the Armed Forces, and some on the steps of the Kent State University. If Mr McCain is a real hero, it may well have served him better to not have used it for possible political gain.
There’s a definite superficiality to McCain’s campaign that seems to be predominating. Whilst I’m no political commentator — and certainly not the obsessive campaign-watcher that some are — it does strike me that this is the fundamental difference between McCain and Obama. Granted, the latter is far from perfect (anyone who chooses to be a politician is by definition imperfect in my book!) but he at least seems to have something like substance.
I may be wrong — but when I hear Schwarzenegger referring to Obama’s “scrawny little arms”, I tend to feel that I’m not.
Hey, Arnie! Another suggestion for you: why don’t you go and beef up your scrawny little brain?
Contrary to many a rumour out there, I don’t always agree with Old Hitch. But in this recent article for Slate, he takes the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate and very ably shows her for what we all already knew her to be:
“With Palin, however, the contempt for science may be something a little more sinister than the bluff, empty-headed plain-man’s philistinism of McCain. We never get a chance to ask her in detail about these things, but she is known to favor the teaching of creationism in schools (smuggling this crazy idea through customs in the innocent disguise of “teaching the argument,” as if there was an argument), and so it is at least probable that she believes all creatures from humans to fruit flies were created just as they are now. This would make DNA or any other kind of research pointless, whether conducted in Paris or not. Projects such as sequencing the DNA of the flu virus, the better to inoculate against it, would not need to be funded. We could all expire happily in the name of God. Gov. Palin also says that she doesn’t think humans are responsible for global warming; again, one would like to ask her whether, like some of her co-religionists, she is a “premillenial dispensationalist”—in other words, someone who believes that there is no point in protecting and preserving the natural world, since the end of days will soon be upon us.”
As a Brit, there is very little I can do directly to prevent her and McCain from gaining office. And yet the choices that you, my American friends and readers, will soon make will have consequences on a global scale. This impacts on us all. As imperfect a political specimen as Obama might be, he’s far superior to McCain and Little Miss Full of Shit. So please, use your vote wisely.
Don’t give these inbred arseholes the opportunity to, amongst other things, possibly make the End of Days prophecy a reality.
… is that really the point? The fact of the matter is, the money was spent by the RNC — probably in an attempt to make this proud hockey mom look less of a hockey mom, or maybe to wreck the Saturday Night Live budget — to improve her image. Okay, if it had all gone according to plan, they all would have benefited, but the bottom line is, she got to dress up and she loved every minute of it.
$150,000. And to think they could have improved her image at no cost whatsoever, and to greater effect… by simply telling her to keep her bloody mouth shut.
Sheesh. These guys could really do with a thrifty Yorkshireman on their team. If anyone from the RNC is reading this and wishes me to share my expertise with them, by all means email me. It goes against the grain, politically, of course, but… let’s call it $150,000 — I’m anyone’s for $150,000.