A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Monday, May 10, 2004

Monday Blogbusiness (and more!)

A couple things: Permalinks are working now, so anyone who wants to link to a particular post can have at it. Also, Blogger has added it's own comments. So far Haloscan is doing a good job so I'm not going to switch over yet, but if things get wonky I might have to. Everyone should just be prepared for all of the touching, insightful stuff they've said here to disappear suddenly if I give Halosacn the boot.

Which brings me to my next topic: Trackback. Halsoscan has it, Blogger doesn't ... which is yet another reason to stick with Halsoscan as far as a comments section goes. However, because Blogger doesn't support trackback it looks like the Halsoscan trackback ability will only let other people trackback to here. As far as me being able to trackback to other blogs, it looks like I'm still SOL. If anyone knows different, please comment on it or send me an e-mail.

Okay, now that all blogbusiness is out of the way here's some interesting stuff for Monday:

First of all, I was getting my daily helping of Cornpone last night and I discovered that rockynogin had an excellent analysis of a John S. Carroll lecture. It seems that Mr. Carroll - who is an editor for one of the largest newspapers in America - is having trouble telling the difference between editorial commentary and reporting. Or at least he does when the editorial commentary is delivered by a conservative; the main thrust of Carroll's lecture is "Bill O'Reilly bad!".

The truth is that the liberal media, who have found themselves getting some serious competition from Fox these past couple years, go after O'Reilly because he's an unapologetic Republican and a big target. But speaking as a Libertarian and a Humanist I can say with near certainly that social liberals have no better friend in the Republican Party than Bill O'Reilly. He has come out in favor of civil unions for homosexuals and the development of alternative energy sources. He has also publicly lambasted fellow conservatives for immoral and irresponsible practices, and he's every bit as hard on the Republicans as he is on Democrats when he does The No Spin Zone. If you actually watch his show for a little while before making a judgment - which I know is a lot to expect a liberal newspaper editor to do - you'll find O'Reilly to be remarkably broad-minded and tolerant. But actually listening to the competition (especially the conservative competition) isn't something Carroll seems to care for; it's much easier to just deliver uninformed, partisan rhetoric.

Secondly, it looks like there's some pressure on President Bush to reconsider his stance on stem cell research. I have trouble with a few of the President's social policies, but this one bugs me the most. I know just enough about biology and virology to understand that some conditions will never be cured without a quantum jump in our ability to repair complex tissues and organs. Stem cells are the quantum jump we've been looking for. Some people want to argue that a frozen multicellular clump of undifferentiated cells is sacronsact, untouchable to science, because it might someday have the possibility of being human. I counter that there are people who already definitely are human who are dying of horrible diseases that stem cells probably hold the secrets to curing. A woman's body rejects and kills fertilized embryos more than half the time they start, after which they get (unknowingly) flushed down the toilet or tossed into the trash. I hardly think that being used to cure Parkinson's Disease is a worse fate.