LINK: Jim Harper has an entry on Cato @ Liberty discussing President Obama’s pledge to post all bills for 5 days of public comment before signing them. Mr. Harper reviews the steps the administration has taken and offers a positive review of the idea, although he correctly criticizes the administration for playing loosely with the 5 day timeline.
I agree with that in principle, but that’s not my concern here. The deficit spending bill mistakenly labeled The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is now online for public comment. I thought about adding comments, but why? I’m realistic enough to understand that what I say will not matter. It will not matter how many people comment against it, this is a done deal. The five days concept as implemented is worthless political propaganda. Honestly, if members of Congress can’t be bothered to read the bill, yet they’ll happily vote by party line, they don’t care what the American people think. They’re trading favors for power. The game hasn’t changed. So, wake me when this fails and tell me what the next stupid idea is.
LINK: I reject non-therapeutic infant circumcision because it is logically and ethically unacceptable. I question the science surrounding claims, particularly those involving HIV risk reduction, because there are obvious holes in the argument. However, unlike (too) many activists, I have no problem with vaccines. I think the logical and ethical arguments differ, and I don’t believe in conspiracy theories about Big Pharma. And from what I’ve read, the autism-vaccine link appears weak, at best. This report seems to confirm that (link via Kevin, MD):
THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.
I would use this as a lesson for everyone who thinks that a claimed HIV risk reduction for (adult, voluntary) male circumcision need to be concerned about the long-term reality of their idea. I think we will eventually look back on the HIV-foreskin connection and realize the mistakes in the studies. But I do not approach the topic from that angle. I don’t need it, of course. I can concede the point for the argument and rely on ethics and objective indications of health and easier methods prevention.
For now, it’s too late anyway. The link has gained widespread acceptance because people want to believe it, regardless of facts or reasonable caution. The mindset is the same, as this excerpt from Orac’s post at Respectful Insolence suggests. (I read the post, but there’s too much to parse easily, so I’m using the summary pulled by Kevin, MD.)
“None of this will matter to antivaccinationists,” he writes, “who view Wakefield as . . . a persecuted scientific hero . . . I’m sure that [anti-vaccine proponents] will wax ridiculous about what a great doctor and man Wakefield is and how it’s big pharma and its minions who, frightened by the implications of Wakefield’s work, are working hard to demonize him and suppress his ‘science.'”
When emotion precedes logic in an objective debate, reason is lost. That would be unfortunate but defensible if it only affected the decision maker. It does not. The individual fears of parents results in poorly conceived decisions for children. Vaccinate but circumcise. Don’t vaccinate and don’t circumcise. Neither combination is justifiable when weighing the evidence with logic and ethics.
LINK: To lighten things up just a bit, will the Mets never learn?
“Whatever they did last year, they already got paid,” [Francisco] Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. Whatever they did, I have all the respect in the world. They worked hard and they deserve it. This is a different year and different ballclubs now. I don’t want to make any controversy, but with me and (J.J.) Putz and the additions in the bullpen, I feel like now we are the team to beat.”
K-Rod should ask Carlos Beltran how that worked out last year. However, I love this rivalry.