Today, the Supreme Court extended the Terry stop to include "stop and ID" in addition to "stop and frisk". The case arose out of a Nevada cattle rancher's misdemeanor conviction, but it's easy to see the applicability of this case in other contexts. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the Court's majority, said these "stop and ID" searches violated neither the 4th nor the 5th Amendment rights of the defendant in this case. Here are some excerpts from the majority opinion.On the 4th Amendment issues:
"Asking questions is an essential part of police investigations. In the ordinary course a police officer is free to ask a person for identification without implicating the Fourth
Amendment. [emphasis added]
* * *
"Obtaining a suspect's name in the course of a Terry stop serves important government interests. Knowledge of identity may inform an officer that a suspect is wanted for another offense, or has a record of violence or mental disorder. On the other hand, knowing identity may help clear a suspect and allow the police to concentrate their efforts elsewhere. Identity may prove particularly important in cases such as this, where the police are investigating what appears to be a domestic assault. Officers called to investigate domestic disputes need to know whom they are dealing with in order to assess the situation, the threat to their own safety, and possible danger to the
On the 5th Amendment questions:
"The Fifth Amendment prohibits only compelled testimony
that is incriminating."
* * *
"In this case petitioner's refusal to disclose his name was not based on any articulated real and appreciable fear that his name would be used to incriminate him, or that it would furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute him. ... Even today, petitioner does not explain how the disclosure of his name could have been used against him in a criminal case."
* * *
"The narrow scope of the disclosure requirement is also important. One's identity is, by definition, unique; yet it is, in another sense, a universal characteristic. Answering a request to disclose a name is likely to be so insignificant in the scheme of things as to be incriminating only in unusual circumstances."
"How many working families are benefiting from President Bush's Jobs and Growth Act?What if I believe it hasn't even helped 12 million? What about a 'none of the above' choice?
"Which part of President Bush's compassionate conservative agenda is most important to you?I'm just not sure how to answer this. It'd be nice if I actually saw him 'funding' the programs he talks about.
Fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic
Encouraging faith-based initiatives
Promoting independence & an ownership society
Reviving civic involvement & volunteer initiatives"
"President Bush's work to offer Americans more health care options includes which of the following?If you can have an 'All of the above' choice, again, why not a 'None of the above' choice? "President Bush's work" is an odd phrase. It must have occurred during a lull on a flight from Kennebunkport to Crawford, Texas.
Preventive care that keeps us healthy
Patients can choose their doctors & hospitals
Prescription drug benefit for seniors
All of the above"
"Which of President Bush's education priorities and reforms is most important to you?Sorry, I just can't get past the "59% increase in school funding". When did this happen? Why are the schools in my area broke? I mean, 59% is huge. Do you think the economy can afford it?
Holding schools accountable
59% increase in school funding
Local control & flexibility
Options for parents over low-performing schools"
"How do state and local communities use the $7.8 billion the Bush Administration has provided communities for terrorism preparedness?Last I talked to the local first responders, uh, they sort of said, uh, well, we haven't actually seen the money yet, but we're sure the promise of money is helping to save lives. Or something like that.
Train and equip firefighters, police, and paramedics
Plan and prepare for a rapid response if needed
Improved communications for first responders
All of the above"
"President Bush's defense budget will fulfill which of these goals?Again, excuse me. I must not pay enough attention. I thought Baby Bush wanted to reduce the danger pay, and has under funded VA care for soldiers, and...Oh, yeah, um, how much is these little wars going to cost?
Increase pay for our servicemen and women
Continue to eliminate inadequate military housing
Provide the next generation of weapons to assist our troops in the field
All of the above"
"President Bush's Clear Skies initiative would reduce the most harmful power plant pollution by what level?I hate to be a stickler, but precisely which substance is the "most harmful power plant pollution"? Oh, I know, just super nit-pickey, but by harmful, do you mean to people's health, or to the corporations' profit margins?
The state or fact of knowing.
Familiarity, awareness, or understanding gained through experience or study.
The sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned.
Learning; erudition: teachers of great knowledge.
Specific information about something.
Even as insurgents increase their attacks in the days leading up to the June 30 handover, the public’s belief that going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do is holding steady. Majorities believe there was a partnership between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that military action abroad is necessary to protect from having to fight terrorists on U.S. soil. In addition, brightening impressions on the condition of the economy helped President Bush improve his standing against Democrat John Kerry this week, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.I wonder. Is:
"Majorities believe there was a partnership between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that military action abroad is necessary to protect from having to fight terrorists on U.S. soil."a good thing? Does it perhaps denote a lack of effectiveness of the FOX news cast in educating it's viewers on the truth? I mean...Hell you know what I mean.
"The United States bowed Wednesday to broad opposition on the Security Council and announced it was dropping its effort to gain immunity for its troops from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.Wow, a reversal. Well, let's look further:
'The United States has decided not to proceed further with consideration and action on the draft at this time in order to avoid a prolonged and divisive debate,' James B. Cunningham, the deputy American ambassador, said on emerging from the Council chamber."
The outcome, while a political defeat for Washington, will have no effect on the vulnerability to prosecution of American soldiers in Iraq. Neither the United States nor Iraq is a member of the tribunal, and its jurisdiction is limited to countries that do not themselves prosecute crimes by their military.Oh wait,
The setback for American diplomacy at the United Nations came just two weeks after the Bush administration was praised there for demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to compromise in securing a unanimous vote on a resolution affirming the arrangements for the transfer of power in Iraq.
This time American diplomats, who had been confident of obtaining a routine "technical rollover" of the measure, appeared to have miscalculated the impact of the publicity given the American mistreatment of Iraqi detainees.
The Bush administration has said it needs the troop-protection measure to prevent people from using the court to bring politically motivated war-crime prosecutions against Americans abroad.Oh, that's right. Due Process:
"When the United States voluntarily commits its armed forces to participate in peacekeeping missions around the world, we believe it is wholly inappropriate to subject them to a tribunal which cannot provide adequate guarantees of due process," he said.
"Generally, due process guarantees the following (this list is not exhaustive):I wonder if the Iraqis, the Afghans and others we are fighting, are feeling the benefit of American Due Process?
Right to a fair and public trial conducted in a competent manner
Right to be present at the trial
Right to an impartial jury
Right to be heard in one's own defense
Laws must be written so that a reasonable person can understand what is criminal behavior
Taxes may only be taken for public purposes
Property may be taken by the government only for public purposes
Owners of taken property must be fairly compensated "
"Or take another subject. Just days ago, an American plane or helicopter fired two missiles into a residential neighborhood of Fallujah (itself a war crime as Juan Cole recently pointed out at his Informed Comment website). The Bush administration explanation went like this: Based on 'strong, actionable' intelligence or 'multiple confirmations of actionable intelligence,' our military hit a 'safe house' used by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network. Reports from Fallujah were that 22 people had died, mostly belonging to a single extended family and including a number of women and children. Our spokesperson in Baghdad responded: Not at all; we 'killed key figures in the network of suspected terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.' (How, given our notoriously dreadful intelligence in Iraq, we can be sure of this in out-of-bounds Fallujah, I leave to your imagination.) The destruction and civilian deaths, the claims and counterclaims, the reassertion of even more specific claims and counterclaims (often followed by the promise of an investigation) - anything seem familiar here? Not, probably, if you read the American press.You should read the entire Dispatch: which includes these passages in "God Bless America", by Renato Redentor Constantino, sub-titled 'Coincidence, pattern, and memory. Tricky things these three':
On June 13, the New York Times had a striking piece (Errors Are Seen in Early Attacks on Iraqi Leaders) by Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt reporting that, of 50 air strikes meant to take out the top figures in Saddam's government with 'precision munitions' over a month-long period beginning on the eve of the war, and based on our best intelligence of that moment, we were an across-the-boards 0-50. What are the odds against that, even blind? ('It was all just guesswork on where they were,' they quote 'a senior military officer' as saying.) Of course, we were anything but 0-50 when it came to killing significant numbers of Iraqi civilians since, as in the recent Fallujah missile attack, many of these strikes took place in heavily populated urban neighborhoods. Perhaps there is a little formula here: smart bombs plus dumb intelligence equals civilian horror. Then again, as the Israelis have shown, precision munitions plus good intelligence still equals civilian horror.
Now, you might think that the Times piece would have provided a little useful context -- with the Fallujah strike taking place only a week later, with the U.S. Air Force once again attacking an urban residential area, once again using precision munitions based on hot intelligence tips, and once again claiming to have precisely taken out the bad guys (as, for instance, during the war we claimed incorrectly to have taken out General Ali Hasan al Majid, aka "Chemical Ali"); or you would think that a number of other similar and similarly contested bombing incidents and U.S. claims might be brought up. But no such connections are made in the American press."
"In 1901, in the course of interrogating 'treacherous' Filipinos who did not have the good sense to accept America's seizure of the Philippines, Lieutenant Frederick Arnold and one Sergeant Edwards were accused of torturing Filipino prisoners. Their acts of 'prisoner abuse'? Stripping a young man naked, then subjecting him to the water cure (the essential memory-recovery medication of the occupation army's battle kit and predecessor to today's 'water-boarding'): The prisoner's mouth is forced open to respectfully facilitate down his throat five to ten gallons of water (or whatever his bloated stomach can endure). Once filled up, the interrogators politely step on the prisoner's tummy until the prisoner blurts out the desired information.See, we're just following a tried and true method for bringing democracy to foreign lands. Just keep killing wedding parties, women and children, and use torture liberally.
For data validation purposes, the same prisoner is interrogated once more by his American liberators and 'whipped and beaten unmercifully with rattan rods' and 'then strung up by his thumbs.' Efficiency is everything.
Another feat of the imagination -- before questioning, a strip of skin is cut from a Filipino prisoner's ankle and attached to a piece of wood. Then 'the flesh' is coiled 'with the wood.' Think can-opener.
'When I give a man to [my troops],' said Lt. Arnold, 'I want information. I do not know how [they] get it, but [they] get it anyway.' Filipinos 'had no feelings other than physical, and should not be treated as human beings.'"
"If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life,Wow, I wonder if I can be proud to be an American? What would it take? For starters, putting Baby Bush in The Abu Ghraib Prison with some of America's finest.
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I'd thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away.
And I'm proud to be an American where as least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,
across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,
Well, there's pride in every American heart,
and it's time to stand and say:
I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A"
"The Bush Administration is to take the unusual step of granting its troops and personnel immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis or destroying local property after the occupation ends and sovereignty returns, US officials said.Cool, how many women can I rape while I'm immune form prosecution? I mean raping Iraqis is not a crime in America, right?
The Administration plans to achieve this - the most contentious remaining issue before the transfer of power - by extending an order that has been in place during its year-long occupation.
Order 17 gives all foreign personnel in the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority immunity from 'local criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction and from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their parent states'."
"Corporate profits have risen 62.2% since the peak, compared to average growth of 13.9% at the same point in the last eight recoveries that have lasted as long as the current one. This is the fastest rate of profit growth in a recovery since World War II.But really, it's okay. I have a plan.
Total labor compensation has also turned in a historic performance: growing only 2.8%, the slowest growth in any recovery since World War II and well under the historical average of 9.9%.
Most of this growth in total labor compensation has been accounted for by rising non-wage payments, like health care and pension benefits. Rapidly rising health care costs and pension funding requirements imply that these higher benefit payments are not translating into increased living standards for workers, but are rather just covering the higher costs of health care and pension funding. Growth in total wage and salary income, the primary source of take-home pay for workers, has actually been negative for private-sector workers: -0.6%, versus the 7.2% gain that is the average increase in private wage and salary income at this point in a recovery."
"BW Whois has detected a condition which may be an automated request."What?! I'm supposed to mail you a letter? What the hell does this mean? I'll even accept responsibility. It's my fault. So, now what do I do? Is this a permanent problem? Can I never get information on that particular IP number?
"The Baby Bush' administration sided with Connecticut, as did each of the other states with similar laws, in asking the Supreme Court to restore or preserve public access to information about former sex offenders.
'Megan's laws serve vital government interests by assisting law enforcement and enabling American communities to better protect themselves, and in particular their children,' the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer wrote in court papers."
NIC.COM - Meta-Whois Universal International WHOIS Server: "Request: 152.17.52I must? And if I didn't see, "If you see a message above beginning 'The IP address from which you have visited Network Solutions Registrar WHOIS database . .'", but instead saw:
unable to connect to whois.arin.net (9: Bad file descriptor)
The registrar Network Solutions Incorporated (NSI) is not permitting nic.com to forward your whois query to their server. If you see a message above beginning 'The IP address from which you have visited Network Solutions Registrar WHOIS database . .' and do not see ownership information about the domain, you must contact NSI (US toll free telephone number 1-888-642-9675, from outside the USA (703) 742-0914, or email email@example.com) for ownership information about that domain."
Request: 152.17.52Now what do I do? Do I call anyway? Do I care?
unable to connect to whois.arin.net (9: Bad file descriptor)?
The definition for atheism that we use, put simply, says that atheism is the lack of a god-belief, the absence of theism, to whatever degree and for whatever reason. The one thing that all atheists have in common, according to this definition, is that they are not theists. One either believes one or more of the various claims for the existence of a god or gods (is a theist) or one does not believe any of those claims (is an atheist). Though we do not recognize any "middle ground," we do acknowledge the agnostic position, which spans both theism and atheism: a theistic agnostic thinks one or more gods exist but can say no more on the subject than this (is a theist); an atheistic agnostic doesn't know if any gods exist (lacks a god belief, and is thus an atheist). Noncognitivists think all god-talk is meaningless, and thus lack any god beliefs (are atheists).Just found that. Wow. I like it, and the site.
Not saying anything in specific, mind you, but we'd be damn careful about showing our face in public if we were you. You just never know who that perfect stranger behind you in that alleyway might be. Could be a sibling or other relative of one of the fallen soldiers that you just took a dump on the grave of, and G-d only knows what might happen then.Funny, huh?
Eric may not be famous enough to be a pick for the 2004 Dead Pool, but there's another signed Imperial Mug for the first LC to inform me that Eric Blumrich has died in a "tragic" accident.
Accidents DO happen, you know, and that's the kind of news that would definitely make my entire day.
"Stories about superhuman strength permeate popular culture from Atlas to Zeus, Superman to Schwarzenegger. But now, says University of Utah robotics expert Stephen Jacobsen, it's time to deliver in the real world. With funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, Jacobsen's Salt Lake City-based company, Sarcos, has built a robotic suit that does just that. A person wearing this powered 'exoskeleton' on his or her legs can carry massive loads without getting tired. Exoskeletons could enable soldiers to haul heavier equipment over greater distances, allow rescue workers to carry survivors more safely, and eventually help disabled people get around."I mean, if the exoskeleton becomes affordable, how many lazy people will buy them?
The inventor of an "invisibility" cloak has said that his next project will be to develop the technology to allow people to see through walls.But ever since I first played a thief in my first Dungeons & Dragons game, I've always wanted my own "Cloak of Invisibility". Looks like it may be as expensive and rare in real life as it is in the game.
Susumu Tachi, who showed off the cloak at an exhibition in San Francisco earlier this month, said he was hopeful of providing a way to provide a view of the outside in windowless rooms.
"This technology can be used in all kinds of ways, but I wanted to create a vision of invisibility," he told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.
"My short-term goal would be, for example, to make a room that has no outside windows appear to have a view to the outside, then the wall would appear to be invisible."
Use and misuse
Professor Tachi's cloak works by projecting an image onto itself of what is behind the wearer.
A computer generates the image that is projected, so the viewer effectively sees "through" the cloak.
The key development of the cloak, however, was the development of a new material called retro-reflectum.
"This material allows you to see a three-dimensional image," Professor Tachi said.
"This material is the key to our technology."
There are many potential uses of the cloak, ranging from espionage and military purposes to helping pilots see through the floor of the cockpit to the runway below.
However there are massive questions of potential misuse too, particularly surrounding the huge crime implications.
It would become incredibly difficult to spot a thief, for example, if the items they were taking were simply disappearing under the cloak.
"Physicists in Austria and the US have independently demonstrated quantum teleportation with atoms for the first time. Until now, teleportation had only ever been observed with photons. The results could represent a major step towards building a large-scale quantum computer.Super cool, but let me know when I can beam off this planet.
In quantum teleportation, the sender, normally called Alice, instantaneously transfers information about the quantum state of a particle to a receiver called Bob. The uncertainty principle means that Alice cannot know the exact state of her particle. However, another feature of quantum mechanics called 'entanglement' means that she can teleport the state to Bob.
Entanglement allows particles to have a much closer relationship than is possible in classical physics. If two particles are entangled, we can know the state of one particle by measuring the state of the other. For example, two particles can be entangled such that the spin of one particle is always 'up' when the spin of the other is 'down', and vice versa. An additional feature of quantum mechanics is that the particle can exist in a superposition of both these states at the same time."
"Do you know the half-life of a microtubule, the protein filaments that form the internal scaffolding a cell? Just ten minutes. That's an average of ten minutes between assembly and destruction.Yeah, that's what I want to know.
Now the brain is supposed to be some sort of computer. It is an intricate network of some 1,000 trillion synaptic connections, each of these synapses having been lovingly crafted by experience to have a particular shape, a particular neurochemistry. It is of course the information represented at these junctions that makes us who we are. But how the heck do these synapses retain a stable identity when the chemistry of cells is almost on the boil, with large molecules falling apart nearly as soon as they are made?"
Myelin and RNA molecules seem to last months. And DNA is of course fairly hardy, though it still needs continual repair. But on the kinds of figures that are coming out now, it seems like the whole brain must get recycled about every other month. And certainly everything points to the synapses as being about the most dynamic part of the whole system.Oh, that explains it. Sort of. Maybe.
Clearly the shape of the synapses IS somehow maintained despite the molecular turmoil. But there is an issue here that demands some specific theory. The stability of brain circuits cannot simply be taken for granted. Princeton University's Joe Tsien - famous for making mice smarter by splicing in slower-closing NMDA receptors - is one of a number of researchers pursuing the idea that synaptic structure may be stabilized by pressure from both above and below.
"The brain-enhancement revolution is already under way. The drug Ritalin, first given to control hyperactivity in children, now is routinely used by healthy high school and college students to sharpen their thinking before taking exams. The long-term health effects are unknown.Well, then what about the ethics?
Modafinil was developed to treat narcolepsy, a rare condition causing daytime sleepiness. But now it is used by those who simply want to be wakeful and alert, and recently seven American track and field athletes admitted to using it to boost their mental preparation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, used for nearly two decades to treat depression, has also been found to enhance problem-solving abilities in normal individuals.
Improved brain imaging, or mapping, is yielding new techniques such as 'brain fingerprinting,' which purports to be able to locate memories within the brain, raising troubling possibilities for invasion of privacy. 'There's nothing more private and personal than a person's memories,' says Richard Glen Boire, codirector of the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics in Davis, Calif."
As in the case of Ritalin, most of the current techniques for enhancing mental abilities come from efforts to treat diseases. In the 2002 book "Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution," influential thinker Francis Fukuyama called for governmental regulation of using such technologies for neural enhancement.And, you still have to dea with questions like these:
But even others with ethical concerns say drawing such a "bright line" between the use of a drug or other technology for therapy or for enhancement is problematic.
Pharmaceutical companies are going to want to produce and market drugs that appeal to 100 percent of the population, not just the minority who are sick at any given time, Mr. Boire points out. After all, many people would like a better memory, to be able to think a little more quickly, or to forget troubling memories.
Yet a number of issues of personal liberty are being raised, he says. "What rights does the person have to manage their own thought processes?" Boire asks. "Thought is not just something that is changed by reading a book or hearing a speaker. Now, and more and more, as time goes on, thought will be changed by pharmacological agents."
How will we be able to say yes to therapy but no to enhancement? Professor Caplan asks. He balks at the idea of telling someone "you can take a pill if you have dyslexia, but you can't take a pill if you're just a poor reader. It's very tough. It won't work."
Even enhancement advocate Hughes agrees that safety remains important. The Food and Drug Administration needs to certify drug safety "and it needs to be independent of the biomedical industry in a way that it hasn't been," he says.Geeez. Talk about setting the stage for the Thought Police. And, is it like saying 'there is no Santa?'
Mapping the brain brings its own set of concerns, Caplan adds. He foresees brain scans someday being used at airports to screen passengers. Do you have to give informed consent to have someone look at your brain? he asks. What if it can be done at a distance without your knowledge? And who's going to be allowed to keep information about your brain?
Some kind of regulation will be needed. "You don't want people just setting up machines on the sidewalk saying 'I'll tell you if your spouse is cheating on you,'" Caplan says.
The concept of a "self" does not make much sense in the framework of neuroscience, "where you and I are just big networks of neurons that can be changed by a drug or other procedure," Farah adds. On the other hand, she says, "I feel I have a self, I feel that other brains are persons, and even though this may be an illusion, it is part of my understanding of life that I am not ready to dispense with, no matter what neuroscience tells me!A brief point on this 'mind v brain' argument. I no longer buy into the deterministic side of this argument. The reason for this, and I can't find the particular link I'm looking for, so this will have to do for now, BioEd Online: "Split personalities probed":
"One human brain can have two different personalities dwelling in it, according to a new imaging study - and each personality seems to use its own network of nerves to help recall or suppress memories.I was looking for a source describing how even the gamma and beta waves of the brain changed during these personality disorders, and specifically an article I remember about how a person who had one personality that was physically allergic to something (with all physical symptoms and treatment), and yet another personality was immune, and all affects would disappear when this personality was dominant. This is what convinced me that the 'mind', and not the 'brain', is the more powerful.
Alternative personalities are typically developed by children who suffer severe trauma or abuse. The condition, called multiple personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder, appears to help people cope by cutting off difficult memories, making them seem as if they happened to someone else."
"Their study, which appeared this month in the journal Nature, suggests that chemical imbalances in the brain that lead to depression, phobias, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other conditions could be alleviated not by drugs but by direct electrical stimulation to specific areas of the brain.So, yes these are most certainly interesting times, with some very interesting questions to be answered. What will the abuse rate be when a person can have a micro device planted that provides continuous stimulation to the pleasure zones? Do wind up the problem of people getting addicted because it's Better Than Life? And, if you try a prohibition, how do you enforce it? Seems like as the devices become nano-sized, enforcement becomes virtually impossible.
'These drugs have side effects, and they don't work in all cases,' said Nicholas Spitzer, a UCSD neuroscientist whose lab conducted the study. 'We are beginning to think . . . that there might be another way.'
Neuroscientists have long believed that the connection between a brain cell and the neurotransmitter it generates is hard-wired in the genes.
A host of drugs, including Prozac and others, are designed to artificially boost or slow down the flow of neurotransmitters between neurons.
Depression, for example, is associated with low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. And there is strong, although not conclusive, evidence that schizophrenia is fueled by the flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine between neurons.
Other treatments to alter the flow of neurotransmitters have included electroconvulsive therapy, called ECT, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS - both of which induce the flow of electrical currents through the brain in an attempt to alter the flow of neurotransmitters.
But researchers are not certain why these treatments work, said Spitzer."
Members of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority met yesterday to consider the first application to clone human embryos.Smart idea. If they find effective therapies for diabetes, they'll have a huge market in the US based on current obesity trends.
If it is approved, the team of researchers at Newcastle University, led by Dr Miodrag Stojkovic, will clone human embryos and use them as sources of embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to form any of the hundreds of different tissues found in the body. The researchers hope their work will lead to huge advances in medicine, among them novel treatments for disease.
"Our aim is clear: to use these stem cells to find a solution to diabetes," said Dr Stojkovic, at the university's institute for human genetics.
If the HFEA approves the application, as many scientists expect, Dr Stojkovic's group plans to take unfertilised eggs, which would otherwise be discarded as surplus from IVF clinics, and remove the genetic material inside them. The hollowed-out eggs will then be filled with genetic material taken from the skin cells of diabetics.Seems like a cool plan, but then England has their share of nay-sayers -
Nurturing the eggs for six to eight days produces a tiny ball of around 100 cells, from which embryonic stem cells can be extracted. By treating the stem cells with various growth promoters, Dr Stojkovic plans to turn the stem cells into pancreas cells.
Because they are genetically identical to the other cells in the person's body, the newly created pancreas cells can be implanted without being rejected by the immune system. Once there, they should start producing insulin, potentially curing the condition.
The push to begin research on cloned human embryos has reignited a storm over the necessity, ethics and safety of therapeutic cloningBut at least they don't have Baby Bush and Ashcroft deciding what science is.
Patrick Cusworth, of the anti-abortion group Life, said: "This is a profoundly dehumanising process. It attempts to change the status of the human embryo as the beginning point of human life into little more than a pharmaceutical product.
"It's also giving diabetics false hopes. You would need around 35m human eggs to treat everyone in the UK with diabetes. It's totally unfeasible.".
"Archer finds lawsuit not so sweetDidn't ADM get in trouble for fixing the price of Niacin or something just a few years back? If so, slapping ADM w/ fines doesn't seem to discourage them from engaging in this behavior. I continue to argue for criminal prosecutions of corporate officers in cases like these. With very stiff sentences in places where the genteel white executives will know they are a very small minority, and will have to become bitches to bubba, or have Rufus give 'em a shank. That, my friends, is deterrence. Not petty fines for a company that gets more in government subsidies in a single year, than the pittance that is $400 million in fines.
DECATUR, Ill. - Archer Daniels Midland Co. will pay $400 million to settle a federal antitrust lawsuit that claimed the company conspired to fix the price of high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener used in products from soft drinks to pasta sauces."
While the U.S. Department of Justice might be fond of perpetuating the myth that it is diligently ferreting out corporate criminals like ADM, its recent actions leave many in doubt of such a claim.So, I guess prostitutes don't send criminals to jail, they just get paid (oh, this is a pretty good article in it's entirety).
In a February 3, 1999 letter to Reno, David Hoech, of ADM's Shareholders Watch Committee and a persistent critic of the government's handling of the case, charged an 'ADM cover up engineered by the Department of Justice.' In the letter to Reno, Hoech recalled that as early as October 14, 1996 his committee asked the Department of Justice to use the ADM case as an opportunity 'to insure that justice be delivered and send a message to corporate America that corporate crime doesn't pay.'
'Instead,' Hoech continues, 'your office gave credence to the fact that if you are white, rich and influential, or work for a politically-connected company, you can break the law with impunity.' Hoech promised the Attorney General 'from this day forward we will be making more and more information available for the world to see just what your department tried to cover up.'
In a conversation, for example, he had with Ray Goldberg, a former ADM board member, and the man who originally coined the term 'agribusiness,' Hoech recalled that Goldberg, who now serves on the Smithfield Foods and Pioneer Hi-Bred boards of directors, told him 'that the deal cut with the Justice Department could only be accomplished if all the board members kept their lips sealed as demanded by the Justice Department.'
But, Hoech told Reno in his letter, 'people are talking . . . showing how your department has turned Lady Justice into a street prostitute with Justice for sale.'"
And, no I did not read this entire paper, but I probably should.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the operation of several large price-fixing conspiracies involving wet-corn milling products and to analyze a number of legal and economic issues raised by these events. The paper begins with a brief description of the markets for and market structures of lysine, citric acid, corn sweeteners, and vitamins. A short profile of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) indicates a company with a leadership and corporate culture well suited to reckless collusive behavior and well positioned in markets that had nearly all the features necessary to carry out such a scheme. The next section chronicles the operation of the three conspiracies as far as that is possible from the public records. The final section of this paper examines the legal and economic issues surrounding the proper estimation of antitrust damages.
The importance of these topics is demonstrated by the paper's six major conclusions:Why do companies conspire to raise prices, divide markets, or restrain production? The answer is that all such actions boost profits to levels significantly higher than those that would be generated in the absence of collusive behavior. The impact on profits from even a modest increase in price (assuming costs remain the same) is quite large. Aristotle, perhaps the world=s first economic thinker, recognized that small changes in price or output levels would have large impacts on corporate income.1 For example, if a conspiracy causes prices to rise a modest ten percent, the percentage increase in net income will be enormously larger. The average pre-tax profits of semiprocessed food ingredients have historically been about 3 percent of sales. In the organic chemicals industry the comparable return was 6 percent of sales. Thus, a 10 percent price elevation translates into an increase of 167 percent to 333 percent increase in average profits for firms in those industries.
C ADM was at the center of at least two international price-fixing conspiracies
involving wet-corn-milling products, circa 1992-1995: lysine, citric acid, and
allegedly corn sweeteners. Buyers in the U.S. were overcharged $220 to $345
million for the first two products alone.
C Collusion began in the market for bulk vitamins in late 1999 and spread through the Hoffmann-La Roche and ADM companies to citric acid and lysine in 1991 and 1992, respectively. By the time that collusion ceased in early 1999, nearly $40 billion in global commerce had been affected.
C In terms of the monetary damages paid, these are by far the largest price-fixes in antitrust history. The huge fines paid by ADM and its co-conspirators were unprecedented; future fines and damages could reach more than five times the overcharges generated by a conspiracy.
C The events have spurred the Department of Justice (DOJ) into investigating more than 30 international commodity cartels for criminal price fixing. Since the ADM cases, four more cartels have been uncovered and prosecuted.
C ADM management practices have been called into question; ADM=s board of directors changed over night; the AAndreas= Era@ at ADM may be over; and three ADM managers were found guilty of criminal price-fixing.
C These events demonstrate that import competition is no longer sufficient condition for good domestic competition and that companies with vastly different corporate cultures and globally dispersed operations can easily learn to conspire. The extraterritorial reach of the antitrust laws is more needed than ever.
Why individuals conspire to fix prices, often in the face of legal or corporate proscriptions, is more complicated. Senior managers may receive bonuses that depend on their profit-center's financial performance, so personal greed may well play a role. More commonly, price fixers are trying to fix looming financial problems. The prospects of slow market growth, declining market share, or squeezed profits can be magically reversed by an effective price-fixing arrangement. Perhaps the sheer thrill of participating in a secret, dangerous activity motivates some. Merely moving markets, a power allegedly reserved for the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System and few other mortals, may be reason enough.