Obama Howler of the Year!

This is from an Obama supporter on the blog, but I think it’s a wonderful summary of the intellectual dishonest that support for Obama has caused in so many people:

tdaxp » Blog Archive » Barack Obama, Please Flip-Flop on Colombia
Nothing is more public a financing system than to only accept money from individual donors.

What next? There is nothing more black than white? There is nothing more up than down? There is nothing more warlike than peace?

I need to thank Eddie and Jeffrey for first pushing me into the idea that the Obama campaign was basically deceptive. While these commentators support Obama in spite of his dishonesty, if the “Private Funding is Public” meme actually originated with Camp Obama, I guess this proves their point!

I had not heard this one before. I am literally laughing out loud!

Barack Obama, Please Flip-Flop on Colombia

In March, the Colombian Communist Rebels (FARC) were “at their lowest point in 44 years.”

It’s just gotten worse for them — and better for everyone else — sinc ethem

The Communists are in collapse.

The Communists’ high-profile hostages have been rescued.

Colombia, which is winning its war against Communist narco-terrorists, has the most successful President in the history of Latin America.

However, the real exist strategy is jobs.

Considering the little regard that Obama has for his own positions:

Just consider his evolution in a single month: Obama opposed welfare reform, and now he supports it. Obama supported the D.C. handgun ban, and now he believes it was unconstitutional. Obama said he would accept public financing, and now he won’t. Obama opposed immunity for telecommunications companies involved in terrorist surveillance, and now he supports it. Obama opposed the death penalty in all cases, and now believes it is justified in certain extreme instances. Obama supported immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and now he’ll listen to the commanders on the ground if they tell him to phase out the troops slowly.

Will Barack Obama now contradict himself, as support the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia?

It is important that the FTA with Colombia is signed. It is important that it is signed sooner, rather than later.

If Obama flip-flops now, he can help to embarras the Congressional Democrats who oppose the FTA, oppose the Colombian government, and therefore oppose winning the war against the Communists.

Barack Obama: flip-flop on the Colombian Trade Agreement now!

Stem Cell Therapy

I’ve previously talked up the promise of gene therapy, especially in my posts “Clearing the Ghettos” and “Better Behavior Through Chemistry.” Gene therapy in general uses retroviruses that infect a person’s cells and change their DNA — hopefully to something better! But stem cells provide another avenue for the betterment of man…

Gene Expression: Metamorphosis
In discussions of nature vs. nurture a common assumption is that if it is in the genes then we can’t fix it. Or we can only change it by eugenics or bioengineering babies. I wish to suggest a different approach.

The following links provide background:

Essentially all tissues turn-over with time. Some tissues such as the gut lining are replaced every three days, other tissues such as bone and fat are replaced over decades. (Proven by tracking green florescent cell markers over time.) In the adult brain, neurons are seldom replaced but new neurons are continually produced and some repair occurs. I believe it will eventually be shown that all tissues contain stem cells that have the potential to rebuild that tissue. Pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow can, with the proper differentiation signals, produce every cell type in the body. Stem cells make up less than 1/10,000 of the cells in tissue. (Adipose tissue may have a higher frequency of stem cells. Satellite cells in muscle tissue may also be relatively common. I welcome correction if I’m wrong about other tissue types.) If scientists could replace that small stem cell fraction and increase the rate of cell turn-over then eventually most of the body cells would become the new type.

Each day a few hundred stem cells in the bone marrow mobilize, circulate in the blood, and either migrate to specific tissue sites, resettle into other bone marrow niches, or die. (This has been observed in mice by florescent labeling of transplanted stem cells.) By injecting a few thousand stem cells each day, a person’s original bone marrow stem cells could be gradually replaced. The process would be accelerated if stem cell mobilizing drugs were used. Or if the old stem cells were selectively targeted for destruction.

By itself, transplants using young stem cells don’t significantly repair damage or rejuvenate tissue. Proper signals are needed to mobilize the stem cells to the desired site, to cause the stem cells to divide, to cause the stem cells to differentiate into the right cells, and to cause those cells to integrate into the existing tissue. This is what happens when our body successfully heals a wound. For rejuvenation scientists also need to kill senescent cells and remodel the extracellular matrix. This isn’t easy but significant progress is being made.

Imagine that in ten years the technology existed to completely replace the stem cells in one mouse with stem cells from a different mouse. And that the tissue turn-over rate was increased so that most of the mouse body cells derived from the second mouse. How much remodeling of body and brain would occur? Some body structures would have been largely fixed during development but much would change due to the new cell DNA. Potentially, a sick or dull mouse could be made healthy or smart by such a full body stem cell makeover.

The great failure of the Progressives is that they were not able to make people better. They wanted to, and tried, but failed. The environmental manipulations they worked through — from more liberal schools, more liberal government institutions, and more liberal tax welfare policies — changed the incentives of people, but did not change human nature. The did not reform the criminals, and the progressive movement in its entirety probably ended up increasing crime.

Imagine if one day we can give a criminal (a murderer, a rapist, a sexual predator, a thug) gene or stem-cell therapy, to make them a better person. Imagine if we can use these techniques to help them see the errors of their ways, they will chose better options.

That’s a future worth creating.

The Sugar Buyout

My thanks to Eddie of Hidden Unities, for uncovering the worst arguments from around the blogosphere. He brought Andrew Sullivan’s rant to my attention (Sullivan was also wrong on his bizarre flat capital tax, btw), identified Kaplan’s piece on Malthus (also highlighted on Eddie’s blog), and recently shared this criticism of Florida’s buy-out of U.S. Sugar via Google Reader. (The story-behind-the-story is the news that the State of Florida would buy-out part of U.S. Sugar to protect the Everglades.)

I don’t follow Floridian environmental news to comment on the purchase itself. The mix of positives and negatives on a deal like this is complicated, and I defer to Floridians for informed comment. Still, this piece presents the worst imaginably argument against the buy-out. Author James Gibney complains:

Environmentalists are swooning over the agreement, which could restart the natural flow of water from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. But don’t break out your plastic pink flamingos just yet. The deal smells worse than the stinkiest of the sulfate-contaminated wetlands it’s supposed to revive, continuing one of the longest-running rip-offs in the history of the republic.

Under the proposed agreement, Florida will pay U.S. Sugar Corp. $350 per share for its land and facilities. That’s about 20 percent more than the $293-per-share private offer U.S. Sugar received three years ago. More damningly, it is well above the highest “fair market value” price of $204 per share that the trustee of the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan was offering workers who retired. Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who engineered the deal, wasn’t particularly eager to talk about how the state came up with the $1.7 billion valuation. Doubtless the $30,000 that U.S. Sugar and its subsidiaries chipped in for his inauguration, and the $600,000 that it and other sugar companies gave to his campaign, had nothing to do with his calculations.

The entire argument boils down to this: U. S. Sugar has large negative externalities, and is politically powerful.

Well, obviously. Why else would there be a serious buy-out proposal? Has anyone proposed buying-out and shutting down Microsoft, Google, or some company with large positive externalities? Has anyone proposed buying-out drunk drivers, or some other disempowered minority?

Buy-outs are a method for increasing the general welfare by identifying processes of the economy that are harmful, and inducing the stakeholders of those processes to abandon their efforts. I first became aware of them during the Tobacco Buyout, which likewise reduced negative externalities by working with stakeholders.

Buyouts are alternatives to rule by fiat, where the government passes a law or promulgates a regulation that would simply end the externality-generating processes. This can be the case if the potential victim of the fiat is able to fend of political attacks, such as the tobacco farmers or U.S. Sugar.

Whether the everglades deal is good or bad, the hit-piece against it is bizarre.

WSJ on Obama as Bush’s Third Term

I’ve been saying for a while that Barack Obama is running for Bush’s third term. Now the Wall Street Journal agrees:

Bush’s Third Term – WSJ.com
We’re beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of “George Bush’s third term.” Maybe he’s worried that someone will notice that he’s the candidate who’s running for it.

My thanks to the Weekly Standard, for highlighting this editorial.