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The Scientific Activist

Category archives for Washington

A month after the Obama Administration lifted Bush era restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, the NIH has now announced its new draft guidelines for such research. The new guidelines will greatly expand the scope of federally-funded research by allowing funds to be used for work on stem cell lines…

We Need to Bring Back the OTA

In discussions lamenting modern day political interference in science and the less-than-prominent role science plays in formulating policy, bringing back the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) is commonly offered as a key facet of any comprehensive solution. And, this is for good reason, as Gerald L. Epstein explains in a new article at Science…

DC Celebrates Pseudoscience

From The Washington Post: The D.C. Council, in a flourish of whereases, proclaimed March 16 Brain Education Day, responding to a nationwide call from a brain-wave guru in Sedona, Ariz. (The Montgomery County Council was set to make the same proclamation Tuesday but canceled at the last minute. And supporters in Fairfax County missed the…

As the day’s inauguration festivities approach their finale, if you’re anything like me the whole experience still feels a bit surreal. However, thinking back to Obama’s inauguration address, the one part that really stands out in my mind came from the middle, when he spoke about national security and civil liberties. Specifically, the following paragraph,…

Clearly, I owe my readers some true post-election analysis–something that has been slowed down by the insanely busy schedule I’ve been keeping in the lab and the totally overwhelming implications of the fantastic and historic recent election of Barack Obama. In the meantime, though, I’d like to point out a particularly insidious aspect of the…

You can file this one under “should have been done about twenty years ago.” From the Mail & Guardian: Lawmakers on Tuesday debated legislation to remove former South African president Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) from an apartheid-era United States terrorist blacklist. Several members of the House of Representatives immediately expressed support…

When the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) last week released a report detailing widespread political interference in science at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I almost didn’t blog about it, since the fact that political interference runs rampant in the Bush Administration shouldn’t be news to anyone. And, since this interference is occasionally motivated by…

Last Thursday (April 24), the Senate unanimously passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA, H.R. 493) in a landmark vote. The goal of this bill is “to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment,” and it therefore would help fill this gaping hole that exists…

Scientists and Engineers for America has announced a workshop for scientists interested in running for office or working on a political campaign. The workshop will be held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, on May 10th. Despite the focus of my blog, I would have still thought that training scientists to run for office would…

Two weeks before what could be a decisive Texas primary, Barack Obama picked up the endorsement Monday of Congressman Chet Edwards, whose district includes Texas A&M University, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, and George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I called this one, but…