Monday, July 02, 2007

no holiday for upsetting news.

Hit counter has gone to sleep. Nation has gone to the beach. But that is always a good time for bad news to slip by.

The bad news:

This just sucks. Bush has tried to avoid the appearance of saying there is nothing wrong with what Libby did for Cheney and Rove...and Bush. But for my money, he has not succeeded. One more board for the impeachment gallows. Maybe the Imperror thinks the Putin punch in his approval rating is the best time to try and slip this dagger into an already damaged justice system. Of course Bush's lose-lose options were discussed weeks ago and I don't think anyone is too surprised. Just disgusted. Suggest taking names of those who were urging a pardon. Those fans of Libby are all contemptible creeps who despise rule of law. Virtually any liberal blog that covers the political beat will point out the instances of strict and maximal punishment Bush has routinely delivered. As Texas governor, he found death not too harsh for 150 men and two women yet 30 months in jail for covering up an act of treason [that is more or less the category for blowing the cover of a valuable secret agent working to stop traffic in nuclear weapons materials] was "excessive". The Imperror said back when Plame was exposed that he would demand ruthless prosecution of those responsible. Yeeaah, riiight, Mr. President. Bush is a liar who will blithely contradict his tough talk if the alternative is doing anything untoward to his cronies. Firedoglake and TPM are among the better original reporting news and analysis blogs and if you want the details on this national embarrassment, start there.

News that is only bad for people you probably don't like anyway:

Meanwhile, some pesty scientists have been fixing to pull the rug out from under that Bio tech Venture Capital market: This story has been brewing in the labs for a while. By now, if you head over to the science blogs of Seed magazine, you will find some helpful elaborations of the scientific impact of this dawning realization: the one-gene-one-protein-one-biological-function idea is not always right. Networks of genes, through the interaction of their individual effects, produce end-result biology and medical consequences at least in some cases. From a combinatorial argument, it says something awesome about the economy of Darwin's great machine: 22,000 genes seemed puzzlingly small for the hundreds of thousands of different functions our bodies execute like clockwork when we are well. But the combinations of 22,000 things taken two or three or five at a time is a staggeringly big number. Ownership of genetic ideas, gene patents, are going to be shaken hard now. Notice that this is a Business story listed in the science section...all the questions about whether big pharma has enough financial incentives to undertake billion dollar drug discovery get a bit hazy when intellectual property has to be reassessed and companies might have to collaborate the way the genes they "own" have been collaborating. Silver lining?: if the drugs ever do get produced to effect illnesses stemming from networks of genes, maybe no company will have a monopoly and the prices will reflect actual production costs....nah, not in my lifetime.

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