Not smart enough to do his taxes

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Albert Einstein.

He also said: [on filing for tax returns] “This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher.”

Anorexia for Jesus?

Emma comments on a post from over a year ago: The pro-Anorexia movement. Her comments and request are unlikely to be noticed on that old post, so I’ll repeat them here:

I am currently collecting information for a website project for university. I am writing about the ‘slim for Him’ programme in the states. Is there anyone who would be willing to share their personal experiences with me? I am looking at the pressures young women are put under by religion (particulary Christianity) and society (through the media).

I would also like to comment on the above posts. Having anorexia nervosa is a direct result of the pressures of the environment around you, whether it is from people or living up to media representations of what ‘beauty’ is considered to be. It is only one dimension of the multitude of practices which include tatooing, piercing, branding, cutting, binding, bodybuilding and gymnastics in which the outer body is transformed, inscribed and altered. Anorexia and fasting is just a slower waty to achieve similar means. It is much more dangerous.

“Slim for Him”? For Jesus?

Why, oh, why do so many young people harm themselves like this?

Obama allows doing anything to embryos except clone them

President Obama went further than anyone thought in lifting the restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Not only did he allow funding for research using existing stem cell lines made from embryos and making new stem cell lines from embryos set to be thrown away. Our taxpayer money may now be used to engender new living embryos just so they can be experimented upon and killed!

President Obama, however, said at the signing ceremony, that he does NOT believe in and will see that the government does not allow human cloning. He said, “It is dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society or any society.”

Well, good. But why does he call opposing human embryo experimentation being hostile to science and interfering with the progress of scientific research, while his opposing human cloning is OK? Why is he for one kind of embryo engineering but against another kind? Might not grinding up human embryos in an attempt to make medicine for adults also be ” dangerous, profoundly wrong,” deserving “no place in our society or any society”?

To me, it seems that human cloning is LESS wrong than harvesting embryos. With cloning, you at least get life. With embryo experimentation you kill life. Of course, cloning procedures usually generate many embryos that are later “disposed of.” So I am against cloning also. But I am struck by how repulsed many people are at the very thought of cloning, considering a clone some kind of soulless monster that should be killed. But if you are cloned, what you would end up with is just an identical twin. Who is also your sibling. “Profoundly wrong,” yes, but what the president has just allowed is “dangerous.”

Obama to overturn federal funding ban on embryonic stem cell research

Despite the scientific breakthroughs that yield stem cells without killing human embryos, President Obama is set to issue an order reversing current policy so that tax money can be used for embryonic stem cell research:

President Obama is planning to sign an executive order Monday to overturn Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations.

President Obama, according to administration officials, will overturn Bush policy on embryonic stem cell research.

Obama’s move will be hailed by advocates for those suffering from a host of afflictions, ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, who believe that an expansion of stem cell research could boost medical progress toward eradicating the debilitating diseases.

But many conservatives object to the destruction of human embryos because they contend it ends a human life.

Doesn’t it? Realize too that the funding restrictions contributed to the successful research that has found non-lethal ways of generating stem cells. I suspect that “harvesting” embryos–what a horrible way of talking about them!–will mean that such research may no longer be seen as necessary. But now all of us taxpayers will be complicit, as part of our money will go to fund this Frankenstein nightmare.

Stem cells from regular skin

In another breakthrough, scientists have found a way to make cells from ordinary skin revert back to stem cells. No embryos were harmed in the making of this experiment. I like this comment:

“Stem cell research that requires destroying embryos is going the way of the Model T,” Richard M. Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said. “No administration that values science and medical progress over politics will want to divert funds now toward that increasingly obsolete and needlessly divisive approach.”

Nevertheless, the advocates of fetus harvesting to make medicine for adults keep demanding that right.

Erasing bad memories

Scientists are developing drug treatments that would erase bad memories. See this article. So far, the experiments hardly match the hype. But what if that could be done? Would that be good or bad? Would it damage our very identity?