Eggs and Embryos

Two stories that are in the news caught my attention.  The massive egg recall story reminds me why I buy my eggs from the Egg Lady in South Olympia.  She has a pretty big operation, hundreds of chickens, but the chickens are free to run in a fairly large space.  They look like happy chickens, if chickens experience joy walking around pecking at the ground.  It’s not an industrial scene where the chickens are trapped in very tight spaces with lots of other chickens.  This small farm operation looks good to me.  The industrialization of farming has some risks as the recent massive egg recall suggests.

The other story that caught my attention was the judicial decision that has effectively stopped embryonic stem cell research again.   There are lots of ways to look at this story, but I was thinking about the inconsistency of our political positions on the sanctity of life.  Dvorak Uncensored was also contemplating the sharia law implications of the debate.

Folks who are emphatically opposed to stem cell research because they believe a fertilized egg is a human being don’t seem to get up in arms over genetically modified crops and animals.  That upset is left to more liberal, tree hugging types who are not impressed with the inherent humanity of an embryonic stem cell line. And it continues down the line, progressives often don’t like the death penalty or drone attacks that take human life, but the conservatives who get apoplectic over human embryos seem less distressed by collateral damage, you know, children maimed and killed by proximity to our war on terror.

I am uneasy about the use of embryos as basic fuel for scientific research, but then I am uneasy about embryos in general.  I have a sense there are too many of us walking and pecking on this small blue planet and I don’t see how this species can collectively sort out the question of how, when, why we can decide who gets to carry a human embryo to term, and as the environment degrades, we face the demand to feel compassion over and over again for large numbers of human beings displaced by extreme weather, flooding, by drought, by food shortage, and sea rise displacement is on the horizon.  We are in this together, whether we are the folks displaced or the temporarily comfortable worrying about the folks dealing with flooding in Pakistan, or Tennessee or wherever.

Store owner Richard Dorer in the Tennessee link mentions that this is the second thousand year flood that has brought water into his store.  I don’t know if he has his stats down quite right, but I am willing to wager that Mr. Dorer believes that something is different about weather patterns on the planet.

Connect the dots.

Big Brother is My Co-Pilot

Ninth Circuit again. Those crazies are at it again, pushing the boundaries. For those who think privacy matters, read the dissent by Reagan appointee Judge Kozinski. Time magazine says he comes off as a raging liberal. What does it tell you when the raging liberals are now the folks who were appointed by Republican presidents? Strange times.

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The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.

It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.

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