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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/11/09

Obama Puts Science Back in Government

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Environmental attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has described George W. Bush as "the worst environmental president we've had in American history." And I don't think that's an exaggeration. During the eight years of the Bush administration, pollution, climate change, and scientific research all took a back seat to Bush's agenda of a corporate free-for-all. The Bushies even went so far as to censor scientific reports to suit their agenda. But all that is changing now. We finally have a guy in the White House who respects science and appreciates its benefits to society. On March 9, President Obama signed an executive order lifting the Bush administration's restrictions on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. An excerpt from the order:
For the past 8 years, the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to fund and conduct human embryonic stem cell research has been limited by Presidential actions. The purpose of this order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America's scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind.
Obama understands that a blastocyst is not a baby any more than an unplanted apple seed is a tree. The Obama administration also has a good, solid plan for addressing climate change, investing in clean energy resources, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. And they started putting that plan into action on March 10, when they appointed environmental activist and author Van Jones as a special adviser for green jobs, enterprise, and innovation. MSNBC quoted Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as stating that Jones will "help to shape and advance the administration's energy and climate initiatives with a specific interest in improvements and opportunities for vulnerable communities." So we can build a green economy and put underprivileged people to work in the process. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. The religious right won't like the new stem cell edict, and Big Oil won't like the move to sustainable energy. They will all put up a fight. But at least they finally will have a fight on their hands. Hopefully.
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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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