A few years ago English professor and journalist Eric Alterman wrote a book called What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News (Alterman writes on a variety of topics at The Nation). This was in 2003. He rightly stated there was no secret right-wing conspiracy. On the contrary, said conspiracy was was pretty much out in the open. For those who cared to look anyway. With the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United the level of secrecy has changed. The money being pumped into the political process whether aimed at candidates or issues is more difficult to trace. It is as mentioned in this post – The tangled web of Republican deceit – hidden by code words, doublespeak and shadowy special interests
ThinkProgress deserves a boatload of credit for turning the nation’s attention to the huge amounts of money very shadowy groups on the Right–and the handful of people who are pulling the strings. Case in point, a story done today by NPR: “‘Independent’ Groups Behind Ads Not So Independent.”
With these advertisers and others, the same words come up again and again: Grass-roots. Nonpartisan. Independent.
Their ads seem to imply the groups are homegrown. But every single one mentioned here is based within 20 minutes of Capitol Hill. Most of them, in fact, are in just two office suites.
As for their independence: It would be illegal for them to coordinate their attacks with the candidates they’re helping, or with Republican Party committees. But among themselves, they’re proud of the way they synchronize their efforts.
“If one group puts an ad on television in a certain congressional district, they let everyone else know that,” says Jonathan Collegio with American Crossroads. “This way they don’t double up on the advertising.”
This teamwork didn’t happen by accident. But it’s hard to grasp just how interconnected these secret donor groups are — so it may help to take a look at this map….
This clearly isn’t a bunch of individual, independent groups — as you can see from the map. It’s one big network: a Republican campaign operation, working outside the official party.
There is special interests money flowing in all directions in politics. Conservatives seem to not only get more of that special interests money they actively strive to pack the courts with judges who see sensible campaign regulation as an infringement on free speech. This seems at odds with the ongoing and current steroid enhanced bellicose cries from the far Right to get back to some golden era of pure constitutional originalism. Was that indeed the dream of The Founders to buy and sell politicians and issues via secretive groups financed by a hand full of billionaires. That is a purely rhetorical question. The Right either chooses not to see the hypocrisy or rationalizes it by telling themselves the ends justify the means. Sure the hundreds of millions of dollars combined with the shadowy nature of these groups has the smell of week old sweat drenched jockey shorts, but results, not democratic ideals are what matters.
Vegetarians might not like hearing this, but… plants have stem cells too. Like ours, these stem cells are undifferentiated and grow indefinitely in culture. And also like ours, they hold therapeutic promise, since many drugs and insecticides, not to mention perfumes and pigments, are derived from plants.
People drawn to careers in science tend to get bored easily. Luckily for every answer found there are frequently new challenges and new questions to be answered. There is a problem with obtaining plant stem cells. They have to be grown in suspension cultures that have undergone a process called dedifferentiation. The dedifferentiation kills the cell’s ability to specialize – like proceed to make leaves and roots. That presents problems since these kinds of cells do not grow well and the process can induce undesirable genetic changes.
They started with a twig from a wild yew, Taxus cuspidata, the plant that makes Taxol (paclitaxel), which is used to fight breast, lung, and ovarian cancers. They then isolated actively proliferating cells from the cambium, a structure where secondary branches get their start.
The researchers confirmed that the CMCs are in fact stem cells using a number of methods. They were able to readily form a variety of adult structures, and expressed a distinct set of genes that were consistent with a stem cell fate.
To ensure that these cells could satisfactorily churn out a product (paclitaxel, in this case) at a large scale, the researchers tracked their growth in cultures ranging from a small flask to a 20 liter air-lift bioreactor—traditional plant cells can’t even grow in the last container. In every case, CMCs grew better than traditional plant cell cultures and produced more paclitaxel per cell weight.
The ability to synthesize Taxol is a also a lesson in the philosophy of rule based Consequentialism. A few years ago on a talk show one woman undergoing cancer treatment claimed that if all the Taxus trees ( a kind of yew) had to be cut down – thus extinguished as a species to save her life than so be it. I can understand the very primal desire for self preservation on an emotional level. On the other hand what would be the moral and normative consequences of using all those trees to cure one person. The trees would no longer exist in the wild and could not be cultivated quickly enough to replant the forest or used for more medication. The loss of there place in the ecological web of the forests would have consequences for other species of plants, animals and the water shed. In addition, all other cancer patients who might have been helped by Taxol would be given a death sentence in order to save one life. The greater good of mankind takes a beating in that scenario. So to be able to basically grow Taxol is quite a breakthrough. The scientists also reported success using the same technique to isolate stem cells from ginseng, ginkgo, and tomato plants.
Notes: Apparently I got the whole Rand Paul supporter and being jumped by two thugs wrong. You see what happened is both these guys were liberals operatives who wormed their way into the Rand Paul campaign and the violence was all carefully staged. In fact the protester used her neck to hurt her co-conspirators foot. Or maybe she had it coming because playing practical jokes on Aqua Buddha Disciple Paul was just another way of asking to be thrown down and stomped. (Note to Pandagon – It is a myth that Ross Perot split the vote and decided the election).