aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Slate says now’s the time:
Picture quality has gone way up, and prices have gone way down. True, this has been the unabated trend for the past three years. But I think we have now reached a point where the better sets are so good, and their prices are so low (relative to where they were), that further improvements will take place more slowly, and less dramatically, than those not just of the past year but of the past few months.
I still think I’ll wait until after Christmas.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a widely expected move vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have allowed gay couples to marry.
The Republican governor had said earlier this month that he would veto the bill passed by California’s Democrat-led legislature. The bill was the first of its kind approved by a state legislature.
Gay priests, now and forever
My experience tells me this is true:
The problem with [a ban on gay priests] is twofold. First, banning gay seminarians will only drive the issue underground, precisely the situation before the sexual revolution permitted people-even priests-to be more honest about their sexuality. The most notorious clerical child molesters were all ordained before the sexual revolution and before the changes wrought in the church by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Secrecy and silence encourage immaturity and duplicity, necessary precursors for inappropriate sexual behavior. Second, as my exchange with my friend indicates, many of those priests the right wing considers “their own” are also gay, and only a willful ignorance would fail to see it.
Such a willful ignorance must exist. When I was in the seminary in the mid-1980s, a local bishop came to visit. The bishop dressed for mass in the rectory next door. We seminarians were a bit late in arriving and were met by the bishop’s secretary who said, “Come on boys, get into your dresses. Grandma is coming.” Grandma was the bishop. The secretary had a feminine nickname, which, I am told, his intimates still use. To complete the screenplay quality of the experience, one of the priests who was in attendance that day left the priesthood shortly thereafter to become a flight steward or, as he called it, “a waitress in the sky.” This kind of campiness was common both in the seminary and in my experiences with those already ordained. As for the secretary, he is now a bishop much in favor with conservatives.
Will the church take a similarly intolerant stands on birth control, premarital sex and divorce?
Susan Wood, the FDA & political cronyism
Susan Wood, the one-time director of the Office of Women’s Health who resigned over the Plan B “morning after” pill last month was on Nightline the other night.
She says science at the FDA is overruled by politics.
KOPPEL: Do you remember what the vote was?
WOOD: It was 23 to 4 I believe in favor and unanimous that it was safe for women to use over the counter.
KOPPEL: And within the FDA?
WOOD: Within the FDA, you know FDA does overturn its advisory committees on occasion and usually when they do so it’s for good reason. In this case the FDA staff at every level within the agency, multiple levels, agreed that it should be approved for over the counter status, agreed that it was appropriate for women to have access in a timely manner so it would actually work more effectively.
A couple weeks ago Wood was replaced by a male veterinarian. Three days later, after “active and largely negative comment on the Internet and elsewhere,” a spokeswoman for the agency said the vet “had never been appointed acting director.”
I can only wonder if the guy wasn’t another victim of Mike Brown.
Internal e-mail messages obtained by TIME show that scientists’ drug-safety decisions at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are being second-guessed by a 33-year-old doctor turned stock picker. At the Office of Management and Budget, an ex-lobbyist with minimal purchasing experience oversaw $300 billion in spending, until his arrest last week. At the Department of Homeland Security, an agency the Administration initially resisted, a well-connected White House aide with minimal experience is poised to take over what many consider the single most crucial post in ensuring that terrorists do not enter the country again. And who is acting as watchdog at every federal agency? A corps of inspectors general who may be increasingly chosen more for their political credentials than their investigative ones.
Nowhere in the federal bureaucracy is it more important to insulate government experts from the influences of politics and special interests than at the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with assuring the safety of everything from new vaccines and dietary supplements to animal feed and hair dye. That is why many within the department, as well as in the broader scientific community, were startled when, in July, Scott Gottlieb was named deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs, one of three deputies in the agency’s second-ranked post at FDA.
His official FDA biography notes that Gottlieb, 33, who got his medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, did a previous stint providing policy advice at the agency, as well as at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. What the bio omits is that his most recent job was as editor of a popular Wall Street newsletter, the Forbes/Gottlieb Medical Technology Investor, in which he offered such tips as “Three Biotech Stocks to Buy Now.” In declaring Gottlieb a “noted authority” who had written more than 300 policy and medical articles, the biography neglects the fact that many of those articles criticized the FDA for being too slow to approve new drugs and too quick to issue warning letters when it suspects ones already on the market might be unsafe.
Susan Wood says she’s surprised by the attention she got. Coming as it did during Katrina, it got less attention than it otherwise would have.
Wood says she feels deeply about the issue and will be speaking out. She should be heard.