Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Rocker Consultant

Those readers who are fans of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers may be familiar with a guitarist named Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. If so, you may be surprised at what Mr. Baxter is up to these days.

Embryo Adoptions

This is a very interesting article in the Washington Post on embryo adoptions in the United States. Here are a couple of salient paragraphs from the piece:

Fertility clinics across the country, according to the most recent data available, held about 400,000 frozen embryos as of May 2003. Patients had reserved 88 percent of them for their own future use, and they had earmarked about 3 percent for medical research. Two percent -- or about 9,000 embryos -- were available for donation to other couples, according to Sean Tipton, director of public affairs at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which collected the data.

When the Brinkmans ran into fertility problems, they first tried in vitro fertilization themselves, unsuccessfully. They also thought about a conventional adoption. But because they wanted to experience a pregnancy, Donielle Brinkman said, they turned to Nightlight Christian Adoptions of Fullerton, Calif., and its "Snowflakes" program, a name intended to emphasize that every embryo is unique.

More than half of U.S. fertility clinics allow clients to donate embryos to other couples anonymously. Nightlight, which has received more than $800,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promote embryo adoptions, is one of only a few agencies that treat embryos exactly like infants.

For a fee ranging from $4,000 to $5,600, it arranges "open" adoptions in which the genetic and adoptive parents are matched according to detailed preferences and given an opportunity to get to know each other. Donielle Brinkman said that she did not want to make the genetic family's identity public, but that they have exchanged photographs, phone calls and information over the Internet.

It's worth reading the whole column.

The Survivor

Matt Drudge highlights some of the scandalous stuff in a forthcoming book on the Clinton presidency by Washington Post White House correspondent John Harris titled The Survivor. Viewpoint shamelessly repeats here the gossip Drudge has reported:

-- Bill Clinton was so upset that his weight-loss regimen in 2000 was not working that he made his aides release a bogus number after his annual Navy physical to make him five pounds lighter. (pg. 394)

-- Hillary taunted her husband's aides as being wimps by not fighting hard enough on Whitewater - "JFK had real men in his White House!" (pg. 108)

-- Tipper Gore was so disgusted in 2000 with Bill and Hillary that she stayed cloistered in a holding room instead of going to a New York reception with major Democratic fund-raisers where the Clintons would be. "No, I'm not doing it," she snapped to an aide. "I'm not going out there with that man."

-- The first conversation between Clinton and Gore after the Lewinsky story broke. Clinton is shouting at Gore, "This is a f-----g coup d'etat!" Gore just stared back blankly. pg 313.

-- Former White House counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke on the record hitting Clinton for not having the guts to fire FBI director Louis Freeh, who Clarke called a major obstacle on anti-terrorism policy. "He should have just fired Freeh and taken the shit it would have caused." (pg. 408)

The context of the following is Sally Quinn's article from 11/98 explaining why the Washington Establishment was appalled by Clinton's behavior during the Lewinksy contretemps.

Some time afterward the president was going over papers with his staff on the upcoming Presidential Medal of Freedom awards. Spontaneously, he launched into a little riff for his assembled aides. His nominee for the prestigious award this year would be none other than the famous [Watergate editor] Ben Bradlee, husband of Sally Quinn.

The aides looked on in puzzled amusement.

"Anyone who sleeps with that bitch deserves a medal!" he explained.

Not very flattering or pretty. I doubt that this book will be added to the collection at the Clinton library.

In Search of Moderate Muslims

Joel Mowbray does the leg work to show that there are moderate Muslims. They're just not in the leadership of Muslim organizations in the United States:

In the first of its kind for an event organized by a major national Muslim organization, Kamal Nawash and the Free Muslims Coalition (FMC) recently held the Free Muslims March Against Terrorism. Not surprisingly, the leaders of every other major Muslim organization shunned the march and declined to take a public stand against terrorism and extremism.

Noticeably missing from the list of over 80 sponsors Nawash rounded up was any of the Muslim groups that claim to be moderates, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). Though these groups pay lip service to opposing terrorism, they couldn't put their money where their mouth is and bring themselves to stand side-by-side with the Free Muslim Coalition.

The reasons for the absence of the major national Muslim groups are obvious. The empirical evidence has clearly demonstrated where the true loyalties of organizations such as CAIR and MPAC lie. In this particular case, it is anathema for many Muslim groups to identify themselves with the unambiguous message of the rally. Nawash is among the few Muslim leaders-and certainly one of the very few leaders of the overtly political Muslim groups-to explicitly confront the real threat, the real root cause of terrorism: radical Islam.

There's much more at the link.