Thursday, December 08, 2011

Obama good, Obama ungood

The good news is decision that gay rights and human rights "are one and the same" in a speech by Hillary Clinton, one that states the Obama administration will work for this concept internationally, and put some money behind it.   They also acknowledge imperfections here in American, while being studiously silent on gay marriage.

The foreign policy realists would say this will cost us internationally, just as any other human rights effort will cost us.  They'd be correct in some areas, although other places like Europe it should actually help our image and soft power.  Long run is a different story though, as history kind of arcs somewhat toward justice.

How this gets reflected in domestic politics will be interesting, because people who are somewhat conservative on gay rights domestically, say hypothetically a political science professor who supports civil unions, would fall on the far left of the spectrum of the countries with the worst discrimination.  The natural Republican reflex of opposing everything Obama does will then start looking pretty awful in the context of horrible abuses overseas. Rick Perry lost no time decrying "special rights" promotion, but the actual Republican nominee will probably lose votes while irresolutely dodging the issue.  Score one for the good guys.

The ungood side is the decision to overrule FDA's authorization of selling the Plan B contraceptive as a standard over the counter item.  Double plus ungood not because of the politics but the false claim that the science gives any reason to do this.  To the FDA's credit, they more or less stated their disagreement and weren't suppressed from doing that.  This is standard, almost, Republican-style War on Science.  Chris Mooney's book on the subject noted the Democrats were guilty too of this offense, but just not nearly to the same extent.  One strike against the Obama Administration in this regard.

I don't want to end on that note, so I'll add another piece of good news.  Younger Americans are significantly more accepting of climate science than older ones.  Now consider that even some Republicans acknowledge their antipathy to gay rights is a dying cause.  The very few scientists who don't accept climate science are also aging out (page 12) and not being replaced by anyone except lawyers, so the younger generation is being educated the right way.  I'm not sure how many demographically-challenged positions the Republicans really want to take, but maybe they should reconsider.

UPDATE:  Chris Mooney on Plan B here.  Similar grasp of the obvious.


EliRabett said...

Eine neue wissenschaftliche Wahrheit pflegt sich nicht in der Weise durchzusetzen, daß ihre Gegner überzeugt werden und sich als belehrt erklären, sondern vielmehr dadurch, daß ihre Gegner allmählich aussterben und daß die heranwachsende Generation von vornherein mit der Wahrheit vertraut gemacht ist.

Martin Vermeer said...

AKA the Planck Curve... one of the benefits of mortality ;-)

Brian said...

I've wondered if increasing longevity harms science. On balance, probably not, but there is a down side.

Anonymous said...

The young republicans can be just as bad as the old ones.

Little Mouse

Anonymous said...

Ah the selling of a murder pill to the youth of America, what a novel idea Eli.

Celery Eater

seamus said...

Google-quote-a-matic sez:

"Texas, a leader in teen pregnancy and the state where more teens give birth to subsequent children than in any other, maintains one of the most restrictive policies in the nation for minors to obtain prescription birth control."

"The pro-life movement would gain itself a lot of political allies if it were to dedicate itself to dramatically increasing usage of contraceptives among American teenagers. That, obviously, is never going to happen, because a plurality of the pro-life movement actively opposes teenagers using birth control, due to a number of false and superstitious beliefs about teen sexuality that are unfortunately deeply rooted in American culture."

"Prescription-only access to birth control is patronizing to women, limits contraceptive freedom, and is ineffective against intractably high teen-pregnancy rates. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to access problems because it is harder for them to get to a doctor without a parent’s help."

John N-G said...

Does anyone have a link to the science report that Sebelius criticized? Her complaint, whether it was the real reason for disapproval or not, ought to be testable. For example, was the 11-year-old issue addressed through a scientific finding or a scientific assumption?

Fifteen minutes of my digging through the FDA web site failed to yield anything. Maybe they keep the text of their panel review reports confidential out of "deference" to the drug companies.

EliRabett said...

Eli has a friend @ the FDA. Will ask Monday

Martin Vermeer said...

One of the articles is here:

Here is another one (apparently not among those referred)