Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Meanwhile, More Drama at the Ranch: 3.26

Sorry about the lack of post earlier today. It was totally Blogger's fault. Actually, it really wasn't, but I'm going to blame 'em anyway. I am working on a longer, funner sort of post, probably for this weekend, in case you're wondering. Hopefully this weekend. But tune in tomorrow for the always-fun "You Make the Call Game", in which you get to play studio mini-mogul and mess with celebrities. Yeah!

Anyway, today's post. . .

Maybe you remember when there was some drama back at the ranch. If not, just click this to read Episode 3.12: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch.

So I was listening to NPR's All Things Considered on KCRW on the way home from work and they did a story on stem cell debates in Missouri. So today, the 'ranch' is Missouri, and instead of evolution debates we have stem cell research debates.

"Pro-life" groups, who strongly supported Governor Matt Blunt in his campaign, are calling for the banning of certain types of potentially-life-saving stem cell research [irony, anyone?]. But when Illinois Gov. Rod Bladjavegovischsykydy [sp?] sent a letter to several Missouri life sciences institutes pointing out the available funding for stem cell research in Illinois, Gov. Blunt was all: "Nuh-uh, biyatches. I will veto any legislation that bans scientific procedures and any of that shizzit here in Missouri. And anyway, Illinois sucks." And he put it in writing. . . well, something to that effect, anyway.

But scientists, apparently worried about the major 'tude of these groups--and their relative power in Missouri--are considering offers. Kansas City's Stowers Institute delayed a major renovation, and is said to be shopping around for a possible new home. Missouri has a strong and growing biotech industry, easily one of the best in the Midwest, which the Governor, who is, thankfully [in this case], a Republican corporate puppet/fiscal conservative, wants to keep in-state.

So Gov. Blunt has turned his back on the pro-lifers, and thrown into sharp relief an important point in the cultural battles of the Midwest. The point is: when you turn your back on science[ahem, ], those sweet, sweet high-paying research scientist jobs go to South Korea. And if there's one thing that red-meat conservatives get red-faced over, it's jobs being shipped abroad. So Gov. Blunt has become something of an unlikely, and highly-questionable, hero to researchers.

You see, ever since, oh say, Galileo, scientists have been made uneasy by authority, especially when it's religious. If an intolerant climate prevails in the Midwest, the researchers worry that their experiments will be declared immoral and a torch-wielding group of peasants will burn down their laboratories. Scientists like places where they'll be respected, tolerated and left to research in peace.

So is it any wonder, then, that gay people, bohemians and immigrants in your city are a good indicator of the prevalence of the high-tech industry. Seriously, check out the linked article. Personally, I believe it. In our knowledge economy, the smart young people have an ever-greater choice in where they want to live and work, and it's no surprise that cosmopolitain cities are more attractive to them. Midwestern cities can't compete if the schools suck and the government shutters research facilities.

So good luck, Missouri. It's probably too late for Kansas, but it may not be too late for you. You don't have to be a shameful laughingstock.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Soars Over the Midwest!

He Touches All with His Noodly Appendage!