MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en A Chicago Cop Killed a Black Teen and an Innocent Bystander. He's Now Suing For "Permanent" Trauma. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The controversial case of a Chicago cop who shot and killed two people last December took another dramatic turn on Friday, when the officer&nbsp;sued one of the victim's families for more than $10 million in damages.</p> <p>Officer Robert&nbsp;Rialmo, who <a href="" target="_blank">fatally shot</a> 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, has filed a counter claim in response to a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the teen's&nbsp;family&nbsp;against the city of Chicago. According to the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">court document filed</a> in Cook County, Rialmo&nbsp;claims "permanent" emotional distress and personal injuries resulting from the incident.</p> <p>It is the first time since the shooting that&nbsp;Rialmo&nbsp;has publicly&nbsp;offered his own version of events.</p> <p>Rialmo came to the front door of a two-story apartment building in&nbsp;the early morning hours after Christmas,&nbsp;responding to a dispatch about a domestic disturbance involving a "<a href="" target="_blank">son with a baseball bat</a>." According to Rialmo, Jones answered the door first, then retreated into her apartment, which shared a hallway with the unit where the teenager LeGrier was staying with his family. The police officer said he was standing in the building's&nbsp;doorway when LeGrier came "barging out of the front door to the second floor apartment while holding a baseball bat in his right hand."</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">Rialmo&nbsp;claims&nbsp;</span>LeGrier then&nbsp;swung the bat multiple times, the first time close enough "to feel the movement of air as the bat passed in front of his face."&nbsp;LeGrier advanced as the officer backed down the outside stairs and shouted commands to drop the bat, Rialmo stated, adding that he feared LeGrier would&nbsp;hit him in the head. Rialmo&nbsp;then fired eight rounds "in approximately two-and-a-half seconds."</p> <p>The bullets fatally struck LeGrier, as well as Jones, who by this point had re-emerged from her unit and was standing behind the teenager, according to the court filing. Rialmo stated he only saw Jones after he walked back up the stairs to LeGrier's body. A witness previously <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Mother Jones</em></a> that he saw&nbsp;LeGrier laying on top of Jones's body in the hallway.</p> <p>Rialmo claims that LeGrier's actions were criminal and caused the officer to "have a reasonable apprehension of suffering an imminent battery from LeGrier, which would either cause Officer Rialmo's death or cause him severe and permanent bodily harm." These actions forced Rialmo "to end LeGrier's life, and to accidently take the innocent life of Bettie Jones," which "caused, and will continue to cause, Officer Rialmo to suffer extreme emotional trauma."</p> <p>In the <a href="" target="_blank">family's wrongful death suit</a>, LeGrier's father stated that his son never posed a threat to Rialmo before the officer opened fire. Rialmo also failed to administer medical care as the teen lay bleeding on the ground, according to the family's complaint.</p> <p>Rialmo's counter-claim is a rare move for an officer involved in a fatal shooting, <a href="" target="_blank">according to</a> the <em>New York Times</em>. In an email to the<em> Times</em>, a spokesperson for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that "the city does not support the claim," and is "not involved in any way."</p> <p>Here is the full text of Rialmo's claim:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2705917-Counterclaim-by-Chicago-Police-Officer-Robert">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2705917-Counterclaim-by-Chicago-Police-Officer-Robert" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Counterclaim by Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Counterclaim by Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:23:39 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296226 at Maybe Cheaters Prosper After All <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The world seems to be awash in teensy little pieces of social science research that are (1) possibly fascinating but (2) also possibly meaningless. <a href="" target="_blank">Roberto Ferdman</a> points us to one today that suggests <a href="" target="_blank">winning makes you more likely to cheat in the future.</a> The participants, as usual, are a small number of university students.</p> <p>Our eager young test monkeys were broken into pairs and competed in a task. The winners were determined randomly, though the participants didn't know that. Then they went on to round 2, where they threw a pair of dice. The details are unimportant except for these: (1) the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cheating.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">higher the throw the better, and (2) it was pretty easy to cheat since no one could see the dice except the thrower. The chart on the right shows the basic result. The average throw should be 7, and in the control group that's what it was. In the test group, winners obviously cheated since their average throw was much higher than 7. Losers either didn't cheat or, possibly, actually underreported their throws a bit.</p> <p>Why? Who knows. The authors suggest that winning creates a sense of psychological entitlement, but: "We do not claim that a sense of entitlement is the only factor that accounts for dishonest behavior following a competition. Given the complexity of the situation under study and the variety of mechanisms that drive dishonest behavior, it is likely that other mechanisms also come into play."</p> <p>So...maybe this is interesting. Maybe it's meaningless. Maybe the authors should have run this experiment a dozen times to see if the results hold up. I'm not sure. However, it seems perfectly suited for drawing sweeping conclusions about the American psyche<sup>1</sup>&mdash;maybe David Brooks can do something with this?&mdash;and that alone makes it worth writing about.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Shhh. Don't tell anyone the study was done at an Israeli university.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:26:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 296251 at Chris Christie Is Getting Down on One Knee to Plead With Undecided Voters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Chris Christie is down in the polls in New Hampshire and he's got less than 24 hours to turn things around. So when Ann Antosca, an undecided voter from Nashua, asked him a question about Social Security at a Monday morning town hall, the New Jersey governor rushed over to her corner, dropped to one knee, put his hand on the shoulder of the man to her right, and begged her for her vote.</p> <p>Antosca's concern going in was that Christie's means-testing for Social Security would hurt people like her, with 401(k)s in the low six figures. But she was reassured that the ceiling would in fact be much higher. Christie, a shameless name-dropper who was joined at the event by the star of the reality TV show <em>Cake Boss</em>, recalled a conversation he had with Mark Zuckerberg in which the Facebook CEO expressed concern that he'd lose his Social Security. His response: "You get nothing, Mark."</p> <p>"They don't wanna talk about [Social Security] because they're afraid of you; I'm talking about this because I trust you," Christie concluded. A few minutes later, she spoke up again to say she'd made up her mind to vote for Christie.</p> <p>"That was cute, that was cute!" Antosca, a real estate agent who was deciding between Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Christie, told me afterward. Social Security "was really the only thing that was holding me back."</p> <p>Christie needs undecided voters to swing in his direction in a big way in the final days. But New Hampshire is a wonderland where the political cliches all happen to be true. Voters move late. Christie can only hope that movement is enough.</p></body></html> MoJo Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:42:11 +0000 Tim Murphy 296231 at Marcobot Seems Unfazed by Saturday Unmasking <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>There's not really any way of telling whether the Marcobot meme is hurting Marco Rubio. There was a little bit of polling yesterday, but not enough to show anything serious. Still, for what it's worth, here's the penultimate Pollster aggregate before tomorrow's primary. Really, there hasn't been a whole lot of movement at all over the past month or so. Rubio got a bit of a bump from his Iowa performance, but that's about it. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion, after which we can all go back to forgetting New Hampshire exists.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_new_hampshire_pollster_2016_02_08.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:29:57 +0000 Kevin Drum 296236 at Just How Cozy Is Hillary Clinton With Wall Street? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton has received a lot of campaign money from the financial industry over the years, and after she left the State Department she gave several lucrative speeches to Goldman Sachs and other big banks. As Michael Hirsh puts it, this has given her a reputation for being <a href="" target="_blank">"more than a little cozy"</a> with Wall Street.</p> <p>But is she? The truth is that I haven't paid much attention to this question. In terms of the presidential campaign, it's pretty obvious that Bernie Sanders is a lot tougher on the financial industry than she is. The details of their plans don't really matter. Sanders has practically made a career out of attacking Wall Street. As president, he'd make financial regulation a top priority; he'd appoint tougher watchdogs; and he'd use the bully pulpit relentlessly to call out Wall Street's sins.</p> <p>Still, what about Clinton? How cozy with the financial industry <em>is</em> she? I asked about this on Twitter over the weekend, figuring that all the Bernie supporters would give me an earful. But no such luck. Mostly they just told me that she had taken Wall Street money and given Wall Street speeches. The only concrete criticism was one that<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> Elizabeth Warren made in 2004: that Clinton had changed her view on the bankruptcy bill after she accepted lots of Wall Street money to get elected to the Senate.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">But that didn't really hold water.</a> She opposed the bill in 1999 because she wanted alimony and child-support payments to take precedence over credit card companies during bankruptcy proceeding. The bill passed anyway, but Bill Clinton vetoed it. In 2001, she brokered a compromise that gave priority to alimony and child support, and then voted for the bill. It didn't pass at the time, and in 2005 her compromise was removed from the bill. She said then that she opposed it.</p> <p>This is classic Hillary. Once George Bush was president, she had no way of stopping the bill&mdash;so she worked hard behind the scenes to get what she could in return for her vote. Love it or hate it, this is the kind of pragmatic politics she practices. But there's no hypocrisy here; no change of heart thanks to Wall Street money (she supported the bill when it protected women and children and opposed it when it didn't); and no real support for the financial industry.</p> <p>What else? Clinton says she gave several speeches in 2007 warning about the dangers of derivatives and subprime loans, and introduced proposals for stronger financial oversight. <a href="" target="_blank">Apparently that's true.</a> I'm not aware if she took a stand on the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, but I don't think this was responsible for the financial crisis and wouldn't hold it against her either way. (And it was supported by nearly the entire Democratic Party at the time.) The CFMA <em>did</em> make the financial crisis worse, but Bernie Sanders himself supported it. Clinton voted for Sarbanes-Oxley, but everyone else did too.</p> <p>Clinton has consistently supported increasing the minimum wage&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">though not to $15.</a> She supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act. She supports higher taxes on the wealthy. She supported <a href="" target="_blank">repeal of the carried interest loophole</a> in 2007. The <em>Boston Globe</em>, after an extensive review of her voting record in the Senate, summed up her attitude with <a href="" target="_blank">this quote from a lobbyist:</a> "The financial sector viewed her as neutral. Not helpful, but also not harmful." <a href="" target="_blank">Citizens for Tax Justice</a> gives her a generally favorable grade on financial issues.</p> <p>The word "cozy" does a whole lot of heavy lifting in stories about Hillary Clinton and Wall Street. But what does it mean? Does she have an actual record of supporting Wall Street interests? By ordinary standards, is her current campaign proposal for financial regulation a strong one? (I've been impressed by her rhetorical emphasis on shadow banking, but it's not clear just how far her proposals go in real life.) Has she protected financial interests against the Bernie Sanders of the world?</p> <p>I think it's safe to say that Clinton has hardly been a scourge of the banking industry. Until recently, her main interests were elsewhere. But if there's a strong case to be made for "coziness," I've failed to find it. Anyone care to point me in the right direction?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296221 at Hobby Lobby Is Backing a Surprising Candidate for President <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts retail chain famous for going all the way to the Supreme Court to get a religious exemption from covering certain contraceptives in its insurance plans, is putting its money behind a presidential candidate who supports those same contraceptives.</p> <p>The Oklahoma-based company, owned by David and Barbara Green and their children, <a href="" target="_blank">donated $10,000</a> in September to Conservative Solutions PAC, which supports Marco Rubio's presidential campaign. Rubio has called for easy access to emergency contraception, known as Plan B or the morning-after pill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2016/02/hobby-lobbys-donation-marco-rubio-contraceptives%20"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Money in Politics Reproductive Rights marco rubio Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:28 +0000 Pema Levy 296061 at The James Hunter Six Throws a Party You Don't Want to Miss <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><strong>The James Hunter Six<br><em>Hold On!</em><br> Daptone Records</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/jameshunter_inline_0.jpg"><div class="caption">ShoreFire Media</div> </div> <p>Britain's James Hunter makes tough old-school R&amp;B with a bracing modern-day kick, so it makes sense for him to gravitate to Brooklyn's Daptone Records, where the likes of <a href="" target="_blank">Sharon Jones</a> and Charles Bradley have been doing the same thing for years.</p> <p>Dispatching 10 songs in a brisk 30 minutes, Hunter's debut for the label&mdash;recorded in mono, of course!&mdash;creates the sensation of dropping in on a spirited late-night set in a smoky, crowded club, with Hunter playing the fiery soul shouter to perfection. (No wonder Van Morrison stepped in as an early mentor.) Featuring a pair of sizzling saxes, Hunter's ultra-tight band cooks with authority, but his swaggering, good-humored vocals and snappy tunes are the main attraction. From the stomping "Free Your Mind (While You Still Got Time)" to the lilting, Sam Cooke-inspired "This Is Where We Came In," <em>Hold On!</em> is a party not to be missed.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Music Mondays Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:27 +0000 Jon Young 295976 at New Hampshire Republicans Are Really, Really Anti-Science <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>At a campaign stop in Henniker, New Hampshire, last week, Ted Cruz was asked what he'd do as president to combat climate change. Cruz's answer&mdash;an <a href="">eight-minute rant</a> that you can watch below&mdash;was essentially that he would do nothing&mdash;because global warming isn't happening. It's "the perfect pseudoscientific theory" to justify liberal politicians' quest to expand "government power over the American citizenry," he said.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="381" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Like Cruz, the two GOP front-runners in the state&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Marco Rubio</a>&mdash;<a href="" target="_blank">reject mainstream climate science</a>. Trump <a href="" target="_blank">has repeatedly called</a> global warming a "hoax," and <a href="" target="_blank">Rubio has said</a>, "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it." John Kasich, who's been rising in the New Hampshire polls in recent weeks, has made a number of <a href="" target="_blank">contradictory comments</a> about climate change.</p> <p>New Hampshire is a famously moderate swing state. <a href="">Fifty-five percent</a> of the state's residents believe that humans are warming the planet, according to polling by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire's Republican US senator, <a href=";session=1&amp;vote=00012">agrees</a>, and she recently bucked her party by <a href="">supporting</a> President Barack Obama's new regulations restricting power plant emissions. Since 2009, New Hampshire has been part of a <a href="">regional cap-and-trade program</a> designed to limit carbon pollution.</p> <p>So will Trump, Rubio, and Cruz's extreme views on climate hurt them in New Hampshire? Probably not, at least not among the voters who will likely decide Tuesday's primary. Ayotte's position on the issue may align with the state as a whole, but among Republican voters climate change denial is extremely common.</p> <p>"Rejecting climate science is pretty much mainstream" within the New Hampshire GOP, says Lawrence Hamilton, a University of New Hampshire sociologist who studies environmental public opinion. "It's almost a litmus test in the Republican Party that you have to reject climate science."</p> <p>Take a look at the chart below, which shows data compiled by Hamilton and his colleagues as part of the University of New Hampshire's Granite State Poll. The orange line represents self-identified tea party supporters in the state, and the red line represents non-tea-party Republicans. The results are pretty striking. Even among the state's non-tea-party Republicans, only about 40 percent believe that climate change is mainly caused by human activity, according to the most recent survey. And among tea party supporters&mdash;who, <a href="" target="_blank">according to exit polling</a>, made up 51 percent of voters in the state's 2012 GOP primary&mdash;that number drops below 30 percent.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="climate opinion" class="image" src="/files/synth_time4_630.png"><div class="caption">Lawrence Hamilton/UNH</div> </div> <p>Not only are New Hampshire's Republican voters skeptical of climate science, <a href=";context=carsey" target="_blank">many of them say</a> [PDF] they simply don't <em>trust </em>what scientists say about global warming (or vaccines, for that matter). This attitude tracks closely with the anti-scientist rhetoric employed by a number of Republican politicians. Trump, for instance, <a href="" target="_blank">once said</a> that "the scientists are having a lot of fun" perpetrating the climate "hoax."</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="climate opinion" class="image" src="/files/trust_630.jpg"><div class="caption">Lawrence Hamilton/UNH</div> </div> <p>Back in September, the University of New Hampshire asked supporters of each of the presidential candidates whether they believed humans were causing climate change. Because the GOP field is so splintered, many of the sample sizes for this question were small, which means the margins of error were enormous. Still, the chart below gives you some sense of the situation. At the time, Trump and Fiorina were the two front-runners in the state, and roughly a third of their supporters said they accepted the scientific consensus on climate change. The rest of the Republicans were all polling in the single digits. Kasich was the only Republican with a majority of supporters saying they believed in human-caused global warming. (According to Hamilton, Cruz was polling so poorly at the time that any similar analysis of his voters wouldn't be very meaningful.) Meanwhile, the vast majority of Hillary Clinton's and Bernie Sanders' supporters embraced the scientific consensus.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="climate opinion" class="image" src="/files/Republicans_warming2_630.png"><div class="caption">Lawrence Hamilton/UNH</div> </div> <p>Here's one final chart from Hamilton's research illustrating just how extreme New Hampshire's GOP voters are when it comes to climate change. <a href="" target="_blank">The University of New Hampshire asked respondents</a> whether they believed that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere had increased in recent decades. This shouldn't be a controversial issue. Scientists <a href="" target="_blank">have daily measurements</a> showing that CO2&mdash;the primary driver of global warming&mdash;has been steadily rising for years. But somehow, fewer than half of those who said they would support Trump in a hypothetical matchup against Sanders agreed with this indisputable scientific fact.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="climate opinon" class="image" src="/files/2015_10_05_hamilton_fig2_630.png"><div class="caption">Lawrence Hamilton/UNH</div> </div> <p>These voters have an "ideological way of knowing that trumps science," said Hamilton.</p> <p>That's bad news for the climate change debate in this country. But it's very good news for Trump, Rubio, and Cruz.</p></body></html> Environment 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Science Ted Cruz The Right Top Stories Donald Trump marco rubio Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:27 +0000 Jeremy Schulman 296056 at We Are This Close to "Designer Babies" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On February 1, scientists from the United Kingdom's Francis Crick Institute got the okay to start research on human embryos using a new genome editing technology called <a href="" target="_blank">CRISPR</a>. Their work, which will mark only the second time CRISPR has been applied to humans, will use embryos to try to understand the very early stages of human development and pinpoint the genes causing miscarriages and fetal defects.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the Crick project has reignited a firestorm of debate over the ethics of human gene editing. "This is the first step in a well mapped-out process heading to genetically modified babies, and a future of consumer eugenics," <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> Dr. David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, in response to the news.&nbsp;</p> <p>CRISPR is essentially a <a href="" target="_blank">cellular scalpel</a>. The small enzyme works by moving through the body's cells and cutting away at precise pieces of the genome&mdash;something that's never before been possible to do with such efficiency and ease. Since 2012, it's been <a href="" target="_blank">used</a> to cut out the gene mutations leading to HIV and sickle cell anemia. Last spring, researchers in China <a href="" target="_blank">became the first</a> to genetically modify embryos with CRISPR after they used the technology to replace a gene in a single-cell embryo.</p> <p>The technology can also be used to edit what scientists call germline cells&mdash;embryos in such early stages of development that any changes will become hereditary and can be passed on to future generations. Using the technique, for example, scientists could potentially edit out the gene for Huntington's disease in a woman before she's born. Not only would she be disease free; she wouldn't be able to pass it on to any future children.</p> <p>Even though the Crick Institute's research is limited to 14 days and the cells they edit won't be implanted, critics still say this type of research might soon lead to something less benign&mdash;that one day we'll be creating "<a href="" target="_blank">designer babies</a>," whose genetic makeup will be determined in a lab. Many scientists, bioethicists, and politicians are <a href="" target="_blank">calling</a> for a moratorium on human embryo editing, which is already <a href="" target="_blank">banned</a> from receiving public funds in the United States. One of those skeptics is Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Berkeley-based Center for Genetics and Society, whose research focuses on biotechnology and reproduction. I caught up with Darnovsky to talk about designer babies, embryo harvesting, and the unforeseen consequences of germline editing. Here are seven takeaways from our conversation:</p> <p><strong>1. </strong><strong>Gene editing with CRISPR is still not very safe. </strong>"It's almost universally accepted that right now it would be crazy to proceed with the technology. Some of the problems that have come up, including in the Chinese <a href="" target="_blank">experiment</a>, is with what's called off-target mutation. There's this thing described as a molecular scissors that's supposed to have a homing device that'll take you to the exact spot on the DNA strand that you want to cut, but sometimes it's not that precise&mdash;it'll go somewhere else and sometimes the change that it makes isn't what you intended. Other times the change is made accurately in some of the embryonic cells but not in all of them, which leads to a condition called <a href="" target="_blank">mosaicism</a> that can lead to problems later in development. Another problem is that the scissors component of the system can hang around in the cell and later on, when you think you're done, it starts snipping away. The term 'gene editing' helps people understand how the technology works, but it also suggests a level of precision and safety that at least for now isn't there."</p> <p><strong>2. </strong><strong>Genome modification isn't the only available method of stopping the transmission of inherited diseases. </strong>"Some of the more cautious and shrewd people are saying, 'We'll only use this to prevent the transmission of diseases.' That does sound like a worthy goal, but here's the thing: You don't need to be editing genes to accomplish this because we already have embryo screening techniques that at this point are pretty standard add-ons in in vitro fertilization clinics. They accomplish the very same thing with far less physical danger for the resulting child and without anything like the level of societal risk posed by germline modification."</p> <p><strong>3. Once the door to editing our genome gets opened, there's no going back. </strong>"Say there was a policy effort to use this gene editing technique to prevent Huntington's disease. Well, it's impossible to really draw a policy line. It's like how the FDA doesn't regulate off-label uses of drugs and devices: Once the FDA approves the drug for one thing, a doctor can use it and prescribe it for anything. No one is telling fertility clinics what they can and cannot do. And maybe that's a good thing, but it also means we could not control fertility clinics that were trying to use CRISPR to push the envelope. So this mission creep would be very difficult&mdash;if not impossible&mdash;to control.</p> <p>And there are Futurists, including a few scientists, who say we're going to produce superior children and improve humanity. A prominent scientist has already <a href="" target="_blank">spelled out</a> a list with 10 conditions, things like stronger bones, slow- and fast-twitch muscles, so that the resulting child could be good at an endurance or sprinting sport, and sleep&mdash;there's a gene that's correlated with people needing less sleep.</p> <p>I think it's very possible that once you unleash this technology onto the market and set it in motion, commercial and competitive dynamics would set in, and you'd see people that wanted to give their future children the best start in life. You can really see the ad copy writing itself."</p> <p><strong>4. So-called "designer babies" would be available only to the rich.</strong> "IVF is already expensive. It's not only rich people who use it&mdash;people take out second and third mortgages on their homes&mdash;but it is expensive. Gene editing would be more so. And so you'd have children born to the more wealthy class that either were genetically superior or even thought to be genetically superior. This would exacerbate trends toward great inequality and could introduce new forms of inequality."</p> <p><strong>5. Harvesting embryos from women carries its own risks.</strong> "The Chinese <a href="" target="_blank">experiment</a> in April was using nonviable embryos that were created but not used in fertility treatments. In the process of fertility treatments, some of the embryos don't turn out right, so they can't be developed into a human child even if they were implanted.</p> <p>But in the UK, they want to use viable human embryos because they want to investigate what goes wrong in early embryonic development. The retrieval of eggs from women is <a href="" target="_blank">invasive</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">it carries risks</a> that are understudied, and the women that are recruited to provide eggs often aren't made fully aware of what the risks are."</p> <p><strong>6. Skepticism of embryonic modification is different from anti-abortion groups' belief that personhood begins at fertilization.</strong> "There are some anti-choice groups that have come to the same conclusions [the Center for Genetics and Society] has. I can't say exactly what their logic is, but it has to do with attempts to <a href="" target="_blank">elevate</a> the status of the embryo. They're concerned with the destruction of embryos. Back when there were headlines about human cloning, some bishops thought that once you produced cloned human embryos it might be better to implant them into a woman's uterus than be destroyed."</p> <p><strong>7. But even the skeptics are excited by the science. </strong>"It's not exactly the technology itself that I'm worried about&mdash;it's with the application of creating genetically modified human beings. The gene-editing technology itself is first of all scientifically exciting, and second of all it could be used to help people who are sick. That could be great."</p></body></html> Politics Health Reproductive Rights Science Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:26 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 295646 at The New Jason Bourne Trailer Just Premiered During the Super Bowl. Here It Is. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The new Jason Bourne movie stars Matt Damon again. Will Hunting took a break from the series a few years ago and the last one starred Jeremy Renner, but he's back now because money can be exchanged for goods and services. This one looks pretty good! It comes out this summer.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Mixed Media Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:35:52 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 296216 at