Monday, March 14, 2016

Last Call For What's Good For The Goose... long, long overdue for the gander.  Hey fellow menfolk, now soon you can participate in birth control too like a responsible adult!

Scientists from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy have announced that they are making headway in developing a birth control pill for men. 
The contraceptive pill has been available to women since the 1960s, but nothing exists on the market for men as of yet. Now, scientists claim to have made a breakthrough, modifying compounds to develop a product that works for men with no side effects
Gunda Georg, leader of the research team, told The Times that the aim is to develop a pill just as effective and convenient as the female version. 
“It would have to be soluble so it could be taken by mouth. It would start working fairly quickly and it wouldn’t diminish libido. It would be safe even if taken for decades,” she said. 
“And because some users would eventually want to have children, its impact on fertility would be reversible, with no lingering ill effects on sperm or embryos.” 
The Minnesota scientists have built on progress that was made last June, when experts at the University of Virginia discovered a specific enzyme, ESP1, a protein that forms in the head of a man’s sperm. 
“Understanding at the molecular level exactly how the sperm is able to bind with and enter the egg opens opportunities to identify molecules that can disrupt or block the fertilization event,” said John Herr, a professor of cell biology working on the University of Virginia’s study, The Evening Standard reports.

Good work, science.  Let's keep up on this thing here.

A Lousy Mea Culpa On Trump

Coming off of Matthew Yglesias admitting that the "liberal contrarian case for Trump" was untenable nonsense, we have Jonathan Chait realizing much the same and apologizing a bit too late for it.

Last month, I made the case that a Donald Trump nomination would be better for America than the nomination of one of his Republican rivals. I no longer believe that. I began to change my mind when a report circulated highlighting his 1990 interview with Playboy in which he praised the brutality of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. This is not the first time I had seen Trump praise dictators. (He has effused over Vladimir Putin.) But Trump’s admiration for Putin seemed to spring from a more ordinary Republican partisan contempt for President Obama, and closely echoed pro-Putin comments made by fellow Republicans like Rudy Giuliani. Trump’s quarter-century-old endorsement of Chinese Communist Party repression went well beyond the familiar derangement of the modern GOP. This was not hatred of Obama, or some obnoxious drive to stick it to his supporters; it was evidence of an authentic and longstanding ideology. Trump has changed his mind about many things, but a through-line can be drawn from the comments Trump made and 1990 and the message of his campaign now: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.” 
My previous view of Trump was as a kind of vaccine. The Republican Party relies on the covert mobilization of racial resentment and nationalism. Trump, as I saw it, was bringing into the open that which had been intentionally submerged. It seemed like a containable dose of disease, too small to take over its host, but large enough to set off a counter-reaction of healthy blood cells. But the outbreak of violence this weekend suggests the disease may be spreading far wider than I believed, and infecting healthy elements of the body politic. 
I remain convinced that Trump cannot win the presidency. But what I failed to account for was the possibility that his authoritarian style could degrade American politics even in defeat. There is a whiff in the air of the notion that the election will be settled in the streets — a poisonous idea that is unsafe in even the smallest doses.

But (and with Chait there's always a "but") Chait can't help himself, going back to blaming the left's political correctness for Trump's rise a few paragraphs later and scolding them for trying to stop him.

But Rubio is not wrong to draw a connection between political correctness and elements of the left’s response to Trump. Donald Trump may or may not have been forthright about citing safety fears in cancelling his speech Friday night in Chicago, and disrupting the speech may or may not have been the protesters’ goal. But it is clear that protesters views the cancellation of the speech as a victory, breaking out in cheers of “We stopped Trump!” 
Preventing speakers one finds offensive from delivering public remarks is commonplace on campuses. Indeed, more than 300 faculty members at the University of Illinois-Chicago signed a letter asking the University administration not to allow Trump to speak. I polled my Twitter followers whether they consider disrupting Trump’s speeches an acceptable response to his racism. Two-thirds replied that it is. Obviously, this is not a scientific poll, but it indicates a far broader acceptance than I expected. 
Because Trump is so grotesque, and because he has violated liberal norms himself so repeatedly, the full horror of the goal of stopping Trump from campaigning (as opposed to merely counter-demonstrating against him) has not come across. But the whole premise of democracy is that rules need to be applied in every case without regard to the merit of the underlying cause to which it is attached. If you defend the morality of a tactic against Trump, then you should be prepared to defend its morality against any candidate. Now imagine that right-wing protesters had set out to disrupt Barack Obama’s speeches in 2008. If you’re not okay with that scenario, you should not be okay with protesters doing it to Trump.

As usual, Chait's apologies are pretty terrible.  He starts out saying he was wrong on Trump...and then comes in with "but you're all just as wrong trying to stop him!"

Le sigh, le groan.

Flipping The Script On SCOTUS

It looks like the Obama administration is ready to move on a Supreme Court nominee as early as this week as part of a coordinated campaign effort for Democrats in the Senate.

As soon as President Barack Obama announces a Supreme Court nominee from his short list — which is now set — the White House and its allies will unleash a coordinated media and political blitz aimed at weakening GOP resistance to confirming the president's pick.

Administration allies have already started putting a ground game in place. Obama campaign veterans have been contracted in six states — New Hampshire, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where GOP incumbents are most vulnerable, plus Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's Iowa.

With Republicans flatly refusing even courtesy meetings with a nominee, let alone confirmation hearings, they’re also looking into photo ops with Senate Democrats, and could pursue mock hearings or other events meant to highlight GOP intransigence, according to sources familiar with the planning.

Still, the West Wing is trying to strike a balance between pushing the nominee forward to create pressure and the danger of seeming to politicize the fight or accidentally straying into hypothetical discussions of future court decisions.

Obama is expected to announce a nominee as early as this week. Many believe that the choice will be one of three federal appeals court judges: Sri Srinivasan, Merrick Garland or Paul Watford.

I heartily approve of this. President Obama is playing to win here and he knows the issue is Senate control by the GOP.  He's operating under the assumption that the GOP will fold as they have time and again, and he's doing so by going on offense.

I've had my doubts that President Obama could actually accomplish anything here, and this still may not work out, but it won't be for lack of trying.  If it's a fight the GOP wants, it's a fight they will get.

Vox has a good rundown of the potential nominees here.


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