October 24th, 2003


[/.] Remember: Your kids belong to the school, not to you.

Wired has a story about a public charter school in Buffalo that now tracks student attendence with mandatory RFID tags. The school's director said 'All this relates to safety and keeping track of kids...Eventually it will become a monitoring tool for us..' In the future the system will expand to '...track library loans, disciplinary records, cafeteria purchases and visits to the nurse's office...punctuality...and to verify the time [students] get on and off school buses.'


Nobody is going to be putting RFID tags in my kids. Call me a luddite if you want.


[MeFi] Bush's stem cell policy is stupid, or at least morally inconsistent.

None of this matters if you believe that a microscopic embryo is a human being with the same human rights as you and me. George W. Bush claims to believe that, and you have to believe something like that to justify your opposition to stem-cell research. But Bush cannot possibly believe that embryos are full human beings, or he would surely oppose modern fertility procedures that create and destroy many embryos for each baby they bring into the world. Bush does not oppose modern fertility treatments. He even praised them in his anti-stem-cell speech.

It's not a complicated point. If stem-cell research is morally questionable, the procedures used in fertility clinics are worse. You cannot logically outlaw the one and praise the other. And surely logical coherence is a measure of moral sincerity.

If he's got both his facts and his logic wrong—and he has—Bush's alleged moral anguish on this subject is unimpressive. In fact, it is insulting to the people (including me) whose lives could be saved or redeemed by the medical breakthroughs Bush's stem-cell policy is preventing.