Saturday, November 12, 2005

Invertebratology

There has been a good bit of well-deserved media scrutiny of the UC Irvine Medical Center's troubled liver transplant program in the wake of this LA Times story exposing the deaths of over thirty patients who waited in vain for organs that the center was silently declining. However, the last paragraph of the story, which I have seen no one else comment upon, is what caught my eye:

"[I]n 1999, UC Irvine fired Christopher Brown, the director of its donated cadaver program, amid suspicion that he had improperly sold spines to an Arizona research program. The buyers paid $5,000 to a company owned by a business associate of Brown. Brown was not prosecuted."

The market price of a spine is $5000?!? Igor, order me four dozen and have them delivered to Capitol Hill. STAT. Less than a quarter of a million for a GOP that might actually pass some spending cuts and stand firm on tax reductions? What a flippin' bargain that would be.

7 comments:

connie deady said...

Funny, when the Democrats closed the Senate last week over Iraq, my liberal friends thought that they had finally grown a spine.

One wonders if this technological era where one's comments are always preserved, where polls can be taken on every issue, where your opponent can spend millions criticizing your votes on television has led to spineless politicians of both parties, who only say and do things based on how they will "appear" instead of whether they are right or wrong.

James Elliott said...

I'd say that sums it up in a nutshell, Connie.

And I have a partial solution. Limit all contributions to campaigns - personal, corporate, union, non-profit, and political party - to the same amount. Say around $5-10,000. Have a government funded non-profit whose sole purpose is to inform voters about their representatives stances and votes. Bring back the nonpartisan, professional advisory boards to Congress. And make informed citizenship a mandatory class in high school.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Ah, yes, Connie--the Democrats shut down the government this time and it's the GOP to blame, as always. This is a winner--if the GOP shuts down the government, it's because they're anti-government. If the Democrats do it, since they looove government, it must be for a good reason.

James, I think the last round of campaign finance reform shows once again that money is smarter than law. We close down the people, and we get George Soros.

I would favor mandating more intensive civics classes, but I don't know what they'd teach. Even the Supreme Court can't decide what the Constitution says.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, I almost forgot---Hehe, Kathy. Good one.

connie deady said...

Ah, yes, Connie--the Democrats shut down the government this time and it's the GOP to blame, as always. This is a winner--if the GOP shuts down the government, it's because they're anti-government. If the Democrats do it, since they looove government, it must be for a good reason.

Spare me the inflamed rhetoric, please. Shut down the government? As if the Senate is the whole government.

Hunter Baker said...

I think Tom is right about the money. It's going to find a way to influence the process. If you outlaw the donations, you get the advocacy groups that are clearly aligned with one candidate or the other. You ban that and you'll get television stations and/or networks being bought and turned to the task of supporting particular candidates. Ban that and you'll see new stuff on the internet. There IS NO WAY to take the money out of the process.

Even if the STATE takes everything, there will be factions of the state fighting each other for control and something of value will be used to influence that process.

Jay D. Homnick said...

The UC Irvine sports teams are called the Anteaters, which means that those spines are shaped pretty funny.

Speaking of funny, I second Tom: very cleverly done, Kathy.