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Vote Lieberman-Cheney and support the permanent government. "Richard Cheney and Joe Lieberman are two of the most curious choices for vice president of recent times," writes Sam Smith in the "Progressive Review" (August 22). He thinks the constituency they bring to their respective tickets "is not a collection of voters but the defense industry, which they can be expected to serve as faithfully as they have in the past. Lieberman comes from the land of the Sikorsky helicopters and told Connecticut voters as recently as last October that 'In my view, one layoff is one too many because each and every worker represents the very heart and soul of our national defense.' Selecting a couple of reliable Pentagon pimps is important at this time for reasons not widely reported: there is strong bipartisan support for a planned massive increase in defense spending. The build-up would raise the size of the Pentagon budget relative to GDP by about 50%." The increases sought are said to equal almost the entire budget of the Education Department.

Former lightweight boxing championship contender Johnny Lira now works "judging fights, training boxers and working as a telephone canvasser/enforcer for a Chicago politician," reports Ted Kleine in In These Times (September 4). Lira also visits places like the Windy City Boxing Club in Lawndale to promote the idea of a fighters' union and pension fund. "The overwhelming majority of fighters are extremists," he says. "When they got it, they spend it. After 10 or 15 years out of the sport, they're broke and they need a pension."

The legacy of those who know what the public wants better than the public does. "Not every feature of CHA housing was dictated by politics," writes Sean Campbell in StreetWise (August 14-20). "The decision to insulate buildings from streets and surround them with empty space, for example, was based on Elizabeth Wood's beliefs about ideal cities; in a 1945 speech, she said that 'the public desire is for the amenities of grass, trees, protection from noise and danger of traffic. The public has had little chance to express that desire, but the expenditure of vast public subsidies must be directed by it.'"

"There's no guarantee that embryo stem cells will be used to cure serious diseases," worries Chicago-Kent law professor Lori Andrews, author of The Clone Age (Salon, August 21). "Indeed, biotech companies can make more money by offering to use them for the burgeoning market of 'enhancement' medicine. Where cardiac patients might need new heart cells to repair a damaged chamber, athletes may use these same cells to increase stamina. Geron Corp., which holds the exclusive U.S. license on embryo stem cell technology, touts the artificial skin it is developing as a treatment not just for burn victims but for people with sun damage and other age-related conditions. Indeed, 70-year-old [Senator Arlen] Specter lets slip his real interest in embryonic stem cells when he referred to them as 'a veritable fountain of youth.'"


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