The American Staff

Recent Articles

Dossier: To Arms, To Arms

Global military expenditures topped $950 billion in 2003 … Arms transfers accounted for $25.6 billion of this figure … 60 percent of all arms sales from 2000–03 were made to developing nations … The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are the largest arms dealers , contributing 88 percent of all conventional arms sales … Of the G8 nations, Japan is the only country that fails to make the top 10 arms-exporting countries … In 2004, China and India were the two largest recipients of global arms sales … China relies mostly on outdated Russian weapons for its purchases, but is pressuring the European Union to lift its arms embargo so it can purchase technologically advanced weapons and upgrades … The U.S. share of total arms deals in 2003 was 45 percent … The total value of these sales was $6.2 billion … A year before, that figure was $8.9 billion … The United States sells weapons to Oman , a country...

Devil in the Details

Pulling Punches Democrats who've been touting plans to nationalize the midterm elections next year with a good-government (“goo-goo,” in the parlance of political pros) campaign centered on Republican corruption seem to need a refresher course on how to play hardball. In late June, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held the third in its series of hearings on the sprawling casino-lobbying scandal involving former Tom DeLay cronies Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. Most observers have felt confident that this multifaceted saga, which implicates numerous Republican operatives and lawmakers beyond the House majority leader and is the subject of an ongoing federal criminal probe, would taint the Republicans and yield dividends for Democrats at the polls. But Democrats seem to have expected committee Chair John McCain to do their partisan work for them. In fact, the Arizona “maverick,” eyeing an '08 Republican presidential run, has made it abundantly clear that his committee's...

Recess Disappointment

Rumor has it in Washington that former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton will receive a “recess appointment” to serve as UN ambassador. Such appointments are fairly common and normally uncontroversial, but there are the occasional exceptions. Bolton would be an exception, as was the recess appointment of James Hormel to serve as ambassador to Luxembourg after Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma refused to allow a vote on his nomination on the grounds that it was unacceptable to give the job to a gay man. In light of the issue's re-emergence, a look back at conservative thinking on recess appointments just a few years ago is instructive. Turns out they didn't always support the idea. Sen. Larry Craig, quoted in the Associated Press, November 10, 1999: “There will be a very clear message. If they choose to make recess appointments that will be controversial, they will not get any more appointments.” Sen. Bob Smith, quoted in The Los Angeles Times , June 5,...

Dossier: The Stem-Cell Gap

Embryonic stem-cell research may produce a renewable source of tissue transplants and lead to cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's … Embryonic stem cells are derived from 4- to 5-day-old blastocysts, clusters of about 150 cells that measure no more than two-tenths of a millimeter … On August 9, 2001, George W. Bush decreed that federal funding could go only to embryonic stem cells derived prior to that day, and not to any extracted from embryos then in storage or created subsequently … He claimed that “more than 60” stem-cell lines were then available for use … According to the National Institutes of Health's “best-case scenario,” no more than 23 of the lines are actually viable … Since then, at least 81 other lines have been derived, including lines for study of disorders like Fragile-X and cystic fibrosis … At the 2004 Republican national convention, Laura Bush claimed that her husband was “the first president to provide federal funding for stem-cell research” …...

Dossier: The Stem-Cell Gap

Embryonic stem-cell research may produce a renewable source of tissue transplants and lead to cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's … Embryonic stem cells are derived from 4- to 5-day-old blastocysts, clusters of about 150 cells that measure no more than two-tenths of a millimeter … On August 9, 2001, George W. Bush decreed that federal funding could go only to embryonic stem cells derived prior to that day, and not to any extracted from embryos then in storage or created subsequently … He claimed that “more than 60” stem-cell lines were then available for use … According to the National Institutes of Health's “best-case scenario,” no more than 23 of the lines are actually viable … Since then, at least 81 other lines have been derived, including lines for study of disorders like Fragile-X and cystic fibrosis … At the 2004 Republican national convention, Laura Bush claimed that her husband was “the first president to provide federal funding for stem-cell research” …...

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