Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Political wit a hit in Boston, Massachusetts
The link to Ireland couldn't be stronger than it is in Massachusetts, where a quarter of the population claims Irish heritage.
And while the state capital is awash in green cheer at this time of year, a tradition of exchanging political barbs has kicked off each morning of the St. Patrick's Day parade, dating back about 60 years. The March 15 breakfast, including song and dance amid the playful ribbing, was an outgrowth of the community's involvement in politics, which runs as deep as Irish humor.
"It allows people to see their elected officials [local, state and national] in a role they don't normally see them in," explained state Sen. Jack Hart (or, as he says it, "Haht") of south Boston, who's hosting the political roast for the eighth year. The televised event draws about 4 million viewers and "beats the Sunday morning talk shows."
Neither Sen. Ted Kennedy nor Sen. John Kerry is expected this year, but getting a call from the nation's highest office isn't unheard of. Vice President Joe Biden has attended, and Hart said they're working on getting the attention of President Obama. Or is that O'Bama?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
After a storm hammered San Francisco that winter, the university campus lost power; if not for the backup generators that pumped emergency electricity to its labs, countless cell cultures might have been lost. Fisher's embryonic stem cell lab, however, was off the campus grid, housed in a temporary facility built with private funds, which did not have a backup system. It would take several days for power to be restored to that site, during which time Fisher had no other place to bring her cells — she couldn't use the university incubators without jeopardizing the school's access to federal funding. Her cells were no ordinary stem cells, either. They were the first to be cultured on a bed of entirely human cells, an important advance in bringing usable stem-cell therapies to patients. With no other option, Fisher watched her cells die.