Finding hidden words

Knowing a lot about genetics doesn’t always give you insight into the decision-making process of the US Legislature. I now have Google alerts that tell me—many times a day—when the phrase “stem cell” appears in the news and I have daily international alerts from an ethics and the law publication. I also turn on my tv each day to the Senate and House proceedings. Figuring out how the Senate operates on a daily basis requires more background than my high school civics class gave me. None of these really help me keep track of what’s happening in Congress with the stem-cell issue, so I’ve bookmarked the 109th Congress and check details each day.

I have found that reading the daily digest isn’t enough and the “official” update on each bill only covers “major” actions—ignoring additions of sponsors or programmed, but unscheduled, speeches on the floor of the Senate or House. So, I’ve finally moved to http://thomas.loc.gov/home/r109query.html and querying “stem cell” by specific date and searching the extended remarks. This helps, but—as come would say—not much. How I wish people would learn to begin their remarks with specifics! You can view a whole page of the beginning of remarks, followed by ….. indicating that the words continue, and never figure out what the topic is.

The energy bill (HB 6) is currently on the floor of the Senate and more confirmation hearings are scheduled for Monday, the 20th. Meanwhile, stem cells are prominent in local news across the world. Perhaps I’ll look for awhile at what states here and countries elsewhere are doing.

Marie Godfrey, PhD

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