14 December 2001
1. OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY: CONGRESSIONAL ACTION PUTS PHYSICIST IN.
Having run out of mountains to climb (he did Everest in 2000),
our own Francis Slakey, APS Associate Director of Public Affairs,
will run a leg of the 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay starting
on the East Steps of the U.S. Capitol at 3:16pm on 21 Dec. Post-
anthrax security rules bar all public ceremonies from the Capitol
Grounds, but, Congress took swift action, adopting a Concurrent
Resolution that grants an exception for the Olympic Torch Relay.
2. ABM TREATY: BUSH DECLARES U.S. INTENT TO WITHDRAW IN 6 MONTHS.
At a time when the U.S. is desperately seeking the cooperation of
other nations in its war on terrorism, the U.S. seems intent on
getting out of agreements. We failed to ratify the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty, bowed out of the Kyoto accord on climate change,
walked out of the Geneva conference on biological weapons, and
now, as he has threatened for months, President Bush formally
gave six-months notice, as required, of our intent to withdraw
from the 1992 ABM Treaty. Critics have argued that abandoning
the 1972 treaty would lead to an arms race, but just hours after
Bush's announcement, Colin Powell declared that "an arms race has
not been set off." It could be too early to tell.
3. BIO-TERRORISM: LINKS TO THE HEAD OF A WHITE HOUSE COMMISSION?
Three New York Times writers, Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William
Broad have turned out an incredibly timely piece of investigative reporting
at its best. Germs, Simon & Schuster, 2001, begins with a chilling account
of the first bio-terrorism attack on U.S. soil: the deliberate salmonella
poisoning of hundreds of residents in Wasco County Oregon in an effort to
keep them away from the polls, and thus take political control of the region.
The attack was carried out by members of a free-sex cult led by Bhagwan
Shree Rajneesh, who was subsequently deported. What Germs doesn't tell you
is that one of Rajneesh's followers was a psychiatrist named James Gordon
(WN 16 Aug 96), who wrote The Golden
Guru, an admiring book about Rajneesh. Gordon was involved in the effort
to take political control of Antelope, Oregon. Incredibly, James Gordon
now heads the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Policy (WN 19 Oct 01), created in
waning days of the Clinton Administration.
4. PCAST: BUSH NAMES ADVISORY COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
The co-chairs were already known, Jack Marburger, the President's
Science Advisor, and Floyd Kvamme, a Silicon Valley venture
capitalist. Most of the 24 members are from the information-
technology industry. Unlike past Councils, there is virtually no
representation from research scientists. Even the few academics
best known as administrators. The sole exception is Charles
Arntzen, a plant biologist from Arizona State University.