Friday, July 13, 2007

Holsinger speaks

The L.A. Times has an article about James Holsinger, who appeared before the Senate yesterday. In short: Holsinger says he's dedicated to defending science and the health of all Americans regardless of sexual orientation, and promised to resign if pressured to put politics before science.

Which, given what Bush did with his previous nominee, makes me wonder why the heck Bush would nominate him. Unless he (Holsinger, that is) were lying.

Anywho; some quotes from the article:
"I would use the science to attempt to educate the policymakers," said Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., a prominent Kentucky physician, medical educator and former government official. "Quite candidly, if I were unable to do that and I was being overridden … I would resign."


Holsinger struck some independent notes Thursday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He said he supported an advertising ban on prescription drugs. He underscored his advocacy for higher tobacco taxes. And he said that using condoms was important for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and suggested condoms were appropriate for teens.

Those stands could put him at odds with administration positions.

But Holsinger also indicated support for the president's restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research — putting him at odds with a majority of lawmakers in Congress and many in the scientific community.

If confirmed as surgeon general, Holsinger has vowed to launch a national crusade against childhood obesity.

Sounds good, but what about the stuff you did when you weren't being interviewed for a job?
The paper [] has been taken out of context and "does not represent where I am today - who I am today," Holsinger said. But he did not spell out his current views, and the controversy has lingered.


Holsinger said that if confirmed as surgeon general, he would be an advocate for the health of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. As the top state health official in Kentucky, he said, he made sure the needs of lesbians were addressed in a major conference on women's health in 2002, despite strong political opposition from some state legislators.

Sounds nice. But this paragraph stood out to me:
"Everyone who is a [medical] practitioner needs to understand the health needs of our gay and lesbian community," he said.

That sounds like it could be coded language for saying that he doesn't repudiate his '91 paper, and that gay sex is "dangerous" and we need to warn everyone about how evil and filthy it is.

It might not be. But that was what occurred to me.

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