This comprehensive collection, spanning 300 years and 150 authors, includes excerpts from political writers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Daniel Berrigan, Dorothy Day, Shirley Chisholm, and Barack Obama, but also a surprising array of artistic voices: Mark Twain, Joan Baez, Denise Levertov, and Bill Watterson.
Imagine Jennifer Doudna working in the lab overnight, her eyes sore, her head pulsing, and her mind swirling with an existential crisis. Utilizing a bacterial cell’s self-defense mechanism, the geneticist has mastered the ability to reproduce and guide gene-editing technology, otherwise known as CRISPR-Cas9. This technology could save countless lives, cure genetic diseases, and reverse the effects of cancer. But it could also advance efforts at human enhancement, leading to a revival of modern eugenics.
In December, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine held a three-day summit on CRISPR technology.
When broadcaster Edward R. Murrow wrapped up a 1954 documentary on Joseph McCarthy, the demagogic anticommunist senator from Wisconsin, he said that McCarthy “didn’t create this situation of fear—he merely exploited it, and rather successfully.” Murrow added that this was not the time for people who opposed McCarthy’s methods to remain silent. Today no one in the news media today has the stature or the audience that Murrow had in the 1950s. Most reporters and commentators have been reluctant to push back against Donald Trump’s rhetoric and falsehoods, lest they be charged with partisanship. However, when leading Republican figures speak out against Trump, reporters are given some cover for challenging Trump’s claims (Columbia Journalism Review, July 15).