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Sunday, February 1, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 15.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist and Breezy
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Political football

Thanks to the powers that be for football. We'd be stuck in some pretty brutal winter circumstances with little hope of relief in the immediate future if it weren't for the prospect of the Packers and the Bears lining up against each other next Sunday. That's a nice distraction and, who knows, maybe we'll ride this distraction clear into February.

Meanwhile, we have normal business to attend to, and around here normal business means dealing with the issues of the day. One of those issues is the prospectus for stem-cell research in Wisconsin, the place that put such research on the map. And the guy most generally considered responsible for that is UW biologist Jamie Thomson.

While author Nathan Comp gives us a lot of historical information about the rise of stem-cell research, his article is not so much about the research itself, but about how this vital line of scientific inquiry has the effect of roiling the waters in medicine, politics and religion. There are some basic points of contention that in the present political context may not bode well for future research, and that, in turn, does not bode well for future medical innovation.

But so far, we're all just speculating. We'll see how it sorts out over the coming weeks and months; if the political rhetoric overtakes common sense; if the know-nothings are able to exert their political will over the body politic.

For now, we'll engage our distraction and anticipate the best on Sunday. While Gov. Walker goes to Chicago to try to eat Illinois' development lunch, the Packers will be continuing their quest to repatriate the Lombardi Trophy. We think the prospects are much better for the latter than the former. And if we had to settle for only one of those outcomes, we'd definitely choose the latter. Wouldn't we?

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