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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Should Steven Hatfill Get the Nobel Peace Prize?

I have just read this article on Steven Hatfill, the man originally accused of the anthrax attacks in the wake of September 11.

This is an enraging, frustrating article to be sure, highlighting once again that cheesy cloak-and-dagger speculation is no match for good old fashioned gumshoe work in uncovering the facts. I was literally in tears reading how a strapping, enthusiastic, and eccentric scientist was reduced to an unemployed, disheartened shadow of himself, watching himself be accused on TV while federal agents tailed his every move.

However, midway through the article changes. We are introduced to an American who was always a bit "off," a bit of a weirdo, a weight-lifting, tobacco-chewing, rare-steak-eating, superphysician novelist who dressed in black (I like him already), who anguished over having to administer experimental drugs to animals, who tended the ailments of indigenous peoples, and who is determined to revolutionize medical labs.

I remember the FBI sweep of his apartment, and the press conference that Hatfill's attorney gave. "Guilty or not," I thought, "he is presumed innocent, and this is a travestry." Of course, I had no way of forming an opinion about Hatfill's guilt or innocence, but if we Americans rush to judgment, we may as well let the terrorists win and go back to being a colony of Great Britain.

However, I did not become convinced that Steven Hatfill is a deserving candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize merely because he fought injustice and won exoneration. Nor do I think it because his fight was also on behalf of all of us, Americans who must cherish and uphold due process, and who must insist that journalists act like investigators instead of the government lapdogs that they have become. This is what convinced me that Steven Hatfill should at least be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize:

When he had had enough, when he was done with watching the television in his girlfriend's home (having lost his own home, any job prospects, and his health insurance), when he was done drinking a little too much, eating too much chocolate (at least he has good taste!), and feeling sorry for himself, Steven Hatfill dug out his old textbooks and began studying again, and then signed up to be part of the relief effort in Sri Lanka after the tsunami. Healing people helped him to heal himself.

He also had an epiphany: build mobile labs to be able to penetrate the remote areas of the earth, where the plants and fungi, out of which antibiotics are made, are found! The FBI tailed him to the hobby shop and back, after which Hatfill began designing his vision in modeling clay.

For Hatfill, rebuilding remains painful and slow. He enters post offices only if he absolutely must, careful to show his face to surveillance cameras so that he can’t be accused of mailing letters surreptitiously. He tries to document his whereabouts at all times, in case he should ever need an alibi. He is permanently damaged, Hatfill says. Yet he still professes to love America. “My country didn’t do this to me,” he is quick to point out. “A bloated, incompetent bureaucracy and a broken press did. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if I didn’t still love my country.”

Much of Hatfill’s time these days is devoted to teaching life-saving medical techniques to military personnel bound for combat. They are his “band of brothers,” and the hours he spends with them, Hatfill says, are among his happiest. He also serves as an adjunct associate professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University.

Then there is his boat.

Hatfill has committed $1.5 million to building his floating genetic laboratory, a futuristic-looking vessel replete with a helicopter, an operating room to treat rural indigenous peoples, and a Cordon Bleu–trained chef. Hatfill intends to assemble a scientific team and cruise the Amazon for undiscovered or little-known plants and animals. From these organisms, he hopes to develop new medications for leukemia, and for tuberculosis and other diseases that have been growing increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics. Any useful treatments, he says, will be licensed to pharmaceutical companies on the condition that developing nations receive them at cost. Hatfill hopes to christen the boat within two years. Scientists at USAMRIID, where the FBI once suspected him of stealing anthrax, have expressed tentative interest in helping him mount his expedition.

Throughout it all, one gets the sense of a man who really, really loves his country and what he does, and whose greatest desire is to help others. He is bitter toward the government bureaucracy, but not the people of the United States who comprise the true government. His suffering was unimaginable, and yet now he's going to go on safari in his super-boat for more medical cures. He more resembles Superman temporarily weakened by Kryptonite, or Indiana Jones, than a victim of a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. I can hardly believe that someone like this exists! It is a testament to how resilient the human conscience, and our capacity for creativity, really is.

It is time that journalists quit merely reporting Hatfill's lawsuits for libel, and start talking about what this extraordinary man has done and is doing. I know what reading this article did for me. It scared me and made me angry, but it also filled me with gratitude that there are people out there willing to stand up for our rights, and to reclaim their passion despite what the entire world thinks of them. Isn't that what the Nobel Peace Prize represents?

Thank you, Steven Hatfill. I doubted your guilt and applauded your exoneration, but now you are a hero in my eyes.

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29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what this extraordinary man has done".......

Oh please, are you Americans REALLY that naive/dumb/stupid? Check out what "this extraordinary man has done" at these links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/anthrax/story/0,,968228,00.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/anthrax/story/0,,968229,00.html

http://www.iol.co.za/?click_id=13&art_id=ct2002070110581920A536231&set_id=1

http://www.mg.co.za/articledirect.aspx?area=mg_flat&articleid=7349

http://luigiwarren.blogspot.com/2005/12/just-some-asshole-who-has-too-much-to.html

May 26, 2010 5:19 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

It is not surprising for a deliberately provocative blog post title to get a snarky response, but calling all Americans "naive/dumb/stupid" while posting anonymously is naive, dumb, and stupid. I'll look at your links when you come back with an ID and explain yourself. (And don't you have any ideas of your own?)

May 26, 2010 10:06 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I did check the last link. It completely copied my post (and the article from SEED), without permission. It may be an aggregator, but I think copying whole articles and posts is not a good idea. As per Blogger rules, I asked the owner of the blog to take my post down.

At least do me the courtesy of e-mailing me and asking if a part of my post can be used, as others have done! I willingly let people quote me.

May 26, 2010 11:13 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

P.S. An entire blog devoted to trashing Steven Hatfill, because he padded his resume or is a "man of a thousand faces" or whatever, is simply CREEPY!

Something is very wrong here.

May 26, 2010 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where there's smoke, there's fire....

June 22, 2010 3:10 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Yes, that's what the intelligent design folks would have us believe, too. "The controversy!" All in their heads.

June 24, 2010 5:28 AM  
Blogger Eli Fitzgerald said...

Cool blog! This one is not good!

July 21, 2010 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristine, did you submit his name in time?
Nobel Prize Announcement Dates

NOBEL PRIZEThe Nobel Prize awarding institutions have set the following dates for their announcements of 2010 prize decisions:

Physiology or Medicine - Monday 4 October, 11:30 a.m. CET at the earliest
Physics - Tuesday 5 October, 11:45 a.m. CET at the earliest
Chemistry - Wednesday 6 October, 11:45 a.m. CET at the earliest
Peace - Friday 8 October, 11:00 a.m. CET
The date for the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature will be set later.
Economic Sciences - Monday 11 October, 1:00 p.m. CET at the earliest.

September 15, 2010 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, no, he should get the Nobel Prize for Medicine.......
Nobel Prize Announcement Dates

NOBEL PRIZEThe Nobel Prize awarding institutions have set the following dates for their announcements of 2010 prize decisions:

Physiology or Medicine - Monday 4 October, 11:30 a.m. CET at the earliest
Physics - Tuesday 5 October, 11:45 a.m. CET at the earliest
Chemistry - Wednesday 6 October, 11:45 a.m. CET at the earliest
Peace - Friday 8 October, 11:00 a.m. CET
The date for the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature will be set later.
Economic Sciences - Monday 11 October, 1:00 p.m. CET at the earliest.

September 15, 2010 6:20 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Can anyone nominate a candidate? I would think about it. Then the question would be debated by professionals much more qualified than me.

September 15, 2010 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristine said...
"Can anyone nominate a candidate? I would think about it."

Not much of a researcher, Kristine....

http://nobelprize.org/contact/faq/index.html#nominate

Nominations

How can I nominate myself or someone for a Nobel Prize?

No person can nominate herself/himself.

Qualifications to nominate candidates vary somewhat among the Nobel Prize-Awarding Institutions. To find out who has the right to submit proposals for an award see:
Physics – The Nominators
Chemistry – The Nominators
Physiology or Medicine – The Nominators
Literature – The Nominators
Peace – The Nominators
Economic Sciences – The Nominators

Where can I find information on the nomination procedures?

Nomination and Selection of Physics Laureates
Nomination and Selection of Chemistry Laureates
Nomination and Selection of Medicine Laureates
Nomination and Selection of Literature Laureates
Nomination and Selection of Peace Prize Laureates
Nomination and Selection of Laureates in Economic Sciences

"Then the question would be debated by professionals much more qualified than me."

Anyone more qualified than you would be easy to find - too much time in the hot-tub and wobbling your belly has addled your brain.

"Thank you, Steven Hatfill. I doubted your guilt and applauded your exoneration, but now you are a hero in my eyes.
Raging hormones at work here.

"now he's going to go on safari in his super-boat for more medical cures."

Welcome aboard the SS Bull-Shitter Par Excellance. Signing up Crew (Ship-Matresses especially required) now at http://luigiwarren.blogspot.com/2010/05/yo-ho-ho-and-lot-of-martinis.html

September 15, 2010 11:18 AM

September 16, 2010 3:56 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Not much of a researcher, Kristine....

Oh, BS, Ninny Mouse. You used Google and I used Elsevier. Enough said.

Raging hormones at work here.

Raging hormones are obviously at the cause of your disturbing man-crush love-hate site.

September 16, 2010 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A strapping, enthusiastic, and eccentric scientist
An American who was always a bit "off," a bit of a weirdo, a weight-lifting, tobacco-chewing, rare-steak-eating, superphysician novelist who dressed in black (I like him already), who anguished over having to administer experimental drugs to animals, who tended the ailments of indigenous peoples, and who is determined to revolutionize medical labs.
He more resembles Superman temporarily weakened by Kryptonite, or Indiana Jones.
I can hardly believe that someone like this exists!
You are a hero in my eyes.


Kritine, methinks it's time for you to get out of the hot-tub and into a cold shower and then dry yourself off.....

September 17, 2010 6:28 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Your second comment I deleted because it was in bold and you are becoming increasingly irrational.

I think you're the one who needs to get the hell out of my hot tub and out of my life. I went to your blog, considered your point of view (for what it is worth) and asked you to remove my post that you copied verbatum.

Don't you tell me what to do or how to think. Until you remove my verbatum post from your blog, you are not welcome to comment here.

If you think I'm wrong, fine. But you are going to achieve nothing here, and your behavior proves what an asshole you are. Get lost.

September 17, 2010 9:13 AM  
Anonymous missouri said...

Amused Muse, didn't anyone warn you that you attract more bees with gall than with honey? :P

What is this hold that you have over men? It's obvious that Ninny is jealous.

September 17, 2010 10:43 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Whatever. It's obvious that Ninny is no researcher. His quotes are from his own blog.

September 17, 2010 10:57 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, guess whose three crazed e-mails to me in succession (full of forbidden boldface) about 9/11 and anthrax went straight to the spam folder!

Get lost, creep. Find a hobby.

September 22, 2010 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hatfill has committed $1.5 million to building his floating genetic laboratory, a futuristic-looking vessel replete with a helicopter, an operating room to treat rural indigenous peoples, and a Cordon Bleu–trained chef. Hatfill intends to assemble a scientific team and cruise the Amazon for undiscovered or little-known plants and animals. From these organisms, he hopes to develop new medications for leukemia, and for tuberculosis and other diseases that have been growing increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics."

So Hatfill is n ow going to compete with Big Pharma?
Oh Pleeeeez......

September 30, 2010 5:32 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Hulu is going to compete with television? The internet is going to compete with big newspapers? Workers from India are going to compete with big unions? Oh, please....

Bureaucracy. Created by committees, undone by individuals.

I guess we'll see.

September 30, 2010 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Space... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no woman has gone before.
Captain's Log, Stardate 9529.1
Captain (get your Vulcan hands off me) Kristine - plumbing the vast abysses of space, time and ............naivity.
Regards
Your faithful side-kick
Leonard

October 01, 2010 2:45 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

It's spelled naivete.

Yep. This is beginning to resemble the build-ups to the marriage proposals that I received from several creationists (of all people) during the creo-evo online wars.

You know, I hate to collapse your nebula, but I happen to have a true love, and he is not Steven Hatfill, and he is not you.

I have had a lot of things happen to me since I wrote this blog entry, including moving to the east coast and working for a large aerospace facility, so leave the "spacey" metaphors to the experts. I have moved on and I suggest that you do, too. My contract completed, I have had to move again and need to find another job. I'm busy. BYE!

Sheesh.

October 01, 2010 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tsvangirai makes Nobel Peace Prize list again
Oct 3, 2010 12:00 AM | By - Sapa-AFP

The Nobel season opens tomorrow with the medicine prize and all eyes are fixed on the prestigious peace prize, won by US President Barack Obama last year in a jaw-dropping surprise.

Together with literature, the peace prize is the most watched Nobel award, with honours also handed out annually for exceptional work in medicine, physics, chemistry and economics.

Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 after less than a year in office, while the US was waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pick triggered widespread criticism of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This year, it will go to a less controversial choice, said Kristian Berg Harpviken, the head of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo.

"My hunch is that it's quite likely the committee may be somewhat more traditional in its selection of a candidate than it was last year," he said this week.

The peace prize committee will have a record 237 candidates to choose from this year, with Chinese dissidents, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Steven Jay Hatfill and the founders of the Internet known to be on the list.

Berg Harpviken said he does not believe this year's award will go to a Chinese dissident, a move which Beijing warned against this week.

Online betting website paddypower.com deemed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo as the gamblers' best bet with odds of 6 to 1. It put Tsvangirai at 8 to 1 and Steven Jay Hatfill as a non-starter.

The peace prize will be awarded in Oslo on October 8.

October 04, 2010 5:08 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Next time, just post a synopsis with a link.

October 04, 2010 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pioneer of In Vitro Fertilization Wins Nobel Prize
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: October 4, 2010

The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded this year to Robert G. Edwards, an English biologist who, with a physician colleague, Patrick Steptoe, developed the in vitro fertilization procedure for treating human infertility.

Boo hoo hoo.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/health/research/05nobel.html?_r=1&src=me

October 04, 2010 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tsvangirai makes Nobel Peace Prize list again
Oct 3, 2010 12:00 AM | By - Sapa-AFP

http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article686267.ece/Tsvangirai-makes-Nobel-Peace-Prize-list-again

October 04, 2010 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.

I don't believe in personal immortality; the only way I expect to have some version of such a thing is through my books.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

Isaac Asimov

October 04, 2010 8:26 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Stay on topic, please.

IVF is a planetary scourge. Welcome to the future water wars.

October 04, 2010 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catholic experts slam Nobel prize decision
Oct 5, 2010 2:02 PM | By Sapa-AFP
Catholic experts condemned a decision to award the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine to Robert Edwards for his pioneering research into IVF, highlighting a sensitive grey area between religion and science.
http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/article690550.ece/Catholic-experts-slam-Nobel-prize-decision

October 06, 2010 2:30 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Ninny Mouse, you are off-topic. This is not your blog, nor is this post about IVF. I certainly have my opinions about the new normal being created by "heartwarming" stories of women having litters of kids. If you write a post about IVF, I'll comment on it, but until then, goodbye.

October 06, 2010 10:06 AM  

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