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News from the Votemaster

Scientists Sequence Fetal Genome from Maternal Blood

Stanford University medical researchers have discovered a way to sequence the entire genome of a fetus using only a sample of the mother's blood. Nothing like this has ever been done before. Up until now, an invasive procedure (amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling) was needed to get fetal DNA. In the future it will be simpler and have less chance of damaging the fetus.

So what's with the science news on a political Website? And if we're going to throw science into the mix, why not a story on the Higgs boson? The reason, of course, is that if a pregnant woman can undergo a simple blood test and learn that her fetus is carrying a gene for a serious disease, she is likely to consider aborting it. Any scientific advance that makes it easier to determine which fetuses are healthy and which are not is surely going to increase the demand for abortions, with all the political implications of that. While the discovery of the so-called "God particle" (actually Higgs called it a "Goddamn particle" but that was Bowdlerized later) is a more important discovery and will certainly get Higgs the Nobel Prize for Physics within a year or two, it is unlike to have much political impact. Except maybe on readers who skim the headlines quickly and incorrectly read "God discovered underground along the Swiss-French border."

DCCC Has Biggest Small Donor Fundraising Day in History

In the wake of the Supreme Court's somewhat tortured finding that the ACA mandate is a tax, an idea Mitt Romney now agrees with, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had its biggest small-donor fundraising day in history Saturday, with an average donation of $35. The committee has raised $2.3 million off the Court's decision. Undoubtedly the NRCC also spun the decision into gold, but it hasn't released any numbers yet.

Will the Republicans Be Able to Repeal Obamacare Even If They Win All the Marbles?

While virtually every top Republican has promised to eliminate Obamacare root and branch if the GOP captures the White House and both chambers of Congress, it may not be quite as simple as that. There is another factor to consider: the insurance industry doesn't want them to do so. During the fight over the ACA in 2009, the insurance industry was quiet as a mouse. No Harry and Louise ads, no thundering about "socialized medicine," not a peep. Why? Because the ACA gives them 30 million new customers. What industry would turn away 30 million new customers? And some of the provisions are so lucrative, like having young, healthy 19-25 year olds be insured on their parents' policies, that insurance executives are probably slapping themselves on their heads now saying: "Why didn't WE think of that?" So the insurance companies are stepping up their contributions to the Republican Party to gain influence in order to try to block repeal in the event of a big Republican victory.