The perils of corporate funding
If Elizabeth Whelan truly believes that corporate funding doesn’t influence scientists (“ ’Conflict’ chills research,” Op-Ed, Tuesday), I have an old prescription for Vioxx I’d like to sell her.
Mrs. Whelan’s fringy group thinks scientists who work for drug companies one day should be able to sit in judgment about those companies’ products the next day. Defending corporate influence over science isn’t just a talking point for the so-called American Council on Science and Health, it’s the business model.
The group is a receptacle for payments from pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, food and other companies who appreciate the convenience of having their grantees and former employees serve on government science panels. The “obsession with transparency” about funding sources hasn’t troubled the ACSH, which stopped disclosing its donors in the 1990s, presumably out of embarrassment.
MICHAEL F. JACOBSON
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Abbas and Hamas
The decision of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s administration to shun Jimmy Carter during his upcoming travel to the Middle East because of Mr. Carter’s interest in meeting with Khalid Meshaal, “the leader of a terrorist organization,” is sadly ironic (“Olmert to snub Carter over Hamas visit,” World, Friday). If Mr. Olmert and his colleagues are opposed to dealing with hardened terrorists, they should cease giving away land and money to Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction, which continue as ever to perpetrate attacks against Israeli civilians.
DAVID B. GREENBERG
Alon Shvut, Israel
Scotland’s dark path
Tom Gallagher is right to query First Minister Alex Salmond’s comparison of Celtic Tiger Ireland with post-industrial Scotland (“Scotland’s Huey Long,” Commentary, April 7). Scots are risk-averse and hostile to market economics, but young Irish graduates are not. Scotland has one of the lowest rates of business start-ups in Western Europe. That’s why the comparison with East Germany is particularly appropriate.
Plus, not ever having been an industrialized nation, Ireland does not suffer from post-industrial malaise and poor labor relations as Scotland does.