Friday, April 16, 2004

In a week too busy to blog, a book picked up during brief free moments both presented and solved a mystery. In The Best American Science Writing 2003, Joseph D'Agnese's "An Embarrassment of Chimpanzees" tells about the problems research labs have with over 1600 used primate test subjects. "What are we going to do with these animals? During his last weeks in office, President Clinton signed the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act, which mandates a national system of sanctuaries for chimps who qualify...."

Why did the Arkansas Travailer sneak this one in among all his last minute pardons and keyboard re-engineering? Your first suspicion might be that this was a clever way to start a demonstration program for his dreams of socialized medicine. If that had been his real motive, he would have assigned this to She Who Must Not Be Named. No, the answer can be found in the account of one of these havens for survivors. "They can snack on fresh fruit and vegetables, or page languidly through Victoria's Secret catalogs. The human form enthralls great apes." Yep, 'ol Bill could just see himself gobbling bananas over Gisele Bundchen. Convinced by this that Darwin was right about his own ancestry, at least, he felt compelled to help his relatives dwell in a land of tax-supported titillation.

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