Shared sacrifice, my sweet ass. Rep. Charles Rangel wants Sparta. You remember Sparta, yes? Rep. Rangel, John Fogerty just called. He wants to know if you know “Fortunate Son.” (Hint: The answer’s not “No, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it.”) Maybe it’s a Democratic outflank-Bush-on-terror thing. I couldn’t tell you. I’m not a Democrat. If that’s what this is about, then damn it, don’t they pay attention to polls?

Eartha Kitt, quoted in Norman Solomon’s “The Penn Paradox” over at Common Dreams.

[…] “If you walk through life needing everybody to love you, you will never do anything.” […]

There has to be something, an agency or collective or collaborative effort to replace the Voter News Service if it should go under. The absence of information about population segments comes too close to an anti-initiative, an inadvertent privacy, a blindness that risks serving the status quo. I mean, I like these black voter turnout projections; don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be entirely dependent on mainstream media. I want as much information about these things as possible.

Oh, dear.

New York Times, Gwen Kinkead, “To Study Disease, Britain Plans a Genetic Census”

[…] If the $120 million project, called U.K. Biobank, goes forward, and enough people volunteer for pilot studies, 1.2 million healthy Britons from 45 to 69 will give blood samples to the Biobank. From their blood, DNA will be purified and frozen. Ninety percent of the donors will be white. The rest will roughly reflect Britain’s demographics.

From these, 500,000 will be chosen for the project by 2008.

When they sign up, volunteers will get brief health examinations and will answer 10-page questionnaires about their socioeconomic and psychological status, reproductive history, exercise, cellphone use and beverage preferences. They will note their diets for a week.

For 10 years, they will be followed through their national health care records, which will be copied into the Biobank. The data will be anonymous, but not completely, to allow for updates by doctors or new questionnaires. By 2014, 40,175 are expected to fall ill with diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer. Another 6,200 are expected to have Parkinson’s, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis or hip fractures.

The DNA of these people will be read and compared, and any normal gene variants, the one-nucleotide differences in DNA that make one person’s biology different from another’s, will be tagged for study.

“Then you will be able to see patterns: X number have this sort of genetic makeup and this kind of lifestyle, and Y has that, and you can start analyzing, if you like, the nature-nurture, environment-genes secret,” said Sir George Radda, the molecular cardiologist who heads the Medical Research Council, a sponsor of the Biobank. […]

New York Times, Larry Rohter, “A Government Gig for Brazilian Pop Star”

[…] “We have to free ourselves a bit from the idea that the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture is to produce culture […] I don’t think so. I think the role of the ministry is to create the conditions in which culture can be made and improved and to act as a bridge between those who make culture and those who consume it.”

He’s a Green Party member. His hair’s starting to lock. The country’s left has more issues with him than the country’s right. What’s not to love about Gilberto Gil? We’ve got “Quanta” in our CD collection. I may have to dust it off and, uh, inspect it for public-policy ideas. Through headphones. Think the neighbors will mind if I sing along? At top volume?

You know, you could be reading Michael Bowen or Ejovi Nuwere.

Oh, Michael? He doesn’t know what he’s started. Poor fellow. He actually got me thinking about micropayments again. They’re a figment of bloggers’ imaginations. His Web pages were some of the first noncommercial content I ever read online.

Y’all are getting your Kwanzaa on, right? Today’s Nguzo Saba principle is ujamaa, or cooperative economics. To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together. One year, I bought an ad off Oliver. (I mean, really. Better him than Robert Johnson.)

This year, it’s been more along the lines of gift economies: exchanges of attention and expertise and thoughtful consideration. Adrienne knows what I mean. So does (e)L. D.J. So do Gwen and Tyler and Cecily. And Donald, too, bless his heart and several vital organs to be named later.

Filling a much-needed void has its cloaking shields up. Hanne’s fans, her cliquish claque of clicksters, dab hands all, have already begun drawing a blank. I draw no conclusions between mention of Hanne, and anyone who may or may not have forwarded Adam Clymer’s “U.S. Revises Sex Information, and a Fight Goes On”

The National Cancer Institute, which used to say on its Web site that the best studies showed “no association between abortion and breast cancer,” now says the evidence is inconclusive.

A Web page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to say studies showed that education about condom use did not lead to earlier or increased sexual activity. That statement, which contradicts the view of “abstinence only” advocates, is omitted from a revised version of the page.

Critics say those changes, far below the political radar screen, illustrate how the Bush administration can satisfy conservative constituents with relatively little exposure to the kind of attack that a legislative proposal or a White House statement would invite. […]

I like to say that donkeys have four legs, and that calling a donkey’s tail a leg doesn’t mean donkeys have five legs. I like to say it, but sometimes the things I read make me want to bellow it. Atonally. Over and over. At the top of my lungs. But then I remember that I have a Web site, nu?