Good job, Ron Paul!

On Monday, Ron Paul, a Republican candidate for president, received more than $4 million in online donations. It was the largest single-day donation in this election cycle for a Republican candidate. Even more amazing is that this idea wasn’t the construct of the Paul campaign but rather an independent supporter.

Such has been the nature of the Paul campaign. While most other campaigns see declining donations, Paul’s rate continues to climb. However, despite having both financing power and a grassroots network most candidates would kill for, Paul remains in the single digits in every scientific national poll. He defies every criteria of electability. He is too old and too short, and had no name recognition prior to his campaign. He also has a platform that no political strategist in his or her right mind would say would help him win. You don’t get elected by being pro-life and wanting to legalize prostitution, or being for gun rights and one of five Republican congressmen to vote against the Iraq war. You win elections these days by appealing to moderates on issues that don’t alienate your base. This is about as far as possible from what Paul is doing.

Perhaps this is why he gets such ardent supporters. Maybe they are just so excited to have a candidate who is a constitutionalist, or they appreciate his genuine message of liberty in a time of decreasing freedoms. Perhaps it is simply refreshing to hear a candidate motivated by his conviction instead of popularity. It is probably some combination of these possibilities that has me seeing Ron Paul signs wherever I go, when I don’t think I’ve seen a single Romney, Giuliani, Thompson or McCain sign around.

Whatever happens in the primaries will at least, to me, answer one question about how politics work in this country. Is it possible for the loud, spirited, impassioned voices of the few to drown out the quiet, bored mumbles of the many? I am looking forward to finding out.

Joseph Shannon
math senior

Animal testing ‘cruel and unscientific’

In response to your op-ed piece “”Animal testing necessary in medical research”” (Tuesday), it was unfortunate to see Lauren Myers attempting to justify this cruel and unscientific practice in a time with so many more humane and accurate non-animal tests available.

It’s particularly interesting that Myers brings up the subject of penicillin, since it is one of the prime examples of why animal tests are crude and unreliable. Penicillin kills guinea pigs and other animals commonly used in experiments, despite being one of the most important medical breakthroughs for humans of the 20th century. In fact, Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, remarked, “”How fortunate we didn’t have these animal tests in the 1940s, for penicillin would probably have never been granted a license, and probably the whole field of antibiotics might never have been realized.””

Many of the most important advances in health are attributable to human studies, including the discovery of the relationships between cholesterol and heart disease, and smoking and cancer; the development of X-rays; and the isolation of the AIDS virus. Human clinical and epidemiological studies, cadavers and computer simulators are more reliable, more precise, less expensive and more humane than animal tests. Creative scientists have used human brain cells to develop a model “”microbrain,”” which can be used to study tumors, as well as artificial skin and bone marrow. We can now test irritancy on protein membranes, produce vaccines from human tissues and perform pregnancy tests using blood samples instead of killing rabbits.

The fact of the matter is that in the 21st century, using outdated and unscientific tests on animals is inexcusable.

Ryan Huling
college campaign coordinator,