STEM CELLS….The California stem cell initiative passed easily earlier this month, and already we’re starting to see results:

As California moves quickly toward setting up a $3-billion embryonic stem cell research agency, other states are scrambling to prevent their top researchers from being raided.

The lure is clear: $300 million a year for embryonic stem cell research in California for the next decade, more than 10 times the yearly federal funding available and free of the Bush administration’s tight restrictions on what research can be conducted with federal money.

This is sort of the mirror image of the all too common “race to the bottom,” where factory owners and shopping mall magnates pit local governments against each other in a demeaning auction to find out who’s most willing to slash services and mortgage their futures. In this case, though, instead of promising special tax reductions, we’re promising special funding increases.

I’m still not very happy about this, and I voted against Prop 71. On the other hand, I have to admit that I’m happy that enough people disagreed with me to carry it to victory. Stem cell research holds out a lot of promise, and funding biotech development is a helluva lot better use of taxpayer dough than providing a property tax easement to a strip mall developer.

Does this make me completely incoherent on this subject? Yes it does. Must be time for lunch.

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