PLoS Biology serves up an interesting look at the politics of embryonic stem cell research (which is to say the ongoing restrictions, blocks and threats that hold back medical progress in this field). You'll find a lot of nonsense on the supposed efficacy of monolithic government programs over more distributed or private research, but overall the article provides a good overview of the current state of play: "German embryonic stem cell scientist Oliver Brustle faces major challenges in his lab on a daily basis that have little to do with science. His country's policy on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is among the most restrictive in Europe. ... Despite the positive activity in many places, researchers like Gearhart and Weissman admit that it's only the best of a bad situation."