July 29, 2005

Frist Splits With Bush On Stem Cells
— Ace

And a lot of conservatives are pissed.

Let me just say as a blue-state conservative I really don't get this whole deal, and I think it's one of the more objectionable parts of the current conservative platform.

These embryos -- correct me if I'm wrong -- are slated to be destroyed anyway, right? They won't be kept in cold storage forever. Or else the stem cells come from aborted fetuses which are dead already, right?

So-- ignoring the somewhat trivial fact that one in 100,000 might become a "snowflake baby" -- what is the problem here? I realize that symbolism has some value, but isn't this elevating symbolism over an awful lot of important stuff?

I don't buy the slippery-slope argument, as I almost never do. If the fear is that using embryos slated to be destroyed anyway will encourage the creation of more embryos-- well, just make that illegal. If the fear is that this will encourage women to get pregnant and then have abortions just to sell the stem-cell-rich fetus -- well, that's just not going to happen, with such a surplus of free aborted fetuses on the market, but let's assume the ridiculous and say it is: then make abortion-for-selling-the-dead-fetus illegal.

I don't see how on earth it's necessary to protect against these rather unlikely possibilities by denying federal funding for medical experiments on stem-cells coming from embryos or fetuses which are already dead, or will be soon enough.

An Endorsement of Euthanasia/Abortion/The Taking of Human Life: This is just nonsense. If a man is murdered, do we reject using his organs to help someone who needs them, just because his life was taken illegally?

Of course we don't. We use those organs (assuming he's an organ donor) and no one takes that as an enorsement of murder, or that society is somehow benefitting from murder.

Young organs are healthy organs, so I'm guessing most (or at least many) transplanted organs come from victims of sudden violent death. The fact that we use the organs of the dead to help the living is hardly some sort of expression of our society's approval of deadly car crashes.

Symbolism And Tenuous Indirect Effects: When the left argues against making it murder to kill the fetus of a pregnant woman while attacking her, we quite rightly laugh at them for their extremism, as they're elevating the very tenuous and indirect statement that may make about life or abortion over the common-sense reality that if a woman has a baby in her womb, and you kill it, you're a murderer and should be punished as such.

Isn't the right doing the opposite here? Yes, I suppose this could "erode" our respect for life, in a very indirect and slight manner. But if you approve of that sort of thinking, then you have to admit that, coming from a pro-choice point of view, NARAL has a point-- making it murder to kill a fetus "erodes" our commitment to reproductive choices and blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda.

In both cases I think those most animated about these issues are making a big deal over a trivial issue in order to advance/protect the issue they really care about. And in both cases, the policy fight about this trivial issue chosen to serve as a tripwire for the protection of the other more important issue seems kind of crazy, and cruel, to those of us (and we're many) who don't really care too much about "symbolism" or "erosions" or very attenuated indirect effects.

It sounds crazy and cruel to not charge a man with murder after he's killed a pregnant woman's baby, whatever that may say indirectly about abortion.

And it sounds equally crazy and cruel to not experiment with a promising medical technology, which hurts no fetuses (they're already dead) and "kills" embryos slated to be "killed" anyway, just because that, too, indirectly says something about abortion and issues of life generally.

Both of these do say something about the general issue of life. Trouble is, neither says nearly enough about the issue to justify the proposed policy.

Maverick Didn't Come Here To Lose: Fat Kid's annoyed that now the liberal MSM will fall in love with "maverick" Frist, and yeah, that's annoying. And tediously predictable.

We all know the MSM is very hot for funding stem-cell research... partly just because they know conservatives are against it.

They're annoying kneejerkedly-liberal partisan-hack nincompoops.

That said, I still don't get why we can't use dead things to help living people.

Posted by: Ace at 07:53 AM | Comments (142)
Post contains 769 words, total size 5 kb.

1 If stem cell research is so promising why does the government have to fund it? Where are the venture capitalists? I'm very skeptical.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 07:57 AM (D9nK5)

2 Huzzah for Ace!

(I eagerly await the Godwin's Law violations directed at you on this thread)

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 07:57 AM (yZMsp)

3 Agreed. To me, this is a no-brainer.

Posted by: Allah at July 29, 2005 07:58 AM (X3QeK)

4 I see Bill from INDC's libertarianism only extends so far.

Why should the government be involved with this in the first place?

Posted by: The Warden at July 29, 2005 08:02 AM (bxaWg)

5 If stem cell research is so promising why does the government have to fund it? Where are the venture capitalists? I'm very skeptical.

Well, "promising" doesn't always mean promising on a short enough scale of time to be attractive to investors.

I suppose government doesn't "have to" fund it. But why shouldn't it? I just don't understand the objection-- these are dead fetuses or embryos which will be destroyed, and everyone is going bananas about this for the symbolism of it, or what it says about abortion.

Look, it says nothing more about abortion than using the organs of a murdered man says about murder. We're not endorsing a "culture of death" by using the organs of a murdered man, and no one's out there making rather implausible slippery-slope arguments like "This will encourage more murder in order to harvest those precious organs."

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 08:03 AM (sYxc4)

6 I think you are wrong here Ace.

I know you rule out the slippery-slope argument, but I think you rule it out for the wrong reasons. My fears are not that fetuses will be created expressly to be destroyed, but that allowing the use of these fetuses for research, the value of life itself is eroded.

Instead of creating the culture of life, this would further our current culture of death.

Posted by: Sinner at July 29, 2005 08:03 AM (f3h4P)

7 So we shouldn't use the organs of murdered men?

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 08:04 AM (sYxc4)

8 Yes, we should as long as the dearly departed gave consent pre-murder.

Posted by: Sinner at July 29, 2005 08:06 AM (f3h4P)

9 Correct me if I am wrong, but it was my understanding that the embryos slated for stem cell research existing at the time of the ban were not included in the ban.

Posted by: Dman at July 29, 2005 08:07 AM (m2CN7)

10 I think there are two different issues here -- letting various types of research be legal (which isn't the issue here) or spending federal buxx (i.e. =our= money) on some kind of boondoggle.

Let me up-front -- I am morally opposed to in vitro fertilization and using embryo-destroying actions, among other things. But I don't particularly expect to sway anybody on those terms.

I'm with BrewFan. If this were really that all-fired-great, private investors would be willing to pony up the cash to do this. Do we need =yet=another= carve out plan for federal grants? Why do embryonic stem cells get all the love? You know, there are fads in research just as in everything else.

I think we should be looking carefully at where federal dollars are going on research, and expect some accountability. There's quite an industry of research for the sake of research out there (speaks one who has been on the receiving end of NSF largesse.)

Posted by: meep at July 29, 2005 08:09 AM (5j3FI)

11 One other issue...

We deny fed funding to lots of organizations based on the objection of groups. One that comes to mind is the Boy Scouts use of public buildings/land that would otherwise be empty(which just got rectified). When the denies of funding are leftists, no question is made...

Posted by: Sinner at July 29, 2005 08:10 AM (f3h4P)

12 If stem cell research is so promising why does the government have to fund it? Where are the venture capitalists? I'm very skeptical.

The first common conservative argument that i dealt with on my blog. Currently, the government tends to fund basic research, which is then built upon by the private sector. Our science expenditures by the govt are currently in the ballpark equivalent to (maybe 70% of) the funding of all pharmaceutical companies combined.

These research grants drive a shitload of activity at academic institutions across the country.

In order for many basic "blue sky" research endeavors to have a profit motive, they'd need to have an extreme likelihood to develop a specific, marketable therapy or drug within a certain time horizon. As it is now - when they have the advantage of building on basic research done by govt. funded academics - private companies spend about a billion dollars and 10-20 years (or more) to bring a single drug to market.

If you added blue sky research on to the front of that, taking away the academic environment that allows such exploratory efforts, essentially private companies would have to throw billions more down sinkholes with a literally unknowable chance of profit potential, with 20-30-40 year time horizons.

Essentially, a lot of scientific applications wouldn't exist given the constraints of that business model.

Like the internet, for one.

Now, I'm not saying that private models of funding can't be developed, but I haven't seen any that will eclipse our current model anytime soon, and our current model works pretty well. And is almost as key to our international dominance as funding a military. Stifling public grant money for researchers clamoring to use stem cells has a serious impact on progress in this area.

And the fact is that inclusion of stem cell eligibility for funding won't necessarily increase the total govt funding - as this funding rises by a certain percentage regardless of what is eligible - it will displace resources away from Dr. von Schtrudenbacher at Fresno State, currently using grant money to study the mating habits of lemurs in Eastern zoos.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:11 AM (yZMsp)

13 Put me down as a red-state conservative who is with Ace on this one.

But one problem I have with the whole issue is why do we need federal dollars for this, and what about other technolgies like adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells? A lot of that seems to get lost in this issue as it degenerates into an abortion discussion.

Posted by: brak at July 29, 2005 08:13 AM (OuLOj)

14 I see Bill from INDC's libertarianism only extends so far.

Reports of my "libertarianism" have been greatly exagerrated.

And given that allowing researchers to COMPETE for EXISTING funds doesn't increase the power of the govt, rather limits the govt's use of power to restrict such competition, this issue is at best a libertarian "draw."

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:13 AM (yZMsp)

15 He's a "maverick"

What. a fuckin. Hero.

/sarcasm

Posted by: fat kid at July 29, 2005 08:13 AM (yHxMk)

16 The conservative specter of assembly line fetuses ala' Robin Cook's "Coma" is every bit as stupid as liberal fantasies of a post-Roe world ala' "The Handmaid's Tale."

Posted by: Jeff Larkin at July 29, 2005 08:14 AM (5HveT)

17 Correct me if I am wrong, but it was my understanding that the embryos slated for stem cell research existing at the time of the ban were not included in the ban.

Yes, but they were stored in cultures that contained mouse DNA, and are thus contaminated for many research purposes. Since then, scientists have developed methods to store the stem cells without any possibility of creating chimera (human animal hybrid) material.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:16 AM (yZMsp)

18 Don't any of you ever get tired about bitching about this shit?

The fact remains that private ventures ARE funding SS research. This is only an "issue" b/c some factions want to portray Bush as a religious wing job, so they're making this an issue. To be honest, who *really* gives a fuck about this? Not me, that's for damn sure. But way to eat the MSM's story hook line and sinker.

Now, back to having a shitty day @ the office for me.

Posted by: fat kid at July 29, 2005 08:16 AM (yHxMk)

19 This whole issue makes me weep for the future, but not for the reason you might expect.

Without arguing the issue, it is quite plain that there is a sizeable chunk of people who have *serious* objection to the embryonic stem cell issue. It does not seem to me to be such a great hairy deal to agree that we will respect the objectors enough to not fund embryonic stem cell research with FEDERAL funding, but allow private and state government funding. Why the hell is federal funding the be all? We all know how well the federal government spends our money in general. (Oh, excuse me, I need to wipe up the sarcasm I'm dripping everywhere).

People on the pro-embryonic stem cell issue so often seem to equate a lack of federal funds with a prohibition on research, and that's bovine scatology.

At least we're discussing the issue in a democratic context, and not having it imposed from on high by five robed masters finding a right to embryonic stem cell research funding in the emanation of a penumbra.

Posted by: NickS at July 29, 2005 08:18 AM (Xroyb)

20 Oh, I'm sorry, I misunderstood the proposal.

If this isn't like the idiotic state initiatives where inane amonts of money are being specifically set aside for stem cell research (with little oversight.. c.f. California), but just letting these projects be eligible, then that's something different.

And I'm sure that they'll make sure they get the consent of the parents of the embryos, and follow the protocols of human testing, right?

Actually, I don't understand what the exact proposal is. It's likely just a mishmash right now. It seems all people are going over is the rhetoric. The devil is definitely in the details for me.

Posted by: meep at July 29, 2005 08:18 AM (5j3FI)

21 Oh yeah, let's not forget: There's a war on ™

Posted by: fat kid at July 29, 2005 08:19 AM (yHxMk)

22 "And given that allowing researchers to COMPETE for EXISTING funds doesn't increase the power of the govt"

So, let me get this straight. If I control the money AND how the money is allocated, there is no power in that? hmmmm...

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 08:22 AM (D9nK5)

23 The fact remains that private ventures ARE funding SS research. This is only an "issue" b/c some factions want to portray Bush as a religious wing job, so they're making this an issue. To be honest, who *really* gives a fuck about this? Not me, that's for damn sure. But way to eat the MSM's story hook line and sinker.

Who cares? I do. So do a lot of people that are scientists, paralyzed, have incurable genetic diseases, bodies ravaged by cancer, and so on. Just because you're more concerned with fucking that cute little Betty down in Accounts Payable doesn't mean people that are interested in this are pawns of a media OUT TO GET BUSH ON EVERYTHING.

I voted for Bush, and I would again. but his Science Advisory Council is made up of assholish religious luddites like Leon Kass that want to inhibit human power and biological enhancement, and issues like this have serious potential to stymie our competition with other rising scientific powers, particularly in Asia.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:23 AM (yZMsp)

24 "I just don't understand the objection-- these are dead fetuses or embryos which will be destroyed, and everyone is going bananas about this for the symbolism of it, or what it says about abortion"

FWIW, my objection is not grounded in my objection to abortion. I object to life being created for the sole purpose of being destroyed, and whether you believe in the slippery slope or not won't change the reality of babies being aborted intentionally if a market exists for their remains.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 08:27 AM (D9nK5)

25 So, let me get this straight. If I control the money AND how the money is allocated, there is no power in that? hmmmm...

Once more:

The govt is exercising power by picking and choosing how to set our research agenda based on some political considerations unsupported by most of the country. If the govt removes itself from determining this equation (with a set amount of resources) it relinquishes some micromanagement, ie "power," yet also increases its power by literally doling out money and awarding grants for the promising new technology.

Which is essentially why I called it a "libertarian wash,' in my estimation. Is it a perfect exchange of power? no. I'm just pointing out how it wouldn't necessarily be fundamentally inconsistent with a libertarian's philosophy. As it is, I am not a Reason Magazine guy.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:28 AM (yZMsp)

26 Bill, sometimes you can be a big fat bitch, you know that? Religion aside, have you ever given a single thought that the Federal Gov't shouldn't have such a HUGE FUCKING HAND in every single thing that goes on in this country?

All's I'm sayin is the MSM is forcing you to take a stand on it. Hence the hook, line and sinker reference.

But whatever man, keep fellating yourself with the "shadow media" tag. Right now all we are is fact checkers. As organized as we are (bloggers) we should be MAKING news, not being freaking ankle-biters. There are a number of reasons why I quit blogging, my blog sucking being the main one, but there was also a realization that we're all just kinda jerkin eachother off.

This "issue" of whether or not the Fed should allow funding of stem cell research (which they already do for the most part), is fucking moot. I guarantee 99.99999% of the reaction on the left AND right is reactionary knee-jerk shit. That's what I choose not to be associated with, or at least I'd hope.

Whatever, I'm gonna go back and try and finger bang my secretary. Have a nice day.

Posted by: fat kid at July 29, 2005 08:30 AM (yHxMk)

27 With the millions of abortions that occur every year would this really lead to creating embryos purely for research? What about fertility clinics that fertilize a few dozen embryos knowing that only one will take? That isn't going to change, so I don't think there will be a shortage of embryos.

Posted by: brak at July 29, 2005 08:30 AM (OuLOj)

28 Look, it says nothing more about abortion than using the organs of a murdered man says about murder.

Organ donations don't involve my tax money.

Posted by: Kerry at July 29, 2005 08:32 AM (x6Z77)

29 FK -- Shhhh. Easy, slugger. You're just depressed.

Posted by: Allah at July 29, 2005 08:34 AM (X3QeK)

30 Put me down as another right-wing Republican who's with Ace (and Frist) on this one.

In fact, is anyone else here moderately surprised that Frist is showing some stones here? Remember when the line on him was that he was "sucking up to the religious right" during the whole Schiavo fiasco? From a purely strategic point of view, it seems like a damn stupid way to waste some painfully-acquired credibility with those folks.

Anyway, before I left in preparation for going to school, I worked for NIH at the Medical Center campus, and in particular I spent a lot of time with people doing stem cell research (on the embryos already existing before the ban was in place, natch) or working up proposals for it...

Furthermore, I have to vociferously agree with Bill from INDC - his understanding of the value & necessity of Federally-funded basic and translational research is dead-on. Markets may be 'smart' in many ways, but they're also invariably short-sighted, as they must focus on profit. And the simple truth is that most important medical research (especially drug discovery and related pharma research) - not esoteric bullshit but real world-revolutionizing life-saving stuff - has to progress a LONG way until the market can safely take it over. As Bill points out, basic research - without any promise of profitability or even useful results - simply cannot be sustained by the market. Without it, most serious medical research in the United States simply stops.

I'm a pretty committed small-government libertarian type, and I consider this one of the few truly valid applications of the Federal government's tax dollars.

Posted by: Jeff B. at July 29, 2005 08:35 AM (037AZ)

31 Why the hell is federal funding the be all? We all know how well the federal government spends our money in general. (Oh, excuse me, I need to wipe up the sarcasm I'm dripping everywhere).

And #2 of 5,000 understandable gut conservative reactions.

The fact is that NOT ALL GOVERNMENT FUNDING IS BAD. Look at the military. Look at the technology put out by private companies like McDonnell Douglas and Boeing under funding from the govt.

Science works the same way. the govt does not micromanage the research process, geneticists and chemists and doctors at universities do. And DARPA (publically funded) is oversseing or working on some of the most insane biological enhancements that will wind up working their way into the private sector for medical purposes right now. Science fiction stuff that actually WORKS.

Pretending that this boils down to a simple small govt argument ignores the reality that 35-40% of all medical research activity has something to do with public funding, managed by academics, and it's been really, really, really, really successful over the past half century or so.

Therefore, NOT MY TAXES! rhetoric exists in a hermetically sealed ideological vacuum.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:36 AM (yZMsp)

32 "With the millions of abortions that occur every year would this really lead to creating embryos purely for research'

Yes, because science relys on having 'controls', there will be a market for babies who have a known genetic history. The odd aborted baby just won't be good enough.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 08:36 AM (D9nK5)

33 What I want to understand is when the law is going to define once and for all when life begins. Example- a doctor can 'kill' a fetus, just because a woman doesn't want it. No crime.
Yet the state can charge someone with murder for killing a fetus... http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_206134803.html
Is killing a fetus a crime, or not? Is law a personal choice, or is the law simply the law?
This is not a commentary on stem cell, yes/no or abortion yes/no.
It's just an observation...

Posted by: Uncle Jefe at July 29, 2005 08:37 AM (xuO8w)

34 Simply put, I need to simply stop overusing the word "simply."

It's as simple as that.

Posted by: Jeff B. at July 29, 2005 08:37 AM (037AZ)

35 Brew,

As someone pointed out above, there are millions of aborted fetuses every year, and probably a like number of petri-dish fertilizations.

You really think that pre-existing supply of stem cells isn't enough? With all those dead fetuses, you really think someone's going to be paid to get knocked up and abort?

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 08:38 AM (sYxc4)

36 But whatever man, keep fellating yourself with the "shadow media" tag. Right now all we are is fact checkers.

Moi? I don't fellate myself. Well, not metaphorically, anyway.

I think bloggers are a bunch of punks. Blog commenters, even wose.

Bill, sometimes you can be a big fat bitch, you know that?

I'm actually rather svelte. Like a fit, young Don Knots.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:40 AM (yZMsp)

37 But Bill, do you have the charismatic, smouldering bug-eyes of Don Knotts?

Posted by: Jeff B. at July 29, 2005 08:41 AM (037AZ)

38 Yes, because science relys on having 'controls', there will be a market for babies who have a known genetic history. The odd aborted baby just won't be good enough.

Again, I think there are enough abortions that you can pick and choose the "genetic history" you want pretty easily.

But, assuming you're right-- then let's make that illegal. Ten years in the slammer for paying someone just to get pregnant and have an abortion in order to sell the stem-cells, or creating an embryo only to sell it.

Why deny federal funding for research on already-dead fetuses or soon-to-be-dead embryos, when your stated concern is about manufacturing fetuses and embryos only for experimentation?

Slippery slope... we have to outlaw unobjectionable practice X because it COULD lead to objectionable practice Y.

To which my response is always: then make it illegal to do Y. What has X got to do with anything?

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 08:42 AM (sYxc4)

39 This could be as big as fetal tissue implants!

Posted by: at July 29, 2005 08:42 AM (z0pbu)

40 Yes, because science relys on having 'controls', there will be a market for babies who have a known genetic history. The odd aborted baby just won't be good enough.

There are hundreds of thousands of little embryos flushed down drains and frozen indefinitely in a single year. A few hundred are impanted in someone else and adopted.

There is an abundance of "supply" already slated for destruction.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 08:43 AM (yZMsp)

41 I guess my last comment wasn't incendary enough... I will take that into account in the future...

Posted by: Sinner at July 29, 2005 08:48 AM (f3h4P)

42 Ace,

My position is that the market should decide. And it has: the vast majority of stem cell funds are being poured into adult stem cell research, because that's where the greatest gains have been made. So far, 80+ maladies are treatable,at least somewhat, by adult stem cells. Zero treaments exist for embryonic stem cells. Some private funds are being spent on ESCR, but to a much smaller degree.

This whole debate was largely ignored whilst Clinton was president. If I remember correctly, it was Bush who removed the ban on federal funds, albeit in a limited fashion. Yet somehow Bush is responsible for the lame not being able to walk, or Parkinson's patients dying. The MSM hasn't gotten around to predicting that the dead will rise if Bush the lifts restrictions on ESCR, but it's only a matter of time.

Posted by: physics geek at July 29, 2005 08:48 AM (Xvrs7)

43 With you 100%, Bill.

What's weird to me is why it's assumed there's some unbreakable link between this issue and the abortion issue. They've got virtually no connection, at least none that I consider persuasive ("CULTURE OF DEATH!!!" and "The country will become a charnel house of purposeful abortions" - sorry, I just don't buy it.)

On the "libertarian" angle. Well, like a lot of "paleo-libertarian" ideas, the notion makes some theoretical sense - in theory, there's no need for government to be involved in research, since the market can provide sufficient incentives, yada yada yada. And if we were starting up a new government from scratch, I might even agree with it. But we aren't, and the argument's a non-starter from a practical standpoint for me, one along the same lines as "We must privatize the interstate highway system." OK, it's an interesting idea to play with, but we're living in the real world....

Posted by: David C at July 29, 2005 08:52 AM (bEjbj)

44 All I'm saying is that if *federal* funding for embryonic stem cell research is an absolute requirement by the pro-side, then you've pretty much blown any possibility for a palatable compromise - and then you've got a recipe for a lot of needless bloodletting on the right.

The pro side so far gets to have the research be legal, and funded by anyone and everyone short of the federal government. If the federal government is included as well, then what is left for compromise?

Posted by: NickS at July 29, 2005 08:52 AM (Xroyb)

45 Allah, if only it were that simple.

Bill, sorry for calling you a big fat bitch. This is just one of those issues, regardless of what side of the fence you fall on, that simply (heh) shouldn't be getting as much attention, or generating the firestorm that it does.

I mean shit, where's 72 virgins with his THE RIGHT MUST BOYCOTT schitck? I bet it's in here somewhere, I just don't give enough of a shit to look for it.

You know what this blog needs? More Johnny Coldcuts. That was the best damn post yesterday... Humility and perspective, people. Never forget.

Posted by: fat kid at July 29, 2005 08:53 AM (yHxMk)

46 "But, assuming you're right-- then let's make that illegal."

Not a bad idea but it doesn't seem practical. Here in Wisconsin its legal to buy fireworks but illegal to set them off. What do you think happens to all the fireworks they sell.

"Why deny federal funding for research on already-dead fetuses or soon-to-be-dead embryos, when your stated concern is about manufacturing fetuses and embryos only for experimentation"

I have less altruistic reasons for the fed to not fund stem cell research. Using Wisconsin as an example again, we have passed legislation that funds stem cell research; why in the world do my federal tax dollars have to go to do this too? Plus as I stated above I'm very skeptical about this research. We are hearing an enormous amount of hype about the possible benefits with little supporting science to back up those claims. We should be investing in nanotechnology!

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 08:53 AM (D9nK5)

47 PK,

I have little doubt the issue is ginned up and urgent-i-fied to hurt Bush and create a wedge issue liberals can use, but, politics and media bias aside-- I still don't get why pro-life conservatives are taking (what I believe) is the wrong side of this, just for "symbolic" or slippery-slope sorts of reasons.

I guess the thinking is that if we begin benefitting from abortion, it will make it all the harder to outlaw the practice.

I guess.

OTOH, taking what many moderates believe is a somewhat cruel and dogmatic position on this may alienate them from the right, and might also make it more difficult to advance any pro-life policies. Because the liberals can always point to this and say, "See? Do you see? Can you see how fervent and irrational they are on this issue? Where will they stop?"

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 08:53 AM (sYxc4)

48 "There are hundreds of thousands of little embryos flushed down drains and frozen indefinitely in a single year. A few hundred are impanted in someone else and adopted."

Bill, I appreciate the discussion but you pasted in my assertion that controls will be required for this research and then completely ignored it and offered the above strawman. I know you can do better then that.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 08:59 AM (D9nK5)

49 Brew,

By that logic, I guess we should forbid the production of all firearms in America, because our laws can't guarantee that criminals won't get their hands on them. So we'll have to cut them off at the source.

Same argument. Laws outlawing the thing we're really interested in outlawing are ineffectual, so we'll have to outlaw more stuff, just to prevent these things from happening.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 08:59 AM (sYxc4)

50 Thanks, Bill. Your use of the phrase "biological enhancement" in the thread above guarantees all of our e-mail inboxes will swell (did I say swell?) with another slew of Vi@gra, Ci@lix, and "male enhancement" messages over the next 48 hours.

Posted by: Rocketeer at July 29, 2005 09:03 AM (F6QHz)

51 I don't know if this has been covered yet, but for me the greatest danger is that this research will be amazingly successful. How easy do you think it will be to stop 'baby part farms', once they have something that revolutionizes medicine?

Posted by: Defense Guy at July 29, 2005 09:05 AM (jPCiN)

52 But defense guy, we don't NEED "baby part farms" when the abortion industry (as well as artificial fertilization labs) are churning out hundreds of thousands of "baby part products" every year with no need for additional encouragement.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 09:09 AM (sYxc4)

53 Ace, I think DG is positing a situation where the fetus-baby is grown far past the embryo stage to a recognizably baby stage for harvesting purposes (organs, tissue, whatever).

Posted by: NickS at July 29, 2005 09:13 AM (Xroyb)

54 I think it's possible that Frist is giving Bush an opportunity to tweak his position, recognizing the potential success Dems may have in leveraging the issue in 2006. I think he had the blessing of the WH, considering his potential run in 2008.

I personally disagree with any research that may encourage open market trading in human remains. Think of China, and the marketing of organs. Although we in no way resemble that country, it's practice of staging mock trials and removing the organs of prisoners before they've been executed is despicable. And I do think it's possible that some women would sell their fetuses for financial gain, should we ever run out of the large supply of on-hand embryos.

Posted by: ChrisG at July 29, 2005 09:13 AM (nfnmD)

55 I just can't think of anything bitchy to say.


The current arrangement seemed to me to be a reasonable compromise for a practice that many Americans find morally objectionable (motivations have already been covered well, so I don't need to recap).

Bill from INDC, I take your point on seed money.

And ace, I agree it gives a hammer to those on the left to smack away at their conservative enemies who disagree, but I'm sure they'd find another hammer that would suit their purpose if we took this one away.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at July 29, 2005 09:16 AM (pzen5)

56 "By that logic, I guess we should forbid the production of all firearms in America, because our laws can't guarantee that criminals won't get their hands on them. So we'll have to cut them off at the source"

I didn't intend that conclusion to be reached from my logic! So let me try again. You say "allow fetal stem cell research, there is plenty of supply". I say "but the existing supply is not likely to meet the requirements (qualitatively)". You say "We'll make the manufacture of the supply that meets the requirements illegal". I say "You've created the market so making the supply illegal won't prevent the supply from being manufactured".

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 09:17 AM (D9nK5)

57 Physics geek - Says the existence of dozens of "promising" possible adult cell potential uses should bar research with embryonic cells. That is like a person saying in 1940 that with dozens of promising Sulfa drug uses, research into antibiotics is really not needed and should be stopped. Sulfa drugs were completely replaced when antibiotics were found to have far greater curative and disease mitigation properties.

Would you argue that since we have radiation, surgery, and chemo already available for cancer patients that other lines of attack should receive no federal funding?? No immunological studies? Gene therapy? Nanobot cancer cell seekers for the future??

Researchers involved in stem cell studies, except those paid by the Religious Right, all say that embryonic stem cells represent the highest potential for treating diseases that kill, shortnen lives, or wreck the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans every year. 40 years of fiddling with adult cells has only shown their limitations in treating the most common afflictions - so much so that the Religious Right faction that wishes to block the research now say that the best path is "devolving" adult stem cells back to embryonic stage stem cells to they can have full usefullness. Scientists say that no one knows how to "devolve" adult cells....so the Religious Right proposal is scientific nonsense that seeks decades or generations to "create" the embryonic cells that already exist in abundance and are currently discarded delaying treatment and cure work by the same time span it would take to solve DNA "devolution" - assuming that is even possible..

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 09:17 AM (6krEN)

Posted by: OCBill at July 29, 2005 09:21 AM (bN6S/)

59 Logically, shouldn't the most ardent pro-life folks be equally strident in their opposition to in-vitro fertilization? If not, why not?

Posted by: David C at July 29, 2005 09:24 AM (bEjbj)

60 But defense guy, we don't NEED "baby part farms" when the abortion industry (as well as artificial fertilization labs) are churning out hundreds of thousands of "baby part products" every year with no need for additional encouragement.

I know what you are saying ace, but I would rather see a reduction in the number of abortions and stored embryo's instead of another reason why it should be considered a moral or desirable practice. I do understand the desire to see some good come from any otherwise abhorant act, and I do understand the desire to erradicate the diseases and afflictions that face us.

Posted by: Defense Guy at July 29, 2005 09:34 AM (jPCiN)

61 Bill, I appreciate the discussion but you pasted in my assertion that controls will be required for this research and then completely ignored it and offered the above strawman. I know you can do better then that.

WTF are you talking about, "strawman?"

You said "they'll need controls of known healthy subjects."

I said "There are hundreds of thousands of little embryos flushed down drains and frozen indefinitely in a single year. A few hundred are impanted in someone else and adopted."

Thus directly addressing your point, by noting that there is a stock of hundreds of thousands of healthy embryos available for any CONTROLS that you desire - COMPLETE with medical histories and genetic screening already done - thus invalidating your assertion that it would devolve into some "procreation for research business" among the general population.

You are aware of what the word "strawman" means, right?

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 09:34 AM (yZMsp)

62 David C,

IMHO, Conception outside the womb has nothing to do with killing babies (or shouldn't have anything to do with it).

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 09:35 AM (D9nK5)

63 NickS

I hadn't really considered that as a likely outcome, but in reality it makes sense that this could lead to that. If the gains to individual health are just to great to be ignored by just taking that little extra step, who really thinks we will be able to stop ourselves. What if we could stop/'cure' death or eradicate cancer?

Posted by: Defense Guy at July 29, 2005 09:37 AM (jPCiN)

64 "You are aware of what the word "strawman" means, right?"

I've read enough of your comments here that I consider myself an expert.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 09:37 AM (D9nK5)

65 BTW, Bill, Your assertion that those "hundreds of thousands of little embryos flushed down drains and frozen indefinitely in a single year." is baseless and without merit because those embryos are not available to use or dispose of without permission, let alone the genetic histories of the donors. They were created for quite different purposes then you seem to think they were created for.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 09:41 AM (D9nK5)

66 I think the intensity of this issue stems from hope on the part of the anti-abortion crowd that, someday, abortion will be severely restricted and the number of abortions will be so reduced that this vast tissue supply will dry up. At that point, how would the stem cells be created? Personally, as anti-abortion as I am, I will deal with that problem when we get there. So long as the appropriate consents and protocols, as in any research, are adhered to, I would rather not see the tissue wasted.

David C,

Many anti-abortion people do have the same feelings regarding in-vitro fertilization and refuse to use the option themselves. I think it is a non-starter as a political issue b/c, honestly, what politician is going to tell a desperate couple there should be a law preventing them having children when this is there last (non-adoption) opportunity?

Posted by: TheDude at July 29, 2005 09:42 AM (47UUL)

67 nobody laughed at "seed money". fine.

bunch o uptight bitches.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at July 29, 2005 09:46 AM (pzen5)

68 DG: Oh! Well, silly me for assuming that's what you meant.

I hope to God it doesn't end up in that direction, but it is not out of the question (worldwide, anyway.)

Sigh.

Well, that's enough seriousness for this afternoon. Where's Johnny Coldcuts, Paul Anka, a cheap O-Dub joke, or Kim Richards when you need it/him/her?

Posted by: NickS at July 29, 2005 09:56 AM (Xroyb)

69 Warden , SpewFan and others are apparantly opposed to basic medical or scientific research, imagining that some "miracle of the Market suffices".

Bill from INDC explains the basics. I add that most of the "miracle drugs" coming from Big Pharma rest on a foundation of basic research and grants by Government, Foundations, and Charities.

The investors are only interested in the short-term or, at the outside, in using applied research that has value in patenting science to block competitors and rival research in the future ....which is in fact something else they can carry on the present books as an asset.

And some of that is market-based work that would hinder medical and scientific advancement so it is regulated to prevent one "discovery's" patenting from blocking parallel research. Much concern exists of human genes being claimed as "exclusive " to one private company.

When we look in the past, what sort of stuff was directly associated with Gummint taxpayer dollars? Mass production of penicillin, the cure of yellow fever, the Salk and Sabin vaccines, the Pill, AZT directly, and all the retrovirals in the sense it rested on basic reseach. Most cancer therapies rest on NIH basic research grants. Work on 3rd World diseases like schistomatosis, malaria. And orphan drug research for diseases that have too few sufferers to be profitable, same with most vaccines.

If you look at the Genius of the market, there is little interest these days in backing a drug company's work on a single dose drug that cures a deadly disease. That would be horrible for investors. What is sought is a cheaply made, but high sales priced Blockbuster drug that must be taken regularly to achieve some effect. Like beta-blockers, cholesteral inhibitors, feel-good mood drugs, erection drugs, anti-wrinkling drugs, a future drug that would melt off fat if taken every day, or a drug that doesn't cure cancer, but controls it if taken 3X a day.

Libertarianism only extends so far. Ayn Rand acolytes that see the Market as the only moral force and tool of scientific advancement we need would leave us with Mars unvisited, Polio back with a drug that costs 3,000 a year keeping the virus alive in a body, but in check.....and an Internet, whose technology and patents were controlled by 3-4 private companies that kept high fees in place.

Why should the government be involved with this in the first place?

Because without Gov't, private foundation, and charity grants - the basic work would not get done. Adding....we cannot let Bush's stubborn, personally held religious views block medical progress. He was elected President, not Theocrat in Chief.

Especially when hundreds of thousands of embryos are dumped in the trash every year, snowflake babies instead of disposal a pipe dream, and all 22 Bush-approved lines being contaminated with mouse proteins and medically unusable.

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 09:56 AM (6krEN)

70 I say "but the existing supply is not likely to meet the requirements (qualitatively)".

Dude, that's just, um, implausible. There are hundreds of thousands of available fetuses and embryos, many more than the available number of scientists and technicians working in this field.

Further, stem cell lines can be induced to continue growing new cells, so, you know, it's not like anytime you need new cells you need a fresh fetus.

As for "letting fetuses grow to form organs" --

well, the whole point of stem cells is that they are undifferentiated cells which can become any sort of tissue, so I'm not sure what the point would be in letting them become organs and tissues, the same as the cells in my body.


Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 09:59 AM (sYxc4)

71 DG: Oh! Well, silly me for assuming that's what you meant.

No harm done, I could see where it could be read that way, and while it is just a could-be, it is a decidedly scary one. Let us hope that if the opportunity arises we will find a way to apply the brakes and not the gas.

Posted by: Defense Guy at July 29, 2005 09:59 AM (jPCiN)

72 I know what you are saying ace, but I would rather see a reduction in the number of abortions and stored embryo's instead of another reason why it should be considered a moral or desirable practice. I do understand the desire to see some good come from any otherwise abhorant act, and I do understand the desire to erradicate the diseases and afflictions that face us.

Well, to repeat, I'd like to see the number of murders reduced, but I don't see how rejecting the donor organs of murder victims directly advances that cause.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 10:01 AM (sYxc4)

73 BrewFan,

It ain't worth it. INDeCent Bill flies off the handle anytime this subject is broached. You are not going to convince him of anything, he has his mind set. Anything you say is mangled through his "crazy, right-wing religionist" filter so that all he hears you say is "blah blah blah morals blah blah blah ethical concerns blah blah blah". Morals and ethical concerns are just not his forte.

Posted by: kbiel at July 29, 2005 10:05 AM (KSCkS)

74 (Ok, I threw the grenade, I'm just waiting for the explosion.)

Posted by: kbiel at July 29, 2005 10:14 AM (KSCkS)

Posted by: Tongueboy at July 29, 2005 10:19 AM (nug4S)

76 "There are hundreds of thousands of available fetuses and embryos"

Well, you're calling me Dude now which I take as a sign you're getting annoyed so this is my last comment on this topic as the only two people I desire to annoy are cedarford and Bill.

Anyhoo, as I said earlier, AFAIK, those hundreds of thousands of embryos you refer to were collected and stored for seemingly different purposes and are not readily available. I'm sure though, that somebody will find a way to sell them, which when all is said and done, is what I object to.

"That said, I still don't get why we can't use dead things to help living people."

You'll also notice the conversation seems to have drifted from using aborted babies to using embryos. Big difference in my opinion.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 29, 2005 10:19 AM (D9nK5)

77 The current arrangement seemed to me to be a reasonable compromise for a practice that many Americans find morally objectionable (motivations have already been covered well, so I don't need to recap).

Rats, Dave in Texas beat me to it. This is one area in about a few million where federal funding for a program some of us don't like is actually being limited.

From what I can see, there are two places we're talking about getting stem cells from: abortions and unused embryos from fertilization.

I don't want my tax dollars -- or rather, more of my tax dollars -- going to abortion clinics for ANY reason. Abortion is legal in this country but I don't want to be forced to help them profit from it. Yes, I know it's against the law to charge for body parts, but they'll charge exhorbitant amounts for the shipping and handling of these leftovers and make oodles of money. I may not be able to stop that in the private sector but I'd rather not have the feds getting involved.

Fertilization clinics are a slightly different matter, but I still object to their use because those embryos aren't "dead," they're in stasis. Yes, a lot of them will like get tossed down the sink anyway, but, as Dave said, there are people (like me, and I'm not religious) who think experimenting on them is repugnant, so federal funding should be denied.

As far as the "organ donor" argument is concerned, look at it from the flip side. A dead guy's organs can't be taken unless he'd volunteered as a donor while he was alive. Well, shoot, the guy's dead anyway, he can't use the organs anymore, so why can't we just go ahead and take what we want from his body regardless? The fact is we recognize him as an individual human being even after he's dead so we can't take his parts, even if it would save some people's lives. The same point can be made with these stem cells; you COULD get the "parents" to sign off and donate what's removed/sucked out, but to do so you would be reaching an area where you're recognizing your embryo/fetus as a HUMAN BEING...and abortionists would start plotzing over that.

I think stem cell research should be left for individual states to VOTE on, not leave it as an presidential appointment.

And Fat Kid is right, this issue is getting manufactured by the MSM to drive a wedge betwixt conservatives. Let's make sure we don't fall for it.

Later,
bbeck

Posted by: bbeck at July 29, 2005 10:24 AM (qF8q3)

78 Well, to repeat, I'd like to see the number of murders reduced, but I don't see how rejecting the donor organs of murder victims directly advances that cause.

I want to be clear that I don't think your position on this is one with no merits, or that it is always immoral or unethical, but to make the comparison fit we would need to apply something to murders that could benefit society, rather than just take a life. Just to pick a nit.

Posted by: Defense Guy at July 29, 2005 10:24 AM (jPCiN)

79 OK, I am going to draw on my authority as someone who's been through a hell of a lot of fertility treatments. Bill, what you're saying isn't quite accurate. I'll try not to get too longwinded, but here are some basics:

- Flushing embryos. Not every embryo created is going to grow properly, or at all - in fact, most don't. The ones that are "flushed" are, 99% of the time, embryos who have "arrested" in the first few days of development - in other words, they died. These embryos, being dead, are not going into the stem-cell research pool anytime soon even if their parents gave permission.

- Frozen embryos. Being frozen does not mean that the embryos are "abandoned." In fact, the parents have to pay rent (usually around $800/year) to KEEP them frozen.

- If the parents don't pay rent, the clinic is not going to keep the embryos frozen indefinitely.

- Which is why, before the IVF is done or anything is frozen, the parents have to do a lot of paperwork (notarized signatures and all) explaining just what they want done with any frozen embryos should they (the parents) divorce, die, or "disappear" - become uncontactable. The options offered are destruction, embryo adoption by another couple, and .... stem-cell research.

What I'm trying to say is that these embryos are *accounted for*. There are not millions of "abandoned" embryos languishing in freezers - if they were abandoned, they wouldn't be there accruing unpaid rent. If the parents want to donate them to research - either after they're frozen or when they're fresh - they can already do so. There are privately funded ventures out there. The embryos that are "flushed" would be useless for stem-cell purposes anyway.

There is the fact that many people simply aren't sure what to do when they've got children and still have a few embryos in storage. They may keep them in storage for years, trying to decide what to do. But the point is, they're still technically their property, and you can't just grab the embryos for the greater good. Which is why I'm pretty sure that if this passes, it will lead to the deliberate creation of embryos made solely for research purposes. Very few IVF patients have so many HEALTHY embryos to spare that they're going to donate to research right off the bat. Some may choose to have frozen ones donated later in the case of death or disappearance, but until that happens, no touching.

Posted by: Sonetka at July 29, 2005 10:25 AM (qnMMH)

80 That's what I get for pasting directly from Word, that super-duper word processing software that CAN'T PUT QUOTE MARKS THE RIGHT WAY.

Let's try this again:

Here is a primer on adult stem cell research. It appears to have much more promise than embryonic stem cell research.

Another problem: some in the so-called “scientific” community have almost a religious faith in the potential benefits to be derived from embryonic stem cell research, to the exclusion of research along other potentially beneficial paths.

It is also questionable if there are, or ever will be, enough research embryos available.

Posted by: Tongueboy at July 29, 2005 10:25 AM (nug4S)

81 Retract my last ace, my point is not made, clearly. Dental surgery and vicodin do not always enhance the thinking process.

Posted by: Defense Guy at July 29, 2005 10:25 AM (jPCiN)

82 "Well, to repeat, I'd like to see the number of murders reduced, but I don't see how rejecting the donor organs of murder victims directly advances that cause."

I think the key word there is donor. I don't think the embryos ever get the opportunity to sign that organ donor card.

This whole thing is just too close to soylent green for me.

Posted by: ArrMatey at July 29, 2005 10:28 AM (WfwK9)

83 Arrghh!

Here is a primer on adult stem cell research. It appears to have much more promise than embryonic stem cell research.

Another problem: some in the so-called “scientific” community have almost a religious faith in the potential benefits to be derived from embryonic stem cell research, to the exclusion of research along other potentially beneficial paths.

It is also questionable if there are, or ever will be, enough research embryos available.

Posted by: Tongueboy at July 29, 2005 10:29 AM (nug4S)

84 Wow, Sonetka and Tongueboy, thanks for the info. This is an area I think we all should be educated on.

Tongueboy, I still can't get all your links to work, tho.

Later,
bbeck

Posted by: bbeck at July 29, 2005 10:32 AM (qF8q3)

85 Well, Bill does seem a little annoyed at the religious, but I have to say I can't see the logic of this anti-stem-cell position, *except* as a proxy issue for abortion/euthanasia.

Which, I guess, is fine and all, but again, like pro-choicers objecting to the law calling it 'murder' to kill a pregnant woman's baby, it seems awfully far afield from the real issue and the symbolic/slippery slope arguments seem awfully weak when weighed against the tangible, direct arguments.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 10:34 AM (sYxc4)

86 Bill at INDC states:

I said "There are hundreds of thousands of little embryos flushed down drains and frozen indefinitely in a single year. A few hundred are impanted in someone else and adopted."

I posted a link above to research indicating that there are probably around 12,000 embryos available, at the most, for embryonic stem cell research, not even a fraction of the number needed. How many donor ovaries and testicles would be needed to manufacture the necessary embryos? Hint: Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss.

Posted by: Tongueboy at July 29, 2005 10:37 AM (nug4S)

87 Wow, two classic Ace trolls on the same side... Sure sign it's wrong.

Ace, if the research turns something up, what use do you think that will actually have without the barbaric harvesting of created-for-parts human life? There may be enough 'discards' for research, but for commercially viable therapy? Uh, no.

This stuff should be made illegal until and unless the non-destructive extraction research gets somewhere.

Posted by: someone at July 29, 2005 10:40 AM (sJVel)

88 On creating "Blessed Ensouled Blastocyst Babies of Jesus's Divine Grace" - or embryos....whichever term you feel more comfortable with.... specifically for destruction in research......

Unlikely for stem cell research and treatments, hopefully, of major diseases and afflictions that could transform health care for mankind - like diabetes, Parkinsons, cancer, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, paralysis. There are enough unwanted embryos to use for that.

But certain genetic diseases that are rare, or are expressed in a very small population of ethnically distinct people, you might have to break out the Petri dishes and create embryos specifically to research and hopefully end those diseases....Progeria, Tay-Sachs disease, certain family cancers that bedevil generations - like Jimmy Carter's family and pancreatic cancer. Would such familys volunteer to create such embryos to possibly prevent others from such a miserable death? No doubt.

Politically, I think it helps Frist out in putting some distance between himself and the RTL fanatics of the Religious Right. He appeared to be a total tool of them in the Terri Schiavo Fiasco...even damaging his credentials as a doctor with his infamous "video diagnosis". Showing he has a spine and a sack to stand up to them is his own mini-Sister Soulja moment.

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 10:41 AM (6krEN)

89 bbeck:

Three times is a charm. The links now work. I hadn't posted links here is such a long time I missed the point-and-click technology. That's our Ace: all about the conveniece.

Posted by: Tongueboy at July 29, 2005 10:42 AM (nug4S)

90 Cedarford - and these unwanted embryos are where, exactly?

Posted by: Sonetka at July 29, 2005 10:42 AM (qnMMH)

91 I think the analogy to 'organs from murder victims' is flawed.

Murder is an unambiguous 'bad' society really doesn't feel it has have much choice over. The murder was a decision made by the murderer, not 'us.'

Stem cells are different. They are tied to abortion, which unlike murder, is something that society is still pretty torn about, still a raging debate, something we could stop through the passage of laws, etc.

A better analogy is the use of organs from capital punishment 'executees.' Capital punishment is still a pretty conflicted matter, it's existence a matter of societal will expressed through law, etc.

How thrilled are we when we start harvesting their organs? After all, unlike murder, the only reason this heart is available for us is because we made a political decision the original possessor should die (as in abortion). It was a matter NOT out of our hands, and now they aren't so clean (like abortion, unlike murder). We shudder a little more at the prospect. Words like ghoulish start to pop up more. We start to worry if we aren't makin executions 'unduly' palatable. Just sayin.

Posted by: Ray Midge at July 29, 2005 10:45 AM (kUNrb)

92 What are wrong with me todae?

Posted by: Tongueboy at July 29, 2005 10:45 AM (nug4S)

93 When one side casts the other in terms such as "religious nutjob", they've lost the debate.

"Slippery slope" may be a logical fallacy, but tell that to your teenage son when you allow him to break curfew just one time. See how well it goes.

Once you pass out federal dollars for anything, you politicize it. Everybody who prays at the alter of science--you cannot say with a straight face that religion and science doesn't mix, but politics and science is like chocolate in your peanut butter. Using the military as an example doesn't count; that's a Constitutionally mandated function of the federal government.

Good things do come out of federal funding. Swell. Doesn't mean its Constitutional. If it's not Constitutional, it's not allowed, period.

Posted by: rho at July 29, 2005 10:51 AM (y7tHa)

94 Ace, if the research turns something up, what use do you think that will actually have without the barbaric harvesting of created-for-parts human life? There may be enough 'discards' for research, but for commercially viable therapy? Uh, no.

I think yes. They continue growing these lines, you know.

I guess inducing cells to keep making new cells is a use of "life" in the service of science... but, I don't know, we are talking about cells here. Cells.

If there were a procedure to induce cells to replicate, would be object at the Red Cross using that process to create more blood than they can get from donors?

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 10:54 AM (sYxc4)

95 rho,

why would government spending on science possibly be unconstitutional?

The Constitution seems to grant an awful lot of power to Congress to spend as it may choose.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 10:56 AM (sYxc4)

96 BTW -

The insistence on dropping medical research in one area because another "might have promise" makes no sense. It's never done.

Nor is the self-conceit that if research is somehow blocked in the USA, it will be blocked elsewhere and no country will surpass us.

The premise being...well if we can lean how to devolve adult stem cells, they might be as useful as embryonic cells.....and since adult stem cells and umbilical cells have limited applications in certain diseases.....embryonic work should be stopped.

Which is akin to saying since quadreplegics may have tongue-operated computers and wheelchairs, which is one line of research that offers "success", all spinal cord enzyme, neuroelectric bridging, transplant research should receive no government funding since "tongue operation" is showing results.

It's a stupid argument applied to paralysis, cancer, or stem cells to say restricting research to one line of inquiry is the way to go.

As for the world stopping in it's tracks if a religious minority in America "opposes" a particular form of scientific advancement.............lots of luck.

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 11:01 AM (6krEN)

97 If there were a procedure to induce cells to replicate, would be object at the Red Cross using that process to create more blood than they can get from donors?No, but we can't spontaneously generate fetal stem cells without creating and killing new embryos (multiple-celled early versions of human life).

If you don't think there's anything wrong with creating life in order to destroy it, come out and say so.

Posted by: someone at July 29, 2005 11:27 AM (sJVel)

98 Sonnetka - the 12,000 figure you quote sounds like it was derived from an apocryphal story you heard in your artificial fertilization experiences. There are currently over 400,000 frozen embryos stored in the USA, many abandoned. Polls show only 13% of donors want the embryos given to some RTL group for "Snowflake womb adoption". A 1/3rd want them destroyed when their baby-making efforts end. A majority would donate for stem cell research.

http://www.enotes.com/reproductive-article/

Some 14,000 are flushed down the drain every year.

All 22 Head Theocrat (Bush) - Approved Lines are suspected or have been confirmed as contaminated with lab rat and mouse proteins and viruses. Compromised for research in ways that the Asian and European lines aren't, and useless for development into therapies in the future on contamination fears. All researchers fear the validity of research many be affected by contamination and would get rid of the 22 lines soon if they had Head Theocrat approval to use clean lines for Federally-funded research.

At a 10% embryo viability level (Koreans achieve 32%) - even at 10%, there are enough frozen embryos headed for a biological waste tank to allow all the research anyone wants.

[400,000 in inventory X 45% OK to use for stem cell research & cure X 10% thaw and grow success] + [14,000 discards X 10% viability]
????

That equals 18,000 + 1,400 available for stem cell research right now. Far in excess of the few hundred researchers say they currently need and could put to use for basic and applied research.

Plenty of unwanted supply exists.

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 11:31 AM (6krEN)

99 To begin with, freezing the embryos and flushing the ones that aren't used was morally wrong to begin with. So we are starting at a point that was wrong from the beginning. Here is a very good article that discusses the myths of stem cell research.
http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/ecataldo15e_20050215.htm

And beyond the things in the article. I have also recently read that if it becomes possible for embryonic stem cells to help a patient, it follows that a cloned embryo would of course have more value since it would be EXACTLY like the person it would be treating. So the slippery slope argument certainly works here. Of course they will clone if the cells match perfectly.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at July 29, 2005 11:34 AM (JDJCW)

100 I do think there's something wrong with creating life in order to destroy it.

However, I'm not persuaded by a long shot that's necessary, or ever will be necessary.

People seem to agree there's enough available, not-created-to-be-destroyed embryos and aborted or stillborn fetuses for research.

The question seems to be-- well, if all of this works, then we'll need more to actually put the therapy into practice, and THAT will create the demand for created-to-be-destroyed embryos.

Well, maybe. I don't know if we're going to need millions of new embryos every year.

But let's assume that's correct-- so you're saying that we shouldn't engage in research that kills no fetuses or embryos (that weren't going to be destroyed anyway) just because we may hit the medical jackpot and thereby create great demand for this therapy?

I don't know. Reminds me of Democrats who won't even allow exploration in ANWR because they're afraid we'll find so much oil their arguments about keeping ANWR off-limits for drilling will be demolished.

Posted by: ace at July 29, 2005 11:42 AM (+Nd6o)

101 This actually might come in handy. I mean, Bush is gonna veto the thing if it ever gets on his desk. In the mean time, the press writes lots of good things about Frist just before the dance starts on Roberts.

Posted by: ArmedGeek at July 29, 2005 11:53 AM (Mz1hh)

102 "And a lot of conservatives are pissed."

Uh, you have some examples for us, Ace? There were none in the New York Times article. I'm sure there are some out there, but I haven't read any. Maybe it's just the nature of the blogosphere, but I've read endorsements of Frist's position from Insty, Roger L. Simon, INDC and here. Haven't come across any pissed conservatives yet.

I'm a pro-choice (and anti-Roe) Republican, but I'm just a little suspicious of the miracle cures supposedly waiting. My guess is that both sides are playing a little politics on this issue.

Posted by: Brainster at July 29, 2005 12:44 PM (hEScd)

103 The difference between "already dead" and "about to be dead" is significant. Only one of those is actually dead. We use the organs of people who have been violently killed, not those of people we've decided to violently kill for some other reason.

Incedentally, I just used the heart transplant/stem cell analogy in a Doonesbury post I did yesterday, I'm not sure it's as lucid as it ought to be though.

Posted by: Dave Munger at July 29, 2005 01:04 PM (izq/u)

104 "And a lot of conservatives are pissed."

Brainster writes: Uh, you have some examples for us, Ace???

Brainster, if you bother to look for yourself in the latest news posted on Google, Yahoo, Drudge, etc... You will see no shortage of the usual suspects denouncing FRist. Santorum - speaking as a person who "cares about the unborn". DeLay, once again opining "how unethical" it was....he was on the House Floor, BTW, not being interviewed at St Andrews Golf Course...

And the usual RTL religious figures now back after their "Terri is as alive and conscious as we are!" vacation..

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 01:24 PM (6krEN)

105 We start to worry if we aren't makin executions 'unduly' palatable. Just sayin.

Ray honey, well said.

Posted by: Lipstick at July 29, 2005 01:32 PM (sNkdg)

106 That said, I still don't get why we can't use dead things to help living people.

Because they're not dead. And because they're not things.

I don't get why everybody wasn't completely blown away by all the snowflake babies that President Bush publicized during his recent statement on the issue. Those are the living, walking dead things you're talking about.

But it all depends on your premise. I can understand someone who doesn't believe an embryo is a person, even though I think he is demonstrably wrong. Frist, however, is an intellectual shipwreck. You can't simultaneously be against abortion and in favor of destroying human embryos. This is John Kerryesque.

Posted by: Christopher Fotos at July 29, 2005 01:42 PM (hjjkI)

107 "These embryos -- correct me if I'm wrong -- are slated to be destroyed anyway, right?"
Yes, there's nothing morally objectionable about slating embryos to be destroyed then exploiting them for our own purposes.

This isn't like harvesting a kidney from the body of a murdered man to save an unfortunate third party. This is like harvesting a kidney and transplanting it into the murderer. The deaths of those embryos result from choices society made, and now society wants to enrich itself for making those brave decisions. Of course, now that society benefits, it isn't likely to change its mind about the initial choices. It's hard to climb back up a slippery slope.

"I don't buy the slippery-slope argument, as I almost never do."
That's odd. We're almost at the bottom of that slope. From embryo fabrication to mass abortion to mass embryo harvesting in a generation or so. The slippery slope is a logical fallacy but a legal and social reality.

Posted by: Than at July 29, 2005 01:47 PM (Y7aZf)

108 Cedarford - first of all, the 12,000 figure didn't come from me, so please don't put words in my mouth. I don't have any precise figures. And if you think that my doctors were in any way trying to discourage me from donating to research - well, all I can say is, you don't know doctors.

All I can see in what you cite is what I've already talked about - the parents decide where the embryo goes, and quite a few do donate to research. By "abandoned" it's usually implied that the parents have given up or disappeared without leaving any directive whatsoever, and that's just barely possible these days - it would be a terribly incompetent fertility clinic which didn't provide for these contingencies beforehand, if nothing else because of the fear of possible legal action. The situation we're looking at here is that those who want to donate can donate, and those who want to do embryo adoption can do it, and those who want to throw them away can also do that. In other words, what the hell would change if federal funding were opened up? You can't force people to donate their embryos if they'd rather not.

Posted by: Sonetka at July 29, 2005 02:21 PM (qnMMH)

109 Thanks Lipstick. Nice to know my amazin supercolossal supergenius does not pass entirely unrecognized in my own era. (future historians be damned)

ps: good to see you back.

Posted by: Ray Midge at July 29, 2005 02:32 PM (kUNrb)

110 Sonnetka - I gave the numbers because you concluded your first post, using the bogus 12,000 figure and other inaccuracies to conclude:

Which is why I'm pretty sure that if this passes, it will lead to the deliberate creation of embryos made solely for research purposes. Very few IVF patients have so many HEALTHY embryos to spare that they're going to donate to research right off the bat

In England, most are dumped after 5 years. In America, the 400,000 frozen embryo "warehouses" are waiting on legal issues to be hashed out. Even so, 14,000 are tossed in the trash in States where they have assurances no future liability awaits IVF clinics.

So the point is you're wrong, With researchers needing only a few hundred to create non-rodent contaminated lines, unwanted embryos destined for the trash far, far exceed research needs. And as techniques for growing embryonic cells improve, we should be able to replicate the S Korean rates of 30-32% viability...which means the researchers would need even less of the surplus of otherwise trash-bound embryos. Even with stem cell research, 97-99% of all wastage of unneeded embryos will still happen. THe RTL "Snowflake" project has produced less than 100 "adoptees" after 9 years, so that will never have a tangible effect on the surplus...

The only exception might be embryos specifically created to research and treat a rare genetic disease or family bedeviled with a certain cancer. And as threatened families would be the impetus to finding a cure for an uncommon genetic condition or cancer, it is doubtful that they would object to creating a few extra embryos to help save the living...

Posted by: Cedarford at July 29, 2005 05:52 PM (6krEN)

111 Haven't read all the rest of the comments, but regarding the hundreds of thousands vs. those actually available, I have to confess I didn't know the distinction. But ...

With researchers needing only a few hundred to create non-rodent contaminated lines, unwanted embryos destined for the trash far, far exceed research needs. And as techniques for growing embryonic cells improve, we should be able to replicate the S Korean rates of 30-32% viability

... I have to defer to Cedarford. Well, not on his beef with the Jews, but on that point. It's almost intuitive that researchers don't need a number of embryos for research (especially given the Korean advances in efficiency) that would create some outer market unfulfilled by fertility excess.

As for Ace's comment:

Well, Bill does seem a little annoyed at the religious.

My annoyance "with the religious" in this thread resides around my annoyance with people like the President's bioethics advisor Kass and people like Francis Fukyama, that advocate a stoppage in biological progress, based on the idea that it's "unnatural."

The idea that radically extending/improving human life spits in the face of higher powers, and has the potential to destroy our humanity by tapping power that we somehow don't deserve or will abuse. That religious sentiment, which contravenes all of the medical and scientific precedent we've achieved since the first splint, antibiotic and heart transplant ... well ... it pisses me off, yes.

I don't want to have the diseased die to fulfill some prophetic "natural order" of things, based on theology.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 29, 2005 06:11 PM (pP2dp)

112 The government should be allowed funding for only three things: to print the money, deliver the mail, and wage war. And before you ask, no, I'm not a libertarian -- I think all recreational drugs should remain illegal. People have too much fun as it is.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 29, 2005 09:02 PM (MbIya)

113 Andrea, don't forget they're supposed to grant patents, too.

But patent-granting is the only area that "promoting the progress of science" is specifically addressed in the Constitution.

Later,
bbeck

Posted by: bbeck at July 29, 2005 10:16 PM (qF8q3)

114 "but his Science Advisory Council is made up of assholish religious luddites like Leon Kass that want to inhibit human power and biological enhancement"

Human power needs to be inhibited. Maybe not in this way, but in lots of ways.

Posted by: Knemon at July 29, 2005 11:08 PM (QaHR7)

115 "Adding....we cannot let Bush's stubborn, personally held religious views block medical progress. He was elected President, not Theocrat in Chief."

? You could be an atheist and hold the same position.

I'm sure Bush set the policy as he did because his DT-hallucinations of Jeebus told him to, but so what? Religious views are no more, but surely no less valid than utilitarianism, or gee-whiz progress-ho boosterism, or ...

Posted by: Knemon at July 29, 2005 11:41 PM (QaHR7)

116 Cedarford:

"The insistence on dropping medical research in one area because another "might have promise" makes no sense. It's never done."

We experiment on chimps, and rabbits, and all ye lesser beasties. Not people. It's done to a T.

Posted by: Knemon at July 29, 2005 11:47 PM (QaHR7)

117 The government should be allowed funding for only three things: to print the money, deliver the mail, and wage war.

Typical ideologue stuff, resistant to reality.

How do you think all that "wage war" WELL stuff gets funded? Right now, government funded scientists at a major university are working on a medical intervention that will stop ALL viruses by deactivating certain genetic components present in every virus. From the Cold to Ebola.

So you wouldn't want YOUR PRECIOUS TAX DOLLARS funding that, right? Because it's not in the 218 year-old document, right?

Well when I tell you it's being worked on by university academics funded by DARPA, the Pentagon's nerd squad, in a bid to create inoculations against biological warfare and sickness for troops, suddenly it's ok. You know, because the Constitution says go for it, and it could help our military kill more people, so it's COOL, NECESSARY science.

DARPA is also funding research that will enable blind people to see, people to regrow limbs and paralyzed people to have robotic limbs.

If a DARPA or non-military NIH grant pushes us closer to that virus stopper as a private pharmaceutical application (or something like it), with blue sky research that is too crazy to fund by a private entity, then how far does that go in continuing to dominate China economically and technologically? And how much less important than actually funding a military is it? It's in the ballpark.

Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 30, 2005 02:59 AM (0+Iek)

118 DARPA invented the internets!

Posted by: Dave in Texas at July 30, 2005 03:34 AM (pzen5)

119 In principle I agree with ace and bill. In general I side with the pro lifers and the intelligent design group not because I agree with those issues but because they’re willing to stand up for the important stuff. Atheist navel gazers like bill are like a stopped clock, they’re right once in a while but that fact is useless when you want to know what time it is. I’d rather they were the ones stomping off in a huff like they’re always threatening to do anyway.

I just don’t see the benefit to splitting the base to fund the ethically questionable use of spare embryos with taxes.

There just isn’t at this point in time that much science that can’t be done some other way.

Posted by: boris at July 30, 2005 03:47 AM (S+qVM)

120 While I personnally don't mind fetal stem cell research I understand the moral qualms of many on the religious right. Further, I haven't seen anything postitive yet out of fetal stem cell research - apparently just some undifferentiated cells that reproduce without developing - a tumor in effect. I suggest that these researchers spend their time on ANIMAL fetal cells to solve the basic foundation problems and then come back with a successful animal model. We do that in drug development WHY can we do that in genetic medical development?

Posted by: rabidfox at July 30, 2005 07:09 AM (TOe9z)

121 Once a successful animal model is developed, I think that the opposition to human research will be minimal at that point.

Posted by: rabidfox at July 30, 2005 07:10 AM (TOe9z)

122 There’s a flaw in the argument “they’re just going to be destroyed anyway”.

They were not created with tax money were they? The same folks who object to tax money for fetal stem cell extraction had no say in the decision to create them, and would have objected to using tax money for that as well.

They were created by private parties. When the time comes for their destruction or stem cell extraction, the parties who created them can share in the moral stain (if any) of their creation and destruction. Of course those who don’t believe in the concept of moral stain and have no regard or respect for those who do, will have no problem with this.

Posted by: boris at July 30, 2005 08:29 AM (S+qVM)

123 Uh, Rabid One - we did the animal stuff and at some point in medical research it's time to stop playing with rats and get on with the business of seeing if it helps people. Plenty of research worked great with rats and hamsters, but didn't with people.

And we have a tawdry history of religious people opposing many scientific and medical advances that prolonged our lives and advanced our civilization.

Like opposition to autopsies, vaccines, heart transplants, in vitro, any form of birth control, prosthetic limbs, public sanitation and so on as "unnatural and in opposition to God's Will".

But after the squawking was done, the religious elements that opposed advances or "wasting money" on things like sewers apparantly lost their religious objections as the desirable facets of the "new things" were shown to be obvious.

The same deal should stand. The majority will move mankind forward, the religious can object and insist "their share" of tax dollars allocated to medical research go towards Theocrat-approved
adult cell research, making more than a few dozen snowflake babies, and fertility research so we don't create more than 50,000 surplus embryos globally. Maybe some faith-healing studies....

And the Religious Right can always refuse to have their kids cured of diabetes or a form of cancer or paralysis if embryonic cell cures come and that is a big IF. No one would force them to use a embryonic cell derived cure. But the usual historical pattern of cours, is the religious will embrace something that works and just rationalize their religion in a new way to accomodate what they desire...

Posted by: Cedarford at July 30, 2005 08:38 AM (M7kiy)

124 And the Religious Right can always refuse to have their kids cured of diabetes or a form of cancer or paralysis if embryonic cell cures come and that is a big IF. No one would force them to use a embryonic cell derived cure. But the usual historical pattern of cours, is the religious will embrace something that works and just rationalize their religion in a new way to accomodate what they desire...
Do you ever get tired of being an asshole? Try talking about something you understand instead of religion or ethics.

Posted by: digitalbrownshirt at July 30, 2005 09:00 AM (ipjUv)

125 Boris - I just don’t see the benefit to splitting the base to fund the ethically questionable use of spare embryos with taxes. There just isn’t at this point in time that much science that can’t be done some other way.

What if part of the "base" had a religious objection to gene therapy, hard radiation, chemotherapy for cancer treatment but no objections to cutiing it out. .In fact, religious figures did object initially to those other cancer therapies as "unnatural, outside God's Plan".

The Soviet Union, under Lysenkoism, paid a heavy price for blocking scientific research paths on ideological grounds, and insisting research could be done some other way that fit "the reality" of Marxism-Leninism better.

And it's always good for a Party to slap down parts of the base that make claims of dominance or - if not humored - they will stamp their little feet and walk away. The Repubs quashed David Duke, the East Coast Banker's elite, Pat Buchanan....and as the Terri schiavo Fiasco showed..have become a little too accomodating of RTL fanatics.

The Democrats too - far more than the Republicans - are long overdue for some slapdowns within their base of (1) the Michael Moore anti-Americans; (2) the traditional East Coast Jewish intelligensia and their organs like the ACLU still pushing Dems closer to socialism and the Nanny State; (3) the Old New Dealers who see any change to what FDR-LBJ crafted 70-40 years ago as "perfect' and never to be tampered with; (4) The "we should be more like Sweden" wannabees; (5) the pacifist and defeatist Vietnam Era rejects who never outgrew their hippie days; (6) Hollywood idiots & egomaniacs that unwittingly embarass themselves; (7) The extreme PETA, environmental, NARAL, Femmenazi, et. al. single issue activists.





Posted by: Cedarford at July 30, 2005 09:03 AM (M7kiy)

126 Digitalbrownasshole - Why don't you just fuck off if you have nothing to contribute to the thread topic?

Posted by: Cedarford at July 30, 2005 09:05 AM (M7kiy)

127 It hasn't slowed you down cocksucker. Besides, annoying you keeps me warm inside, just like a gut full of your dad's load does for you.

Posted by: digitalbrownshirt at July 30, 2005 09:10 AM (ipjUv)

128 I wish I had a nickel for everybody who thinks cedarford is an asshole.

Posted by: BrewFan at July 30, 2005 09:21 AM (95UaF)

129 What if part of the "base" had a religious objection to gene therapy

I don't care what you think and you probably don't care what I think either.


Since nobody is blocking scientific research your questions and assertions are irrelevant.

Taxpayers didn't create the embryos and shouldn't have to participate in their destruction if they can muster the political clout to say no.

Posted by: boris at July 30, 2005 09:40 AM (S+qVM)

130 Am I "Rabid One?" I'm touched.

Okay, yeah, in general, you've got a point, as much as it pains me to say so. I have one quibble:

"public sanitation"????

Posted by: Knemon at July 30, 2005 10:15 AM (QaHR7)

131 Cedarford wrote:

Because without Gov't, private foundation, and charity grants - the basic work would not get done.

The only libertarian objection to any of these sources of funding would be the first, so why throw in the other two?

And if embryonic stem cell research is as promising as proponents argue, surely an appropriate level of funding could be raised privately, no?

Posted by: The Warden at July 30, 2005 11:39 AM (0qXz7)

132 Knemon - No, that was for "rabid fox".

As for scientific advancement causing religious folks to scream, there was great resistance to sewers on the basis that sewer lines would violate "consecrated soil) of church and family burial grounds in dense cities. It was really the first time outside Roman times that used property was forced to take on a public use - sewers..before water pipes, subways, phone & electric utilities.

Bishops got involved in blocking the descrecration of consecrated soil by shit pipes.

What changed religious thinking of course was that the populace noticed that cities without the "foul miasma" of rotting offal and animal and human sewage on the streets escaped cholera and typhus epidemics. The Catholics and Protestants of that era could be very practical, as Cholera and Typhus epidemics also produced a lot of dead Bishops. So graves were dug up and contents tossed
in other consecrated soil and the sewer pipes got run.

Boris - Taxpayers didn't create the embryos and shouldn't have to participate in their destruction if they can muster the political clout to say no.

Given 60% of the population strongly supports embryonic stem cell research - the Theocrat in Chief is headed for an embarassing time as Moderates, Liberals and real mainstream conservatives like Orrin Hatch force his Veto. September may see millions of diabetics and relatives of Parkinsons, paralysis victims coming to Washington to protest in mass demonstrations aimed at getting Congress to override Bush's 1st Veto.

All 22 of Bush's approved lines turned out to be contaminated and useless for future actual therapies.

As a taxpayer you can "object" to your dollars being "squandered" on the Internet being developed, penicillin and other antibiotics created and produced through Gummint grants, food produced through the agricultural revolution Gummint financed, fly using aviation technology and infrastructure the Gummint tax dollars made possible.

No one is forcing you to eat, fly, use the Internet, or avail yourself or your kids to any medical treatment you disapprove of. YOU CAN STILL OBJECT, BORIS!

Just opt out, and butt out of majority decisions if you can't abide the democratic process. Taxpayers aren't paying for "destroying" God's Little Petri Dish Babies. They are getting tossed in medical waste anyways, and what we are paying for is for seeing if we can possibly save millions of lives with them, not to intervene to destroy them before they are destroyed and tossed in a trash bin.

Religious nuts have no plan to save them. In nine years they "saved" 80 as their poster child "Snowflake Babies", all while the the number of unwanted, unusable embryos grew from 205,000 to 400,000 even with 12,000 flushed down the toilet a year. And that's just the USA.

Bush is going to be paying a very big price for once again, a` la` Schiavo, for being pig-headed, stubborn and letting his religious convictions get in the way of doing his job as President.

Posted by: Cedarford at July 30, 2005 12:15 PM (M7kiy)

133 I haven't read all 132 comments on this but the point is the federal funding of this research. Most people who call themselves Republicans or libertarians don't want government funding for most things, let alone something morally questionable like this.

From a political standpoint, not that he had a chance but it's now all over for Frist. Who votes in Republican primaries? Hate to break it to the proud RINOS but it's hardcore conservatives. Frist is done.

Posted by: Karol at July 30, 2005 01:40 PM (hOQdY)

134 ? You could be an atheist and hold the same position.

Like me!

Later,
bbeck

Posted by: bbeck at July 30, 2005 01:48 PM (qF8q3)

135 If excessive spending is such a concern, why are all you non-RINOs so unconcerned about your Beloved Maximum War Leaders reckless, drunken sailor spending??

You know, the first President to fail to veto a single spending bill in his 1st term since Warren Harding - and Warren died 9 months in?

The guy with the 1.2 trillion dollar new entitlement Plan so Big Pharma is subsidized for full-priced drugs? The 600 billion borrowed from China and Japan to underwrite his tax cuts for the rich? The Mega-Pork "something for everybody" Energy, Transpo, and Homeland Security Bills the hardline conservatives like Santorum and DeLay praised Jesus for???

The 3 billion or so the Feds do seeds billions more in private and state stem cell investments. Unlike tax cuts or borrowing 2 trillion to create "private cash holdings" for helping end SS - R&D investment is real investment. If just one major disease is fixed by stem cells - congestive heart failure, cancer, diabetes, emphysema, muscular dystrophy, a condition like paralysis - the savings to America - with the promise of stem cells working, again, on just one disease...would save up to a million people a year in the USA and give societal savings of over 80 billion a year.

That's how big it is. Potentially even bigger than the discovery of antibiotics, some Pharma people say (I doubt that one - but BIG!) . And in the middle of this are a pack of ignorant RTL Republicans clueless on the science, the potential return on investment, and the fact that NOT ONE EXTRA EMBRYO IS DESTROYED!! Not one! Stupid Luddites don't get it. Perhaps they will when every family suffering a disease considers going to DC or the RTLrs office to urge revising their vote to reject the Theocrat in Chief's likely Veto.

Bush likes high stakes Hold 'em. He said "Veto" as if his never using one as he piled up the greatest debt in American history will bluff the opposition and keep his RTL base happy even after he made a fool of himself going to bat for them in the Schiavo Fiasco. Even knowing the 22 lines Bush approved of are now thought to be contaminated and medically useless.

I imagine he is not happy that a coalition of conservatives, moderates, and liberals - Republicans and Democrats alike have just pushed all their chips in. And the major disease associations - Diabetes, MD, heart, cancer, Lung, AIDs - are now mobilizing expecting the Veto..

Posted by: Cedarford at July 30, 2005 02:13 PM (M7kiy)

136 Shhhhhhh.

Posted by: Knemon at July 30, 2005 02:33 PM (QaHR7)

137 I'm bored with the Cedarford talking points.

However, Karol hit the nail - Frist screwed up.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at July 31, 2005 09:55 AM (TNA0Q)

138 Which begs the question. Will Frist run for President? Is this his coming out party?

Posted by: oregano at July 31, 2005 10:47 AM (dwilB)

139 Here's my thing. We've gotten RESULTS from Adult Stem Cells. I keep reading how embryonic stem cells DON'T WORK because they're TOO mutable. Unstable.

So why the HELL should the feds be funding something that has shown no signs of working besides peoples' obsession? (Literally. Obsession. It's all, "If only the government would fund embryonic stem cell research (only we'll leave off the word embryonic because we can't be bothered to let the masses know the distinction), why... miracles would happen! Because it's [embryonic] stem cells!" GMAFB!)

Why not put the focus on what has shown promise, like Bush has done?

Posted by: Dave at July 31, 2005 11:53 AM (dGsJm)

140 Okay, this is an inflammatory comment, and I don't subscribe to this view myself, but:

To the true, Benedict XVI fan club right-to-lifer, this is like using the soap made from Holocaust victims. They were going to be killed anyway, why not squeeze whatever use you can out of them? It's not an *endorsement* of the Holocaust, just trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

(Again, not my view - but some people do take it that seriously).

And no, Cedarford, you can't buy that soap. Don't even ask.

Posted by: Knemon at July 31, 2005 01:14 PM (QaHR7)

141 60% of the population

Equals a minority of Republicans that support embryo harvesting.

Posted by: boris at July 31, 2005 02:01 PM (S+qVM)

142 I'm actually rather svelte. Like a fit, young Don Knots.
jocuri fotbal

Posted by: jocuri gratis at June 12, 2012 01:06 AM (52E4K)

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