March 10, 2009

NYT Inadvertently Confirms IBD’s Logic in Denouncing Obama’s Embryonic Stem Cell Decision

Embryos0309In a scathing editorial Monday, the folks at IBDeditorials.com ripped President Barack Obama’s misguided, life-destroying, science-denying Executive Order that allows federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR).

Later, Nicholas Wade at the New York Times, in two paragraphs of his March 10 report (“Rethink Stem Cells? Science Already Has”), in essence confirmed the validity of IBD’s claim about ESCR’s relative uselessness in treating diseases and other human maladies — something adult stem cells, a blanket term describing any stem cells obtained from other human sources without destroying human life, are already doing.

IBD’s editorial shows that one doesn’t even have to be religious to recognize the fundamental disregard for science and ethics in Obama’s EO (bolds are mine):

Bailing Out Bad Science

….. With Obama lifting the restrictions on Monday, we will now be federally funding research that has yet to produce a single therapy or a single treatment of an actual human being, at least one that works. It has generated a lot of hope but very little change. It is he who is putting ideology over science.

What has handcuffed our scientists is the difficulty of controlling embryonic stem cells and what they develop into. They’re called pluripotent because they can develop into any type of human tissue, sometimes all at once.

Embryonic stem cells have a tendency to develop into one of the most primitive and terrifying forms of cancer, a tumor called a teratoma. Adult stem cells don’t have that problem.

….. It’s in the area of adult stem cell research that new discoveries are being made every day. Fact is, there are now hundreds of conditions and diseases actually being treated using adult stem cells drawn from umbilical cord blood and other nonembryonic sources.

….. Bush’s executive order banned federal funding only of new stem cell lines. Neither federal funding of existing lines nor private funding was banned. In fact, Bush was the first president to spend any money on ESCR at all. Clinton spent zero.

The (Los Angeles) Times notes, as we have, that in 2006 researchers led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan’s Kyoto University were first able to “reprogram” human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells. But it claims the potential of these induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) “is still unclear.”

No, it’s not. They can do everything stem cells from destroyed embryos can do, except without the moral baggage or the destroyed embryos.

I would replace “can do” in the last sentence with “someday dream of doing,” but that’s a relative quibble.

Wade’s report at the New York Times buttressed IBD’s claims, especially in these two paragraphs:

Members of Congress and advocates for fighting diseases have long spoken of human embryonic stem cell research as if it were a sure avenue to quick cures for intractable afflictions. Scientists have not publicly objected to such high-flown hopes, which have helped fuel new sources of grant money like the $3 billion initiative in California for stem cell research.

In private, however, many researchers have projected much more modest goals for embryonic stem cells. Their chief interest is to derive embryonic stem cell lines from patients with specific diseases, and by tracking the cells in the test tube to develop basic knowledge about how the disease develops.

Two points:

  • The second excerpted paragraph says nothing about using the results of ESCR for actual treatments or cures. This means, unlike with adult stem cells, that treatments or cures with ESCR aren’t even on the realistic scientific “chief interest” radar. Thus, Wade confirms that IBD is asserting the unvarnished truth.
  • Apparently “many researchers,” as noted in the first excerpted paragraph, are speaking “in private” because of fear of intimidation and retribution by ESCR supporters if they speak in public. It appears that we are seeing a situation analogous to how those who don’t buy into the Armageddon-like assertions of the global warming/climate change crowd are afraid of speaking out.

A further point from another source — an Ohio Right to Life e-mail reproduced at this Topix forum notes that the final paragraph of Obama’s Executive Order (specifically saying that “Executive Order 13435 of June 20, 2007, which supplements the August 9, 2001, statement on human embryonic stem cell research, is revoked”) removes the Bush-driven EO mandate that the Secretary of Health and Human Services pursue funding for adult stem cell research (ASCR).

Thus, not only has Obama dictated that ESCR be funded, he has removed any corresponding mandate for ASCR. He did not have to do this to satisfy ESCR supporters. This is of a piece with Obama’s radically anti-life legislative history, where as an Illinois Senator would not support a Born Alive Infant Protection Act because he feared it might open the tiniest door to recognition that an unborn child is deserving of the same protections as humans living outside the womb.

Even beyond the life-destruction issues, Obama’s EO not only opens the federal funding door wide open to what hasn’t worked, it takes away any incentive to assist what has. This is as profoundly an anti-real science decision as I believe I has ever seen out of any White House.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

POR Economy Trough (We Hope) Benchmarking

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:44 pm

With today’s market rally, let’s hope this is the worst the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy can throw at us.

This enables me to completely run down where the POR Economy’s benchmarking, mostly as of June 1, 2008, stood as of yesterday’s close. Plus, as a free bonus, I compare where we are now to the respective market index highs:

MarketHopedTrough030909

(Sources: Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ)

The remaining benchmarks since the beginning of the POR Economy are these:

  • Unemployment — was 5.5% as of the May 2008 BLS report; now at 8.1%.
  • GDP Growth/contraction — was 2.06% in the 12 months preceding July 1, 2008; has been an annualized -3.39% since (-0.5% in the third quarter of 2008, -6.2% preliminary estimate for the fourth, including negative compounding).
  • Inflation — was 4.2% in the 12 months ended May 31, 2008; prices have dropped about 2.5% in the eight reported months since then (through January), and are up about 1.1% in those seven months excluding food and energy.
  • Prime rate — was 5.0%, is now 3.25%.

IBDeditorials.com on Obama’s Stem-Cell Decision: Obama Puts Ideology Over Science (with Driehaus Update)

Filed under: Life-Based News,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:59 am

You don’t even need to be prolife, or to bring religion into the argument, to understand just how scientifically weak Barack Obama’s Executive Order lifting former President Bush’s ban on federally funding embryonic stem-cell research is, as IBD explains (bolds are mine):

Bailing Out Bad Science

Bioethics: The president keeps a promise by lifting restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research — what he calls “the gold standard” of such research. Judging by results, fool’s gold is more like it.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama said: “I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations.”

With all due respect, that is nonsense. With Obama lifting the restrictions on Monday, we will now be federally funding research that has yet to produce a single therapy or a single treatment of an actual human being, at least one that works. It has generated a lot of hope but very little change. It is he who is putting ideology over science.

What has handcuffed our scientists is the difficulty of controlling embryonic stem cells and what they develop into. They’re called pluripotent because they can develop into any type of human tissue, sometimes all at once.

Embryonic stem cells have a tendency to develop into one of the most primitive and terrifying forms of cancer, a tumor called a teratoma. Adult stem cells don’t have that problem.

Recently the family of an Israeli boy suffering from a lethal genetic brain disease sought a solution in the form of injections of fetal stem cells. These injections apparently triggered tumors in the boy’s brain and spinal cord.

It’s in the area of adult stem cell research that new discoveries are being made every day. Fact is, there are now hundreds of conditions and diseases actually being treated using adult stem cells drawn from umbilical cord blood and other nonembryonic sources.

The typical reaction to Obama’s move was represented in a Los Angeles Times sub-headline in its Saturday piece describing Obama’s decision. It read, “Lifting Bush’s limits on research will reopen a door for science.” But no door had been closed.

….. But (the Los Angeles Times) claims the potential of these induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) “is still unclear.”

No, it’s not. They can do everything stem cells from destroyed embryos can do, except without the moral baggage or the destroyed embryos.

Read the whole thing.

I’ll restate IBD’s bottom line, with just a little emphasis:

Adult stem cells can do everything
stem cells from destroyed embryos can do,
without the moral baggage
or the destroyed embryos.


The culture of death’s determined, dogmatic devotion to anything anti-life is the only explanation for Obama’s ghoulish decision.

Obama campaigned as an uncompromising death cult advocate. That advocacy was downplayed greatly by the establishment media, so, sadly, many relatively disengaged prolife voters supported Obama on other grounds without knowing his anti-life positions. Obama’s EO is surely a rude awakening to many.

But Obama’s radical antilife views and history were not unknown to his fellow Democratic candidates for national office. Thus, the silence thus far from alleged prolife Democrats like Ohio’s Steve Driehaus and John Boccieri is deafening, and disgraceful.

____________________________________________________

UPDATE: When I called Driehaus’s congressional office in Washington today, I was told in essence that the congressman hasn’t responded to President Obama’s Executive Order issuance, that he was working up a response, and that there is no timetable for when he will respond due to many other pressing matters.

Driehaus, absent sincere public repentance, is in an unsolvable Catch-22: If he opposes the Order, he admits that his vote for candidate Obama came despite Obama’s promise, surely known to him, to violate a core doctrine of the Catholic faith Driehaus alleges to profess. As such, he can no longer claim to a legitimate practicing Catholic. He also has on his conscience the misinformed votes of hundreds and maybe thousands of others who relied in part on his alleged prolife stance in voting for Obama.

If Driehaus supports the Order, he admits that he has irrevocably crossed over to the anti-life side, no longer believes in fundamental tenet of that faith, and, again, is no longer a legitimate practicing Catholic.

Absent sincere public repentance, Driehaus has no quarter, and no wiggle room.

How could winning a congressional seat possibly be worth all of that?

Lucid Links of the Day (031009, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:34 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

IBDeditorials.com — “In Search of Moderate Islamofascists.” Wrap sentence: “After the uncompromising demands we made of the Taliban in September 2001, such a change only would be viewed by Islamofascists worldwide as more proof of the infidels’ lack of nerve.”

Mark Finkelstein — “Good thing Jack Welch criticized Barack Obama on national TV and not at a toney New York party: he might never have been invited to sip Cosmos with the cocktail set again ….”

Jazz Shaw at Pajamas Media — “Team Obama is serving up softballs to Letterman, Leno, and Stewart. Will they ever step up to the plate and swing?” I guess it depends on their interest in toney/tony parties.

I’m actually starting to appreciate Twitter as a potential application that can help certain businesses, but I believe this Slate article by Farhad Manjoo is correct  — “It’s not a Google killer, and it’s not a Facebook killer.”

From the Columbus Dispatch’s Hallett and Niquette — “Governor’s Doubters Grow.” Topside take: It must be three times as bad as indicated for these guys to even write about it. Pathetic quote: ” …. one prominent Democrat who asked not to be named …. fretted that the painful budgetary decisions Strickland is deferring could hurt President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election chances in Ohio.” That’s always the first thing on their mind (sadly, that’s a mostly two-party statement). Also, given its 4:04 a.m. timing on March 8, I wonder if the pair’s report actually got into print.

From RedState’s Brian Faughnan — “Obama Betrayed by His Own Words on Market Collapse” — He told John Harwood at the New York Times that he recognized the need to “pay some attention to market psychology.” Then he didn’t.

Jeff Jacoby — “Whatever Happened to Global Warming?” It’s nowhere to be found, except in the delusional statist environmental enclaves of the Obama adminstration and in the minds of reality-ignoring enviro activists.

Suitably Flip points out (HT Red State) that “even after adjusting for inflation (the Obama “stimulus”) is bigger than the New Deal and the Iraq War combined.”

“Obama musters campaign army for economic fight” — How about mustering some help for Tim Geithner in filling his 14 still-open positions?

“CNN Correspondent Now the Communist Candidate in El Salvador” — The surprise would be if he wasn’t.

National Review (HT Jake Tapper at ABC’s Political Punch via Jennifer Rubin) — “Charles Freeman is a career diplomat, a Saudi apologist, and a savage critic of Israel. He also argues that Beijing did not strike down the Tiananmen Square protesters with sufficient swiftness. Barack Obama proposes to make him head of the National Intelligence Council. It’s an abominable appointment.” But not surprising, and also not subject to Senate confirmation.

Positivity: Shannon’s Little Miracle

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:48 am

From Miami, Florida:

Mar 5, 2009 11:45 pm US/Eastern

It is the most magical moment in a parent’s life, for CBS4′s Shannon Hori and her husband Kendall Cogan, that thrill doubled when their twins, Colt and Cade, were born. But shortly after their birth at Jackson Memorial doctors found Colt’s blood oxygen level was very low; the joy turned to concern and then to absolute shock.

“When they were born we went from this amazing high of having two precious babies,” Shannon says, “and then, a few hours later, we learned that one had a rare congenital heart disease.”

Lung x-rays rang another alarm.

“What surprised us was the fact that the lungs were extremely hazy,” says Dr. Marco Ricci, Cardiac Pediatric Surgeon at Jackson Memorial’s Holtz Children’s Hospital. “The lungs should be black.”

Seeing the abnormal x-rays, doctors ordered an echocardiogram. For Dr. Ricci, it left no doubt that Colt’s tiny heart had a serious problem.

“The right side chamber was significantly larger than the left,” said Dr. Ricci. “It was clear that the baby had a major congenital heart defect which we call total anomalous pulmonary venous connection, in which, essentially, the pulmonary veins that carry the blood back from the lungs to the heart were disconnected from the heart.”

The only option for survival was immediate surgery on Christmas Eve. Shannon’s husband Kendall felt helpless and says that at that point, “We just started praying and counting our blessings that had we been somewhere where they couldn’t determine it, or they couldn’t do anything about it, where would be?” said Cogan.

“We couldn’t even hold Colt in our arms,” Shannon said. “To have that feeling of I just want to hold my baby and he’s going to have surgery, open-heart surgery and we didn’t feel like we could do anything for him. It was just terrifying, waiting those five hours. And they came back and they said it was a success, the procedure is done, his heart appears to be fixed and we all started crying, we were so happy.”

It was the greatest of Christmas gifts. Even though it was almost unbearable to see tiny Colt attached to the two dozen machines that helped keep him alive. Within days, x-rays showed significant improvement, and little by little Colt regained strength.

But then, two weeks later, during a very minor procedure, it was Shannon’s heart that was almost broken.

“I was singing, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ to calm him,” she says, “and, all of a sudden, I saw the worst thing. His face just went blank and the alarms started going off, and the doctors and nurses just started running from every direction to his room and I just started praying to God.”

Colt’s heart had stopped. Dr. Ricci was paged and rushed in to help moments later.

“His heart wasn’t coming back,” said Ricci. “At that point, we understood that the only option was to open his chest.”

At that point, the doctor knew Shannon had to leave the room.

“I can’t even think how difficult it must have been for her, being there and watching her baby, essentially dying,” said Dr. Ricci.

She was terrified. “I just stood outside the room and prayed to God that He would save him, and He did,” said Shannon as she cried.

They did, after pumping Colt’s heart manually and connecting him to a hear-lung machine.

“They were taking out the defibrillator. It was the stuff you see on TV and say ‘this will never happen to me.’ It took 15 minutes, 15 excruciating minutes until someone came out and said, ‘his heart is beating again.’”

It’s a miracle, followed by three long weeks of recovery.

“His brother Cade was at the house, and Colt was in the hospital,” Shannon says, “so we went back and forth. Kendall would spend the night in the hospital; I would stay during the day and see Colt.”

Finally, almost a month and a half after they were born, the twins were finally reunited at home. Now the hope is that Colt will heal soon and catch up this bigger brother.

Shannon will forever be grateful to the hospital and all the medical personnel.

“We are very lucky that we have that great hospital in that community and doctors like Dr. Ricci who save his life, not once, but twice.”  …..

Go here for the rest of the story.