September 7, 2010

AP Item on Judge’s Embryonic Stem Cell Action Mostly Avoids Naming Adult Cells, Dodges Efficacy Issues

MuscleStemCellsIn a Tuesday evening report, Associated Press Writer Jesse L. Holland engaged in a great deal of word massage which appears to have been designed to mislead relative newcomers to discussions about stem cell research.

The news concerned Federal Judge Royce Lamberth’s refusal of the federal government’s request that he lift his August 23 order blocking federal funding for embryonic stem cell research during the appeals process.

Less-informed readers could be excused for believing, at least through first nine of the eleven tortured paragraphs in Holland’s report, that stem cells can only be obtained from human embryos. In Paragraph 10, Holland finally acknowledged the existence of adult stem cells, but then dubiously implied that the litigation was brought solely because the plaintiffs don’t want competition from embryonic research. The AP writer also ignored a fine piece written in early August by wire service colleague Malcolm Ritter (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), who accurately reported that “Adult stem cell research (is) far ahead of embryonic.”

What follows are several paragraphs from Holland’s horror, including a ridiculous title falsely implying that no federal funds are going into any kind of stem cell research (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Judge won’t let stem cell money keep flowing

A federal judge on Tuesday refused to lift his order blocking federal funding for some stem cell research, saying that a “parade of horribles” predicted by federal officials would not happen.

Medical researchers value stem cells because they are master cells that can turn into any tissue of the body. Research eventually could lead to cures for spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and other ailments.

The Justice Department argued in court papers last week that stopping the research could cause “irrevocable harm to the millions of extremely sick or injured people who stand to benefit … as well as to the defendants, the scientific community and the taxpayers who have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on such research through public funding of projects which will now be forced to shut down and, in many cases, scrapped altogether.”

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected that argument in refusing to lift the restraining order he signed after ruling that the argument in a pending lawsuit – that the research violates the intent of a 1996 law prohibiting use of taxpayer dollars in work that destroys a human embryo – was likely to succeed.

… The scientists suing to stop the research “agree that this court’s order does not even address the Bush administration guidelines, or whether NIH could return to those guidelines,” Lamberth wrote in his latest order. “The prior guidelines, of course, allowed research only on existing stem cell lines, foreclosing additional destruction of embryos. Plaintiffs also agree that projects previously awarded and funded are not affected by this court’s order.”

(Paragraph 10 — Ed.)

The lawsuit was filed by two scientists who argued that Obama’s expansion jeopardized their ability to win government funding for research using adult stem cells – ones that have already matured to create specific types of tissues – because it will mean extra competition.

Here are a few paragraphs from the report by Malcolm Ritter that Holland ignored:

For all the emotional debate that began about a decade ago on allowing the use of embryonic stem cells, it’s adult stem cells that are in human testing today. An extensive review of stem cell projects and interviews with two dozen experts reveal a wide range of potential treatments.

… Adult stem cells are being studied in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, heart attacks and diabetes. Some early results suggest stem cells can help some patients avoid leg amputation. Recently, researchers reported that they restored vision to patients whose eyes were damaged by chemicals.

Apart from these efforts, transplants of adult stem cells have become a standard lifesaving therapy for perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.

… in the near term, embryonic stem cells are more likely to pay off as lab tools, for learning about the roots of disease and screening potential drugs.

The fact that so much is being accomplished with adult stem cells further buttresses the correctness of Lamberth’s ruling. It’s reasonable to contend that anything embryonic cells may someday in theory be able to do, adult cells are doing now, with the rest to follow in fairly short order. So why do researchthat involves killing embryos at all?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

About Obama’s ‘They Talk About Me Like a Dog’ Comment

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:31 pm

I don’t know if the President’s assessment about how “interest groups” talk about him is accurate. But in one proven instance, treating him as if he is one has worked pretty well.

Two weeks ago in a Cleveland speech, House Republican Leader John Boehner jerked Obama’s chain by calling on the President to fire his economic team.

What is Obama doing now that Boehner has thrown him a bone? Well, as if on command, Obama is running Pavlov-like to Cleveland to bark out some kind of riposte.

This is no exaggeration. The White House itself is obediently admitting it:

The White House today confirmed that President Obama’s planned economic speech tomorrow in Cleveland can be taken as a direct response to an earlier speech there by House Republican leader John Boehner in which Boehner called on the president to fire his economic team.

Asked at his daily briefing if the White House chose Cleveland for the president’s speech because Boehner had given his own speech on the economy there, spokesman Robert Gibbs said simply, “yes.”

So yeah, in this instance at least, Boehner threw a bone out there, and the president definitely responded as he thinks certain others see him. At long last, our Commander in Chief has a valid point.

I look forward to Obama’s discussing how wondrous, predominantly Democratic Party policies have taken Cleveland from a population of 915,000 in the 1950 to 435,000 today. Will anyone in the press dog him with meaningful questions about that, or collar him when he performs his usual rhetorical dodges?

The more times Obama can be leashed into Ohio by having someone like Boehner throw a tempting bone at him, the better. Nothing will sink Democratic candidates faster than speeches in support of or pics taken with our pug, I mean Punk, President.

Cincy Media Mostly Nix Ohio Gov. Strickland’s Reference to GOP as ‘Overrun by Extremist Elements’ at Labor Picnic

StricklandAtConey090610

It’s interesting, and more than a little frustrating, to see how inflammatory words in speeches delivered by liberal and leftist politicians that might cast them in a bad light don’t seem to make much news.

One such example occurred in a speech yesterday at Cincinnati’s Coney Island, on the occasion of the AFL-CIO’s huge annual picnic there. At that event, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland lashed out at the party of gubernatorial opponent John Kasich as, according to one local reporter, “overrun by extremist elements.”

I don’t know that this is exactly what Strickland said, but it seems highly unlikely that veteran WLWT reporter John London would have strung those words together on his own.

Strickland’s characterization of his opposition as relayed by London, which you will find at this Bing video and also at WLWT’s own web site, “somehow” didn’t make it into the the station’s accompanying text report on the event, which, contrary to what I believe is the norm at the station, doesn’t in any way follow the script of the London’s coverage. The “overrun by extremist elements” reference also was not noted at either of the city’s two other news-following TV stations which covered the event (here and here), nor in Howard Wilkinson’s coverage at Gannett’s Cincinnati Enquirer. Imagine that.

Here is the first 70% or so of the verbiage in the WLWT broadcast:

Strickland (during speech): What we are fighting for is the middle class of Ohio and America!

Jack Atherton (in-studio co-host): Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio. Labor Day usually means you get a day off from work. But too many Tri-Staters are out of work altogether, and the governor was reminded today campaigning at Coney Island.

Sheree Paolello (the other co-host): Now with the poor economy and President Obama calling for another $50 billion program to improve roads and runways, people had a lot to say today, and News 5′s is John London is live with reaction to the Governor’s visit today. John?

John London: Well, Sheree, he gave them matches for the bonfire. He blamed Wall Street greed for the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in Ohio, declared the Republican Party has been overrun by extremist elements, shouted “Hell no, we won’t give the state over to them!” This was Governor Ted Strickland, gloves off, some three weeks before the start of early voting.

(begin newsreel with John London voiceover) Ohio’s Governor arrived with a four-letter word on his lips: Jobs.

Candidates of every political stripe can’t say it or promise it enough.

Strickland (during speech): What we are fighting for is the middle class of Ohio –

London: But can any of them deliver it?

Erin Kramer, Director, SEIU Local 1: Our members do well when cities do well. And cities do well when people are working.

London: As if to hammer home the point, many of these union workers and their families are suffering: laid-off, worried, discouraged. Here’s what Governor Strickland told us after blasting what he termed “Wall Street greed.”

Strickland: This recovery is starting to take hold, but this is not a guarantee that, that we will not have a double-dip recession.

London: The mood lightens out here if you let it. Pete Wagner’s orchestra sprinkled a little Dixieland into what is a combination event: one part picnic, two parts politics.

Doug Sizemore, AFL-CIO labor leader: The economy that we’re in right now is due to the failed policies of the Bush administration.

London: The Democrat candidates mine this turf each Labor Day — Thousands of union families within campaign reach, perhaps a little fewer this time as mid-term elections approach. As one worker put it: “There have been so many layoffs.”

Strickland: Quite frankly, Ohio is starting to see signs of growth.

London: And what the Governor means by that is that tax revenue in the state is exceeding projections, not by much, but by a little bit. He continues to acknowledge that unemployment remains a huge problem. …

Anyone who knows anything about the hidebound Ohio Republican Party would double over in laughter at any description of them as “extremists.” The ORP was so hostile to and felt so threatened by Tea Party insurgent candidates for statewide office and its Central Committee — candidates who would only be considered unwanted “extremists” by people who also believe this country’s Founders were — that it spent large sums of money on misleading Tea Party-pretentious campaign literature and on Election Day poll watchers who handed out slate cards to defeat them in the May primary.

Much of the rest of London’s report unfortunately segues to what I would describe as a “long hot summer” riff, even though summer is over, the message being that crime won’t come down until employment goes up.

Going back to Strickland — It must be nice to be able to fire up the base mostly without having to worry about whether your inflammatory language will escape the confines of the venue where your speech is taking place. It’s highly unlikely that a Republican or conservative at an open event covered by the press would be that lucky.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

WSJ Nails It in ‘The Obama Economy’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

stimulus-vs-unemployment-june2010-dotssmallWell, the Journal’s editorialists nailed everything except the title, because it’s really the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy. The President couldn’t have done this on his own without the economic vandalism inherent in the legislation passed by Nancy Pelosi’s House and Harry Reid’s Senate.

Otherwise, it dissects, slices, and dices, as only the Journal can.

Read the whole thing. Here are some excerpts (bolds and internal links are mine):

The Obama Economy
How trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus produced a 1.6% recovery.

… So two months before an election, and 19 months after the mother of all spending programs, President Obama said yesterday he’s rolling out one more plan to stimulate the economy. We’ll discuss the details when they’re released, but the effort itself is a tacit admission that his earlier proposals have flopped.

never before has government spent so much and intervened so directly in credit allocation to spur growth, yet the results have been mediocre at best. In return for adding nearly $3 trillion in federal debt in two years, we still have 14.9 million unemployed. What happened?

… The explanations from the White House and liberal economists boil down to three: The stimulus was too small, Republicans blocked better policies, and this recession is different because it began in a financial meltdown. …

… On a too-small stimulus, this isn’t what Democrats or most Keynesian economists told us at the time. Even Paul Krugman, who now denies intellectual paternity for this economy, wrote on November 14, 2008 that “My own back-of-the-envelope calculations say that the package should be huge, on the order of $600 billion.” The White House raised him by 33% two months later, but now we’re told that wasn’t enough.

Given that the stimulus program was so poorly structured and so overtly politicized, how do we know that, say, $500 billion more would have made a difference even on Keynesian terms? The money for government spending has to come from somewhere, which means from the private economy. Our guess is that by ensuring even higher debt and implying higher taxes, a bigger spending stimulus would have done even more harm.

As for blaming the Republicans, with only 40 and then 41 Senators they couldn’t stop so much as a swinging door. The GOP couldn’t even block the recent $10 billion teachers union bailout. The only major Obama priorities that haven’t passed—cap and tax and union card check—were blocked by a handful of Democrats who finally said “no mas.” No Administration since LBJ’s in 1965 has passed so much of its agenda in one Congress—which is precisely the problem.

… the real roots of Mr. Obama’s economic problems are intellectual and political. The Administration rejected marginal-rate tax cuts that worked in the 1960s and 1980s because they would have helped the rich, in favor of a Keynesian spending binge that has stimulated little except government. More broadly, Democrats purposely used the recession as a political opening to redistribute income, reverse the free-market reforms of the Reagan era, and put government at the commanding heights of economic decision-making.

Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress have succeeded in doing all of this despite the growing opposition of the American people, who are now enduring the results. The only path back to robust growth and prosperity is to stop this agenda dead in its tracks, and then by stages to reverse it. These are the economic stakes in November.

In the case of ObamaCare, the real answer has nothing to do with stages, and everything to do with outright repeal.

As to the unique element of the recession beginning in “a financial meltdown,” it’s important to note four things:

  • The jury is out, but there is strong evidence that the crisis atmosphere of September 2008 was contrived.
  • Democratic crony companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac directly caused said meltdown over a 15-year period.
  • Ben Bernanke’s “quantitative easing” is what has kept its effects from becoming more serious — so far.
  • Administration efforts to fend off foreclosures and soften the housing market’s landing have only extended and spread its pain.

The Journal also rips Obama and his administration for “trashing business and bankers as greedy profiteers,” and “spread(ing) fear and … uncertainty.” If Team Obama doesn’t let go of that, very little else of what it does or tries to do will matter. Businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors will continue what has substantively become a two-plus-year slow-motion exercise in “Going Galt.”

(Graphic source: Innocent Bystanders)

Your Weekly Rob Portman Counterpoint: ‘Figure It Out’?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:56 am

Previous posts:

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Though it’s way too early for overconfidence, so far U.S. Senate candidate and BizzyBlog advertiser Rob Portman has been one of the luckiest guys on the face of the earth. He’s facing perhaps the worst political candidate known to mankind in Lee Fisher, and philosophically, he’s standing on the sidelines in one of the few years when not being a Democrat will in many cases be enough to win (or so it seems).

Ohioans aren’t so lucky. The latest evidence is Portman’s latest ad, where he in essence tells viewers that he really doesn’t have a handle on solutions to the Buckeye State’s economic malaise (bolds are mine):

Jane Portman: “Well, Rob and I met on a blind date.”

Rob Portman: “On a blind date, and I totally lucked out.”

Jane Portman: “We have three kids.”

Rob Portman: “We want our kids to be able to have a future here in Ohio, and we are falling behind. Our unemployment rate in Ohio is now over 10 percent. We’ve got to figure this out, and figure it out quickly.

“I mean, we’ve still got the best work force in the world. And part of the Portman plan for jobs that we’ve laid out is to provide some hope, to let people know there is an alternative. There’s a different way to approach our tax system, our regulation system. You know, there are solutions and there is a better way.

“I’m Rob Portman, and I approve this message.”

“We’ve got to figure this out”?(!)

Silly me. Here I thought the “Portman Plan for Jobs” was a collection of solutions. Now we see that it’s a mere vehicle of “hope.” We were force-fed enough “hope” to last us a lifetime by Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, and look where we are now.

With any other candidate besides Lee Fisher, in any other year besides 2010, this ad would put Rob Portman’s candidacy on life support.

Assuming they can bring themselves to vote for him, sensible conservatives — meaning the large majority of Buckeye State voters — are the ones who will be embarking on the electoral equivalent of a blind date with Rob Portman. Will he turn out to be an ugly RINO like Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, or a genuine constitution-based conservative who will bring government back to its essential role? Though the answer is “No one can possibly know,” Portman’s track record indicates that the likely result will be “closer to the former than the latter.”

Positivity: Brother of Michigan player takes an amazing walk

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Ann Arbor, Michigan:

Doctors told Brock Mealer he would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life.

On Saturday, he led the Michigan Wolverines on the field.

“This is the start of a new chapter,” he said. “The next chapter is to getting rid of one cane, and getting rid of the next cane.”

The brother of offensive lineman Elliott Mealer, Brock used two canes to steady himself and fire up the team and the largest crowd to attend a football game before Michigan went on to rout Connecticut 30-10.

Mealer was told he wouldn’t walk again after he and Elliott survived a car accident on Christmas Eve in 2007 that killed their father and Elliott’s girlfriend.

“Going into it, I was trying to focus more on the game, but it was definitely emotional,” Elliott said. “For him to be able to do that is great, literally a stepping stone for him to continue to push on.”

Mealer has endured hours of rehabilitation with the football program’s strength and conditioning coaches along with therapists and physicians at the University of Michigan’s hospital in a relentless quest to get around on his own two feet.

His friends and family had seen him walk – sometimes on his own or with a cane – but this was different – in front of 113,090 fans at the new-look Big House. …

Go here for the rest of the story.