November 15, 2011

As Firm Ends Embryonic Stem Cell Efforts, Reuters Notes Adult Cell Results; AP Totally Fails

Give Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland at Reuters credit for a fair presentation this morning of the relative progress made in adult stem cell research compared to that achieved thus far in the embryonic arena. Maybe it was because they were reporting from London, where the constraints of insufferable political advocacy in journalism seem (sad to say) less present than they are in the U.S. Meanwhile, Health Writer Matthew Perrone at the Associated Press couldn’t even bring himself to recognize the existence of adult stem cells in his Monday afternoon report, and in the process wrote a flat-out fib about the number of FDA-approved stem cell clinical trials taking place.

The occasion for coverage was Geron Corp.’s decision to halt the first government-approved clinical trial involving embryonic stem cells. What follows after the jump are the first six paragraphs from the Reuters analysis:

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AP’s Terse Report on Obama and Expelled ‘Occupy’ Participants Ignores His Original Endorsement

At the Associated Press this afternoon, White House Correspondent Ben Feller relayed the essence of a statement by Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney about how the President believes that, in Feller’s words, “it’s up to New York and other municipalities to decide how much force to use in dealing with Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.” Feller failed to mention both the President’s previous endorsement of the goals of the Occupy protesters, and his inexcusable silence as the encampments have devolved into disease-infested swamps of criminal and antisocial behavior. How convenient.

Most of Feller’s brief report follows:

APonObamaAndOWSclearout111511

It must be nice for the President can be so noncommittal now while Feller lets slide the fact that Obama was a big OWS booster in the beginning:

(Devin Dwyer at ABC News, October 18)

President Obama, who has become a target of the Occupy Wall Street protests sweeping the country, today embraced the economic frustration voiced on the streets and said in an exclusive interview with ABC News that his vision for the U.S. economic system is best suited to resolve protesters’ concerns.

“I understand the frustrations being expressed in those protests,” Obama told ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper in the interview to air this evening on ABC News “Nightline” from Jamestown, N.C.

(At the Weekly Standard’s Blog, October 18)

In an interview that will be aired tonight on ABC News, President Obama continues to express his commitment to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded,” Obama tells ABC News. “And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded.”

The president also compares the protesters to the Tea Party.

(At BlackAgendaReport.com, week of October 10)

Obama Endorses Wall Street Protests

Comedian and social activist Dick Gregory had a “bulletin” for the protesters at the kickoff of the occupation of Freedom Plaza, in Washington, DC, last week: “President Obama endorsed what you all are doing here!”

The final excerpt goes on to note that Gregory’s audience “was skeptical, to put it mildly.” But Obama said what he said, and Gregory interpreted it correctly.

A Republican or conservative who had endorsed an activist movement decaying into lawlessness would have been hounded relentlessly (and appropriately) but the press to see if he or she was still sticking with the activists. With Obama, it’s just another free pass in what has been almost three interrupted years of them.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Bill Whittle’s Afterburner: ‘Israel Thinks Like a Western Nation’ …

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 am

… which is why Israel looks like one, while its neighbors to the east and south look like, well, desert outposts.

Great presentation:

Western thinking: “You build the bridges in your mind” to get to where you want to be. Here’s how, as Whittle explains –

  • Imagination
  • Ambition
  • Skill
  • Work Ethic
  • Perseverance

Also watch Whittle apply these factors to the Occupy crowd. The result is not pretty, but is quite accurate.

The Pro-Life Establishment’s ‘Personhood’ Hostility

Filed under: Activism,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:30 am

I’ve been looking for a long time for a coherent attempt by those who profess to be pro-life to explain to me why pursuing individual state personhood amendments is a bad idea.

Personhood amendments would place into state law, subject to inevitable court challenge, the idea that for legal purposes fertilization is the point at which “personhood” begins. It is a direct attempt to nullify Roe v. Wade by turning the judicial majority’s own words around (“If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [or Roe's case] collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed by the 14th Amendment”).

Sounds like it’s worth a try to me.

So did a lot of people in Mississippi, where a personhood initiative was on the ballot a week ago.

But the Catholic bishop there didn’t take a position on the initiative, and it apparently got no help and perhaps even some opposition from national pro-life organizations. The initiative failed 42%-58%.

Then the rationalizations began, first via Steve Ertelt at LifeNews.com, along with a Sunday item at the Catholic News Agency by Benjamin Mann.

Before I go on, I want to make it very clear that I believe that both gentlemen and the mainstream pro-life movement are well-intentioned. That said, I think that Ertelt, Mann, and those they went to for support are wrong.

I expected to find one truly pertinent argument against personhood somewhere in the two items. I didn’t find one. Per Ertelt, Mann, and those they quoted, it would appear that the only reason to oppose personhood is basically this: “We’re afraid that the Supreme Court won’t like it.”

And if they don’t, exactly how is the prolife movement any worse off? (Roe has already been “affirmed.” So what if another “affirmation” occurs?)

Both gentlemen appear to believe that incremental approaches will eventually work. Mann quotes Joseph Scheidler, who says that “Maybe we need to bring people first to recognize the humanity of the child at 20 weeks, at 10 weeks, at 5 weeks, and save all the babies we can right now.” There’s nothing wrong with that, unless and until you use it as an excuse not to go for complete victory. Then I start having a real problem. Unfortunately, that’s where I believe too much of the pro-life movement is.

For better or worse and after some hesitation, I ended up posting the following comment at Mann’s column (CNA indicates that the comment was “edited by a moderator,” but that was only to remove my blog’s URL, which for some reason it didn’t want listed):

This is pathetic.

Why not at least support trying the personhood approach when the opportunity arises instead of refusing to engage in the fight because you somehow “know” that it would fail in the courts?

I don’t agree with the folks who say “personhood or nothing” because you must try to save those who can be saved in the meantime with measures such as heartbeat bills, but to just give up on personhood because of the Supreme Court’s current makeup, which appears to the be the only thing resembling an argument raised against pursuing personhood efforts by the folks involved is, well … it’s painful to say it because I know the people involved are generally well-intentioned and believe in what they’re doing, but I don’t know what other word fits … cowardly.

I should also have asked, “Do we no longer believe that God can change hearts and minds?”

There’s also the argument, with which I agree, that a truly courageous, conscientious, and committed president could and would declare that when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe, it issued an opinion, not a law (which is a fact), and that for Roe v. Wade to become “the law of the land,” Congress will have to pass an actual law saying that it is (good luck with that). Instead of that impossibility, he (or she) will instead work to have Congress pass a law which will be declared ineligible for judicial review (a constitutionally permissible option) declaring the scientifically obvious truth that human life begins at conception. Oh, and in the meantime, the constitutional foundation known as the Declaration of Independence, which declares that life is a fundamental, God-given right without qualification as to stage, will be in force. Presto, America once again becomes a pro-life nation true to its stated values, and the Supreme Court’s anti-life majority can pound sand. Unfortunately, a credible presidential candidate willing to do all of this has never come along in the 38 years since the Roe ruling.

Reader reax is welcome, though I probably won’t get to review and/or clear comments until late this afternoon.

Pattern: Media Relay Occupiers’ Claims of Non-Involvement, Then Whitewash the Truth When Learned

News13OrlandoLogoBlogger John at Verum Serum has unmasked yet another instance where initial claims by “leaders” at an Occupy site claiming non-involvement with crime fell apart after a short while. Even worse, after his post went up, a subsequent report on the same incident a few hours later scrubbed the truth to again make Occupiers appear not culpable .

After the jump, readers will see the initial and then revised stories about what happened at Occupy Orlando on Monday, each via Local TV station “News 13.”

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Latest PJ Media Column (‘Econo-Misery, and Three Econo-Myths’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Thursday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

The myths are:
1. It’s unrealistic to expect economic growth of 4% or more.
2. Regulations really aren’t that excessive — and besides, they don’t cause jobs losses.
3. The flat economy is hurting government employees, while the private sector is doing okay.

Get the details, as well as even compelling evidence than readers here have previously seen that we are enduring the worst post-recession economy since World War II by far at the column.

More evidence of Myth 2 found after the column was submitted is hopefully coming later.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111511)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Obama-endorsed (proof herehere, and hereOccupy Update:

  • From Washington“Occupiers disrupt Chamber of Commerce meeting on health care.” Expect self-important Occupiers to spend the next year disrupting various events. Expect the press to erroneously characterize these disruptions as “just like” the vocal Tea Party presence at congressional town hall meetings in the summer of 2009.
  • One such planned event disruption is Occupy Wall Street’s plan to “Shut Down Wall Street; Occupy the Subways; Take Times Square” on November 17.
  • Here’s a disruption which happened Sunday which was nicely handled (“Ex-cop boots OWS heckler from congressman’s swearing-in”) — “Kevin Hiltunen, a former NYPD officer, yesterday grabbed an Occupy Wall Street demonstrator by the collar and dragged him out of a Queens school where he’d been heckling US Rep. Bob Turner at the congressman’s swearing-in ceremony.”
  • Observations from Oakland (“OWS Supporters Confirm: Violence an Essential Component”) — “the Occupy Oakland events put the lie to the assertion that only a minor segment of the group is responsible for the violence and that the rest of the protesters do not condone that behavior. … when one of the protesters suggested nonviolence, he was roundly booed and mocked. The idea that the occupiers should be nonviolent was insulting to the movement’s core.”
  • New York City“Downtown residents and business owners angry that their neighborhood has been occupied for two months by the Wall Street demonstration staged a protest of the protest Monday, declaring that City Hall has let it get out of control.” The New York Post has published an estimate of the cost to local businesses of $479,400. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s performance during “Occupy” has been an absolute disgrace. Here’s an idea: Someone tell him that the Occupiers are frying with transfats. He’ll have the cops breaking it all up in no time.
  • Portland — “Bob Downing, central services manager for the (Portland) parks bureau, said (that) … about 70 dump truck loads of trash and debris were hauled from the camps over the weekend. He said about 30 city employees worked Sunday to clear the parks.” Bill the Occupiers (fat chance).
  • As of 10:30 PM Monday night, John Nolte’s incomplete but nevertheless useful Occupy incident count was up to 232. OWSexposed.com’s death toll is up to 7.

As I noted yesterday – Andrew Breitbart asks: “How many more rapes, how many more deaths, how many more acts of violence have to occur before President Obama and the Democratic Party withdraw their support and condemn these lawless protests?” My response: It’s too late for that, Andrew. They’ve had weeks to distance themselves from the disgusting criminal mayhem, and haven’t. They own it now and they always will. No amount of attempted distancing from this point on can change that.

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Given the Michael Lerner sighting in one of the “Occupy” entries above, I thought I would remind readers who are either too young or don’t have as much useless trivia in their heads as yours truly that in 1993, in the initial euphoria of their arrival at the White House, the Clintons embraced Lerner’s “Politics of Meaning,” some of the mushiest, most irrelevant crap ever foisted on the public. There’s a one-word answer to the supposedly challenging dilemmas Mrs. Clinton cited in the linked speech: Christianity.

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One reason why Newsweek (or “Newsweak,” as is my preference) has experienced yet another management shakeup as it continues its downward spiral into irrelevance is garbage like this item (HT to an emailer) about the supposed hypocrisy of conservative congresspersons asking for what is mostly already legally allocated money to be spent expeditiously and/or sent to constituent entities who are waiting for it. What a complete nothingburger of a story. Most of what it tries seems to reek of desperation.

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California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown “will request billions for high-speed rail project.” Billions the state doesn’t have, the feds don’t have, and which the state’s residents will hardly ever use.

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A Comparison:

  • A married mother of two girls who was already aggressively using coupons was feeding her family for $400 per month.
  • Then she dove into once-a-month cooking and cut the monthly food bill down to $200 (she says she spent $170 but also went out a few times for “for butter, milk and eggs,” so I’m padding it a little). The approach also has some perhaps unexpected fringe benefits.
  • The Maximum Monthly Allotment in the Food Stamp program for 2009-2010 was $668 — and this duplicates any free school breakfasts, lunches, and in some cases even dinners the kids may receive.

Don’t tell me we can’t significantly reduce federal spending without making people legitimately suffer.

Positivity: Tennessee grabs last-second kicker off his frat house couch

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Knoxville (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

Tue Nov 08 07:20am EST

It was 6:10 p.m. when University of Tennessee student Derrick Brodus got the call.

He was lying on the couch in his frat house, waiting for the Tennessee-Middle Tennessee game to start at 7 p.m. when the football office rang and told him it was sending a police escort to get him to the stadium immediately.

“I thought it was a dream,” Brodus said. “I was just laying on my couch relaxing and I answer my phone and they just tell me that I need to come to the stadium as soon as possible.”

Minutes before that call, Tennessee had run out of kickers. Starter Michael Palardy had injured himself during Thursday’s practice, and backup Chip Rhome pulled a muscle during pregame warmups. That left Brodus, a freshman walk-on, as the Vols’ only option.

“[Rhome] went out there like the kickers do before pregame and they all come back in a panic,” coach Derek Dooley recounted after the game. “I said ‘let’s get an APB out on Brodus.’ It’s a good thing he wasn’t having too much fun on a Saturday afternoon. …

Go here for the rest of the story.