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Arnold to the Rescue

We had a great segment on Friday when Annie Lorenzen came over to discuss stem cell research. As many of you may already know, Arnold authorized the loan of $150 million from the state to keep stem cell research alive in California. He obviously, and thankfully, did this in response to President Bush’s veto of federal funding for stem cell research earlier last week, an obvious concession to the right wing.

Annie took a pretty heavy beating, which surprised even me. I usually don’t get THAT many callers agreeing with me, but I would like to think that reasonable people can come together and see the importance of this kind of research. It amazes me that thousands of people will have to suffer longer because our president felt the need to make a political statement.

Frank in SLO forwarded me this posting about the issue that he found on the Internet. I share it with you for your consideration:

“Now that George W. Bush, aided by Congressional Republicans and the Religious Right, has ruined immediate hope of meaningful progress on stem cell research, it’s time for Democrats to tell them to put up or shut up on their strident claims that a child is born almost the minute two people even discuss conception.

One of the primary arguments against federal funding of stem cell research was the alleged viability of the 400,000 frozen embryos in storage at fertility clinics throughout the country.

Sam Brownback (R-KS), one of the Senate’s major stem cell opponents, even went through the theater of holding a press conference showcasing children whose parents adopted them as frozen embryos from fertility clinics –the so-called “snowflake babies.”

“What we’re talking about in this debate is the use of embryos, young humans, as raw materials, raw material in research, raw material to exploit,” said Brownback.

Bush himself made many similar statements and his spokesman, Tony Snow, even said that Bush considers it murder to conduct stem cell research.

“What the President has said is that he doesn’t want human life destroyed. Now, you may consider that insignificant, but the President has said…. believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder; he’s one of them,” said Snow. “The simple answer is he thinks murder is wrong. The President is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something that is living and making it dead for the purpose of research.”

Senate and House Democratic leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) need to call these guys on their pious claims and immediately propose legislation that would fund an adoption program for all 400,000 of the frozen embryos stored throughout America. The first people who should step up to the plate and adopt one of these microscopic entities are the 37 Senators who voted against the stem cell research bill on Tuesday and the 193 members of the House who refused to override Bush’s veto of the bill yesterday. Heck, the Bush family alone could probably adopt a couple hundred of them.

That leaves only about 399,500 of the little cells to find homes for, which is where Bush can start a faith-based, Christian program and enlist the help of James Dobson, at the ultraconservative Focus on the Family, who called the stem cell bill “barbarous legislation” and lauded the veto, calling Bush “a man of his word and a champion for the pre-born.”

With the 1.5 million listeners they claim for their daily radio broadcast and the combined circulation of about 2.3 million subscribers for their magazines, Focus on the Family alone should be able to provide cozy little Petri dishes for the remaining cells by the end of July.

But if, by any chance, they turn out to be a bunch of hypocrites who don’t really see these as living beings or who just don’t give a damn enough to help them, Bush can always hit up those God-fearing — and science-fearing — people at the Family Research Council (FRC).

“Rather than defend human dignity, for the first time in U.S. history a majority of Senators approved legislation to use taxpayers’ money for research requiring the destruction of human life,” said FRC Chief Taliban, Tony Perkins. “The President is absolutely right to veto this legislation.”

With that kind of endorsement, Perkins should have no trouble getting his large, compassionate flock to adopt a stem cell or 10.

And think of what a win-win this is for everyone involved: The 400,000 cells will get a home with the people who claim to care about them the most. And the proud, new, exclusively-heterosexual “parents” will get an unprecedented amount of time to get the embryo’s room ready, prep the other children for a new brother or sister and, of course, adjust the family finances for a new mouth to feed and a new family member who will need health care once they’re bigger than the head of a pin.

I think this will work out just fine. Unless Congressional Republicans vote against it — or Bush uses his second veto.”

A final reminder of things coming up. On Monday, we have Chris Molnar, just back from Guantanomo where he was the lead chaplain for 18 months — I suspect he has some thoughts to share. Also, Thursday will be the monthly edition of Radio-Tradio, swap meet on the air.

Have a good weekend!

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  1. Rich from Paso
    July 23, 2006 at 4:35 am

    What an interesting quandry you have created, Dave. I think that a national embryo adoption program would be brilliant. Only I think that both cnservative and liberal parents should be open to the program. Hell, I don’t really care if those that control the rights to the embryo wanted to give it to a gay or lesbian couple. I really don’t, despite the claims of the author that conservatives only want hetrosexual couples to adopt.
    While on the subject of the author… What’s with the FRC guy being called the Chief Taliban anyway? That was uncalled for. I find it strange that liberals decry “hate speach” yet are the first to do it. Liberals decry the “stiffling of debate” yet are the first to shout Ann Coulter down or invoke political correctness. Liberals are the hypocrits they wish the conservatives to be.

    But back on topic, I agree with the author, there really should be an embryo adoption program. Not a phony let’s-show-conservative-hypocracy program, but a real one. By the way, I have four kids and I am not one of the so-called “rich Republicans” so I won’t be signing up for the program. Does that make me a hypocric, or just someone not wanting to stand in the way of another couple’s dream of a family of their own?

  2. Bob from San Luis
    July 23, 2006 at 7:34 am

    Rich: It’s pretty ironic that you would take the embryo adoption suggestion seriously, seeing how it was meant to emphasize how impractical such a program would be. 100 to 150 cells that have no definition as to bone, skin, organs or even blood, and people really believe that utilizing what will be discarded is immoral? I do respect that some people have a problem with EVF as somehow equalling “cloning” or genetic manipulation, but these lines of cells only are viable for the intended use for a limited time. When that time rolls around that the cells either need to used or discarded, why is it that the extreme pro-lifers won’t consider the possibility that the research those cell lines could lead to a whole host of potential cures or treatments? If you are a Christian and are objecting based on your religious beliefs, consider that God allowed his son to be sacrificed to help the remaining souls become true believers. Do you not see a parallel?
    As for the “Taliban” comment, didn’t Karl Rove suggest that Max Cleeland be compared to bin Laden during the ’02 Senate race in Georgia? Another consideration is to look at what it means to compare an American religious leader to a “Taliban” and see if there is any similarity. “Taliban” effectively translates to “religious students”, and the large groups that transformed themselves into mujahideen (holy warriors) lead to the ultra conservative approach of banning all “frivolous” behavior such as kite flying, eliminated western influence by banning tv, radio and the internet and subjugated women to a position of secondary citizen, removing all females from public schools, requiring that they be covered head to foot with the threat of having their fingertips cut off if they wore fingernail polish, and requiring that every woman going out into public had to be accompanied by a related adult male. Rich, I don’t see why you are upset, certain Christian sects would love to have that much control, and reading the FAQs at the FRC’s website, the difference is between the FRC and the real Taliban is great, but somehow I get the feeling that in certain instances the FRC would like to have as much say over the American society as the Taliban still have over the Afghani society.
    Rich, as for being considered a hypocrite because you would like to see a real embryo adoption program even though you would not choose to participate, why would the program have to be only for the “rich Republicans”? If the program were going to using taxpayer funds, wouldn’t that mean it was going to subsidized to defray all or a major part of the costs involved? I still think you are trying to be somewhat “cute” with your suggestion, and the real, current need for research should give this cause reason enough to be considered seriously.

  3. Rich from Paso
    July 23, 2006 at 8:06 am

    You’re right, Bob. Let’s just start cranking out embryos until every disease that can be cured by them is cured. Take as much as you want, you’ll just make more, afterall its just a glob of protoplasm, not a human life, right? Property to be used or discarded, right? Sad to see that Ann Coulter is right in that liberals lack a soul to understadn the meaning of “life”.

  4. Spectator
    July 24, 2006 at 3:05 am

    Hey Hey Hey! This debate is about federal funding. Plenty private money going into this! Let those who believe in it fund it. Anybody picketing reseach centers? Why spend my money? And I do not care one way or another about religious belief fermenting this debate.

    What ever happened to tolerance of religious belief?

    Note to Congleton: The only reason you are the number 1 local talk show host is that you are the only one.

  5. Kirk In SLO
    July 24, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    It seems many liberals tolerate religion as long as it’s not Christianity.

    Personally, I don’t have an ethical or moral issue with stem cell research. I don’t think it’s the panacea that some are hoping for, but I think science needs to be able to explore it and see what can be discovered.

    I can see the perspective of the other side, though. Those that are strongly opposed to stem cell research would be forced to support it financially if federal funding was made available.

    Where do we draw the line? Liberals get upset if we try to teach gun safety in schools, assuming the NRA is trying to indoctrinate the youth. Conservative Christians get upset when the government funds groups like Planned Parenthood, a provider of (among other things) abortions.

    Obviously government isn’t able to please everyone, and needs to walk a fine line in deciding what to fund.

    Personally, I think the private sector can fund this research. I think Arnold is a big dumb idiot for his support of the California stem cell initiative, and this most recent loan of funds.

    California is broke, and giving money to researchers as a way to align yourself with the left and have a shot in hell at winning a gubernatorial reelection is pretty freaking irresponsible.

  6. Anonymous
    July 25, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    Back up the trolley! Overturn Roe V Wade and families won’t need to adopt embryos, they can adopt babies! We need to make teen mothers and women with unwanted pregnancies heroes for doing this, but rather we sneer at them for being “loose”. Get ready because Roe is going down. It was doomed from the day the courts turned it head away from precedence and law.
    I for one don’t want any more of my tax dollars trickling into the hands of legal butchers! You should all be ashamed. But then asking a liberal to have a heart or a conscience is like asking the lion not to eat the lamb!

  7. Bob from San Luis
    July 25, 2006 at 11:49 pm

    No one is going to “start cranking out the embryos…” as you put it Rich, there was a law voted on to prohibit such an approach. Senate Bill 3504, voted for by both of our Democrat Senators is directed at the very idea that we can “crank out the embryos..”, thank you very much.
    Rich, you had every right leaning religious leader to quote, many on the right who are not in religion but do speak with credibility, and you choose Ann Coulter to talk about liberals lacking a soul? “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”- that Ann Coulter? How many Americans were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing? How many pre-school kids died in that blast? And you want to quote Ann Coulter? Shame on you Rich; perhaps I was a bit hasty a few threads ago when I said you spoke from the heart, sounds like a different organ is doing the speaking here, certainly not your heart.
    As for Roe v. Wade being overturned, won’t happen. There wouldn’t be any wedge issues to get the “values voters” (right leaning, voting against their best interests) to the polls if Roe is overturned, they (the Republican Leadership) still need that wedge issue.

  8. Rich from Paso
    July 26, 2006 at 4:25 am

    Don’t give me your pious crap, Bob. Half of everything Ann Coulter says is hyperbole and the other half is bombast to drive liberals like you crazy. She is 100% right that liberals lack a respect for life. Roe v. Wade will be overturned one day soon. Why? Because the prenumbra of a enigma wrapped in a mystery or whatever the hell Justice Blackmun was talking about doesn’t exist anywhere in the constitution. It exists only because liberal justices on the spreme court wanted Roe (who has since recanted her positions and is anti-abortion) to be able to snuff her baby. It is an inherently bad law that has caused the execution of millions of potential liberal voters (not to mention just simple human beings) on the grounds of a woman’s “choice”. How sad the world has become when liberal woman everywhere define their personal power by their ability to terminate a life. If that isn’t so Why does Planned Parenthood offer abortion as the first and only remedy for a pregnant girl? Why did Hillary and Teddy “chappaquidick” Kennedy speak out against the Senate bill nmaking it illegal to take a teenager across state lines for an abortion? By the way, it’s already illegal, it’s called kidnapping. Because liberals, Republican or Democrat, gain power from the pro-death liberal groups like NARAL. The Liberal Left are the most self-centered people in America and are 180 degrees out of phase with morality and reality.

  9. Bob from San Luis
    July 28, 2006 at 5:58 am

    So, Rich, half of what A.C. spews is hyperbole and the other half is bombast; why has no one on the right ever denounced her or her “bombast”? What is it about her or other extremists on the right that has elicited a deafening silence that amounts to a tacit approval of those extreme viewpoints? Any time someone on the left puts out an extreme view, the right cries out about how evil the entire left is because of the words of one individual, but there is no like condemnation of the right; a double standard?
    As for Roe v. Wade being “an inherently bad law”, have you read the book “Freakonomics” by Levit and Dubner? They make a very controversial claim that the reduction of crime in the nineties wasn’t due to better police techniques or better education or anything else, but, they put forth the theory that it was the implementation of Roe v. Wade and the availability of legal abortions that led to the reduced crime rates. Believe me, I was very uncomfortable in reading their supposition and conclusion, but there is a possibility that there is some credence to their theory. You and I and every man in this country or in the world can debate the morality of legalized abortion all we want, but until men can get pregnant we have no right to tell women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. As for Planned Parenthood, off of their website they have a list of 17 services that they offer, and legal abortion is listed at number 13. Here is the link to their page showing their list of services if anyone wishes to confirm what I am saying. NARAL is a little bit different, in that their mission statement has 3 goals, preventing unwanted pregnancies, bearing healthy children, and accessing safe, legal abortion. Here is their link, if anyone is interested. I do understand that many who oppose abortion do so out of a belief that all human life is sacred; so why do most who feel that way support the death sentence for convicted murderers?
    This thread started out talking about research into the viability of fetal stem cells as a potential source for cures and/or treatments for people who at this time have no hope for a cure or even an improvement in the quality of their life right now, research that involves 100 to 150 cells that are no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. There is no distinction between any of those cells as to whether they will be bone cells or muscle tissue or even blood and they are frozen right now, with a limited storage time. If these cells are not utilized in some manner, be it for en-vitro fertilization or stem cell research, they will be destroyed; is that not the same as “killing” a potential human life?

  10. Rich from Paso
    July 28, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    Bob, I don’t think that Ann Coulter’s (have to use abbreviations because you can’t bring yourself to write “ann Coulter” or don’t know how to spell her name?) opinion’s aren’t wrong necessarily just drowned out in her bombbast. Like the broohaha over the 9/11 widows. What she said is right (from her point of view) insomuchas that they are expoliting the fact that their husbands died at the WTC for political gain and are thus immune from scrutany. Just like Cindy Sheehan. She exploits the fact that her son died in Iraq after volunteering for a second tour in Iraq. Not only that, her whole celebrity began because she demanded special treatment from Pres. Bush; a second personal visit from him. Stop, stop, stop with your sanctamoneous outrage over my last comments. They are facts and the left gets their panties in a bunch anytime anyone dares criticize “greiving widows” or a “grieving mom” while they are blasting Bush on GMA or visiting Hugo Chavez and trashing America.

    (some sanctamoneous outrage) How dare you cite “freaknomics”!! Bill Bennett said exactly the same thing you did and was crucified in the media so therefore you need to be crucified for daring to utter the exact same point he made about the book. Shame shame shame on you Bob. You deserve the same scorn, unless… you are seeking the same double standard that you claim we on the right use. Seriously, “Freaknomics” was stupid because the author tries to link two unrelated things that only God could know the true effects of.

    I have absolutely no problem vigorously supporting the death penalty because pieces of human excrement like Tookie Williams were guilty of serious crimes against all society. He created the largest most murderous gang in American history which resulted in thousands of deaths across America. He was personally responsible for the deaths of the four innocent people he executed at close range. A fetus did not one thing they should be executed for except being the “product of conception” inside a woman that didn’t get a rat’s ass about the potential of the life in her womb. That is the inherent difference between the evils of abortion and the morally correct act of executing the murderers of our society. Disagree with me all you want, but logically, ethically and morally it makes common sense.

    So what is the link between stem cell research and abortion? Where do you think that fetal stem cells come from? From aborted fetuses or destroyed embryoes, that’s where. I can hear you know, “Can’t make an omlet without breaking a few eggs”, right? Well, by all accounts, it will take tens of thousands of fetuses destroyed in the name of research in order to find one potential cure. Anyone advocating fetal stem cell research is doing so on the hope that it will result in a cure for something. Kerry and Edwards pandered to America during the 04 campaign that Christopher Reeve would walk agian if a few thousand fetuses were harvested. Same with Micheal J Fox and even Nancy and Ron Reagan. Fetal stem cell research is going down the slippery slope to Eugenics and an Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” nightmare.

  11. Bob from San Luis
    July 29, 2006 at 7:18 am

    Rich: I made a mistake; the term is embryonic stem cell research, not fetal stem cell research. Once again, the “embryos” that the right to lifer’s want to protect are 100 to 150 cells that have no identifying distinction as to what they could become, be it skin cells, muscle or bone or blood cells. Of course fetal research would be gruesome, a fetus has some recognizable features, depending on the time of development. No one is suggesting that any fetus be used for medical research, at least no one I am aware of, or have read about.
    Ann Coulter: yes I can spell it. “What she said is right (from her point of view)”; her point of view is exactly what the problem with her is. Disagree with any of the widows of 9/11 and/or Cindy Sheehan all you want; just do it with some modicum of respect, please. You don’t have to belittle someone who has a different viewpoint, just make your point and let it stand on its merit. As for your complaint about Cindy Sheehan’s “celebrity”, please remember that when she started her vigil in Crawford, she didn’t call the media to come look at or hear her; she went there on her own dime, simply camped out with her signs and the media pounced on her, more because of how President Bush ignored her. That was the main crux of that whole circus, the fact that the President would not only not speak to her, but he wouldn’t send anyone of his aides to speak with Cindy. That was the story.
    As for “Freakonomics”, I did say that I was very uncomfortable with their assertions and if you only looked at the numbers they relied on, there might be a case to be made. I am still uncomfortable with their assertion on the abortion claim, but a few other of their points do seem to have some validity.

  12. Rich from Paso
    July 29, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    Cindy Sheehan may have traveled down there on her own dime, but she had no problem accepting Michael Moore’s money when it came time to turn the Crawford Campout into a circus. Read this link here about it. You didn’t refute that she was looking for special treatment with a second meeting with Pres. Bush which the first meeting was detailed here. The whole Sheehan family came out against her vigil becasue she has always been a liberal loony activist. I believe that Cindy Sheehan’s efforts requires more deaths in Iraq or her movement, and therefore, she becomes irrelevant. If she hadn’t been dragging her son’s corpse (figuratively speaking) around with her, would she have ever in her life had a chance to meet Hugo Chavez or get thrown out of the State of the Union address? No way in hell is the only correct answer. That to me is ghoulish of a “grieving mother” to exploit her son’s death like that. Again, one more time with feeling, Casey Sheehan volunteered for second tour in Iraq and President Bush owe Cindy nothing!! Least of all an apology.

    What are the other points in “freaknomics” if you agree with them and not the abortion = low crime rate that you actually posted?

  13. Bob from San Luis
    July 30, 2006 at 5:59 am

    Rich: I didn’t say that I agreed with their (Freakonomics) conclusion about {legal abortions=lower crime rate}; what I said is that there might be some credence to their assertion. Your claim that I was saying the same thing that Bill Bennett got into so much trouble for is, surprise, wrong. Bill Bennett made the assertion that if every black baby was aborted there would be a reduction in crime. If you think that what I said was the same, then I suggest that you need to face your latent racism and come to terms with that. The claim in Freakonomics that the reduction in crime was linked to the availability of legal abortion has some credence, IMO because when legal abortions were first made available, perhaps a large number of them were performed as a means of birth control without regard to the mental or spiritual damage they may have caused to the women having them. As the practice became more available and the doubts or regrets some women may have had must have had the effect of women really considering what it was that they were doing. If birth control at the time became readily available and affordable, wouldn’t the number of abortions declined? You say that Planned Parenthood pushes abortion only speaks to the mindset of those opposed to the availability of a legal and safe procedure. It seems to me that perhaps some women who had regrets or second thoughts after having the procedure performed led to those who offer counseling to women who maybe aren’t sure of what it is they want to do. I know that there is nothing I can write here or say to anyone who opposes legal abortion to change their mind; let’s get back to the focus of this thread, embryonic stem cell research.

  14. Rich from Paso
    July 30, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    First of all, Bill Bennett was commenting hypothetically on what a caller said about the abortion of black babies lower the crime rate he then went on to denouce the entire idea as preposterous. The last part gets lost by the press.

    Wasn’t looking for you to do a book report on Freaknomics.

    Here is a link to cite that talks about the Landreu/ Brownback human cloning ban. Look at some of the subpoints on embryonic stem cell research.

  15. Bob from San Luis
    July 30, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Okay Rich, I read the link and sub-link they had. What those who oppose embryonic stem cell research don’t admit to, is what is the possibility that there could be many potential cures just waiting to be discovered with research. I have not read or heard one individual suggest that we need to start harvesting embryos for research; there are plenty of EVF clinics that have quite a few frozen embryos that have not been “adopted” for use in EVF procedures that will be destroyed because of limitations due to the freezing procedure and time constraints.
    The main reason for having the federal government invest in the funding of research is so that private firms are not the only place that research is done because one potential drawback to private research only is that those private firms may try to patent the basis for the cures that could be developed. If this research is going to benefit human kind, does it have to be for profit only?

  16. Rich from Paso
    July 31, 2006 at 9:10 am

    Profit is a great motivator for innovation. The car you drive, the air conditioner keeping you cool, the television that entertains you and many of the dugs you use were developed for profit. Look at the Merck website for examples of all of the drugs and treatments they are developing…to provide a return on stockholder investment. Nothing wrong with that. Besides, with all of the billions of private dollars going into medical research, why spend millions of public dollars on research when our state governement could be repairing bridges and roads, building better schools, keeping us safe, putting more cops and highway patrolmen, on the streets hiring more teachers, etc with that money. Just seems to be a better use for the money than trying to court the stem cell research vote for Ah-nold in 06.

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