Scientific Advances Render Embryonic Stem-Cell Research Unnecessary?

The politics of stem cells are stuck in a repeating loop. This week, the House of Representatives will again take up a bill to overturn President Bush’s embryonic-stem-cell-funding policy, and to use taxpayer dollars to encourage the destruction of human embryos for research. The Congress already passed such a bill last year, and the president vetoed it. In fact, the House already passed that bill again just this January, the Senate passed a slightly altered version in April, and now the House is passing that Senate version to send it to the president. The replay will continue next week, too, when President Bush again vetoes the bill, and the Congress once more fails to come up with the votes to override the veto.

And yet on the ground stem-cell science is hardly in a state of déjà vu. While opponents of the Bush policy again and again trot out their tired arguments in Washington, scientific developments continue to point in a different direction — away from the false opposition of science and ethics and toward a potential consensus solution.

That solution, if it pans out, would involve the production of cells with the characteristics and abilities of embryonic stem cells, but without requiring the destruction of embryos. The President’s Council on Bioethics examined a few possible ways of doing this in a brief paper two years ago, and since that time just about all the possibilities they examined have seen some real-world progress.

The coming week’s issue of the journal Nature, made available online this morning, contains several extensive reports of surprisingly significant advances toward full-blown somatic-cell reprogramming.

The key publication comes from a team at MIT led by the prominent stem-cell scientist Rudolph Jaenisch. Working in mouse cells, they took the results of the 2006 Japanese effort, corrected some key flaws, introduced several improvements, and produced cells that appeared to pass all the critical tests of so-called “pluripotency” — the ability to be transformed into a large variety of cell types, which scientists so value about embryonic stem cells.

Read the whole article

Will this affect the debates going on in Washington and Dover about funding embryo-destructive research? probably not. This debate has never really been about science, but only about the politics of life. Refusing to fund this research could be taken as tantamount to admitting that embryos are, in fact, human life and forces in support of abortion can never allow that to occur.

Fred Thompson and Punching Hippies

A friend of mine and I had the following conversation after I pointed out the following shirt:

(Copied from Google Talk, her name removed to protect the innocent.)

Me: tell me that’s not cool

Friend: i might actually want to vote for him for real, so you won’t catch me in one of those shirts

Me: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I think it’s hilarious, but it might turn people off

Me: Although if you and I are both interested in voting for him, soemthing really weird is going on

Friend: + hurting people we disagree with is not the american way

Me: But they’re hippies!

Friend: you my friend have forgotten that you are in the minority

me: Oh I’m well aware of that. But remember, which side has the guns?

Friend: again, not so much what the founding fathers had in mind

Me: I think Samuel Adams would have been okay with it.

At that point, she changed topics. I get that a lot with her, for some reason….

Quote-a-palooza

“The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed.” – Alexander Hamilton

“You know that minor deal about catching those guys who wanted to blow up JFK Airport? The New York Times decided it was not worthy of front page coverage in its Sunday editions. Nor the second page, nor the third. The NY Times, in what can only be described as editorializing by placement, put it on page THIRTY, the page after the obituaries and the page before the chess column.” – Rich Galen

“How many of the 12-20 million illegal aliens will decide it’s better to keep the status quo than go through the hassles of getting a Z Visa? It will likely be millions.” – Bobby Eberle

“[P]references vividly demonstrate liberalism’s core conviction that government’s duty is not to allow social change but to drive change in the direction the government chooses. Conservatism argues that the essence of constitutional government involves constraining the state in order to allow society ample scope to spontaneously take unplanned paths.” – George Will

“It’s like the American people are waiting for [the GOP]. They’re waiting for us to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing, about the ideas that inspired us, to remember who the leaders were that inspired us.” – Fred Thompson

“There is no question that we have failed to live up to the dreams of the founding fathers many times and in many places.”- Ronald Reagan

“We have a leader, a real leader, a great Commander in Chief: President Ronald Reagan. And in your hearts, you know he’s right.”- Barry Goldwater

“One reason the Republican Party seems so shallow since the departure of Ronald Reagan is that it has largely abandoned the nationalist impulse… the GOP no longer speaks persuasively about a national destiny.”- David Brooks

“Ronald Reagan had strong convictions. He was committed to the principles that had led to the founding of our nation. And he had the courage to follow his convictions against all odds.”- Ed Meese

“The crisis we are facing today [requires] our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves, and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”- Ronald Reagan

“Getting shot hurts.”- Ronald Reagan

“This [immigration] rhetoric reached comic absurdity when CNN interviewed Chuy Arias of Los Angeles. He said on camera that he has been here illegally for 12 years…CNN’s reporter said Arias was eager to ‘come out of the shadows.’ So, Arias can simultaneously be ‘in the shadows’ and discussing his illegal status on worldwide television. Who knew?”- George Will

Quote-a-palooza

“The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed.” – Alexander Hamilton

“You know that minor deal about catching those guys who wanted to blow up JFK Airport? The New York Times decided it was not worthy of front page coverage in its Sunday editions. Nor the second page, nor the third. The NY Times, in what can only be described as editorializing by placement, put it on page THIRTY, the page after the obituaries and the page before the chess column.” – Rich Galen

“How many of the 12-20 million illegal aliens will decide it’s better to keep the status quo than go through the hassles of getting a Z Visa? It will likely be millions.” – Bobby Eberle

“[P]references vividly demonstrate liberalism’s core conviction that government’s duty is not to allow social change but to drive change in the direction the government chooses. Conservatism argues that the essence of constitutional government involves constraining the state in order to allow society ample scope to spontaneously take unplanned paths.” – George Will

“It’s like the American people are waiting for [the GOP]. They’re waiting for us to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing, about the ideas that inspired us, to remember who the leaders were that inspired us.” – Fred Thompson

“There is no question that we have failed to live up to the dreams of the founding fathers many times and in many places.”- Ronald Reagan

“We have a leader, a real leader, a great Commander in Chief: President Ronald Reagan. And in your hearts, you know he’s right.”- Barry Goldwater

“One reason the Republican Party seems so shallow since the departure of Ronald Reagan is that it has largely abandoned the nationalist impulse… the GOP no longer speaks persuasively about a national destiny.”- David Brooks

“Ronald Reagan had strong convictions. He was committed to the principles that had led to the founding of our nation. And he had the courage to follow his convictions against all odds.”- Ed Meese

“The crisis we are facing today [requires] our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves, and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”- Ronald Reagan

“Getting shot hurts.”- Ronald Reagan

“This [immigration] rhetoric reached comic absurdity when CNN interviewed Chuy Arias of Los Angeles. He said on camera that he has been here illegally for 12 years…CNN’s reporter said Arias was eager to ‘come out of the shadows.’ So, Arias can simultaneously be ‘in the shadows’ and discussing his illegal status on worldwide television. Who knew?”- George Will

D-Day Anniversary

Today is the 63rd anniversary of D-Day. In just the battle to establish a beachhead on mainland Europe, the Allied forces suffered almost 50,000 deaths plus over 160,000 injuries and missing. (Imagine how the Democrats nowadays would react to such numbers.)


The photo above is of General Eisenhower speaking the the paratroopers who were to land behind enemy lines to disrupt the German ability to move reinforcements to the beaches of Normandy, Casualties among these units were expected to be as high as 75%, but their mission was essential if the beachhead established on D-day was to hold and even more casualties were to be prevented.

I’ve seen it written that D-Day was the fulcrum of the 20th Century. All events in the century prior to June 6, 1944 led to D-Day, and all events after that were based on the results of D-Day. We’d live in a very different world today had those men not fought so bravely or so well. take some time today to say a prayer of thanks to God for providing us such fine men and ask that he send us even more men like them and that we may be more like them.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Romney: The Choice of mathemeticians?

John Derbyshire points out that Mitt Romney (twice!) threw a mathematical reference into the debate last night. He raises the point, though, that it should be “the null set” instead of “a null set.” I can’t remember for sure who’s right; group theory was by far my worst class and I’ve tried to block what little of what I remember from my mind. (It’s a math class without numbers for Pete’s sake! Way too abstract for me.)

Reading The Corner’s live-blogging of the debate, I really wish I had watched it, but I forgot all about it.