stem cells

Laura Bush Has No Better Grasp of Science than Her Junk Science-Addicted Hubby
stem cells

Toronto Star: "First lady Laura Bush defended her husband's policy on embryonic stem cell research today, arguing that it is an ethical and moral issue "that must not be treated lightly" by political critics." Yep, Christopher Reeves and other severely handicapped stem cell activists just see the issue as fun hobby! "I hope that stem cell research will yield cures. But I know that embryonic stem cell research is very preliminary right now and the implication that cures for Alzheimer's are around the corner is just not right and it's really not fair to people who are watching a loved one suffer with this disease." Obviously Ms. Stepford doesn't understand how scientific research works. It is a PROCESS that will yield results only if it is supported NOW. No one but Bush's pals in the pharmaceutical industry and the nightly news folks who produce their free "infomercials" (under the guise of "Health News") have suggested that cures for anything are "right around the corner."

Kerry's Position on Stem Cells Lauded by 'Nature' Magazine
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Nature: "Kerry has been positioning himself as a pro-science candidate throughout his campaign, visiting NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday and speaking out on embryonic stem cells. 'We need a president who believes in science, and who is prepared to invest America's efforts to cure Parkinson's and AIDS and diabetes and Alzheimer's and do stem-cell research,' he said. Many Republican politicians also support embryonic stem-cell research, including dozens of senators and congressmen who signed letters to the president last month urging him to change his policies. But Bush has not budged...Kevin Wilson, director of public policy at the Washington-based American Society for Cell Biology, supports embryonic stem-cell research and is pleased, so far, at the public debate, which he characterizes as slow and thoughtful."

Despicable! Bush Uses Reagan to Push his Campaign, then Rejects Nancy's Plea for Stem Cell Research
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AP : "The White House rejected calls Monday from Ronald Reagan's family and others to relax Bush's restrictions on stem-cell research in pursuit of potential cures for illnesses. Shortly before Reagan's death, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and 57 other senators asked Bush to relax the restrictions. Nancy Reagan has long argued that using stem cells from embryos could lead to cures for a number of diseases like the Alzheimer's that afflicted her husband. Bush opposes using embryos for stem cell research. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush continues to believe that his policy is the right one." Yep - the same way he feels about ALL his disastrous policies. Btw- leading stem cell researchers say Bush's stem cell scheme is not only bad policy - it's very bad science.

Kerry on Stem Cell Research Barriers: Mr Bush, Tear Down these Walls!
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Baltimore Sun: "Sen. John Kerry challenged the Bush administration yesterday to relax restrictions on stem-cell research to pursue the potential of finding cures for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Ethical questions raised by the use of human embryos can be resolved through "good will and good sense," he said.Kerry noted Nancy Reagan's efforts to help find a cure for Alzheimer's, which debilitated former President Ronald Reagan for at least a decade before his death last weekend. "Stem cells have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother's memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson's, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots or permanently lift a best friend from his wheelchair," the Massachusetts senator said."

Strom Thurmond Joins Orrin Hatch in Support of Cloning Research
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"Sen. Strom Thurmond became the second Republican opponent of abortion rights this week to split with the Bush administration, signing onto a bill that would ban most human cloning but allow an exception for research purposes. The 99-year-old senator followed the lead of conservative Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who threw his support behind the legislation earlier this week...The bill -- sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania -- would make human cloning a federal crime, with penalties up to $1 million dollars and 10 years in prison. But it would allow research cloning, or what scientists and advocates refer to as "regenerative medicine," which they say has the potential to find cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes."

Sen. Hatch (R-UT) Supports Human Cloning for Research
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"The congressional debate over human cloning and embryo research took a dramatic turn yesterday as Sen. Orrin G. Hatch , an opponent of abortion, announced his support for a bill that would outlaw the creation of cloned human babies but allow the cloning of human embryos for research…. 'I come to this issue with a strong pro-life and pro-family record,' Hatch said at a Capitol Hill news briefing packed with scores of advocates on both sides of the issue. 'An important aspect of being pro-life is to support the technologies that help the living.'… Hatch was one of a handful of key undecided senators whom supporters of the research have been trying to sway as the Senate prepares for a high-profile floor debate on human cloning in the next few weeks. His decision is the latest evidence of a remarkable turnaround for those who support cloning research."

Bush's Stem Cell Song and Dance Getting Lamer By the Day
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We imagine that Bush's ongoing song and dance about stem cells goes something like this: "Yep, there are 60 or so good stem cell lines available for scientists to use. What's that? Ya think I'm making this up? Well, OK, so some of them are in the Philippines or was it the Congo? Well, yeah, so what if some of them are derived from mice? Allright, allright, if you wanna split hairs, I guess there really are maybe just 24 or 25 lines that are safe to use. But that's just about adequate - Tommy Thompson says so! Yeah, I know he doesn't know a stem cell from a jail cell! But the 5 or 6 really decent stem cell lines are all at his old alma mater, the U. of Wisconsin, so that makes him an expert in my book. What's that - Arlen Specter thinks I'm screwing up because no one gave me good information? Poor old Arlen - got him fooled. I got all the information I needed. Just enough to know how to give a few buddies of mine a corner on the market. Who cares about anything else?

First Bush Puts Stem Cells on Corporate Auction Block, Now Life-Giving Seeds Become Patent Scheme for USDA
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The USDA - which is supposed to be a Federal Agency, and thus noncommercial - now jointly holds patents on a bioengineering process that renders seeds sterile. Such seeds - ominously called Terminators - have been condemned around the world because they force Earth's poorest farmers, whose nations must buy seeds from the US, to obtain new seeds every season instead of saving seeds and moving toward self-sufficiency. Past polls and public comment periods show there is NO SUPPORT for the Terminator technology, much less support for the government to be in the agribusiness. "USDA obviously favors private gain over the public good and the rights of farmers," said Michael Sligh, a member of the USDA Advisory Board on Agricultural Biotechnology.

Hey Rushettes - Why Don't You Give a Frozen Embryo a Womb?
stem cells

Nation columnist Katha Pollitt brilliantly nails anti-feminists for ignoring embryos in permafrost. "Antichoice women are the only hope to get those embryos out of Frigidaire limbo. As they like to say, an extra pregnancy is just an inconvenience, its health dangers much exaggerated by prochoice babykillers and its opportunities for moral growth scorned by our culture of death. So, Concerned Women for America, give a frozen embryo the gift of gestation! Mona Charen, Ann Coulter, it isn't enough to write columns comparing stem cell research to tearing transplantable organs out of freshly killed prisoners--you could be leading the way! Think of the talk-show opportunities. ("Chris, some people think we right-wing women are a pack of peroxided harpies, but when I thought of those adorable cells just trapped in there with the yogurt, I knew I had to help!") They can always put the baby up for adoption so it will be raised by normal people, as they think pregnant singles ought to do."

The First Lawsuit over Stem Cell Patents Already Being Filed as Patent Holders Vie for Power and Bucks
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You heard it here first, folks! We predicted the day after Bush's speech that stem cell research would be the biggest payoff Bush had yet set up for any corporate benefactor (in this case the pharmaceutical/biotech industry). Now the University of Wisconsin's Alumni Research Foundation is suing Geron Corp. of Menlo Park CA, which funded most of UW's stem cell research, for the right to peddle its stem cell lines and new cell types (derived from these lines) to other companies. What we find most interesting is that the UW Foundation has patents on FIVE stem cell lines. According to several stem cell experts, there are at most five or six lines TOTAL here in the U.S. That means Bush gave a MONOPOLY on U.S. stem cell lines to Tommy Thompson's home state and alma mater. Meanwhile, scores of researchers in the U.S. will be left with limited or no (UW exacts costly charges for the use of its patented lines) access to cells for research.

Number of Stem Cell Lines Available in U.S. May Be Just Six, Not Sixty
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One of the foremost authorities on stem cells, Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopklins School of Medicine in Baltimore was surprised, to say the least to hear Bush assert there are 60 stem cell lines available. Gearhart says he knows of just one dozen at best, with only half of these derived in the U.S. The others, if they do exist and were not just a blatant fabrication designed to make Bush look more supportive of federal research efforts than he really is, are from India, Singapore and elsewhere. "What if half of these cell lines are poorly derived, have defects that no one knows about and they can't be used for human clinical trials?" asks Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein, a Hopkins researchers who hopes to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. Gearhart says he is worried by Bush's choice to head the stem cell research "advisory council". Kass, says Gearhart, is "an extremely conservative man." Even worse, Kass is AGAINST human embryo research.

Bush's Stem Cell Decision is a Victory for the Pharmaceutical Industry, a Blow to Future Patients
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If you think Bush makes too many decisions with the oil, coal, or tobacco industries' best interests at heart, just imagine the treatment the pharmaceutical industry can expect to get as the TOP SPENDER on influence in Washington, outspending the insurance, telecommunications, oil, transportation, and tobacco industries by tens of millions of dollars. Does anyone honestly imagine that stem cell research, which holds the promise of some of the most effective treatments ever to evolve, is not being viewed as a gold mine by the pharmaceutical industry? Conclusion: Can there be any doubt that Bush plans to use the stem cell goldmine as a way to repay the industry - BIG TIME?

Bush's Decision Causes More Uncertainty Than Ever, Especially over Fate of Stem Cell Treatment
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Around the world, the growing consensus appears to be that Bush copped out on the stem cell decision. By trying to hold out carrots to everyone, says the BBC, "Bush may have in fact ended up disappointing everyone." Dick Gephardt described the decision as "the bare minimum in order to try and publicly posture himself with the majority of the Americans." The BBC naively gives Bush some undeserved credit for making a decision based more on "instinct and emotion rather than favor and political calculation." They couldn't be more wrong. Not only has he sold out his phony Christian ethic, he has also sold out most potential recipients of stem cell treatments. By limiting federal funding and control over the stem cell R&D, Bush has thrown the future of stem cells into the pharmaceutical industry's commercial pit. Ultimately, every treatment will be "owned" and patented for decades to come and treatments will be options open only to the wealthy and/or well-insured, not the common man.

Sound Science Notebook: A Crash Course in the Embryonic Stem Cell Controversy (Plus Other Notes of Interest)
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Bush has led the GOP in a series of sweeping moves impacting the global environment, national security, and world stability. In the world of the sane (or at least functionally insane), all of these decisions, from the Kyoto Protocol to the push for the missile defense shield and the energy policy would require at least a rudimentary grasp of the science involved. Not so in Bush world. No matter how hard Bush et al. tug backwards on the world’s coattails, this is the 21st century, and civilization will keep moving forward - with or without its political dinosaurs in tow. As Democrats, we must be committed to staying well-armed with bonafide “sound science."