Saturday, October 28, 2006

Last rant for tonight. I have an incredibly long day facing me and I have to be up in 2 1/2 hours, but I just can't quite get to sleep. So one last rant.

Stem cells.

George W. Bush did not outlaw stem cell research. I've said tht before. It's a simple fact, easily ascertained, but the facts of the situation get played by certain politicians to make you believe that Bush has literally outlawed avenues of research.

Bush simply said that while the government will continue funding existing stem cell lines, it won't fund any more. If Merck or Wyeth want to bring up a new stem cell line, they are free to do so, but the government won't pay for it. Sort of makes sense in an era of cutbacks in spending, and particularly since embryonic stem cells have been an utter dead end. Hell, if there was so much promise in stem cell lines companies would be propagating them right and left at their own cost. Much like renaissance musicians who would play for the king's court in order to make money, a certain number of researchers are milking the stem cell thing for no more reason than to make a living. They know that embryonic stem cells are a complete bust, but they also know that as long as they keep us hoping for cures they are assured a good living. It all amounts to human nature and wanting to believe that there is a cure for whatever ails us as we age.

There's a guy down in Baltimore who lives like a rock star--the city begged him to come and built a lab for him, all because he's researching AIDS. He hasn't cured it yet, but, by God, he's the best thing in town because he's researching a disease that is big on the radar screen. Same thing with the stem cell people--always big promises and we're so desperate for the results that we don't give the process much thought.

Michael Fox has been doing commercials against Republican politicians based on the general Republican opposition to embryonic stem cell research. He admitted the other day that he deliberately does not take his medicines on the days when he does the commercials, just for appearances. Frankly, it's so he can appear all the more pathetic. The ethics of the whole thing get even better when you consider that he has done commercials for Ben Cardin, a Democrat, who is opposing Michael Steele, a Republican. Cardin is the incumbent, so Steele has never voted in Congress--and Cardin voted to end funding on stem cell research. So Fox gets there on TV, shaking like a dog trying to pass a peach pit, and endorses a Democrat who voted against Fox's beloved stem cell research. It's beyond ridiculous.

I won't even get into the selfishness of saying "I don't care who else has to suffer, just make me well".

And it all gets better and better and better. Remember me saying that embryonic/fetal stem cells simply don't work? There was a clinical trial with Parkinsons' patients and it was a disaster. People that were shaking left the trial drooling. It was a serious setback, but nobody wants to discuss it because opposition to embryonic/fetal stem cell research is viewed as opposition to abortion, and nobody will touch that one with a ten foot pole. And now, just this week, studies on lab animals revealed that embryonic stem cells injected into rats turned into cancerous cells.

Wish I'd made my point, but unfortunately Michael Fox et al will get the air time and grab people by their emotions while hard facts fall by the wayside.

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