Saturday, July 22, 2006

Failing To Stem The Veto - Fire The Late Eight!

Someone help me understand this, because I'm sure I'm just missing a piece of the logic here.

Frozen embryos are created as a process of in vitro fertilization, helping couples to have children who otherwise would be unable to have their own. Thanks to the miracle of science, (insert sarcastic tone) these couples are not cruelly forced to adopt one of the millions of substandard children around the world already desperate for a family (end sarcastic tone).

(Insert "thinking to myself" tone) I'm wondering what type of miraculous scientific reasearch led to the advances in in vitro fertilization? (End "thinking to myself" tone)

According to our President, these frozen embryos are "life," and therefore cannot be used to preserve the lives of millions and millions of individuals suffering with various diseases.

A few of these embryos will be "adopted" by couples, while the vast majority of them will be destroyed.

So, all you pro-life proponents out there... help me understand this. If life begins at conception, regardless of the type of conception, and these frozen embryos are all "human," then why is it OK for ANY of them to simply be destroyed? Wouldn't anyone with a consistent pro-life stance consider this nothing less than mass murder?

Why is it OK for Man to meddle with God's work and scientifically generate "life" for people when it it TOTALLY unnecessary, as there are literally millions of children around the world who need homes and families? Not only are these people so selfish and NON-Christian as to desire only their "own" child, but when loving couples - such as those in same-sex relationships - attempt to give those other "undesirable" children a home, they thwart those efforts, as well?

All this, and yet, while millions of people suffer each day from life-threatening diseases, it is better to DESTROY these embryos, rather than to allow them to preserve the lives of others?

Keep in mind, the Senate voted ONE HUNDRED TO NOTHING on a motion to prohibit "fetal farming," thereby limiting the scope of the embryonic stem cell research being conducted.

Keep in mind, the bill sent to the President restricted research on human embryos to ONLY those embryos "slated to be destroyed by fertility clinics." And ONLY after the couples who donated these embryos gave their permission to allow the research.

THIS is the issue on which the President declares his first veto?!? The hypocrisy is unconscionable to me.

So, someone please explain the portion I'm missing here.

It's time to fire "The Late Eight."

The Senate vote result was 63-37, with braod bipartisan support. Nineteen Republicans voted with the Democrats on this issue - these days, that's broad.

It would have taken THREE more Republicans to override the veto and make this a law.

They failed to do that.

Eight Republicans who voted against this bill are up for re-election in November.

They had the chance to do the right thing, and now it's too late. For them.

I'm going to list The Late Eight, along with a link to a site where you can donate to their opponent. I would urge you to make a donation to the Democrat in each of these races, and send an e-mail to each Republican member of The Late Eight, letting them know why you did:

George Allen (R-VA)
Visit Democrat Jim Webb's page, and consider a donation.

Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Visit Democrat Jon Tester's page, and consider a donation.

Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Visit Democrat Sherrod Brown's page, and consider a donation.

John Ensign (R-NV)
Visit Democrat Jack Carter's page, and consider a donation.

Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Visit Democrat Jim Pederson's page, and consider a donation.

Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Visit Democrat Bob Casey's page, and consider a donation.

Jim Talent (R-MO)
Visit Democrat Claire McCaskill's page, and consider a donation.

Craig Thomas (R-WY)
Visit Democrat Dale Groutage's page, and consider a donation.

If you see an action taking place in Washington, and you're opposed to it, don't just complain about it - TAKE ACTION! If you've ever asked yourself , "What can I do?" - here's something you can do. Consider giving even $5.00 to each of these candidates, for a total of $40.00 - is it worth $40.00 to know that you took action and weren't left sitting on the sidelines?

Let us know what you do here in the comments section, whatever action you decide to take - tell the Late Eight that they failed to stem the veto, and now it's too late - they won't have the chance again, because we won't give it to them.

As for Bush... well, his turn is coming.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:11 AM /


  • Blogger The Professor posted at 10:28 AM  
    Thanks for the email links! I wrote Santorum, and volunteered to help with his campaign. Your's was the kick I needed!

    BTW, I actually agree with you--we shouldn't allow in-vitro fertilization, as described. It is tantamount to mass murder. Unfortunately, the nature of politics is such that compromises are often necessary to provide any protections.

    As the Wall Street Journal pointed out on Saturday, there is far more money going to stem cell research, to include ESC research, than the Federal government would provide. This particular compromise, just like the refusal to federally fund abortions, means that those morally opposed to these actions won't have their money being used for things that they themselves oppose.

    I suppose Clinton said it best... "Safe, Legal, and Rare" (and in both cases, not federally funded...)

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 10:30 AM  
    Another "quick note"

    While the cartoon is cute, it again oversimplifies the situation (as most do.) The research continues for all those cures. Like most research, they just are not federally funded.

    Do we honestly believe that federal funding is what will provide the cure? Is Federal money somehow "magical" compared to private/corporate funding?

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 11:23 AM  
    Have fun working on a losing campaign.I'm sure it'll be a rich, rewarding, character building experience in humility for you.

    I admire your consistency in at least opposing in vitro fertilization - however, if you can take an "oh well" approach to the murder of these embryos, for the sake of compromise, then what makes the research so bad, rather than the empty destruction of these cells?

    The argument DOES NOT work about being "morally opposed" to some action that the government takes - I'm morally opposed to the war in Iraq, ok? So, let's not do that either, OK?

    Of course private research continues for all of these diseases - thank God. What you fail to recognize is that the federal government sponsors some of the most reliable basic science research, often spurring private research on in new directions. According to your logic, there's no need to spend money on NASA, as private corporations will eventually figure out everything there is to know about the universe.

    It is you, as is typically the case, once again guilty of oversimplification. I think sometimes you hang out here just to say "black" when I say "white."

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 4:00 PM  
    You Wrote:

    "What you fail to recognize is that the federal government sponsors some of the most reliable basic science research, often spurring private research on in new directions. According to your logic, there's no need to spend money on NASA, as private corporations will eventually figure out everything there is to know about the universe."

    Actually, I would recommend you explore the history of scientific exploration as it involves aviation, and space. You will find that, in both cases, the greatest discoveries, innovations, and inventions, have been made through private, not public, funding. It has something to do with being unfettered by government constraints and red tape...

    And I wholly expected a comment about moral opposition to the war. I actually almost mentioned it. I suspect, however, that you would prefer that your government persue those actions rather than a private entity. At least when you don't like the outcome, or the direction, you can work to moderate your government.

    As for the compromise argument, I have simply accepted that compromise, or as some would say governing to the middle, is the way things are done. Any significant shifts are usually achieved when the middle shifts, as well.

    I have said (and probably lifted from a Poli Sci professor in my past) that the best way to know if you have succeeded is if everyone is unhappy "a little bit." It means everyone got something, and no one got everything or nothing.

    I don't always exist to call your black, white... There are a few areas where I have expressed agreement, or at least concurrence.

    Generally though I stay away from "me too" or "Yeah... what he saids." I leave that to apologists for both sides of the aisle.

    I have even thought about blogging on the nature of these blogs, that cause us to all talk about things about which we disagree--it's just more interesting.

    Oh, you write about painted/tatooed bodies. I write about photography, or software, but those... well, benign. Boring. Ugh.

  • Blogger Peter posted at 4:03 PM  
    As much as we don't like Santorum, we can't let that cloud our judgment. Bob Casey has the same position on stem cell research as Santorum. See this.

    This ultimately will be an issue that will lead toward many endorsements at AMP

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 11:18 AM  
    Hey Pete - glad to see you stopping by! I agree with you - I'm not as thrilled as I could be with Casey, but I know that he represents me far better than Santorum has/would. Wouldn't you agree?

    In addition, relative to this issue, I feel that Casey would still have the opportunity to be convinced to do the right thing here - I think it is very possible for someone to maintain a pro-life position and be persuaded to support stem cell research.

    Regardless, Santorum has had his opportunity, he made his choice, and now is his time to go.

    As to you, Prof - I guess by your argument we could actually cut funding to NASA then, and let Richard Branson take over our space exploration, and the basic science that accompanies it. Although, then anything he discovered would have VIRGIN slapped across it, now wouldn't it?

    And that's the main problem, and why it's vital to maintain government funding of these types of issues. When corporate/private entities do the work, they also claim ownership, rights, etc... when the government does the research, it is shared with everyone. BIG difference.

    And no, I obviously don't want "private entities" attacking Iraq, either - regardless, I do not my tax dollars going toward my government continually crying "wolf," labelling countries as premptive threats, throwing our troops - the greatest trained troops in the world - into harm's way needlessly, and unnecessarily bogging our military down so that we're unable to deal with the TRUE threats to our nation, which is the TRUE calling of the military.

    C'mon... this isn't rocket science. Unless you're Richard Branson, I suppose.

    I do agree with you about having different viewpoints and discussing them here - I pride myself, actually, on maintaining a blog that is NOT full of like-minded people all slapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves on their political viewpoints.

    It would be nice, however, if you occassionally mentioned something that you agreed with from time to time - just so I get a sense of how far to the right you actually sit... right now, I have you placed at a seat at the far end of the table, and sometimes it's hard to hear all the way down there. :)

    Instead of volunteering for Santorum, by the way, you should probably spend time working with Casey.... I bet you'd actually like him, Prof. :)

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 4:16 PM  
    *Stepping back from the stem cell debate for a minute...*

    I suppose I am in favor of private funding for research. I am a (newly joined) member of The Planetary Society, in part because I appreciated the efforts they are making (as a private, not-for-profit, organization) in support of basic research. They have designed, built, and launched the first ever solar-sail spacecraft (doomed though it was.) They are also funding other basic research itiatives.

    Most "major" breakthroughs in aviation have been accomplished through private funding. Living as I am (currently) in Dayton OH I am keenly aware that the Wright Brothers developed the airplane without government money. They only received money after demonstration, to turn it into a military craft.

    Many of the major discoveries were done by scientists/astronomers/philosophers, on their "own."

    The initial, earthshattering (or earth "placing") works of:


    While often the great astronomers of our time have been working for Universities that are often State funded, they are "different" from funding through NASA, where the Feds actually pick which research is or is not to be funded.

    So, this then is my point. I have found that the best research comes from unhindered researchers. All to often government funding comes with government constraints. These can be funding constraints, or time constraints, or even plain regulatory ones. The fact that there was even a need for The Planetary Society to mount the SOS campaign (Save or Science) to get NASA to restore funding for science research, means that we shouldn't rely on the Feds to maintain a funding stream, even for things as morally benign (these days) as planetary research.

    Oh, and as for my position at the table? I suspect you can't tell from WAY down at the left end of the table, but I myself am a moderate. As my brother once pointed out--we all view our own positions as moderate.

    In honest disclosure though, I am a fairly strong libertarian/conservative mix. You will find that I hold certain things to be absolute moral truths. I don't necessarily then think that one should bake them into legislation.

    Perhaps, once I arrive in Harrisburg, we can share a beer, and chat.

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 11:01 AM  
    Galileo died in 1642 in Florence, Italy - more than a hundred years before the existence of the United States.

    Newton died in 1727 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Again, well before the birth of the United States.

    Johannes Kepler actually died earlier than Galileo. He bit it in 1630, in Bavaria, although the Swiss army destroyed his grave two years after his death, during the Thirty Years' War.

    Or we can head back even further in world history, as you did. Nicolaus Copernicus died in 1543, in Poland. A few years before the establishment of NASA, wouldn't you say? Guess that made him less than eligible for government funding.

    Fast forward to the future, where you next bring up Edwin Hubble - he actually lived in the right country, as well. He spent a majority of his "research-based" time at the Mount Wilson Observatory - created and initially funded by the Carnegie Foundation, so you're almost right here. It would be remiss, however, to not acknowledge the contribution of the National Science Foundation to that observatory in its work.

    Einstein. Well, he was American, but remember - he was also German and Swiss. Einstein didn't become an American until the 1930s, before World War II. Most of his "initial, earthshattering" work took place in Switzerland.

    So there you have it. Of all of your examples, one would qualify for some form of federal funding, and he worked at an institution that did, in fact, accept federal funding as a part of its operating budget.

    Your point again was.... ??

    Look - you're not going to get me to say that private and corporate funding isn't incredibly valuable.

    That being said, I can't understand why you fail to see the incredible contribution that is made both to our country and the WORLD'S knowledge base, thanks to the funding of basic science in all of its forms by our government.

    Trying desperately to bring this back once again to the initial point - the stem cell debate - you have failed to answer my essential question, which I will once again ask:

    If research on these cells is bad, because they're human life, then why is it OK to simply destroy them? I know that you already stated that you're against the creation of the cells to begin with - but they're already here, so there's nothing to be done about that.

    I disagree with so much of what you say, but I'll take you up on that beer.

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 2:13 PM  
    I want to thank you for making my point, which was simply so much of what is "relaible basic research" was done without government funding. Actually, I did my checking, to see if any of the names I listed did their work under the auspices of their own governments (forgive me for thinking that we could actually be broad minded enough to look at "all" government funding.)

    So, to deal with your "main point." Yes, it's wrong to use them. So, as a compromise "real politik" if you will, private research into these lines can continue. Just not federally funded lines of research. Hey, if I had my way, I would tell these people to adopt, as you say, these substandard kids or move on.

    Again, the nature of compromise.

    Besides, my wife, who happens to be a Type 1 diabetic (for 20 yrs now, diagnosed), has found that much of the research that has made her life better on a daily basis, have been privately/corporately funded. The pumps, the continuous glucose monitoring systems, Byeta, better forms of insulin--all corporate. The barriers to better life more often than not are the FDA red tape for approval, and refusal of medicaid/medicare to pay for something even after FDA approval until it has been in the field for a long period of time.

    These are solutions, here today, and able to make a Type 1's life demostrably better, right now. These are not some "possible promise" in the indeterminate future. Perhaps the biggest "lie" (to use a word so often misused) is when people say that Bush has taken away their "only hope of a cure." It's not their only hope. It's not even a solid promise of a hope. It's one possible avenue that seems promising at the basic research stages.

    You want to give money to help your friend's kid? Donate to the various diabetes foundations. Write your congressmen and insist that they reform the way the FDA approves treatments for diabetics. Insist that they pay for pumps with continuous glucose monitoring systems. Those decisions would drive the costs (and thus the price) down through economies of scale, making it more affordable for all. That would improve the lives of all Type 1 diabetics in a demonstrable, and near term way.

    And Yuengling it is!

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