Thursday, January 14, 2010

Random Musing

When I was a child... We had a van and when we went on road trips I took my imaginary friends with me... The Littles.

I loved it... they fit in my pocket and no one knew they were there... they were my little secret. Invisible as they were, they were still all mine. My little buddies to carry with me whenever. All I needed was a pocket or a shoulder for them to sit on.

It's kinda silly, but I LOVE being pregnant for that reason... I carry my little buddy with me all the time and he is all mine for several more weeks.. except when I wonder if he is off exploring or being chased by big mean cats, I can put my hand on him and know he is still there.

Anne Geddes says: Babies, they are like little balls of magic!

I LOVE my little bump of magic!

Stem Cell Research - Embrionic is murder. Period.

The subject matter changed my life. I was certain I was destined to go to California for acting. Not a doubt lingering. I had my bags ready. Then Arnold S. (I wont even try to spell his last name) allowed Proposition 71 to pass in California and I said to Hell with them. my tax paying dollars will NOT support the murder of children. I spent 3 days crying and praying. Then I turned to talk radio. If I really wanted to make any difference, then I wanted it to be something I believed in.

(PS - Don't miss the next article down, as Prop 71 may now be nixed!!!)

I wrote this back in 2005 when I was an intern for Syndicated News Talker Neal Boortz out of WSB Radio, Cox Radio Inc. Atlanta, Ga.

Aug 2, 2005

Here are some musings from our intern, Heather Jackson. Now ... let's make it clear here, I don't particularly agree with what she's written. The idea that we shouldn't expand stem cell research to using embryonic stem cells because that research hasn't yet produced any results is, to me, just a wee bit absurd. Hey, you have a choice here. Throw those embryos away, or use them for research. To me, the choice is clear. Heather thinks otherwise. So .... Let's set her up on a pedestal here and see what happens! - Neal Boortz

Vein-ly Induced Life

Stem cell research began back in the sixties, since then it has never 'cured' any disease. Canadian scientists Ernest McCullock and James Till, trained in hematology and biophysics, discovered that stem cells help to regenerate damaged tissues and organs. Together they discovered that if they injected mice with bone marrow cells that a nodule that was produced in their spleen came about as a direct reaction to the marrow growing a stem cell, or that which was proportionate to the amount injected. These men moved on to researching cures for cancer specific to leukemia and variations of it. Chemotherapy treatment for cancer will kill off the stem cells needed to help produce the red and white blood cells.

The debate over stem cells is not that the study should stop, but a debate over the sources for the extraction. There are three types of stem cells, but I am choosing to focus on the source of them and how the life is affected by their removal with adult and embryonic stem cells. Adult cells can come from bone marrow, cadavers and umbilical cords. Embryonic stem cells come from fertilized human eggs at a stage where they consist of 50-150 cells. Adult stem cells do not hinder growth if removed, whereas embryonic stem cells will kill the embryo that it is being taken from. Since there is debate over when life actually begins, I am convinced that a seed from a tree is also alive the second it starts to grow within its seed coat.

Cord blood has been extracted since 1988, from umbilical cords. Even though it is from a newborn baby, the cells are matured and called adult stem cells. These are being used in treatment of Gunther's disease, hinter syndrome, Hurler syndrome, acute lymphocytic leukemia and many other problems with children. In 2004, South Korea credited them with helping a woman with a spinal injury to walk again, but I only found a couple one-sided sources to verify this.

These stem cells can be extracted from a living person as well as a dead one. Studies have shown the highest concentration of matured stem cells come from cadavers. Other studies have used stem cells extracted from umbilical cords. Like blood, we each have our own variety; like DNA, common cells between people are rare unless from the same blood line. Therefore the cells from your own umbilical cord are a direct match for your own stem cells. It's too bad that we have not been saving umbilical cord blood for more than 17 years. If you are reading this, we can assume that your parents did not have the option to save yours, however now you can request it be saved for your own children, at a substantial cost.

In 2001, President Bush assigned around 30 million tax payer dollars to embryonic specific stem cell research. Our hard earned money was being used by the government to purchase and dissect fertilized eggs (blastocyst) from fertility clinics that no longer need to store them. Three years later Bush ended the funding when he realized that it wasn't a lack of funding or availability that prevented finding a use for stem cells, rather the fact that they were useless in curing any potentially fatal disease. This did not, nor does it currently, restrict private funding if someone feels the need to donate or contribute to it.

Limits are pushed on issues everyday and eventually things that were taboo will be commonplace. In my own (and vastly supported) ideas, once we allow any type of embryonic stem cell research, they will have to wait for more and more mature embryos. In fact, they will one day be so mature that there will be no denying on any side whether or not it was an aborted fetus. Of course, that is assuming they aren't already being bought for adult stem cell research. Allowing federal funding means that one day we will be paying abortion clinics for the later and later developed fetuses. This will make the abortion taboo less of a reason to avoid it as long as the baby is used for science. It would be a 'gift' of life, rather than an abortion, right? No one should be able shirk responsibility and have the easy out of scientific use. And don't write to me about the people who are victims of rape and incest, they only make up less than 1% of abortions.

Neither side is going to change their stance on abortion. You either feel strongly on one side or the other. Sometimes arguing with someone about the value of life is like "trying to teach a pig to's a waste of your time and it annoys the pig." My biggest problem is those people who support this are trying to make me pay for it. In 1997 Clinton banned cloning in saying that "any effort in humans to transfer a somatic cell nucleus into an enucleatered egg involves the creation of an embryo, with the apparent potential to be implanted in utero and developed to term." About eight months after Bush came into office he put a ban on 'future' stem cell research, being stem cell sources that came about after his policy came into effect. Then in 2004, President Bush signed a law into place that prevents tax payer's mandatory support of such studies . But Proposition 71, passed this last November in California, went against the federal law that Bush had signed now stating that California tax payers money would contribute to 3 billion dollars over the next 10 years, not to mention the interest on that which nearly doubles it. Yes, you Californians get to pay for something you may not support while the rest of us don't. Thank a rino.

Stem cell research has recently come back into the spot light since another politician has apparently become a flip-flopper, meet Sen. Bill Frist. Just before the elections he was debating with Sen. John Edwards against Edwards' support of embryonic research claiming false hope. All of the sudden "it isn't just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science."  Make up your mind Senator.   Didn't you learn anything from Kerry's flip flopping loss?

Heather's Movie Review:

I am a self-proclaimed 'movie narcoleptic:' likely to fall asleep during any and all movies. So it was quite a feat that I actually made it to one yesterday, but for matters of relevance, I decided I had to do it. If you are Conservative and want to see a great movie, with time sensitive themes... you'll wonder how on earth this one managed to sneak out of Hollyweird... go see this movie! The Island is about a man who realizes that science and the gift of life from man, is likely not Utopic at all. Finally, a movie that will make you uncomfortable for all the Right reasons.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Has Lost the Battle, California Was Its Waterloo

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Has Lost the Battle, California Was Its Waterloo
by Joe Carter
January 13
, 2010 Note: This opinion column originally appeared on the blog of First Things, a pro-life, Catholic publication founded by Father Richard John Neuhaus

The battle over embryonic stem cell research is over. A few skirmishes will no doubt continue -- perhaps even for years -- and some ESCR advocates will refuse to acknowledge defeat. But they have decisively lost. 
Years from now, when we look back in astonishment at having been fleeced for billions to pay for therapeutically worthless research, we'll recognize that California was the Waterloo for ESCR.

In 2004, California approved Proposition71, a ballot measure that would allow the state to borrow $3 billion for ESCR. At best the measure would have been an epic boondoggle: pharmaceutical companies would have been able to profit off the taxpayer-funded research without the state sharing any of the profits or even obtaining any of the developed drugs at a cheaper cost. 

But because it was considered a “progressive” measure (ESCR has always been a stalking horse for abortion rights) it received the support from a long list of billionaires, Silicon Valley tycoons, Nobel laureates, and Hollywood celebrities. Convinced that the only thing standing between science and cures was time and money, the citizens of California opened the state’s coffers.

But five years later, the hype has died down and ESCR has provided no cures, no therapies, no progress, and no hope. Investor’s Business Daily notes:
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state agency created to, as some have put it, restore science to its rightful place, is diverting funds from ESCR to research that has produced actual therapies and treatments: adult stem cell research. It not only has treated real people with real results; it also does not come with the moral baggage ESCR does.

To us, this is a classic bait-and-switch, an attempt to snatch success from the jaws of failure and take credit for discoveries and advances achieved by research Prop. 71 supporters once cavalierly dismissed. We have noted how over the years that when funding was needed, the phrase “embryonic stem cells” was used. When actual progress was discussed, the word “embryonic” was dropped because ESCR never got out of the lab.
Advocates of ESCR preyed on the scientific and ethical illiteracy of the general public to support the massive funding of this speculative research. The complexity of the issue and the peculiar terminology used often prevented many citizens from developing a fully informed opinion on the matter. 

They relied on the “experts” and the ESCR supporters took full advantage of this trust by making claims that had no basis in reality. 

As Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said in 2004 about the claims that ESCR could lead to cures for Alzheimer’s, “To start with, people need a fairy tale. Maybe that’s unfair, but they need a story line that’s relatively simple to understand.”

The truth about ESCR wasn't unknown to researchers and scientists. The only legitimate practical (though it remained unethical) reason for pursuing ESCR has always been basic research. Researchers know, however, that you'll never get a grant for millions of dollars because you find stem cells intriguing and want to spend your life studying them in a lab. So they stretched the truth by downplaying the fact that the barriers to therapeutic applications were all but insurmountable. 

They've always known, as MIT researcher James Sherley says, that, “Figuring out how to use human embryonic stem cells directly by transplantation into patients is tantamount to solving the cancer problem.”
Fortunately, the misinformation and false promises seem to be on the wane. Some politicians still continue to tout the benefits of ESCR, of course, because their ignorance is often as limitless as their willingness to talk about issues they know nothing about. 

(Digression: Several years ago I presented testimony on ESCR and cloning before the Illinois legislature. A Chicago Democrat told me I was wrong about ESCR because he knew that people had already been cured by injecting “embryos into a patient’s spinal cord.”) 

Scientists and researchers, however, appear to be less vocal than they were a few years ago. Perhaps the Climategate scandal has served as a warning that trust in science is destroyed when they are willing to deceive the public. 

This doesn't mean that they will be honest about their deception, of course. And we shouldn't expect the “ESCR has proven to be a failure” theme to be carried by the media. Despite the fact that adult stem cell research has provided 73 treatments for everything from heart disease to brain cancer while ESCR has never produced any results at all, ESCR will still be considered a “promising approach.” 

Like climate change, stem cell research is often more about politics than science, so as long as gullible politicians are willing to hand over millions in funding, supporters won't admit defeat.

Still, while the people of California may continue to throw their money away on the research, the real debate about the promise of ESCR is over. Whether they realize it or not, ESCR advocates have lost—and ethical research has won.