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Repost: Adult Stem Cells FTW

A colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 ...
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This is a repost in light of the recent news that the news media finally picked up on the fact that adult stem cells are cutting the butter and embryonic stem cells are still only a load of hype… er, tripe.

Anyway, here’s what we knew 3 years ago:

In case you didn’t know: adult stem cells have been used for years to successfully treat a wide range of conditions successfully. Private companies have seen the success and have poured large amounts of money into programs exploring the benefits of stem cells derived from adult adipose (fat) tissue, marrow, and other sources.

So what’s all the hubbub over skin cells? And why are embryonic stem cells such a hot topic?

In a chokingly self-important article which seems to further support Dennis Prager‘s assertion that liberals can go their whole lives without meeting a conservative, Time Magazine claims the recent discoveries about the ability of skin-derived stem cells to differentiate (grow into different organs, technically called pluripotency) will not benefit the GOP. Come again? What does good science have to do with politics? And do you even know the history of the issue? I thought not, the MSM conveniently does not read any medical journals unless their tipped off by some juicy tidbit they may use to further their own radical agenda.

The article’s author, Michael Kinsley, says he has Parkinsons, a disease for which stem cells hold great potential in curing. Current Parkinsons treatments using embryonic stem cells turns the patients into shaking, slobbering babes incapable of the most basic self-care. Embryonic stem cells have a more direct and immediate potential for pluripotency as that is what they do: they turn into cells for each organ and tissue in the body. Unfortunately their growth is uncontrollable right now and they end up turning effectively into tumors in the brains of those who are injected with them.

On top of this, the ethical and moral issues involving the harvesting of human embryos are staggering and I fall in with those myriad souls who fight to stop the harvesting and destruction of human life with the goal of bettering human life. How far removed are we from Nazi Germany, when diabolical doctors of death practiced upon innocents by the millions to further the happiness of the rest of humanity? Is that a worthwhile trade?

In fact, to date there has not been a single successful treatment of any condition or disease using stem cells harvested from embryos.

Private sector investment has shunned embryonic stem cell lines, which means the only group which can be coerced into paying for these death-dealers research projects is… us. The government largess is available to any who crow loud and long enough, and it comes from yours and my pocket books and paychecks.

Private sector research has all gone towards adult stem cell research which offers very potent benefits over embryonic stem cells.

  • Adult stem cells suffer no chance of rejection from their host. Adult stem cells are collected from the person they will be used on, meaning the organs grown from them carry the exact biological and genetic “fingerprint” of the rest of the body, there is zero chance of rejection of these treatments.
  • Adult stem cells are given voluntarily as part of treatment. There is no moral or ethical morass involved in the collection of the these cells.
  • Adult stem cells can differentiate under controlled conditions. Unlike embryonic stem cells, which differentiate wildly and which we are currently unable to control, adult stem cells pluripotency can be controlled in application with greater reliability.

So we have an issue where the successful treatment and therefore all the private money has gone in one direction, but a few stubborn souls insist on using disinformation and outright lies to promote a morally reprehensible treatment system which would have been likely looked upon with distaste by most of the Nazi death doctors in hopes of getting us to pay for a treatment process with no current success and little promise.

“If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough.” ~James A. Thomson

UPDATE:

Hugh Hewitt references Charles Krauthammer’s article on the issue. Bush was right, technology vindicates morality:

Even a scientist who cares not a whit about the morality of embryo destruction will adopt this technique because it is so simple and powerful. The embryonic stem cell debate is over.

Which allows a bit of reflection on the storm that has raged ever since the August 2001 announcement of President Bush’s stem cell policy. The verdict is clear: Rarely has a president — so vilified for a moral stance — been so thoroughly vindicated.

Why? Precisely because he took a moral stance. Precisely because, as Thomson puts it, Bush was made “a little bit uncomfortable” by the implications of embryonic experimentation. Precisely because he therefore decided that some moral line had to be drawn.

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To Some, They’re Truth

The words of Jeremiah Wright, the wrong words he’s spoken and made a central part of his message for the 20 years Barak Hussein Obama has considered him a spiritual leader, to some, they are truth.

Mr. Wright, for I do not consider him to be worthy of reverence or title beyond that of a normal man, is not the only person to preach those words either.

They are a variant of the philosophy and world view known as Liberation Theology, specifically, Black Liberation Theology.

From GotQuestions.org:

Simply put, Liberation Theology is an attempt to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. It is largely a humanistic doctrine. It started in South America in the turbulent 1950’s when Marxism was making great gains among the poor because of its emphasis on the redistribution of wealth, allowing poor peasants to share in the wealth of the colonial elite and thus upgrade their economic status in life. As a theology, it has very strong Roman Catholic roots.

Liberation Theology was bolstered in 1968 at the Second Latin American Bishops Conference which met in Medellin, Colombia. The idea was to study the Bible and to fight for social justice in Christian (Catholic) communities. Since the only governmental model for the redistribution of the wealth in a South American country was a Marxist model (gained in the turbulent 1950’s), the redistribution of wealth to raise the economic standards of the poor in South America took on a definite Marxist flavor. Since those who had money were very reluctant to part with it in any wealth redistribution model, the use of a populist (read poor) revolt was encouraged by those who worked most closely with the poor. As a result, the Liberation Theology model was mired in Marxist dogma and revolutionary causes…

…Liberation Theology has moved from the poor peasants in South America to the poor blacks in America. We now have Black Liberation Theology being preached in the black community. It is the same Marxist, revolutionary, humanistic philosophy found in South American Liberation Theology and has no more claim for a scriptural basis than the South American model has.

The race problem in America is real, that is undeniably true. But I do not think it is true in the way many assume it to be.

First, slavery was an inexcusable evil and a dark time for America. Today, many of us can trace roots back to those who participated, freely or under coercion, in slavery in America.

But at the same time, many of us can’t. And a significant majority have ancestors from the both the ideological North and South in their blood, as well as those who had no part at all. There has been significant immigration by all races to America after the conclusion of the Civil War and the active work of slavery.

The continuing and very real race issue was summed up by a new friend of Ed Kaitz’s. Ed had been spending time with the Vietnamese immigrants who’d settled in the Bayous of Louisiana, and while flying home he met a an American Black who’d been studying psychology and working as a prison psychologist in Missouri.

Ed tells it like this:

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season:

“We’re owed and they aren’t.”

In short, he concluded, “they’re hungry and we think we’re owed.  It’s crushing us, and as long as we think we’re owed we’re going nowhere.”

“They” are the Vietnamese Ed had spent time with, “we” are the gentleman’s own race, his fellow American Blacks.

Ed concludes his commentary on Obama’s inability to recognize the powerful forces of good in his life and the state of racism in America with this call to recognize real sources of ability and equality, accomplishment and future:

We now know that Barack Obama really has no interest in the “audacity of hope.”  With his race speech, Obama became a peddler of angst, resentment and despair.  Too bad he doesn’t direct that angst at the liberal establishment that has sold black people a bill of goods since the 1960s.  What Obama seems angry about is America itself and what it stands for; the same America that has provided fabulous opportunities for what my black friend called “hungry” minorities.  Strong families, self-reliance, and a spirit of entrepreneurship should be held up as ideals for all races to emulate.

Read Obama’s Anger at American Thinker.

Doug Ross, at Opinion Journal, quotes Nicholas Stix in Mens News Daily regarding Barak Hussein Obama’s run against Alan Keyes. Regarding Barak’s religion Nicholas has this to say:

…Obama’s closest religious advisers — Fr. Pfleger, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, and Illinois State Sen. James Meeks, who moonlights as the pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church – may have quotes from Scripture always handy, but are theologically closer to Karl Marx and black nationalism, than to Christianity… The transcendent-non-transcendent motto the Rev. Wright has given Trinity is, “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.”

Yes, we need a Marxist president. Exactly what the country needs.

More information on Black Liberation ideology.

LA Times speaks with moral relativism and class warfare.

Roger Simon writes, in homage to Andrew Goodman “Barak, I didn’t do it for this

And what about the New Black Panthers?

Dead Sexy

In a previous article, Priorities Of Preservation, I discussed the importance Christianity puts on the entirety of an person: body, mind, and spirit.

While the world, in a misguided and myopic view constrained by sin, only really cares for the preservation of the body. And through ignorance, loses the whole person.

In a report released last week which most have already heard of or commented on, it was noted that 1/4 of the US Teenage Female population is infected with one of several Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

The immediate cry was that Abstinence Education must be completely abandoned and further explanation of the ins and outs of safe sex be taught to every child.

I find those making that argument to be their own worst enemies, and I am determined to sit and watch them tear themselves apart trying to make sense of what they’ve said.

Better have a good belt to hold these sides in. The problem is, this is no laughing matter: peoples lives are at stake.
At the blog dbTechno (“Providing Science And Technology News Since 1996”) under the headline “Teens Having Sex, Getting STD’s Due To Lack Of Knowledge” (strongly caution) there is a small picture of three bikini-clad young women shaking their derrières before the camera. This was the picture Google had selected on it’s news aggregator to highlight the several articles on this topic this morning.

In our sexified culture it is considered “emancipated” for a woman to be so “comfortable” with her sexuality that she feels willing to flaunt her body either scantily clothed or free of clothes before the whole world.

I don’t think that it is a sign of a healthy self-image that women are willing and even choose to clothe themselves that way.

I am not for arbitrary requirements in clothing, but it is saddening that, younger and younger, we are compelling out daughters and sisters to choose between frumpy and scandalous.

Removing their modesty with bits of lycra and spandex.

Revealing their bodies for the eyes of all the world.

And then we worry that too many of them are having sex.

I think a healthy self image will result in true self-worth, where the woman will not feel compelled to dress “sexy” to get the approval and acceptance of others.

When a woman is dressing revealingly they are revealing their insecurity, not their assuredness.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board this morning published an article titled “Abstinence-Only Education Needs To Go” (no scandalous images here) in which they completely demolish their own claims, twice.

First, early in the article they lay claim to the moral high ground:

From here, it would be easy to play the blame game. But that would be unproductive. It doesn’t matter if you’re the pro-sex education or abstinence-only type, the statistics speak for themselves, and what matters most is that something be done to make our children more sexually responsible and safe.

And then, in the very next paragraph:

Let’s start with re-tooling the failed abstinence-only approach backed by the Bush administration. Let’s teach teenagers about contraceptives and other precautions that could help protect them if they are sexually active.

Yes, lets avoid the blame game, and lets look at the facts. The Bush Administration has indeed backed and supported an abstinence-only education approach, because no one who practices abstinence contracts an STD, no one. It make sense to back a winner. But how many education programs has the Bush Administrations policy actually affected? Good question.

I would be willing to bet that with state policy, and NEA policy, and DoE policy, there is precious little abstinence-only education going on in the public schools of America.

The article then goes on to make an astounding statement. I very nearly cheered, at work, when I read this:

Abstinence teaching has its merits. It not only promotes a sure-proof defense against STDs and unwanted pregnancies, but also the idea that sexual activity requires a high level of maturity and understanding. An adolescent who engages in “protected” sex prematurely may not run the risk of physical infections, but could be exposed to long-term emotional and psychological damage.

And then gets to the…

BOTTOM LINE: Place more emphasis on contraceptives and STDs in sex-education classes.

And they reached that how?

With this simple caveat they have attempted to justify their entire tortured argument, and by extension, rationalize their continued support for the torture of young minds and bodies with illness both physical and psychological:

Like it or not, half of the teenage girls in this country are already sexually active, according to the study. Something has to be done to make them wiser in their choices, or we soon could have an even bigger public health crisis on our hands.

Do they not see the cruel irony?

Because we’re a bunch hapless, helpless dolts who’ve bought the lie that children are capable of making their own informed decisions regarding sex and mature relationships.

Because we’re a bunch of laissez-faire non-present parental units who feel no particular responsibility to counter the culture’s claims that boys are animals and girls are meat.

Because we’re a bunch of lazy do-gooders who value intentions over actions and outcomes and are willing to allow our children to do whatever they please so long as it makes them feel good.

We will complete ignore what we already know to be true: that premature involvement in adult relationships, emotional and physical, will not only harm the body but will also damage the mind.

So long as we tell enough of them to use condoms, we are perfectly willing to let them hop into bed with any yahoo or floozy who comes along.

Yea, that’s advanced society and parental love for you.

See also:

The Condom Conspiracy: Sex, Lies, STIs and Teenage Girls – the evangelical outpost

While we have Planned Parenthood and sex educators claiming that condoms can “offer effective protection against most serious sexually transmitted infections” the report finds there’s no scientific basis for that claim.

STD Data Comes As No Surprise, Area Teenagers Say – Laura Sessions Stepp and Katherine Shaver in the Washington Post

The Marrow girls offered several reasons why teenagers have sex.

“It’s to fit in, peer pressure,” Christine said, noting that virgins are often mocked. Also, “sex sells on TV.”

Khadijah chimed in that some young girls found their inspiration in the popular R&B singer Rihanna, whose latest album is titled “Good Girl Gone Bad.”

But Christina suggested something closer to home. “Write this down,” she said. “Bad parenting.”

The “Tanking” Economy, the Housing Bubble, and What Happened

         The New York Stock Exchange has been down a lot over the past couple of months.  It’s down about fifteen percent from its high of just over 14,000.  Many people are wondering why and how far it is going to fall.  This is my attempt to explain why it has been falling.

            Our story actually begins in the housing and sub-prime loan markets.  As many of you know, mortgage companies don’t actually have the millions and millions of dollars they loan to homebuyers.  What they do instead is make a loan, say for $250,000, and try to find some investor (generally a bank or some other financial entity) to buy the mortgage.  The company serves as a middle man between the homebuyer and large financial institutions. 

            What has begun happening recently is firms have been buying large numbers of mortgages of all different sizes and interest rates and rolling them into one package, kind of like a mutual fund.  They then began to sell shares of this “fund” to investors and investment banks.  This has never been done before.  People on Wall Street have never been able to buy shares in a mortgage security because mortgage securities didn’t exist.

            Now investments are rated based upon their safety as an investment.  For example, a triple AAA rating means that the stock or mutual fund you are buying is pretty safe and unlikely to fall far in value – wiping out your investment.  It also means the return will probably not be as high as other investments.  A single A rating means that the stock isn’t as safe as the triple AAA, but could potentially have a higher return. 

            Well the various companies that have created the rating system needed to rate these mortgage securities.  In some cases they gave triple A ratings, in others double and single A ratings.  Then the mortgage securities were marketed based on these ratings.

            So like any bubble, there was far too much exuberance in the market for these funds and they were overpriced and overrated.  That was one problem.  The deeper problem, however, is that mortgage companies began making lots of bad loans (e.g. requiring no down payments from the people they were lending to, not checking credit history, proof of income, etc.)  This was not a big problem until the housing market started to slump. 

When the values of houses started falling, those people who had taken a $400,000 mortgage out on a $400,000 house found themselves with a $400,000 mortgage on a house that was now worth $350,000.  Not a good place to be.  So they just walked away (that means the bank foreclosed on their house.)  But no one is in a good situation here.  The bank is left with a house worth less than the loan it made and these people are down a home.  There were a couple of other issues about variable interest rates that I won’t go into here.  The point is that there was a huge increase in the number of people defaulting on their mortgage loans.

            So big picture, these mortgage based securities that were being doled out like mutual funds, started collapsing.  All of a sudden people began to realize that these securities were not as valuable as they had initially thought.  So the price began to plummet.  And to make things worse, no one really knows how to evaluate the worth of these securities.  The fact that they are so new and the rates of defaults on loans are variable makes people afraid to purchase the securities; even after they have fallen substantially in price. 

            Here’s where it affects the credit market.  Some of the chief buyers of these securities were giant investment banks, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, etc.  The investment bankers at these firms made varying degrees of stupid decisions.  At Bear Stearns, for example, the investment bankers bought the securities on margin, which means they were borrowing money against their current assets to buy more shares of the securities.  Though always a risky idea, if your investments are good it’s not a problem.  Once these securities started crashing though, the market froze.  No one was willing to buy but everyone wanted to sell.  So Bear Sterns went from having 800 billion dollars worth of securities in its investment branch to 300 billion dollars worth in a week or two (Note, these are not the literal numbers but they are characteristic of the idea).  And, because they had bought on margin, they still owed the hundreds of billions of dollars they had borrowed.

           This is why the market is unhappy.  Hundreds of billions of dollars have just disappeared.  These are not literal paper dollars, but electronic dollars in the credit market.  This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to take out new loans.  The Federal Reserve has stepped in to try and fix the problem, but that is a completely different story.

            What does this mean?  Well, credit markets are in turmoil.  No one knows how to value these securities.  A number of lending companies have gone bankrupt.  These financial problems affect the economy by limiting business’s and individual’s ability to borrow money for various projects.  Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world.  Give the market time to sort itself out.  We tend to overly concerned about the immediate present rather than the future.  So what if one quarter has slow growth, or even negative growth?  There will be hardship for some people, but the market will come back if left unhindered by government intervention.  Also, it will come back quicker if consumer’s had more confidence.  Consumer confidence tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as to the performance of the market, at least in the short run.  So be patient, things will get better.