Friday, July 21, 2006

Steve and Cokie Get It Wrong, Again

Steve and Cokie's latest column, titled "Bush's Stubbornness", was startling in the number of inaccuracies, misleading statements, and apparent willful misinterpretation of reality. The gist if their argument is that President Bush's veto of the embryonic stem cell funding legislation somehow represents the triumph of hard-headedness over "science". Unfortunately, their argument is full of holes.

First of all, through most of the column, the Roberts' refer to the research covered by the legislation that President Bush vetoed as "stem cell" research. This, I believe, is an intentional attempt to make people believe that the president, and those who agree with him are opposed to stem cell research in general. In fact, both the objection and the vetoed legislation apply specifically to embryonic stem cell research, and not to that research that is based on adult stem cells, or those derived from placental or umbilical cord blood.

Steve and Cokie make the argument that embryonic stem cell (ESC) research raises "...the possibility of new treatments for a range of debilitating conditions, from cancer and Parkinson's to spinal cord injuries". What they don't bother to mention, however, is that those same conditions are being treated NOW using adult stem cells (ASC). Adult stem cells (as the name implies) come from adults, or from umbilical cord or placental blood, and retrieving them doesn't result in the destruction of any life. At least 72 different diseases and conditions are currently treatable using therapies derived from adult stem cell research. How many conditions are currently treated using therapies derived from ESC research? NOT ONE. That's right. Not a single person has ever been treated as a result of embryonic stem cell research. Progress and scientific advancements are much more pronounced with ASC research, yet some are clamoring for federal dollars to go to embryonic stem cell research. Why?

There are two groups of people who really stand to gain from ESC: the pro-abortion crowd and a minority of pharmaceutical/bio-technology companies. The pro-abortion crowd wants to continue to chip away at society's respect for the sanctity of life. If they can get the public to agree that its OK to destroy a fetus for research, why not then for convenience? The pharma/bio-tech companies have a financial motive. If they can arrange for the taxpayer to foot some of their costs, all the better for their bottom lines'.

Its clear that President Bush's veto certainly wasn't an example of hard-headedness winning out over "science". Science and practical application is solidly on the side of adult stem cell-derived therapies. Why should the taxpayers pay to destroy human life in the off-chance that it could lead to alternative treatments that, in many cases, are already treatable using adult stem Cells? Just as importantly, denying federal funding to ESC research does not in any way restrict or limit the private funding of that research, or the chances that a cure or treatment will be found, through that or any other form of research. Its ridiculous to imply, or outright state, (as the Roberts' do in their column), that people are suffering because the government won't pay for ESC research.

The icing on the cake in Steve and Cokie's column was this little gem: "...[President Bush] refuses to recognize that most moral choices are not between good and evil, but between competing virtues." According to the Oxford dictionary, the word "moral" is defined as: "concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character". No "competing virtues" there. The Roberts' statement is exactly what's wrong with so much of society today: there is such a thing as objective right and wrong. Morality is not in the eye of the beholder. Destroying human embryos, whether for research or convenience (as is done in an abortion), is wrong. Period.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cells Haven't Cured a Single Person

Yesterday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have allowed money from the federal budget to be spent on Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) research. This was his first veto, and it couldn't have been more important than on this legislation. Congratulations on the veto, Mr. President.

To hear the ESC advocates tell it, the only way science can cure lots of diseases and conditions, from Parkinsons, to Alzheimers, to spinal cord damage, is to have the federal government pay to destroy human embryos while harvesting their stem cells for research. This is utter hogwash.

Here are the facts: Adult Stem Cell (ASC) research, which draws on stem cells taken from adults, or from the umbilical cord and placenta, has already resulted in treatments for dozens of diseases and conditions, including Sickle Cell Anemia, several forms of Leukemia, Systemic Lupus, Chron's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Coronary Artery Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, and brain, skin, breast, and ovarian cancer. In fact, here's a list of 72 diseases and conditions treated using adult stem cells. All this without destroying a single human embryo.

On the other hand, what treatments has ESC research lead to? NONE. Not a single person has been treated for any disease or condition as a result of Embryonic Stem Cell research. What's more, if ESC research is so promising, why does the federal government need to be involved financially at all? If this was a real opportunity to advance science, healthcare companies and venture capitalists would be knocking each other down to fund it.

Adult Stem Cell research is where the cures are, now and in the future. This was an excellent example of the use of the President's veto power.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Conservative Principles Victorious in Cobb County, Georgia

The primaries passed yesterday, with most of the races being decided as expected. In addition to the regular races, however, the Republican primary ballot also contained four "survey" questions at the end to assess the popularity of several important issues. I was struck with how popular conservative principles really are in my ever-so-red county in suburban Atlanta.
The first question read: "Do you support Guest Worker programs for illegal aliens?". The results were 59% no, and 41% yes. This should be considered, (locally anyway), as a solid rebuke of the compassionate conservative position that posits an amnesty program for illegals, under a nicer sounding name. 

More surprising, however, was the margin of victory for the second question: "Do you support the 'Fair Tax' plan which is a federal national sales tax to replace the income tax?". Here, the results were 85% yes, and only 15% no. This is astounding, and very welcome, news. The time for comprehensive tax reform has come.

The last two questions were local issues, but their results do shed some light on the guiding principles of Cobb Republicans. Solid majorites of 73% and 84% agreed that school board terms should be shorter, and that SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) votes should only occur during general elections to maximize voter turnout, respectively.

In the first case, shorter terms for government officials, even local government, is in keeping with the traditional conservative principle of limited, responsible government.

In the second case, limiting SPLOSTs to the general election will increase the number of voters weighing in, making them less susceptible to special interest rallying. Its reasonable to assume that more participation should result in fewer, and smaller, SPLOSTs being passed.

Yesterday was a good day for conservative principles in Cobb County, Georgia.

Monday, July 10, 2006

5.4 Million New Jobs from the Tax Cuts

The federal government is reporting that 121,000 jobs were created in June, the latest in a string of job creation that's been responsible for 1.85 million new jobs over the last 12 months.

Since August of 2003, 5.4 million jobs have been created. What's more, the employment rate is currently in the basement at 4.6 percent. That's lower than the average unemployment rate for the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s.

Federal tax revenue is up, unemployment is down, and the economy has grown by more than 20% since the 2003 tax cuts were enacted, just three short years ago.

The argument about the benefit of tax cuts is over. The supply-siders win. Again.