Stem Cell Research Detained No More: Hope for Science and the Rule of Law Returns

Two fairly remarkable bits of news ... The Decider in Chief got whacked by the most conservative Supreme Court in U.S. History on his efforts for military tribunals relating to Muslim detainees in Guantanamo Bay. While that case has nothing to do with the issues we cover on this site, it does get to a philosophy of governing that is increasingly being repudiated by voters (responding in polls, the proof comes in the November pudding) and now the court.

The second item yesterday, seemingly unrelated, is that the United States Senate, after two years of holds and blocks by social conservatives, will finally take up the issue of expanding research on stem cells. "Social conservatives liken the research to abortion because the process of extracting stem cells from a days-old embryo results in its death. Bush, who believes the practice is immoral, has threatened to veto the legislation," according to the New York Times. I'm going out on a limb here, a fairly thick one, by prediciting that in this even-numbered year, with his poll numbers, and narrow Congressional majorities on the line .... not to mention social conservatives in Congress caving on their "morals" on this issue, that this bill won't be vetoed.

Hear Her Roar

Cecelia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Nation, has started an uprising.  In an effort to build a clinic that would provide abortion to the women of South Dakota, Fire Thunder not only is taking on one nation, but two.  

I have never met her.  Still, she reminds me a lot of the women I met while working at a reproductive health care center. 

Strong.  Courageous.  Determined. 

Today, Fire Thunder faces impeachment -- as a result of her plans to provide reproductive health care to women.  While her plan all along, it was her public response to legislation banning abortion in the state that created the much publicized thundery-fire-storm.  Because Pine Ridge is under federal jurisdiction and not state, her plan could include abortion services. 

Are They For Real?

It's a move characterized by the Washington Post as a "potentially explosive issue among religious conservatives."  Just hours ago, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made a recommendation without dissent that young girls receive a newly approved cervical cancer vaccine as a preventive measure.

Seems like a no-brainer, but anti-birth control, anti-abortion, and anti-sex crusaders doth protest. 

Vatican Continuity Guy Apparently on Vacation

Is it me, or is the Vatican starting to get a little paranoid? Check out the latest from Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, author of a recent 57-page sweeping indictment of contraception, abortion, in-vitro fertilization and same-sex marriage, but most famous for his personal belief that condoms spread AIDS. Trujillo recently told the Catholic news magazine Famiglia Cristiana, “We worry especially that, with current laws, speaking in defense of life and the rights of families is becoming in some societies sort of a crime against the state.” Uhm, sort of. Or, more like: the reality-based universe is slowly coming around to the notion that illegal abortions are as good at killing and maiming women as they are at ending pregnancies, embryonic stem cell research could potentially save millions of lives, and gay people deserve civil rights—or even human rights! 

Missing the Point, and Failing on Human Trafficking

The plot thickens. Twice in the past few weeks, I have written about some serious confusion on the part of a radical right wing group, C-FAM, in the war against human trafficking. It appears that they don’t know the difference (or perhaps, choose not to differentiate) between forced human trafficking and prostitution. In other words: more signs of the right wing’s intense obsession with sex. That thought fueled a hunch that C-FAM might not be the only group in their camp on this page, and it looks like that hunch might have been right.

After looking through materials from Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) and Focus on the Family’s websites, it looks like more of the same. CWA’s Janice Crouse wrote an article with the following title: Ending Modern-Day Slavery: Some Solutions to Sex Trafficking.” Focus on the Family’s Citizenlink.org features an article, “U.S. Targets Human Trafficking.” The first line of that article? “The federal government is ramping up its war on sex trafficking.” Another from CWA, “Zero Tolerance for Human Trafficking,” begins with the following: “It’s a given: Prostitution co-exists with military bases and installations.”

Golden Oldies Parade of Hits

Hey Daddy-O, tune in to your AM dial for the latest, the greatest, those hits you love from way back when; it's time for the Golden Oldie Parade of Hits, the soothing sound of Beltway summer in even numbered years, mixed in with some the freshest hits of today.

Those hep-kats in the House aren't playing "Guns and Butter" anymore, those were the classics, tunes of a greater generation, the tunes of the Majoritarians now are "Guns and Abortion," an anthem of summer to rally the faithful. But before we play those golden oldies, let me lay on you the tunes you just heard. First, playing louder than its ever been played that old faithful, "Burn Me Once, Shame on You, Burn Me Twice, Shame on Me" rising on the charts this summer to 66 thumbs up.

The UN-friendly Skies

We couldn’t overlook this one – and those living in the Twin Cities won’t be able to either.

Darcy Pohland, from WCCO news, reports “For the past few days, a plane has flown around the Twin Cities pulling a banner with a picture allegedly of an aborted fetus.” A fly-by was reported over the Minneapolis Stone Arch Festival, downtown, and elsewhere.

Literally creating the buzz, is the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. They state, "We readily admit where we display these pictures, born children are upset. It must also be said that where we don't show them, unborn children are killed."

Tapping Your Inner Buffett

You are cordially invited to join the unofficial “Buffett Booster Club” today – and you don’t need billions to leave a mark of your own.

From coast to coast, from the New York Daily News to the San Francisco Chronicle, the media is buzzing with stories about Warren Buffett’s magnanimous donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As Mr. Buffett states, "Huge fortunes that flow in large part from society, should, in large part, be returned to society.”

Much like that proverbial shot heard round the world, Buffett’s billion dollar gift will touch the lives of millions of individuals from around the globe. It will be used to enhance and expand the already internationally recognized work of the Gates Foundation including “fighting such diseases as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.”

Thank You, Mr. President, Your Crumbs Are Delicious

Well, I for one am breathing a huge sigh of relief that the Bush administration supports the availability of safe and effective products and services to assist responsible adults in making decisions about preventing or delaying conception—even if the Administration’s statement makes something as simple as birth control sound like a weapons-of-mass-destruction-related program activity. I’m not just relieved because, as a responsible adult who is not yet ready to become a mother, I can finally start having sex again. I’m relieved because now it’s official: we are living at a moment in history when the president of the United States will not use the words “contraception” or “birth control” for fear of offending his voting base.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was quick to ask some important follow-up questions in response to the Administration’s statement. Actually, I have a couple follow-up questions of my own. First, what about the 89 percent of us who believe that information about birth control should be more accessible? Why isn’t anyone afraid of alienating us?

Rush Limbaugh Detained … Not for Abstinence

Rush Limbaugh was detained for nearly four hours for ... get this ... Viagra. Known for his family values positions, this thrice-divorced supporter of abstinence is detained for, Viagra. Among his "35 Undeniable Truths" is, "Abstinence prevents sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy - every time it's tried." Rush Limbaugh also defines himself as ubersexual. Viagra of course is not the first pill popped by this purveyor of ideological rants, he resigned from ESPN after abusing Oxycontin, a drug used by chronic pain sufferers who need it, (a process made more difficult by people who abuse it), and by Rush Limbaugh evidently to maintain his bravado.

From his book See, I Told You So:

A truism I’ve often proclaimed is: “Liberalism poisons the soul.” Originally, it may have sounded harsh to some, trite to others; scintillating to the politically astute. Today, I am convinced it is more on the mark than ever. Here’s what it really means to me: Modern-day liberalism is like a disease or an addiction that literally has the power to destroy the character of the person who falls under its spell.