Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: But science just might move forward in our lifetime after all .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

But science just might move forward in our lifetime after all

House votes to expand the government's role in research

In good news on the stem cell research front, the House voted yesterday to expand the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research.

In a three-hour House debate, Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Sugar Land likened the research to "dismemberment of living, distinct human beings."

On the other side was Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, who co-sponsored the bill with Diana DeGette, D-Colo.

"The more people learn about embryonic stem cell research, the more they realize the potential to fight disease and improve the lives of the millions of Americans who are suffering, and therefore the more supportive they become," he said.

Some of the change of heart in Republicans is due to family members that could benefit from advances in the research, although much is more likely due to the potential loss of millions of dollars in donated funds for their districts.

In January, Texas Medical Center and the Texas Heart Institute received $5 million in donations for cardiovascular stem cell research. Last spring, the center received a 10-year, $25 million anonymous commitment to stem cell research.

But not everyone is swayed by more pork for their district. Standing by his principles, Rep. John Culberson, whose district includes the stem cell pioneers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, voted against it because it’s “creepy”.

Well, so is Karl Rove, but then he wasn’t voted in, he was appointed. And speaking of creepy…

"An embryo is whole, just unfinished, just like the rest of us," DeLay said in the House debate. "We were all at one time embryos ourselves; and so was Abraham, so was Mohammed, so was Jesus of Nazareth ... and Shakespeare, and Beethoven, and Lincoln."

All of us, that is, except Tom DeLay, who was spawned from the seed of Satan. And Adam and Eve, who were molded from clay.

The vote passed 238 – 194, with 50 Republicans in the majority, 52 votes shy of being able to override dubya’s promised veto. It also needs to go through the Senate, which has similar support for the measure – enough to break a filibuster, but probably not a veto.

Bush claimed a mandate in the 2004 election with a 51% majority. He’ll be displaying his hypocrisy when he vetoes legislation that has more than an 81% majority approval. Then again, he’ll be doing it based on his so-called "values", which we all know are 100% righteous. And that trumps 81% and the will of the people every time in a theocracy.

But regardless of whether this issue is resolved this session, it at least is an indication that people are looking past the rhetoric and seeing the research for the benefit it can provide. And hopefully someday, maybe even in our lifetime, we’ll have the cures for many of the currently incurable diseases that delibitate so many.


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