Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stem Cell Research Triumph . . . note that I didn't say "embryonic" stem cell research

Amazing news is in the news (though maybe not in the mainstream media) today from the field of stem cell research. reported today on a study published Friday in The Lancet showing that "stem cells transplanted into early-phase multiple sclerosis patients stabilized, and in some cases reversed, the debilitating neurological disorder."  (Link to story here.)

Even more amazing than the breakthrough, and likely the reason that you won't find this story everywhere, is that the stem cells used in this promising treatment came from the patients' own body, not an aborted baby.

Kudos to the scientists at Northwestern University who conducted the clinical trials.

Medical research around the world, and maybe even some "stimulus" money should be spent in pursuit of ethical stem cell research.  Research that by definition would not sacrifice the life of one human being to potentially benefit another.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Defending America vs. Economic "Stimulus"

Since I heard Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hint yesterday about budget cuts at the Pentagon, I've wanted to write about how silly it seems to make major cuts in defense programs while looking for places to spend billions of dollars in economic stimulus money.

Lucky for me, James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation has already done it for me . . .

"Gates wailed he’ll have to make “hard choices” on weapons spending. Since he rightly points out five Pentagon programs “account for half of total cost growth in weapons spending,” we can guess where the axe will fall. This, however, is a bad “hard choice”…short cut defense to pay for seeding the Mall in DC and subsidizing Hollywood films (yes…both in stimulus package)…and yes…the defense jobs that will be cut will be here in the US….so yes you got that right…we are going to layoff high-skilled engineers to spend hundred-of-thousands of dollars to hire gardeners. There is a better way…slash back the spending and social engineering in the bill and add the kinds of tax cuts that will really boost economic growth, the best recommendation I’ve heard is to reduce the corporate taxes by 10 percent…and by the way—don’t cut the defense budget. The world may or may not get richer in the next few years….it is not likely to get less dangerous."

Why not overwithhold?

Lots of Americans, me included, enjoy getting those tax refund checks from the government every spring.  But this story from California points out a danger . . . what happens if the government spends the money that you overwithhold (i.e. lend it interest-free) and can't pay you back?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't give up!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats included hundreds of millions of dollars for "family planning" in the proposed $825 billion emergency economic stimulus package.

Even George Stephanopoulos realized that abortion and contraception doesn't stimulate the economy.  But when he questioned the plan on Sunday, Pelosi stated her view that fewer children would reduce costs to government and, therefore, help the economy.  (Link here.)  The Speaker wouldn't back down.

But then the public reacted.  And, low and behold, the Democrats may be backing down.  (Link here.)

If, in fact, public outcry can keep the Democrats (who hold both houses of congress and the White House) from funding one of their constituencies in a massive spending bill, then we in the minority have some hope for the next few years.  

So keep up the fight!

I love irony.

According to Drudge, the environmentalist's chief nut, Al Gore, is set to testify before a Senate Committee tomorrow morning "on the 'urgent need' to combat global warming.  But a major winter storm threatens to cancel the hearing.

The reality of the weather has put Gore and his senate pals in a quandary.  If Gore's testimony is postponed because of the cold, that's a story.  But if Gore spouts his usual baloney in the midst of a snowstorm, well, that's an even bigger story.

I love it.

And another thing . . . I was thinking more about the story blaming Google for global warming from a couple of weeks ago . . . didn't Al Gore invent the internet?  If so, wouldn't that make him personally responsible for global warming?

Friday, January 23, 2009

FDA approves human clinical trials of embryonic stem cell therapy.

Today is a sad day for humanity.  The U.S. Government, through the Food and Drug Administration, has approved a clinical test of the injection of embryonic stem cells (a.k.a. cells harvested from the bodies of from beings murdered either for their tissue or their inconvenience to other human beings) into patients.  (Link to story here.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reason Prevails in Arizona County

Kudos to Pinal County, Arizona, which has dropped speed cameras.  Those cameras, apparently, provided only minimal financial revenues to the county and did not minimize but may have actually increased traffic accidents.  (Link to story here.)

Here's hoping that this is the beginning of a trend and photo enforcement is on its way out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amazing timing . . . don't you think?

Barack Obama took office yesterday and is spending his first full day as president today.  And today - of all days - we see a story from the Associated Press bearing the headline "President can't always control unemployment rate."  (Link here.)  

"Presidents don't have much control over either the number of new jobs or the number of people looking for work," writes Ellen Simon.

Simon is right, of course, but that might come as a shock to anyone who read the newspapers or watched network news in 2008.  Wasn't everything bad in the economy President Bush's fault?  And didn't Barack Obama have a fail-safe plan to create jobs for everyone?

But that, of course, was Big Media's template to get Obama elected.  Now their job is to lower expectations since, they all know, Obama can't deliver on his campaign promises.  And neither the AP nor the Democrats (redundant, I know) want Americans to realize they were snowed.

The audacity of liberals never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why is Al Gore shivering?

Funny stuff from Fairbanks, Alaska.  (Link to story here.)

Hail to the Chief

Barack Obama is now President of the United States.  Like it or not.

Today was a historic day.  A black man has assumed the highest office in America.  While for many, Martin Luther King's dream may not have been realized, Obama has proven that the dream is possible for all.  Maybe it is time for hope that all Americans (white, brown, black, or any other shade) will focus on the contents of their own character rather than the color of their own skin.

I do not support many of the policies that Barack Obama campaigned on or now stands for.  But he deserves two things at this point; and I'm willing to give him both . . .  

One:  Respect.  Even if not for the sake of the man who holds the office then for the office itself.

Two:  A Chance.  Obama walks like a socialist and talks like a socialist - whenever he talks beyond platitudes anyway - but until he exercises his new office like a socialist, let's hold out whatever hope we can that his views moderate when faced with reality.

A change has come.  And significant change is likely coming.  I just wish that it was change I could believe in.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Praying for Global Warming?

Check out this excellent piece by John Tomlinson on something that you won't read Big Media.

In it, Tomlinson reports on a U.N. Global Warming conference held in Poland last month.  That conference didn't get much press coverage because at it "650 of the world's top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis."  

This news doesn't fit the "mainstream" template because it is a conclusion based on facts not feelings.  Facts like . . . 

"The earth's temperature peaked in 1998" and has "been falling ever since."

"Arctic ice is back to 1979 levels" and Antarctic ice "is up 5 percent since 1980."

and "core samples [from Antarctica] show conclusively [that increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide] follow the earth's temperature rise, not lead it."

Yet the liberals are still out there fear-mongering and insisting that we act now to stop carbon emissions and global warming.

But Tomlin writes that there is now "overwhelming evidence that the earth is on the verge of another Ice Age" and suggests we should be praying for global warming instead of combating it.

I'm not sure that I agree with that conclusion but I certainly don't understand spending billions or trillions of dollars and wrecking what's left of our economy to foil a myth like man-made global warming.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Value of Children

Reading my friend The Tim Man's blog today, I found his post on this story from England.

The story is by a woman, Carol Sarler, whose friend's child has autism.  It recounts the hardships, even the horrors, of life with an autistic child.  I have no doubt that such a life is difficult.  But the author uses the hardships and difficulties of autism to argue that "everyone concerned would have been better off if [the autistic child's life] had been a life unlived . . . unequivocally."  And, to take it one step further, that a test should be developed to test unborn children for autism and abort them if the test was positive.

I'm saddened, even sickened, by Sarler's point of view.  Life, any life, is a gift from God.  It is worth living.

By focusing on the parents, rather than the child, Sarler shows how selfish people can be.  Because the child causes hardship to the parents - he should be dead - for the parents' sake.  What about the child?  I don't believe that his life - or any other - is better being snuffed out.

And, I don't believe that autistic children cause nothing but hardship for their parents.  Sarler ignores the possibility that such a child could bring joy into the life of another human being, directly or indirectly.  I hope that her friends read her article and tell her about those joys.  And tell her not to write about things that she doesn't and can't understand.

Apparently it is not possible to test unborn children for autism.  I hope that it never is.  But it is already possible to test unborn children for Downs Syndrome.  When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she had a screening test performed, which her OB/GYN said was standard, that showed a high risk for Downs.  At that point it was suggested that we have an amniocentesis performed to find out conclusively.  Why?  So that we could have been better prepared if the baby did have special needs, or . . . aborted the child.

We decided against the amnio.  The baby was our baby - our special gift - given to us by God - whether he was healthy or not.  If he had been born with Downs Syndrome, our son's life would be no less valuable.  And we would not have loved him less.

Unfortunately, not every parent would have felt the same way.  And, to this day, millions of them are choosing to legally kill their children for the crime of having a disease or simply being inconvenient.

It is a sad world. 

The Big Fat Who Cares Department Lives

After the election of Barack Obama, SLC thought (silly me) that the leftists in Hollywood would keep their mouths shut for a while.  I even considered closing down the Big Fat Who Cares Department as a budget cutting measure.  But, alas, they are still needed.

Tom Hanks is the subject today.  He's lashed out at people of the Mormon faith who backed Proposition 8 in California . . . calling them "un-American."  (Link to story here.)  I thought that America was about freedom of thought, opinion, expression, and political advocacy no matter which side of an issue citizens of any or no faith were on.  Apparently, Mr. Hanks disagrees.  At least on the issue of gay marriage, says Hanks, it is "un-American" to disagree with him . . . especially if you're a Mormon.

Tom Hanks is a great actor - no doubt - but I could care less about his opinion on political or social matters.  His name is known to us all because he can act, not because he's particularly intelligent or insightful.

Whether you agree with him (or the rest of Hollywood) on Proposition 8 or not, I hope that you'll agree that Tom Hanks should shut up and go make a sequel to Bachelor Party.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Guess what? If you ran a Google search to find this blog, you're destroying the planet.

Here's the latest . . . running a Google search generates carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas emitted into our atmosphere, which is causing climate change, and - of course - destroying planet Earth.

That's, of course, the latest hogwash from the global warming nuts.

If you're a Socialist - Be Loud! Be Proud!

Throughout the presidential campaign, it was taboo to refer to Barack Obama as a socialist.  Mentioning the "S"-word drew harsh criticism.

But that's what Obama - his advisors - and liberals everywhere are . . . socialists.  They just don't wan to be associated with the negatives associated with the label.

Here's the latest example:  Carol Browner has been tapped to serve Obama as his "global warming czar."  She's a socialist and, in fact, served as one of a handful of leaders on Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society.  One that, according to the Washington Times, supports "global governance," shrinking the size of "rich" countries' economies, and "punitive limits on greenhouse gas emissions."

Being a socialist does not make Browner evil - necessarily.  And the Obama camp has no problem with her membership in a socialist organization.

Why, then, was her "name and biography been removed from Socialist International's web page" last week?

Because Browner and Obama, like all American socialists, are afraid of showing their true colors.  Americans are intelligent enough (still) to recognize that socialism is a failed experiment and throw its proponents out on their ears - or at least prevent implementation of their policy goals.  Better - they feel - to disguise themselves as "moderates" and pass their agendas by stealth.

Enough already.  Stop trying to trick us.  Believe it or not, Americans are vigilant.  So if you want to implement a socialist agenda, just say so.  If you think you've got the best ideas - stand up and say so.

Admission of Guilt

"I readily concede I chucked aside my free-market principles when I was told . . . the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression."  -George W. Bush, January 12, 2009

And I readily concede that I lost a great deal of respect for President Bush at that very same time.  -SLC

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lessons from 2008 should be learned by MO GOP before 2010

Jay Nixon will soon take office as Missouri's governor.  That's a result far worse than Kenny Hulshof, Sarah Steelman, or Peter Kinder would have been.  And, while it may have happened even without the bloody primary fight between Hulshof and Steelman, we'll never know.  What we do know is this . . . it couldn't have helped.  Time and money spent attacking each other could have and should have been spent against Nixon.

Today, Missouri's senior senator, Republican Kit Bond, announced that he will not seek reelection in 2010.  And the crowded field of potential GOP candidates to replace him already seems likely to repeat the mistakes of last years gubernatorial primary.

Here's hoping that Roy Blunt, Kinder, Steelman, Jim Talent, Jo Ann Emerson, and the rest of the contenders learn the lessons of 2008 and rally, early, around one candidate . . . for the good of the party, Missouri, and the country.

Why should I pay for a new police station on Staten Island?

Everyone's hand is out these days - asking the federal government (read you and me) for bailout or stimulus money.  New York City has now joined the line, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican (Ha!) asking Congress for billions and billions* of our money.

Bloomberg has lots of ideas on how to spend the money.  They include hospitals, schools, and a variety of other infrastructure improvements, including ferry station repairs and a new police station on Staten Island.  

These may be needed - even noble - projects.  But are they federal?  No way!  Hospitals, schools, police, and infrastructure improvements are state and local issues.  None of us in St. Louis should be asked to chip in on local projects for New York . . . or Albuquerque . . . or Des Moines.  That's not the job of the federal government.  And the federal government needs to stop overreaching before it bankrupts us all.

*"billions and billions" should be read or said in the late Carl Sagan's voice.  Without that touch of humor, this story is just too depressing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Use and misuse of an anonymous blog

I blog anonymously here at SLC.  Family and friends know who I am but I don't post my real name.  Why?  Am I afraid of my name being known?  Not really.  Am I hiding behind a pseudonym?  Maybe, sort of.  Here's the deal.  I work for a large corporation and in a capacity where some might - wrongly - associate my opinions with my employer.  I simply don't want that to happen but I do want to engage in public debate.  That, I believe, is the proper use of an anonymous blog account.

An example of improper use of an anonymous blog account is noted in these stories from the New York Post and Daily News.  Some idiot is using his (or her) blog pages to denigrate women, publish their photos, and call them names.  One victim, model Likula Cohen, has had enough and is attempting to force Google (which runs - the service used for SLC, by the way) to identify the blogger.  She believes that she has been libeled and, in fact, she may have been.

The anonymity provided by the web is important but also dangerous.  It cannot and should not be used as a shield for publication of libelous material.  The losers who use anonymous blogs to do so should forfeit their anonymity and face the music in court.

But, these bad apples should be used as reasons to attack the freedom of anonymous bloggers - like me - to engage in legitimate public speech.  Cohen's lawyer put it well . . . "The law protects freedom of speech, including anonymous speech, but it doesn't protect defamation, and people should not think that they can defame others on the Internet or on blogs by hiding behind a screen name."

Good luck Liskula . . . but may your case's holding be limited to its facts.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Global Warming Nuts want to tax farm animals

Falling in line behind the "anything to save the planet" mantra, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed using its "authority" under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions to levy a tax on notorious polluters . . . cows and pigs.  Dairy cows would be taxed $175.00 each, beef cattle $87.50, and hogs $20.00.

I wish that I was making this up.  I'm not.  Link to story here.

The nuts battling against the myth of global warming seem to be getting bolder and bolder.  Who could blame them, facts don't matter anymore.  And their guy is set to take over the White House later this month.

But if we can get their ridiculous plans out in the open then maybe, just maybe, we can stop them from damaging or destroying our way of life.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Next up for bailout bucks . . . the newspapers

I'm not surprised anymore by anyone lining up to sign on the government doll.  Today, it's Connecticut's local newspapers taking their turn.  (Link to story here.)

And why shouldn't government bail out the media?  After all, the media helped to put all those government officials in office, didn't they?  Isn't it simply time to pay off that debt?

Of course, the newspapers act in the common good too, and can't be allowed to fail.  Without them, who would provide a venue for fair reporting and public debate.  Reporters are society's watchdogs, our unbiased eyes and ears keeping an eye on power.  Without them, we would be lost.

No need to fret either over the government's bailout money coming with stings attached and influencing a newspaper's coverage either.  Members of the media certainly have the highest integrity and could not be influenced.


If newspapers can't stay in business these days, they need to take a hard look at their business models and come to grips with modern technology.  It is an internet world.  And papers' monopoly on information has been broken.  If a newspaper (or any other business) can't give its customers something that they can't get elsewhere - and at a price that folks are willing to pay - then they deserve to go under.

Here are my suggestions.  Stop relying on the Associated Press to fill your pages.  We can get AP stories (and syndicated features) anywhere on the net.  Why should we pay to read the same thing in your pages?  Get some real, unique, news (and other) content that we'll want to shell out $ to read.  And feature that content ONLY in the print version of your paper.  If you put it on-line, we'll read it there instead.

And lose the liberal bias.  Do whatever you want on your editorial page but leave the rest of the paper opinion-free.  If you want us to pay to read your stuff - stop manipulating the news.  Give us the facts and let us decide for ourselves what to think.  It is a turn-off to be preached at from print.

If newspapers don't change, they'll go the way of the dinosaurs.  And, if they don't plan to change, I won't mind their extinction a bit.