Monday, 08 January 2007

Stem Cell Research: A New Chapter

Ken Berwitz

Today we have the wonderful news that science is rapidly finding ways of harnessing stem cells that are at least as promising as embryonic cells and do not require destroying the embryos.

Many media are featuring stories about this today.  Here is a report from The San Francisco Chronicle:


On Sunday, researchers offered new evidence that stem cells, very much like those derived from embryos, can be obtained from ordinary amniotic fluid, the liquid that bathes the fetus during pregnancy.

Although such cells had been found before, a report in the journal Nature Biotechnology suggests they can be isolated from the fluid more easily than previously thought and coaxed into developing into muscle, bone, liver, brain and other major cell types in the search for new treatments for diabetes, paralysis and many other maladies.

"It's a plentiful source," said Dr. Anthony Atala, senior author of the research paper and director of the regenerative medicine institute at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Now, it appears the birth fluid may be a repository of all sorts of valuable biological material.

The study is one of many recent examples of scientists pushing the boundaries in the search for stem cells -- driven partly by scientific interest and partly by practical necessity.

Moral objections to embryonic stem cell research prompted the Bush administration in 2001 to limit federal backing for the work. Scientists are opposing those limits but simultaneously exploring other sources, noting that human embryos for research would be rare even in ideal circumstances. And some of the alternatives may have valuable properties not seen in the embryonic cells.

"Scientists are opportunistic," said Dr. Evan Snyder, a stem cell researcher and physician at the Burnham Institute in San Diego, a co-author of the new report. "They will use whatever works."

Moral critics of embryonic stem cell research say alternative sources of stem cells like amniotic fluid undercut the need to use embryos, which typically must be destroyed to yield their core nugget of stem cells.

Sunday's report "is one in a line of studies showing very versatile stem cells can be obtained from a number of different products after live birth -- amniotic membrane, amniotic fluid, cord blood, placenta, even umbilical cord tissue," said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "There is no reason why the amniotic fluid couldn't be obtained, raising no moral problem whatever. So, we welcome this further advance in expanding the known sources of potentially useful stem cells."


I would hope these findings go a long way toward neutralizing the bitter, agonizing debate over whether it is moral or necessary to use embryonic stem cells.  It would seem to me that we now have a path all sides can enthusiastically support.


Barry Sinrod
Doctors today have said that they have been able to extract stem cells from the Amniotic fluid and use them to create many new organs that can be used to save lives.
It does not interfere with the mother or the fetus and should therefore make the entire discussion about using Embryonic Stem Cells for research even though most Americans do not understand that Embryonic stem cells are simply a string of 8 cells which have no life and can never have life. More than 400,000 are now routinely destroyed.
It has been suggested that W, should arrest and prosecute every single new mother of murder for destroying these NON life cells which he considers life.
You can't have it both ways.   January 11th is near and congress will surely pass the stem cell research bill again and this time it will override his one and only veto.

Ken Berwitz I already blogged about stem cells today, just scroll down a little. Why can't you just be happy about this advance? Why must everything you talk about wind up with anger and threats? Believe it or not, you can say something without attacking George Bush. I promise won't drum you out of the organization if you have a positive outlook once in a while. (01/08/07)


Barry Sinrod
W has done it again.  Those in the military which covers every single active general and commander in Iraq  have been "suddenly" removed in favor of, of course  THE NAVY!
For those who don't know it, THE NAVY usually 100% of the time is our military that fights and patrols the
waters of the world.   THERE is NO water in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere in the desert!
So it only figures that the new people in charge of the forthcoming surge of more troops to die will be THE NAVY.   Several of our battleships are headed for the middle east where it is reported that Mr. Cheney has said.. "If we are attacked anywhere near the United States or any of our bases we are to attack Iran immediately".  It doesn't matter if they are the attackers, just attack them anyway.
So let us see, Mr. Republican backer...STILL....  He puts a military man in charge of the CIA and a CIA man in charge of the FBI. 
Oh and just in.... Al Qeda guys are being trapped today another coincidence for his Wednesday speech.
They are said to be closing in on the top Al Qeda guys numbers 3,4, 7, 9.  This will mean that to date we have captured or killed   97 #3's, 143 #4's, 267#7's and 305#9's.
And finally, today is Elvis Presley's 72nd birthday.

The Trial Of Lewis Libby (Remember him?)

Ken Berwitz

Here's some news I bet you didn't know:  Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial starts this month.

Scooter who?  Exactly.  The media, which made a daily habit of talking about "Plamegate" for three years, has dropped the story like it had bubonic plague. 

Why do you suppose this happened?  What made such a huge story fall off the end of the earth?

Well, here's when it ended:  When we became aware that peter fitzgerald, the "Plamegate" independent counsel, knew who the leaker was virtually from the start.  He knew that it wasn't Karl Rove, or Vice President Cheney or President Bush.  He knew that it was Richard Armitage - a critic of the war and no friend of the Bush administration.

Whoops, hold the presses.  Stop that edition.  The guys media were salivating over for three years, the administration they were going to take down, had nothing to do with this.  STORY OVER.

But there's a loose end, isn't there?  His name is Lewis Libby.  Mr. Libby was Vice President Cheney's chief of staff and, until this fiasco,  an enormously well respected professional. 

However, in the course of what we now understand to be the fraudulent "Plamegate" investigation, Lewis Libby's testimony did not coincide with the recollection of a couple of reporters.

This could have occurred for a lot of reasons.  One is that Libby is a liar.  Another is that the reporters in question lied.  Another is that one or both sides simply don't remember the specifics of a conversation they had years before - a conversation there would have been no particular reason to think of as especially important. 

The fact that so many logical explanations exist tells you there is no realistic case against Libby;  not even if (worst-case scenario) he actually was lying.  It is unprovable.

The Wall Street Journal wrote a terrific editorial about this today.  Here is the first paragraph, which puts things in context beautifully:

Patrick Fitzgerald's trial of Scooter Libby is set to begin this month, assuming anyone can still remember what this case is all about. Oh, yes, Mr. Fitzgerald is prosecuting Mr. Libby for lying in order to . . . well, we're still waiting to hear a motive for this alleged perjury to cover up a leak that wasn't a crime. But perhaps the prosecutor will come up with something.

To sum up: 

-For three years, other than Iraq this was the hottest story in the media -- when it had the possibility of nailing key Bush administration people, that is.  We were assured that Peter fitzgerald was a hard nosed competent, unscrupulously honest IC.   There were countless stories, countless features, countless analyses and countless panel discussions on cable news and the Sunday morning shows;

-Then the investigation itself became the scandal.  We found out that none of the people being accused was responsible for the leak and that responsible party was a critic of the Bush administration, not a friend.  We also found out that the prosecutor knew about this almost from the beginning but continued his prosecution for years anyway.  We found out that he was pissing away millions of our tax dollars and forcing dozens of people to spend untold personal resources to defend themselves for no reason at all.

-Now?  There is no story.  The discredited, disgraced, shameful, unethical prosecutor, instead of being expected to answer for his actions, is left alone to continue doing whatever in god's name he's doing.  There are no feature stories or panel discussions about that.   No apology to Rove or Cheney or Bush.  No retrospective about what liars plame and her husband joseph wilson are or what damage they have caused so many people.  And not a peep about the destruction of Lewis Libby.

There you have it, folks.  Another example of  "unbiased" media at work.  Remember their coverage of "plamegate" every time you read a newspaper, watch TV or listen to the radio.

saddam and WMD's

Ken Berwitz

Here is an Associated Press report for the folks who have been conned into believing that saddam hussein had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction:


Saddam Discussed Killing Thousands of Kurds in 1980's

Monday, January 08, 2007


BAGHDAD, Iraq    Saddam Hussein had been dead nine days but his voice resounded through the courtroom Monday as he and his cousin "Chemical Ali" discussed killing thousands of Kurds in the 1980s, according to audiotapes played at their war crimes trial.

Saddam's masterful physical presence was gone his chair in the white metal pen where the defendants sit was empty but his aura still hung over the proceedings against his former regime members.

The so-called Anfal trial reconvened Monday for the first time since Dec. 21 and just more than a week since Saddam was hanged in a chaotic execution for the killing of 148 Shiites after an assassination attempt in the town of Dujail in 1982.

The court's first order of business was to dismiss all charges against Saddam. His co-defendants including his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" remain in the dock for allegedly killing 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s as Iraq fought a protracted war with neighboring Iran.

Prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon aired graphic video during Monday's court session of scores of bodies in trucks and in piles on the street, overlaid with a voice purported to be that of al-Majid saying "I will hit them with chemical weapons."

"Damn the international community if they say anything. I will strike them all with chemical weapons," the voice continued.

Another audiotape had the alleged voice of Saddam warning, "These weapons are only used at my orders." He also reassures colleagues that the weapons "kill by the thousands."

"It will force them out of their homes without water or food. It makes them evacuate their homes naked," the voice said.

Al-Majid described the video as "painful" but said it showed the work of Iranian troops, not Iraqis. As for the audio, al-Majid did not deny that the voices were his and Saddam's.

The tapes "not only condemn me, but the whole path that I was part of the path of Saddam Hussein," al-Majid said without elaborating.

Legal experts said they hoped Saddam's six co-defendants would be more forthcoming with the dictator no longer listening in, and al-Majid's cryptic testimony many have indicated that he, at least, might be ready to talk more freely about what happened.


Let's forget for a moment that intelligence all over the world (French, Russian and UK as well as the USA) concluded saddam had WMD's.  Let's forget that saddam's WMD's were the basis for Bill Clinton (yes, Bill Clinton) making regime change in Iraq our national policy in 1998.  Let's forget that virtually every major Democrat enthusiastically supported Clinton on this policy change and also stated saddam had WMD's.  Let's assume none of this ever happened.

Saddam hussein was a brutal dictator who almost certainly killed more Muslims than any man alive.  Saddam warred on three neighboring countries.  He made Baghdad a safe haven for international terrorists such as abu nidal and ramsey yusef to name just two.  He paid off the families of "successful" suicide/homicide bombers in Israel ($25,000 was reported as the going rate).  Human Rights Watch has conservatively estimated he killed almost 400,000 of his own people - that's in addition to the three wars mentioned earlier.  With that in mind, why in the world  would anyone think saddam wouldn't use WMD's?  What was it, below his high moral standards?

We have all seen the pictures of dead, gassed Kurds from the 1980's but, incredibly, some people have managed to convince themselves those pictures were not real.  Now we have saddam in his own voice talking about it. 

So what do you think?  Do you think saddam just may have had WMD's?  

It has always amazed me that otherwise intelligent people could be in denial about this.  And I'm sure many of them still will be.  But I'd like to think this makes it a little bit harder.

barry sinrod Oh and you think it was not a coincidence that he was executed for his minor crimes so that he would not be tried for the genocide that he did wholeheartedly in the 1980's with the help of .... the UNITED STATES. Had he been able to live through this trial he would have called Mr. Rummy, Mr. Cheney and his other US buddies who gave him all the weapons necessary to kill everyone. But W decided he didn't want that. And your point was what? There were no WMD, zero, none, nada and now we have lost 3,000+ of our boys and he wants to send in more to die. Keep on looking maybe you will find that the smell in NY is from WMD's in New Jersey where the Giants and Jets were cleaning out their lockers today. (01/08/07)

Ken Berwitz 180 murdered and it's a minor crime? I guess if you kill 'em by the hundreds of thousands, 180 people is a piddling little number and hardly counts at all. If Iraq (not the USA, Iraq) decided to try saddam for every crime he's accused of, he would die of old age while on trial if he lived to be 126 and the people who wish he were still in power would have a daily propaganda feast. So this inconsequential matter of 180 murders will just have to do. If Bush and co. were actually in charge of the trial and wanted to get political benefit, he'd have been hanged BEFORE the election, not after it. How completely do you have to hate to come up with this stuff? (01/08/07)

Ken Berwitz One other thing: I'm tired of this load of crap that we sold saddam WMD's. We did not. We sold saddam materials that he decided to MAKE them from, just as countries all over the world sold him such materials (many of them for long, long after we stopped). In this connection, it's worth noting that you can make explosives from even the most innocent materials.  The explosives used for the Oklahoma City bombings, for example, were made from fertilizer. Would you attack Bush if the USA had sold fertilizer to Iraq? The hardline moonbat left will take anything they can find, however slim the thread, and project it into a hate message against Bush, against Republicans and against anything the USA does in its national interest. It makes me wonder who some of them are actually rooting for.  (NOTE:  I know that Barry himself does not hate the USA.  But he should take a long, hard look at who some of his buddies are, who he is in bed with.) (01/09/07)

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