Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Get It!

I finally discovered the real motive behind the President's veto of Federal funding for stem cell research.

I'll sum it up in two words: Big. Business.

Don't you see? If the Federal Government funds research into Stem cells, then the benefits gained from that research will be available to everyone in the country. But if that research is left in the hands of the corporations, then whatever benefits they come up with they can sell for premium prices. Only the rich will reap the benefits of it.

And the President stays faithful to his TRUE roots: Big Business.

The fact that it throws a fresh supply of red meat to the right is just a bonus.

I predict that stem cell cures will be offered by the big pharmaceuticals any day now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush's First Veto

So. The moment is finally coming. President Bush will soon use his first veto in the nearly six years of his presidency. And it's against legislation that will expand federal funding of stem-cell research.

I want to add my voice to the rapidly growing chorus of voices yelling for him not to do it. In doing so, I add my voice to an August crowd that also includes the voice of Nancy Reagan, wife of the Republican God of the 20th century.

Because, y'see, research in this field has the potential to develop cures for, among other things, Alzheimer's disease. Which her husband died from, after suffering from it for years. I have personally never dealt with anyone who had this condition (yet...thank God. Are You listening?) but I understand it is much harder on the family and friends than it is on the actual victim of the disease. And judging by the way Nancy Reagan looked at her husband's funeral, I can believe it. She looked, to me, weary, and beaten down by life.

I don't ever want to look like that. I don't ever want to watch someone I love slowly fade away over the course of a decade or more. And yet I briefly flash on that thought every time My 75-year old dad occasionally forgets what day of the week it is.

Don't get me wrong. My dad is still sharp as a tack. And he's in good health for someone his age. But he isn't getting any younger. And we all watched my grandmother fade away, until she didn't remember who any of us were or even who she was.

And while the whole premise of stem-cell research and the miracles scientists are promising that research could possibly deliver may very well turn out to be a hopeless pipe dream, we will never know until we try. And, God forbid, what if one of our enemies discovers a way to use this technology to develop a weapon against us, that we are powerless to fight, because we did not allow our own scientists to develop a counter to this.

I realize that this is the worst case scenario. But imagine a slightly less terrifying scenario. Suppose, for example, China develops, using stem cells, a way to heal any type of injury, including spinal cord injury. They then decide to share this with everyone EXCEPT the U.S. Who do you suppose the world will respect then?

At the very least, we must encourage this research, if for no other reason than to prove it cannot be used against us.

And for those who point out that these are living beings, capable of becoming life, let me say this: We are talking about 100-cell blastocysts that are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. They are also GOING TO BE DISPOSED OF ANYWAY. THEY ARE NOT EMBRYOS! THEY ARE SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS! They resemble a human being about as much as a 60 watt bulb resembles the sun.

And nothing prevents a couple going through IVF from giving their permission for someone else to use these to create a child if they don't need them any more. Although, as I understand it, most couples don't. That's understandable. I wouldn't want someone else raising a child I had created with another person--not that that's likely to happen anytime soon...

So wise up, Mr. President. For once in your life, do something right.

Update: 5:45p.m. The veto has gone through. He did it in a ceremony with some of these so-called "snowflake children" behind him. God, the hypocrisy of this man. If he's so concerned about the survival of these IVF embryos, well, then, he has two apparently healthy daughters of childbearing age. How soon do you suppose that they will each be carrying one?

Probably about as soon as they join the Army and serve a tour in Iraq.

GOD, I'm pissed off about this!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Woe

So, I finally got around to seeing "Superman Returns" over the weekend.

Let me say first this: Meh.

I was good, but it wasn't great.

Two things first of all: 1) Superman needs to learn to lock his door if he's going to be gone for 5 years, and 2) Lex Luthor needs to learn to not have any female members of his gang. They screw him up every time. Besides, what are they going to do? Sue him for sex discrimination?

I will say this about the movie: The effects were very good and actually believeable to the extent that you can believe anything about a superhero movie. And Brandon Roush DEFINITELY looks the part, right down to that little curly lock of hair that dangles over his forehead in that special way. His only problem may be that he might forever be typecast for the role. Poor kid. Let's hope he made a good deal on the residuals.

But I didn't write this entry to talk about the movie. At least not in the sense of a review.

No. I wrote this because of a line from the movie. It happens after Superman has made his grand re-appearance. Perry White is holding a strategy session with the Daily Planet staff. And at one point, he asks the rhetorical question, "Does he (Superman) still stand for truth? Justice? And all that stuff?"

Well, that little re-write of the classic line has the wright-wingnuts up in arms. This is a good example of this. Apparently, the removal of the phrase "and the American way" is another example of Hollyweird's treasonous hatred of all things American.

I have three words. Get. Over. It.

Seriously. It's a friggin' Movie!

I especially love the fact that that people called him an "American-Born Hero". Hello?! He's an ALIEN BEING, for the love of Mike! From THE PLANET KRYPTON!! Ring any bells?!

By the way, I seem to recall reading something about a series DC did a couple of years ago, about an alternate reality wherein Superman fell to earth in Soviet Russia, not Kansas, and was raised as a Russian. I can only imagine the outcry if THAT were ever made into a movie.

The change is merely a reflection of the times. We live in a Global world, one where I can snap a picture with my cell-phone and instantly e-mail it to an aquaintance in Japan. And where natural disasters afflict every part of the world. I'm sure the victims of yesterday's tsunami in Java would be welcoming the help of Superman right now. As would the people of New Orleans. Or the victims of the Tsunami of December 2004. Or the victims of any of the dozens, if not hundreds, of disasters that plague humanity.

The whole world needs Superman...even if he only exists in our imaginations. And to imply that America has an exclusive claim to him is the sort of selfishness that can only further enflame the negative feelings the majority of the rest of the world has towards us.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

They Said it Better Than I could, Cont.

Ya know, kids sometimes say the darndest things...

What the American Flag Stands For
by Charlotte Aldebron
Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2002 by Common Dreams

The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying when the weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect. You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.

School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.

Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag's real meaning remains.

Charlotte Aldebron, 12, wrote this essay for a competition in her 6th grade English class. She attends Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle, Maine. Comments may be sent to her mom, Jillian Aldebron:

Anything I could add would be superfluous at best.

Thanks to Bill in Portland Maine from Daily Kos for leading me to this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Big Happenings in T-Town

There's a couple of big events going on in Toledo this week. First, the Triple-A Minor League All-Star Game tomorrow. Here's a couple pix of the stands during the Home Run Derby last night:

Also, the annual LPGA Jamie Farr classic is being held this week. So it's a good week, sportswise, for Toledo. And it's a chance to garner some national attention in a GOOD way for a change.

I like Toledo. I've lived here for close to 30 years now, and it is my home town. I'll probably live here the rest of my life. There are worse places. And although it is hopelessly overshadowed by the Three C's (Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinatti) in terms of importance, it is a good place to live.

And while we will no doubt fade back into obscurity once this week is over, it's fun to enjoy the spotlight while it lasts!

Holy Toledo!