Month Archives: August 2010

Good News Story on Healthy Marriage Initiative

by Jeanne Monahan

August 31, 2010

A very promising study was recently released involving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy Marriage Initiative (HMI) programs in Oklahoma. The report revealed that Building Strong Families is having a lasting and positive impact in Oklahoma, with measurable results including fathers staying more involved in family life, and couples reporting higher quality relationships.

Find out more information on this program and study here. See here or here for more information on the Healthy Marriage Initiative.

Methinks the Mayor Doth Protest Too Much

by Chris Gacek

August 30, 2010

Jeff Kuhner is an excellent columnist who writes for the Washington Times. I have commented positively on his work before. Last Friday he wrote an excellent piece on the ever-egregious mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. This is the mayor who when he isnt creating a nanny state to tell us when we cant eat salt or trans-fats is casting aspersions on the citizens of his city and this nation over their opposition to mosque that is slated to be built near the World Trade Center site.

Kuhner takes Bloomberg to the proverbial woodshed, but along the way he makes an observation that parallels some thoughts I have been having for a while: Mr. Bloomberg is insulated by his vast wealth. His commercial interests are global. It is really the second sentence that interests me. Why is it that Bloomberg is given credit for expressing opinions that dont mask raw material self-interest financial interest? I mean this guy is a billionaire TV mogul after all.

Where are all the Marxist historians when you need them?

Bloomberg runs a worldwide financial media corporation, but virtually nobody has asked whether his vociferous Islamophilia could have a pecuniary component. The Arab Middle East is the home of over a trillion dollars held by those who have profited by the sale of petroleum. Only the Chinese have a larger stash of dollars that need to be put to work.

Andrew Breitbarts Big Journalism website has posted a courageous article by Mondo Frazier on August 27th exploring the Bloomberg-$$$$-mosque question. Here are some thought proking quotes:

On October 2, 2009, The Dubai Chronicle reported Chairman and President of Bloomberg LP Peter T. Grauer met with UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Maktoums Emirate office. According to the Dubai Chronicle, Grauer gave a presentation of Bloomberg future expansion plans in the area of business information in the United Emirates, North Africa, and India. Grauer stated the UAE was a great place to expand, the UAEs logistic facilities the biggest incentive for investors and companies to expand their businesses in the country and the region beyond.

Then we have a Bloomberg official cooing about the virtues of Islamic finance:

Particularly since the meltdown of the western capitalist system, there has been an increasingly large focus on the virtues of Islamic finance. Today, there is no one single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market. So by Bloomberg being here, we are in the process of building out an Islamic finance product. We are very confident that we can build a product that meets the needs of the market right now.

Max Linnington, Regional Head of Bloomberg Middle East and South Asia on the companys plan to build a Bloomberg hub in Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), October 29, 2009

So, let us not kid ourselves that Mayor Bloomberg, at the very least, has not been aware of his financial stake in having good relations with Middle Eastern wealth as his firm develops Islamic finance products.

Is our President Snakebit?

by Robert Morrison

August 27, 2010

Peggy Noonan caused a stir with her column in the Wall Street Journal last June. With the BP oil spill continuing to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, this former Reagan speechwriter asked if Americans werent beginning to see our new president as snakebit. She pointed out that Americans want a leader on whom fortune shines. The country gets antsy, she wrote, when people have the feeling that the president is unfortunate.

Christians have learned not to put stock in superstition. Rabbits feet can safely stay where the Lord put them, as far as we are concerned. We dont say Luck o the Irish to ye, not because we are afraid to tempt the Evil Eye, but because we dont think belief in luck should replace reliance on Gods providence.

Now, with the economic numbers for this administration looking worse and worse, with talk of a double-dip recession in the air, and with foreign threats looming, it would be tempting to agree with Peggy Noonan that the candidate she supported in 2008 has been snakebit.

But shes wrong. Its not that President Obama has lost some indefinable mojo. He crafted his current situation with care and deliberation. He did not step out gingerly, like a man walking on thin ice. He strode boldly forth with assurance, even with zeal.

He inaugurated his new administration with the strongest push for abortion of any president in history. Why not? The public adored him. The media worshipped him.

Congress was strongly pro-abortion. So were the courts. And his real base, academia, is even more pro-abortion than the abortionists are.

That last statement may need some corroboration. How could it be that the faculty lounges are more committed to what they euphemistically call a womans right to choose than those who actually do abortions? Its simple. The faculties dont see it. They dont feel it. They dont have to engage their own faculties in it.

First Things journal is that great rarityan intellectual journal that is passionately pro-life. Last January, editor Joseph Bottum offered this gripping story:

An abortionist in the Midwest was herself eighteen weeks pregnant as she did an abortion on a woman who was at the same stage of pregnancy. I felt a kicka fluttery thump, thump in my own uterus. It was one of the first times I felt fetal movement. There was a leg and a foot in my forceps, and a thump, thump in my abdomen. Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyeswithout mewithout my conscious braineven being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand to my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feelinga brutally visceral responseheartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics.

Horrifyingly, for this woman, unlike Abby Johnson [whom Bottum tells us repented of her Planned Parenthood activities], that was not the end of it. Her illusion was gone, but she continued to perform abortions. “Doing second trimester abortions did not get easier after my pregnancy,” she said. “In fact, dealing with little infant parts of my born baby only made dealing with dismembered fetal parts sadder.”

That weeping abortionist in the Midwest is Barack Obamas core constituent. She backed him then. She may back him again. Before he stood like a Greek god before those classic Delphic columns in Denver to celebrate his nomination, he had to go to Planned Parenthood and pledge his fealty to their lethal agenda. It may be that Planned Parenthoods engines of death are the only ones vrooming from all billions he shoveled out in his stimulus bill.

The presidents dizzying slide in the polls, his loss of esteem among the American people, even the avoidance and fear among his own political cohorts, all of these things were tragically predictable.

One candidate in Florida said it simply and well: God is real. We know that He placed the knowledge of good and evil in our hearts. He is the one who sends that thump, thump message to that errant physician who heals no one as she slaughters the innocent.

Barack Obama may have felt that God was on his side as he rode in triumph to his inauguration. But Lincoln, whom Obama professes to admire, was humbler: I hope to be on Gods side, he said.

Parental Involvement Makes a Difference

by Jeanne Monahan

August 26, 2010

Earlier this week, Alaskans voted in favor of a measure that would allow parents the right to know if their daughter is considering an abortion. In doing so Alaska becomes the 35th state with such regulations.

For more information on which states have parental notification laws, visit the following links:

Americans United for Life

The Guttmacher Institute

For more information see the following FRC background papers on the impact of parental notification:

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT LAWS AND THEIR EFFECT ON ABORTION-MINDED MINORS,” by Robert Schwarzwalder

THE EFFECT OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT LAWS ON THE INCIDENCE OF ABORTION

AMONG MINORS,” by Michael J. New, Ph.D.

Obama Administration Turns on a Dime - When It Wants To

by Chris Gacek

August 25, 2010

It is amazing how quickly the Obama Administration can act when it wants to. Contrast its reaction time in deciding to appeal Mondays federal court decision overturning federal stem cell funding with its non-decision-making regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. Here is a story from the liberal National Partnership for Women & Families Daily Report:

August 25, 2010 The Department of Justice on Tuesday said it would appeal a U.S. District Court ruling that challenged the legality of the Obama administration’s guidelines allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, the New York Times reports (Stolberg/Harris, New York Times, 8/24). A DOJ spokesperson said the department plans to file the appeal by the end of this week, Politico reports (Russonello, Politico, 8/24).

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits NIH from funding research under the new stem cell research guidelines, which were put in place in response to Obama’s March 2009 executive order lifting a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Lamberth said in his decision that the guidelines violated a 1996 provision of law known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal money to destroy embryos (Women’s Health Policy Report, 8/24).

Now, regarding the appeal of a July 8th decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (final judgment entered 8/12), the Department of Justice had not decided to appeal as of August 20th (see Marcia Cole, National Law Journal). Crickets chirping over at DoJ. Big snooze. Yawn.

A Stem Cell Victory for Patients

by Jared Bridges

August 25, 2010

FRC Senior Fellow for Life Sciences David Prentice, comments on this week’s court injunction against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in an op-ed at AOL News:

(Aug. 25) — The U.S. District Court injunction that stops federal taxpayer funding of human embryonic stem cell research should make patients happy.

The judge ruled that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research violates a current law, passed annually since the Clinton administration, prohibiting government funding for research that involves the destruction of human embryos.

He added that there is a limited amount of federal funding for stem cells, and funding embryonic stem cells competes with adult stem cells. But only adult stem cells are treating people. The good news is that this ruling should free up more funding for adult stem cell research — which is legal, uncontroversial and already helping treat thousands of patients.

Here are just a few examples of the published scientific successes of adult stem cells:

  • Italian doctors used patients’ own adult stem cells to grow new corneal tissue to restore sight to people blinded by chemical burns, including one patient who had been blind for 50 years.
  • German doctors reported in June the results of a five-year study on patients with chronic heart failure. The 191 patients treated with their own bone marrow adult stem cells showed significant improvement in heart function, with decreased death and no side effects.
  • Another recent Italian success involved growing new windpipes for cancer patients. Doctors used cadaver windpipes stripped of their cells, bathed the cartilage with the patients’ bone marrow stem cells and then transplanted the reconstructed windpipes. The two young women were released from the hospital just weeks after their surgery, and are now in good condition.
  • In August, University of Minnesota scientists transplanted donor adult stem cells into children with a fatal genetic skin disease and repaired the damage. The scientists said regarding adult stem cell treatments, “Patients who otherwise would have died from their disease can often now be cured. It’s a serious treatment for a serious disease.”

Read the rest at AOL News…

Ray Gosling Euthanasia Controversy

by Jeanne Monahan

August 24, 2010

Back in February I blogged about a British media personality Ray Gosling confessing on TV to a mercy killing, i.e., he said he murdered a terminally ill ex-lover.

In an odd twist of events, it turns out that Gosling was not actually telling the truth. Following an intense six-month police investigation, Gosling is now being charged with wasting police officers time.

Despite the deep perplexities surrounding this story, we are relieved to know that a persons life was not taken.

For more information on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide see this FRC following paper.

Watson Pharmaceuticals Pushing to Have New Abortion Drug on Market Soon

by Jeanne Monahan

August 24, 2010

Despite the public outcry against ella, Watson Pharmaceuticals is moving quickly to get the new abortion drug on the market. Ella, recently approved by the FDA, is misleadingly labeled an emergency contraceptive (EC), but can abort an already implanted baby. Despite the fact that this drug denies American women the right to informed consent, it will be available in the United States as early as October, 2010.

Find out more about the drug at ellacausesabortions.com and learn more about how ella works here.

Recruiting Adult Stem Cells for Faster Bone Healing

by David Prentice

August 23, 2010

An international team of scientists have developed a synthetic material that speeds bone healing by recruiting adult stem cells to the site of the graft. The team developed various ceramic particles containing calcium phosphate and tested natural bone grafts against their ceramic particles. They found that the particles induced stem cells to develop into bone cells in the test tube and stimulated bone growth in live tissue in mice, dogs and sheep.

According to senior author Professor Joost de Bruijn at the University of London:

The rate of bone repair we see with these materials rivals that of traditional grafts using a patients’ own bone. And what sets it apart from other synthetic graft substitutes is its ability to attract stem cells and the body’s natural growth factors, which coincide to form new, strong, natural bone around an artificial graft.”

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More Potential Spinal Cord Injury Treatments

by David Prentice

August 23, 2010

There have been several recent developments in the potential treatment of spinal cord injury. A group of researchers showed they were able to enhance the regeneration of nerve connections after spinal cord injury by deleting an enzyme called PTEN. The enzyme controls a molecular pathway called mTOR that is a key regulator of cell growth. During development, when nerve growth and connections occur, PTEN activity is low, allowing cell growth. When growth is completed, PTEN is turned on to inhibit cell growth. Controlled stimulation of cell growth is important for tissue regeneration. The scientists disabled PTEN in mice and were able to achieve nerve growth past a spinal cord lesion. The study published in Nature Neuroscience points to possible strategies to encourage a damaged spinal cord to sprout new neuron growth for repair.

A Japanese group has shown that transplanting neural stem cells along with a chemical stimulus can enhance formation of new neurons and reform neuronal circuits in mice with spinal cord injury. The chemical stimulant valproic acid steered the transplanted neural stem cells to form neurons, and stimulated reconstruction of broken neural connections, resulting in significant recovery of hindlimb movement for the mice. The work was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

A UC-Irvine team showed they were able to use neural stem cells to restore some motor function in mice with chronic spinal cord injury. Most studies have focused on acute injuries, attempting to initiate treatment soon after injury. This acute phase is what the Geron trial that endangers patients will focus on, since rat data has shown the embryonic stem cells have no effect on chronic injury. In the UC-Irvine study, mice were treated 30 days after spinal cord injury with fetal neural stem cells; three months later the mice showed statistical improvement in recovery of walking ability. The paper is published in the journal PLOS One

Adult stem cells have already shown published success in patients with even older chronic spinal cord injuries, showing both their safety and effectiveness, including in patients with injuries up to 15 years.

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