May 27, 2009
Say what you will about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, her personal story is a compelling one. From the sickly daughter of a widow in the South Bronx projects to the Pyne Prize at Princeton, the Yale Law School, and almost two decades as a federal judge is a remarkable journey. Yet, one should ask how much of Judge Sotomayor’s success “against-the-odds” came from her high-quality preparation at in the Catholic school system. Would her story have turned out differently had she attended a soon-to-be-blighted South Bronx public high school rather than the rigorous Cardinal Spellman?
That said, how many future Sonia Sotomayors are among the 1,715 DC students currently enrolled in private and parochial schools through the DC Opportunity Scholarship voucher program? How many will still be given the same chance to excel once the program is terminated in 2010? If President Obama is serious about the importance of Judge Sotomayor’s biography, he should work even harder to make sure that DC children from similar backgrounds can have the same opportunities.
May 27, 2009
Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.
May 27, 2009
Here’s what we are reading today.
- “Gay marriage supporters prepare for next fight,” Susan Ferriss, The Sacramento Bee (May 27, 2009)
- “California’s gay marriage ruling signals next step for both sides,” Jessica Garrison and Hector Becerra, The Los Angeles Times (May 27, 2009)
- “To talk or shout an issue for Catholics,” Steven P. Millies, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (May 24, 2009)
- “Texas school board preserves abstinence education,” Pete Chagnon, OneNewsNow (May 27, 2009)
- “The Bible - the foundation of America’s freedoms,” Allie Martin, OneNewsNow (May 27, 2009)
- “Why the White House Will Promote Sotomayor’s Religious Liberty Record,” Dan Gilgoff, U.S. News & World Report (May 26, 2009)
- “Obama dodges hard decisions on stem cell research,” Froma Harrop, The Houston Chronicle (May 26, 2009)
- “Going with the flow,” Joel Belz, WORLD Magazine (June 6, 2009)
May 26, 2009
In the latest Mapping America, the National Survey of Children’s Health shows that children who live with both biological parents or two adoptive parents are less likely to have their school report behavior problems to their parents than are children who live in households that do not include both parents.
May 26, 2009
Here is Tony Perkins’ statement on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sotomayer. Her record makes one wonder… is she a legislator or a jurist?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2009 CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS
Sotomayor: A Policy Maker or a Jurist?
Washington, D.C.- This morning President Obama announced his nominee to the nation’s highest court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
“President Obama has chosen a nominee with a compelling personal story over a judicial pick with a solid constitutional judicial philosophy. A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution and its sound application to public life.
“Judge Sotomayor’s failure to premise her decisions on the text of the Constitution has resulted in an extremely high rate of reversal before the high court to which she has been nominated.
“With that fact in mind Judge Sotomayor appears to subscribe to a very liberal judicial philosophy that considers it appropriate for judges to impose their personal views from the bench. President Obama promised us a jurist committed to the ‘rule of law,’ but, instead, he appears to have nominated a legislator to the Supreme Court.
“For example, in 2001 when delivering the Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California-Berkeley Law School, Sotomayor stated: ‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’
“Needless to say, that statement is troubling - if not offensive - on many levels. As the distinguished legal reporter Stuart Taylor of the National Journal observed about that speech and of Sotomayor, ‘her thinking is representative of the Democratic Party’s powerful identity-politics wing.’
“In a 2005 panel discussion at the Duke University Law School that can be seen on YouTube and cable news channels, the judge stated that the U.S. Court of Appeals is ‘where policy is made.’
“With all due respect to Judge Sotomayor, our constitution states otherwise and public surveys indicate that the American public understands this constitutional principle and want judges who interpret the law and do not act as life-tenured judicially empowered social workers.
“The Family Research Council expects the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the entire Senate to fully examine and publicly present an accurate picture of Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy to the American public before they vote on her nomination.”
May 26, 2009
Here’s what we are reading today.
- “Disappointment over abortion rise,” BBC News (May 26, 2009)
- “California court to rule on same-sex marriage ban,” Michael B. Farrell, Christian Science Monitor (May 26, 2009)
- “Gay issues may splinter churches,” Duke Helfand, The Los Angeles Times (May 26, 2009)
- “New Rules on Stem Cells Threaten Current Research,” Rob Stein, The Washington Post (May 25, 2009)
- “Registering Religion,” Maggie Gallagher, The Corner (May 26, 2009)
- “Gay marriage bill may have religious liberty safeguard,” Hayley Peterson, The Washington Examiner (May 23, 2009)
- “Stem cell research threatened by rules,” United Press International (May 25, 2009)
May 26, 2009
In case you haven’t kept track (very hard to do with this area), there are an increasing number of publications detailing the advantages of iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) over ES cells (embryonic stem cells).
iPS cells provide a relatively easy and inexpensive method for creation of ES-type cells directly from virtually any tissue source or individual. They were first developed in 2006 in mice by the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, and in November 2007 both Yamanakas lab and the lab of James Thomson in the U.S. showed that this same technique could work for human cells as well.
The original Yamanaka reprogramming technique involved adding four genes directly to a human cell such as a skin fibroblast cell, with the genes added using a viral vector. The technique has advanced rapidly in less than three years, and reprogramming of iPS cells has now been accomplished completely without the use of added DNA sequences, by using added protein reprogramming factors.
The behavior of iPS cells appears virtually indistinguishable from ES cells. Thomsons group in their seminal paper producing human iPS cells noted:
The human iPS cells described here meet the defining criteria we originally proposed for human ES cells, with the significant exception that the iPS cells are not derived from embryos.
Thomson has also pointed out the ethical advantage of iPS cells:
These cells possess the therapeutically desired characteristics of ES cells, namely indefinite self-renewal and pluripotency, without the requirement of human embryo destruction.
iPS cells fulfill the desire to create ES cells, with the added advantage of easy and cheap creation directly from a patient, and the potential for transplant match, but do all of this without the use of embryos, eggs, or cloning. Within one year of the first report of human iPS cells, at least 315 human iPS cell lines had been generated, and over 500 total human iPS cell lines have now been reported. In addition, iPS cell lines from patients suffering from various diseases have been created, covering 13 different diseases.
iPS cells provide all of the desired characteristics of pluripotent ES cells, and also distinct advantages in terms of their ethical creation as well as ease and cost of creation, and production directly from patients.
To see a semi-complete listing of recent iPS cell publications
To see a summary of human iPS cell lines created
Family Research Council
May 24, 2009
On Friday government officials from the regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela raided the offices of Globovision, the only remaining television broadcaster in the country that openly criticizes Chavez. The pretext for the raid has something to do with the station’s news reporting on an earthquake in Venezuela in early May, which asserted that the government had been slow to report on the incident. According to press reports and comments from worried United Nations officials, Globovision stands to lose its license, which would mean the end of the last media outlet that dares to disagree with Chavez or his increasingly oligarchic powers. Interestingly, Venezuelan government officials characterized the Globovision report as “hate speech” that risked alarming the country and “destabilizing” the populace. Government’s facile use of such expressions is reason for alarm.
As The Washington Post notes this morning, Latin American caudillos are no novelty, but the silence of the United States (i.e., the Obama administration) in the face of such repression is a first. Not a first, but similarly worrisome, is the news that Nancy Pelosi, fresh from accusing the C.I.A. of lying to Congress in private briefings, is off to Beijing with nary a word prior to her trip of criticism of China’s abusive human rights practices. Time was, U.S. Democrats like former Rep. Dick Gephardt (Mo.) were among the leaders of efforts to hold the Chinese accountable for their abuses of workers, and other Democrats spoke of Chinese denial of religious freedom and its record of forced abortion and sterilization. Pelosi instead wants to engage the oligarchs in Beijing only on climate change. But it is the climate for political freedom that is turning adverse.
May 22, 2009
Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere.