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March 09, 2009


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It is hard to know where to begin in correcting all of the hysteria, hyperbole and erroneous attributions in this installment of Jack Lessenberry's blog.

Let's just begin with this one:

"President George W. Bush was a bitter opponent of this research, for religious reasons, and twice vetoed bills that allowed federal funding of embryonic stem cell work."

That statement by Mr. Lessenberry is simply untrue, in every way that one could possibly imagine. President Bush was never a "bitter" opponent of stem-cell research; he did more to fund certain avenues of stem-cell research than any President before him had. President Bush did not merely actively support general stem-cell research; he even supported embryonic stem cell research (a distinction that Jack Lessenberry frequently overlooks or about which he simpy errs), after he commssioned an inquiry by prominent medical ethicists who came to a conclusion that was moderate, and did not adhere to any religious doctrine, but rather noted the serious ethical debate (entirely apart from religious debates) and recommended a moderate course of action.

Of course, there were some people who engaged in political demagoguery over stem cell research. One of the most notorious of the political demagogues was Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards, who basically built a career and a personal fortune off of medically dubious junk science in the courtrooms of North Carolina before buyuing himself a single term in the U.S. Senate.

The Edwards story is best told by columnist and M.D. graduate Charles Krauthammer:


This subject of stem cell research seems to be a particular problem for Mr. Lessenberry; a subject into which he channels some of his most hystrionic prose. He routinely does pretty well when he is forced into confronting two sides of issues like constitutional interpretation, say, or financial matters. But issues like embryonic stem cell research seem to unhinge him, and make him incapable of understanding two sides of an ethical debate.

My prescription for Mr. Lessenberry is a writer like Charles Krauthammer; someone who has forgotten more basic science than Jack Lessenberry will ever know; someone who has been close to the actual development of government policy on medical research, and someone who, following a spinal cord injury, is himself confined to a wheelchair.

Just to expand on my original point (that President Bush was in no way driven by extreme religious ideology, and his embryonic stem cell research policy was one that was guided by a thoughtful medical ethics debate), here is the link to an online column by Yeval Levine in the National Review Online:


You can clearly see how, if listeners got their news solely from places like NPR, and from columnists like Jack Lessenberry, they'd have been misled into thinking, wrongly, that the Bush policy on embryonic stem cell research was built upon a kind of religious extremism.

Speaking personally, I happen to support much of what we now know as mainstream academic research in the field of embryonic stem cell research. So, in fact, does Charles Krauthammer and, if I am not mistaken, Yeval Levine. None of us are religious fundamentalists. What we see, that Jack Lessenberry has failed to see, apparently, is a nuanced and complex ethical issue. What Jack Lessenberry saw, it seems, is another occasion to engage in his own brand of gleeful Bush-hatred, even as we approach the halfway mark of Obama's "First Hundred Days."

Krauthammer is a bitter invalid in a wheelchair ..He has not said anything of value in decades..No one pays attention to angry bitter criple...

I support all R&D even cloning...The world could used multiples of me......

Who can take anything you say seriously when you are so out of touch with recent fluoride/fluoridation science which indicates that adding unnecessary fluoride chemicals into the public's water supply, to reduce tooth decay, is ineffective, harmful to health a a huge waste of taxpayers' money.

7,000 professionals working at the Environmental Protection Agency represented by 11 Unions oppose fluoridation and want it stopped.

they are joined by over 2100 professionals calling for Congressional hearings to determine why federal officials continue to promote fluoridation in the face of growing scientific evidence of harm and ineffectiveness.

See http://www.FluorideAction.Net/health

Predictably and on cue, there is yet another rejoinder to the kind of inflaming Bush-hatred espoused by Jack Lessenberry, appearing in today's Wall Street Journal:


Once again, the notion that President Bush took a moderate course with regard to embryonic stem cell research is shown to have been entirely lost on Obama and his supporters. (The Bush administration couldn't, and didn't, "ban" the research, and the Bush administration didn't even bar federal funding for existing embryonic stem cell lines. The Bush administration simply declined to allow federal funding for a process that might have encouraged some unscrupulous reserachers to engage in wholesale embryo production and harvesting.)

Principled ethicists on both sides of the debate can probably engage in a spirited discussion of the ethical merits and traps involved in this issue; what is beyond dispute, and where Jack Lessenberry substantially misled the Michigan Radio audience, was in pronouncing, without any suppotive evidence, that President Bush had been driven to a certain position by religious extremism.

In that regard, it is pontificators like Obama and like Jack Lessenberry (and like John Edwards five years ago) who have done the most to remove this debate into the relam of base-politics. Listening only to Lessenberry, and Obama, and the decidedly left-leaning NPR News staff, a public radio listener would understandably presume that the prior federal policy on funding stem cell research was the product of nothing but ideology and politics, and that Obama has "freed" science. It is untrue, and this is just one of many misconceptions that our publicly-supported national public radio system promotes, in a disservice to listeners and the nation at large.


Get real so we should look to intellectual right wing cowards like YOU for objectivity and balance..What a joke that would be..

I have an idea that would enhance this site and the quality of commentary .

Intellectual cowards who post under Anonymous should be banned...I think such a rule would really add value and quality here on this site..

Ignore Thrasher. He is a raving racist pig. A boy of NO accomplishment. The litany of naked racism from the the boy with no formal repudiation is disgusting. A close inspection of his rants discloses very paranoid delusions about his self worth. Just a hood boy with nothing to add. The Canadians....the Catholics..Krauthammer..corporate executives...the financial system..accounting firms et al. All are responsible for the ills of the world. I guess when you all you got is your shinebox....

That's good that people can get the credit loans moreover, it opens new chances.

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