Month Archives: December 2009

Using Abortifacients to Covertly Abort Another’s Baby

by Chris Gacek

December 9, 2009

The story broke this Saturday that another attempt has been made to surreptitiously use a chemical abortifacient to kill a womans baby. In this instance a Brooklyn woman, Keisha Jones, was infuriated to find out that her husbands girlfriend became pregnant, so she tried to kill the girlfriends baby by chemically inducing a miscarriage. According to a story in the New York Daily News Jones tricked the pregnant mother, Monique Hunter, into going to a pharmacy and picking up a prescription for misoprostol, a drug that immediately causes a pregnant woman to begin uterine contractions. The trick worked, she took the drug, and Hunter soon went into labor.

Misoprostol is the second drug in the Mifepristone (RU-486)/Misoprostol abortion regimen approved by the FDA. It should be noted that RU-486 is not available in the United States by prescription. RU-486 is only available through abortion providers who agree to certain terms and conditions set by FDA and the drug manufacturer / distributor that is, doctors, clinics, and hospitals. RU-486 kills the pregnancy by blocking its development, but the misoprostol is needed to expel the embryonic or fetal remains.

Thankfully, the baby was born alive and is healthy. Incredibly, Jones tried another stunt to kill the baby: this time she tried to have poisoned milk given to the baby. That trick didnt work, and it led to Joness arrest.

Misoprostol was approved as an anti-ulcer medication, but it can be used to kill. Pregnant women need to be very careful about the drugs they take. In particular, they need to be warned never to take misoprostol, mifepristone (RU-486), or methotrexate, an abortifacient and chemotherapeutic drug.

Attacking HIV with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

December 9, 2009

Researchers at UCLA have demonstrated that adult stem cells that normally form blood and immune cells can be engineered to attack and kill HIV-infected cells. While exciting news, it should be kept in mind at this stage the research is still a proof-of-concept experiment done in mice; it shows that the technique is feasible at successfully destroying the virus-infected cells, but is still not ready for the clinic. The scientists took “killer” T-lymphocytes from an HIV-infected person and isolated the T-cell receptor molecule. “Killer” T-cells (CD8 cytotoxic lymphocytes) normally recognize and kill infected cells, but do not exist in high enough quantities to remove the HIV virus from an infected person. So the researchers cloned the DNA of that T-cell receptor molecule and added it to blood (hematopoietic) stem cells, genetically engineering them so that their progeny could attack HIV-infected cells. The engineered blood stem cells were placed into thymus tissue, which nurtures development of specific types of T-cells, including killer cells, and the tissue placed into mice to observe normal tissue development. The engineered blood stem cells grew into large quantities of killer T cells able to attack HIV-infected cells. The authors note that genetic engineering of human blood stem cells could be used to fight many types of viral infections. The paper is published in the journal PLOS One.

Genetically engineering blood stem cells to attack HIV, or to repel the virus and prevent infection, is a next step being worked on by several research groups. Preventing infection (or re-infection) has been tried with some success. Previously, a German team led by Gero Hutter used an adult stem cell bone marrow transplant to treat both leukemia and HIV infection in a patient. The patient received standard chemotherapy and bone marrow adult stem cell transplantation to treat his leukemia. But because the patient had AIDS, the doctors chose a very specific donor for the adult stem cells. The donor’s cells lacked a molecule called CCR5; this cell-surface receptor acts as an attachment factor for the HIV virus, so the donor cells are resistant to HIV infection. Not only did the patient’s leukemia go into remission, but virus was undetectable in his bloodstream for at least two years after the treatment and he no longer needed to take antiretroviral drugs. This shouldn’t be considered a “cure”; the virus can hide in the body at undetectable levels, and the chemo treatment is not gentle to the system. But it does offer hope for possible future treatments based on preventing access of the virus. The peer-reviewed paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009.

Cancer Declines, But Not if Robert Reich Can Help It

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 9, 2009

The National Cancer Institute today issued its Annual Report to the Nation on cancer, and it has some good news for all Americans this Christmas season: Rates of new diagnoses and rates of death from all cancers combined declined significantly in the most recent time period for men and women overall and for most racial and ethnic populations in the United States, according to a report from leading health and cancer organizations.”

The report goes on to state that Cancer deaths decreased 1.6 percent per year from 2001 to 2006.

Its a pretty safe bet that just about everyone reading this has lost someone to cancer or knows someone fighting the disease. In its many varieties from adenocarcinoma (cancer of the glandular system) to colorectal cancer the disease is indiscriminate in when and whom it strikes. Cancer is one of pains best friends, and deaths greatest allies.

So, todays report should encourage all of us. You can read it at the link above to learn more about why the decline has occurred. But thats not why Im writing about it.

If the Democratic health care plan becomes law, it is safe to assume that the sheer weight of its costs will prohibit further private-sector health research and development. Many medical firms undertake cancer research projects and seek to develop treatments to arrest and even cure the various forms of cancer.

How many of these, and how many federally-funded anti-cancer programs, will collapse as health care research dollars become scarcer?

Consider the words of former Clinton Labor Secretary and leading Democratic intellectual Robert Reich in a speech he gave at UC-Berkeley in 2007:

This is what the truth is and a candidate will never say, but what a candidate should say … We’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die. (Robert Reich Reveals Brutal Health Care Truths; MSM Snores, Wall Street Journal blog, by P.J. Gladnick, Media Research Center, Oct. 13, 2009)

Without continued market-driven research and adequate federal funding, todays good news about cancer will become little more than a cherished memory. And such funding and research will, as Robert Reich suggests, decline if Uncle Sam manages and rations health care.

Attack of the Killer Petunias?

by David Prentice

December 8, 2009

A new scholarly paper makes the case that there are more carnivorous plants around than we know. Prof. Mark Chase, of the Royal Botanical Society, and his colleagues suggest that while some plants may be more passive than active in their carnivorous ways, “We may be surrounded by many more murderous plants than we think.”

Their published review paper is a well-illustrated read on the history and classification of carnivorous plants.

And don’t turn your back on the tomatoes…

Tooth to Bone with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

December 8, 2009

More adult stem cell success to chew on. A new report describes how adult stem cells from dental pulp were used to regrow jaw bone for patients. An Italian research team used stem cells taken from the patients’ own molar dental pulp, mixed with a collagen scaffold, to grow bone in the jaws of patients. For some people, bone in the jaw can shrink away after removal of molars, sometimes leading to loss of other teeth. These patients need a replacement procedure to maintain jaw integrity. Use of the adult stem cells allowed “complete regeneration of bone at the injury site.”

The paper is published in the November issue of the open access journal European Cells and Materials.

The Fatuous Job Summit

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 4, 2009

The fact that President Obama will hold a jobs summit to figure out how jobs are created is perhaps the saddest commentary of all on the farce that is about to begin. It seems like good timing as our unemployment rate is over 10 percent, and well into the double-digits in some parts of the country.

Yet having a job creation debate at the White House is disheartening. Shouldnt an American President have some sense of how our market-based, competitive economy works?

More pointedly, the summit will produce no noticeable change in the policies of an Administration woefully and aggressively against the essential principles of the greatest jobs engine every designed or implemented, a free enterprise system based on property rights and capital formation.

Among the attendees will be Paul Krugman, the hard-Left columnist for the New York Times and near-pathological hater of all things conservative; Krugman wrote this week that the budget-cracking stimulus plan the White House enacted earlier this year was too small.

Also included will be a group of union leaders (by the way, what does the head of a teachers union know about employment policy?); Clinton Administration economists Joe Stiglitz and Alan Blinder; and the head of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-liberal group whose Board members include (you guess it) George Soros and his buddies in that paradigm of union corruption, the Service Employees International Union.

Sundry business leaders will be thrown in to add a veneer of credibility, but the major business groups are absent from the current public list, as are members of the academic community who oppose statist economic policies. Sadly, business leaders are also absent from the Obama administration as well, as none of his top people worked in business or industry creating profit driven businesses and jobs.

According to the Associated Press, a Treasury Department report issued last month states that the federal deficit hit a record for October as the new budget year began where the old one ended: with the government awash in red ink. Treasury also warned that the deficit for October totaled $176.4 billion, even higher than the $150 billion imbalance that economists expected. Note: this is the deficit for a single month - not a calendar year.

Well, at the risk of sounding pretentious (I am not, like President Obama or Dr. Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner), here are five ideas distilled from leading economists dating from Adam Smith through the current day: If the President and his allies want to create jobs, they should:

(1) Quit spending the country into economic oblivion, farming out our debt to foreign creditors who will someday soon call in their loans and damaging our nations economy. If you stop overspending, you will also ameliorate the growing fear of many investors that we are on the verge of monetizing the debt, simply printing worthless bills that will hyper-inflate our currency. Fiscal discipline, if dramatic and real, will energize the markets.

(2) Cut taxes - on individuals and families, on major firms and S-corporations. Cut the dividend tax. Cut the income tax. Cut capital gains taxes. Cut, and cut some more. The private sector creates wealth, and lower taxes foster growth in the private sector, which in turn generates tax revenue for the federal government.

(3) Reduce and simplify a vast federal regulatory apparatus that confuses and cripples business expansion. Corporate America, from the multi-thousand international company employers to the Mom-and-Pop linoleum shops in the strip malls, are encumbered by regulations. We all know it. Bring rationality to this area, Mr. President, and you both demonstrate true courage and the enduring thanks of business people everywhere.

(4) End the government-mandated health care reform madness, which will further impose on our companies and employees growing fiscal, legal and regulatory burdens. Target those things in our system that dont work and offer market-based incentives and tax reforms that will enable insurance providers to better serve the underserved.

(5) Reform entitlements: Social Security and Medicare are economic Grim Reapers, standing athwart Americas future and intoning, Were waiting. Mr. Obama, want to make (good) history? Tackle entitlements, bring market-based reforms to them and then devise and implement a plan to devolve them back to the states.

Of course, nothing I have recommended will likely be put into effect while Barack Obama is in the White House, or at least while Democrats hold both Houses of Congress.

But no argument is ever won unless you make it. And, today perhaps more than any time in our history, conservatives need to be making these arguments.

The jobs lost and not created are creating a strain on the American family, and more and more men and women struggle to put food on the table. The Obama jobs summit is, then, not just about macro-economic policy, philosophical pedantry or whatever. Its about families, real people in economic crisis. And thats everyones business.

Climate Talks Blow More Hot Air

by Tony Perkins

December 3, 2009

In December, more than 170 countries are meeting in Copenhagen to talk about a world treaty to cut greenhouse gasses. (A conference, ironically, thats estimated to create 40,584 tons of carbon emissionsroughly the same amount that the entire country of Morocco generated in 2006). Liberals are hoping to put the environment on the front burner before Denmarkbut that might be difficult considering the political climate in America.

A recent Pew poll found that Americans dont think global warming is a serious problem. The number that do fell sharplyfrom 44% last year to 35% now. Others are skeptical that climate change was even a problem to begin with! That percent is bound to double or triple after scientists at the University of East Anglia admitted to throwing away raw temperature data to support their claim for global warming. According to the U.K. Times, The CRU is the worlds leading center for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change skeptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible. This news, combined with ClimateGate and Americans doubts, should be more than enough to put off any international agreements on global warming indefinitely. President Obama has agreed to make the trip to the conference to lobby for cutting emissions by 17% in 2020. Given the revelations of disagreement in the scientific community and the growing skepticism in the public, the President should back away from a treaty that will cut U.S. jobs and raise energy costs for families.

Obama Is A Vulcan, Only Hes Tuvok not Spock

by Chris Gacek

December 3, 2009

Imagine my surprise, amusement and satisfaction upon reading an Associated Press story in the Tuesday (12/1/2009) Washington Times entitled Obama seen not unlike Mr. Spock. You see I had been claiming that President Obama resembled a Vulcan for about a year-and-a-half that is long before he was elected president.

The only problem with the A.P. story is that the president doesnt resemble Spock he resembles the Vulcan Tuvok from a later iteration of the show. (Yes, that would be the indescribably terrible Voyager. The show with Captain Janeway and Neelix — the most P.C. of all. The one with the Indian shaman. Didnt the men wear dresses? Hide the razor blades. The memories of it are returning.)

Well, Tuvok was played by an African-American actor, Tim Russ, and Russ bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Obama. One eco-Trekkie agrees; go here and see Obama in Tuvoks uniform. Or this on Facebook (Barack Obama Is Actually Tuvok. Yes, we have never seen both of them at the same time.)

Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, give Tim Russs agent a call and sign him to a three-year two-month contract with a renewal option. Russ is your dead-ringer Obama impersonator, but he needs to wear the Vulcan ears when playing the President or the gag wont work. (Lorne, it shouldnt have taken this long to figure this one out.)

+ + +

On a more serious note, this Vulcan thing is now having political implications. So says A.P.s Seth Borenstein who writes, President Obama’s Spock-like qualities have started to cause him political problems in real-world Washington. Critics see him as too technocratic, too deliberative, too lacking in emotion. No kidding. (The A.P. article appears to be an attempt to spin Obamas bloodlessness to be a positive a nerdy love for science. It isnt.)

Obamas Vulcanism seemed completely obvious to me. Hes a great orator, but he has none of the warmth of a Ronald Reagan or a Bill Clinton. They would light up a room when they entered. Obamas different. I was always struck by images of Obama sitting next to some poor shlub in an Iowa diner at breakfast with the other guy looking like he wanted to take his pancakes and run away. No one-on-one rapport. None.

That doesnt make someone a Vulcan, however. Unfortunately, Obama has a detached, rationalism that is incapable of projecting any empathy. Combine that with his general demeanor, and you start getting a Vulcan. Even the patrician Bush the Elder could shed a tear occasionally. One doesnt have to go Dick Vermeil to beat the Vulcan tag, but I dont think I have ever seen Obama come close to choking up.

The greatest example of Obamas Vulcanism occurred when the president hosted ABCs propagandistic Health Care Day at the White House. He told a woman whose 100+ year-old mother had a pacemaker that under his scheme her mothers zest for life wouldnt have gotten her the device that kept her alive. You could almost hear the utilitarian Vulcan maxim: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Your mothers Death Panel does not approve of pacemakers for 100 year-olds. So, well give your mother some painkillers and send her on her way to go die in Vulcan Valhalla. (Actually, thats a pretty close approximation of what Obama did say.)

Who knows how this will all end up, but articles like this one in the Washington Times demonstrate that the public is starting to look at Mr. Obama much differently. And the media spins on.

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