September 2005 Archives

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Never say the media can't keep a secret.

By Michael Fumento

Wesley J. Smith has a good piece in the Weekly Standard on the "baloney, baloney, and pure baloney" of embryonic stem cell hype, both in terms of progress (or lack thereof) and funding. Writes Smith, "When confronted with these and many other astonishing advances in non-embryonic research, ESC boosters defensively complain that ESC research has been stymied by President Bush's federal funding limitations. Yet in 2003, the National Institutes of Health funded more than $20 million for ESC studies--with more funds available but not spent, due to the relative scarcity of qualified applications."

Compared to ESCs, ASCs are 64-bit CPUs versus punch cards that don't even work yet -- and may never. One website lists 74 ASC therapies already in use, but it's about two years old and there are far more now.

For example, it lists "cardiac disease" as a potential future application but the use of marrow stem cells for rebuilding hearts (both muscle and blood vessels) is moving from experimental to therapeutic. Conversely, not only are there no ESC treatments; there has never even been an ESC clinical trial. As I write this there are 850 ASC clinical trials. (Check-mark the box in the upper left-hand corner.)

Taking money away from ASC research to give to ESC research is pretty much tantamount to murder.

September 29, 2005 12:56 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Stem Cells

Who should be the next pick for the Supremes?

By Michael Fumento

John Hawkins from Right Wing News is polling 50 blogers on who should be Pres. Bush's next Supreme Court nominee. I told him that despite being a lawyer I just don't keep up on these things. That said, I told him, "I do concur with the MSM that what's needed is more diversity. So let's find a bulemic Eskimo-Asian lesbian dwarf with a severe speech impediment."

September 29, 2005 11:36 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government

Windmills cause global warming!

By Michael Fumento

Well, at least that's what Chris Cheronis says in an open letter he sent to me. "My thesis infers that windmills are the principal [sic] manmade cause of global warming through slowing the long established pre-windmill flow of surface air. Slower winds over oceans retard evaporation, ergo warmer surace water temperatures."

I can't say I buy it, but I do appreciate the sentiment. And it's just as sensible as a lot of the hot air coming from the global warming crowd. I also like how he concludes:

"P.S.: In short, take down the contraptions."

September 28, 2005 07:18 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment

Shouting Sheehan Bawls over Losing Media Eye to Rita

By Michael Fumento

She left a message on the leftist blogsite dailykos.com sniffing, "I am watching CNN and it is 100 percent Rita .... even though it is a little wind and a little rain ... it is bad, but there are other things going on in the country today ... and in the world." Yes, that tiny little "me, me, me" world inside Cindy's mind. This apparently was too much even for some Kos readers, causing Sheehan to claim she posted this early on before the full extent of the storm became known. Actually, early on authorities thought it was going to be much worse. Further, she lied. Wrote a later poster on Kos: "Before today I would have just believed you, but..

Cindy, these posts have time stamps."

Even the left may be realizing that this yapping little dog balancing herself on her hindlegs atop the corpse of her brave soldier son stands for absolutely nothing but Cindy Sheehan. I don't know that we can even trust her when she praises the 9/11 terrorists -- but I'm willing to accept the possibility . . .

September 28, 2005 11:01 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Adult Stem Cells Repair a Human Spinal Cord Injury?

By Michael Fumento

Some months ago Korean researchers claimed to have allowed a paraplegic of 19 years, a 37-year-old woman, to walk again with a treatment that included an injection of umbilical cord stem cells into the injured area. At first I welcomed this development with open arms, then since nothing was appearing in a peer-reviewed medical journal I became skeptical. Well, it's appeared. Specifically, it's in the latest issue (Sept. 2005) of Cytotherapy. "The patient could move her hips and feel her hip skin on day 15 after transplantation," wrote the researchers. "On day 25 after transplantation her feet responded to stimulation. On post operative day (POD) 7, motor activity was noticed and improved gradually in her lumbar paravertebral and hip muscles." She could soon maintain an upright position by herself. "41 days after [stem cell] transplantation" testing "also showed regeneration of the spinal cord at the injured site" and below it.

At a press conference, the woman demonstrated that she could walk with the help of a walking frame.

My thanks to Wesley J. Smith for bringing this to my attention, and he cautiously notes "one patient" doesn't equal "treatment." I also remain a bit skeptical because after 19 years, no matter how much physical therapy you get, your muscles atrophy to mush. A perfect repair of the spine can't overcome this although with enough time and effort a person could get her muscles back in shape. But we know that similar results in spinal repair have come from animal experiments. Whatever happens in this case, adult stem cells will eventually allow those with paralysis to walk again.

September 26, 2005 04:54 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Stem Cells

Contact info to support bringing back Tysabri

By Michael Fumento

I hope nobody got the idea from my column on Tysabri that its return is a done deal just because it ought to be a done deal. It's not. A bit of lobbying by MS patients and their loved ones won't hurt a bit. You can e-mail FDA at ocoshi@oc.fda.gov. In the subject line it needs to read "Tysabri advocacy group". You can also send snail mails to Biogen that Biogen can then show to the FDA. Yeah, I know snail mail is a pain. That's precisely why written letters are more powerful than e-mails. Send those letters to:

Customer Service Manager
Biogen IDC
14 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142

September 26, 2005 04:28 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Pharmaceuticals

Non-nuclear fuels continue to kill

By Michael Fumento

In my recent piece on Chernobyl and the disaster that wasn't, I noted that no American has ever been harmed by nuclear energy but "that accidents caused by natural gas, petroleum products, and accidents and black lung disease from coal take a steady toll of lives each year." That was brought home rather horrifically when a bus evacuating nursing home patients from Hurricane Rita exploded, killing 24 persons aboard. It's only human to discount those things which commonly afflict us and exaggerate those which pose little or no threat. (Remember the panic when SARS came along and killed exactly zero Americans.) But it's still not a good basis for public policy.

September 25, 2005 11:50 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment

A Joyce Riley siting, complete with glowing ejaculate

By Michael Fumento

Oh my, Michael!
She's BAAAAAA-CK!!!! It's Joyce Reilly, nurse/ghoul, she of the thousands of dying Desert Storm Vets and their deformed children and fluorescent semen.
It's late here on the left coast and I've been listening to Lars Larson's talk show and there she was, making an unfavorable impression on Lars, flacking depleted uranium this time and complaining about injured and dying veterans as far back as Atom Bomb vets from the 50s. I guess she's hoping for a new dose of attention from a new generation. Sick. Not the vets--Ms. Reilly.

Best,
Drennan Lindsay

Dear Drennan,

I should think if you could make pills that would turn semen fluorescent you could make a fortune.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

September 22, 2005 10:55 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Gulf War Syndrome

How 'bout those fetal stem cells! (Yawn.)

By Michael Fumento

Once again the media show either their ignorance or bias or both in reporting on stem cells, this time regarding a study finding that fetal stem cells can help restore movement in mice whose spinal cords have been severed. Mind you, these are not the media's favorite type of stem cell, the embryonic variety. Rather these would fall into the category of "adult" stem cells in the same way stem cells from placenta and umbilical cords do. So no, this isn't a boost for embryonic stem cell research. Moreover, it's old hat. As I wrote in a column in May, 2005: "Research showing partial regeneration of injured rodent spines from adult stem cells goes back a decade, and is now undergoing human testing. Others have used mature Schwann cells from the brain to regenerate animal spinal tissue." Sure the media ignored these developments, but they happened just the same.

September 21, 2005 11:53 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Stem Cells

"Epidemic" has now officially lost all meaning

By Michael Fumento

"Indonesia on brink of bird flu epidemic," blares the headline in the online version of the Courier-Mail, one of Australia's largest-circulation newspapers. Total deaths? Uh, one possible but none confirmed. Okay, total infected? Uh, seven possible but none confirmed. Total population of Indonesia? 220 million. Still, it's never too soon to panic, eh mates!

September 21, 2005 06:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)

NASA discovers time travel -- back to 1969

By Michael Fumento

What if the Dell and Apple computer companies announced an "ambitious" plan to produce desktops by 2018 that did what computers could do back in 1969? Then why is everybody going gaga over NASA's announcement that it would do the same with lunar landings? And while research that goes into desktop computers only takes funds from willing consumers, NASA's scheme will cost an "estimated" $104 billion. And you know the value of long-term government estimates. Lost in all the excitement is WHY we would want to do such a thing. The original moonshot was a powerful psychological boost during the Cold War but all we got out of it otherwise was a bunch of rocks. Just how many more moon rocks do we need? They might discover there really is cheese there, but then the dairy lobby would go nuts. Even NASA is at a loss for words for this incredible extravaganza. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin defended it as (I'm not making this up) a jobs program. He noted that it would employ many people along the Gulf Coast devastated by Katrina.

Speaking of which, isn't Pres. Bush looking for $200 billion in cuts from the budget to pay for Katrina recovery? But Griffin has an answer to that. "When you have a hurricane, we don't cancel the Air Force and we don't cancel the Navy. We're not going to cancel NASA," he said. In fact, despite the ongoing war on terrorism (Anybody remember that?) the Air Force and Navy were forced to make major cuts. Katrina? Terror? Name a needy project and it's almost certainly going to be more worthwhile than bringing back more darned rocks. Whatever purpose NASA once served, its main purpose now is self-perpetuation. It IS time to cancel NASA and divide its useful duties among other agencies and the private sector.

September 20, 2005 05:41 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government

Casualties of War

By Michael Fumento

My colleague Chris Brown has a good piece at FrontPage Magazine comparing casualties in the Iraq war versus those of other American wars as well as putting terrorist casualties in proper perspective. We can all agree that in a very real sense, one American death is too many. But compared to previous military actions casualties from this war are incredibly(and thankfully)light. What would earlier generations of Americans think of suggestions that we cut and run from Iraq because we've incurred as many deaths over the last two years as we had during mere hours of Civil War battles?

September 20, 2005 02:49 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Was I wrong about global warming and hurricane intensity?

By Michael Fumento

You might think so from all the high-fives in the media over a new study in Science magazine that claims, as one headline put it, "Study Links Hurricanes to Global Warming." But people who actually read the Science paper, like Dr. Patrick Michaels, research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, beg to differ. Mostly what the Science authors showed was how to play games with numbers: And the games weren't particularly sophisticated. The biggest trick was to begin counting hurricanes at 1970 instead of using data going all the way back to 1900 as my piece did. In most scientific circles, more data are considered better than less; longer timelines are considered superior to shorter ones. But when you're practicing advocacy science, the opposite applies.

September 20, 2005 10:56 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment

Bad news for abortion supporters?

By Michael Fumento

A new study in Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition reports that using ultrasound researchers have found that fetuses appear to cry at 28 weeks, or four weeks into the third trimester. Since the discovery came about just by chance, directed research could find the behavior begins well before that: perhaps as early as the 2nd trimester in some babies. Yet, as Wikipedia's entry on abortion in the U.S. observes, "The current judicial interpretation of the U.S. Constitution regarding abortion in the United States, following the Supreme Court of the United States's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, and subsequent companion decisions, is that abortion is legal up to the moment of birth, if a woman can find a doctor willing to perform the procedure."

Polls have been showing a steady decline in support for abortion among young women, with apparently much of that to do with observations made with ultrasound that narrow the viewer's belief in the distinction between fetus and baby. In fact, organizations that try to dissuade women from having abortions are increasingly using ultrasound machines to do so. This new report on crying fetuses could prompt a further decline in support for abortion.

September 19, 2005 11:19 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Abortion

Remember the Incredible Shrinking Military?

By Michael Fumento

Just months ago we were being told that because of the Iraq war, the military (especially the Army and Marines) couldn't recruit soldiers for love (of country) or money. In other words, it was yet another reason to insert tail firmly between legs and pull out. Well, last I heard the war is still going on but according to Reuter's, "The U.S. Army posted its best recruiting month in four years in August . . ." Nevertheless, right after those elipses I inserted into the quote Reuter's goes on to say, the Army will still miss its annual goal for the first time since 1999 "as the Iraq war makes it difficult to attract new soldiers." Excuse me, but did the war go on vacation in August or might there have been something more to the slowness of recruiting earlier on in the year that was unnrelated to Iraq such as a steadily improving economy and dropping jobless rate? But then, that's not fodder for abandoning Iraq to terrorism, is it?

September 13, 2005 06:20 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Military

So THAT's where those yahoos are from

By Michael Fumento

In a previous post I included a photo of protesters carrying utterly vile anti-American signs. Curiously, though, some also carried anti-homosexual (or "fag") as it were signs. Didn't know what to make of it. Fortunately, my friend Kevin Gleeson did. Turns out they're a bizzare non-Christian Christian group that believes that America's tolerance (or acceptance, or whatever)of homosexuality means that God should damn us and in fact IS damning us via terrorism, Katrina, and anything else bad that happens to us. You can see the same signs on their website as I showed on my blog. I'm no theologian, but needless to say this is not a Christian view of homosexuality. In its extremeness, in fact, it actually has a lot in common with Islamism. No wonder they think Sept. 11, 2001 was a wonderful day.

September 13, 2005 05:05 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Religion

Bochco DID add a Klingon! (sorta)

By Michael Fumento

In response to my column saying that "In Steven Bochco's Reality is sacrificed to the God of Diversity. Why didn't Bochco also include a Klingon?" somebody did just that. What? No Vulcans?

September 12, 2005 08:10 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

The Wickedness of 9-11 Protesters

By Michael Fumento

This photo was taken by my friend Ronald Rotunda while he was participating in the Freedom Walk at the Pentagon on Sept. 11. No comment necessary.Protestersof911March2.jpg

September 12, 2005 06:53 PM  ·  Permalink  ·   ·  TrackBack (4)

Attack of the Killer Gators! (And the reason)

By Michael Fumento

As a National Geographic headline puts it: "Human-Alligators Encounters Rising In Southeast." At this rate, becoming gatorbait will soon be a part of any travel plan to Florida. National Geographic gives the simplistic, paid-for explanation that this is because both humand and alligator populations are growing dramatically in these areas. But we in the know realize the real awful truth: It's global warming!

September 12, 2005 01:14 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment  ·  TrackBack (0)

How did they kill and capture so many non-existent bad guys?

By Michael Fumento

"U.S. Troops Sweep Into Empty Insurgent Haven in Iraq," declares the headline of a Washington Post piece of Sept. 11. Yet in the piece itself we read "at least 550 suspected insurgents have been killed or captured" in the operation (as opposed to five Iraqi troops and one American.) How do you kill or capture 550 insurgents in an "empty insurgent haven"? Only the Washington Post and its hairdresser knows for sure.

September 11, 2005 08:26 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq  ·  TrackBack (0)

Hurricane Bush? Or Hurricane Clinton? Or neither?

By Michael Fumento

This interesting tidbit from today's Washington Post:
"But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects."

September 8, 2005 01:04 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment  ·  TrackBack (0)

They deserted because they couldn't go pee?

By Michael Fumento

If you don't already know it, the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisana have made no mistakes either prior to or after Katrina's landfall. Everything is the fault of the feds. Explaining why 200 NO police have simply walked off the job, P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police, told the New York Times: "If I put you out on the street and made you get into gun battles all day with no place to urinate and no place to defecate, I don't think you would be too happy either." They actually aren't getting into gun battles all day (to my knowledge, there's only been one so far) so what does that leave? Cops who cop out because they can't take a comfortable cr-p?

September 6, 2005 09:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government  ·  TrackBack (0)

Apparently there's Really No Such Thing as "Self-Evident"

By Michael Fumento

In response to your Fallujah article, here is an excerpt from Kevin Drum's blog in the Atlantic Monthly.

[313 words omitted regarding reporting by Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter.]

If Lasseter is right, and he obviously has the street credentials to be taken seriously on this, Anbar is about as bad now as it was before last November's offensive; no one has much hope that it can be pacified; and the troops themselves now routinely think of Iraq as another Vietnam. If this is the way the military feels, is it any wonder that reporting from Iraq has taken on a distinctly defeatist tone?

Cat In The Hat

Dear Cat:

Lasseter has told us nothing about Iraq and everything about Knight-Ridder, that it deserves its reputation as the American Al Jazeera. If "Anbar is about as bad now as it was before last November's offensive" then when I walked down its streets I would have been kidnapped, had my head sawed off with a dull knife, and been available as a video download for ghouls. Insofar as I'm typing this to you, you may presume that did not happen and that therefore Lasseter was not telling the truth. For my part, I have little trouble believing my own eyes and experiences rather than the agit-prop of a pathetic "news" agency that went absolutely bonkers after one of its own columnists, Mark Yost, dared claim that K-R was deliberately obscuring progress in Iraq.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

September 5, 2005 09:42 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq  ·  TrackBack (0)

Heads I win; Tails You Lose

By Michael Fumento

It's a familiar pattern with advocates for more federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. They make an unproved claim and the media simply swallow it. ESC backers would never lie about or even fudge anything; they're all saints in the making. Now we find that one of their major claims of an advantage ESCs have over adult stem cells, which have already been curing people of disease for decades, is apparently false. That alleged advantage is that while ASCs "peter out" fairly quickly in Petri dishes ESC lines live on and on. It was never really an important distinction, insofar as we don't need permanent ASC lines. We just need to be able to culture them for a short time before injecting them back into the person from whom they were originally drawn or into a new recipient. But as it happens, it now appears the claim was false anyway. After awhile, as with making photocopies of photocopies, lines of ESCs start to decay. This introduces mutations that can cause cancer in recipients IN ADDITION to the natural tendency of ESCs to cause cancers called teratomas. So this is one more blow against the science of ESCs and against using precious taxpayer funds to support them, right? Wrong! " The findings, reported Sunday by an international team of scientists, could help those who have been calling on President Bush to allow the use of federal money to create fresh stem cell colonies," reports the Washington Post. In other words, yet another failure of ESC technology calls for yet another infusion of federal funds. These guys have it all figured out.
.

September 5, 2005 11:16 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Stem Cells  ·  TrackBack (1)

Blame Bush for Katrina!

By Michael Fumento

I'm surprised nobody has yet blamed President Bush for causing Hurricane Katrina in order to wipe nutcase Cindy Sheehan off the pages of America's papers. Or maybe they have and I just haven't heard about it...

September 2, 2005 01:16 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Government  ·  TrackBack (0)

Can he do that?

By Michael Fumento

According to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian, "A seething mass of people, channeled by National Guard troops carrying assault weapons, comforted by an Army chaplain holding a Bible, surged from the Superdome toward the few buses that arrived to carry them from a refuge transformed into a cinematic house of horrors: bodies and fires and piles of human excrement."

Are federal employees allowed to hold Bibles? Where's the ACLU when you need it?

September 2, 2005 11:22 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Religion  ·  TrackBack (1)