Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Another potential breakthrough involving stem cells has emerged in England. This time as a treatment for heart attack victims. The stem cells, however, are not the morally problematic embryonic stem cells, but are cells taken from the victim's own bone marrow:

Emergency heart attack patients will be injected with their own stem cells in a dramatic new treatment. The procedure, being pioneered by British doctors, holds out hope of a 'cure' as the stem cells repair damaged heart muscles.

The low-cost treatment, which involves removing stem cells from the patient's bone marrow, could be given within a few hours of a heart attack. It is intended to stop patients suffering further attacks and developing heart failure, something existing treatments fail to do in many cases.

If the initial trials in London are successful, the treatment is likely to be extended to NHS hospitals across the country. Researchers have called the project - the first of its kind in the world - "very exciting" and say it could have a significant impact on the annual toll of deaths from heart disease.

Read the rest of the article here.

Thoughts on the Debacle

Yesterday's electoral results were dispiriting for those who believe, as I do, that conservative principles are generally much better for the well-being of our country than are liberal principles, but the news about the election was not entirely bleak. There were outbreaks of common sense here and there around the country. An affirmative action referendum was shot down in Michigan, resolutions opposing gay marriage were successful in a half dozen states, and a lot of the Democratic winners were fairly conservative candidates.

Even so, as hard as it has been over the last six years to accomplish anything worthwhile in Washington, yesterday guaranteed that it'll be almost impossible now.

Here are some thoughts on three groups who had a major stake in this election:

Republicans: The Republicans as a group got what they deserved. They utterly failed to articulate a principled philosophy of governance or to sell the nation on the major undertakings of the administration. The Iraq war, for example, is not going as badly as the media would have us believe, but the average voter has no way of knowing that. President Bush should have been out every week telling us about the progress being made there, not in general terms as is his irritating habit, but in specifics. Yet there was no such leadership coming from the White House. All we heard was "stay the course", but the voters were never told how "stay the course" was actually working.

Instead, a lot of voters, inhaling the media's daily dose of gloom and doom, decided that it must be pretty bad over there, and nothing they heard from the President gave them reason to think otherwise. The Republicans failed also to take a firm stand on the issue of illegal immigration which has many people extremely concerned, they spent money like Great Society Democrats, and they allowed themselves to grow fat and corrupt. Mark Foley was a blow that perhaps could not have been foreseen, but the Jack Abramoff scandal surely could have been. A lot of people may well have figured that if we're going to have people who act like Democrats in Congress then we may as well elect the real thing.

Democrats: The Democrats got better than they deserved. They ran on nothing other than slogans and code words. "Change" is not a policy by which a party can govern and is indeed an insult to the intelligence of every thoughtful voter, a class which may not have been particularly conspicuous in many precincts around the country. The Democrats never articulated any real or coherent alternative to the administration's conduct of the war. They complained endlessly about the economy which is, in fact, one of the best in history, and they pointed with glee to Republican scandals confident that the media would keep quiet about the likes of William Jefferson, Robert Menendez, Harry Reid and other Democratic malefactors. The Democrats are a party whose only strategy for governing is to oppose whatever George Bush tries to accomplish and to make his last two years in office a political nightmare.

American people: The American voters yesterday blithely but resolutely went to the polls to make Nancy Pelosi third in line for the presidency, Alcee Hastings, who was impeached and removed as U.S. District Court judge by Congress in 1989 for bribery and perjury, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and John Conyers who is as close to a bolshevik as there is in the House now that Bernie Sanders has been elected to the Senate, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The American people voted yesterday, in other words, to insure that there would be no more judges of the caliber of John Roberts or Samuel Alito. They voted for people who have promised that our taxes will go up, our borders will be thrown open, and that we will soon be aboard the last helicopters out of Baghdad, leaving Iraq to stew in a bloodbath rather than sacrifice another soldier or another dollar.

I wonder how many of those who voted to throw the Republicans out yesterday had any idea what they were replacing them with.