Everyone else is talking about stem cells this week, and, even though I mentioned it previously, I didn't really provide any commentary. But I've decided to get serious for a minute here, and then go back to my regularly scheduled nonsense.
Anyway, this might sound dismissive, but I think the stem cell issue is really quite simple: Michael J. Fox is right, Jeff Suppan and his ilk are uninformed (and wrong), and Rush Limbaugh is a blathering idiot.
Full disclosure: As noted in prior comments, I am pro-stem cell research. And yes, I've had family members suffering from Parkinson's disease -- not to mention diabetes, which is another disease that might benefit from stem cell research.
Stem cell research is, unquestionably, a good thing. It's the stem cells themselves that cause all the ruckus. Or, more accurately, the ethics of obtaining the stem cells.
Opponents argue that life begins at conception -- blah, blah, blah. But even if you accept that as gospel, it's a red herring. The Missouri amendment at the heart of all the controversy is intended to provide guidelines for stem cell research while prohibititing ethically questionable practices such as forming embryos for the mere purpose of research, selling embryos, harvesting stem cells from actual fetuses and -- surprise, surprise -- human cloning.
So, if the embryonic stem cells in question are not coming from embryos that are going to be implanted -- and therefore, there is no chance whatsoever that they could become a person -- what's the problem? It boils down to a question of whether unused embryos from fertility clinics should be discarded or used for very important scientific research.
Garbage or research? Hmmm. Tough decision. No wonder the Republicans are so worried about it.
And, as an aside, Michael J. Fox is now campaigning