Stem Cell Riot
Looks like a stem cell showdown is brewing between the White House and the rest of functioning humanity. By a 238-194 vote in the U.S. House, with 50 Republicans joining the majority, the legislative body advances a bill to dramatically increase federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg notes that all eyes will now be on the Senate. In particular, eyes are on majority leader Bill Frist, whose rank political maneuvering in the Schiavo debacle and anti-filibuster bluster has his presidential aspirations sinking faster than Courtney Love on a four-day bender.
"Dr. Frist, a heart surgeon from Tennessee who supports the existing policy, is already facing intense pressure from conservatives over the issue of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees and does not seem eager to schedule a vote on stem cell research. He said last week that he wanted to check with his colleagues before doing so."
Now that is definitely take-the-bull-by-the-horns leadership. Christ, the good ol', trusty "I'll get back to you" ploy. Never fails. It's always worked for me when friends ask me to help 'em move.
Dubya, meanwhile, dished out more "culture of life" sloganeering by giving us "life in a culture."
You've got to love the White House. Bushies don't want babies who need the help to receive it via welfare or Medicaid or a host of other government entitlements. They don't want babies being exposed to the smut, snark and sacrilege of the secular world. They don't want babies in early childhood education. They sure as H-E-double-toothpicks don't want babies attending the pagan burial ground that some call public education. They don't want babies in a doctor's offices unless the attending physician is shielded from potential litigation. They don't want babies in a stroller unless the manufacturer is shielded from potential litigation.
But when it comes time to exploit these little people, then the babies come out, a mass of bald, pink and fat faces (aside from the vice president and Cabinet, that is) shipped over to the White House for some quality time in the hands of our recovering commander in chief.
"On Tuesday, just hours before the vote, he (Bush) appeared in the East Room of the White House with families created by a rare but growing practice in which one couple donates its frozen embryos to another," the Times reported.
" 'The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo,' Mr. Bush said, amid the squeals and coos of babies cradled in their mothers' arms. 'Every embryo is unique and genetically complete, like every other human being. And each of us started out our life this way. These lives are not raw material to be exploited, but gifts.'
"The parents, who worked through a Christian adoption agency, applauded enthusiastically."
No way. A Christian adoption agency was enlisted for a White House photo-op? You gotta be kidding me. Didn't see that one coming.
Never mind the fact that under the bipartisan measure, the embryonic stem cell research would come only from extra, unused eggs that have been gathered for in vitro fertilization. Oh, and never mind the fact that the donating parents would have to sign off on the use of the extra eggs, thereby preventing any possibility of future existence of the squealing and cooing rugrats that were wetting themselves Thursday all over Bush.
And the final act of unmitigated White House chutzpah? The GOP opposition in the House was led by none other than the bastion of Beltway morality, Tom "the Hammer" DeLay.
"The choice to protect a human embryo from federally funded destruction is not, ultimately, about the human embryo," DeLay told Congress. "It is about us, and our rejection of the treacherous notion that while all human lives are sacred, some are more sacred than others.' "
Them's mighty big words coming from Tom DeLay, one-time Texas extrerminater whose take-no-prisoners brand of politics encompasses the figurative squashing of his enemies until oozing yellow pus appears between his sausage-shaped toes.
These people make me sick. Really sick. And if they continue to snub the shimmering hope offered by stem cell research, they'll be keeping millions and millions of other people sick, too.