Posts Tagged ‘science and technology’

Candorville on Stem Cell Research

Chuck posted the following:

I’d like to make a comment on today’s strip–but I’m afraid it would take too much time. Suffice it to say: We apparently value our own citizen’s lives over those of other country’s citizens. But 10000 in 4 years is less of a holocaust than millions over 30 years. 

First of all, it’s not 10K in 4 years. John Mcglaughlin stated the current tally of dead Iraqi civilians at more than 160,000. The lowest estimates, as of 2004, were in the mid 30,000’s. As a percentage of Iraq’s population, it would be the same as if at least 3 million American civilians had been killed. Feel free to check me on that – I was never great at math.The stem cell research issue has nothing to do with abortion. Scientists are not using aborted fetuses, they’re using excess blastocysts left over from in vitro fertilization. Blastocysts that would be thrown away anyway. They’re never – never – going to become living, breathing human beings. They’re going to become rotten dead cells sitting at the bottom of a dumpster under banana peels.I don’t know about you, but if I were a blastocyst, I’d sure want them to use my stem cells to save countless lives before I rot. At least I would want that, if I had a brain.UPDATE…And then there were the e-mails like this one (I’ve included my responses below):

“What a fake comparison!   The US military did not kill ONE civillian on purpose.   Most of the civillians killed were killed by  terrorists.  The only reason some were ACCIDENTLY killed  by allied forces is that the cowardly terrorists hide behind civillians after they set off rockets.  They are followed to housing which may or may not contain civillians.  Then the allies send a rocket to the house where they hide.     Some of the civillians killed are terrorists own families (who ought to run from them).   Others are just innocent victims of terrorist cowardice.   Sometimes people dressed in civillian clothes carry weapons or run toward our soldiers or Iraq’s and are killed because they are perceived to be threats.  Our soldiers have to make split second decisions to kill or be killed.  In a few cases, these were innocent people, but again, understandably perceived to be threats.    Sometimes the terrorists have even sent children with bombs or grenades toward our military!   This is a clever way to kill our military and a child, and blame US!   Many of those killed were teens in civillian clothing with weapons.   Are these INNOCENT civillians?   No.  Is this OUR fault?   Of course not!  Terrorist wars are not like others where civillians are nowhere near.” 

I’m sorry, I thought you were complaining about Monday’s cartoon. You seem to be complaining about something else entirely, because Monday’s cartoon said nothing about the US military killing civilians on purpose. The cartoon spoke of innocent civilians killed during the war. It doesn’t matter who killed them, it only matters that they were killed, and people such as yourself think that their deaths were worth it if it’ll save more lives in the long run. That’s all the cartoon said. I have no idea why you’re trying to pretend that I said what I didn’t say, unless you’re doing it because you can’t dispute what I actually did say.

“But terrorists have to be stopped.   What would you suggest?   That we allow them to get strong and confident, take over Israel, and finally take over our country?  (Do you know any history of what happened after we chickened out of the VN war?   Would you have wanted to live in Cambodia?  Laos?  VN?)    You liberals never have a solution of your own!!!!  All you know how to do is criticize others.”

“Chicken out” of Vietnam, a war we had no business fighting in the first place? How old are you, by the way? Adults don’t usually speak this way about life and death matters. The solution would have been to not invade Iraq, a country that had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, had never attacked us, and was not about to attack us. The tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who are now dead would still be alive, and because our manpower wouldn’t have been diverted from Afghanistan, we might have actually caught Osama bin Laden.

“Also, your figures are greatly exaggerated.   “Tens of thousands” of Iraqi civillians have not been killed.  This is a baldfaced lie!   Get your figures straight!”

I never state anything as a fact unless I’ve researched it. If you have a problem with the numbers, take it up with the Administration whose invasion caused chaos in Iraq. You can also take it up with the Stars & Stripes (the military paper that reported on the death toll reaching 50,000 –, or with CNN, which reported that 14,000 of those deaths happened just this year (and the year’s only half over) –

  You call our presence “occupation”.  It’s true that some in the Sunni party wants us out (Of course!   They were benefitting from Saddam’s reign and living like kings.)  but the people of 3 ethnic groups who got saved from Saddam’s evil death plan do not consider our presence “occupation”.    They know that if we leave before the present administration is strengthened, they (and the Israelis) are all dead ducks, just as if Saddam were still ruling.”

    The definition of “occupation” (from something called a “Dictionary”):1. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.2. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.”If you have a problem with that, don’t bother me with it, take it up with the good folks at Brittanica.

” (By the way, I suppose you have ignored all the news about  finding the more than 500 weapons of mass destruction, some with mustard gas, and some with sar  — (news which certain people have been trying to suppress for a couple of years.)   You liberals all owe the Bush administration an apology.   Wasn’t it kind of stupid to assume that Saddam had gotten rid of his WMD’s when we KNEW he had them during the gulf war?”

No, I didn’t ignore it. I did something called “paying attention,” which you may want to take a stab at some time. Those 500 “weapons of mass destruction” were pre Gulf War weapons that were useless, and that were disposed of exactly as we instructed Hussein to do in 1991 – by burying them deep in the desert. You’ve been suckered by Rick Santorum, who was so desperate to hold on to his Senate seat that he fabricated this WMD find. The Defense Department denied that these 500 shells were the WMD we were looking for, and went on to say that they could never be launched because they were already degraded and useless prior to our invasion.By the way, that’s the second time you’ve spewed “liberal,” as if it’s something bad. Do you even know what “liberal” means? Are you aware that our Constitution is a liberal document written by our liberal Founding Fathers, based on the liberal principles of the liberal Enlightenment? Anyone who believes in that Constitution – and in the separation of powers, separation of church and state, and Bill of Rights protections it enumerates – is a Liberal. 

The second fallacy of your fake comparison is that there is absolutely no proof that stem cells from embryos (which are tiny baby humans!) are superior to stem cells from the placenta (which is the tube connecting mother and baby when the baby is in the womb.)   The placenta cells can be harvested without killing anyone!!!!!  (This is because the placenta is discarded after the birth)  So there is no need to kill a baby human!!!!!  There should be no argument about this!   It is absolutely not necessary to kill baby humans!    And these are truly innocent, unlike some of the “civilians”.   Carol Barnes 

Again, your arguments would be taken more seriously if you were actually talking about something the cartoon said, rather than making up strawman arguments (look that up) to knock down. The cartoon doesn’t say embryonic stem cells are the only way, or even the best way. The cartoon is about the argument against embryonic stem cell research contrasted with the argument rationalizing the death of tens of thousands of civilians. The cartoon is about hypocrisy, and none of the red herring issues you’ve raised disputes what the cartoon actually said.And by the way, there is no proof that placentas provide stem cells that are as useful as those found in embryos. That’s not for you or I to say, that’s something only the scientists can determine – if only people such as yourself would allow them to do their work in peace. And NOBODY IS KILLING A BABY HUMAN. These are excess blastocysts that are going to be thrown away. Not a single one of them is ever going to be allowed to grow into a human, unless hundreds of thousands of Carols across the country volunteer to be inseminated with them and give birth to them….Have you done that, Carol?  

Painful campaign ad

Are you sick of scientific progress being held hostage by the Evangelist in Chief, yet?

Candorville on YouTube

According to Time Magazine, we are all the “Person of the Year,” and much of the credit for that goes to YouTube. YouTube’s begun to fulfill the promise of the Internet: Just a few short years ago, the national pastime of America’s youth (myself included, I confess) was sitting in front of a flickering TV screen addicted to the mindless crap (and the occasional thoughtful crap) Hollywood flings at us. YouTube helped change all that.Today, more and more people under thirty are sitting in front of an unblinking LCD screen addicted to the mindless crap (and occasional gems) flung at them by their peers. The difference is – and I promise this is the end of an analogy inspired by an unpleasant trip to the zoo’s Bonobo cage – now anyone with a video camera, Final Cut and an Internet connection can fling their poop right back.Case in point: According to Time, YouTube’s turning point came when someone posted SNL’s “Lazy Sunday” sketch online earlier this year. Visits to the site jumped by over 80% and kept on rising. Time suggests that you check it out on YouTube, but good luck finding it. If it’s still there, it’s buried somewhere amidst page upon page of “Lazy Sunday” parodies uploaded by random people.But I think this is another case of the Media not putting two and two together. Around the time YouTube blew up, another video was posted to the site. It was much funnier, far more relevant, and even a bit inspiring. It was groundbreaking. Yet again, the mainstream media drops the ball. Here is what, I believe, actually led to YouTube’s success:

In case you’re wondering, this was apparently based on a strip from late 2005:…and since nothing escapes C-Dog’s notice (it only took him a year):C-Dog, “Other Guy” and I all want our royalties, YouTube.•••

Michael Moore injures Wolf Blitzer in cage match

When Laura and I walked out of the Arclight in Hollywood after seeing Michael Moore’s Sicko, I scanned the floor ahead for rusty nails, sharp-toothed dogs, falling satellites — anything that might necessitate a trip to Kaiser. Laura would probably tell you I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It seems to me hypochondriacs like going to the hospital, whereas I avoid the hospital like the plague since I’d surely catch something in the waiting room. It’s not that I have some pathological aversion to germs, it’s that like most self employed, non-unionized people, I have to fund my own health insurance and I can only afford basic coverage. That means I have high deductibles, high prescription fees and while I haven’t checked, I’m fairly certain I have to pay for that paper gown that won’t close in the back. That gown, by the way, is representative of my insurance: if I think my ass is covered, I’m wrong.Anyway, over green salads at the Arclight’s Charcoal Bar & Grill, Laura made me promise that if anything were to happen to her, my second call would be to 9-11 — my first would be to Kaiser (the HMO Nixon fell in love with — just go watch Sicko already), so we wouldn’t end up like a woman in the film whose ambulance ride after a car wreck wasn’t covered because she hadn’t first called her insurance provider. While she lay unconscious in the street (or the mangled car, it wasn’t clear which).Imagine my relief when CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta dispelled all the horrible myths Michael Moore had subjected us to:

What relief! What glorious deliverance from fear and anxiety! Thank you, thank you thank you, CNN, for reminding me that while we don’t live in the best of all possible health care systems, it couldn’t get all that much better anyway. While I may despair at the high deductibles and live in fear that they’ll count that skinned knee I had when I was four as a “pre-existing condition” should I ever need a knee replacement — at least I don’t have to live with the frustration that comes with knowing we could have a much better system than we have if we’d only cut out the profit motive. I love you, CNN.

D’OH!…Oh, wait a sec, Moore can’t prove any of this, can he? Of course he can’t. Dr. Gupta, after all, is a journalist, and CNN is the most trusted name in news. I’ll just go check Moore’s website. No way he could have posted the so-called “evidence” he promised Wolf.D’OH!

Five Years Till the Future

A good friend just reminded me that today, 7/6/10, is only five years before the day Marty McFly came to in the future, in “Back to the Future 2.” You people have FIVE YEARS to give me my flying car, my self-tying shoes and my hoverboard, or there’s gonna be trouble. Get to work!