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Archive for September, 2008

ON THE DEFEAT OF SENATE BILL 1565

 

 

In the middle of the Wall Street chaos yesterday, as I sat watching CNN, wondering if I was witnessing the collapse of Western civilization, the telephone rang.

 

It was Amy Daly, co-executive director of Americans for Cures.

 

“I have news,” she said, “on SB 1565.”

 

Well, okay, I was sitting down anyway. More bad news would just fit with the rest of the day.

 

Senate Bill 1565: we patient advocates had been fighting that bill for the past eight months—through six committee hearings in the California Assembly and Senate– losing every step of the way.

 

SB 1565 (Kuehl, Runner) was another bill attacking California’s stem cell program: the fifth, if memory serves. Since Proposition 71 was voted into law, it has been under constant attack, from both lawsuit and legislation.

 

The bill’s primary author, Senator Sheilah Kuehl, is a smilingly terrifying opponent. Not only is she tough to go against because she is strong, experienced, and intelligent, but she is also a good person. It is tough going against someone you genuinely like.

 

Her main purpose in the bill was noble: to guarantee that any treatments developed through the stem cell research would be made available at low cost to the uninsured– but the CIRM (California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) already agreed with that. Even she acknowledged it, stating that the CIRM and she were “on the same page” with the access issue. She wanted it in state law, she said, not a statute which might be changed.

 

Unfortunately, the bill also had a poison-pill amendment, inserted by a well-known enemy of the research: Senator George Runner, described by one Los Angeles newspaper as a “virulently anti-embryonic stem cell research Republican”. The Runner Amendment would remove California’s preference for embryonic stem cell research, which was the reason we voted for Prop 71 in the first place.

 

That anti-embryonic provision made the bill a threat to the new science all across America. Can’t you just hear the opposition?  “Even California rejects embryonic stem cell research”, they would say, “why should we change the Bush restrictions?”

 

I was braced for bad news. Politically, the safe thing for Governor Schwarzenegger was to sign the bill. He had nothing to gain by standing up for us, and much to lose. Consider: because of budget problems, he is facing a possible recall, and needs the support of every legislator. All he had to do was sign one bad bill, and this one did not even look like a bad bill, on the surface.

 

“The Governor vetoed it”, said the voice on the phone.

 

Wow. Just like that.

 

 Arnold Schwarzenegger had come through for stem cell research once again.

 

By this act of political courage, the attempt to remove California’s priority for embryonic stem cell research had failed.

 

The fight will go on, of course.

 

The bill did achieve one of its goals; an “efficiency group”, the Little Hoover Commission will be studying the stem cell research governance board, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee: to see if there are ways to eliminate conflict of interest, whether “real or perceived”. 

 

But I am not worried about that. We will prevail. The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee is fantastic, and can withstand the closest scrutiny.

 

There will be public meetings; patient advocates will be there. If there is a citizen committee, patient advocates should try to be on it, instead of only those who oppose the program. I will be there, of course, and will report back to you, whatever happens. If the Little Hoover Commission develops a new law or initiative against us, I will let you know about it early, so we can protect California’s great gift to the world.

 

Because we are fighting for something shining. I had a glimpse of it, a few days ago.

 

I wish you could have been there, at UC Davis, September 25th, 2009.

 

We were in a tall, barn-like structure, formerly a fairgrounds hall, and just as it had been in those days, today it was full of happy people.

 

From this day forward, that building would be ennobled: it was now officially the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.

 

Dr. Claire Pommeroy, beaming with pride, welcomed us.

 

On the stage were: UC Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef; California State Senator Darrell Steinberg; the Honorable Doris Matsui, U.S. Congress; Judy Roberson, President of the Northern California Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society; Jan Nolta, Ph.D., director of the brand new institute; Bob Klein, whose leadership made the funding for the project possible in the first place— and two parents, fighting for their children’s lives.   

 

It was a time of triumph, because many people had worked hard for years to bring together the money, knowledge, and will to make this happen.

 

It was also a reminder why our work must go forward.

 

Those parents, Keven and Teresa Partington, had two adorable little blonde blue-eyed  two-year-old twins, full of energy, seemingly in boundless health.

 

But both children were ill with a progressive disease called cystinosis, which attacks the eyes and the kidneys, and may take life as well.

 

They are why we fight.

 

Judy Roberson spoke of losing four members of her family to Huntington’s disease, and of the continuing struggle to advance research for cure.

 

She is why we fight, inspired by her indomitable will, and example.

 

Bob Klein spoke, telling the story of a cab ride with Paul Berg, winner of the Nobel Prize for his work with recombinant DNA, which was attacked by the same arguments used against embryonic stem cell research, and was almost banned. Even when it was allowed to go forward, the prediction for failure was plain—nothing would come from it for fifty years, if ever.

 

That was 1977.

 

In 1978, just one year later, DNA research made artificial human insulin, which as Bob put it, “keeps my son alive today.” 

 

The research is for people like my paralyzed son, Roman (he was quoted again and again throughout the day, whenever people would say the official motto of the CIRM “turning stem cells into cures”, which he wrote), and my sister Barbara, who suffers from cancer and leukemia. She had adult stem cells taken from our brother David (mine did not match) and that gained her about a year of remission. It was very definitely not a cure, and the cancer has returned– but it gained her time.

 

Those who think the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine only funds embryonic stem cell research should visit the UC Davis Institute, where the majority of research focuses on adult cells. The reason for this is simple: adult stem cell research has had several decades head start on embryonic, and is closer to the stage where it can help people.

 

Which is better, adult or embryonic stem cells? To my mind, the answer is both. Whichever works, is the one we should use, and the answer will vary from use to use.

 

UC Davis will be mounting a study to investigate which sort of stem cells work best for which purpose.

 

When one of the speakers, Senator Steinberg, had to leave, Claire Pommeroy gave him the most graceful exit, shoo’ing him out in the most cheerful way, with a compliment:

 

“Go back to the Capitol and do good for the people– like you always do.”

 

That was right and proper. Sacramento is the capitol of California’s hopes and dreams.

 

And at the very last, Dr. Pommeroy, member of the ICOC, said something I hope Senator Kuehl will hear:

 

“It is important to point out, that because stem cells have the potential for addressing some of society’s most daunting health challenges, UC Davis recognizes its responsibility for delivering any therapies it develops in a fair and equitable way. We are committed to helping ensure that the cures will be affordable to all Californians.”

 

Sheilah Kuehl’s bill did not pass. But the Senator raised a vital issue, that every family, even without insurance, deserves access to the best medical care modern science can provide. Language providing for the uninsured is now an official part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

 

Her efforts brought us closer to universal health care.

 

Everybody won.

 

Thank you, California.

 

 

 

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The governor’s fax number is: 916-558-3160. If you have any doubts your voice can make a difference, or if you just want to see what activists can really do, watch:

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Backstage at World Stem Cell Summit

BACKSTAGE AT THE WORLD STEM CELL SUMMIT

 

Folks:

 

As anyone who has attended a Bernie Siegel stem cell extravaganza can verify, attendees get more than they could hope for. This year’s World Stem Cell Summit was no exception. Every year I think, this is the ultimate, can’t get any better than this; but it does. Bernie has put on events at the United Nations, Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, and this year the American birthplace of embryonic stem cell research, Madison, Wisconsin.—the Summit deserves its own book (and in fact had one there, to which I contributed a story, “How to Pass a Stem Cell Law”) —but I just don’t have the hours it deserves to write a full description.  

 

Here, then, are only a few impressions.

 

Dropping off my luggage at the Sheraton Hotel, (being a speaker, I got my room paid for, otherwise I would be Motel Six-ing it as usual), I hurried for the bus—

 

–to the Governor’s mansion.  

 

How classy is that?

 

On the drive over, I realized I had missed out on the Lab at the Lake, a hands-on-easy-to-understand tour through stem cell realities. The Summit’s goal was something for everyone: the Lab at the Lake meant folks had a chance to talk with world class scientists as well as personally adjusting a high-power microscope to see stem cells for themselves.

 

So, anyway, the Governor of Wisconsin had invited us to visit in his official residence.

 

We walked through a replica of the Washington White House, polished floors and high ceilings, all the way through to the back yard. There on the lawn was a big no-walls tent.

 

After we had chatted with other attendees and picked at the barbequed skewers of (I think) chicken and maybe tomatoes, Bernie introduced Governor James Doyle, a very down-to-earth person. (The Italian driver of the cab from the airport told me: “His-a heart in the right place, Jim Doyle!”) This is also a man of integrity. Despite enormous pressure from the religious right to sign bills against research, Wisconsin’s leader used his veto power, not once, but twice.

 

Governor Doyle welcomed us to Wisconsin, talked for a little while about why he liked stem cells, and then we got back on the bus.

 

 

Six o’clock next morning, I asked how to get to the conference building.

 

“Easy,” they said, “Just across the street, you can’t miss it.”

 

But  as I crossed the street, all I could see was a dense gray fog bank, like something out of Sherlock Holmes’ London. This changed everything. And as I fumbled through the mist, feeling increasingly lost, it occurred to me how very similar our current political situation this was.

 

Here we were, the country ready and anxious for massive stem cell research funding, and we had instead a financial emergency of unprecedented proportions…

 

But I stayed on the sidewalk, solid beneath my shoes—and suddenly, a mass of concrete rose before me: the Alliant Energy Hall.

 

Quickly, the place was packed with nearly a thousand friends of stem cell research. People like:

 

Alta Charo, bioethicist, a bubbling volcano of energy, intelligence, and eloquence: listening to her is always a pleasure because she has so much to say and says it so well. Occasionally, to be sure, I get about three ideas behind the one she is on right now, because she talks so fast and says so much, but I always walk away enriched.

 

Waiting for the shuttle, I had a chance to chat with another bioethicist, David Magnus, of Stanford, who really knows his stuff on the issues of Intellectual Property, and more.

 

Wise Young’s beaming presence is always welcome; the man who (in addition to his duties at Rutgers University, and endless advocacy for research) also runs a massive patient-involvement website, CareCure.org. Wise is working on human trials in China, spinal cord injuries, to be treated with umbilical cord blood stem cells, and also lithium.

 

One shocking moment: onstage a person (I will not use his name) made a statement which infuriated me. He said, we should stop using the word “cure” when it came to spinal cord injury, and instead stick to “treatment”. The clear implication was there would never be a cure.

 

Dr. Young corrected him, gently but with passion, pointing out nobody suggested removing the word cure from the fight to cure cancer. (Hours later, Wise was still upset about this.)

 

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine President Alan Trounson gave an update on the CIRM’s activities. Alan’s great gift, I think, is not only his scientific acumen, which is immense (he is considered one of the inventors of the In Vitro Fertility procedure, which allowed literally millions of childless families to have a baby) but the ability he has to make friends for our cause. It is impossible not to like him. He radiates good cheer. He said something I did not understand, and hope to ask him about—he said, if I understood correctly, that “the NIH may not be the best model as a funding source”.

 

Larry Goldstein gave a ten-minute hint on how stem cell research is transforming health care. (I would have liked to see him do a keynote address, as he has so much to say, and expresses it so well). He spoke about nerves as rivers of information, and that science has “worn out what we can do with animals”, meaning, I took it, that it is time to go to human trials, a position with which I heartily concur. “Humans are not big mice”, he said. He spoke about the importance of embryonic stem cells not only as the source of replacement cells for damaged parts of the body, but also as the “neighborhood” around the cells, vital if the cells are to function properly.

 

John Wagner I sat next to on the bus going somewhere, and I was impressed by his passion, that it was time to press for cures for patients, and for government to not set impossible standards which could block progress.

 

Jamie Thomson gave a keynote address about reprogramming, his and Shinya Yamanaka’s new method of obtaining stem cells. I was glad to hear him clearly state that this new procedure in no way eliminated the need for embryonic stem cell research, and that both must proceed concurrently. Dr. Thomson is of course brilliant beyond belief, but he is a little hard to follow sometimes, because his voice volume varies tremendously, sometimes almost inaudibly soft.

 

He was at his best at the press conference. I took the opportunity to thank him, saying that when my paralyzed son rose and walked again, his first step was taken right here.

 

Amy Comstock-Rick gave a very careful and non-political look at the difference between the two Presidential candidates. (I wanted her to be a little tougher on McCain, to discuss his co-signing a bill to criminalize SCNT and put stem cell scientists in jail, not to mention his position on the “personhood” issue, which conceivably could destroy the whole field; but she stuck strictly to his stance on embryonic stem cells.)

 

Clive Svendsen talked about Wisconsin’s efforts and Hideyuki Okano of Keio University did the same for Japan, both talks a little over my head (I was glad for the shortness of science talks; I start to nod off after too much incomprehensibility).

 

Breaks were welcome, not only for the necessaries, but also to (as Bernie puts it) “work the halls”, making friends while checking out the exhibits and the scientists posters and the bioemedical displays.

 

Jeff Sheehy spoke about the difficult subject of what happens if a patient dies in clinical trials. This is huge—I am personally sick and tired of people telling me we should not go forward until we can guarantee safety—we cannot guarantee safety for any medical procedure, even standard treatment.

 

So it meant a lot when he spoke about the people who died in the HIV-AIDS trials— but that tragedy did not stop the research.

 

Peter Kiernan of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation gave a rousing update on that great humanitarian effort. He also gave a very intelligent list of “top ten” issues—getting politics out of science, funding young scientists, pushing translational efforts, increasing the global network, refocusing debate onto new disease models, educating the press, embracing business, helping international cell banking, developing and enforcing rigorous standards for ourselves, and achieving a clinical breakthrough.

 

A breakout session discussed “Stem Cell Tourism”, both bad and good!

 

Mark Noble (outstanding writer as well as scientist) and I had the chance to say hello in person, always one of the real joys of a good convention.

 

Bob Klein dealt with the “We can’t afford stem cell research” issue, remind us that California passed a $6 billion program in one of the worst years (financially) in our history. He reminded us of Governor Schwarzenegger’s great line that “scientists are the real action heroes of the 21st century.

 

Mark Burton and Danny Heumann reminded us all of the crucial state of Michigan, now trying to fight its way out of some of the most crippling anti-research laws in the country.

 

Sabrina Cohen spoke about paralysis, making everyone hold motionlessly still for sixty seconds, so we had a tiny idea of what it is like to be paralyzed. Sabrina is trying to develop funds for a movie about the real-life issues of stem cell research, and we wish her well. If anybody has any ideas on funding sources, drop a line.

 

Hans Keirstead shared with us not only his progress, but also advice for scientists—at his lab, three staff members have a fulltime job cooperating with the FDA, whose approval is needed before human trials can go forward.

 

Linda Powers of Toucan Industries, a venture capitalist firm specializing in stem cell research, gave us a look inside the money world.

 

Dr. Fanyi Zeng, proof that SCNT scientists can be movie star beautiful, gave us the scoop on China’s hopes for biomedical investment, stating that by 2020, China hoped to have 2.5% of their Gross Domestic Product invested in bio research.

 

Tommy Thompson told the story of how President Bush called him and Karl Rove in, and ate a peanut butter sandwich while the two debated hESC research, stating that this was the conversation which allowed the President to leave a tiny window of research open, rather than banning it altogether.

 

Greg Simon of Faster Cures had a political comment, saying “Wwspd—What would Sarah Palin do”—and suggesting we do the opposite. 

 

Alta Charo spoke on the need for balance in human trials between safety and the need to advance cures for suffering millions.

 

I had a chance to talk about legislative fights past and present, mentioning that anyone wanting to help the California stem cell program should FAX THE GOVERNOR, and tell him to VETO S.B. 1564. His fax number is: 916-558-3160, and he will be deciding in the next few days, whether or not to support a bill which would remove California’s legal preference for embryonic stem cell research, as well as attacking our magnificent governing board, the ICOC, a 29-member panel of experts, conceivably replacing them with bureaucrats. (Please FAX him today, if possible.)

 

So much more!

 

And just to make it perfect, on the plane home I sat next to Graham Creasey, who is working with Gary Steinberg—and my son Roman Reed– to set up a spinal cord injury project at Stanford University.

 

Whew! What a glorious couple days!

 

And now, back to work!

 

 

 

 

 

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SARAH PALIN AND CHRISTOPHER REEVE: A Special Needs Parent Speaks Out

 

 

According to Sarah Palin, if John McCain is elected President, she will be put in charge of cure research.

 

Governor Palin states: “John and I have worked out a plan… My mission is going to be energy security and government reform. And another thing near and dear to my heart, it’s going to be helping families who have special needs and children with special needs. And we’re going to be pushing for innovative cures of diseases.” *

 

Innovative cures?  Special needs families? As far as I know, Governor Palin’s only background in either area is that she opposes embryonic stem cell research– and that she has a six-month old baby with Down’s Syndrome.    

 

At age 44, Ms. Palin chose to have a fifth child. When she found out the unborn child had Down’s Syndrome, she chose to continue with the pregnancy.

 

Fair enough. Those were her choices, and choice is important for every woman.

 

But does she have any knowledge of the real world of special needs families?

 

Right now, her baby requires only normal infant care: to be fed and changed and loved. When the “special needs” part of his life begins, Governor Palin’s income level will allow her to hire nannies and servants to care for her child.  

 

Most of us do not have Ms. Palin’s advantages. For millions of American families, having a “special needs” member (a mentally or physically disabled person, old or young) means exhausting physical labors of care-giving, endless emotional stress, and bills we cannot afford.

 

At the age of nineteen, my son Roman Reed broke his neck in a college football accident. He was paralyzed from the shoulders down. The doctors gave us no hope: Roman would never walk again, they said: never close his fingers, probably never father a child; and, due to his shortened life expectancy, his mother Gloria and I might outlive our own son.

 

Before this happened, if I saw a person in a wheelchair, I never stopped to think how they got there. Who lifted them out of bed in the morning, helped them take a shower? Did they need assistance to use the rest room, to get dressed? Could they breathe on their own? If not, who changes the battery in their respirator? Who helps them turn over in bed during the night? Will she or he need to be institutionalized? If so, who will pay? 

 

Many families break up under this stress. John McCain, for example, divorced his first wife when she became disabled.  

 

If Ms. Palin truly wanted to be the “friend and advocate of special needs families”, as she so perkily promised at the Republican Convention, she could begin by opposing John McCain’s negative position on the Community Choice Act, which he says we cannot afford. The Community Choice Act would allow people with disabilities to receive government assistance at home, with their families, instead of being institutionalized. 

 

We do know Ms. Palin is in favor of government assistance, at least for herself, as she personally requested and received more than three hundred days travel pay (per diem) even though she was not actually traveling on those days.

 

In addition to care for special needs individuals, America must work for cures.

 

My family knows about this, up close and personal. California passed a law named after our son, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999. It is just a small law, one and a half million dollars a year—but it made possible the nation’s first state-funded embryonic stem cell research.

 

On March 1, 2002, opening day of the Roman Reed Laboratory at UC Irvine, I held in my hand a laboratory rat which had been paralyzed, but which now walked again– and this while my son watched from his wheelchair.

 

The experiment was so successful that Geron Corporation funded further work on it, taking it all the way to the Food and Drug Administration, where it is currently being considered for human trials. If all goes well, newly paralyzed people may one day have the chance my son did not—to walk out of the hospital, instead of being condemned to a wheelchair for life.

 

Far more importantly, California voters passed a magnificent stem cell research program, to fund the science President George Bush so cruelly restricted.

 

And it was our son who suggested the official motto for that program, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, (CIRM): “Turning stem cells into cures.”

 

Today, we have hope. But it would all be swept away by Sarah Palin.

 

Embryonic stem cell research would quite literally become against the law if Sara Palin and the GOP get their way. The official Republican platform calls for the complete prohibition of embryonic stem cell research, both public and private; even George Bush did not take such an extreme position.

 

Not only paralysis cure is at risk. We are fighting for relief from cancer, which killed my mother and older sister. Embryonic stem cell research is crucial in the battle against Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke, diabetes, blindness—and Down’s Syndrome.  In England, where the government supports it, embryonic stem cell research led to a clearer understanding of the causes of Down’s Syndrome, an important step towards cure.

 

 

Which brings us to another choice for Sarah Palin—when cure does come, will she allow her son to become well?   

 

She might say no. There are people who do not accept medical treatment for religious reasons. X-rays were originally frowned on by some, because it was thought they might be used to see through women’s clothing. Others said chicken pox was God’s punishment for sin, and it was wrong to develop a vaccine to cure it. Even today folks may refuse blood transfusions; others believe in the power of healing by faith alone– as is their right.

 

But should religion be allowed to block my son’s chances to walk again? 

 

American families deserve access to the best care science can provide: to ease suffering and save the lives of our children, our brothers and sisters, and our neighbors too.

 

Our country has an estimated one hundred million citizens with incurable disease or disability. These are not just empty statistics, but our loved ones, members of your family and mine. They are the reason America supports stem cell research.

 

Also, we are plain common sense practical. We see the results of too many people not getting well. Last year, America spent $2 trillion dollars on health care—a mountain of money, more than all federal income taxes put together. Three-fourths of that went to the maintenance of people with chronic disease or disability, who will never be healed: except, perhaps, with stem cell research.

 

If we want affordable health care, we must support cure research. 

 

We will not be tricked into believing there are alternatives to embryonic stem cells that are just as good. Those arguments have been made for years. They were not true then, and they are not true now. If there is a cure for paralysis, fine: show it to me. But until then, politicians should not insult my intelligence by pretending those cures exist.   

 

To understand what an extreme position Sarah Palin and the Republican Party are taking on stem cell research, we need only compare the lists of groups who argued about a simple bipartisan bill expanding President Bush’s restrictive embryonic stem cell research policies: the Stem Cell Research Expansion Act (Castle,DeGette).  

 

First, how many groups opposed the relaxation of restrictions? Seventeen. That’s right, seventeen: and every one was a conservative religious and/or ideological organization.**

 

How many groups supported embryonic stem cell research? Five hundred and eighteen: every major scientific, educational, medical or patient rights group that took a position on the issue, including the American Medical Association.***

 

At the end of this article, you will find both lists: 17 against embryonic, 518 in favor. (If you want to print out the list be supporting groups, be warned: it is long, almost 14 pages.

 

I do not think Ms. Palin has a lot of scientific background.

 

For example, as Governor of Alaska, she wanted to spend several million dollars of taxpayer money killing wolves, shooting them from airplanes, figuring that would result in more moose for human hunters to kill. As wolves actually protect the moose population by killing the weak and sick, thereby preventing the spread of disease, Palin’s plan to wipe out natural predators does not make a great deal of sense.

 

But her wolf-slaughter policy does remind me of something a farmer once said.

 

A fox in the henhouse will kill a chicken, he said, maybe take one along to eat later.

 

But a weasel will go blood crazy– and kill every chicken in the coop.

 

John McCain says he supports embryonic stem cell research.  But to please the anti-science wing of his party, he would let an enemy of the research have influence over it.

 

Giving Sarah Palin power over research, is like tossing a weasel in the henhouse– and pretending it will only supervise.

 

Enough.  As Barrack Obama said, in a one-word rejection of failed policies: enough.

 

I am tired of a White House which does not reflect my hopes for a better America. I want a President who will work on the problems with the idea of really solving them, not just smiling and waving at us from a platform.

 

And one thing more. I want to see the fulfillment of Christopher Reeve’s great dream.

 

Years ago, our local school did a fundraiser for the paralyzed Superman. I wrote a play, and the kids in my multicultural club (True Colors) produced it, giving up their lunchtime all year to make it happen. We put on the play, charged admission, and sent $2,000 to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. It wasn’t much, but it came from the heart, and Superman responded.

 

 In a dictated letter our family will always treasure, Christopher Reeve said:

 

“One day, Roman and I will rise up from our wheelchairs, and walk away from them forever.”

 

Cure did not come in time for Christopher Reeve. Our champion has fallen. But the flame of his faith still lights our way. Barack Obama has taken up the torch of scientific freedom, the power that lifted us to the moon, and accepts no limitations.

 

America will prevail.

 

*“Palin Outlines Four-Point Focus in McCain Administration. Says She’ll Focus on Energy, Reform, Special Needs Care, and Disease Cures.” –Scott Conroy, CBS News, September 15th, 2008

 

**17 groups in opposition to embryonic stem cell research: 
Republican Study Committee. “H.R. 3 — Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007” Legislative Bulletin. January 10, 2007. 
 
National Right to Life Committee
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Family Research Council
Christian Coalition
Concerned Women for America
Focus on the Family
Christian Medical Association
Eagle Forum
Traditional Values Coalition
Southern Baptist Convention
Susan B. Anthony List
Republican National Committee for Life
Cornerstone Policy Research
Culture of Life Foundation
Religious Freedom Coalition
Coral Ridge Ministries
Center For Reclaiming America

 

***518 Groups in favor of the Stem Cell Research Expansion Act (open letter, 13 pages long)

 

1 July 14, 2006 . U.S. Senate , Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Senator:

We, the undersigned patient advocacy groups, health organizations, research universities, scientific societies, religious groups and other interested institutions and associations, representing millions of patients, scientists, health care providers and advocates, write you with our strong and unified support for H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.  

 

Sincerely,

 

A O North America

AAALAC International

AARP

Abbott Laboratories

Acadia Pharmaceuticals

Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis

Adams County Economic Development, Inc.

AdvaMed (Advanced Medical Technology Association)

Affymetrix, Inc.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Alliance for Aging Research

Alliance for Lupus Research

Alliance for Stem Cell Research

Alnylam US, Inc.

Alpha-1 Foundation

ALS Association

Ambulatory Pediatric Association


AMDeC-Academic Medicine Development Co.

America on the Move Foundation

American Academy of Neurology

American Academy of Nursing

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association for Cancer Research

American Association for Dental Research

American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Association of Anatomists

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons

American Association of Public Health Dentistry

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association

American Brain Coalition

American Chronic Pain Association

American College of Cardiology

American College of Medical Genetics

American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American College of Surgeons

American Council on Education

American Council on Science and Health

American Dental Association

American Dental Education Association

American Diabetes Association

American Federation for Aging Research

American Gastroenterological Association

American Geriatrics Society

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

American Lung Association

American Medical Association

American Medical Informatics Association

American Medical Women’s Association

American Pain Foundation

American Parkinson’s Disease Association

American Parkinson’s Disease Association (Arizona Chapter)

American Pediatric Society

American Physiological Society

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

American Public Health Association

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research


American Society for Cell Biology

American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

American Society for Microbiology

American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair

American Society for Nutrition

American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

American Society for Reproductive Medicine

American Society for Virology

American Society of Clinical Oncology

American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists

American Society of Hematology

American Society of Human Genetics

American Society of Nephrology

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

American Surgical Association

American Surgical Association Foundation

American Thoracic Society

American Thyroid Association

American Transplant Foundation

Americans for Medical Progress

amFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Arizona State University College of Nursing

Arthritis Foundation

Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter

Association for Clinical Research Training

Association for Medical School Pharmacology Chairs

Association for Prevention Teaching and Research

Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc.

Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine

Association of Academic Departments of Otolaryngology

Association of Academic Health Centers

Association of Academic Physiatrists

Association of American Medical Colleges

Association of American Physicians

Association of American Universities

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

Association of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Neurobiology Chairs

Association of Anesthesiology Program Directors

Association of Black Cardiologists

Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology

Association of Independent Research Institutes

Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs

Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs

Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs

Association of Professors of Dermatology

Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics

Association of Professors of Medicine


Association of Public Health Laboratories

Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Association of Specialty Professors

Association of University Anesthesiologists

Assurant Health

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Athena Diagnostics

Aurora Economic Development Council

Axion Research Foundation

B’nai B’rith International

Baylor College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Biotechnology Industry Organization

BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Inc.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation on Health Care

Boston Biomedical Research Institute

Boston University School of Dental Medicine

Boston University School of Public Health

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Broadened Horizons, LLC

Brown Medical School

Buck Institute for Age Research

Burns & Allen Research Institute

Burrill & Company

Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Colorectal Cancer Coalition

California Biomedical Research Association

California Insitute of Technology

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

California Wellness Foundation

Californians for Cures

Campaign for Medical Research

Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation

Canon U.S. Life Sciences, Inc.

Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Cedars-Sinai Health System

Center for the Advancement of Health

Central Conference of American Rabbis

CFIDS Association of America

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Charles River Laboratories

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

Children’s Memorial Research Center

Children’s Neurobiological Solutions Foundation


Children’s Research Institute (Columbus)

Children’s Research Institute (Washington)

Children’s Tumor Foundation

Childrens Hospital Boston

Christopher Reeve Foundation

City and County of Denver

City of Hope National Medical Center

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilitites, University of Colorado System

Colfax Marathon Partnership, Inc.

Colorado Bioscience Association

Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Colorado State University

Columbia University

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

Columbia University Medical Center

Community Health Partnership

Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals

Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc.

Conquer Fragile X Foundation

Cornell University

Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS)

Creighton University School of Medicine

CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy)

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

Cure Paralysis Now

CuresNow

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dartmouth Medical School

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

DENTSPLY International

Digene Corporation

Discovery Partners International

Doheny Eye Institute

Drexel University College of Medicine

Drexel University School of Public Health

Duke University Medical Center

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation

East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine

Eli Lilly and Company

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Emory University

Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

Emory University School of Medicine

FasterCures


FD Hope Foundation

Federation of American Scientists

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc.

Fertile Hope

Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority

Florida Atlantic University Division of Research

Ford Finance, Inc.

Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Friends of Cancer Research

Friends of the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research

Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research

Friends of the National Library of Medicine

Genetic Alliance

Genetics Policy Institute

George Mason University

Georgetown University Medical Center

Guillain Barre Syndrome Foundation International

Gynecologic Cancer Foundation

Hadassah

Harvard University

Harvard University School of Dental Medicine

Harvard University School of Public Health

Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Inc.

Hereditary Disease Foundation

HHT Foundation International, Inc.

Home Safety Council

Howard University College of Dentistry

Howard University College of Medicine

Huntington’s Disease Society of America

IBM Life Sciences Division

Illinois State University Mennonite College of Nursing

ImmunoGen, Inc.

Indiana University School of Dentistry

Indiana University School of Medicine

Indiana University School of Nursing

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Institute for African American Health, Inc.

Intercultural Cancer Council Caucus

International Foundation for Anticancer Drug Discovery (IFADD)

International Longevity CenterUSA

International Society for Stem Cell Research

Invitrogen Corporation

Iraq Veterans for Cures

Iris Alliance Fund

Iron Disorders Institute


Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health

Jeffrey Modell Foundation

Johns Hopkins

Johnson & Johnson

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)

Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Kennedy Krieger Institute

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology

KID Foundation

Kidney Cancer Association

La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

Lance Armstrong Foundation

Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

Lung Cancer Alliance

Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.

Lupus Foundation of Colorado, Inc.

Lupus Research Institute

Lymphatic Research Foundation

Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University

Malecare Prostate Cancer Support

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

Marine Biological Laboratory

Marshalltown [IA] Cancer Resource Center

Masonic Medical Research Laboratory

Massachusetts Biotechnology Council

Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MaxCyte, Inc.

McLaughlin Research Institute

Medical College of Georgia

Medical University of South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing

MedStar Research Institute (MRI)

Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memory Pharmaceuticals

Mercer University

Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation


Miami Children’s Hospital

Midwest Nursing Research Society

Morehouse School of Medicine

Mount Sinai Medical Center

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research

National Alliance for Hispanic Health

National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Alopecia Areata Foundation

National Asian Women’s Health Organization

National Association for Biomedical Research

National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces

National Caucus of Basic Biomedical Science Chairs

National Coalition for Cancer Research

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

National Committee for Quality Health Care

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council on Spinal Cord Injury

National Down Syndrome Society

National Electrical Manufacturers Association

National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

National Health Council

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Hispanic Health Foundation

National Jewish Medical and Research Center

National Marfan Foundation

National Medical Association

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Osteoporosis Foundation

National Partnership for Women and Families

National Pharmaceutical Council

National Prostate Cancer Coalition

National Quality Forum

National Spinal Cord Injury Association

National Venture Capital Association

Nebraskans for Research

Nemours

New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research

New Jersey Dental School

New York Blood Center

New York College of Osteopathic Medicine

New York State Association of County Health Officials

New York Stem Cell Foundation

New York University College of Dentistry

New York University School of Medicine


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

North American Brain Tumor Coalition

North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research

Northwest Association for Biomedical Research

Northwestern University

Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine

Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine

Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Oral Health America

Oregon Health & Science University

Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing

Oregon Research Institute

Oxford Bioscience Partners

Pacific Health Research Institute

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy

Parkinson’s Action Network

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

Partnership for Prevention

Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Pittsburgh Development Center

Princeton University

Project A.L.S.

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum International

Quest for the Cure

RAND Health

Research!America

Resolve: The National Infertility Association

RetireSafe

Rett Syndrome Research Foundation

Rice University

Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins

The Rockefeller University

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Rush University Medical Center

Rutgers University

Salk Institute for Biological Studies

sanofi-aventis

Scleroderma Research Foundation

Secular Coalition for America

Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, Inc.

Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR)

Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology

Society for Education in Anesthesia


Society for Male Reproduction and Urology

Society for Neuroscience

Society for Pediatric Research

Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Society for Women’s Health Research

Society of Academic Anesthesiology Chairs

Society of General Internal Medicine

Society of Gynecologic Oncologists

Society of Reproductive Surgeons

Society of University Otolaryngologists

South Alabama Medical Science Foundation

South Dakota State University

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Spina Bifida Association of America

Stanford University

State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine

State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine at Brooklyn

State University of New York Upstate Medical University

Stem Cell Action Network

Stem Cell Research Foundation

Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation

Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Strategic Health Policy International, Inc.

Student Society for Stem Cell Research

Suicide Prevention Action Network-USA (SPAN)

Take Charge! Cure Parkinson’s, Inc.

Targacept, Inc.

Temple University School of Dentistry

Texans for Advancement of Medical Research

Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Texas Medical Center

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

The Arc of the United States

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

The Biophysical Society

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

The Burnham Institute

The CJD Foundation

The Critical Path Institute (C-Path)

The Endocrine Society

The FAIR Foundation

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

The Food Allergy Project, Inc.

The Forsyth Institute

The Foundation Fighting Blindness

The George Washington University Medical Center


 

The Georgetown University Center for the Study of Sex Difference in Health, Aging and Disease

The Gerontological Society of America

The J. David Gladstone Institutes

The Jackson Laboratory

The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

The Medical College of Wisconsin

The Medical Foundation, Inc.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

The Ohio State University College of Dentistry

The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health

The Ohio State University School of Public Health

The Parkinson Alliance and Unity Walk

The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.

The Rockefeller University

The Schepens Eye Research Institute

The Scientist

The Scripps Research Institute

The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

The Society for Investigative Dermatology

The Spiral Foundation

The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry

The University of Iowa College of Public Health

The University of Mississippi Medical Center

The University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry

The University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The University of Tennessee HSC College of Nursing

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston School of Medicine

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

The University of Toledo Academic Health Science Center

Tourette Syndrome Association

Travis Roy Foundation

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Tulane University

Tulane University Health Sciences Center

Union for Reformed Judaism

Union of Concerned Scientists

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

United Spinal Association


University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health

University of Arizona College of Medicine

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

University of Buffalo

University of California System

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health

University of California, Davis

University of California, Irvine

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry

University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Francisco

University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry

University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of Chicago

University of Cincinnati Medical Center

University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center

University of Colorado at Denver and HSC School of Dentistry

University of Colorado at Denver and HSC School of Nursing

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

University of Florida

University of Florida College of Dentistry

University of Georgia

University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing

University of Iowa

University of Kansas

University of Kansas Medical Center

University of Kansas Medical Center School of Nursing

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky College of Dentistry

University of Louisville

University of Louisville School of Dentistry

University of Maryland at Baltimore

University of Maryland at Baltimore College of Dental Surgery

University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Nursing

University of Miami

University of Michigan

University of Michigan College of Pharmacy

University of Michigan Medical School


 University of Michigan School of Dentistry

University of Michigan School of Nursing

University of Michigan School of Public Health

University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota School of Public Health

University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Dentistry

University of Montana School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences

University of Nebraska Medical Center

University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry

University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health

University of North Dakota

University of North Texas Health Science Center

University of Oregon

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

University of Rochester Medical Center

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

University of Rochester School of Nursing

University of South Carolina Office of Research and Health Sciences

University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences

University of South Florida

University of South Florida College of Nursing

University of Southern California

University of Southern California School of Dentistry

University of Utah HSC School of Medicine

University of Vermont College of Medicine

University of Washington

University of Washington School of Dentistry

University of Washington School of Nursing

University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Van Andel Research Institute

Vanderbilt University and Medical Center

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis Center for Health Policy


 

Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

WE MOVE

Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

WiCell Research Institution

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Wisconsin Association for Biomedical Research and Education

Woodruff Health Sciences Center at Emory University

Wright State University School of Medicine

Yale University

Yale University School of Medicine

Yale University School of Nursing

 

 

 

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STEM CELLS, AND JOHN MCCAIN’S FIRST WIFE

When Bill Clinton fooled around, the Republicans fought with all their strength to impeach him.

But when John McCain cheated on his disabled wife, the GOP nominated him for President.

Did you know about McCain’s first wife? A former swimsuit model, Carol McCain was tall, willowy, beautiful—until a terrible car accident.

Flung through the windshield of her car, Carol McCain lay on the frozen ground all night. Her pelvis was broken. Both legs and an arm were shattered, she had massive internal injuries— the doctors despaired for her life.

Fortunately for Carol, Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot took over her medical bills: paying for her six months in hospital– and 23 operations, necessary just to keep her alive. So many bone fragments had to be removed from her body that she lost five inches in height.

Carol McCain was disabled for life.

So when John McCain came home from the war in Viet Nam, how did he stand by the woman he promised to love and cherish till death did them part?\

He began cheating on her, systematically and casually, with a variety of women.

Finally the still married McCain chose Carol’s replacement, the movie-star-gorgeous Cindy, heiress to a fortune.

He divorced Carol, married the heiress one month later, and his new father-in-law gave him a job as an executive at his beer company—and John McCain was rich.

H. Ross Perot had this to say:

“McCain is the classic opportunist… always reaching for attention and glory. When he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money…”
—“The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind”, Sharon Churcher, Daily Mail UK, June 8, 2008.

To this day, Carol remains loyal to McCain, who pays her medical bills.

Now some people feel that McCain, as a former prisoner of war, is not to be criticized. Democrats always acknowledge John

McCain’s service, unlike the Rove-Republican attack machine and their Swift Boating tactics, continually smearing John Kerry’s heroism in the same war.

But to my way of thinking, the fact that John McCain was a prisoner of war does not mean we forget everything else about the man.

John McCain deserves to be judged on his actions, his record, his positions and choices, and how his decisions will affect all our lives.

First, let me state my personal bias: why John McCain’s essential abandonment of a disabled person affects me so deeply.

My son Roman Reed is disabled, a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down because of a college football accident.

Every day I try to do something to advance the cause of stem cell research, because I know it works.

I have seen it. On March 1, 2002, I held in my hand a laboratory rat which had been paralyzed, but which walked again, thanks to embryonic stem cells. That was in the Reeve-Irving Research Center, University of California at Irvine.

It has been so frustrating, these past eight years, having an anti-science President in the White House. The policies of George Bush policies are based on ideology and ultra-conservative religion, not the healing science our country so desperately needs.

But John McCain says he is different from Bush, that he supports embryonic stem cell research.

I don’t trust him.

Different from Bush? Not a whole lot. McCain co-signed Senator Sam Brownback’s bill to put scientists in jail for advanced stem cell research—he also chose Sarah Palin for his Vice President, and she is completely opposed.

With a new GOP platform calling for a complete ban on embryonic stem cell research, we could be worse off than we were under Bush.

McCain says one thing, and does another.

McCain says he supports the disabled—then votes against the Community Choice Act, which would have allowed disabled folks to be cared for in their own homes, instead of having to be institutionalized.

He likes to call himself a “maverick”, reminding us that he once dared to opposed President George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. However, (and with McCain there is always a however) when it came time to gain his party’s nomination, he tossed that courage out the window. Now he wants to make those tax cuts permanent: as the rich get richer, the middle class gets pushed down into the ranks of poverty, and the poor are increasingly on their own.

He promised to run a respectful campaign, saying that he won’t talk trash about his rival—he just hires Karl Rove’s friends to do it. And did you see his face when his second in command when his second in command went into her carefully planned speech of character assassination. He was giggling like a schoolgirl when Ms. Lipstick Pitbull trashtalked Obama.

Did you notice how he first said he did not know anything about economics, but suddenly discovers he has all the answers?

He says he believes in freedom, but his second in command wants to censor library books, and fired a librarian who stood up to her.

McCain says he hates war, but pushed hard to get us involved in Iraq from the very beginning. That war cost us our economy. America went from being rich to being in debt. That was started by George Bush, and continued by John McCain, who promises more.

Granted, Iraq is quieter now; if you kill enough people it will definitely calm things down; graveyards are not noisy places.

“Maverick” McCain says he is against government wastefulness and corruption—so where are his speeches on the mountains of money lost, stolen, or mis-spent in Iraq, entire fork-lift pallets of money unaccounted for?

He even abandoned his enthusiasm for President Bush—in his acceptance speech he never mentioned the name of that man he once so publicly embraced, putting his cheek on the President’s chest.

As a former prisoner of war, McCain deserves respect.

But when he mentions his war record, which he does at any possible excuse, we should remember there are other veterans, whose interests he routinely votes against.

Like the soldiers in VA hospitals, who were recently told by the Bush Administration, that they can no longer be helped to register to vote.

The same veterans whose care John McCain so frequently votes against. They also were soldiers. Their heroism also deserves recognition.

Many are disabled, like John McCain’s first wife. They must not be abandoned.

We also have an estimated one hundred million citizens suffering from incurable disease; they must not be forgotten.

We need a President who will not only look out for everyone, but also try to make things better: to heal the ill and injured.

John McCain is not that man.

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Write to Arnold, please…

Dear Friend of Stem Cell Research:

I need your help. Please write one letter (hard copy or fax) to the following address:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814. (Fax is 916-558-3160.)

Important: on the outside of the envelope, at the bottom left, write: VETO S.B. 1565.

That is pretty much the message inside, too.

We need the Governor to veto a bill which will (if it becomes law) damage and delay California’s magnificent stem cell research program. Even one short sentence (As a supporter of stem cell research, I respectfully request that you  veto Senate Bill 1565, which threatens our great stem cell program) would be very helpful. At the top right hand of the page, be sure to write:   RE: Veto SB 1565.

Or the letter could be as long as you like,  something like:

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

Please veto Senate Bill 1565 (Kuehl,Runner) which threatens the success of California’s stem cell program.

As a (state your reason for supporting stem cell research– I always say, as the father of a paralyzed young man) I applaud your long support for stem cell research and Proposition 71, which established America’s greatest regenerative medicine program, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Now that program is endangered by a widely-misunderstood bill which violates the will of the people of California. SB 1565 would quite literally remove the priority for embryonic stem cell research, which was the reason California voted it into law in the first place.

SB 1565 began with noble intentions, to provide low-cost medications or therapies to the uninsured, when those products become available. However, this is already guaranteed.

IF SB 1565 becomes law, three things will happen:

1. California’s legally-established priority for embryonic stem cell research will be removed. Senator George Runner was described by the Los Angeles City Beat as a “virulently anti-embryonic stem cell research Republican”, and this is his amendment. Normally, Republicans are against price controls and other infringements on the free market; however, Mr. Runner is ideologically opposed to stem cell research in general, and the California program in particular. This provision alone should disqualify the bill, making it un-constitutional. The California Constitution specifically states that changes to the program will only be allowed if it “furthers the purpose” of the stem cell program– removing the chief thrust of the entire program can hardly be called furthering its purpose!

2. The governance structure of the program will be attacked. The 29-member board, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) is a group of leaders from patient advocate, medical, educational, and biomedical communities. These are outstanding men and women: Nobel prize laureates, Deans of Colleges, heads of biomedical organizations, and champions from the patients rights field. SB 1565 intends to restructure and revise this dedicated group, potentially replacing it with untrained bureaucrats, even opponents of the program.

3. The CIRM’s ability to negotiate a better deal for patients would be denied. Right now, our glorious program has the flexibility to deal directly with corporations, offering them financial incentives to take risks on behalf of patients in need. For example, heart disease affects many millions of Americans; therefore, because the market is huge, the drug industry is eager to get involved. But there are diseases and conditions like spinal muscle atrophy (which kills children in slow agony, usually before the age of two) which do not affect large numbers– therefore the market is small, and corporations have no financial reason to risk the huge sums (often as much as one billion dollars) to develop drugs treating that condition. Right now, the CIRM could say to a corporation, “We’ll let you charge a little more for the heart disease drug, on condition that you spend X amount of money developing a treatment for spinal muscle atrophy.”  This negotiating power would be stripped away from the CIRM– by Senate Bill 1565.

Senate Bill 1565 serves no useful purpose, threatens the successful governance structure of California’s program, and would interfere with its ability to serve suffering people here and across America.

Please veto SB 1565.

Thank you.

Your Name

BTW, please go to www.stemcellbattles.com, and click on the RSS field, so you will get further instalments of this column sent to you directly in your email.

send comments or questions to: stemcellbattles@aol.com.

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