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It's stem cell day here at Pun Salad, looking at reactions to Obama's recent executive order enabling federal funding of baby-killing embryo-destroying research in that area.

  • Very much worth reading on that front is Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post, who is pretty darn happy he avoided the order's signing ceremony at the White House.

    Obama's address was morally unserious in the extreme. It was populated, as his didactic discourses always are, with a forest of straw men. Such as his admonition that we must resist the "false choice between sound science and moral values." Yet, exactly 2 minutes and 12 seconds later he went on to declare that he would never open the door to the "use of cloning for human reproduction."

    Does he not think that a cloned human would be of extraordinary scientific interest? And yet he banned it.

    Much more at the link. If you can only read one thing today, it should probably be Mr. Krauthammer. Even if you're not that interested in this specific issue, his evaluation of Obama's approach has more general applicability:

    This is not just intellectual laziness. It is the moral arrogance of a man who continuously dismisses his critics as ideological while he is guided exclusively by pragmatism (in economics, social policy, foreign policy) and science in medical ethics.

    That could be … problematic.

  • And did Obama's speech work in another snarky reference to the "past eight years"? Why, yes it did, for what must be the 3473d time that phrase has been employed negatively in Administration documents since January 20.

  • Also unimpressed with the stem cell show was Steve Chapman at Reason. He also notes the Barackrobatic disconnect on cloning, and points out:

    What this mandate means is simple: It may be permissible for scientists to create cloned embryos and kill them. It's not permissible to create cloned embryos and let them live. Their cells may be used for our benefit, but not for their own.

    There lies the reality of embryonic stem cell research: It turns incipient human beings into commodities to be exploited for the sake of people who are safely past that defenseless stage of their lives.

    If you have a firm belief in your own moral self-righteousness, however, that won't be seen as much of a problem.

  • You might also want to check out William Saletan at Slate who notes just how slippery this particular slope is.

  • And Captain Ed has CNN video (with transcript) of Bill Clinton discussing the issue with not-gonna-be-Surgeon-General Sanjay Gupta; the Captain says it "may be the stupidest thing I've heard since Phil Donohue and Vladimir Posner tried arguing a few years back that human embryos become fish and dogs before becoming humans."

    [Comments Frank J: "But know who's dumb? Palin!"]

  • Closer to home, Drew Cline is disgusted at NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen's creepy exploitation of her granddaughter Elle (who has diabetes) to advocate the federal funding of embryo-destroying stem cell research.

    The Shaheens have stated that Elle's hope for a cure rests on federal taxpayer money being used to destroy human embryos. But that is completely untrue. And they certainly knew that.

    Click for details.

Last Modified 2012-10-08 1:01 PM EST

Google Ad Notes

A couple things about the Google ads over there on the right sidebar:

  1. Sometimes they will insult your intelligence. For example, when we were talking about Obama's stimulus package, they all seemed to be promising you free government "stimulus" grants, if you would just throw them a couple three bucks.

    This is an old problem. To some extent, it's common to all advertising. As you know, if you are a customer of any other commercial media at all.

    I haven't had any complaints, so it may be that I'm more embarrassed than my readers are insulted.

  2. Google is soon introducing "interest-based advertising" which may have some impact on your privacy. Here's what they suggest I should tell you about that:

I've placed a dire (and slightly tongue-in-cheek) warning above the ads to notify readers of these things. A click on the privacy part should lead back to this article.

The good news is that the second item may ameliorate the first: if you surf to smarter sites, you may see smarter ads.

No promises, of course. And you might find it off-putting that the site "knows" stuff about you. Berin Szoka at the Technology Liberation Front has a long article about Google's entry into "behavioral" advertising; it's suggested reading if you're interested in or concerned about Internet privacy policy.