“was placed on paid administrative leave on the second day of school for hanging several flags from other countries [China and Mexico] in his classroom.” The teacher said he hung the flags “as reference tools for world geography,” but under Colorado law it is illegal to permanently display foreign flags in public schools.
“While some criticism is warranted, the current controversy over manipulated or staged pictures from Lebanon has been fueled by speculative, unfounded, or politically-driven charges that have tainted all of the brave photographers who cover conflict in the Middle East.”
White House Falsely Claims New Stem Cell Study ‘Has Not Been Reviewed By Scientists and Bio-Ethicists Yet’
Today, a new study was published that shows embryonic stem cells lines can be created without the destruction of human embryos. Previously, the White House has said they oppose the creation of new stem cell lines because it involved the destruction of embryos.
In today’s New York Times, White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said “Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns.” This afternoon, the White House changed their story. Here’s Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino:
QUESTION: Any decision to perhaps revisit the President’s position on federal funding for stem cell research, in light of this new development that was published yesterday in the journal Nature?
PERINO: …This study today reported in Nature Magazine has not been reviewed by scientists and bio-ethicists yet, but it is one that the President believes deserves a good look. He is encouraged that there are scientists who are continuing to look for innovative ways to do stem cell research that would not involve the destruction of embryos. And so he is going to listen to folks after they have a chance to review the study, but it does hold some promise that they would be able to do that type of research without destruction of a human embryo.
This is false. ThinkProgress spoke with bioethicist Ronald Green, who is an ethics advisor to Robert Lanza, an author of the study. Green said that in order to be published in Nature, the paper went through a rigourous peer review process, which lasted nearly three months.
The study was also reviewed by bioethicts. It was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Advisory Board of Advanced Cell Technology. Also an independent review board was constituted to scrutinize the study, as required by Massachusetts law.
Donations raised for Katrina relief by U.S. school children — “more than [the amount] almost every major U.S. corporation gave.” (Only Wal-Mart, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, Exxon, Freddie Mac, and BP Amoco gave more.)
in Louisiana were ordered to move “to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children.” The NAACP is considering filing charges.
Iran and India are making nearly identical arguments to justify pushing ahead with their respective nuclear programs.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists that nuclear power is Iran’s right and “no one will stop us” developing the country. “¦ “They are trying to deny our right to develop nuclear power. But no one can impose anything on the Iranian people.” “¦ “Our main task is to develop and build the Iranian nation. No one will stop us.” Iran has insisted it is enriching uranium to generate electricity from nuclear power.
India’s prime minister said Wednesday the country would retain its right to carry out future nuclear tests despite a civilian nuclear deal with the United States, a news report said. “There is no scope for capping of our strategic (nuclear) program. It will be decided by the people, government and Parliament of the country and not by any outside power,” Press Trust of India quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying in a statement in Parliament.
While Iran’s refusal to guarantee that it will not proceed with a nuclear weapons program has elicited calls from Bush for tough sanctions against that country, India’s refusal to make a similar guarantee has not elicited a response from the administration.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel, is undoubtedly a greater immediate security threat to the world than the Indian government. But the U.S.’s contradictory message undermines the argument against the Iranian threat. Read more
News stories today report that biologists have “developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells from an early human embryo without destroying it.”
The Bush administration has repeatedly stated that it opposes expanded embryonic stem cell research because it would involve destroying human embryos. On July 18, when asked why President Bush opposed a stem cell bill, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow replied, “The simple answer is he thinks murder is wrong.” The next day, Bush vetoed HR 810:
Some people argue that finding new cures for disease requires the destruction of human embryos like the ones that these families adopted. I disagree. I believe that with the right techniques and the right policies, we can achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical responsibilities.
Even though today’s news shows that embryonic stem cell research can be done without destroying human embryos, the administration still opposes it:
But Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, suggested that the new procedure would not satisfy the objections of Mr. Bush. … Though Ms. Lawrimore called it encouraging that scientists were moving away from destroying embryos, she said: “Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns.”
This new excuse is hopelessly vague. Lawrimore provided no elaboration on what those “ethical questions” and “concerns” exactly were. As Dr. Robert Lanza, who led the breakthrough project, stated, “There is no rational reason left to oppose this research.”
Last week, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional. Subsquently, Taylor was attacked by the conservative group Judicial Watch which claimed that she had a “conflict of interest” because she “serves as a Secretary and Trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”
– Over the last two years the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan has donated about $50 million to charitable causes. Its $45,000 in grants to the ACLU represents just .09% of their total giving.
– The money to the ACLU had nothing to do with their activities relating to this litigation or government surveillance. The grant funded “a gay rights project.”
– Judge Taylor is one of 50 community members on the foundation’s board. It wasn’t a personal decision by Judge Taylor.
None of this information was disclosed by Judicial Watch. Once you know the facts, there is not a “reasonable question about [her] impartiality” based on the foundation’s activities. That hasn’t stopped the media (or the blogosphere) from breathlessly reporting the “story.”
A House Intelligence Committee report warned that the U.S. is facing “significant gaps” in its intelligence on Iran that could be as serious as the shortcomings in its prewar knowledge about Iraq, leaving Washington ill-prepared to assess Tehran’s military capabilities. “American intelligence agencies do not know nearly enough about Iran’s nuclear weapons program” to help policymakers at a critical time, the report said.
“Three disgruntled state affiliates have severed ties with the Christian Coalition of America,” leaving it with just “a half-dozen strong state chapters and a weak presence in Washington.” The organization was formed in 1989 by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and was formerly run by Ralph Reed.
$50 million: the cost accrued by a recent Medicare error. “About 230,000 Medicare recipients were mistakenly sent refunds last week averaging about $215 for monthly premiums they paid this year for drug coverage.”
In Concord, NH, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its 18th in a series of 21 immigration field hearings today, attempting to convince the public of an enforcement-only approach. “It’s a taxpayer-funded road show,” said Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) of the hearings. So far, the road show appears to have been successful. The Washington Times reports Bush has failed to win his base’s support for his plan. Read more