Friday, November 03, 2006

Alex P. Keaton - Stem Cell Supporter

Alex P. KeatonA few weeks ago, in Big Effects Of Little Stem Cells, I highlighted the heated Senate race in Missouri between Democrat Claire McCaskill (pro-stem cell research) and incumbant Republican Jim Talent (anti-stem cell research). Earlier, in Ev'rythin's Up To Date In Kansas City, I shared the results of a highly informal, completely unscientific poll of signs indicating support or opposition to proposed Amendment 2 to the Missouri state constitution: 25 in support and 3 opposed. Amendment 2, which is being pushed not just by Democrats, but also by Republicans like Missouri's governor, Matt Blunt, would limit legal restrictions on stem cell research and particular forms of cloning needed to conduct such research.

Much has happened over the past few weeks. After Michael J. Fox appeared in a television commercial urging voters to elect Claire McCaskill because of her pro-stem cell stance, that sultan of subtlety, Rush Limbaugh, mocked Fox for allegedly exaggerating the symptoms of his Parkinson's Disease. Limbaugh subsequently apologized, but his criticism appears to have strengthened support for stem cell research across the country. In Missouri, Claire McCaskill pulled even with Jim Talent in a number of post-Fox/Limbaugh polls. In what may be an indication that Talent's campaign - and the campaign against Amendment 2 - is flagging, both President Bush and Rudolph Giuliani have flown to Missouri hoping to conduct some last-minute damage control. Awkwardly for Talent, Giuliani did mention his own support for early stem cell research.

Unwilling to settle for rigorous and scientific polls alone, I conducted my own second, highly unscientific poll on the stem cell issue today (November 3, 2006) by again counting Kansas City lawn-signs favoring or opposing Amendment 2. The current tally: 42 signs in favor and 12 signs opposed.

Things look favorable for passage of Amendment 2. But then, when even Alex P. Keaton speaks out in favor of stem cell research, it's safe to conclude that the winds of change are blowing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Rush. We knew there was a problem.



11/03/2006 10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rush is profoundly deaf from narcotic toxicity, and uses a cochlear implant. Embroyonic stem cells can regrow cochlear hair cells. Not that he'd ever put little babies in his ears, but we'll never really know, will we?

11/04/2006 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the problem here is that people tend to just say "stem cell research" like it's all the same thing, as you called one candidate "pro stem cell research" and one "anti stem cell research."
No reasonable person, including Jim Talent, is opposed to ADULT stem cell research, which includes such promising potential as embilical cord blood. Embryonic stem cell research poses definite moral and ethical concerns. That's the problem.
And - anonymous - where did you hear that embryonic stem cells can regrow cochlear hair cells? ESCs have not been found to do ANYthing yet, except grow tumors. The real potential lies with ASCs, but unfortunately, ASC involves therapies that cannot be patented by the scientific/medical community for profit, so they are not as gung-ho to work with them.

11/04/2006 5:48 PM  

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