Bloggers on the stem-cell research breakthrough.

Bloggers on the stem-cell research breakthrough.

Bloggers on the stem-cell research breakthrough.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
June 7 2007 6:26 PM

No Stemming the Debate

Bloggers reignite the stem-cell debate after scientists announced a breakthrough that could eliminate the need to destroy embryos. Everyone hates the Senate's much-debated immigration bill, but bloggers are divided on the motives of the individual senators who are sending it down in flames. They're also miffed that Paris Hilton was able to cry her way out of prison.

No stemming the debate: Three teams of scientists announced Wednesday they had successfully manipulated mice skin cells to become, essentially, embryonic stem cells. They suspect the process will work with human cells.

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Yuvall Levin at National Review's The Corner delivers the conservative perspective: "This adds a heavy dose of credibility to the notion that it could be possible to get everything scientists value about embryonic stem cells without the need to destroy or harm human embryos. In the long run (and it may not be all that long to judge by the pace of progress in the past two years), the big stem cell debate of the past few years may well be made obsolete by scientific advances that get around the ethical issues."

Doc at The Autopsy gives indirect credit for the advance to the pro-life crowd: "Some brave, ethical individuals stepped forward and said this was tantamount to research on living children and it was immoral. Skeptics scoffed, but enough of a stink was made that some scientists started to pursue alternative methods of stem cell generation. Now we have a better method of generating pluripotent stem cells from the actual host, not a silent third party."

But Michael D. Lemonick at Time's Eye on Science warns that opponents of embryonic stem-cell research will jump to conclusions: "IF this technique can be adapted to humans from mice (not yet known) and IF the potential dangers can be overcome (not yet known) and IF these cells are truly equivalent to embryonic stem cells (not yet known), THEN there might be something to the statement. As of now, it's absurdly premature—but all of that will disappear, I guarantee, in the hands of the opponents."

Hank at Scientific Blogging picks up on the theme, stressing that the research is tentative and involves several practices, particularly inbreeding, that are unacceptable for humans. "None of these options is free from scientific challenges or ethical and political problems but continuing to search for answers is the only solution and this shows that scientists are continuing to try and be respectful to the mores of society while advancing progress in medicine."

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Paranoid Android at The Reckoner marveled at the scientific versatility of stem cells, but noted their unfortunate ability to "conform to almost any political view, as well."

Read more about the new stem-cell developments.

Last efforts on an immigration compromise: The Senate immigration compromise is nearing collapse after some Republicans supported an amendment to sunset the guest-worker program, a move that proponets have called a "deal killer."

"With Harry Reid passing the buck on this one you know its dead," prophesies the conservative Bullwinkle Blog. * "If the bill stood a chance of passing he'd be giggling like a school girl and talking about how Democrats got their bill passed." They don't mind the impending collapse: "Our whole system is not in need of an overhaul. Legal immigration needs to be streamlined to allow those patiently waiting to get in legally and the process for deporting illegals needs to be streamlined, too."

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Kim Priestap at Wizbang also calls out Sen. Reid: "Reid's insistence that this is not a Democratic bill is laughable. Far more Democrats have fought for this bill than Republicans. Yes, President Bush has pushed for an immigration bill with a guest worker program for years, but he's done so with many Republicans fighting him all the way. On the other hand, the Democrats themselves have been chomping at the bit to legalize the millions of illegals in this country."

Liberal D-Day says rues the parties' inability to compromise, but blames conservatives legacy-building ambitions more. "At this point, it's questionable whether this gets to a conference committee at all, where it could get better," he writes. "The pressure is on the President to have a legacy, so I think that the Democrats could easily make the bill more progressive in conference and not risk a veto."

Conservative Hugh Hewitt lays the blame on both parties: "The Beltway's elites badly bungled the bill. It is hardly the first time or the last that the Congress misjudged completely the mood of the public. The real error is in refusing to listen after the people have taken the time to announce their disapproval. That makes a mistake into a colossal blunder, the sort of miscalculation that can result in a party-splitting hemorrhage."

Read more on the immigration bill.

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Free Paris: To the annoyance of the masses, Paris Hilton is free—kind of—after only five days in jail, having exchanged her jumpsuit for an ankle monitor.

On his blog Middle Age Meanderings, fortysomething Californian Pete writes: "Frankly, I'm glad that she did some real time even if she was in segregation and it was only five days. … Had such a thing happened to any of us lesser mortals, we would have been told to deal with it, or if we were lucky, been shipped off to the jail ward at County USC Medical Center. Actually, from what I understand, neither is that a nice place to be. … Just cut her loose and save us taxpayers the money."

Defamer reports that a Mrs. Beasley's Gourmet Cupcakes van was seen delivering cupcakes to the Hilton home after Paris' return: "Mrs. Beasley's comforting presence eases our anxieties about the conditions of Hilton's home-imprisonment. Thankfully, the terms of her house arrest seem flexible enough to allow the psychologically fragile inmate the kinds of comforts so cruelly withheld from her during her 'five' day stint in Lynwood, a compassionate policy that will perhaps forestall a psychotic episode in which Hilton skins alive, and then devours, her beloved kinkajou as she struggles with her loss of freedom."

Read more about Paris Hilton's escape tactics.

Correction, June 8: The article orginally stated that James Rowley and Nicholas Johnston were the bloggers at The Bullwinkle Blog. They are actually the authors of an article that the blog was citing. (Return to the corrected sentence.)