Wednesday, July 27, 2011

STEM CELLS - July 28, 2011

I was recently in contact with a friend about a notion I had had about creating a bank of stem cells harvested from human placentas, a source which had almost invariably been discarded. It seemed to me that the potential supply was endless there and only a brutal indifference to the possible benefits could stand against such a blood bank. It could be sustainably renewed as soon as any degeneration in old stem cells from that showed a sign of decay. What I got in reply from my medical friend was a long list of links to the work of the past decades since the pioneering work of Prof. Thomson and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. It turned out that there has been a flood of results, culminating in some investigations in Australia involving two placentas donated by women who had had well-planned Caesarian deliveries, yielding a total of about 4.5 m cells of extremely high quality and great promise. I was astounded to learn that I had heard nothing of the work, despite my lay interest in scientific advance. However, if the ordinary considerations applied, this should put paid to the controversy and we should all celebrate together, regardless of our religious orientations. Still, I cannot imagine that there could be any objection to applying this nascent technology, at least in the cases of people with no other sources of hope. Yet it would seem that there must be objection somewhere to going further at full speed, at least in the case of special urgency. I hope that someone would fill me in to the information of any objection and why it carries weight in our supposedly advanced society. It is so rare these days that the advance of knowledge seems not to have any down side, even for those who appear congenitally to oppose the advances of knowledge that is not grounded in ancient texts. When

Thursday, July 14, 2011

HOPE - July 14, 2011

This month will go into USA history as the time when Pres. Obama finally drained the Dem Party of hope, leaving the Enlightenment to be extinguished by the ignorant depredations of the ideological know-nothings that put the welfare of GOP functionaries ahead of the desperate needs of the nation. In the dismantling and castrating of the Labour Party in UK, we see the future of our country as far ahead as the horizon. We do not need the stirrings of hope we saw in the 08 elections as a foil for the strangulation of the Enlightenment, such as that of Government in UK under Blair and Brown. The presence of Obama apparently softening the sharp edge of labor servitude is not an adequate payment for the circumstances that will deprive civilized life of the advantages that were piled up in the XX Century making life more tolerable, and even somewhat pleasant, for the working people and laying the grounds for advancement and participation in the economic life of US. We will actually not replace Obama at the head of the ticket in 2012 and that will doom us to total non-participation in the decisions of our lives until 2017, by which time the Dem Party will join New Labour on the ash heap of History. The loss of the lesson of the New Deal has been lost by the working people who have benefitted from the example of FDR and have escaped the wreck visited upon this nation by the greed and predation of the Golden Era, culminating in the Great Depression. In the belief that the method of Obama was the best we could hope for, we have followed a false Messiah not to the Peaceful Kingdom but back into the chains of the Old Regime. Whether Obama wins or loses next year, the future for the working people of US is very dark, and there does not appear that any new home for the Enlightenment offering itself in the very dark days that seem to lower on the horizon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

LAST WEEK - July 7, 2011

To misquote Lincoln Steffens from his autobiography, “I have seen the future and it stinks”. UK is so dysfunctional it almost makes Wisconsin look intelligent. The Tory government is so eager to unravel the advances made in the lives of average people in the XX Century that one fears that the human race is in the process of abandoning the advances of that century and returning to the abuses of the Golden Age, or even back to the time when the Free Market represented an advance on the pattern of old Liberal economics that were an advance 250 years ago on the Administered prices of imperial Europe. Meanwhile, all the nations of the planet are shrinking their budgets, neglecting the teachings of Keynes and their proof in the New Deal of Roosevelt. Even Pres. Obama seems to be reliving the policies of Herbert Hoover as the robust economy that USA had in the 1960s and 70s grinds to a slow crawl. UK seems like WI on sleeping pills, waiting for the super-rich to decide to invest in industry, just as they didn’t in the 1930s. And the supposed experts tell us that the route to prosperity is to deny ourselves the results of fostering the middle class through having them work, producing so many things that we all seem to want while cashing in on the good life that would follow if all of the working people had jobs, good jobs that could support the nation to the degree that we knew it in the years of the late century just past. Instead, the Tories and their owners are pulling the carpet out from under the working people and our children, creating a Lost Generation of those who are being denied access to the universities, and denying health care to those who do not have the money to buy it at its current prices, even in some cases stretching to the point of denying life-saving treatment. For most of the population the choice is to fight this reversal of prosperity or succumb to the threat of a Dark Age crawling over the horizon.