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It's about the egg, stupid.
July 20, 2006 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Senator Brownback is a... vagina? Another esteemed politician's take on something he may not be fully informed on. Full video and transcript if you'd like to skip the YouTube Jon Stewart commentary.
posted by ninjew (50 comments total)

 
I think what's sad is that they stand in the way of much less suffering from the diseases Alzheimer and Parkinson as well as some of the many more magical stuff stem cells might be able to do.

I kept thinking of chickens rather than eagles....Does Brownback not care as much when the chicken is living and its killed so he can put in his tummy? Who knows, I'm sure he'd eat an eagle too.

He's probably pro-death penalty too. Kinsley points out some hypocrisy from a while ago here and more recently here

This country really needs a parliamentary system of government. Only in this each state is equal world in the Senate can such radical coservatism be the legitimate thought and be so out of tune with reason and public opinion.
posted by skepticallypleased at 5:47 PM on July 20, 2006


As long as they keep letting me throw away my sperm...
posted by furtive at 5:49 PM on July 20, 2006


What did you expect except (hehe, look at that) misdirection, misinformation and lies?

Almost 60% of the country supports stem cell research, hell our asshat governor just pledged $150 million to help fund research. It is all political manuevering.
posted by fenriq at 5:50 PM on July 20, 2006


it's funny, but not as much as the "Terry Schiavo is Alive" thing. you just can't beat that
posted by matteo at 6:04 PM on July 20, 2006


The stem cells are clogging the Fallopian tubes.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:23 PM on July 20, 2006


I kept thinking of chickens rather than eagles....Does Brownback not care as much when the chicken is living and its killed so he can put in his tummy? Who knows, I'm sure he'd eat an eagle too.

Senator Brownback doesn't care about the chickens.

I was thinking exactly the same thing, too.
posted by ninjew at 6:32 PM on July 20, 2006


That was haunting. Ok, I support research as much as most of us here on the blue, but I will say that the stupid drawing the girl did (assuming she's real, and it wasn't just done as a prop) actually made me think twice briefly.

You know the theory that says you're liberal until a certain age? What age is it?
posted by hoborg at 6:35 PM on July 20, 2006


You know the theory that says you're liberal until a certain age? What age is it?

3 ½
posted by oncogenesis at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2006


Damn you, mefi preview!!!
posted by oncogenesis at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2006


P.S. Brownback is an assclown. Or an asshat. Take yer pick.
posted by oncogenesis at 6:56 PM on July 20, 2006


(OT) The daily show segment on net neutrality was brilliant last night. Watch here.
posted by jba at 6:57 PM on July 20, 2006


Hell, is there anyone in your Senate not an asshat?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:06 PM on July 20, 2006


Hell, is there anyone in your Senate not an asshat?
posted by five fresh fish


Of course not. Who would vote for them?
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:58 PM on July 20, 2006


Some of our legislators don't even understand the difference between embryonic stem cell research and somatic cell nuclear transfer. It's just sad.
posted by homunculus at 8:01 PM on July 20, 2006


Oops.
posted by homunculus at 8:05 PM on July 20, 2006


Oops?!
posted by homunculus at 8:05 PM on July 20, 2006


Come on. The Daily Show on YouTube? No digg.
posted by crunchland at 8:09 PM on July 20, 2006


hell our asshat governor just pledged $150 million to help fund research.

And that's exactly where he's going: HELL.
posted by homunculus at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2006


Come on. The Daily Show on YouTube? No digg.
posted by crunchland at 10:09 PM CST on July 20


Sure. If this was just a one-link YouTube post. This was posted to belabor the point that the current administration seems to be comprised of an endless stream of SNL skits.

Wait, am I riffing on Kevin Smith now?
posted by ninjew at 8:35 PM on July 20, 2006


Almost 60% of the country supports stem cell research, hell our asshat governor just pledged $150 million to help fund research.

Do they support paying taxes to fund stem cell research?
posted by Kwantsar at 8:41 PM on July 20, 2006


This country really needs a parliamentary system of government. Only in this each state is equal world in the Senate can such radical coservatism be the legitimate thought and be so out of tune with reason and public opinion.

It's to keep the states from revolting. Not much you can do to keep 'em from being revolting, am I rite LOL?
posted by delmoi at 9:23 PM on July 20, 2006


Do they support paying taxes to fund stem cell research?

They sure do out here in California. People here get the idea of new technology = wealth pretty well. Especially when it's illegal in a lot of other places (like Germany) and we're all increasingly competing for the same R&D dollars.
posted by fshgrl at 9:35 PM on July 20, 2006


Oh, the death of humans! Lets ignore the ones on death row, the way the poor are treated, or in lands outside the US of A.


How about the rhythm method
posted by rough ashlar at 9:41 PM on July 20, 2006


Stemcell research will just end up being done in countries where nutjobs don't hold the government by the short & curlies. Countries like China, India or Iran, for example. Then y'all can just purchase your treatments off those countries, as long as y'all are not bankrupt, and your nutjob-controlled government doesn't criminalise overseas stemcell-based therapies.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:25 PM on July 20, 2006


That was haunting. Ok, I support research as much as most of us here on the blue, but I will say that the stupid drawing the girl did (assuming she's real, and it wasn't just done as a prop) actually made me think twice briefly.

I'm with hoborg. And wisecracks aside, I think everybody knows the point Brownback was reaching for with the egg and the eagle. I also think everyone understands that saying the egg is the eagle is an overstatement, and the life of a embryo is a different thing from a newborn or an adult. That doesn't mean it doesn't deserve some ethical consideration or respect. The AFA may be whacko, but I have a good deal of sympathy for those who see that we could come chillingly close to cannibalism down some twists of this path if we're not careful.

Nor is this point of view particularly strange to liberal philosophy. There's all kinds of obvious harms to things valued by left-ish thinkers -- say, human communities or the environment -- done at the hands of reductionist economics. It's possible in other spheres. You may distrust religious ethics, something I think is particularly understandable when looking at the particular politics of some sects, but that doesn't eliminate the need for ethical considerations when it comes to thinking about how we handle a viable potential human life.
posted by weston at 11:56 PM on July 20, 2006


but that doesn't eliminate the need for ethical considerations when it comes to thinking about how we handle a viable potential human life.but that doesn't eliminate the need for ethical considerations when it comes to thinking about how we handle a viable potential human life

Buddy, give it up. Ethical considerations for human life might be something like:

"huh, there are more children living below the poverty line now than there were 5 years ago, we might want to do something about that"

or,

"huh, civilian casualties in Iraq are getting up to about 3000 a month, we might want to talk honestly about how to deal with that."

but definitely not

"interesting, the same kind of cell that might possibly be used in fertilizing low-fertility couples who generally use techniques that kill hundreds of those same cells can be used in trying to cure diseases that kill millions. Better block that to pacify the religious right."

That's not ethical, that's frankly monsterous.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:56 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh, and by the way, I think the fact that the best arguments that Brownback could come up with were from a six year old, says a lot.

Maybe she can tell us what to do with the bad people in Lebanon next.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:57 AM on July 21, 2006


weston & hoborg - some do gooder could just as easily scrape the fresh cum off your shorts and make a baby out of it (given an egg) and have same said baby draw up a chart depicting the sad little spunk spittles you heartlessly allow to dry and crust.

Oh the humanity of lives that could have been! Please get a hold of the emotions this guy managed to stroke into a hard on.

admit it, you didn't give two shits about the thousands of embryos tossed each year as childless couples sought to conceive. Now that those embryos might cure Parkinson instead of thawing in a medical waste bin - its an ethical crisis?

are you retarded or is there a side to this im not seeing?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:07 AM on July 21, 2006


when the level of discourse rises to the point of people calling other people retarded, that's when metafilter gets really good.
posted by crunchland at 5:31 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


weston & hoborg

The original meaning of "ad hominem" (which translated means "to the man") was an argument that appealed to emotion, that valued demogogery over logic. That's what this argument about embryos is— an appeal to emotion. This is, in fact, one of the arguments that is continually cited against democracy, that the masses have passions easily inflamed and that they will be led against their best interests by manipulative politicians.
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 AM on July 21, 2006


Won't someone think of the zygotes and blastocysts?

Let's hear it for the snowflake babies!

Dear Leader is never wrong 'cause he's God's man!

Get with the program people, sheesh! :-)
posted by nofundy at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2006


Is a chicken egg a chicken? Because if so, I have scrambled chickens for breakfast all the time.

(God please let there be a distinctly horrible place in hell for mendacious opportunistic scumbags like Brownback and Santorum.)


Oh...and this just in...menstruation and masterbation have been outlawed. So get that hand out of your pocket.
posted by Skygazer at 7:57 AM on July 21, 2006


some do gooder could just as easily scrape the fresh cum off your shorts and make a baby out of it (given an egg) and have same said baby draw up a chart depicting the sad little spunk spittles you heartlessly allow to dry and crust.


See, this is one of the things that makes me think people aren't thinking about this clearly -- not even the reasonable godless rationalists. It sometimes appears the argument is "well, look, you can take this to a ridiculous extreme where people start arguing any ol' gamete has the same potential claim on life as an Iraqi child!" Of course it's true that particular equivalence is, to put it mildly, a severe strain of credible reason, but it's also obvious that a blastocyst is somewhat closer to a real human life, and an embryo a little closer, a fetus a bit closer, and so on through the pre-birth development stage until you get to 28-30 weeks or so and the equivalence is largely true. And I'd think the commonsense version of things would say that while any of those earlier stages obviously aren't exactly the same as a human child, each one is closer and deserves more ethical consideration.

What considerations? How much? I think that's worth talking about -- much more than reducing ethical concerns to "LOL fundies think every sperm is sacred."


Buddy, give it up. Ethical considerations for human life might be something like: "huh, there are more children living below the poverty line now than there were 5 years ago, we might want to do something about that" or, "huh, civilian casualties in Iraq are getting up to about 3000 a month, we might want to talk honestly about how to deal with that."

If you're assuming that because I share something in common with people who are concerned about the ethics of embry-derived stem-cell research that I'm also on board with Bush's foreign policy (or, generally, his domestic policies), you couldn't be more wrong. I also think the war in Iraq is strategically and ethically questionable, and that the current administration is one of the worst ever, would be happy to them indicted on criminal charges, etc, etc.


"interesting, the same kind of cell that might possibly be used in fertilizing low-fertility couples who generally use techniques that kill hundreds of those same cells can be used in trying to cure diseases that kill millions. Better block that to pacify the religious right."

Block? I thought we were talking about public funding, not an outright ban on research. Is it really the same thing? That's an honest question. For all I know it might be. And for all I know public funding might even be better than private funding, since there's an awful lot of amoral behavior when you start getting people involved who believe a business has no other ethical responsibilities than return to shareholders.

And is this really the only promising path of stem cell and other research? Aren't there others which don't even tread on the problem of taking something that is, yes, realistically and objectively closer to viable human life than your average gamete is?

As for the thousands or millions of potential beneficiaries -- that's actually part of the ethical calculus. It's precisely because the demand could be so compelling that I find the situation chilling. It makes it easier to start thinking that ends justify means.

...to pacify the religious right.

Unfortunately, I share your cynicism that like a lot of moves that align with the religious right, this may well be more of a political move than a purely ethical consideration. Maybe not, though -- Bush might actually have to believe in something to give up his "I can just ignore congress" doctrine and actually use the veto.
posted by weston at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2006


Where is the Senate Bill to adopt these poor young artists before they get forgotten about and left in a nasty medical freezer? Surely our NEA dollars should be spent on a Delta Force team that can recover these children-to-be and bring them to Senator Brownback's home with all the other children he has adopted.
posted by yerfatma at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Red meat for the fundies.
Nothing more.
posted by nofundy at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Walk through a third world country orphanage, heck, take a tour of our own under funded foster care care system - and then talk to me about adopting embryos. There are hundreds of thousands of kids on this planet that need parents. Hell, that need food. Fucking embryos? Saving fucking embryos?? Give me a break.

"Remember, we all looked like that once..." (starts pounding head on desk). God help me, I just don't think I can make it though two more years.
posted by trii at 9:30 AM on July 21, 2006


I've heard an argument that keeping federal funding out of stem cell research is actually _good_ for the industry, in terms of freedom, because the private funding they're turning to now generally comes with fewer strings attached. Researchers aren't bound by those pesky government regulations.

I don't know whether that argument holds any water, but as for the morality of keeping out the government funding, it doesn't really matter. Either keeping government funds out is making the industry less ethical, or it's making the industry (which has great promise for helping the human condition) less viable.

In either case, I find it hard to shed a tear for the poor little embryos.
posted by gurple at 9:34 AM on July 21, 2006


Gurple, there isn't much private money going into stem cell research right now because it's all basic science, which isn't profitable. The groundwork that needs to be done won't be profitable, or at the very least, would represent a huge risk and a massive investment, even for a large company. Once the basic science has been thouroughly laid out, the private sector will start getting interested because there will be a shorter and cheaper deveopment pipeline and less risk. Where private money shines is taking basic science and turning it into viable treatments.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:03 AM on July 21, 2006


Don't forget, this guy is running for president. It's going to be fun watching the Republican party destroy itself when lunatics like Brownback and Santorum lecture McCain and Giuliani and Allen about what godless, homo-loving, baby killers they are.
posted by bardic at 11:30 AM on July 21, 2006


(And what do these cro-magnons do when their wives or daughters menstruate? Hold a prayer vigil?)
posted by bardic at 11:31 AM on July 21, 2006


Five fresh fish:
Hell, is there anyone in your Senate not an asshat?

Fish, we have both asshats and buttocksombreros. It's a two party system.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:52 AM on July 21, 2006


Quit that fapping you bunch of hell bound sinners!
We'll stone you to death (with high quality weed.)
posted by nofundy at 12:39 PM on July 21, 2006


fshgrl, if Californians support paying taxes for things like research, then what about Prop 13, which was passed to keep from paying increasing property taxes on their precious overvalued houses? With all the proposition-mandated spending, something like 80% of the California budget can never be cut, property taxes can't be raised, and since 2/3 of the legislature is required to raise other taxes, it's why the state is in such a financial mess. The stem cell initiative mandated BORROWING $3 billion, not raising taxes. Liberals out here aren't tax-and-spend, they're don't-tax-but-still-spend.

Also, way off topic and I apologize in advance for resurrecting the whole Terry Schiavo thing, but apparently people CAN recover from a persistent vegetative state. I should mention that Terry Schiavo's PVS was technically different from that of the subject of this article, but still, it's pretty amazing how plastic the brain is. (Apparently, you can have an entire hemisphere of your brain removed and still function normally.)
posted by ObeyScient at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2006


I've seen plenty of people get along just fine with no brain at all.
posted by crunchland at 1:39 PM on July 21, 2006


Once the basic science has been thoroughly laid out, the private sector will start getting interested because there will be a shorter and cheaper development pipeline and less risk.

This reminds me of something. I can't really put my finger on it, but it was developed with public money through DARPA and has become hugely successful, bettered the life of millions across the planet, created billions in income and even defined an era. Dammit what could it be? Can anyone help me out with this, cos I'm stumped.
posted by Skygazer at 7:57 PM on July 21, 2006


It's going to be fun watching the Republican party destroy itself when lunatics like Brownback and Santorum lecture

From your lips to their God's ears. But I doubt it.
posted by yerfatma at 8:02 PM on July 21, 2006


"The AFA may be whacko, but I have a good deal of sympathy for those who see that we could come chillingly close to cannibalism down some twists of this path if we're not careful."

Yeah, we already eat cow meat. I mean, how long until people start looking like frankfurters like in the cartoons when it's the two guys on the desert island?
...I'd argue against your point, but it's really not worth addressing beyond the cheap joke.

And I'd be a hell of a lot less surly if people weren't inferring that my wife and I are murderers because we got IVF.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:45 PM on July 21, 2006


we could come chillingly close to cannibalism down some twists of this path if we're not careful.

If dumpster diving for embryos for my fresh baby smoothies is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by homunculus at 8:57 PM on July 21, 2006


@jba: I was pleased, though unsurprised, to find out that TDS was posting *it's own* clips finally...

right up until a) it wanted a player I don't have and can't be arsed to find out which one it is, and b) they resized my (6-tabs-open) browser down out of full screen, and didn't even resize it *correctly* since (at 1400x1050 x 15") I'm ctrl-+'d up a couple stops.

Typical.
posted by baylink at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2006


It is not difficult to understand where the naysayers are coming from. Their worldview is not a complex one and I'm quite sure we can all understand it.

First, they believe in the absolute sanctity of human life. Kinda like I do: I believe one of the most terrible things a person can do is kill another human being.

Second, they believe that at conception a new human life is created. They'll yack about souls and stuff, but they don't need to: genetically, it's a new, unique human life, albeit one of extremely limited capability.

Third, and this is where our common views diverge, they believe that it's worth worrying about embryos.

Most of us here look at the global problems and see that our leaders are willfully engaging in the wholesale slaughter of walking, talking, thinking people; see our corporations don't really give a rat's ass about the quality of life of the third-world slaves; see our communities are just fine with letting our poor suffer.

We see these innumerable big problems that affect fully-formed humans and figure that maybe we should really get around to addressing those issues. Figure that the right time to deal with the ethical issues of stem cell research should be after we deal with the ethical issues we've been ignoring for generations.

The opposition don't see things this way. They see an opportunity, however small, to make a change for what they see as "for the better." They are trying to save human lives.

If you clear your mind and reduce the issue to the most simple possible terms, definitions, understanding, you pretty much see how they have decided embryonic research is wrong.

Of course you have to build your morals in separate silos: that way you can support the death penalty at the same time you ban abortion. No intercommunication of thought and ideals and morals between the two issues.

Yup. Brownback and his ilk are easy enough to understand.

Why the hell one would want such a character as a representative is something I do not find easy to understand.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on July 23, 2006


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