Tuesday, July 18, 2006



Perhaps Chuck Schumer was drunk when he said it, but despite his kooky rant that once again demonstrates his lack of qualification to head the DSCC, passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act today will both help the Democrats take back the Congress AND give realistic hope to millions of people suffering from life-threatening and crippling diseases (as well as to their loved ones).

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate today-- it had already passed the House-- with a hefty bipartisan majority. George Bush, who has not vetoed a single horrific bill that came out of the Big Business rubber stamp Congress in his nearly 6 miserable years in office, has announced he will veto this one. The Washington Post predicts the Bush veto the bill, which passed 63-37, tomorrow.

"The Senate bill fell four votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The House, which passed the embryonic stem cell bill last year, appears well short of achieving that majority. The House override attempt, expected within hours of Bush's veto, will kill the issue as a legislative matter for the 109th Congress but not as a point of debate in congressional elections this November... 'This is the kind of issue that voters use to distinguish members who are beholden to the far right. Every family in America is touched by someone who could benefit' from embryonic stem cell research,'" said Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Bill Frist, Orrin Hatch and Arlen Specter were among the GOP solons who spoke up for the bill. Specter said "it is a clear-cut question to use embryos to save lives, because otherwise they will be destroyed. A century from now people will look back in amazement that we could even have this debate when the issues are so clearly cut." It might take more than a century for his Pennsylvania colleague, walking deadman Rick Santorum (R-Opus Dei) to agree. Santorum and Kansas' primitivist Sam Brownback, another shadowy Opus Dei collaborator, have led the battle to prevent passage. Completely distorting the issue, Santorum whined that "since that little embryo doesn't have a pair of eyes and a color hair, doesn't have a name, it's very easy to dismiss this entity as insignificant, particularly when we see some utilization or some usefulness to us in its existence. So we just kind of claim that there is a cloud as to what this is, and that allows us then to destroy that life and use it for our purposes."

And speaking of primitivist Republicans, the current presidential mouthpiece, White House/Fox Press Secretary Tony Snow, started the far right propaganda machine that causes Schumer to tremble so, by responding to a question about Bush's threatened veto with this line: "The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong. The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."

Nonetheless, the American Diabetes Association has an Action Center where you can have them fax Bush a letter urging him to stand with the 70% of Americans who support stem cell research as well as link to sign the petition they will be delivering. There are currently 21 million Americans affected with diabetes and the veto of this bill will be a devastating set back for them and their families. I guess I might as well mention that stem cell research isn't just for diabetes but also for cancer, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. If you know someone whose life-- directly or indirectly-- is untouched by any of the above, you know a very unique individual.

People For the American Way is one of many national civic-minded organizations which has been urging Bush to not veto the bill. Listening what Ralph Neas had to say today makes me think they have gotten nowhere with Bush. "For this administration and its right-wing backers, politics trumps science, and ideology trumps reality. Doctors and scientists agree that embryonic stem cell research holds great promise, and it would be carried out within clear ethical guidelines under this legislation.  But that's not good enough for the extremists who have the President's ear."

Norman Lear, a co-founder of People For the American Way sounds just as pissed off. "This debate should remind Americans how wise our nation's founders were to separate government power and religious dogma. Unfortunately, a great public good may be sacrificed to please this administration's most ardent supporters on the Religious Right."

Henry Waxman (D-CA), ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform, tracks attacks on science in the Bush Regime. A few years ago he put out "Politics and Science in the Bush Administration," which reported Bush Regime manipulation of the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings. Waxman's most recent study, released yesterday, found that "87% of federally funded 'pregnancy resource centers,' commonly known as crisis pregnancy centers, provided false and misleading information about the physical and mental health effects of abortion and grossly exaggerated the medical risks of abortion. The report also found that virtually all of the funding is funneled through the federal abstinence-only-until-marriage program. Between 2001 and 2005, more than $30 million in federal dollars went to more than 50 crisis pregnancy centers."

The only so-called "Democrat" joining the far right of the GOP for this lunacy was, predictably, the worst Democrat in the U.S. Senate (at least in terms of voting patterns), Nebraska's Ben Nelson.

The Republican jihadis who voted "no" to stem cell research included such vulnerable Republican incumbents as

Mike DeWine of Ohio
John Kyle of Arizona
James Talent of Missouri
George Felix Allen of Virginia
Conrad Burns of Montana
Norm Coleman of Minnesota (for 2008)
John Ensign of Nevada
Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania

Defeat those 7 theocratic nitwits (that doesn't include Coleman) and the Senate won't be a rubber stamp in 2007. And then Coleman can be dealt with by his sane constituents in November of 2008.


The House did not override Bush's veto. Dozens of Republicans whose consistently horrible voting records have made them particular November targets for grassroots progressives, joined in for their Bush rubber stamp routine. Some of the worst include Katherine Harris (running from the law and for Florida Senator), Jim Nussle (running for Governor of Iowa), Bob Beauprez (sure he was going to lose his House seat so he decided to run for Colorado governor instead!), anti-Semite, xenophobe and all around imbecile, Arizona's very worst congressman, J.D. Hayworth, Mike Pence (the most extreme far right of the GOP House leadership), the fanged and terribly corrupt Blunt/Boehner twins, John Hostettler (who is preparing to give up his House seat to Sheriff Brad Ellsworth), Dirty Dick Pombo (see, you thought it was just the environment he wants to destroy! Nope, he wants to kill us all!), crooked John Doolittle, 3 San Diego-area nutcases: Duncan Hunter, John Campbell and Gary Miller, Big and Corrupt Denny Hastert, Adam Putnam (the Howdy Doody Doofus Nimrod from Florida), Ernest Istook (an extremist loon getting ready for a job on K Street after he loses a futile campaign for governor of Oklahoma), both right-wing kooks named King (the neo-Nazi in Iowa and the fake moderate on Long Island), Mean Jean Schmidt (the least blessed member of Congress), John Kline (the kook who Coleen Rowley is sending into retirement), Randy Kuhl (who doesn't really want to be in Congress and just keeps giving Eric Massa more and more ammunition), crazy Babsy Cubin (KKK-WY), Michael Sodrel (who must be secretly hoping Baron Hill gets his seat back), Lamar Smith (who feels John Courage breathing down his neck and wants to shore us his base among the lunatic fringe), Thelma Drake (who just embarrassed herself and all of southeast Virginia in a debate with Phil Kellam and wants to reassure the religionists that she's as crazy as they are), Phat Phil English, Tom Tancredo (KKK-CO), Charlie "KBG" Taylor, Michael Fitzpatrick (who keeps forgetting he represents a moderate Pennsylvania district, not a buckle of the Bible-belt-- which is why Patrick Murphy is going to take his House seat and send him home), the loon Colbert showed up as the stupidest person in the House, Lynn Westmoreland, Marilyn Musgrave (who was actually endorsed by the KKK, and is the only member of Congress who smooches with Bush as much as Lieberman), Virginia's most crooked congressman, Virgil Goode, Jr., Bob "Hey, what do I have to Lose?" Ney, and Gil "Don't Worry, I'll Change My Mind Tomorrow Anyway" Gutknecht.

The 14 Democrats who joined the GOP for the day to keep Bush's veto from being overridden included Alan Mollohan (WV), Gene Taylor (MS), Bart Stupak MI), Jim Marshall (GA), Mike McIntyre (NC), Daniel Lipinski (IL), Lincoln Davis (TN), Jerry Costello (IL), Nick Rahall (WV), Marcy Kaptur (OH), Dale Kildee (MI), Collin Peterson (MN), Tim Holden (PA), and Jim Oberstar (MN).


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