stem cells and doing the right thing, vacancy, hiding racism in question begging

What to do with leftover embryos in fertility clinics? For some people the answer is clear. Better to destroy them then to expand the fedrally funded research into sell lines not currently approved by the current administration. That attitude is the adult version of hurt feelings followed by taking the ball and gloves and heading home to sulk.

The researchers surveyed 1,350 women who presented for infertility at a large, university hospital-based fertility center in Illinois. The survey included 24 questions on patient demographics, obstetric and infertility history, and opinions about using extra embryos for stem cell research and selling extra embryos to other couples.

Assisted reproductive technology has resulted in the creation and cryopreservation of extra embryos at fertility centers across the country. It was estimated in 2002 that 396,526 embryos were in storage at U.S. fertility clinics, according to previously published research.

These embryos may be used for future pregnancy attempts, donated to other couples or agencies, given to researchers, or discarded.

73 percent of the women surveyed would prefer that the embyros be donated. Something of a surprise is that while a particular segment of Conservatism dominates the public debate and comes down opposed to such donations for the advancement of medical research. In this survey the great divide is ethinic. Hispanics and African Americans are less likely to approve then Caucasians. Though working class, non-college educated whites also ranked high in their disapproval. So education and economics are also factors in how the public sees the use of stem cells from left-over embryos from fertility clinics. Much of these objections could be overcome if some public figures with large soap boxes would disseminate information that was more informed by the medical facts, medical ethics and the wishes of the women whose embryos are being debated.


National Review: Did WaMu fail because it employed minorities?

National Review’s Mark Krikorian notes that (1) Washington Mutual became the largest bank to fail in American history yesterday and (2) its last press release touted the fact that it was named one of America’s most diverse employers, having been “honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations”; for being “named [one of] the top 60 companies for Hispanics”; for “attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers”; for having “earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups”; and for being “named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine.”

While juxtaposing these two facts — (1) WaMu has a racially and ethnically diverse workforce and (2) WaMu collapsed yesterday — the National Review writer headlined his post: “Cause and Effect?” He apparently believes that the reason Washington Mutual failed may be because it employed and was too accommodating to large numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans and gays.

I hate to take that big a snip from Salon because they’re so ad revenue dependent, but Glenn gets into his examples and arguments fast and deep. Glenn knows as well as most everyone else that the whole pupose of the question begging “Cause and Effect?” was to plant the idea in people’s minds to associate the bank’s failure with liberal ideology. WaMu’s failure would then have nothing to do with the anything goes, damn those regulations mentality that were the actual cause of the failure. The National Review gets to pretend they were not being rascist homphobes doing some blame shifting faster then a conman on meth, but just engaging in a purely hypothetical intellectual exercise. Under the golden parachute, a place for community reinvestment

As Robert Gordon pointed out in the American Prospect, the CRA has been gutted under the Bush administration, and many of the lenders that dished out bad loans fell outside the regulatory scope of the CRA (which makes a case in favor of regulation, rather than against it).

“CRA didn’t bring about the reckless lending at the heart of the crisis. Just as sub-prime lending was exploding, CRA was losing force and relevance. And the worst offenders, the independent mortgage companies, were never subject to CRA — or any federal regulator. Law didn’t make them lend. The profit motive did.”

Sometimes one gets the impression the Right phones in their opinions from another planet. In purely pratical terms you have to wonder if they’ve ever dealt with a mortgage banker. Its a well known rule that regardless of color or income or shoe size you cannot make a banker make a home loan. They only make loans if they think they can make a profit.

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds. The title of a film directed by Paul Newman who passed away today. I saw it on some late night movie channel when I was in my early teens. Newman was more then a celebrity, he lifted the art of film to a level where it can be more then entertainment – the kind of movies that you put in the time capsule and launch into space – some proof that humanity can live up to its potential. Cool Hand Luke is the rare film that is both a classic and something of a staple of pop culture – the line ” I think what we have here is a failure to communicate” is from the warden in Cool. The Verdict, in which Newman plays Frank Galvin is one of my favorite performances and one of those unique movies that broke out of genre. Since the Catholic Church hierarchy figures so prominently in the plot and the movie is about redemption, it can easily take on a religious meaning. It was really more about personal redemption, a man fighting his way back from the brink. When is the last time you saw a movie about the gut wrteching process of a human being fighting their way back from the moral wasteland that his life had become. Anyway, I’m obviously lousy at obituaries. The one at the link by the NYT is pretty good.