Sunday, December 9, 2007


You Just Got Knocked The Fuck Out!!! Maaaaaaan!!!

As I've got friends and family toiling in the pharmaceutical industry, I'm tempted sometimes to do with them what folks often do with me when we become close and they find out that I work in the publishing and entertainment industries—pitch 'em “product” ideas.

I hope that my brainstorm will be something akin to the next “Viagra”, or “Lunesta”, or “Enablex” or something else that sounds like a Marvel Avengers villain's name, but reels in hundreds of millions of dollars from jittery, hypochondriacs everywhere.

I've mulled pitching cures for tinglefoot, and underarm deodorant-clumping. But I think I have the one panacea that could rake in countless millions of pharma-dollars, enabling me to finally be able to afford that immortal, Insta-fuckwit-endorsed robot body to download my consciousness into.

I would call that miracle dream drug...Preemalex.

It would be a combination barbiturate/muscle relaxant that would act on the brain—specifically the triumphaloid gland and the still-mysterious nyah-nyahicus blusterex section of the brain, while also anesthetizing wildly hyperactive jaw muscles.

I've even got a target market demographic that desperately needs the drug—Premature victory ejaculating wingnut pundits. The marketing folks could come up with all the scary, “Do you have these symptoms?” copy that a reassuring voice-over artist could sonorously read off.

“Preemalex... (Sound of a rooster crowing) ...for when the cock crows too soon.”

Karl Rove's a sufferer. (“I have THE MATH!”—Nov. 3, 2006) So's his Libertarian, non-conservative, rope-belted tenure-baby pal Instapundit (“Okay, I'm officially declaring the Plame scandal bogus”—December 3, 2003), shillhistorian Victor Davis Hanson (“We're winning the war!”—Spring, 2005), and skipping over about 7,594 examples since that time, we now have the sniffy, condescending Charles Krauthammer.

Charlie's a tough one to take. He's NOT dumb. And when the subject is a non-political one, I have occasionally found him to be thoughtful, enjoyable...and even, witty. But let the conversation turn to politics and it's “Moe! Larry! The cheese!”, and he's off his rocker, swinging madly at everyone in the arena. And to and to cap it all off, when arguing for wingnut causes, he tends to veer towards the realm of angry, disingenuous jerk.

If you didn't know, Krauthammer is disabled—paralyzed due to a diving accident during his undergraduate years in college. One might assume that dealing with that issue, and as a reknowned member of the medical community, (his work as a psychiatrist is heavily cited in many medical journals) he could conceivably be a receptive ear, and perhaps a strong voice for the myriad potential benefits of stem cell research. More specifically, government funding for embryonic stem cell research—stem cells that are incinerated anyway as the leavings of in-vitro fertilizations of couples that have successfully brought a child to term, or have given up trying—cryogenically frozen remnants left at medical storage facilities.

One might assume that research using those embryos—in lieu of throwing them out—to aid in the cure of various ailments such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases, or even finding a way to repair nerve damage in the paralyzed would be something that this medical professional would consider beneficial, without the silly rancor and talking points of a mocker of the disabled, like Rush Limbaugh.

But you all know what happens when you assume, right? 'Cause apparently Charles didn't. (Via Daily Kos:)

(KRAUTHAMMER:) A decade ago, Thomson was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells. Last week, he (and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka) announced one of the great scientific breakthroughs since the discovery of DNA: an embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells.

(KOS DIARIST DARKSYDE:) Except that one likely way to say ‘embryo free way to produce genetically matched stem cells" in light of current procedures is ’cloned.’ Which plenty of ignorant, mostly conservative politicians also oppose. But this sucker gets worse, much worse. Steel yourselves:

(KRAUTHAMMER:) The embryonic stem cell debate is over. Which allows a bit of reflection on the storm that has raged ever since the August 2001 announcement of President Bush's stem cell policy. The verdict is clear: Rarely has a president -- so vilified for a moral stance -- been so thoroughly vindicated.

( DARKSYDE:) And that's the tone for the rest of the article more or less: George Bush is a genius -- one could almost read savior in the editorial -- because his unpopular policy forced those lazy scientists to do without embryonic stem cells. Of course, the real moral objection to Bush’s ban on Federally Funded lines is that the blastocysts used to produced them are slated for destruction anyway. A few could be saved for ESC research. Preventing that in anyway won’t 'save them,' quite the opposite in fact.

So Charlie got all fired up and triumphant, letting his mania for screaming winger talking points like an air raid klaxon with an unconscious Tor Johnson sprawled across the “on” button get the best of him.

“Oh noez! You are the loosrz! LMFAO&ROTFL!”

This otherwise intelligent man blew the whistle and wanted to call the game over after a scoreless drive where his team moved the ball thirteen yards.

What happened next? You guessed it—he got 56 unanswered points thrown up on him before he could say Roman-fucking-Gabriel, via a stern rebuttal in the same paper five days later...

A new way to trick skin cells into acting like embryos changes both everything and nothing at all. Being able to reprogram skin cells into multipurpose stem cells without harming embryos launches an exciting new line of research. It's important to remember, though, that we're at square one, uncertain at this early stage whether souped-up skin cells hold the same promise as their embryonic cousins do.

Far from vindicating the current U.S. policy of withholding federal funds from many of those working to develop potentially lifesaving embryonic stem cells, recent papers in the journals Science and Cell described a breakthrough achieved despite political restrictions. In fact, work by both the U.S. and Japanese teams that reprogrammed skin cells depended entirely on previous embryonic stem cell research.


While commendable, these efforts remain preliminary, and none so far has suggested a magic bullet. In the same way, the recent tandem advances in the United States and by Shinya Yamanaka's team in Japan are far from being a Holy Grail, as Charles Krauthammer inaccurately described them. (Ed. note: Original link appears IN online version of the rebuttal!) Though potential landmarks, these studies are only a first step on the long road toward eventual therapies.

Krauthammer's central argument -- that the president's misgivings about embryonic stem cell research inspired innovative alternatives -- is fundamentally flawed, too. Yamanaka was of course working in Japan, and scientists around the world are pursuing the full spectrum of options, in many cases faster than researchers in the United States.


Unfortunately, under the policy President Bush outlined on Aug. 9, 2001, at most 21 stem cell lines derived from embryos before that date are eligible for federal funding. American innovation in the field thus faces inherent limitations. Even more significant, the stigma resulting from the policy surely has discouraged some talented young Americans from pursuing stem cell research.


We hope Congress will override the president's veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. Further delays in pursuing the clearly viable option of embryonic stem cells will result in an irretrievable loss of time, especially if the new approach fails to prove itself.


Imagine a sneering, unlikable guy swaggering around the locker room and school hallways, haughtily bragging to everyone who'll listen that he'd slept with a really popular girl who everyone knows—reveling in all of the graphic, salacious detail.

“Yeah...nailed her.”

And then picture when said “girl” catches wind of the braggart's his lies, and publicly exposes him with proof that not only had they not slept together, but had never even gone out?

You get what happened to Krauthammer. An embarrassing exhibition of partisanship and hubris grabbing hold of an otherwise intelligent person and sending him careening face-first into a runny, oversized cream pie of “What-the-fuck-were-you-thinking?”

As multitudes watch.

Let me amend that. I said “embarrassing”. That would actually mean that Krauthammer is capable of feeling shame. It's more like we feel embarrassed for him.

He's Monty Python's Black Knight.

Or The Kids In The Hall's hapless “Sid”—the Bruce McCullough character who picks fights daily, howling and spoiling for trouble—but cannot fight to save his fucking life, and routinely, laughably gets his ass kicked, running headlong into clenched fists and knocking himself out.

You laugh at them. You have to.

In the comedy cases, it's because they're so ridiculous. And in Krauthammer's—yes, it's because he's so ridiculous, but also sadly...just to keep from crying.