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Hullabaloo


Thursday, October 26, 2006

 
Melting Snowflakes

by digby

If Rush Limbaugh and his pals in the media still think that Michael J. Fox is acting, they should check out this video clip from ABC News from last July. The guy is so clearly trying to do something good here. It just kills me that these heartless bastards are attacking him and saying that it's exploitive for him to be an activist for a disease that's killing him.

Actors are vain people. It cannot be easy for him to expose himself in public knowing that when the public sees him in this condition they are uncomfortable and pitying. He is rich enough to live out his days in in comfortable privacy, getting the best of care and giving money for the cause. But he's put together a very serious and productive foundation that has funded 70 million dollars in Parkinson's research and he works constantly on the issue.

This transcends politics and it's beyond petty partisanship. (After all, Fox did a very similar commercial for Arlen Specter in 2004.) Stem cell research has the support of the vast majority of this country of all political persuasions but it's being held hostage by the same minority group of religious extremists who staged that sideshow over terry Schiavo. There you had a woman with no brain and no hope who the extremists were willing to go to the ends of the earth to "save." Here we have a 45 year old man who is fully funtional intellectually but whose body is beginning to fail him because of a terrible disease and they are rudely dismissing him as a fake and saying that his life is no more important than a smear in a petrie dish.

And you will recall that their favorite president Bush used his veto pen for the first and only time just this past July to veto stem cell research:

President Bush issued the first veto of his five-year-old administration yesterday, rejecting Congress's bid to lift funding restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research and underscoring his party's split on an emotional issue in this fall's elections.

At a White House ceremony where he was joined by children produced from what he called "adopted" frozen embryos, Bush said taxpayers should not support research on surplus embryos at fertility clinics, even if they offer possible medical breakthroughs and are slated for disposal.

The vetoed bill "would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," the president said, as babies cooed and cried behind him. "It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect." Each child on the stage, he said, "began his or her life as a frozen embryo that was created for in vitro fertilization but remained unused after the fertility treatments were complete. . . . These boys and girls are not spare parts."


That's so true. Here's an example of how this works in practice for these good Christian believers in the absolute sanctity of life:

The Vests were unable to conceive, and Cara's husband Gregg was diagnosed with a sperm disorder. Then Cara was told she had the "ovaries of a 40-year-old." They considered using a donated egg or adopting a child, until she heard about an embryo-adoption agency while listening to "Focus on the Family," a Christian radio show. She called the agency, Snowflakes, and two years later she and Gregg had adopted 23 embryos.

The Vests believe that life begins at conception, so adopting 23 embryos meant becoming the parents of 23 children. Never mind only two-thirds would survive the thawing, and even fewer would develop into babies. The Vests thought at least these embryos would all have a chance at life instead of being disposed of or used in stem-cell research.


By the logic of George Bush and the religious extremists, that couple who chose to "adopt" 23 embryos in the hopes of becoming pregnant are guilty of pre-meditated murder because they know that they are not going to give birth to 23 children. It is nonsensical moral reasoning and we simply cannot let people like this stand in the way of potentially curing these diseases. It's time to draw the line.


Fox was on CBS tonight and said:

The irony is that I was too medicated. I was dyskinesic," Fox told Couric. "Because the thing about … being symptomatic is that it's not comfortable. No one wants to be symptomatic; it's like being hit with a hammer."

His body visibly wracked by tremors, Fox appears in a political ad touting Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill's stance in favor of embryonic stem cell research. That prompted Limbaugh to speculate that Fox was "either off his medication or acting."

Fox told Couric, "At this point now, if I didn't take medication I wouldn't be able to speak."

He said he appeared in the ad only to advance his cause, and that "disease is a non-partisan problem that requires a bipartisan solution."

"I don't really care about politics," Fox added. "We want to appeal to voters to elect the people that are going to give us a margin, so we can't be vetoed again."


The portion of the interview they broadcast was quite decent. But you can see the whole interview here --- and listen to Katie Couric push him over and over again on the burning question of whether he manipulated his medication and ask him whether he should have re-scheduled the shoot when his symptoms were manifested as they were. And she does it while she's sitting directly across from him watching him shake like crazy. Her questions imply that it was in poor taste or manipulative as if he can magically conjure a film crew to catch him in on of the fleeting moments where he doesn't appear too symptomatic. The press seems to truly believe that it is reasonable to be suspicious of him showing symptoms of a disease that has him so severely in its clutches that if he doesn't take his medication his face becomes a frozen mask and he cannot even talk.

I know I'm harping on this subject, but it isn't just because I'm emotionally engaged and angry, although I am. I think it's one of those important "real-life" issues that might wake a few more people up and get them to the polls.

-A new national study revealed that American voters' support for stem cell research increased after they viewed an ad featuring Michael J. Fox in which he expresses his support for candidates who are in favor of stem cell research.

The study was conducted among 955 Americans by HCD Research and Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) during October 24-25, to obtain Americans' views on the stem cell research before and after they watched the ad.

The participants included self-reported Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They were asked to view the ad and respond to pre-and post-viewing questions regarding their opinions and emotions concerning the ad.

Among the study findings:

* Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.
* The level of concern regarding a candidate's view on stem cell research increased among all respondents from 57% prior to viewing the ad to 70% after viewing the ad. Among Democrats, the level of concern increased from 66% to 83% and Republicans' level of concern increased from 50% to 60%. Independents' level of concern increased from 58% to 69%.
* The perception that the November election is relevant to the U.S. policy on stem cell research increased across all voter segments, with an increase of 9% among all respondents pre- and post-viewing from 62% to 71%. The Democrats' perception increased from 75% to 83%, Republicans' perception increased from 55% to 62% and Independents' perception increased from 60% to 68% pre- and post-viewing.
* The advertisement elicited similar emotional responses from all responders with all voter segments indicating that they were "not bored and attentive" followed by "sorrowful, thankful, afraid and regretful."
* The vast majority of responders indicated that the advertisement was believable with 76% of all responders reporting that it was "extremely believable" or "believable." Among party affiliation, 93% of Democrats 57% of Republicans and 78% of Independents indicated it "extremely believable" or "believable."

Respondents were asked to indicate what candidate they would vote for in the U.S. House of Representatives election if it was held today before and after viewing the ad.

# Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%.



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