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Hypocrisy and Federally Funded Embryonic Research

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Are opponents of embryonic stem cell research hypocritical? Michael Kinsley makes a strong case that they are. Of course, opponents of the research make a pretty strong case against the intellectual coherence of those who support the practice. It’s that kind of angel-on-the-head-of-a-pin issue.

Perhaps this is an issue, like abortion, that will not be settled by intellectuals, but by voters and judges who have other considerations than who makes the best argument.

Meanwhile, a Federal court has ruled against Kinsley and other supporters of federally-funded embryonic stem cell research. This issue is not going away.

Confronting abusers

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I met Ken and Diane Plocher in line for a burrito at the food court during a the national convention of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) earlier this month. I was really just looking for someone to have lunch with and they were friendly Midwesterners. But when I met their son, Shawn, and heard his story, I could hardly finish my food.

This family has suffered so much as a result of their now-adult son's victimization by a priest. Shawn was brave enough to share his story with NCR for the record, and I included it in my coverage of the convention here.

I wasn't surprised to see my story reprinted on the Great Plains chapter of SNAP's website, but I was surprised at the accompanying video.

Turkey may reopen St. Paul's church in Tarsus

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As the U.S. debates the opening of mosques (See my posting of yesterday Four mosque battles brew across US), I have to wonder if there is lesson for us in this story from Turkey.

Strengthen minority religious rights benefits all citizens, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week in defending his government's decision to allow Orthodox Christians to use for the first time in 80 years a 1,600-year-old monastery on Turkey's Black Sea coast.

At least 1,500 pilgrims, many from Greece and Russia, traveled to the monastery of Sumela Aug. 15 for services led by Patriarch Bartholomew I.

"We lose nothing if 500 or 2,000 people meet to hold a service together," Erdogan said during a press conference Aug 16. "Our country will gain more if it allows greater religious freedom. Turkey itself is seeking permission for a mosque in Athens, and this process could be speeded up if the situation improves here."

The White House response to stem cell ruling

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The New York Times is reporting that the White House is reviewing how to respond to a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily blocks federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, as stunned advocates and lawmakers seek to digest the implications of the decision.

The Times piece quotes Bill Burton, the White House deputy press secretary, as saying the administration has interpreted the temporary injunction, issued by the judge on Monday, as putting a stop to all federally financed research using embryonic stem cells.

See: White House Mulls Response to Judge’s Stem Cell Ruling

\"What's new for dinner?\"

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On the Natural Resources Defense Council Web site's "OnEarth" page, there is a short version of a longer article that will appear soon by journalist Frederick Kaufman. "What's New for Dinner?" describes recent efforts by big agribusiness to define agricultural sustainability.

Large food producers have allied themselves with a small, relatively unknown, and extraordinarily ambitious consortium called the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops. The aim is to set industry standards for "sustainability" that will come to be accepted worldwide both by food producers and environmental groups. Kaufman's article is an investigation of how this is playing out in various areas of food production.

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