Saturday, August 6

Wal Mart -- Exposing the underclass? Making the Elite Uncomfortable.

I wrote some thoughts on Wal Mart earlier today, and had it posted over on my RedState.org diary. I wrote:
So, I'll admit it--I shop at Wal Mart. I'll have to say, based on my lifestyle, I am poor. I live in real cheap housing ($470 a month), can only afford one used economy car, and have to rely on the help of others to finish my education (loans and scholarships). And yes, I shop at Wal Mart in order to keep the food budget within what I can afford.

So, today I was wondering why is it that so many people hate Wal Mart? Yesterday, a friend recounted how a co-worker drove 1 hour to a nearby city to shop at a Cosco, just to avoid going to Sam's Club. While I think that sort of behavior is good for the economy--after all she spent money on gas, miles on the car, tolls on the road, etc.--it does seem somewhat extreme and foolish. Perhaps I would call it obsessive and paranoid.

What is it about Wal Mart that bothers people so? I keep hearing about low wages they pay, but no one is protesting McDonalds, BK, the guys in my company's mail room, or summer camp counselors, lawn mowing, and other minimum wage jobs! Then there are the rumors of sweat shops in third world countries, and how Wal Mart forces small businesses out of business.
Read the rest of it. Also, check out previous rants on Wal Mart here and here. I also reported on a World Mag story about Wal Mart's decision to refuse to sell the morning-after pill in its pharmacies. Finaly, I write my reaction to an IconCulture email that reports on a perception study about Wal Mart.

,

Friday, August 5

Here is why Frist just lost himself the election

I am still exploring and discovering the blog world out there. Today I found this interesting site -- Pro Life Blogs. There are hundres out there, in all sorts of categories. America is essentially pro-life, regardless of what you hear on the TV or newspaper.

With the advent of the alternative media, America no longer depends on the MSM for its information, and is now discovering and learning the truth about abortion, embryonic stem cell research, clonning, and more.

Por Life Blogs is a collection of blogs. Looks to me like a great resource site for those in need of catching up on the issues, and for those in need of perspective on pro life issues. Check it out. I have gladly added their button to my side bar.

Allow me to share a sample of the most recent posts shown:

Recent Entries

Don't fix what aint broke. (info)
I need to know."Agent Sillyboots Aug 5, 2005, 9:21 pm

The Black Kettle Aug 5, 2005, 6:10 pm

Isn't It Rich Aug 5, 2005, 8:34 pm

"Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek Aug 5, 2005, 9:33 pm

marchTogether For Life Aug 5, 2005, 7:48 pm

ProLifeBlogs Aug 5, 2005, 8:18 pm

Mommy Life Aug 5, 2005, 6:52 pm

"Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek Aug 5, 2005, 8:23 pm

Choose Life Aug 5, 2005, 6:48 pm

Welcome RedState.org readers

Come on in and make yourself comfortable. There is a variety of ways to ad latinosissues.blogspot.com to your aggregator (see the right bar)--pick your favorite. I usually post about 6-10 times a day, except on days where I need to spend more time with my wife. Make sure to read my welcome post.

Today I am covering embryonic stem cell research, and the Dr. Dobson controversy, as well as talking a little about abortion and the question of when does human life begin. I would welcome your comments and thoughts.

Look around, and come back often!

Pro Abortion Advocates -- What are they scared of?

I read an article by Matt Kaufman that I think hits the issue on the nail. The Roberts confirmation, the fillabuster battle, the Dr. Dobson embryonic stem cell research spat yesterday, and all that other stuff is all just noise to try to prevent us from realizing that they are scared. Regardless if you follow a faith or not, you have to admit that ultimately, it is an issue of morality, social boundaries, and what proves to be true and what proves to be not true.
The most obvious reason is that, for all their bluster, they know they haven’t got the people on their side — certainly not firmly. Abortion-rights supporters are far from a rock-solid majority, and pro-lifers are far from a fringe minority.

Polls show lots of legal restraints on abortion are already popular, such as laws mandating parental notice or consent, waiting periods and counseling on alternatives to abortion. Americans are strongly opposed to using taxes for the procedure, and even support outright bans on later-term abortions. That’s a long way from the position of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other groups of that sort: Abortion on demand for all nine months, for any reason, with no delays or hindrances, at taxpayer expense.

More important, though, support is shaky even for the notion that, after all is said and done, women (as distinct from teens) have the ultimate “right to choose” abortion. If pollsters ask the question in its most generic form, majorities still say they’re “pro-choice.” But when they get specific and take away a few hard cases that account for a tiny fraction of abortions (those involving rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother), support for legalized abortion plummets dramatically, while larger numbers say abortion is morally wrong.

And young people — supposedly the most “pro-choice” segment of the public (because they’re the most sexually active) — are deserting the cause.
Read his argument. It makes sense. Again, regardless of your faith background, keep an open mind in regards to humanity deals with the larger questions of morality and right & wrong. The truth be told, we must all as a nation face our own hearts, and ask ourselves how much compassion have we each shown the women that have faced this choice? How willing have we each been to support a woman in making the right choice? How much compassion and grace have we shown a woman that has made the wrong choice and lives with it every day?
And that, I think, is what some people find most scary (and most galling) about the prospect that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. It’s not just the fear they might lose some political battles. It’s that they badly want to believe the Supreme Court settled the abortion issue once and for all — not just legally, but morally. The reversal of Roe would be a major blow not just to their politics, but to their conscience.

That may not make much sense on its face, since a court ruling in and of itself can’t make anything right or wrong. But it makes perfect sense if you understand the dynamics of abortion — and the spiritual warfare that’s at the heart of the issue.

We can’t avoid the fact that God has written His law on our hearts: We all know deep down that some things are right and others are wrong, no matter how much we try to pretend otherwise. And abortion is no small sin (if there were such a thing): It’s as wrong as anything can possibly be. We’re talking, after all, about a woman choosing to do lethal violence to her own child, when her whole God-given nature is to cherish and protect that child with her very life. Worse yet, in many cases, the child’s father — who should cherish and protect both her and the child with his very life — has pressured her to kill that child, whether through bullying or manipulation, neglect or abandonment. Sometimes even her own parents join in on the pressure, telling her it’s “for the best,” while somewhere inside her, her soul screams in protest. The violence may encompass every precious relationship God made her to have — with Him, her child, her man, her family.

How does someone live with this? Typically by living in denial — trying to bury the memory, to forget it ever happened. But denial can also include trying to justify the act. One way is to dehumanize the baby as a mere “potential life” or “blob of protoplasm;” the killing itself (and as a matter of biological fact, it is a killing) is shrouded in evasive technical language like “termination of pregnancy.” Indeed, no one talks like that unless they’re trying to justify something. (You’ll never hear a woman who suffers a miscarriage say “I lost my potential life,” or even “I lost my fetus,” but only “I lost my baby.” It would never occur to her to say anything else.)

There’s another common way to justify abortion, though — and it’s a way practiced not just by the people directly involved in the act, but by the larger society of people who tolerate it.

When does life begin? The Real Issue with Abortion.

So, I have an enthusiastic reader who posted some comments on his reasons for which he believes embryonic stem cell research is morally just fine and not blindly. I am not sure what Milt's background is, but he did not do his homework!! Tisk, tisk.

Let's break it down. I won't bore you with his slippery slope, missed the point attacks on what he assumed I think is sin. You didn't get it right, Milt, but that's not what's important. First, the important question is "When does life begin?" Can you answer me that Milt? When is a human being a human being?

I agree with embryonic research and it is not blindly! We can do this ethically and carefully. The reason we should is that is is likely the only way that we will be successful in curing and repairing the diseased and crippled bodies of 100's of thousands of good people who are alive now. A cluster of embryonic stem cells is not a human life at all, it only is the potential to be such.
So, let me give you a list of potential arguments--see, I'll even give you a head start by showing my cards.

1. Some would say life begins once the baby can breath on its own.

A. With that argument, I would advice individuals with breathing and respiratory problems to go into hiding. They might come after you soon.

2. Ok, no...It's when the baby can live on its own outside the mother's womb.

A. Ok, so individuals with physical disabilities that prevent them from feeding themselves, from walking, from living on their own--watch out, they are coming to get you all!!

I'm going to stop there, to see what sort of reaction I can get. What are other arguments you have heard? Share them with me! Let's get serious about talking about this. This is the core of what liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is all about it. It starts with the beginning of life.

But, Milt also demonstrated he has not kept up to date on the latest research with stem cell research. So, I am going to give Milt, and all of my readers, a challenge. Bring me the peer reviewed journal showing evidence of embryonic stem cell research that shows promise in treating anything! Real evidence! There is none Milt.


The age of regenerative medicine is upon us now, there is only so much that popping a pill into your mouth can do. The chemical reactions that can be effected by a pharmaceutical is never going to do what a pluripotent undifferentiated embryonic stem cell treatment could do: grow new cells that are exactly what the body needs - a replacement, a rebuilding, a reconstruction. Getting little kids up out of wheel chairs, getting juvenile diabetics off of insulin pumps, etc. And the argument about adult stem cells is only partially valid - they are not nearly are capable to differentiate, so we need all the research. Que viva el progreso!

No Milt. This is not progreso (progress)--this is taking us back to the dark ages, when human life did not matter, when science justified murder in the name of progress, and when utilitiarian ideas where king. Yet, while the left and pro-embryonic stem cell research people are fighting for their lost cause of , Adult stem cells continue to have success in actually treating a number of conditions!

Embryonic stem cell research is a lost cause, motivated by politics, money, and distorted worldview that refuses to see the evidence and the science right under their noses.

Allow me to quote from Dawn Vargo:

Embryonic stem cells are often touted as the most promising research option because they are a "blank slate" capable of differentiating (changing and specializing) into all the cells of the body. Less well known is that adult stem cells have the same ability to change into every kind of cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Yes, you read that correctly: one of the main reasons embryonic stem cells are flaunted as the gold standard in research is their ability to change into every cell type. Yet, adult stem cells have the same capacity.

In other words, adult stem cells can do everything embryonic stem cells can do:

Adult stem cells are flexible: Like embryonic ones, they can change into every cell type of the body. Researchers often refer to this ability to specialize into every cell type as pluripotency.Adult stem cells' flexibility show new potential to treat disease: Studies demonstrate that in addition to diseases already being treated with adult stem cells, the recently discovered and often ignored flexibility of adult stem cells offer additional possibilities to cure disease.

    Contrary to the exclusive claims of embryonic stem cell proponents, the following compilation of research demonstrates the flexibility of adult stem cells to transform into a wide range of specialized cells -- just like embryonic ones.

    Click here to read a sample of the proof in favor of Adult stem cell research. There is no justifiable reason to create new embryonic human life simply for theutilitariann sake of harvesting. This is insane! Where do you stop? It is a slippery slope humanity must not be allowed to down. Make note of the references provided. Look it up. Show me what proof you have in favor of embryonic stem cell research? Any proof!

    Flexible Stem Cells
    The following summaries document the ability of adult stem cells to develop into cells outside of their original cell family.1

    Baby Teeth
    • Baby teeth are a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells from dental pulp can differentiate into neural, fat, and tooth-forming cells.2

    Blood
    • Adult stem cells taken from the blood can differentiate into liver and nerve cells.3

    • White blood cells taken from patients can roduce other types of stem cells; newly formed cells included red and white blood cells, nerve cells and heart muscle.4

    Bone Marrow
    • Bone
    marrow stem cells can make significant amounts of new lung tissue.5


    Bone marrow stem cells can change into epithelial cells when transplanted into
    the lung.6

    • Bone marrow stem cells can be put into various tissues and organs. This research could provide a model for future lung stem cell work.7

    • Bone marrow stem cells from men were implanted into women. They found that the women had brain cells with the Y chromosome. This shows that bone marrow stem cells can turn into brain cells.8

    • A specific type of cells
    (multipotent adult progenitor cells – MAPCs) has been found in bone marrow. These can specialize into cells from all three germ layers. This study found that these cells can be isolated not only from bone marrow but also from brain and muscle tissue.9

    • Stem cells from bone marrow have the capacity to develop into all cell types in the human body including those that make up the glands, digestive tract, hair, skin, nails, brain, nervous system, and muscle. 10

    • Bone marrow stem cells can turn into nerve cells; contrary to previous belief, these bone marrow stem cells did not merely fuse with nerve cells, they changed into nerve cells without any cell fusion.11


    Pluripotent (able to change into all cell types) bone marrow stem cells can change into insulin-secreting cells.12

    There is more--a lot more! Go here and read it all. Make sure to note the references!

    Denver Post calls Dr. James Dobson "lunatic fringe"

    Here is the Denver Post story that started it all. Of course, they miss the point--utilitarian ethics in biomedical experimentation. Of course, if you don't consider an embryo a human being, then perhaps you would agree with Jim Spencer of the Denver Post. Otherwise, history, science and ethics proves Dr. Dobson correct.
    "The analogy comparing the Nazi human experiments conducted during WWII and today's embryonic stem-cell research is historically and ethically accurate, appropriate, and we stand by it," Focus on the Family bioethics analyst Carrie Gordon Earll said Thursday.
    Stand firm Dr. Dobson. America is smarter than the left wants to believe.

    , , ,

    Dr. James Dobson for President? -- doubtful

    Kaye Grogan's latest column suggests Dr. James Dobson as president. The headline reads, "Write in James Dobson for President . . . in 2008" I personally doubt it, but have fun dreaming.

    Not because I don't think he would be a solid political leader, but because all evidence points to the fact that his calling and his heart is in grassroots leadership, moral issues, and the most important one--the Family. I don't see how he could remain faithful and focused to his life calling by going into public service.

    It would serve ambitious and potential political candidates to note: Character, courage, and moral upright values matter and will get you elected. Stand for what is right, don't deviate, and American will stand with you. This is the kind of leadership we desire!
    A recent poll (which is questionable) conducted by the Gallop Organization shows that Senator John McCain, and former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani are favored above Hillary Clinton or Senator John Kerry to win the presidency. Well, since all three of these possible presidential candidates have major flaws on issues that I hold dear — I guess I'll write in James Dobson. At least he focuses on the family.
    , , ,

    Dr. James Dobson, A Closer Look at Stem Cell Research -- Full transcripto

    Here is the full transcript from the radio program with Dr. James Dobson, where he discussed embryonic stem cell research. I have to say, I agree with Dr. Dobson. If this position bothers you, perhaps you need to reconsider your own ethics and whether you are considering all the ramifications of embryonic stem cell research. This is an important position for conservatives, and I think it will destroy Frist's chances at the White House. There is no way, considering his shift in his position, that he will get the Republican nomination. No way. Listen to today's Focus on the Family program here. Read Dr. Dobson's quote where he compares embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experimentation on humans. (marked in bold below)
    John: The story has been in the news these past few days and yet, you may not fully grasp the significance of the issue. I'm referring to the matter of embryonic stem cell research. This is "FOF" with Dr. James Dobson. I'm John Fuller and today we're going to be setting aside our scheduled program to talk about this issue, which has great moral importance and implications for the family.

    JCD: Well, John, we need to let our listeners know in greater detail what we consider to be a very unfortunate betrayal of the pro-life and pro-family community that occurred last week. Senator Bill Frist, Republican Majority Leader in the United States Senate, has held himself out as being unequivocably [sic unequivocally] pro-life until this point. But that commitment cracked disappointedly last week, when he announced that he would no longer favor protection for embryonic human life. It's a very sad moment for this country and especially, coming from someone that we admire and have relied on in many of these same kinds of issues.

    John: Uh-hm.

    JCD: You know, other leaders...other conservative Republican senators have gone the same route--Senator Lott, Senator Orin Hatch, Senator Smith of OR. There are just a number of 'em that see it somehow politically to their advantage to abandon the unborn child. And the reasons they give for doing so are very, very suspect. And we want to talk a little bit about that today. You know, for these politicians to promise one thing and run on a pro-life platform and then to bail out when the pressure's on, you know, this feels a whole lot like political expediency to me.

    John: Well, a number of those folks you just mentioned are good friends of yours and they have been, as you indicated, very clearly identified with the pro-life community. What's your explanation, your perspective, Doctor , on what you've called this betrayal?

    JCD: Well, they are friends of mine, John. These men have joined us and other conservatives in fighting many moral battles through the years. Just recently, Senator Frist became a hero of ours--which is what makes this so difficult, you know--when he stood up to the un...unconstitutional effort by Democrats to derail President Bush's conservative appointments to the federal bench. Even when Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator McCain and Senator DeWine all did their own little dance with the Democrats with the "gang of 14."

    John: Yes.

    JCD: Yet, Senator Frist stood firm on that issue with what's called a nuclear option or the constitutional option. And we have every reason to believe he's gonna continue to do that. And yet, here on this issue--this fundamental issue--of life, he has bailed out and we deeply regret it.

    John: We need to be clear for our listeners that we're not talking politics today. We're talking one of the fundamentals here at FOF--the value of all human life. And...and I think they'll appreciate a great deal the...the guests that we have lined up for this program.

    JCD: Yeah, John, we're not talking politics. We're not saying who people should vote for, which is what politics means. It's parties and candidates. And we're not...we're not talking about that. But I do believe that what Senator Frist did is gonna have implications for him down the road, because he aspires to be President and people, I think, will not forget this. But that's as close as we'll get to...to the political realm.

    I have invited two great friends and very knowledgeable people to be with us today--one here in the studio and one by telephone. They've helped us out in the past and I love both of them. First is Professor Robbie George, who is a professor of juris prudence at Princeton University and a graduate of Harvard University Law School and Oxford University. In fact, we've tracked him down this time in London. I don't even remember where he was...I think he was--

    John: I think he was in Italy last time we had him on the broadcast.

    JCD: --he was in Italy several weeks ago. Robbie, you do get around. (Laughter)

    Robbie: Well, I'm glad to be on the show, Jim . Thanks for tracking me down.

    JCD: This is an issue that goes right to your heart, isn't it?

    Robbie: Well, yes, indeed, it does. There's nothing more crucial to any civilization than respect for the principle of the sanctity of human life. And that's what's at stake here and to find ourselves in a situation where those who have been the champions of the pro-life cause are defecting, is extremely worrying. And we...we have to insure that people know what's happening here and are prepared to do what's necessary to bring people back around to...to make clear to those who represent us in the Congress, that we will not accept defections from the pro-life position.

    JCD: You know, some people in the media misunderstand me and...and are often kind of shocked by the positions that I take, because it really comes down to this. I had rather be contradicted and disagreed with by somebody who comes from the left end of the spectrum, than stabbed in the back by somebody that I thought was a friend. And when that happens, it's very difficult for me to tolerate that emotionally and that is what I think has happened here.

    This is not personal. Senator Frist has not put the knife in my back, but it is essentially placed in the backs of all pro-life and pro-family people around the country. And I know there's a lot of agitation about that, especially because the media is not gonna tell the story and that's why we're doing it today.

    Also with us today is Carrie Gordon Earll. She's on our staff; she's our senior policy analyst here at FOF. You're probably seeing her on television. She's out there a lot. She's one of the most articulate spokes ladies that we have. And she has a Masters degree in bioethics and Carrie, you're also pretty agitated by what's happened, aren't you?

    Carrie: Well, I am, Dr. Dobson . This is a critical issue. This is pivotal in understanding where biotechnologies are taking us. We're all excited about stem cell research. It can be a very good thing, but the question is, what type of source of stem cell are we talking about? And with this case, we're talking about embryonic. We're talking about the intentional destruction of tiny little humans--

    JCD: Yeah.

    Carrie: --for the purpose of research. And there is no way someone who is pro-life, who understands that life begins at fertilization, can look at those little lives and say under any circumstances, it's morally or scientifically acceptable to destroy them.

    JCD: There are several downright distortions or better word, lies, that are being propagated by the media today, that are failing to tell the American people that there are embryonic stem cells and there are adult stem cells. And all the promise to this point is with adult stem cells, as found in cord blood, as found in bone marrow, as found in body fat and nothing dies to use them. That's where the great promise is.

    The embryonic stem cells do result in the death of an embryo and...and the...the second lie that's told is that the Bush administration has prohibited all stem cell research. In fact, we give more money than any other country on earth. And so, it is just not true. People need to understand the difference between the two.

    But now we're not dealing with adult stem cells or the...the line of embryonic stem cells that President Bush made available four years ago, which was with those that are already dead. There nothing died. Again, it was consistent with his policy and so, I just want to make sure everybody understands that.

    What Senator Frist has done has now gone over the line to destroying life once it's created and that leads in a straight line to cloning and that's what's at stake here. Robbie, do you agree with that?

    Robbie: Well, Jim , let me say this. We're all distraught by Senator Frist's defection on this issue. We all thought he had made clear that he was going to stand with us in the defense of human life in all stages and all conditions. And so, this is a devastating blow for us.

    But it's also very, very puzzling, because when he announced his shift of position, he made a speech trying to explain himself. And for three-quarters of that speech, anyone listening would have inferred that he was about to announce that he was standing fast in defense of the human embryo. Jim , he said that he believed not only as a matter of faith, but as a matter of science, that human life--the life of a new human being--begins at conception. He said that in the very speech in which he announced his defection.

    So, how do you get from an affirmation of the intrinsic dignity of the human embryo as a new human being--a new human life--to the conclusion that it's acceptable not only to destroy life in the embryonic stage, but to use taxpayer dollars to fund the research that's carried on, on the basis of embryo destruction. That's the puzzling thing about the Frist announcement.

    JCD: It's political doubletalk, is what it is. Carrie, you actually have a quote from Senator Frist to that point.

    Carrie: Well, back in...in 00-00-2004, last summer, he was still on the talk shows, defending the Bush policy. And he said that the question is about the use of taxpayer dollars to destroy human embryos. Now granted, what we're looking at right now isn't necessarily the destruction of the embryo, but it's using those embryonic lines, so that our tax dollars are incentives. So, the Senator's really been all over the map with this.

    One of the things that disturbed me the most, Dr. Dobson , about his statement last week, was this is a physician, who stood there on the Senate floor and said that he had looked at the research. He had studied this extensively. However, he conveniently left out new research that we've seen in the last few months. A dozen studies or more, Dr. Dobson , now show that adult stem cells have the same potential and flexibility of pluripotency that embryonic do.

    Now we've been listening to the media and to advocates for killing embryos for years tell us, we have to have the embryonic, because that's the gold standards. They're the flexible. Those are the cells that can become any cell tissue or organ in the human body. Now--

    JCD: And that's what pluripotent means.

    Carrie: --we're finding...that's what pluripotent means.

    JCD: It can become heart tissue; it can become anything.

    Carrie: Correct. What we are finding now is that the adult stem cells can do the very same thing. We're also finding that the adult stem cells can replicate indefinitely just like the embryonic. So, the very standard that we've been given as to why we have to destroy embryos is being blown out of the water by the research. But Senator Frist conveniently neglected to mention that in his floor speech and that is scientifically inaccurate and that's inexcusable.

    JCD: I don't want to reveal too much of a private conversation that I had with Senator Frist, because he hasn't given me permission to do that. But there was one point in our conversation where he said what you just said, that the potential for good medical breakthroughs and miracles in treating diseases is very, very great with these embryonic stem cells.

    And so, I said, "Senator, would you be kind enough to have your staff members send me the peer-review journal articles that say that? You...you're obviously quoting something. Would you show me the research that indicates that these embryonic stem cells have all this possibility that they...they had exciting breakthroughs?" And he couldn't do it, because they don't exist. They're not there.

    Carrie: The embryonic stem cells have not been used to positively treat one patient, while there are more than 70 diseases and conditions that can be treated by adult stem cells. And I do have the peer-reviewed literature right here on the pluripotency of adult stem cells and we'll be glad to put up our research toward anybody else's research any time.

    Robbie: I...I think that there is a problem with a lot of politicians, including Republicans and some who have been on the pro-life side, such as Senator Hatch and now, Senator Frist. I think there's a problem of underestimating the moral fiber of the American people and underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

    There's a tendency to believe that with all the hyping of embryonic stem cells, people will simply accept it and will come to believe, no matter what the truth is, that Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and neurological diseases will be cured by research involving embryonic therapies.

    And then, there's an underestimating of the moral fiber of the American people with the tendency to think that once people believe that, then they're going to be willing to do anything, take life at the embryonic stage, engage in the macabre practice of fetal farming, if necessary, in order to get those diseases, because we're all intent on living forever and so forth. But I just don't think that's right. I think if the American people have the facts put to them, they will have the moral fiber to do the right thing.

    JCD: John, we're trying to identify ourselves about halfway through programs these days, because we find people list...start listening late or are not able to hear the introduction. Why don't you tell everybody who's talking?

    John: Well, that is the voice of Dr. James Dobson right there--this is "FOF"--and our guest today, talking about a very important matter. If you haven't been with us the entire broadcast, the subject has to do with embryonic stem cell research. And we have Carrie Gordon Earll from our staff. She's our senior policy analyst here at FOF and then, Professor Robbie George from Princeton University, calling in from "over the pond," as they would say. (Laughter)

    This, Doctor , is something that...that I think is crucial for our listeners to understand, primarily because of all the doubletalk and all the positioning in the media. For instance, I...I heard just this morning on a newscast, that, "Well, those embryos were going to be destroyed anyway." And they tout Dr. Frist and they...there's a real good positioning here of this issue, to try to lead us to the reasoning that...that Senator Frist has adopted for this matter.

    Robbie: You know, John, Jim said a moment ago that this leads to cloning. It leads to cloning and to worse and I'll tell you why. The whole issue of in vitro fertilization leftover or spare embryos, is in my opinion, a red herring. It's a side show. All of those embryos are products of the genetic lottery. There's no way to control the genetic structure of those embryos. They have the genetic structure they happen to have.

    The real goal of those who want to engage in embryonic stem cell research is to produce embryos by somatic cell nuclear transfer--which is just the scientific phrase for cloning--by cloning, so that they can control the genetic structure of those embryos and do the kind of research that they want to do.

    And when I say, "worse than cloning," this...this means cloning in order to bring a new human being into existence, not in order to bring that being to birth, which is morally problematic to begin with, but to take the life of that human being at some stage, perhaps in the early embryonic stage, perhaps later, for the purpose of benefiting other people. A straightforward reduction of a human being, who should be an end in himself, possessing a unique dignity that must be respected, to the status of a mere means to benefit others.

    JCD: That brings up the possibility of...of fetal harvesting. I know that's a very...uh...powerful term, but that's where it could lead. And the researchers who are pushing for this and their friends in the media, not only want to be able to clone human beings, but they want the money. They want federal money. Follow the money and you'll see what we do as a people and I don't think that's where we want to go. Carrie, you were gonna respond to something John said.

    Carrie: Well, I'd just like to hit two things that our listeners are hearing in this debate as they're listening to the general market media. First of all, they're hearing, "Well, these are leftover embryos that are just gonna be destroyed anyway." These are embryos created by their parents through in vitro fertilization for the purpose of a birth. They were created for the purpose of being implanted and gestated and having a baby.

    The parents have a moral responsibility to this offspring. And what's happened, Doctor , is the irresponsible use of this technology has netted excess embryos and the parents are like, "What do I do? I'm done with my family." The parents have a moral responsibility, either to implant that embryo in the genetic mother, place for adoption to another couple, but to do something life-affirming with that embryo.

    So, when you hear this, the truth is the majority of the 400,000 embryos that we hear so much about, are being saved by their parents for future childbearing. Only a very small percentage are earmarked for research. So, it's a real misconception.

    The other thing that...and...and this is also a big misconception. When...when Senator Frist talks about the parents are gonna discard these anyway, he's...he is saying the parents can give consent for these embryos to be destroyed. So, on one hand, he believes life begins at conception, unless your parents don't want you. And then your life is not of value.

    But the whole purpose of parental informed consent is for the best interest of the child. And by no means can you argue that the best interest for these embryos is to be destroyed for research.

    JCD: Hm.

    Robbie: I think it's important in fairness to Senator Frist, to point out that while he has now come out in favor of funding for embryo destructive research, he has among the principles he articulated in setting out his case, reaffirmed his commitment to the idea that we should not create embryos by cloning or other methods for destruction. So, so far at least, he's defected only on the question of the idea of spare embryos, not on the question of creation for destruction or cloning. But of course, the problem is, with a person who has defected on one fundamental issue--

    JCD: Yes.

    Robbie: --there's always the concern that he will not hold fast to the principles that he's laid down.

    Carrie: The bottom line here is that you will never be satisfied. The research community will never be satisfied. Advocates of cloning and fetal farming and the search for immortality or whatever is behind this--the search for knowledge--will never be satisfied.

    Back in August 2001 [08-00-2001] when the President laid down his...his limited funding policy, we said at that time, Dr. Dobson , people aren't gonna be satisfied with this. They're not gonna be satisfied with removing those limits. They're not gonna be satisfied with just cloning.

    We have to set immovable moral boundaries to protect the innocence of human life or all of the possible scientific blessings will be of nothing to us.

    Robbie: Let me tell you what I think the boundaries should be. We don't need to invent any new principle here. It's the principle that our country has always been committed to--the principle of the inherent and equal dignity of all human beings. That's the principle on which our nation was founded. When the founders said that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. And among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We don't need to change that. We need to stick with our principles.

    JCD: I think people can understand your very excellent point. You know, the thing that means so much to me here on this issue is that people talk about the potential for good that can come from destroying these little embryos and how we might be able to solve the problem of juvenile diabetes. There's no indication yet, that they're going to do that, but people say that or spinal cord injuries or such things. But I have to ask this question. In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps. And I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefitted mankind. You know, if you take a utilitarian approach that if something results in good, then it is good. But that's obviously not true. We condemn what the Nazis did, because there are some things that we always could do, but we haven't done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality. And you remove ethics and morality and you get what happened in Nazi Germany. And that's...that's why, to Senator Frist and the others, who are saying, "Look what may be accomplished," yeah, but there's another issue. There's a higher order of ethics here.
    Robbie: And it...it ha...it happens to be the principle upon which all biomedical science is based and that is the principle of respecting the dignity of the human being. That's why we have medicine. We try to heal people. Why? Because people have dignity. They're worth preserving. Their lives have meaning. Their lives have significance. If we turn to killing in the cause of healing, we've compromised the very foundation of our biomedical science.

    Carrie: And...and Dr. Dobson , when I hear people say, "Well, these embryos are just gonna be discarded anyway," I will often say, "You know, prisoners on death row are also slated to die and we could learn an awful lot if we went in and took their organs and gave them cancer. There are all sorts of...of experiments that we could do to learn something from them."

    But of course, that's not acceptable--

    JCD: Yeah.

    Carrie: --because the embryo is not recognized as a person, but the...the convicted murderer on death row is.

    JCD: And in fact, the People's Republic of China does just that when they're gonna execute people. They bring the ambulance out into the execution site and they shoot 'em in the back of the head, so that they live for a little while and they harvest their body parts. We think that's wrong, even though those body parts might go to save a life. And...

    Robbie: And even though the person is going to die anyway and there's nothing we can do to prevent it.

    JCD: That's right.

    John: The frustrating thing here for me again, thinking of so many of our listeners, who just have not yet been able to get their arms around this issue, is there...there are so many celebrities and important people being touted in the newspapers and on the TV news, saying, "This is an important thing. We have to advocate for embryonic stem cell research." And if you take it at face value, "Well, gee, who am I to argue with that person?"

    JCD: Well, I would just like to hear once Ron Reagan or Nancy Reagan admit that there are two kinds of stem cell research, that the President's...President has authorized more than $100 million dollars for adult stem cell research and that, you don't have to do the embryonic variety, where embryos die.

    Carrie: Most certainly there are many agendas going on here. There are ideological agendas, where quite...quite frankly, there are people who don't like us. They don't like our pro-life view. They don't like President Bush. They don't like that we are defending the innocent young humans. And they want to embarrass the President. They want his policy overturned for...in their mind, are scientific reasons, but also for political and ideo...ideological.

    JCD: Yeah.

    Carrie: Now it's interesting to me that when they talk about the late Christopher Reeve and the spinal cord injuries, Doctor , I have documented just in my spare time around here, 60 cases of people who are quadra- and paraplegic, who now have either regained walking ability or bladder control because of adult stem cell, either from nasal, cord blood or bone marrow. Those are actual patients that are being helped today with adult stem cells. But you don't hear the Reagans talk about them.

    JCD: That is so well said, Carrie. We're really out of time, but I must ask you, Robbie, to address one thing very quickly before you go. The question is, why would Senator Frist, the Majority Leader in the Senate and the...probably the ranking Republican in the Congress, why would he undercut President Bush, who's trying so hard to stand up for life in this instance?

    Robbie: Well--

    JCD: I mean--

    Robbie: --it's a complete...

    JCD: there's no...it makes no sense.

    Robbie: You're right, Jim . It makes no sense. It's a complete puzzle. Consider this. Senator Frist knows that President Bush has promised to veto any bill that expands embryo destructive research or the funding of embryo destructive research, which means that there will be no additional funding for embryo destructive research while this President is in office and that means until 00-00-2009. So, what's the point? It makes no sense from a practical vantage point.

    JCD: Well, we really are out of time now, John. You know, we're gonna devote tomorrow's program, not to these two wonderful guests, but to the woman who is responsible--largely responsible--for the Snowflake babies--

    John: Uh-hm.

    JCD: --that come from these frozen embryos and from a member of President Bush's inner circle, his domestic policy advisor. And we're gonna let him talk about the President's policy and do that in the context of the Snowflake babies. So, we'll come back to this. For now, thank you Carrie Gordon Earll again, for being our guest.

    Carrie: Thank you.

    JCD: And Robbie, Professor Robbie George, thank you for letting us interrupt the end of your vacation in London.

    Robbie: Well, thank you, Jim . Pleasure to be on the show.
    ,

    Dr. James Dobson -- embryonic stem cell research like Nazi experiments

    In a world where political correctness is valued above the truth, it is to be expected that Dr. Dobson would be harrased for his boldness in speaking out for the unborn. As far as the left, there is no freedom speech when it comes to speaking out against liberal values.

    In response to his recent radio show, "A Closer Look at Stem Cell Research," Dr. Dobson received a backlash of harsh criticism regarding comments he made comparing embryonic stem cell research to the Nazis' human experimentation during the Holocaust--very close similarity and serious ethical concerns.

    All knowing critics labeled Dr. Dobson's remarks "ignorant and insulting" and are demanding an apology. Well, it's no Dr. Dobson's style to back away from a good fight for what is right, so today, Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family bioethics analyst Carrie Gordon Earll are setting the record straight.

    As usuall, the left and the media just love twisting Dr. Dobson's words--they would do and say anything to undermine his public credibility and promote the advance of embryonic stem cell research.

    OnePlace.com has today's program where Dr. Dobson discusses the backlask towards his comments.

    ,

    Thursday, August 4

    Country at Odds Over Sanctity of Life Issues

    The Pew Reserach Center released results from a poll on America's view on abortion. Here is the real story on Abortion. This from Pew:
    A consistent majority of Americans (65%) are opposed to overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing a woman's right to abortion. But most Americans also favor restrictions on abortion. Nearly three-quarters (73%) favor requiring women under age 18 to get parental consent before being allowed to get an abortion.

    This ambivalence is reflected in opinions on the overall availability of abortion. About a third (35%) say abortion should be generally available, but 23% favor stricter limits on abortion and 31% favor making it illegal except in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life. Only about one-in-ten (9%) say abortion should never be permitted. Moreover, while nearly six-in-ten (59%) think it would be a good thing to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S., one-third (33%) say they don't feel this way.
    This from a CitizenLink email reporting on this story:
    Pew found that most Americans favor restrictions on abortion but are not sure how to accomplish that goal. While 73 percent agree that parental-consent laws are important and 59 percent would like to see the number of abortions reduced, 65 percent oppose overturning Roe v. Wade -- the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.

    Focus on the Family Action Bioethics Analyst Carrie Gordon Earll isn't so sure the last number is accurate.

    "The Pew survey exemplifies a common misconception about abortion and Roe v Wade," she said. "Most Americans have no idea that Roe, in conjunction with its companion ruling, Doe v Bolton, allows abortion for any reason during the entire nine months of pregnancy -- even for minors without parental knowledge and paid by tax dollars.

    "When you consider the number of respondents to the Pew survey who said, for instance, that they want parental notification or consent, this is not what Roe represents."

    Also discussed in the survey were the issues of embryonic stem-cell research, physician-assisted suicide and the death penalty. Fifty-five percent of conservative Republicans oppose both research resulting in the destruction of life and euthanasia.

    In contrast, only 15 percent of liberal Democrats oppose embryonic stem-cell research and only 30 percent oppose euthanasia.

    Wednesday, August 3

    CitizenLink: QUOTEWORTHY

    From CitizenLink Daily Update - August 2, 2005:
    "Our reliance is the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourself with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them."

    -- President Abraham Lincoln

    Message to Castro -- "I've had enough!"

    Revolutionary post by BabaluBlog.com on the new battle cry for the freedom of the Cuban people. "I've had enough!" Oh, that our people would rise from the ashes of a destroyed nation, would ignore fear, and face their enemies united. Would not death be better than what Castro has to offer? If the people unite, and rise up against him, the world will notice. Unity! Unity! Stand together. Rise together. Be willing to fall together. ¡Ya no mas!


    I feel very strongly that this idea – this meme* -- can begin to infect the Cuban people with the strength and will to overcome what they are going through. Overcome the fear of the military, the fear of the CDRs, the fear of the filthy chivatos in the neighborhoods, all of it. Since armed insurrection is not possible at this point, my modest proposal to the people of Cuba is simple. Whenever it gets to the point that the situation seems hopeless, all of you have to say are three words written in Spanish: ¡Ya no mas! – "I've had enough!"

    To the folks on the island, I want you to say these three simple words: repeat them, believe them. Don't just say them. All of you on the island have to understand that despite the CDRs, despite the lack of electricity, despite the lack of fresh milk for your babies, despite the all of these things, you are still human beings, you have dignity and worth, you are God’s children like the rest of us. And when the frustration is too much, you have to rise up and yell, ¡Ya no mas! -- "I've had enough!"

    , ,

    Forbes Rates Best of the Web Blogs

    Interesting collections from Forbes.com on the best of the web for Summer 2005. It's to bad I did not see any Latino blogs reviewed or featured. There are some great blogs out there. With the growing importance of immigrant issues, Forbes should pay closer attention to this segment.

    This from Matthew Schifrin, Editor:
    This summer we have trained our sights on the rapidly growing world of blogs, also known as the "blogosphere". We identify the best blogs in categories ranging from Art and Literary Blogs, to Small Business, Marketing, Shopping and Music Blogs.
    Here is what Forbes reviewed for the Political cateogry.

    Polite, bipartisan and civil discussions are for wussies. In the realm of political blogs, pundits say what they won't say on television. Online, liberals call Democrat Joe Biden "The Senator from Bank of America," and conservatives turn the phrase "maverick" often used to describe Senator John McCain, into a sneering insult. Though many expected interest in these blogs to wane after the 2004 elections, the U.S. government has taken notice. The vast majority of political bloggers are left leaning but real estate on the World Wide Web is free so there are a growing number of more conservative commentators coming online. In June, the Federal Election Commission held hearings about possibly regulating political Weblog content under campaign finance laws. Hopefully, the government will stay away from a medium where speech really is free. -- Michael Maiello

    ,

    Condoleezza Rice -- Forbes #1 Most Powerful Women List

    It is good to see Condi's leadership being recognized. It is great that she is a minority. Hispanics, blacks and whites alike take note! You can reach your dreams if you work hard at it, and don't give up.

    Teachers pay attention. A little hardship and having to overcome barriers is good for character. Congratulations to Condi.

    National Security Adviser, Bush Administration

    Age: 49 Country: U.S.

    Advising the leader of the world's largest superpower--and having the ear of leaders around the globe--makes Rice, 49, the most powerful woman in the world. President George W. Bush trusts Rice implicitly, likely more than anyone else in the White House. When Rice speaks, she speaks for the president. With her silver-tongued diplomacy and steely nerve, Rice has played a key, behind-the-scenes role in helping to steer the United States through two wars, as well as the resulting controversies. Rice also served under President George H.W. Bush and in the Reagan administration. Despite growing up with racial segregation in Birmingham, Ala., Rice says her "parents had me absolutely convinced that, well, you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's but you can be president of the United States."-Elizabeth MacDonald

    Telesur shows its true colors -- Has no credibility

    Words and arguments are not needed to prove the bias and lack of credibility of Telesur. All you have to do is watch it for a few hours, and it becomes evident. Even a first year journalism student could list the ethical mess it makes out of journalism.

    TeleSur; Daily Chavez and Castro propaganda.

    Less than two weeks into its transmissions, 24-hour news-and-culture channel Telesur, supported by leftist President Hugo Chávez and Cuba, has already proved better at making the news than reporting it.

    It has cost a Venezuelan Cabinet minister his job, irritated some neighbors, triggered concerns in the Bush administration and sparked a threatened countermeasure by the U.S. Congress.

    Since it started broadcasting on July 24, Telesur has scored high with analysts for the quality of its images, editing and graphics, but has shown a lack of impartiality in its news reports and a leftist bent in its programming.

    A heavy pro-Cuban bias was evident in the news and other segments, including a lengthy film about Cuban guerrilla icon Ernesto ''Che'' Guevara, as seen by Fidel Castro.

    Items critical of the United States and key allies such as Britain and Colombia also received a lot of airtime, while statements from Colombia's leftist guerrillas were given prominence.

    Out of 11 reports on Thursday's bulletin, for instance, at least three featured statements by Chavez's No. 2 man, Vice President José Vicente Rangel. Another concerned the resignation of Information Minister Andrés Izarra to become full-time head of the television network.

    , , , ,

    CAFTA -- Pay no attention to the Democrat behind the curtain!

    The democrats have nothing of relevance to say. Listen to the people; the professionals that will benefit from CAFTA. Are they any less educated or intelligent? Are they not able to evaluate and understand the implications of CAFTA? Where are the Democrats when it comes to defending and fighting for the minority business owners?

    Thank you to the many Democrats that went against the party line, and did the right thing for their constituents. Shame on the Republicans that relented to the sugar lobby, and those that profit from government subsidies and tariffs paid from he pockets of hard working Americans.

    But not everybody is wary of the treaty. Business owners, particularly Latino entrepreneurs, are excited about the passing of CAFTA. Many see it as a long-awaited opportunity for growth on both sides of the continent.

    All U.S. Latino chambers of commerce endorsed CAFTA, which they consider an effective way for small and medium-size companies to export, grow and participate in today's global economy.

    In addition, the Hispanic Alliance for Free Trade, a 130-member coalition formed by Latino leaders and organizations throughout the United States, is celebrating the victory. "Central American companies and entrepreneurs in the U.S. will have a chance to participate in global markets," said Alliance member Walter Tijiboy, a Bay Area business man originally from El Salvador.

    "Learning how to do business with standards recognized around the world will help small and medium-size companies compete in a global economy," Tijiboy added.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration also has no doubts the treaty will help small companies. "The high tariffs and onerous non-tariff barriers that have been stifling small business exports have been successfully eliminated," agency Administrator Hector Barreto said.

    Tuesday, August 2

    Sunday talk shows said to lack diversity--Not of the Black kind

    Oh, pooh! Someone is feeling underrepresented. If the TV networks are not going to Black experts maybe its because they are not that many? I don't know, but next thing they are going to start asking networks to establish on-air expert quotas--say, at least half of all guests should be black?

    Let me tell you about another underrepresentation--conservative, faith-believing individuals. And when they do have a Christian or a Conservative, its to ridicule them. Then, they bring on the "so-called" religious person, either a priest or a pastor or someone, but they pick the wackiest or craziest, or they bring in a liberal. This just got to illustrate that there is serious lack of intelectual diversity in the main stream media. Forget blacks--this is a bigger problem. No diversity of ideas.
    WASHINGTON -- Only about 8 percent of guests on major Sunday morning talk shows during the last 18 months were African-American, with three people accounting for most of those appearances, according to a new study by the National Urban League.

    Black guests -- newsmakers, the journalists who questioned them, and experts who offered commentary -- appeared 176 times out of more than 2,100 opportunities, according to the study, which is scheduled for release today. But 122 of those appearances were made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, and Juan Williams, a journalist and panel member on ''Fox News Sunday."

    ''There's very clearly a division, an exclusion," said Stephanie J. Jones, executive director of the Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality, which initiated the study, ''Sunday Morning Apartheid: A Diversity Study of the Sunday Morning Talk Shows."

    Alabama has third most gang arrests in national criminal Latino gangs sweep

    Wake up call!! What I want to know is what was the immigration status of the individuals arrested? I would have to bet mostly illegals. Will we wait until we get another attack? I hope not.
    WASHINGTON - Alabama had the third-highest number of arrests in a national two-week sweep of criminal Latino gangs, federal immigration officials announced Monday.

    Forty-two people were taken into custody in the Birmingham area and Decatur, part of the 582 arrested nationally. In an effort known as Operation Community Shield, federal and local law enforcement agencies joined forces to identify and arrest people with a history of associating with criminal gangs. Many of those arrested had entered the United States illegally.

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the national results, calling gang violence "one of the critical threats faced by our society."

    OAKLAND: City forces out 2 downtown businesses. Autohouse owned by an immigrant

    Where are the liberals' outcry over immigrant rights, and for the little guy? Here is what you have to know.

    From the SFGATE.com:
    The city of Oakland, using eminent domain, seized Revelli Tire and the adjacent property, owner-operated Autohouse, on 20th Street between Telegraph and San Pablo avenues on Friday and evicted the longtime property owners, who have refused to sell to clear the way for a large housing development.

    The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision last week paved the way for local governments to buy out unwilling property owners, demolish homes and businesses, and turn that land over to new owners for development. Last week's ruling expanded on earlier decisions that allowed agencies to take property only if it is considered "blighted" or run-down.

    "The city thinks I cause 'economic blight' because I don't produce enough tax revenue,'' Revelli said. "We thought we'd win, but the Supreme Court took away my last chance."

    The two properties, which total 6,500 square feet, were being forced to move or sell because their businesses are on a larger section of land that is slated for the Uptown Project, a city-subsidized real estate development that is expected to include nearly 1,200 apartments and condominiums.
    The owner of AutoHouse is an older father, immigrant, who cannot afford to relocate.
    Fung, who is in his late 40s and raising his children, said retirement is not an option. "I'm an immigrant from China, and this has been the fulfillment of my American dream," Fung said. "I worked hard. I played by the rules. But now it's all gone. I've got to start all over."
    Here is a great analysis worth reading by the Federalist Society.
    If private property may be condemned and given to another private individual for private profit, and if the determination of which properties are to be condemned may be delegated to the person benefiting from the condemnation, and if the public purpose of the condemnation project may not be reviewed by the courts, and if the question of the necessity of the condemnation may be delegated to the beneficiary and may not be reviewed by the courts, then are there any limits on the exercise of this government power? In a system that does not require a governing body to weigh the necessity of the condemnation against the harm to be done, this type of analysis will not take place. Without accountability or constitutional constraints, all the incentives promote aggressive, unbridled use of the eminent domain power, regardless of the impact on innocent property owners. It is time to shift the balance away from government power and back to its citizens.

    Monday, August 1

    Will immigrants vote in Mexico’s 2006 election?

    This is why Mexico will not be of any help with illegal immigration problem, unless our government starts holding them accountable for it. Maybe the US should bill Mexico for each illegal we have to process and return. They are in it for the money, and it's costing us millions.

    Now, with their new election reform allowing abstentee voting by Mexicans in the US, there is going to be a huge political interest and influence on this issue. Whether this will help or not, I don't know. Maybe if illegal immigrants here in the US start participating in their homeland political process, and it actually helps improve the situation in Mexico, maybe then they will have some motivation to go back home. Who knows...Wishful thinking.
    For many years one of the most discussed topics among Mexican immigrants in El Norte was whether they would ever again be allowed to participate in Mexico’s electoral process, which at best was perceived as rigid and unyielding to change. Earlier this month however, the Mexican government granted expatriates a limited right to vote by certified mail in the upcoming 2006 presidential election. Without estimating the likely levels of participation, many experts have suggested that this historic change actually represents de facto recognition of the billions of U.S. dollars that the expatriates annually send back to their families in Mexico.

    The 2006 presidential campaign promises to be especially bruising, even by the brutal standards of Mexican politics. Clearly one of the most crucial questions now facing Mexico’s three major political parties is whether the expatriates, (99 percent of whom reside in the U.S., will seize this opportunity and vote in the presidential plebiscite.

    The 2000 presidential election brought a transfer of executive (but not legislative) power from the previously dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to the essentially regional opposition, the National Action Party (PAN). This milestone was achieved because a majority of the Mexican body politic finally coalesced to end a system that allowed the presidential incumbent to anoint his successor through the “dedazo,” or by pointing a finger at the chosen one. Expatriate Mexicans largely supported the candidacy of Vicente Fox Quesada, whom they saw as a fundamental agent of change for the country they loved but had left for better opportunities.

    Now, less than a year before the next national elections, vast numbers of Mexicans — including most expatriates — view Fox’s presidency to date as a failure.

    Various authorities have estimated the pool of eligible expatriate Mexican voters at between 10 and 11 million. However, it appears that only 4 million or so are properly registered by Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). Going by the logical assumption that few if any of the expatriates, documented or otherwise, will return to Mexico simply to register to vote in a restricted presidential election, even universal participation (which no one expects) will produce a potential turnout of less than 40 percent.