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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 26, 2010 / 16 Elul, 5770

Rare Sighting: Common Sense from the Bench

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What's this? A federal judge has cited not only chapter and verse, section and clause, of the law when it comes to experimenting on human embryos, but common sense. How unusual.

But that's what His Honor Royce Lamberth did in the course of issuing a preliminary injunction against the federal government's funding research that involves using stem cells derived from human embryos.

The law the judge specifically cited was the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits using federal funds for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death...."

Naturally there's always some (too) sharp lawyer who can ignore the whole point of a law in the course of ferreting out what's not in it. In this case, it was one working for the Department of Health and, yes, Human Services during the Clinton administration. She'd concluded that the prohibition on destroying human embryos to obtain stem cells didn't forbid experimenting on the stem cells themselves. Or even procuring them. After all, the stem cells are only derived from human embryos; they aren't entire embryos. And so are fair game.

Did you follow all that? The shorthand for it is "law logic," a term John Quincy Adams used when he recounted a conversation he'd had with John Marshall, the great chief justice of the early Supreme Court whose opinions have yet to be matched for breadth, reason and foresight. "I told him," Mr. Adams confided to his diary, that "it was law logic -- an artificial system of reasoning, exclusively used in courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else."

To follow the line of reasoning being used by this administration to its logical if ghastly conclusion, it should also be permissible, even if the law prohibits vivisecting human beings, to use the body parts obtained that way for scientific research.

To reach a different conclusion would require a modicum of that most uncommon quality in the law: common sense.

By now a simple observation that has become a legal principle: The fruit of a poisonous tree is also poisoned. All that the judge in this case has done is to conclude, sensibly enough, that the law which bars government from experimenting with human embryos also keeps it from doing as it wills with parts thereof, like stem cells. They're an inseparable part of the same, prohibited practice. This is much the same rationale that the courts have used to defend the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures. They've ruled that the evidence gathered by such tactics is inadmissible in court. For it is tainted, too.

The cries of protest against Judge Lamberth's ruling were loudest from the only sure beneficiaries to date of all this research on embryonic stem cells: the scientists who have been getting federal grants to pursue it. Because despite all their wild promises -- a cure for Alzheimer's! for diabetes!, for paralysis! for you-name-it! -- they have yet to come up with a single such cure. (So far embryonic stem cells, because of their tendency to metastasize, have caused more cancers than they've cured.)

As usual, a key piece of information may be relegated to an afterthought in the news coverage of this furious debate. The buried lede, it's called in the parlance of the trade. This one didn't show up till about the 21st paragraph of one story: "Embryonic stem cells, which can morph into many different types of tissues, are able to do things that other cells cannot, proponents argued. No new therapies, however, have been developed." The emphasis is mine.

Meanwhile, research using other kinds of stem cells, like adult stem cells, has proven remarkably fruitful, resulting in scores of medical advances. Federal funds for that kind of productive research is inevitably reduced when millions of the public's dollars are used to pursue the will-o'-the-wisp that is the promise of research on human embryonic stem cells. Just as the plaintiffs in this case before Judge Lamberth argued.

What's more, scientific advances are rapidly making this whole dispute superfluous. For ways are being found to produce stem cells that have all the qualities of embryonic stem cells without raising any of the scientific, legal or ethical questions that surround their use for research purposes.

Yet some researchers -- and the politicians they've recruited -- still insist that only experiments on the embryonic kind of stem cells will do. Those of us who oppose the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes aren't opposed to science, just this less-than-scientific obsession of some scientists. There are ideas and there are ideologies, and it seems scientists are as prone as the rest of us to confuse the two.

The Obama administration may now appeal this latest decision against the use of human embryos for scientific research. It may even prevail, given the confused state of the law. Or it may try to change the law itself in order to lessen the protections afforded the embryo, leading to more years of confusion and contention in this conflict between reverence for human life and man's impulse to cross the boundaries erected to protect it.

It will be argued that, at this stage, the human embryo is but a speck. Why all this fuss over a bit of microscopic protoplasm no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence?

That human life -- every human life -- begins on such a minute scale tempts us to dismiss any reservations about destroying it; instead, that fact should fill us with awe.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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