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Jewish World Review Dec. 3, 2001 / 18 Kislev, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- A COMPANY has just announced that it has managed to clone human embryos for the purposes of extracting stem cells.

Supporters of the research say the development could hasten the production of medical miracles -- new nerves for people paralyzed by spinal injuries; the reversal of such debilitating and heartbreaking diseases as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and ALS.

Stem cells have the ability to turn themselves into any body part -- and the theory is that embryonic stem cells are far more versatile than adult stem cells. But this is all theory -- and there's some evidence that adult cells -- extracted from living grown-ups -- are every bit as good as any other kind.

Here's my reservation about the work: It turns life into a commodity, to be sold, purchased and cranked out in factories, and it thereby numbs people to the sacredness of each and every human soul. So forgive me if I don't applaud the breakthrough, at least not yet.

I'm going to be using my hands praying it doesn't come back to haunt us.

White House political guru Karl Rove went on a mission recently to Hollywood, hoping to get tinseltown moguls on board for a cinematic assault on terror. Studio chieftans refused to make promises about content, but they did agree to send big-time stars on USO tours, tape some red-white and blue public service announcements, and send pro-American messages to countries around the world -- taping the greetings in the local languages.

But even though the impressarios of the silver screen refused to commit themselves to overt shows of patriotism, count on a resurgence of movies that celebrate the military, the political classes -- and even, gasp, the CIA. There's a simple reason: The world has reminded us why security matters, and how fragile our safety can be. We no longer seek heros among the ranks of rock stars, lawyers or mafiosi. We look to our neighbors, our families -- even ourselves.

If Hollywood is smart, it'll start riding that wave soon. I'd sure go to see a film titled "Let's Roll."

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