Friday, December 22, 2006
From the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research:
December 21, 2006
Dear CAMR Members:
First, let me wish you and your family a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year. Now is the time to look back on the incredible progress that has been made and ready ourselves for important stem cell work in 2007. We all will need to roll up our sleeves in January and get right to work because we have a lot to accomplish in a very short timeframe next year.
In January, the 110th Congress will be sworn into office. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (what we knew as HR 810 for the past two years) will be reintroduced by our Congressional champions in January with identical language and a new bill number. Getting this bipartisan bill passed and enacted has been identified as a top priority by the new leadership in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. A vote on the bill is expected in both chambers in January. That means we need to reach out to everyone we can as soon as possible.
Now is the time for you to use your local contacts and reach out to your new Representatives and Senators before they are even sworn in. Before they come to Washington, DC they need to know that you expect them to vote in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. You will need to be creative, as these new Members might be difficult to locate before January. Perhaps they will be attending local events in your community or opening up a district office. Use every resource you can think of to track them down. You should also use this time to contact returning Representatives and Senators who may have voted no in the past to convince them now is the time to vote in favor of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The message for all Members of Congress is this: "Now is the time to pass and enact meaningful stem cell legislation! The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act will be one of the first bills presented to you for a vote in the 110th Congress and I urge you to vote yes."
You will hear from us as soon as the bill is reintroduced and we will be asking for a huge push in early January to get the word out on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act before the votes.
Thank you, CAMR
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
There's a very interesting article in the New Yorker that describes how Bush's regressive science policies, based on religious fundamentalism, have hurt Americans in a multitude of ways. It is a long article, so I'll post an excerpt here--
You can view the entire article here: http://www.michaelspecter.com/ny/2006/2006_03_13_bush.html
Vaccinations for contagious diseases like measles and mumps are required before a child can enter public school. That won't be the case with the HPV [cervical cancer] vaccine, however. The Bush Administration, its allies on Capitol Hill, and the religious base of the Republican Party are opposed to mandatory HPV vaccinations. They prefer to rely on education programs that promote abstinence from sexual activity, and see the HPV vaccine as a threat to that policy. For years, conservatives have regarded the human papillomavirus as a kind of index of promiscuity. Many abstinence supporters argue that eliminating the threat of infection would only encourage teen-agers to have sex. "I personally object to vaccinating children when they don't need vaccinations, particularly against a disease that is one hundred per cent preventable with proper sexual behavior,'' Leslee J. Unruh, the founder and president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, said. "Premarital sex is dangerous, even deadly. Let's not encourage it by vaccinating ten-year-olds so they think they're safe.'' Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, a family physician and a prominent leader among those who believe that abortion should be illegal, has argued repeatedly in Congress that since condoms can fail, the nation should stop relying on them so heavily. In 2004, he made his position clear when he testified about his experience treating patients who have been infected with HPV: "Studies have indicated for years that promiscuity was associated with cervical cancer.''
Friday, December 01, 2006
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun closing its nationwide network of scientific libraries, effectively preventing EPA scientists and the public from accessing vast amounts of data and information on issues from toxicology to pollution. Several libraries have already been dismantled, with their contents either destroyed or shipped to repositories where they are uncataloged and inaccessible.
The scientific information contained in the EPA libraries is essential to the agency's ability to make fully informed decisions that carry out its mission of protecting human health and the environment. Members of Congress have asked the EPA to cease and desist dismantling these libraries. Please call EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson at (202) 564-4700 either today or Monday and tell him how much scientists rely on data and literature. Urge him to immediately halt the dismantling of the library system until Congress approves the EPA budget and all materials are readily available online.
Union of Concerned Scientists
Scientific Integrity Program