Science

You'll NEVER GUESS What The Anti-Abortion & Stem Cells Crowd Thinks Of The President's Stem Cell Smoothie!

How do they like them apples? They like 'em GREAT!

Oh, so baby parts risotto is a perfect entree when it's the GOP hosting the dinner party. Duly noted!

With the president out touting the wonders of an antibody cocktail developed using kidney cells from an aborted fetus, the forced birthers are contorting themselves into pretzels to explain why this is perfectly fine and totally consistent with their previous opposition to stem cell research which "destroys human life."

Just last year the Trump administration announced an almost complete ban on the use of fetal stem cells in government funded projects, installing a 14-member Human Fetal Research Ethics Advisory Board to review applications for just the kind of research used to develop the Regeneron cocktail Trump touts as a "cure" which made him "immune" to COVID. The board, appointed by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, must contain a lawyer, and ethicist, and a theologian, and currently counts among its members representatives from the Catholic Medical Association and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

When HHS announced the policy, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, called it "a major pro-life victory and we thank President Trump for taking decisive action. It is outrageous and disgusting that we have been complicit, through our taxpayer dollars, in the experimentation using baby body parts." But she and her compatriots seem less upset now that it's Donald Trump using taxpayer dollars to "cure" himself using drugs derived from "baby body parts."

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coronavirus

Alex Azar Chats Up 'Herd Immunity' Advocates, Insists Coronavirus Policy Not 'Let God Sort 'Em Out'

They're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar held a meeting Monday with three scientists who advocate "herd immunity" as a means of controlling the coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports. Big surprise — the meeting was arranged by Donald Trump's very own pandemic whisperer, Scott Atlas, who has talked up "increasing natural immunity" on Fox News, although he denies advocating the strategy to Trump, or that the government is pursuing herd immunity. Just inviting three of its biggest fans to talk to the head of HHS, why would anyone find that worrisome? No big! As Politico notes, it's simply

the latest example of administration officials — including the president himself — seeking out scientists whose contrarian views justify the government's handling of a pandemic that has killed 210,000 people and infected nearly 7.5 million so far in the U.S.

Following the meeting, Azar tweeted that it was simply a terrific discussion with some top experts who see things the right way:

And then in the replies, people pointed out that Scott Atlas is a neuroradiologist with no expertise in public health, infectious disease, or epidemiology, not that a lack of credentials ever stopped an ambitious sycophant from finding power in this administration.

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coronavirus

Former CDC Chief Would Like Current CDC Chief To FIX HIS SH*T

FIX IT!

It's amazing how you can go through life and not be aware at all of some pretty well-known person, and then suddenly you learn they exist and then you know about them. Like for instance how I got yelled at by character actor Nick Searcy yesterday on Twitter, and I'd never heard of him before, but then I found out he was in "Justified" and directed a rightwing propaganda movie about unlicensed abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.

Or, in perhaps a far better instance, how I had somehow never been aware of public health expert Dr. William Foege until the news broke this week that he had written a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield urging him to publicly condemn the Trump administration's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. It's an astonishing letter, but to understand how significant it is, you need to know a bit more about Foege, who isn't just the former CDC director under Presidents Carter and Reagan, but a genuine giant in the field of public health. Foege played a key role in wiping out smallpox in Africa and India, and has since gone on to serve with the Carter Center, where he's led initiatives to eradicate other horrible diseases like river blindness and Guinea worm disease. Here's Barack Obama awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, although Foege kind of towers over the shrimpy little 6-foot-1 president:

Donald Trump, on the other hand, gave the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh

So when William Foege wrote a letter to Redfield urging him to take a stand for science, and to do it in such a way that he would surely be fired, it's a pretty big deal.

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2020 presidential election

Old Commie Joe Gets To Hear Himself Think At Donald Trump-Less Town Hall

'Wear a mask for God's sake!'

Shortly after Donald Trump hurried back from Walter Reed hospital so he could dominate the news cycle by telling America to stop fearing the reaper, Joe Biden appeared in a town hall event in Florida, broadcast by NBC News. In contrast to the guy posturing like Mussolini on a balcony, Biden emphasized again and again that this is a medical emergency, and so we should do science at it, not pretend that everything's fine so we should party down. When Lester Holt asked, early on, whether Donald Trump should be considered partially responsible for getting infected with the coronavirus, Biden replied that people who play with flamethrowers inside the house probably shouldn't be too shocked when the furniture gets scorched.

Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don't matter, social distancing doesn't matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them.

While he was glad to see that Trump says he's feeling better, Biden also said "Quite frankly, I wasn't surprised," and added that it sure would be nice if Trump took some kind of lesson from his experience:

I would hope that the president having gone through what he went through, and I'm glad he seems to be coming along pretty well, would communicate the right lesson to the American people: Masks matter. These masks, they matter. It matters. It saves lives. It prevents the spread of the disease.

Trump had already, by that point, put out his bizarre video explaining that all great leaders rush out and get potentially deadly diseases because "As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it but I had to do it." Fact check: Leaders are not obligated to hold superspreader events. Though if he's pursuing a strategy of infecting as many Americans as possible to create "herd Immunity," maybe he figured he needed to get sick, so we won't mind the 2.1 million deaths that would result.

Here's the full town hall video for you to watch; we like the parts where Biden actually follows a train of thought and doesn't veer off into conspiracy theories, which is all of it. Also the part where he explains his strategy would not be "Infect 'em all, let God sort 'em out."

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