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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 92. | WILLisms.com | Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Seventy-Two -- Huge Portion Of The Federal Budget. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 419 -- Stem Cell Research & NIH Funding.

There's Still No Ban On Stem Cell Research-

Ladies and gents, Hollywood director Frank Darabont:

Hollywood director Frank Darabont has blasted US President George W. Bush's opposition to stem cell research, branding it "preposterous" and "uncompassionate".

The Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile film-maker is a huge admirer of actor and Parkinson's Disease sufferer Michael J. Fox, and is disgusted the Republican administration is blocking medical research which could potentially save thousands of lives.

Darabont tells website MovieHole.net, "I'm very sorry he's dealing with the severe health issues he's been facing. He's very courageous.

"Nobody deserves that... except maybe the a**holes in power in this country who are blocking stem cell research at every turn. Those preposterous, uncompassionate turds.

"God, if you're listening, let them get sick, we'll see how fast the arguments go away and the funding happens."

Meanwhile, back here in America, President Bush was the first to fund human embryonic stem cell research, in August of 2001. At the time, the President was praised by the Michael J. Foxes of the world, and many folks in the media made predictions that socially conservative voters would punish Bush for his decision, as if funding embryonic stem cell research in a limited way was a "read my lips" sort of flip-flop or broken campaign promise.

At any rate, there is still no ban on stem cell research.

From FY2003 to FY2008, we're looking at 196 million dollars just in federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research. This, of course, does not count all of the billions in funding state governments and private enterprises have implemented. Nor does it count the 1.21 billion dollars in federal funding over the same period for human non-embryonic stem cell research.

All told, since FY2003, the Federal Government has spent 3.602 billion dollars on various forms of stem cell research.

Over the same period, Uncle Sam, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has spent:
17.199 billion dollars on HIV/AIDS research;
270 million dollars on "Climate Change";
190 million dollars on "Global Warming Climate Change";
954 million dollars on "Health Effects of Climate Change";
137 million dollars on Homelessness;
1.498 billion dollars on "STDs/Herpes";
689 million dollars on "Cost Effectiveness Research";
3.149 billion dollars on "Smoking and Health";
and 3.097 billion dollars on "obesity."

Some interesting funding decisions, to say the least.

Why not take some of that particular $26.494 billion in research and allocate it (or not allocate it) more appropriately? Maybe some could even go toward more stem cell research, especially of the highly promising adult stem cell variety. Or give it all back to taxpayers and let them contribute (or not) to stem cell research laboratories in their own communities.

Meanwhile, funding for certain other ailments also seems out of whack, relative to the numbers of deaths they cause (.pdf):


So, why does AIDS research get so much money? Well, deaths can't be the only thing to justify funding. Let's take a look at the numbers of people living with certain diseases, relative to the funding levels:


It's out of whack, especially when one takes a closer look at HIV/AIDS numbers. Indeed, the CDC notes:

MSM made up about two thirds of all men living with HIV in 2004, even though only about 5% to 7% of men in the United States reported having sex with other men.

Yes, the government actually uses the abbreviation (MSM), and it does not mean "mainstream media." Whatever the abbreviation, though, there is hardly any way to justify such lofty levels of funding for a disease that is almost entirely avoidable.

How To Avoid HIV/AIDS: A Simple Guide

1. Don't have unsafe sex, especially with "MSM."
2. Don't share needles with drug users.

That simple formula doesn't require billions of research dollars.

Thus, the answer: adjust the funding to appropriate levels. Take some of this overkill AIDS funding and apply it to adult human stem cell research. And maybe throw in some additional nanotechnology funding in there, as well.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: No Need For Tax Hikes, Revenue Is Booming.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 February 2007 09:02 PM


"men who have sex with men" (MSM) Sounds funny but that is what MSM means.

Posted by: christian at February 14, 2007 09:34 PM

AIDS funding is out of hand, but keep in mind that Bush himself committed umpteen billion dollars to help Africa deal with AIDS. It is a global crisis and it ain't like the French pharmaceutical companies are researching anything. Matter of fact, you posted just a week ago on the fact that Europe's pharmaceutical industry and health care technology is slipping fast. Point being that the US is carrying the healthcare research burden for the entire world, not just for our own folks.

That said, AIDS is not a good place to spend that extensive of an amount money in my opinion. In the early part of the century, the flu killed 50M people. We still haven't cured it and the scare tactics and fear mongers are constantly hyping "bird flus" all the time.

Look at deaths in this country. Between smoking, alcohol, obesity, and sex with men, you can cut cancer rates and HIV rates to next to nothing. We know what causes these diseases and it ain't rocket science. Let private industry research drugs without government funding of research aimed at politically popular causes. People MARCH for AIDS and Breast Cancer. They have ribbons. So here is my theory:

Government Spending on specific illnesses is directly proportional to the number of ribbons people wear and the number of miles that they March per year.

Posted by: Justin B at February 14, 2007 11:21 PM

The crucial detail is that stem cell research deployed profitable treatments with private funding while embryonic stem cell research has been an absolute failure that can only be perpetuated by throwing away tax-payer dollars.

Posted by: DANEgerus at February 15, 2007 01:08 AM


Posted by: zsa zsa at February 15, 2007 07:35 AM