What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 21, 2006

Melissa Hart - expert on Stem Cell Research

It's the Melissa Hart story you probably DIDN'T see on local TV. It happened a few days ago.

Luckily the C-Span cameras captured the event and luckier still CrooksandLiars has the clip.

The setting: The floor of the United States House of Representatives. There's a discussion going on about Bush's recent veto of the stem cell bill. And the Representative Melissa Hart (with talent on loan from God) steps up to the mic and shows her scientific literacy:

Hart:I thank the gentleman from Ohio for alloting me time to speak in favor of sustaining the President’s veto. It’s been a year since this House passed the Castle-Degette bill. In that year, science–not Hollywood–has helped us to debunk the myth of a promise for embryonic stem cell research. Hollywood supports it. Science created fraudulent experiments. Before last year’s vote, they made arguments supporting embryonic stem cell research. They were coming fast and furious from our colleagues. During the debate in the Senate, the same arguments came. They cited Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea and his research. Supporters of his research said that he had cloned a human embryo; that he had found a way to produce embryonic stem cell lines that could be done routinely and efficiently. What happened later?

All of his research was debunked. The ethics of his research were called into question. It was revealed that his publications were faked, his experiments were unsuccessful, and the treatment of their egg donors as ethically grossly appalling. Mr. Speaker, I urge us to reject embryonic stem cell research as the science is not there. Since it is successful in treating patients using adult stem cells, and cord blood stem cells which we agreed to fund and the President signed and I believe we should support that and I yield back.

At which point Diana DeGetter (D-Colo) educates our Missy:

Of course the gentle-lady from Pennsylvania refers to the South Korea experiment which was not embryonic stem cell research rather it was somatic cell nuclear transfer, not at issue today…

The interesting thing to note is how much spinning Missy was doing. As background, let's take a look at the NYTimes' summary of Dr Hwang Woo Suk's problems:

Dr. Hwang Woo Suk published a paper in the journal Science that claimed his team had successfully obtained stem cells from cloned human embryos. But allegations from co-workers that he had falsified data followed and he later resigned from Seoul National University. A university panel investigated Dr. Hwang's results and announced that he had fabricated data. News about Hwang Woo Suk, including commentary and archival articles, published in The New York Times appears below.

See that? He got into trouble because he fabricated the data about how he obtained the stem cells. This, obviously, has nothing to do with stem cell research itself.

And Missy let the world know that she didn't know the difference.

Then there's the addition of "Hollywood." Honestly I don't know what the heck that's all about. "science not Hollywood has helped us debunk the myth of the promise of embryonic stem cell research"?? When did Hollywood get into the story?


Anonymous said...

Altmire is going to have a field day with this one!

Shawn said...

Missy Hart strikes again.

I gotta say, as lacking as some pols may be (and I'm saying this in the spirit of bipartisanship here), I tend to be forgiving if I actually meet them in person and they come across, as, well, as fairly human.

Fraulein Hart, OTOH, when I happened to meet her on primary day back in '04 was just icky. Seriously, she's just a creep.

I guess what I'm saying is that her little speech comes as no surprise.

As for the "Hollywood" dig tacked on to it, well, that's especially amusing becuase it's just one of those cookie-cutter bits of boilerplate lets one know that one know, regardless of whether or not one agrees with that pol, that one is dealing with a truly mediocre legislator. Thank you Ms. Babbit.

Anonymous said...

Whose office wrote her rapture ready speech - Mehlman's or Limbaugh?

PghLesbian said...

This is the future Senator from Pennsylvania? Yikes! At least she's living down to Ricky's scientific spins ...

spork_incident said...

I like to thing of Missy as Li'l Ricky's long-lost sister.


Anonymous said...

Melissa Hart is right and you are wrong. Didn't you listen to CNN? "The government said it would withdraw Hwang's "top scientist" title -- an honor created especially for him in the wake of purported breakthroughs that raised hopes for using stem cells to develop new treatments of diseases from Alzheimer's to diabetes." Try to read CNN's report -- http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/01/11/skorea.stemcell.ap/index.html

Anonymous said...

His research was different than what was being debated on the House floor. The reason Hart is being ridiculed nationally is because she mistakenly tied in the falsified research to support her position. The problem is that its apples and oranges. The CNN report you cite doesn't say they are the same types of research, so I don't know how you think it helps her case.

EdHeath said...

Yeah, this is one issue the Dems need to push. While a majority of people accept abortion limits as reasonable, I think the science aspect of frozen embryos make this a positive wedge for liberals. I think most people are in favor of stem cell research (for selfish reasons), and if the supply comes from spare frozen embryos that donors do want to continue to pay to store and will otherwise simply be thrown away … I don’t know if Hart is vulnerable, but this issue is handed from god for Altmire. We need to see that speech as the centerpiece of a whole bunch of campaign ads. Never thought I would see a positive aspect to the evil empire that is UPMC.