Could Michael J. Fox Shake Up The Election?

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A new poll from Muhlenberg College and HCD Research has found a small but positive effect from Michael J. Fox's stem cell ad.

* Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.
* The advertisement elicited similar emotional responses from all responders with all voter segments indicating that they were "not bored and attentive" followed by "sorrowful, thankful, afraid and regretful."
* Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%.

That's a small shift, but Republicans who were already five feet under don't really need anything else pushing them further into the dirt.

I'd be curious to see polling on the other Missouri ad, the one mustering B-list celebrities and athletes to talk about the evils of egg donation. It certainly seems like a stink bomb. I'm a Christian, I enjoyed The Passion, but watching Jim Caviezel say "you betray me with a kiss" in Aramaic made it hard for me to hold down my soda. It doesn't help that Caviezel is shot from below with a smug look on his face: It looks like he's getting head from a Pharisee.

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  1. That’s a small shift, but Republicans who were already five feet under don’t really need anything else pushing them further into the dirt.

    Oh yes they do, and the deeper, the better.

  2. I wonder if Rush Limbaugh’s stupid critique of the ad and the well deserved backlash against that fat hypocrite will add some points…Rush accused Fox of not taking his meds. While I’m sure that Rush knows a little something/something about taking meds (and then calling for harsh treatment of others that do), he obviously was ignorant of these kinds of meds and Parkinsons.

  3. Just when the Repubs start getting on my good side, they haul out bat-shit like opposition to medical research, and bashing gay “marriage” (Washington Times scare quotes).

    Everyone is so fucking stupid. Except for us.

  4. When Rush’s liver finally gives out you know he’s going to be first on a plane to Sweden or Switzerland to get stem-celled up. That or maybe the ChiComs will ship him a prisoner liver.

  5. And where the hell is Nancy Reagan (vocal supporter of stem cell research)? Did they put that old bird on ice?

    Nancy Reagan: Hate your drug war. Love your stem cells. It’s a wash.

  6. Wasn’t he supposed to be the anti-Elvis or something?

  7. I heard Rush a bit yesterday while driving around and his point was that Fox deliberately went off his meds when he testified before Congress for “dramatic effect,” so the precedent was there. He may have a point.

    Not defending Limbaugh, it was rant that would only be interpreted one way, especially by the media, (and so he should have known better) but if you are going to inject yourself into politics as Fox did, for whatever reason, you’re fair game to the talking heads.

  8. Hey, you know what, so what if he went off his meds? Wouldn’t it be nice if he didn’t have to take them at all? He’ll be stuck with the very imperfect medical solution unless a more permanent solution comes along, and blocking stem-cell research will certain distance us from finding said solution.

  9. I can live with the GOP’s standard “values” nonsense, because it usually goes nowhere beyond rhetoric. However, this war on (some) science is wearing a little thin. It’s one thing to question the scope of anthropogenic global warming, but it’s quite another to oppose life-enhancing/extending science, the entire field of evolutionary biology, and Zeus the Thunderer knows what else. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been an attack on astrophysics, what with all of its claims of a 13 billion year-old universe and the like.

    Assuming a GOP defeat this year, I hope that, during the hand and neck wringing to come, they realize that there are an awful lot of us who would be willing to vote for them if they’d drop the big-spending, anti-civil liberties, and anti-science kick. Better yet, they could maybe also decide to live and let live and stop worrying about the motes in other people’s eyes (like gays or pornographers, for instance).

    If only the Democrats didn’t suck so much, I could be happy at the prospect of a GOP ouster. But I keep thinking, what would things have been like with total Democratic control of the federal government? Egad. I wish there were a viable third option, I really do.

  10. what i think makes the responding ad look worse is the use of athletes.

    in the fox ad, there’s a guy who is obviously suffering from a debilitating disease that robs him of the ability to control his body – and using that awful condition to raise awareness, funds, and votes for a very good thing.

    in the response we have the anti-foxes – guys who make unbelievable amounts of money because of their physical gifts and their luckiness not to have gotten parkinson’s disease – and using those abilities to keep others from having a shot at a better life, y’know, a life like theirs.

    i’m as big a cards fan as any here in stl, but f-you suppan.

  11. I hope that, during the hand and neck wringing to come, they realize that there are an awful lot of us who would be willing to vote for them if they’d drop the big-spending, anti-civil liberties, and anti-science kick.

    Yeah, but if they drop those things, what will they have left to run on?

    Given the rather unappealing choices available this year, on election day I think I’ll just skip the polls, and vote with my liver at the local watering hole.

  12. I always find discussion about stem cell research on HnR to be frustrating. The discussion is sloppy or dishonest. For example: Joseph Majsterski writes: “blocking stem-cell research will certain distance us from finding said solution.” Republicans are not “blocking” stem cell research. They are blocking federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Private research is not blocked. Research on adult stem cells is not blocked.

    You may disagree with the motivations for denying funding, but at least be honest about we are talking about.

  13. Michael J. Fox has no Elvis in him.

  14. You’re a Christian?? Convert?

  15. Joseph,

    I didn’t mean to single you out or call you dishonest. I just think a lot of the discussion is sloppy.

    I do think Democrats are being purposely dishonest by not making a distinction between embryonic and adult stem cells.

  16. Rush accused Fox of not taking his meds.

    I’ll be the first to admit some ignorance of the fine points but I’ve heard the word “admit” bandied about by several Rush defenders regarding Fox not taking meds both before his congressional tesimony and before filming this ad.

    1)I wasn’t aware that Fox had denied or tried to hide that he did not take his meds.

    2) Seems that if you’re trying to make a point about the effects of a disease in order to attract public and political support, you’d want to demonstrate those effects in a human and compelling way. So I see nothing wrong with NOT taking the meds in order to demonstrate for politicians and the public making those decisions just what the costs are.

    It’s tempting to interperet every action by any public figure these days as self-serving and mainly for show. And I agree with JW that anytime you inject yourself into politics, you’re fair game.

    But that’s a knife that cuts both ways and depending more on how Fox handles it may likely (hopefully?) bite Rush in the keester big time.

    But for myself, I’m thinking Fox’s motives are sincere and his message (and delivery) genuine.

    Rush, on the other hand, is a loudmouth sack who could take a lesson or two on ‘class’ from Fox.

  17. Flyover:

    Perhaps I misunderstand. I thought that Bush had signed some bill that made it illegal to develop new stem cell lines. Maybe he just removed government funding for doing that, and I incorrectly deduced from the news stories that new lines had been banned.

  18. Flyover–
    By saying no federal funding allowed, any private research would basically require a scientist to fund an entirely new lab from scratch with private funds. Not even testtubes, bunsen burners, etc. that the scientist used on previous research would be allowed in the new lab. This is especially the case in a university where most lab equipment is shared among a group of research initiatives and therefore, partially funded by the government. By saying no fed money allowed in the research they’ve basically made it impossible for a university scientist (where most of this research occurs) to do the research.

    Also, most scientists agree that they are being cut off at the knees by saying only adult stem cells can be used. How is it logical to cut off embryonic without knowing whether there is no difference between embryonic and adult stem cells first. It is like making a car and saying no SUV’s or trucks allowed because that is better for the environment even though they may be more useful.

  19. I believe this belongs in the blog posting, but I’ll put it here until then:

    Biff on Michael J Fox

  20. Flyover Country,

    My problem is with the motivations for funding or not funding research and the fact that a good deal of this sort of research is funded by government to some extent. As a libertarian, I’m for privatizing the whole mess, for the most part. Naturally. However, I agree that so long as the research itself isn’t banned outright, it’s less of an issue.

    In any event, I still don’t like the GOP’s stance on science. If they want to make a principled move to defunding research because it’s not the government’s job, then I’m all ears.

  21. Flyover,
    The federal funding issue is very serious, because any university departments that take federal funding cannot really have privately funded stem cell research going on at the same time, because of the difficulty in accounting for which dollar goes where. So it is much more than just saying apps for federal grants can’t be directed toward stem cell research.
    For anyone, here is a question: are countries without government bans on stem cell research spending money on adult stem cell research, or are they putting their unrestricted cash into embryonic stem cell research. I don’t know the answer, but that would shed some light on whether the adult stem cells are just as good or are a decoy.

  22. Flyover Country,

    Yeah, that point eventually gets made in every stem cell thread, and is promptly forgotten by the time the next one comes along. The consensus seems to be that with all the crap the government does spend money on, the tiny little bit that would be used for this branch of stem cell research would at least do some good, unlike most of the rest of the spending.

    I’m just as curious to know why some people are completely convinced that stem cells are even going to work, considering the complete lack of progress being made in the field of embryonic stem cell use. The only actual successes that I am aware of have dealt strictly with use of adult stem cells. I believe I have even seen some research indicating that embryonic stem cells create tumors in the patient, whereas adult and cord stem cells do not.

    Regardless, this whole stupid debate centers more around moron Republicans on one side and moron Democrats on the other, with nobody in either camp caring about the science at all, but merely how to use the issue to get votes. Fuck them both.

  23. Joseph,

    He just removed federal funding for developing new stem cell lines. Private research is not affected. Neither is state funding.

  24. sorry, we’re actively working against potential therapies and cures for your condition. don’t be mad, you haven’t been blessed with this condition because you deserved it, but so that the work of the lord can be shown through you! your inability to control your bodily functions while maintaining full consciousness of your failing organs and incontinence, as well as the heavy burden you are becoming to others; can be a lesson and inspiration to us while we’re out playing football!

    so turn that painful involuntary rictus upside down! you’re doing god’s work!

  25. Haven’t seen the ad in question, but it’s certainly in the Dems’ best interests to insinuate that Republicans are against all funding of all stem cell research. It’s an appeal to emotion and it’s dishonest; in other words, it’s politics in an election year.

  26. Republicans are not “blocking” stem cell research.

    Flyover…I understand the distinction and agree with you that it could be made more obvious.

    But the urgency of that point is lost by the fact that this is not so much about “blocking funding of research” as it is “blocking federal funding of it for religious reasons.”

    I don’t wish to get into an argument or dicussion about whether or not the Gov should be funding research. That one gets beat to death quite regularly already on this board.

    But the fact that plenty of other research already is funded by the government takes some of the air out of just why your distinction is all that important in the first place.

    To whit, if the government is going to fund scientific research, not funding it for religious reasons deserves some scrutiny.

  27. sorry, that trite tirade contributed nothing to the debate.

  28. jf–
    Here is a story of success and failure with embryonic stem cells. However, as was noted when I found out about this research, X-Rays use to cause all sorts of tumors as well until they did the research to better understand how to use them safely.

  29. jeff,

    without reading the article I think you bring up a good point. However, I was talking about the (seemingly) large number of people who seem to take as the TRUTH(!) that embryonic stem cells are going to cure everything from cancer to the cold.

  30. madpad,

    You wrote: “To whit, if the government is going to fund scientific research, not funding it for religious reasons deserves some scrutiny.” You are right. As a libertarian and a Catholic and decidedly no anti-science, I find the issue very personally challenging. I try be fastidious (may not be exactly the right word) about not forcing my religious belief on other people via the government. However, that is a challenge when my tax dollars are used for activities that are against religious beliefs.

    I honestly don’t personally have the answer, I just want the debate to be honest, not the demagoguery offered up by political advertising.

  31. The furious rants about how dishonest it is to describe a ban on federal funding as a ban on research look even worse for having appeared immediately after three very convincing, informed explainations of how a federal funding ban effects researchers.

    No no no – we’re not banning SUVs. We’re just banning SUVs on any road that has received federal funding for construction or repairs. Stoop misleading the public! Moron Dems…

  32. Personally, I don’t find the argument that the ban is based on religious beliefs terribly convincing.

    A principle doesn’t become wrong, or even necessarily a religious intrustion into government, because people are motivated to support it by their religion. The abolitionists were Bible-beating loonies; did that make a ban on slavery a violation of the wall between church and state? Every anti-war movement in our nation’s history has had a large religious contingent – would it be an unwarrented religious intrusion to end a war for the sake of saving lives, just because the people urging you to do so are motivated by their religion?

  33. “Rush. Rush. It’s Marvin – your cousin, Marvin Limbaugh. You know that new soundbyte you’re looking for? Well, listen to this!”

  34. To further my not so serious metaphor, the ban on SUV’s would also include roads that were repaired or constructed with equipment that was previously used on federally funded repairs or construction jobs. 😉

    All politics are local/personal and I am personally affected by Parkinson’s and therefore, am pretty adamant in my support for research. So, please excuse me of my excesses, but don’t accuse me of being either a Democrat or a Republican.

  35. Rush…you’re my density.

  36. Fox apparently didn’t take his meds before appearing before Congress a few years ago so he would look all shaky and extra Parkinson?s like when he testified. That is pretty gross and dishonest if you ask me. By pulling that stunt and then making the ad, Fox was pretty much asking for Limbaugh’s cheap shot about not taking his meds.

    The whole thing is sleazy and reduces a pretty tough moral choice to propaganda. The proponents of government funded stem cell research ought to please explain what research is going to be funded and how it is going to help and why they are on the right side of the moral dilemma rather than trotting out some poor sick guy to tell us that if we vote the wrong way Alex Keaton will die a horrible death. Limbaugh of course should leave the sick alone and just said that he is sorry that Fox is sick but that government stem cell funding isn’t going to help him and that he is sorry to see someone exploited like that instead of being a jackass. Both sides make me sick.

  37. joe,

    You’re arguing with the voices in your head again. I haven’t read any furious rants on this thread.

  38. Michael J. Fox is a decent guy who is hugely popular with every day Americans. There is tremendous good will and sympathy for him with the public since he has been stricken with Parkinson’s. He has every right to make a campaign commercial.

    Limbaugh and his imitators will only do damage to themselves if they continue to belittle and impugn him. It reveals them for what they are. They don’t seem to have the common sense to stop, either.

  39. This discussion about whether or not Fox should have to be on his meds is interesting but off the point. From what I understand, Fox’s uncontrollable temors are not the result of going off his meds; they are a side effect of the meds themselves. Without the meds, Parkinsons causes a creeping loss of mobility that ultimately results in paralyis. The severity of the tremors is variable from day to day–some days are better than others–but grow worse over time as more of the meds build up in the user’s system.

  40. Flyover, I’m neither libertarian (just libertarian-leaning) or Catholic (though my wife is and we attend a Catholic church) but I am a serious Christian. Here’s my perspective.

    Put aside for a moment that Heaton & Company trot out a bunch of psuedofacts and half truths to defend their positions.

    Forget that they insert “cloning” and ‘women getting paid for their eggs’ as morally indefensible when the morality of those issues is still being sorted by the public.

    What I think it really telling is that Heaton and Caviezel (sp?) (who are ardent Catholics) are joining in the fray for largely religious reasons…yet they don’t mention that anywhere in the ad. “God” has been all over this argument since it began but Hollywood stars can’t front their fath in him to support their position

    Interesting that it’s ok to castigate an afflicted spokeperson for not taking his medication but we give a pass for religious spokepeople hide their religion.

    So who’s worse, Hollywood liberals who piss off conservatives…or Hollywood Christians who are afraid to mention Christ.

  41. For those of you against the government funding. What about a compromise. The government will not fund the stem-cell research; however, whatever labs are currently available, the government does not prevent them from being used by the embryonic stem cell researchers so they do not have to build and stock entirely new labs.

    Also, what about the ban on new stem cell lines? Are those illegal to generate for any reason or just illegal in government funded labs? The story I linked to earlier indicated the stem cell line could have possibly been part of the problem.

  42. John, honey? The “shaking and all Parkinson like” is a [i]side effect[/i] of the meds. Unmedicated Parkison’s patients are characterized by rigidity, small termors, glacially slow movement, posture instability. In short, had Fox been off his meds — he’d have looked much worse, and in the exact opposite way.

    One day, I have high hopes of you actually getting something right. But I’m an optimist that way.

  43. John writes: “Fox apparently didn’t take his meds before appearing before Congress a few years ago so he would look all shaky and extra Parkinson?s like when he testified. That is pretty gross and dishonest if you ask me. By pulling that stunt and then making the ad, Fox was pretty much asking for Limbaugh’s cheap shot about not taking his meds.”

    You do realize that Parkinson’s is a progressively debilitating disease, don’t you?

    Given that, the way he looks off-meds is likely to be how he will look on-meds in a few years. Saying “he’s not that bad” is kinda sick when, in fact, he *is* that bad, and is continuing to get worse.

    So why not give the public an unvarnished, authentic view of what the disease does to a person?

  44. Sorry I’m late to this party but Michael J. Fox isn’t the only one being used for political purposes. Let’s say you had two ways of advancing science, the first has a proven track record of say 80 practical applications, less potential for bad side effects and most people don’t find offensive and/or undermining humanty.
    The second method has only been proven to be eratic, promised to cure everything, and mostly being used to win political elections and steal money from taxpayers many of whom find it offensive. Hmmm! Which might be the right way to go. If you haven’t guessed I am discussing adult stem cell and placenta cell reseach with embryonic stem cell alchemy.
    Why do you so called libertarians loved being used as a political footcall for the Democrats.

  45. “That’s a small shift, but Republicans who were already five feet under don’t really need anything else pushing them further into the dirt.”

    Yes they do. They also need to be staked through the heart, and decapitated. Don’t believe me? Just look at how many Watergate and Iran-Contra revenants returned for the Bush administration.

  46. “I’m a Christian, I enjoyed The Passion, but watching Jim Caviezel say “you betray me with a kiss” in Aramaic made it hard for me to hold down my soda. ”

    That was wacked. Who thought *that* would be a good idea?

  47. “A principle doesn’t become wrong, or even necessarily a religious intrustion into government, because people are motivated to support it by their religion.”

    Jesus, Mary, and joe, I would never think that you would throw in with the fundies.

    We are supposed to be a SECULAR society, hence the hallowed separation of church and state. When we debate about rules and laws, there should never be any supernatural elements introduced as arguments, or even motivations. If supernaturalists somehow happen to be right, they are still wrong (by their flawed reasoning, or lack thereof).

    Another gripe of mine: The fundies are, as usual, being totally dishonest when arguing that stem cell research is somehow “junk medicine” that wastes money. They are only upset because mucking around with microscopic glops of cells makes the baby Jesus cry.

  48. John writes,

    “The proponents of government funded stem cell research ought to please explain what research is going to be funded and how it is going to help and why they are on the right side of the moral dilemma…”

    With charts and graphs. Maybe an overhead projector. Lots and lots of statistical analysis and background science would be nice. You know, sort of like how John himself used to argue in favor of the Iraq War.

    I think the use of imagery with emotional resonance is wholly inappropriate in a political campaign. You never see Osama bin Laden shaking when the Republicans put him in an ad.

  49. Fox apparently didn’t take his meds before appearing before Congress a few years ago so he would look all shaky and extra Parkinson?s like when he testified.

    I wish people would stop parroting this ignorant shit. It’s the meds themselves that cause the tremors. Someone not on their meds tends to seize up in a kind of paralysis.

    So the facts are the complete opposite of this particular right-wing spin.

    I also find it interesting that G.O.P. apologists seem to think that shakiness and loss of control can be micromanaged so well with the available medication. If that were the case, we wouldn’t even need a cure for Parkinson’s. Everyone would be able to function just fine whenever necessary.

  50. MNG,

    Show me where supernatural elements are being brought into this debate.

    The Bible has a prohibition against stealing. Ergo, nobody gets to argue that we need laws against theft?

    A secular society is not one in which people are arguments are suppressed merely because of their connection to religious teachings. A secular society is one in which ideas and people are taken on their merits without reference to religion.

    This is neither the Soviet Union nor France, and we don’t reject people or ideas just because of their provenance.

  51. Rick H.

    Actually, Fox admitted in his book that he stopped taking his meds before appearing before Congress.

    Oops.

  52. Rick H:

    I think the Republicans are totally imploding on this particular issue. It’s okay to be an asshole at times, as long as you have a leg to stand on. But mocking a dying man, and being factually wrong while doing so… they’re fucking themselves big time. And they apparently don’t even know it.

  53. jf:
    If you read Michael J. Fox’s book, perhaps you can tell me if he says he did that to make himself spazz out. Because, as I stated, that is medically counterfactual.

  54. A principle doesn’t become wrong, or even necessarily a religious intrustion into government, because people are motivated to support it by their religion.

    I agree, but right or wrong isn’t really the point. To some on this board, goverment funding of science is wrong. Period.

    Religion was used to justify slavery as well as denounce it…and religion has been used – as it is now – to justify war as well as denounce it.

    Religious motivations are arguably a part of American life and it’s politics. But it’s one thing for religion to motivate the puruit of justice. It’s quite another for religion to frustrate the search for truth and knowledge.

    And so we’re here with religion and science fighting it out in the marketplace of ideas. Our warriors? A former sitcom actor, an overacting putz who thinks he’s the second coming, some sports figures and a drug-addled loudmouth all aligned against one very shaky – but sympathetic – all-American star who arguably defined the 80’s. And who happens to be from Canada.

    Hooray for our side.

  55. the Republicans are totally imploding on this particular issue….mocking a dying man

    Well, a few well-placed Republican idiots are making noise over the Fox ad, but “Mock Parkinsons Sufferers” is hardly a plank in their platform. One has come to expect this kind of nonsense from the far-right yak shows. But as far as I know, Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity et al aren’t running for office.

  56. Pro Libertate:
    I don’t think there is too much to worry about if there is a Democrat takeover of the government. If it is true, as the GOP echos, that Democrats flip-flop according to the latest polls, they’ll be about as ineffective as a split government. Instead of there being a split between the executive and legislative, there’ll be a split between those who want to study the issue, and those who want to debate the issue.

  57. One has come to expect this kind of nonsense from the far-right yak shows. But as far as I know, Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity et al aren’t running for office.

    If you’re actually trying to assert that these guys don’t have an impact, the ice is cracking ‘neath your feet, ed.

    Neither Bush nor Cheney impugned John Kerry’s service. It was the Swiftboaters and the right wing media kept playing it up. Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity carry water for the party saying and doing things they know the politicians can’t get away with.

    Yes, the left has their handmaidens and Hollywood liberals are a large part of that. But check out “Michael J Fox” on Google News. Every single blogger has a piece on it. Tucker Carlson is on it. It’s way more than “…a few well-placed Republican idiots making noise.”

    A lot of influential blogs and other suspects are playing this one up.

  58. madpad,

    “To some on this board, goverment funding of science is wrong.”

    That’s a completely different argument, one that I haven’t addressed. Why say that to me?

    “Religion was used to justify slavery as well as denounce it…and religion has been used – as it is now – to justify war as well as denounce it.”

    Which reinforces my point – there’s no purpose to letting the religious provenance of an idea get in the way of judging it on its merits.

  59. jf writes: “Actually, Fox admitted in his book that he stopped taking his meds before appearing before Congress.”

    So?

    Presumably he wanted to demonstrate the freezing up, semi-paralytic quality of Parkinsons, not an increase of shakiness.

  60. Lamar,

    I was just tossing in a hypothetical remark. I think we’ll stay divided or all-GOP until the Democrats figure out what they’re all about and deliver a coherent policy message to the electorate. I’m not picking on them entirely, because being the minority opposition party tends to push you into being the anti-majority party more than anything else. With at least some part of the government in their hands, I think they’ll start figuring out what their 21st century message really is.

  61. Michael J. Fox “defined” the 80s, madpad?
    I thought cocaine did that. Although Fox did do a movie about a coke-head. But we digress. I’m not saying there aren’t influential Rebublican journalists and yak-show hosts. I am saying you can’t paint all Rebublicans with a broad brush from the looney-right’s bucket. I would even suggest that most Republicans would not push an old lady down a flight of stairs. That would make me a contrarian on this board.

  62. joe…you’re getting awful confusing.

    One gets the impression that you read just enough of a post to get surly and then attack everything in sight.

    I frequently agree with you – and essentially did here, though I chose to quibble over a fine point.

    I even tried to offset with a little light (very light, I’ll admit) humor. Still you get grumpy.
    Your posts have gotten much more irritable over the past few weeks. Wassup?

  63. I would even suggest that most Republicans would not push an old lady down a flight of stairs.

    However, if she turned out to have been in the path of a S.W.A.T. drug raid, I’d expect to hear some excuses.

  64. madpad,

    I believe that joe is in election mode. Once the elections pass, he will return to normal. He might even criticize a Democrat or two 🙂 Or shove an old lady down the stairs in the spirit of bipartisanship.

  65. I would even suggest that most Republicans would not push an old lady down a flight of stairs.

    I thought that was part of the G.O.P. initiation.

  66. States were black mailed in to lowering there drinking age by the federal government. Some states held out because they had revenue sources that said “Hey Feds get bent” but when those streams dried up back to the tit they went and complied. The problem I have is this. If you rely on your fix from your dealer and he starts making demands of you because YOU have made him the only game in town. Then You are at fault. I think this is healthy. If the researcher’s could become independent then this issue wouldn’t exist. The problem with government in Washington is they have to much power. We give them that power. Then collectively interest groups not getting there turn at at the tit complain when they exercise that power. Until the government gets out any WELFARE payments to anyone, the argument is always going to boil down to a zero sum game of who do you think deserves the tax payers money and why. So as the cultural mood swings there goes the money. Wouldn’t it be great if we had tax dollars in our pockets and as citizen we could INDIVIDUALLY give to causes. Now if the Federal government made the research Illegal then I would join your fight. But that is simply not the case. Christ are you people libertarian in here or what?

  67. I believe that joe is in election mode.

    Aaaahhhhh. He is more passionate than most. Even more passionate than Randian (BTW…where IS Randian these days?) Anyway, I can see that. Thanks for the ‘splainer there, ProLib.

  68. Rich H. and Jon H.

    From today’s National Post

    In his 2002 autobiography, Lucky Man, Mr. Fox wrote about deciding to go “off” his Parkinson’s medication before testifying before Congress about the potential for stem-cell research.

    At the time, he said he wanted to show lawmakers the reality of Parkinson’s, a progressive nervous system disorder that leaves victims unable to control their body movements.

    Are we clear now?

  69. States were black mailed in to lowering there drinking age by the federal government.

    I thought they were blackmailed into raising it.

    Christ are you people libertarian in here or what?

    Some are…some aren’t. Some are here to dance. Some just like the music.

  70. madpad,

    I’m not grumpy. Text on a screen is such a harsh medium, maybe my last comment came across as grouchy without my realizing it. But I wasn’t snapping at you, just responding.

  71. I happen to support stem cell research. I also don’t see anything wrong with Michael J. Fox not taking his meds to illustrate (to Congress or the American people in a political ad) the point that he’s dying and that the Republican candidate opposes research that could help people like him survive and live longer, happier lives.

    Philosophically and ethically, I do think that the taxpayer shouldn’t be funding ANY medical research, but since there’s going to be medical research on the taxpayer’s dime then stem cell research should be part of it because it is (apparently) among the most promising possible avenues for curing many serious ailments.

    The fact that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot who says crappy things about people for political purposes shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    The guy is a total jackass who is famous because he’s loud and has a deep voice. I cringe when he nominally agrees with me on something and I sigh with relief when he doesn’t.

    Because it’s always better to have the dumb guy loudly disagree with you, in my experience than it is to try to differentiate between your sane, logical reason for X and someone like Rush’s bat-shite crazy rationale.

    So in this instance, I’m glad to see Rush disagrees with me. It’s easier to explain why Rush is wrong than the difference between my position and Rush’s opinion when he manages to find something he and I actually agree on.

    (Caveat: Any “agreement” is usually been due to radically different lines of reasoning… if you can actually swallow your pride enough to refer to a Rush position a “line of reasoning”).

  72. JF: Everyone understands your point. In fact, if you read Fox’s testimony before Congress, he made it crystal clear he was off his meds and that his current state was the reality of Parkinson’s.

    The problem here is you’re not listening to anyone else. The way Fox was on the ad in question — right now, not years ago before Congress — is how one looks ON THE MEDICATION.

    This isn’t rocket science. If Fox weren’t taking his medication, he would look total different. The symptoms most people associate with Parkison’s (the massive shaking and spastic movements) are the result of the medication used to control the disease.

    To make it even more clear: Watching the ad was 100% proof he was on his meds. Without his meds, he would be physically incapable of the rapid movements Rush was mocking.

  73. Gotcha, joe. It’s cool. I was just getting a little concerned there.

    Text on a screen is such a harsh medium,

    Man, I know what you mean. I don’t want to come across as inferring anything about you with what I’m about to say. I’m not…so don’t infer it.

    But I used to could be a real dick on this (and other) boards when I posted. I would go back and read my stuff the next day and go “wow…what a jerk.” I work very hard at trying to be aware of that. It’s hard, sometimes.

    You think if guys like Limbaugh weren’t making millions of dollars with sycophants up their butts telling them how great they are, they might be prone to that sort of self-examination?

    Nah…me neither.

  74. jf writes: “Are we clear now?”

    No, we aren’t, because you haven’t demonstrated whether the effect Fox wanted to show to Congress was jerky, semi-paralyzed limited movement, or the rocking and shaking from the recent commercial.

    The meds have an effect. The disease has a *different* effect. Which effect was he demonstrating for Congress?

  75. Morat20,

    I’m not even on that point. Rob H. launched some bizarre blast claiming that the accusation that Fox wasn’t on his meds when he went before Congress was some sort of right-wing propaganda. I thought it went without saying that Limbaugh’s current accusation was disgusting and wrong, but now I’ve explicitely said it.

    Jon H,

    Fox talked at that time about how when he had to wait before taking his next dose he couldn’t even hold a newspaper steady in order to read it. He knew exactly what effect he was going for, and he got it if you watch video of his testimony.

  76. Sorry, I meant Rick H. Didn’t mean to get your name wrong twice, Rick.

  77. madpad,

    Thank you for catching that error. I absolutely meant raise the drinking age. As for libertarians in here, I know there is a mix (I like Joe and yourself. You and Joe spark lots of debate with out to much trolling to do it) in this blog. My problem is with the people who are normally very libertarian but who are tearing after republican policy using a decisively non-libertarian argument.

  78. “””Fox apparently didn’t take his meds before appearing before Congress a few years ago so he would look all shaky and extra Parkinson?s like when he testified.”””

    There is no such thing as “extra Parkinson’s like”.

    If your testifying about a disease, what’s wrong with showing them the disease untreated? The whole point of him being there was so they could get a first had look at what having the disease was like, not to show how well the treatment works.

    Rush is wrong, and unfair in his statements. Not becuse of his opinion, but because he used an argumentive fallacy. He made a statement, then said if he was wrong, he would apologize. By doing this he shifted the burden of proof about his statement from him to Fox. Rush’s stance is that if you can prove him wrong he will apologize.

    Anytime anyone makes a statement the burden of proof lies with them. You are obligated to prove your point. The other person is not obligated to prove you wrong.

    Rush’s stance is that if you can prove him wrong he will apologize.

  79. The debate over stem cells is deliberately obfuscated by politics, and it’s pissing me off.

    Adult stem cells are an interesting and successful treatment for multiple conditions, and research is currently active along these lines to open more. It’s good science, and good medicine.

    Embryonic stem cells cause uncontrollable tumors. This means, terminal cancer… unless, like with all cancers, you successfully cut, burn or poison all of it out. No research anywhere has shed light on how to control this process, since we don’t remotely understand the complex processes that cause the cells to differentiate and STAY differentiated.

    The news never highlights this difference. The average person doesn’t get told about this difference. All they get told is that the government is suppressing “stem cell research” and therefore suppressing cures.

    I’m personally convinced it’s the pro-abortion, life-is-cheap side of left-wing politics that is behind the push for embryonic stem cell research. Combined with a healthy and almost universal ignorance of the facts, they hype peoples’ emotions to demonize ANYBODY who wants to treat embryos as potential babies instead of “tissue.”

    Since the people who object to abortion do so on moral grounds… it’s a way to erode any absolute morality into the desired relativism(sp?) where anything goes. This leads to apathy which allows people whose only concern is POWER to take control of our government and our lives.

    There, I think I successfully covered the RANT and CONSPIRACY sides of a newbie’s first post… how’d I do?

  80. I’m sorry guys, but has anyone mentioned that Limbaugh APOLOGIZED within a few minutes of saying that Fox was faking, right after he was corrected by his research people? He then whent on to say that he still thought Fox might have withheld his meds to make a point and that he would “bigly apologize” if proven wrong. I don’t defend the guy, but come on, it seems most people are talking about something here that they didn’t even listen to.

    Also, I understand embryonic research is important, but to my understanding, the greates applicable medical advances with stemcells have come from adult stem cells by a huge majority. Is that not the case? I honestly don’t know, so if I am wrong, correct me, but that’s what I’ve read.

    I think the Formerly Fat One (Limbaugh) was harping primarily on the point that Fox is trying to make this particular issue about stem cell research, but the legislation in question is about CLONING which is aligned, but not the same issue, and the FFO thinks that this is misleading the ill into thinking that a cure is around the corner.

    Could we all just stop being pissy and talk in a rational tone while we are at it? I mean, for real, there are a lot of talking heads to dislike, but let’s look at what’s actually beign talked about (and in context please) and not join in the sheeplike pursuit of soundbites like the rest of the world. We’re better heads here.

  81. By the way, as far as I can tell, embryonic stem cell research is publicly funded and taking place in Europe. Can’t the U.S. just for once be the free riders here (I’m thinking of prescription drugs that are developed here but cost more for Americans than Europeans, as one example)?

  82. If you contract a major, or terminal disease, don’t take an antibiotic or chemotherapy. Die. It’s your god’s will, and, after all, science never gets past the hype. Childhood leukemia is as incurable today (90+%) as it was during 1956 (death sentence).

    A message to those troglodytes who believe in so-called Creation Science and other Dark Age voodoo. Good riddence to your gene pool. Bye bye!

  83. I’m sorry guys, but has anyone mentioned that Limbaugh APOLOGIZED within a few minutes of saying that Fox was faking, right after he was corrected by his research people?

    It was reported that he apologized, but there’s no record of him actually doing it. If you can find a quote of him apologizing, I’d appreciate it.

  84. [Rick H.] launched some bizarre blast claiming that the accusation that Fox wasn’t on his meds when he went before Congress was some sort of right-wing propaganda.

    I went back in the thread to see if I was off-base or unclear. Nope.

    My point was exactly as Morat20 stated. Your original spin (I did not say propaganda, as I consider this more a case of muddying the ethical waters for partisan advantage) was, and I quote:
    Fox apparently didn’t take his meds before appearing before Congress a few years ago so he would look all shaky and extra Parkinson?s like when he testified. It’s pretty much the same thing that Limbaugh bleated: That not taking your Parkinson’s medicine will make you all shaky like.

    I did not deny the going-off-his-meds-for-Congress statement. I said that it wouldn’t have made Fox shake. Please simply admit that you and Rush are wrong on this oh-so-minor point.

    Jesus. I have a headache.

  85. rob:

    Your comment about Rush Limbaugh pretty much sums up my reaction to the guy. When he was a fresh voice years ago I enjoyed the show, but his blind, unwavering support for the Iraq debacle has really alienated me and makes me question his honesty and intelligence. He had me fooled for a while. The ugly rant he made yesterday about Fox being off his medication might be the last straw, he’s turned mean, almost vicious.

    madpad:

    You are right that too many sycophants kissing his ass has prevented him from seeing himself objectively, or even engaging in self-examination. I also agree with you and joe that opinions or humor can easily be misconstrued when posted on a blog.

  86. Embryonic stem cells cause uncontrollable tumors

    If that’s the case then I expect that the research will be short lived. I still see no reason for it not to be conducted.

    I’m personally convinced it’s the pro-abortion, life-is-cheap side of left-wing politics that is behind the push for embryonic stem cell research.

    That’s funny because it appears that the banning of stem cell research has something to do with the pro-life position.

    I wish the government didn’t fund scientific research, the arts, or a whole host of other things. If they’re going to fund these things then they should hold their nose and do it. Otherwise get out of the business of funding these things.

  87. Rick H,

    That was John, not me, who you quoted there. I responded to your response, and for the record, the meds that Fox was taking at the time of testimony, once again, were to control the tremors. At the stage Fox is at now, the meds he is taking prevent the paralytic states, but he is at a different progression of the disease than 4 years ago as well.

    I’m only using what Mr. Fox has said himself about that time, and in no way do I defend Rush Limbaugh’s comments regarding the advertisement.

  88. Has anyone actually listened to Limbaugh’s show this week or read the transcripts? Talk about dishonest and sloppy arguments: whether you tolerate or hate him (because I can’t imagine many on HnR loving him), at least don’t mischaracterize what he said. He never mocked Michael J. Fox as a sufferer of Parkinson’s, and it’s been established that Fox has altered his regimen for political impact.

  89. “Could we all just stop being pissy and talk in a rational tone while we are at it?” – damon

    Limbaugh has to go first. When he can stop being pissy then I’ll stop being pissy about him. But without that approach, I don’t think the guy’s show would last. (See also Stern, Howard).

    “I mean, for real, there are a lot of talking heads to dislike, but let’s look at what’s actually beign talked about (and in context please) and not join in the sheeplike pursuit of soundbites like the rest of the world. We’re better heads here.” – damon

    Normally, yeah. But Limbaugh, like Ann Coulter or on the other side Al Franken and Michael Moore bring out the worst in people. It’s their livelihood. Why should I give in to the temptation to deprive them of that?

  90. 1. The government funds X
    2. Libertarians don’t like government funding
    3. Therefore, If you support funding X, you’re not a libertarian
    4. If you’re not a libertarian, your position doesn’t merit any substantive argument.

    Please, people, stop with this tired and tiring argument. Please engage the issues individually rather than falling back on some all-encompassing dogmatism.

    I’ve seen so many good arguments on this thread about why cutting public funding for *any study using new stem cell lines* will create a de facto ban on this type of research. Somehow, I haven’t seen a single rebuttal of any of these points by the crowd that keeps recycling the above — “you’re not a real libertarian” — argument. Moreover, where were you guys with the “libertarians dogmatically don’t support anything related to public funding” when the Iraq war was on the table? Do you really not believe in the concept of an economic public good, per se, or is it just stem cell research that’s got your goat? And by the way, libertarianism isn’t a religion, and seeing as this magazine is titled REASON, mindlessly toeing some mythical libertarian line isn’t going to impress anyone.

    There, now I feel much better.

  91. Chris S. – Exactly! I’ve tried to say that on a few other threads with similar approaches, but you just did it better the first time than I did on the third attempt. Thanks!

  92. I’m personally convinced it’s the pro-abortion, life-is-cheap side of left-wing politics that is behind the push for embryonic stem cell research.

    Well, I’m personally convinced it’s the anti-abortion JEEZus-is-my-president side of right-wing politics that is behind the push to ban embryonic stem cell research…and Plan B…and sexual education…and the HPV vacine…and erotica…and gay marriage…

  93. some guy,

    I saw Rush say what he said on the air:

    Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He’s got Parkinson’s disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it’s purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has….this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting, one of the two.

    While he said this, Rush jerked his body around in a cartoony exaggeration of Fox. I don’t think that means he was necessarily mocking Fox, but what he did say was despicable enough. No one needs to mischaracterize it.

    Oh, and I don’t hate Rush because of his loyalist, statist politics. I hate him because he’s a liar and an asshole.

  94. jf:
    Alright, I’ll admit I got overly pissy and lumped you in with John. If someone were to confuse me with John, I would consider it unforgivable. It’s just that when I’ve been reading a lot of people using the exact same talking points, my knee starts jerking. It must be the meds.

    However, you did throw in that self-satisfied “Oops.” up there, which really sent me off to the races.

  95. (BTW…where IS Randian these days?)

    Afghanistan. (Or thereabouts. Or on his way there.) His reserve unit got called up.

    (He announced this at another forum.)

  96. Rick H,

    For what it’s worth, immediately after hitting the post button I regretted the “oops” because I knew it would be taken that way, and I’m a lover not a fighter. At least when I’m on my meds.

    And John does occasionally bring up some good points, as do all the obvious partisans (I don’t think we need to name them, but there are quite a few clowns that only parrot the Dem line or the Repub line), but yeah, I definitely don’t want to get mixed up in that. Probably most of all right now, where here in Ohio it’s nothing but contests between Giant Douches and Turd Sandwiches all the way down the ballot.

  97. Fox has stated he wasn’t off of his meds. Considering the evidence that Fox didn’t take them before for effect was Fox, that’s all we hav to go on. Outside of that statement, how does one prove that he was or wasn’t on them? Rush made the accusation, the burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused.

  98. The realities as I understand them:

    a) Many Republicans _are_ against all funding (public and private) for embryonic stem cell research. However they are currently just fighting the federal funding battle.

    b) Democrats _are_ making it seem like the current discussion involves a complete ban on funding for all stem cell research when they know that isn’t true. Big surprise, that’s politics.

    c) When Michael J. Fox does a PSA for Parkinson’s he’s due the kid gloves treatment. When he interjects himself in a political election in an advertisement, he’s fair game. No different from Jim Brady. No different from Jesus Caviezel (sp?)

    d) I’d still do Patricia Heaton.

    e) Hell, who am I kidding I’d still do Michael J. Fox.

    f) Part of the problem with direct federal funding of specific research is highlighted here. One would think that there are better ways to direct finite research dollars (from any source) than being subjected to these political footballs over and over again. Maybe other ways wouldn’t be perfect either, but it’s hard to imagine them being less efficient.

  99. Libertarianism is not a Religion. I agree! It is an ideology. It has tenets. Lets say I am a progressive. I go onto a progressive forum that except for the Trolls, and the occasional well thought out decenter from the middle or right, I basically read about either:

    A:) Agreement and outrage about something.
    B:) Heated debate about the meaning or action needed to some outrage or policy.

    Low and behold I come in to read my favorite site and there is this post about taxation of the rich that has the majority of the people saying “Hey to equalize it out we should reduce government and tax everyone low and then we would have an egalitarian system” Now being on a Progressive site I might find that a bit disconcerting. Reason can be used to make all kinds of arguments. But it usually boils down to this in politics. Do I want more freedom or more state control. And last I looked I saw “Free Minds and Free Markets” on the cover as well as the magazine being called Reason.
    It is reasoning from a stated point of view (All reasoning is). So when I see from people who usually think from this point of view taking an opposing point of view not for the sake of reason but for politics, then yes I am going to call them on it.

  100. Afghanistan. (Or thereabouts. Or on his way there.) His reserve unit got called up.

    Really, Stevo? =(
    Thanks for the info. Good to know.

    That, and the firefighters dying in the Cabazon fire, and seeing Rush Limbaugh mocking someone with palsy on the morning news, are making this a day to “just get through somehow”. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

    They seem to be leaning towards arson, BTW, for the Cabazon wildfire. Big surprise there. Fuck. Just, fuck.

  101. Many Republicans _are_ against all funding (public and private) for embryonic stem cell research. However they are currently just fighting the federal funding battle.

    Again, that simply is not a “reality”. Republican politicians are against embryonic stem cell research purely as a vote grab. If this was a principled fight against an increase in federal spending I would back them 100%, but considering all the other shit the Repubs find worthy of funding (Iraq War, anyone?) the actual reality is that principles have nothing to do with this, but votes do.

  102. damon:

    I turned my car radio off in the middle of the show, so I didn’t hear Rush apologize. That shows SOME class, but I still think he came down too hard on the kid.

  103. “The only actual successes that I am aware of have dealt strictly with use of adult stem cells. I believe I have even seen some research indicating that embryonic stem cells create tumors in the patient, whereas adult and cord stem cells do not.”

    The problem, as I understand it, is that the embryonic stem cells tend to cause auto-immune reactions, whereas a body is far less likely to reject cells from it’s own tissue. That’s why so far they’ve had more progress with adult stem cells because they can just take them from the person in need.

    The problem, as I understand it, is that the embryonic stem cells are potentially more valuable because they (for lack of a better word) are more malleable and can be adapted to a whole bunch of potential situations.

    The auto-immune problems with embryonic stem cells is where the cloning issues come into place. I believe the idea is that you can theoretically create an embryonic clone of a full scale person, and harvest it for its stem cells if needed and reduce the chances of auto-immune problems.

    I could be way off on all of this, but that’s how it was explained to me, and the politics makes it hard to discover the truth beyond that.

  104. Just to correct something, the reactions I mentioned above are called “immunogenic reactions” that’s what causes the tumors.

    I knew I’d get something wrong.

  105. “Again, that simply is not a “reality”. Republican politicians are against embryonic stem cell research purely as a vote grab.”

    That’s Republican politicians, not Republicans. If Republicans themselves didn’t care, there wouldn’t be any votes to grab.

    I’m also guessing that there are problem some Republican politicians who believe much the same that their constituency does, so I think it’s not necesarrily true that it’s always. simple vote grabbing.

    Besides my point was that while they are currently fighting federal funding, it’s doubtful that their constituency wishes to stop there.

  106. Buckshot, if you’d have kept your radio on, you still wouldn’t have heard him apologize, because he never did. If he does, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  107. Again,

    In a perfect world, both parties would stop pandering to these wackos. As it stands, the Republican Party courts the anti-abortion wackos, and the Democrat Party courts the pro-union anti-free-trade wackos. I agree that there are some Republican politicians that truly believe that the world would be better without embryonic stem cell research (just as I’m sure there are Democrat politicians who truly believe that the world is better off without free trade [see:my new Senator, Sherrod Brown]), but hey, I guess that’s politics.

  108. Fox has stated he wasn’t off of his meds. Considering the evidence that Fox didn’t take them before for effect was Fox, that’s all we hav to go on. Outside of that statement, how does one prove that he was or wasn’t on them? Rush made the accusation, the burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused.

    Actually, that’s false. Off his meds, Fox is physically incapable of being that twitchy. (Parkison’s causes rigidity, relax tremors (totally different in style), and slows down movements significantly. He could NOT act that shakey off his meds.

    On his meds, he’s going to be that shakey. Did he exagerate it? I rather doubt it — the meds result in a loss of fine motor control. Trying to act like it’s worse would probably knock his ass out of a chair.

    That’s kind of the whole point — the claim he was off his meds is ludicrous, given the nature of Parkinson’s. Claiming he’s faking the shakes — or making them worse than they are — is also ludicrous. The medicine that induces those shakes makes it too difficult to control your muscles to do that.

  109. Oh, God, I just got the headline.

    David, you are a bad, bad person! Very bad!

    Heh.

  110. Thanks for the post about Randian, Stevo.

    Damon, regarding Rush’s apology, being pissy and what not, hey…I’m all for it. But I’ll put the discussion on this board over anything that happen’s on the Rush Limbaugh show any day of the week.

    What do you say about a guy with a $325 million dollar contract making fun of Fox’s shaking – not even his disease mind you…but the symptom – rather than provide a real forum for the issue.

    Now I don’t know about you, but I expect a little more from someone who is held (and holds himself) up as someone with “talent on loan from God.” Making fun of a guy with Parkinson’s shaking is on par with 4th grade schoolyard bully stuff.

    So remember you’re talking about the guy who helped set the tone for the past 15 years and made ridiculing people personally more important than discussing the facts of an issue.

    This board is miles above his tripe.

  111. “(BTW…where IS Randian these days?)
    Afghanistan. (Or thereabouts. Or on his way there.) His reserve unit got called up.”
    Well. My opinion of him was off, and has gone up.
    I will endeavor in the future to try to ….um, I dunno. He sets himself up sometimes.
    Well, if anyone here gets a APO for him, please post it. Ill send him socks & stuff.
    damn. Well, I hope he fares well and can sometimes send Dispatches from the Front.
    Please pass along my best wishes, Mu

  112. Wow, Randian is headed to SWA? Sheesh. Every Army guy I know has now rotated to either Afghanistan or Iraq more than once – even guys I only know via electrons.

    “I don’t know about you, but I expect a little more from someone who … holds himself) up as someone with “talent on loan from God.” – madpad

    Of course, obviously Rush didn’t get a very large loan to start with, and he’s been paying that loan back all these years, so he probably doesn’t have much left! (Sorry I couldn’t resist the cheap shot…)

  113. beautiful, rob…and don’t get me started on the half of his brain tied behind his back.

  114. Political facts as we know them, regardless of the ethics of the stem cell debate:

    -Michael J. Fox, increasingly the Democrat activist, releases an ad for McKaskill, then Cardin, in late October, a.k.a. 4th quarter October surprise season

    -Fox has admitted in a book and in interview that he went off his medication to make a dramatic effect during Senate testimony before a subcommittee

    -Limbaugh is highly suspicious of this ad, states that Fox is either “off his medication or acting”

    -Pundits at large have shitfit about Limbaugh’s insensitivity, disregarding all the trash talking over the years from major left-wing figures about chronic disease sufferers such as Heston and Reagan

    -Here at Reason, certain posters express their apoplectic indignation at Rush’s meanspiritedness, who of course have never listened to 5 minutes of his show in the spirit of free minds and independent thinking

  115. So…in the spirit of “free minds and independent thinking” you’ve declared yourself to be someone who eats shit, thinks just like 13 million other idiots and idolizes a guy who makes fun of the handicapped.

    Good goin’ there, dude. You’ve obviously got something over the rest of us.

  116. …a guy who makes fun of the handicapped.

    Hey, thanks for ignoring a point made several times on this thread, and on countless blogs across cyberspace.

    And thanks for reacting!!!

  117. …thanks for ignoring a point made several times…

    And that point would be?

    That he didn’t make fun of Michael J Fox? (wrong…he did)

    That he apologized? (So what? Doesn’t change the fact…if he apologized then he obviously knows he did something wrong)

    That because Fox dared to support a candidate he’s fair game? (Again, so what? How does that make ridiculing his ailment something admirable and worthy of respect?)

    As for ‘reacting’, how exactly would you characterize your post?

  118. Good. But people who change their positions after watching a 30-second TV commercial should all be dragged out into the street and beaten, then shot between the eyes and left to rot. Such easily influenced people are a danger to democracy, liberty, and freedom.

    Yes, changing your mind and rethinking your positions are good things and signs of intelligence, but not if due solely to viewing a 30-second TV commercial, particularly one which seeks not to inform, but rather solely to appeal to emotion.

  119. Wrong, he didn’t. He was making the point that cloaking oneself in this victim status didn’t innoculate Fox from the slings and arrows of partisan politics, and questioning Fox’s intentions and actions, seeing that the ad was factually inaccurate and curiously timed. I’m amazed how people on Reason see Fox as this poor little aggrieved victim, fighting for medical research, and not the political tool he is. As for my reacting, I actually couldn’t give a fuck one way or the other. I just like to get a rise out of those with apparent leftist sympathies and disingenuous partisanism. For that matter, I’m not even a conservative Republican, much less a troll. Frankly I’m a bit drunk.

  120. First…let’s get a little mano a mano out of the way…it’s not a good thing to post on a political blog when your pissed (British ‘pissed’ = drunk , American ‘pissed’ = mad. Either ‘pissed’ – or both, in this case – applies).

    Incidentally, I’ve done it before too. Last time was really embarrasing and I’ve way changed my approach. I take things a lot mellower these days. I suggest you consider same.

    Second…come prepared. If you’d read the thread, you’d know myself and others have already hashed many of the issues your laying out.

    I (see my post at 1:37 pm) and others have pointed out that Fox’s insertion into politics makes him fair game. But regardless of Rush’s point, crude imitations of Fox’s tremors and spasms on camera for all to see qualifies (in my book anyway) as ‘making fun of the handicapped.’

    As for the “poor little aggrieved victim,” I’d hardly call a guy with a foundation that’s (a)raised $80 million dollars, (b)runs consistently in the black and (c)links to their current tax statements as a ‘tool’. But hey, I think Rush is a ‘tool’ so what do I know?

    I read that Fox’s reaction to Rush’s comments was that he was glad people were talking about it. If that’s the mark of a ‘tool’ for you, well…

    Sincerely though, enjoy your drunk-on. If you’re inclined to continue posting – and I hope you do – try doing it sober

  121. Well fuck, madpad, I’m not that drunk, as in I can still muster up a coherent thought and type it methinks. I’m just killing time at Reason and doing online hentai porn puzzles before I rehydrate and hit the sheets. And for the last time, as much as I assume you hate Rush, at least give him equal time on the subject of “crude imitations” before you make assumptions based on what other people post on Reason, or whatever your source was. Hear it from the junkie reactionary blowhard for yourself right here.

    In any case I mightily enjoyed the “advanced buzz” tonight. Or getting pissed, as you prefer.

    Cheers…

  122. as I assume you hate Rush,

    Hate would be a bit strong. But it also might surprise you to know that I was an ardent listener for many years and even interviewed him for the business paper I used to write for.

    In 1990, he was just getting national exposure. I was a lefty but he was a fresh voice and interesting. He was a hell of a nice guy and I enjoyed the interview.

    But a lot of things have happened in the past 15 years. My politics have actually gotten more moderate/libertarinish but also more pragmatic.

    For Rush, though, the gloss has long worn off. I occassionally listen to his show but not like I did. I find him silly and trite.

    It’s fine if you like him and enjoy what he does. He’s, first and foremost, an entertainer and he’s very good at it. But many people take him for gospel when he’s actually pretty light on substance. There’s no real discussion of the issues or alternate views except through the lens of Rush and his “all liberals are evil” schtick. The only people he allows on his show to disagree with him are inarticulate boobs he can make fun of.

    For me it’s worn a bit thin and I’ve grown weary of one-dmiensional conversations with ignorant, Rush devotees who can only chant one chorus of the conservative mantra while convincing themselves they’re smarter than everyone else.

    That shortchanges the conversation, needlessly labels me as something I’m not and turns discussions into a juvenile hate-fest.

    Got better things to do with my time.

    Anyway, have a good evening.

  123. To be proud to be a dittohead says it all. As much as announcing a belief in creationism, as much as thinking that Castro has been good for Cuba, as much as standing by the inept and dishonest Bush administration out of blind loyalty, as much as suggesting that 9/11 was planned and executed by the U.S.. Facts and evidence are secondary to ideology. No argument is good enough because facts aren’t good enough. Loyalty trumps demonstrable truth (and even honor). Whoever disagrees is either a “leftist” or “right wing.” What’s the point in engaging with a person like this? I do it myself, occasionally, and I always wonder why.

  124. Well, there’s no argument that he was definitely more fresh and interesting in the early years. For that matter Howard Stern as well, if you’ve ever been a fan of a slightly different radio format. And I’ll freely admit he wouldn’t last long in a logic 101 class, at least based on his dialogue. I just can’t dismiss the Fox commercial as an innocent citizen who, by golly, just wants to exercise his freedom of expression. No political agenda whatsoever, no sirree. Anyway, a good evening to you too madpad, I suppose I should get some sleep.

  125. I just can’t dismiss the Fox commercial as an innocent citizen who, by golly, just wants to exercise his freedom of expression. No political agenda whatsoever, no sirree.

    I think that the only person out to convince anyone that Michael J Fox is trying to act like he doesn’t have a political agenda – is Rush Limbaugh. Congratulations…you’ve been punk’d.

    I’m thinking that Michael J. Fox is no pollyanna about the politically polarized climate, and that he knows that throwing his support behind Democratic candidates puts him into very caustic territory.

    Did Rush Limbaugh point out that this is NOT the first time Michael J Fox has done this sort of thing? Fox also appeared in television commercials supporting Arlen Spector – a Republican – in 2004.

    From where I’m siting, it appears that Fox is simply concerned about an issue that effects him directly and is interested in supporting politicians of any party who’ll further that. It’s El Rushbo, on the other hand, who’s concerned with ‘disingenuous partisanism.’

    What’s the point in engaging with a person like this? I do it myself, occasionally, and I always wonder why.

    Good point, les. But I hadn’t done it in a while and I felt I needed the practice. Got to try out some new moves. Worked on my game.

  126. I just can’t dismiss the Fox commercial as an innocent citizen who, by golly, just wants to exercise his freedom of expression.

    And there you have it. He’s supporting a Democrat so he can’t possibly be “innocent.” The absurdity of the implications (not to mention the insane paranoia) speak for themselves.

    Got to try out some new moves. Worked on my game.

    You did better than I could have, madpad. And I’ll probably never stop trying every now and then (like, whenever my dad calls to chat, for instance), despite the futility of it.

  127. The words coming out of Fox’s mouth in the ad are substantively dishonest, for instance conflating opposition to embryonic stem cell research into oppostion to stem cell research in general. The ad is baldly manipulative propaganda, but perhaps effective because of its deliberate appeal to emotion rather than reason. It is perfectlly appropriate to criticize Fox in lending his good name to this.

    The question I have for people who object to “religion” getting in the way of science: Do you believe that scientific research should never be encumbered by ethical considerations, or just never by ethical considerations that you personnally disagree with?

  128. If it helps, les, I’ve learned a thing or two about arguing with ‘dittoheads’ et al.

    To begin with, never ridicule your opponent. Always treat them with respect.

    Some watch Hannity & Colmes and think that it’s o.k. to talk down to people, ridicule them or even attack them in social settings. Keeping it polite keeps YOU in control. It also throws them by NOT giving them what they expect – emotional confrontation.

    It also helps break down defenses. This is important because as their opponent, you are a label – liberal or whatever. To have any impact at all, you have to humanize yourself to them and get past the label.

    Another hint: NEVER get into the discussion thinking you’re going to win. NO ONE wins these arguments. You will not change anyone’s mind overnight…but with the right style, you may win their respect AND (possibly) help them to adjust their thinking.

    Next, if their attempt is to bait you, control the argument by focusing on one point they’ll find most difficult to defend. If you can find an internal inconsistency, focus on that. Read my initial response to “dittohead.”

    I focused on the inconsistency of “free thinking” and being a dittohead, and then on Rush’s core action. I even mentioned his ‘eating shit’ in a way that didn’t name call or ridicule (at least I hope I did…he seemed to get the joke.) Each response after that was targeted to one item and dispelling the myth he’d built up.

    He assumed I hated Rush and was ignorant of the show. I showed him that was not the case.

    Next, he talked about Fox playing the victim. I put that one back on Rush.

    Don’t go head-to-head refuting this, that and the other. That’s a fool’s errand. When you score, don’t try to hammer the point home. Sometimes the impact that develops over time is more powerful.

    In the end, if you give them something to think about and leave them in the right frame of mind to chew on it, that’s the best you can hope for. That should be your goal.

    I’ve learned these lessons the hard way. I even lost a friend who became downright impossible to talk to because it always came down to his ultra-conservative views.

    Hope that helps. Good luck with your dad.

  129. The question I have for people who object to “religion” getting in the way of science: Do you believe that scientific research should never be encumbered by ethical considerations

    LOGICAL FALLACY ALERT: Equating ‘religion’ with ‘ethics.’ AND assuming lack of religion means lack of ethics.

    Not the same, mj.

    Much science is practiced by ethical people with varying degrees of religious commitment.

    Much religion is practiced by non-ethical people with varying degrees of religious commitment.

    The converse of both these statements is also true.

  130. Actually, there is a record of him saying he would apologize if proven wrong. Weirdly, another radio host (glenn beck) had the clip yesterday. I couldn’t find the audio, but shockingly, Media Matters has part of the quote, though the earlier chunk is missing:

    Second or third paragraph down

    Later in the broadcast, Limbaugh stated that “I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances.” However, Limbaugh then returned to criticizing Fox, stating that “Michael J. Fox is using his illness as a way to mislead voters into thinking that their vote for a single United States senator has a direct impact on stem cell research in Missouri. It doesn’t, and it won’t.”

  131. If Fox can’t hardly move without his meds, and shakes uncontrollably when he takes them, how is he able to appear so normal on so many TV shows?

  132. “Ya see fellas, if ya ever find yourself cornered with a dittohead, just look him in the eyes all steady like, chant ‘mega-dittoes’ real slow a few times over, and I promise you as the day is long that rascal ‘ll pause, then turn tail and run.”

    I was punk’d madpad? No, you were baited.

  133. dittohead…I was hoping we’d hear from you this morning. Howz yer hangaround? I was dippiing into the martinis m’self last night so I could use some more coffee. As for…

    No, you were baited.

    Hey, whatever gets you to sleep at night, elusive red-tufted. Who am I to steal your bliss on a Friday?

    chant ‘mega-dittoes’ real slow a few times over, and I promise you as the day is long that rascal ‘ll pause, then turn tail and run.”

    Thanks for the tip. They usually turn tail and run when confronted with facts, but that often takes too darn long. Of course chanting ‘mega-dittoes’ tends to make the more well-informed of us quite nausueous so it’s kind of a toss up.

  134. I doubt dittohead has a hangover, he was smart enough to rehydrate last night, what about you, madpad?

  135. And what amazing, impressive facts they were. Fox releases a factually inaccurate ad late in election season (exhibiting dramatic effects from the disease, while he has appeared perfectly fine recently on Boston Legal), we know about his previous PR actions, Rush questions it, people attack Rush. From what I can tell you didn’t even read the link to his defense, or at least you didn’t reference, for someone so bold about confronting the facts. Well this is getting old, and I can’t drink at work, pity.

  136. I doubt dittohead has a hangover, he was smart enough to rehydrate last night, what about you, madpad?

    Same…well-trained ex-bartender here. No hangover but I was in bed at 1:20 and up at 6:20 so I could have used a little more sleep…hence desiring more coffee.

  137. Yes, sleep is the other main component to the hangover free life. Fortunately, I get started early and rarely miss my 9:00pm lights out.

  138. Rush questions it,

    Rush questioning it has never been the issue – at least not the one that I’ve been concerned with. All of the questions Rush/you have asked are good ones and worthy of response.

    And Fox has, arguably misrepresented some aspects, though it pales in comparison to many of the other races across the country. I’m not suggesting Fox should get a pass but I am suggesting that this is hardly the most lilly-guilding of ads and some perspective would be wise.

    Rush making fun of Fox is what I find distasteful and accusing Fox of faking his symptoms I think is uncalled for.

    Rush feigning moral indignation that someone might be misrepresenting facts when it’s HIS stock in trade is a bit of icing on the cake. But I’m not gonna get twitchy about it. It’s the world we live in AND the swimming pool Fox jumped into. I’ve already said Fox is fair game on that accord.

  139. Then it boils down to whether or not one believes he was making fun, or honestly trying to figure out what was going on and misrepresented in the media. Your points are well-taken. That is all, good day. [tip o’ the hat]

  140. Well-said, elusive.

    Personally, I’ve never considered ‘honestly trying to figure out’…well…anything, to be one of Rush’s strong points. And even you have to admit he’s at his strongest – and sometimes damn funniest – when he’s making fun of people. Calling John Kerry “The Frenchurian Candidate”, for example, was downright inspired and a personal fav.

    Anyway, tip o’ the hat back. carry on.

  141. Good point madpad, and I’m not in an obsessed pursuit to have the last word here, but yeah, I didn’t want to imply that Rush was some painstakingly scholarly devotee of the truth as opposed to the irreverent, and often caustic, entertainer that he is. I am indeed very familiar with Rush’s schtick, propaganda, humor, etc. Now I’m waiting to see if South Park ever weighs in on this, as they haven’t exactly shied away from handicapped humor (er, I meant differently abled).

    And by the way, John Kerry also served in Vietnam. ;P

  142. Now I’m waiting to see if South Park ever weighs in on this,

    Oh my God…I hadn’t thought about that but that would be awesome! Something new to hope for. Yippee. You’ve made my weekend.

  143. Rush address how he was wrong. Here’s the link:

    Rush Apology: I Was Wrong. Fox Took Too Much Medication

    Continues to critique peeps for still not addressing the fact that this particular ad is misleading.

  144. Thanks for the link Damon.

    Now, if Rush is going to quibble over ‘acting’ vs ‘faking’ in this context, I think that’s right up there with that “definition of ‘is'” thing that gets trotted out about Clinton.

    In context of impugning Fox’s truthfulness in representing his illness, ‘faking’ and ‘acting’ amount to the same thing.

  145. madpad,

    You’re exactly right and I know all of that in my heart (and usually act on it). It was late and I was grumpy and I shouldn’t have taken it out on dittohead.

    Oh Dittohead! Can you forgive me?

    damon,

    Thanks for the link. What madpad said.

  146. All is forgiven. Apparently I played the role of dittohead quite well. It was fun while it lasted. Y’all have a good weekend…

  147. William Saletan has a thoughtful essay on Rush at Slate.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2152347/nav/tap1/

  148. Thanks for the link, Les.

    I’m not a big fan of Saletan and I was surprised he is not a big supporter of embryonic stem cell research.

    Good article, though. Gave me some things to think about.

    Thanks

  149. Group hug!

  150. madpad,

    As I see it that logical fallacy comes from the people favoring embryonic stem cell research who dismiss opponent’s ethical concerns about said research as “religion” and seem to think that characterization puts such concerns beyond the pale of debate. As most people’s sense of ethics is at least partially informed by their religious beliefs, there’s no clear dividing line between “religion” and “ethics”. My opinion is that tactic uses cheap, substanceless rhetoric to bully your opponents into silence.

    The question remains: should science be unencumbered by any ethical concerns, or just those ethical concerns that you disagree with?

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