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Archive for October, 2009

NeoCutis Acknowledges Cultivating Skin Creams from Aborted Fetus

By Jerry A. Kane

A cosmetics manufacturer admits that it is using aborted fetal cell lines in a line of anti-aging skin creams.

NeoCutis, a Switzerland-based bio-pharmaceutical company with offices in San Francisco, is using Processed Skin Cell Protein, or PSP, an ingredient developed from skin cells harvested from an aborted fetus. Some years ago scientists discovered that fetal skin has an ability to heal without scarring.

PSP was developed by scientists at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week male fetus donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland.  They created a process to extract proteins from fetal cells and established a working cell bank to produce the human growth factor with the optimum balance of nutrients needed to restore aging skin.

The company’s website explains the origin of its PSP ingredient, culminating with the assurance that “No additional fetal biopsies will ever be required”:

“A small biopsy of fetal skin was donated following a one-time medical termination and a dedicated cell bank was established for developing new skin treatments. Originally established for wound healing and burn treatments, today this same cell bank also provides a lasting supply of cells for producing Neocutis’ proprietary skin care ingredient Processed Skin Cell Proteins.”

Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, is not comforted by company’s assurance of no additional fetal biopsies:

“It is absolutely deplorable that Neocutis would resort to exploiting the remains of a deliberately slaughtered baby… as though the life of the one child … has no value.”

“What we don’t know is how many other fetuses were involved before they perfected that one cell line. There’s a possibility there were more,” Vinnedge added.

Vinnedge is organizing a boycott of all Neocutis products, beginning with the company’s investors and offering free publicity to companies whose products are not derived from aborted fetal cell lines.

NeoCutis may be contacted by phone 1-866-636-2884, by e-mail info@neocutis.com, or by using the on-line form at http://www.neocutis.com/contact.php.

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BREAKING: Scozzafava suspends NY 23 campaign

From Politico

Republican Dede Scozzafava has suspended her bid in next Tuesday’s NY 23 special election, a huge development that dramatically shakes up the race. She did not endorse either of her two opponents — Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman or Democrat Bill Owens.

The decision to suspend her campaign is a boost for Hoffman, who already had the support of 50 percent of GOP voters, according to a newly-released Siena poll, and is now well-positioned to win over the 25 percent of Republicans who had been sticking with Scozzafava.

Scozzafava has “probably made her last campaign appearance between now and Election Day,” spokesman Matt Burns told POLITICO. “She’s releasing her support to the two other candidates.”

“I had a discussion with her last night, and we made the decision after I spoke with her. We talked about it, what this came down to was spending. It came down to the ability to defend herself from the get-go. And that’s the reality. She was unable to define herself where the people didn’t know her.”

POLITICO has the full story on Scozzafava’s surprise decision here.

Scozzafava’s statement:

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Throughout the course of my campaign for Congress, I have made the people of the 23rd District and the issues that affect them the focal point of my campaign. As a life long resident of this District, I care deeply and passionately about its people and our way of life. Whether as a candidate for Congress, a State Assemblywoman or a small town Mayor, I have always sought to act with the best interest of our District and its residents in mind—and today I again seek to act for the good of our community.

The opportunity to run as the Republican and Independence Party candidate to represent the 23rd District has been and remains one of the greatest honors of my life. During the past several months, as I’ve traveled the district, meeting and talking with voters about the issues that matter most to them, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received as I sought to serve as their voice in Washington. However, as Winston Churchill once said, Democracy can be a fickle employer, and the road to public office is not always a smooth one.

In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be. The reality that I’ve come to accept is that in today’s political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money—and as I’ve been outspent on both sides, I’ve been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record. But as I’ve said from the start of this campaign, this election is not about me, it’s about the people of this District. And, as always, today I will do what I believe serves their interests best.

It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my Party will emerge stronger and our District and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations.

On Election Day my name will appear on the ballot, but victory is unlikely. To those who support me – and to those who choose not to – I offer my sincerest thanks.

Dede

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For the Greater Good

Me And Mengele

By Dr. Dianne N. Irving

As a biochemistry major at the end of my Junior year, I had already had some of my research published earlier, so my department head suggested that I could do something “different” for my senior thesis if I wanted – like medical ethics (bioethics didn’t exist yet!). I thought about it, and remembered being touched by a small book we had read in a Junior year Chemistry Conference Course – courses each student was required to take in their major for their last two years in order to integrate their own special fields or “concentrations” with the other areas of knowledge. Junior year’s course usually took the students through their academic field’s long historical development, and in chemistry we had read a small book by J. Bronowski, a philosopher/scientist/journalist who wrote during and after World War II, especially about the Nazi medical experiments used to achieve eugenics which soon became the focus of the Nuremberg Trials.

Bronowski recalls the time when the bombs had just been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He found himself on a small ferry filled with military personnel who were assigned to observe, study and report the immediate consequences of these bombings as the ferry drifted closely along the Japanese shoreline. He tries to describe the devastation but has profound difficulty finding words that could describe the horrific scene drifting surreally before them. He recalls the strange, piercing, and awkward silence on the ferry stuffed with so many “observers” – all but one sound. From the metal megaphones fixed in the ceilings of the ferry drifted the haunting music of one of the popular tunes of the day, and he was struck by how it captured so perfectly what he was finding so difficult to articulate. The name of the song was, “Is you is, or is you ain’t my baby?”, and as a philosopher of science it had haunted him ever since. The devastation that lay before them had a signature.

And his words had made me stop and ponder about any moral obligations and moral accountability I might have as a brand new research scientist myself. What exactly had taken place in those Nazi medical experiments with human subjects? How could such brilliant scientists and physicians have conceived and carried out such abominable crimes against humanity in the name of “science” and “the greater good”? “Well, they were going to die anyway; might as well get some good out of them”! And given that the first moral obligation of a researcher is that the science being performed on human subjects is as accurate as possible, and performed only by those academically credentialed and qualified [Nuremberg Code], just how did the Nazi human medical experiments measure up to even that initial but critical international moral standard? I would do my senior thesis on the Nazi medical war crimes – even though the war seemed so long ago (!) (This was 1963).

It was difficult for me to narrow my topic for my thesis, and my department head kept forcing me to get more and more selective. For a year and a half I haunted the halls of the Library of Congress, my desk constantly piled high with books, manuscripts, films, etc. Indeed, they were still finding such documents and items almost on a weekly basis, and often the clerk would simply bring me a wicker basket stuffed with the latest items. For months at a time I even watched the hundreds of raw film footage of the Nazi concentration camps that was pouring into the Archives – although I always had to stop at times, because I simply couldn’t take it any more. At such times I would just shut down my desk, grab my coat, and get out of there – arriving back at school with one huge Excedrin headache.

One of those items they brought me in a wicker basket one day was the actual lab book that belonged to Dr. Mengele, along with piles of random photographs taken in his lab of his “patients” during his experiments. [[For some odd reason it is claimed today that no such lab book exists; but it did, as I held it in my hands several times]]. One set of twin experiments attracted my attention – those performed on about three-year old blonde hair, blue eyed Eastern European Gypsy twins. One twin would be held as the “control” of the experiment; the other twin was subjected to serial experiments, designed to mimic wounds of Nazi soldiers in the battle fields.

The twins were kept in cages right in Mengele’s laboratory, just off his office. The cages measured 1  by 1  by 1  meters. During the mornings Mengele would come into the lab to visit with his “girls”; such times he was always dressed impeccably in his suit. He would take the girls out of their cages and bounce them on his knees, asking them to call him “Papa”. But in the afternoons he would come back to the lab wearing his starched white lab coat, and the girls knew then that it was time for more experimenting. He would take one of the twins into a small narrow closet-like space, where he would take a knife and remove more and more of her femur bone in one leg – and then observe. No anesthetic, no pain killers, no antibiotics, no ice, no bandages, no nothing – thus resembling the conditions of the battle field. After he finished cutting the twin’s leg bone, he would simply carry her over to a “stretcher” and let her remain there until she was ready to be placed back into her cage with her sister. The photos of the tiny suffering little girl in that dense and dark “recovery” room, so butchered, and bloody and pathetic, would be etched into my memory for a long long time – a memory that I would carry with me into the rest of my work to come.

After finally graduating, I worked at the bench at NIH (NCI), doing research in radiation biology and in viral oncology, and eventually given a career appointment as a research biochemist/biologist. But I left NIH after 7 years to study the brand new field of “bioethics” — mostly because of the many ethical issues I “experienced” at NIH as a bench researcher, especially seeing the patients there to whom our research was being applied – sometimes ethically, sometimes not so ethically. So I became a member of the First Generationers – the first graduate class to go through the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. This was 1979, one year after the publication of The Belmont Report of the National Commission – fulfilling their Congressional mandate to “identify the ethical principles that the United States government should use in dealing with issues concerning the use of human subjects in experimental and therapeutic research” (National Research Act 1974)! This was the formal “birth of bioethics”, and the “new ethics” would be grounded in the new Belmont bioethics principles of autonomy, justice and beneficence (all quite oddly defined). We First Generationers had no clue.

I won’t go into how utterly un-Catholic, much less unscholarly, we all found this new “bioethics” to be; long, brutal, ugly battles, dirty tricks, and deceptions. All of us graduate students knew that there was something VERY wrong with that “bioethics” picture. But I finally got to the point where I was required to submit my proposal for my doctoral dissertation to the Graduate Dean. At first I was going to do it on the use of human subjects in research; too broad. Since the real uncharted territory was the use of “Group Two’s” in research – i.e., human subjects who were particularly vulnerable and thus needed stricter legal and ethical governmental protections – I finally narrowed it down to the MOST vulnerable research subjects, i.e., the use of living human fetuses in experimental research (an on-going scandal in the research community at the time). I ordered and studied all of the current international guidelines on fetal research; too broad. How could I get this topic narrow enough for the Graduate Dean?

Perhaps I should do it on human embryo research — a then-uncontroversial issue that was just beginning to get noticed in Australia. I started compiling the bioethics literature on human embryo research that had already started moving into our U.S. bioethics literature. Still worried that this too was too broad a topic, I immersed myself into these articles to identify an even narrower issue. It was about three o’clock in the morning; I was blurry-eyed, when I finally came to the journal writer’s conclusion after a very long, contorted and flimsy argument as to why “surplus” IVF human embryos could be “ethically” used in destructive experimental research – for “the advancement of science” and for “the greater good”. His final statement nearly made me leap out of the couch – “Well, they are going to die anyway, so we might as well get some good out of them”! Good God! Where had I heard THAT before!? Years earlier. No, I just couldn’t bear to go there again, too complicated; somebody else would have to do it. NOT ME! I slammed the journal closed and shot up to bed to get a few hours of sleep before I had to catch a plane the next day for Minnesota.

I had earlier received a call from bioethics guru Art Caplan. He was organizing the first-ever conference on Bioethics and the Holocaust, in Minnesota. He had remembered that I had told him one time about my earlier thesis on the Nazi medical war crimes and especially that I had bought films about the Holocaust from the National Archives – could he borrow them for the conference, etc.? If I could help him with this, he would be sure to get me into the by-invitation-only (and heavily guarded) conference. [[You can hear the various presentations at this conference, available from http://www.chgs.umn.edu/educational/confAudio.html%5D%5D.

So there I was in Minnesota, sitting in the audience after already three of five days of this amazingly tense conference. Oddly enough, the Holocaust — like abortion — was one issue that we bioethics students were not allowed to talk about in class, nor was it ever addressed in the rapidly bulging bioethics literature, so I was eager to attend this conference dedicated to such a “verboten” issue in bioethics. The fellow on my left turned out to be a German Lutheran pastor. While a young boy he remembered how his house’s back yard backed up to the woods near Bergen Belsen, and he recounted to me so sadly how often they would see sick, tortured, bone-bare starved, often naked escaped prisoners wandering fearfully, desperately and aimlessly through those tangled woods. Sometimes the local people would sneak them food and water, but they too were terrified to be caught giving aid. Those memories of his boyhood were also etched into his memory as well – so much so that it was the major reason why he became a pastor, and why he had traveled all the way from Germany to attend this unique conference in Minnesota.

The very tense program had consisted of researchers, bioethicists, and Holocaust victims taking turns presenting their arguments as to why the data which resulted from those horrific experiments should or should not be used now to help others. Of course, the Holocaust victims who presented their arguments were in total agreement that such blood-tainted data should not be used. They were getting older and grayer now, sometimes barely able to hobble to and from the microphone, but powerfully persuasive speakers. One researcher, who for two days argued vehemently that the data should be used, walked up to the microphone again this day and began his same drill yet again. So we were totally astonished when, right in the middle of his paper, he stopped, became very silent, put his head down, shook with grief, took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeve, and laid bare the various tattoos from Dauchau on his arms! No, he recanted, he was so sorry, he just couldn’t do it, he must change his argument and agree with the other Holocaust victims that such data should not be used!

As he pathetically apologized and slumped off of the stage, the next Holocaust victim slowly limped with great effort to the microphone to present her own arguments. I noticed at once that she was so young – how could she have been a Holocaust victim and yet be so young? She didn’t even look Jewish. The blonde, blue-eyed victim began her speech. At the very young age of about 3, she and her sister had been used by Mengele in his infamous twin experiments. Her sister was the “control”; she was the “patient”. Mengele kept them in cages right in his laboratory, just off his offices. The cages measured 1  by 1  by 1  meters. During the mornings Mengele would come into the lab to visit with his “girls”; such times he was always dressed impeccably in his suit. He would take the girls out of their cages and bounce them on his knees, asking them to call him “Papa”. But in the afternoons he was come back to the lab wearing his lab coat, and the girls knew then that it was time for more experimenting!

I really thought I was hallucinating! I literally felt my body sinking right straight through the seat of my chair, even down through the hard wooden floor itself, and below. I grabbed the leg of the poor German pastor on my left to keep me from free-falling through to the basement – it was HER! This was the pathetic little girl I had done my biochemistry thesis on, whose photo of her tortured pain-wracked tiny body had been etched on my brain since those days long ago in the Library of Congress! It just couldn’t possibly BE! But it was. I listened to her entire presentation, almost mouthing the words before she could even say them. The kind pastor understood; I had told him my story the afternoon he had told me his. “Go meet her”, he insisted, “You must”! So trembling, and somehow deeply embarrassed and oddly mortified, I waited for her on the steps of the building as she came out. As soon as I (rather awkwardly) explained things to her she completely lost her composure, and the two of us just sank down onto the steps together and talked and cried for quite a while. My little Gypsy girl now has a name – Susan Seiler Vigorito. The final title of my doctoral dissertation at Georgetown was, A Philosophical and Scientific Analysis of the Nature of the Early Human Embryo (finally defended university-wide in 1991).

I realize now that the war has never really ended; nor has the quest for “eugenics”. What could not be accomplished on the battle field is now being accomplished behind locked doors in laboratories around the world. And I ask myself on a daily basis now Bronowski’s piercing question, “Is you is, or is you ain’t my baby?”

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Pelosi Health Care Bill Blows a Kiss to Trial Lawyersby Capitol Confidential

From Big Government

The health care bill recently unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is over 1,900 pages for a reason. It is much easier to dispense goodies to favored interest groups if they are surrounded by a lot of legislative legalese. For example, check out this juicy morsel to the trial lawyers (page 1431-1433 of the bill):

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

So, you can’t try to seek alternatives to lawsuits if you’ve actually done something to implement alternatives to lawsuits. Brilliant! The trial lawyers must be very happy today!

While there is debate over the details, it is clear that medical malpractice lawsuits have some impact on driving health care costs higher. There are likely a number of procedures that are done simply as a defense against future possible litigation. Recall this from the Washington Post:

“Lawmakers could save as much as $54 billion over the next decade by imposing an array of new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, congressional budget analysts said today — a substantial sum that could help cover the cost of President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s health system. New research shows that legal reforms would not only lower malpractice insurance premiums for medical providers, but would also spur providers to save money by ordering fewer tests and procedures aimed primarily at defending their decisions in court, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, wrote in a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).”

Stay tuned. There certainly many more terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad provisions in this massive bill.

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Social Security Reform

By Harris Sherline 

Assumptions are not facts.  They’re guesses.  Sometimes right on, sometimes way off or somewhere between.  But, when it comes to Social Security, regardless of the accuracy of the assumptions used in the various forecasts, the reality is that the system is going broke.  The question is not “if” but “when.”

Start with the fact that the Social Security administration does not have any funds in trust or investment accounts, such as stocks, bonds, savings accounts.  The entire system is actually a giant Ponzi-type pay-as-you-go scheme that takes the payroll taxes of those who are still working and distributes it to retirees. Individuals who hustle similar dishonest “investments” are sent directly to jail without passing “Go,” but it’s OK for Congress.

 “Any surplus is not saved or invested for pensioners.  Those funds are borrowed by the federal government to pay current operating expenses and replaced with government bonds…..the federal government lends itself the excess in return for an interest-paying bond, an IOU that it issues to itself……The funds are not invested for the benefit of present or future retirees.”  (Source: Retiring With Dignity: Social Security vs. Private Markets, William G. Shipman, The CATO Project, August 14, 1995).

What a brilliant idea, having the government borrow money from itself and issue IOUs to itself, promising to pay it back later.  But wait, doesn’t the money all come from the same pocket, the taxpayers, right?   If you’re confused by this, don’t fret, you’re not alone.  The entire setup is nothing more than a giant shell game:  now you see the money, now you don’t, which shell is it under? 

Our Social Security program has worked to this point because money has been coming in faster than it has been going out.  But that’s about to end.  Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post (2005), noted that in 2018 the “pay-as-you-go system starts paying out more (in Social Security benefits) than goes in (in payroll taxes)…But because the population is aging, in 13 years [now 9 years] the system begins to go into the red.”  At that point, Social Security will only be able to pay 73% of “promised benefits” to retirees.

If you’re not yet convinced that Social Security is going broke, here are some stats worth considering (Source: Retiring With Dignity: Social Security vs. Private Markets, William G. Shipman, The CATO Project, August 14, 1995):

 

  • In 1935, when the Social Security Act was adopted, life expectancy at birth was 64 years; in 1995 it was 75.8; today it’s over 78.
  • The birth rate was 3.56 in 1950, 2.0 in 1995 and is currently something less than 2.0.
  • There were 16 workers for every Social Security recipient in 1950; 3.3 in 1995, and the ratio has been projected at less than 2.0 in 2030.
  • In 1937, the maximum Social Security Tax was $60 on $3,000 of income.  Today, it’s $6,621 on $106,800 of income, over a 10,000% increase. (NOTE: Remember, the employer matches the employee’s contribution)

 

These numbers clearly demonstrate why Social Security is going under: people are living (read collecting benefits) longer, and there are fewer workers paying into the system to support each retiree.  In about 20 years, less than two workers are expected to be paying into the system to support each beneficiary, compared to 16 in 1950.

It doesn’t take a math major or a Ph.d to recognize that the program can’t be sustained without making some drastic changes.

Furthermore, Social Security was not really intended to be a retirement program.  The politicians who devised the program in 1935, including FDR, knew perfectly well at the time that most Americans wouldn’t live long enough to collect any benefits.

The United States is not alone in being confronted with the dilemma of a failing national pension system.  It’s a universal problem, affecting all the European nations and Russia, among others.

One solution might be to drastically reduce benefits for all social security beneficiaries.  How much no one knows, but it could easily be a third or more.

Another alternative is to increase the retirement age, which will slow the rate of outgo, although that will ultimately not be enough of a fix.  Raising the age of eligibility (to 67) is already being phased in.

A third possibility is to raise taxes, dramatically.  Hardly an attractive option. Or, the government could borrow the money to cover the shortfall, which currently adds up to something in excess of $17.1 trillion, an astonishing unfunded liability. 

Of course, the problem could be fixed by reducing other government spending.  However, since the discretionary portion of the federal budget is relatively small, it would mean significant cuts in other expenditures, such as defense, education, highways, energy, welfare, or the host of so-called “entitlement” programs. 

Not very likely.

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So-Called ‘Death Panel’ Measure Survives in House Health Bill

From AP

WASHINGTON — It’s alive.

The Medicare end-of-life planning provision that 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said was tantamount to “death panels” for seniors is staying in the latest Democratic health care bill unveiled Thursday.

The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death.

For years, federal laws and policies have encouraged Americans to think ahead about end-of-life decisions, and make their wishes known in advance through living wills and similar legal documents. But when House Democrats proposed this summer to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling, it touched off a wave of suspicion and anger. Prominent Republicans singled it out as a glaring example of government overreach.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, at the time a lead negotiator on health care legislation, told constituents at a town hall meeting they had good reason to question the proposal.

“I don’t have any problem with things like living wills, but they ought to be done within the family,” he said. “We should not have a government program that determines you’re going to pull the plug on grandma.”

Thursday, the sponsor of the provision said the barrage of criticism may have actually helped.

“There is nothing more basic than giving someone the option of speaking with their doctor about how they want to be treated in the case of an emergency,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. “I think the outrageous and vindictive attacks may have backfired to help raise awareness about this problem, which is why it’s been kept in the bill.”

The legislation would allow Medicare to pay for a counseling session with a doctor or clinical professional once every five years. The bill calls for such sessions to be “completely” voluntary, and prohibits the encouragement or promotion of suicide or assisted suicide.

The counseling provision is supported by doctors’ groups and AARP, the seniors’ lobby. It was not included in health care bills passed by two Senate committees.

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Secular Jews, such as Larry David, who inhabit the Hollywood hills, live timidly in abject fear of retaliating Muslims, and, yet are bold and brazen when it comes to degrading Christianity and humiliating Christians.

David understands that Christian bigotry is the only acceptable form of bigotry allowed in America, so he can exercise his hateful prejudice without fear of serious repercussions. In fact, he’ll more than likely be esteemed, back patted, applauded, and acclaimed for his “courageous” efforts among the foppish twits and tarts in the “artistic” community.

The epitaph for our country has been written:  They revered Mohammad, they mocked Christ, and they perished.

I am sickened; I am saddened.

I.M. Kane  


 

Would Larry David Urinate on the Koran?

By Jamie Glazov

In a recent Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, Larry David accidentally urinates on a picture of Jesus while he is a guest in someone else’s home. This, in turn, leads to a misunderstanding in which the homeowners think they have a miraculously weeping Jesus.

Some Christians are understandably upset.

Just some thoughts on what this episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm has revealed:

  • Are producers of this show, or Larry David, or anyone else connected to it fearing for their lives right now?
  • Are there Christian groups calling for the death of anyone in connection to this episode?
  • In comparison, let us say, to the Muhammad cartoons riots and death threats, what does this say about Islam and Christianity?
  • Which faith is a Religion of Peace and which one is not?
  • Would the producers of this show have just as easily allowed a scene in which Larry David urinates on a Koran?

He couldn’t urinate on a picture of Muhammad because we all know that making a representation of Muhammad gets you an immediate death sentence. So we have to settle for the Holy Book. But how much does anyone want to bet that this would never be allowed?

Question:

  1. Why in our culture is urinating on Jesus easily permitted but urinating on the Koran is simply unthinkable?
  2. What does this signify?
  3. And why is it that the people who right now are rolling their eyes and saying that Christians should get a life because this is freedom of expression, the same ones who would be up in arms if Larry David had done the same thing to the Koran?

They are the ones who blamed the artists of the Muhammad cartoons for provoking and upsetting Muslims. They are the ones who argue that, when it comes to the sensibilities of Muslims, free speech has limits.

If Curb Your Enthusiasm had an episode in which Larry David urinated on a Koran, they would be on the front lines saying that this is Islamophobia and that we must be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims, etc. It would be deemed as hate speech. There would be lawsuits and the show would be cancelled and David’s career would be over.

HBO has come to the defense of the episode, saying that it is all about parody. Everyone needs to lighten up. So, if Larry David urinated on the Koran, would HBO tell everyone they need to lighten up because it is parody? What does it say that we know for a fact that the latter would simply never happen?

What meaning and lesson do we draw from this?

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