Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Caveat Emptor on CIRM

The headline reads: "California's Proposition 71 may devolve into 'stem cell civil war.'"

But then again it may not, as my onetime boss, George Skelton, then UPI bureau chief in Sacramento and now political columnist for the Los Angeles Times, used to tell me decades ago concerning the use of the word "may."

The headline in question comes from an article by reporter Marc Strassman on California Politics Today.

Strassman has followed Prop. 71 for a very long time, and we are overdue in providing more information on his news and commentary.

Strassman's site is rich with detail about Prop. 71. Here are two sample headlines from his report:
"'Proposition 71 stem cell quagmire deepens as 'egg recruitment' and 'cellular vampirism' issues receive heightened scrutiny" (California Politics Today, November 17, 2005)

"'Stem Cell Wars, Volume 2, Chapter 2: Human Egg Farming--"Can either the free market or altruistic volunteers provide the human eggs needed for hESC research under Proposition 71, or will some form of coercion be necessary?' (California Politics Today, November 20, 2005)"
One of the unique features of Strassman's site is access to his audio and sometimes video recordings of interviews with many of the stem cell players. Strassman does have a skeptical point of view about the California stem cell agency and produces a report that is as much commentary as reporting.

His latest missive carries the headline mentioned in the first paragraph of this story. Strassman's item concludes with the following:

"Given all that's transpired, and been revealed, since California voters bought the deal proposed to them by Robert Klein and his team of lawyers, economists, and bio-medical researchers (largely ones associated with Stanford University), on November 2, 2004, one can only wonder why the ultra-modern bio-medical technology, cutting-edge legal construction, and beyond state-of-the-art organizational structures instantiated in that initiative measure were not more thoroughly subjected to the more ancient, but still relevant, legal and commercial principle of caveat emptor, 'let the buyer beware.'"

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