News and Notables

Guidelines for Stem Cell Research Released

On Friday the Obama administration released the new guidelines for expanded stem cell research. Under the new rules, money will go only to research on stem cells from embryos created for reproduction purposes through in vitro fertilization. According to

"Funding for research using adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells will continue. Funding will not be allowed for stem cells obtained from other sources, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, also known as cloning; in vitro fertilization embryos created specifically for research purposes; and parthenogenesis, the development of an unfertilized egg."

Scientists believe stem cells may hold the cure to ailments such as heart disease, Parkinson's, and diabetes. The revelation of the new guidelines follows the administration's earlier decision to lift the ban on stem cell research.

"We considered the range of ethical issues and we believe this policy will allow substantial research that is ethically responsible and scientifically worthy," said Dr. Raynard Kington, the institutes' acting director. "We believe this is our best judgment now about a reasonable policy at this time."

Kington called this "an important day for science," saying there are reports that up to 700 stem cell lines might be available. And while it's impossible to estimate how many meet the guideline standards, he said, "We believe many of the lines that exist now that were not eligible under previous policy would be eligible under this policy."

Bullying Causes 11-Year Old Boy to Committ Suicide

This is so sad. Another 11-year old boy, this time Jaheem Herrera of Dekalb, Georgia, hanged himself after coming home from a school day of relentless bullying. According the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

After returning home from school, fifth-grader Jaheem Herrera quietly went into his room and hanged himself. His 10-year-old sister, Yerralis, also a fifth-grader, discovered Jaheem’s dead body. 'His sister was screaming, "Get him down, get him down," 'said Norman Keene, who helped raise Jaheem since the boy was two years old.

"Jaheem was bullied relentlessly, his family said. 'They called him gay and a snitch,' his stepfather said. 'All the time they’d call him this.'

"[Jaheem's best friend] said, 'He told me that he’s tired of everybody always messing with him in school. He is tired of telling the teachers and the staff, and they never do anything about the problems. So, the only way out is by killing himself.' "

No child should ever feel their only way out is through suicide. Jaheem's mother, Masika Burmudez, spoke about her son at a vigil held at the family's home.

After a short prayer, Bermudez told friends and parents to make sure their children understand that whatever problems they have “don’t be afraid to talk to your mother.”

"Jaheem asked if anyone would miss him if he wasn’t here,” said Alice Brown, mother of Jaheem’s 10-year-old classmate A.J. “[A.J.] told him ‘He was his friend and he would miss him."

I've already written about the sickening and potentially deadly consequences of anti-gay bullying so I won't go there again. But I think this song pretty much sums up the circumstances of Carl Hoover-Walker and Jaheem Herrara's deaths.