Illinois governor should mind his own business
September 20, 2005
Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should mind his own business and the Kansas City Star ought to tell their readers the whole truth about him and how his state views his position on cloning.
Blagojevich, who also supports abortion on demand and forcing pharmacists – against their consciences – to provide the dangerous so-called “morning after pill” to women, has launched an uncouth quest to lure Missouri’s biotech researchers to his state. His self-centered action and reckless disregard for life is repulsive. It also reflects a total disrespect for the economic well-being of the people of Missouri – particularly thoughtful ones who want adult, not embryonic, stem cell research to advance.
Last month Blagojevich sent letters to several leading scientists in Missouri, inviting them to move to his state because it supports embryonic stem cell research (cloning). The Kansas City Star noted Blagojevich’s action in a Sept. 13 editorial, pointing out that Blagojevich had appropriated $10 million to help fund cloning in his state.“Blagojevich sent letters to dozens of researchers, inviting them to work in Illinois, where cutting-edge stem-cell research is not only accepted but subsidized.”
Presumably The Star, like Blagojevich, wants to force Christians and other pro-life citizens to fund cloning. Why else would it fail to tell Missourians that Blagojavich appropriated the $10 million by circumventing the Illinois legislature? What The Star did not tell Missourians is that Blagojevich took a vaguely worded line item for research in the state budget and quietly transformed it into an executive order that provides the money for cloning rather than its intended purpose. “Money that was to be used ‘for grants and related expenses of hospitals and universities for scientific research’ was revealed to be money for stem-cell research, to the surprise of many,” reported The Daily Illini in a scathing editorial criticizing Blagojevich’s action. It should be noted The Daily Illini, an independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois, is anything but a voice of conservatism.
“I think it’s important for scientists and researchers to know how committed Illinois is to stem cell research,” a spokeswoman for Blagojevich told the Associated Press earlier this month. Even The Star could not resist getting in on the act, reporting in a Sept. 14 news story how Illinois offers stem-cell research “plenty of encouragement.”
Missourians should know that Blagojevich appropriated the $10 million only after the Illinois legislature twice rejected attempts to open up debate on whether federal funds should be allocated for stem-cell research. Because of his action many taxpaying Christians and pro-life citizens in Illinois, many of whom see cloning – much less publicly funded cloning – as a moral issue, have had their consciences violated. This is precisely what liberals and the cloning lobby in Missouri want and if Christians in this state do not mobilize in coming months to defeat this diabolical effort, they may well meet the same fate as those in Illinois — or perhaps something even worse.
If Illinois is so pro-stem cell, then why haven’t major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline set up shop there? They haven’t. In fact, the major pharmaceuticals have chosen not to invest their money in a highly speculative endeavor like embryonic stem cell research. You can bet that if embryonic stem cell research held any promise, the major pharmaceuticals would be climbing all over each other to secure patents and prepare for mass production and increased profits.
Blagojevich’s targeting of Missouri’s biotech industry prompted Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt to write counter-letters to the state’s researchers to assuage any temptation to play ball with Blagojevich. Within days of Blagojevich’s letters Missouri’s cloning lobby and news media seized the opportunity to repeat worn-out threats about Missouri developing an anti-science, anti-business reputation. The Star, for example, constantly reminds us about the Kansas City-based Stowers Institute’s repeated threats not to build its $300 million expansion if it doesn’t get what it wants — for Christians to fund their cloning research. Of course the entire pro-cloning lobby, aided by media like The Star, never misses an attempt to threaten Missouri citizens with job losses. One organization that goes by the deceptive moniker of The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures has been quoted by the media as saying that Missouri needs to remove any uncertainty about the state’s position on cloning or face a possible exodus of researchers to other states.
I say it’s more bark than bite.
Missourians should approach such threats cautiously – and so should the governor. There is no guarantee that a move to another state will provide stem cell researchers with any better business climate than the one that exists in Missouri. While California is one of only four states to authorize public funds for the controversial research, its tax-happy attitude and kooky nature frightens businesses, an obstacle repeatedly lamented by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Conversely, with the pro-business Blunt at the helm and a workforce second to none, Missouri is becoming well-known for its business-friendly and high-tech environment. General Motors announced Aug. 2 that despite plans to lay off 25,000 workers worldwide, the Wentzville plant will receive a $30 million equipment expansion due to workers’ performance and Missouri’s business climate. The plant employs 2,580 workers.
“A lot of people talk about making their state or their community a good place to do business,” said Joe Spielman, GM vice president and general manager of manufacturing, in making the announcement. “I’ve got to tell you that this governor (Blunt) has delivered.”
Compare Speilman’s observation of Blunt with what Blagojevich is doing to the pharmaceutical industry in Illinois. He recently signed an executive order requiring pharmacists to dispense the so-called “morning after pill” – even if their consciences dictate otherwise. Consequently, five Illinois pharmacies have filed a lawsuit against Blagojevich for his action.
Meanwhile Blagojevich’s popularity is plummeting among Illinois citizens. A recent statewide poll shows only 34 percent think their state is headed in the right direction. The liberal media continuously tells us how President Bush’s favorable rating has fallen (a recent CBS News/New York Times poll has it at 41 percent). What the Missouri media is not telling Missourians – and what the state’s bio-tech industry had better take note – is that Blagojevich’s favorable rating is at 41 percent. The poll also showed that if former governor Jim Edgar were to run against Blagojevich today, he would beat him by 14 percentage points and among all-important independent voters, Edgar leads Blagojevich by a whopping 56-17 percent.
More recently Blagojevich has been implicated in a widening federal probe into government corruption in Illinois. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Sept. 18 that Blagojevich and two top fund-raisers schemed to steer lucrative state pension deals to investment firms and consultants who agreed to donate to Blagojevich’s campaign, a key figure in the probe claims he’s been told.
The unproved but explosive allegation surfaced in a Sept. 15 federal plea deal by a former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee. The chairman, a Chicago attorney, pleaded guilty to attempted extortion for his role in a kickback scheme the feds say targeted a former state teacher pension board member.
Then there is one other thing about the Blagojevich controversy and the media’s coverage about it that bothers me. The Sept. 13 Star editorial said anti-abortion groups (like Missouri Southern Baptists) “confuse stem-cell research with human cloning.” Southern Baptists are not confused.
The Star’s editorial board is mistaken. Embryonic stem cell research is cloning and destroys life, while adult stem cell research does not. Southern Baptists enthusiastically support adult stem cell research. It is liberal media like The Star that is confused when it comes to its secular view of life versus the Christian worldview of Southern Baptists. For Southern Baptists, Jeremiah 1:5 eliminates any confusion on the matter: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you.”
For Missouri Southern Baptists, that’s “settled law.”