I am sitting here unable to believe my eyes, as I read this from the Associated Press:
"New York authorities are investigating how a convicted rapist was allowed to serve as a foster parent to as many as 50 children before his past was discovered... Nicholas Chaney (search) told WWNY-TV in Watertown that he may have cared for as many as 50 foster children since late 2001 and even adopted a child while living in upstate New York. Chaney said he listed his felony sex crime conviction on his foster parent application form when he signed up in November 2001."
A 17-year-old foster child was removed from Chaney's house last week. Can you believe this? I have covered plenty of horrendous stories in my time, but this one leaves me speechless. Which brings me to a related story: Starting today, if you live in Texas you can sign up to have alerts sent to your cell phone/pager/e-mail/fax to let you know if a convicted sex offender moves into your neighborhood.
The alerts will provide the offender's name, height, weight, address, prior crimes and a mug shot. Some parents may see this as a godsend; but some civil rights groups complain that this alert system unfairly lumps minor offenders in with serious predators. What do you think of it? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday we're also having a debate on “DaySide” with the author of the new book, "Invasion Within: Overcoming the Elitists' Attack on Moral Values and the American Way." Domenick Maglio (search), PhD., argues that elitists are infiltrating our schools, poisoning our religious and cultural beliefs, and are dissolving the structure of families (and our nation). He runs the Wider Horizons School (search) for grades K-12, so he's going on what he sees in his classrooms: He says our children are becoming self-absorbed pleasure-seekers and are being raised to be a society of whiners where no one takes responsibility for their actions. Do you agree with his argument? E-mail me and let me know.
Now, to your feedback on Thursday's show -- a lot of e-mails about the stem cell segment, and the couple who "adopted" a frozen embryo (now their gorgeous 2-year-old daughter). They were adamant that donating unused embryos to infertile couples is the way to go, not donating them to stem cell research.
If the couple who appeared on DaySide found out that their daughter had developed a life-threatening disease which might be cured through stem cell research, would they still be opposed to it?
--Anthony Saunderson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
By far, though, the majority of you who wrote in agreed with the adoptive couple, and opposed the stem cell advocate:
I have M.S. and this type of research will one day benefit me [but] I do not agree with taking a life to benefit the quality of or extend my life. The adult stem cells are already helping people today...
--Todd, New Braunfels, Texas
The stem cell advocate] forgot to mention that there ARE cures being done from adult stem cells. I think the record is 58 so far. On the embryonic stem cells there are 0!..
--S. Russell, Oklahoma
Personally, I think we can do a couple of things right now that can help a number of people without offending anyone. For infertile couples, we should establish a wider system for them to "adopt" unused embryos. By doing this alone, you will save many unused embryos from being discarded.
And in the meantime, we should improve the system allowing pregnant women to donate their cord blood for research. When I had my daughter two years ago, a woman had to go out of her way in my state to donate her cord blood (and cord blood cells) to research. Otherwise, it went in the garbage.
Believe me, when you're in labor, you're not thinking lofty thoughts about saving the rest of mankind -- your mind is on getting that baby out of your belly and into your arms. So that's not the time to make birth mothers decide about donating. Instead, I'd like to see it become the default practice of hospitals around the country to AUTOMATICALLY donate the cord blood/cells to research, unless otherwise stipulated in advance by the mother.
I'm no expert, but it seems like a no-brainer, right? My guess is this would hugely increase the supply of cord blood cells that scientists can study without even stepping into the controversy over embryonic cells.
Finally, on the lighter side, to those of you American Idol (search) fans that are sending me hate mail, for Pete’s sake, lighten up! Don't hate me just because I thought Bo should have won. I'm not saying I'm right, that's just my opinion!
See you all Friday.
Watch "DaySide with Linda Vester" weekdays at 1 p.m. ET
Send your comments to email@example.com.