Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Help For Hurricane Victims

At times of natural disaster, with lives and property in the balance, politics and partisanship should be set aside. The people along the Gulf Coast are suffering terribly right now. If you feel moved to help, here are some of the charities accepting donations to assist those in need.

American Red Cross
(800) HELP NOW, and (800) 257-7575 for Spanish

America's Second Harvest
(800) 344-8070

Adventist Community Services
(800) 381-7171

Catholic Charities, USA

(703) 549-1390

Christian Disaster Response
(941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
(800) 848-5818

Church World Service
(800) 297-1516

Convoy of Hope
(417) 823-8998

Lutheran Disaster Response
(800) 638-3522

Mennonite Disaster Service
(717) 859-2210

Nazarene Disaster Response
(888) 256-5886

Operation Blessing
(800) 436-6348

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
(800) 872-3283

Salvation Army
(800) SAL-ARMY, (800) 725-2769

Southern Baptist Convention — Disaster Relief
(800) 462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief
(800) 554-8583

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Lost Children Of Canton, Ohio

About six years ago, PBS produced The Lost Children of Rockdale County, a documentary about teenagers in an affluent Georgia community whose disturbing sexual activities came to light when a syphilis outbreak struck many of the kids. I was reminded of this when I saw this story. A few highlights:

Of the 490 female students at Timken High School in Canton, 65 are pregnant. And according to the Canton Health Department, 104 of the 586 babies born in local hospitals so far this year had mothers between 11 and 19. Nearly 20% of all births were to teenage or younger mothers, and apparently some as young as 11.

I know it's been a long time since I was in high school (class of '88), but what's happened to kids today? In a school of 1200 - 1300 students, we had maybe two or three pregnancies a year school-wide. One out of every 13 girls in this school is with child. Unbelievable!

As an aside, the Timkin High School mascot... the Trojan.


An intern flight instructor and his teacher belly-flopped a Georgia Aviation Technical College plane onto the runway at the Eastman-Dodge County airport when they forgot to lower the plane's landing gear.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

We've Got A House

Shannon and I have been looking for a house for a few months, and we've finally found one. We've signed the contract, got the financing taken care of, and now we're waiting to close. That's scheduled for about five weeks from now. Woo hoo!

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Telling It Like It Is

A handful of heroes - American troops stationed in Iraq - got the upperhand on NBC's Matt Lauer on yesterday morning's Today Show. Lauer tried to play up the angle that troop morale in Iraq is low. He seemed shocked when the soldiers contradicted that idea. Then, they seemed to shake him a bit when asked why Americans might think otherwise.

Captain Sherman Powell: "Sir, if I got my news from the newspapers also, I'd be pretty depressed as well."
Lauer: "What don't you think is being correctly portrayed?"
Powell: "Sir I know it's hard to get out and get on the ground and report the news, and I understand that, and I appreciate that fact. But for those of us who've actually had a chance to get out and go on the patrols and meet the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police, and go on patrols with them we are very satisfied with the way things are going here and we are confident that if we're allowed to finish the job we started we'll be very proud of it and our country will be proud of us for doing it."
Those are the words of a soldier who is there, day in and day out, and knows the real story.

I think the real question is how they stay positive and motivated when they know the national media in this country, along with the libs and many in the Democratic party, want to see them fail.

Cindy Sheehan: "Nuclear War In Iraq"

This woman has lost some hold on reality. During a rally at San Francisco State University earlier this year, Sheehan delivered a profanity-filled diatribe about President Bush and the war, including this comment...

"We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now."
Up to a point, sorrow and grief will excuse mad rants. Cindy Sheehan has long since passed that point. She's losing it, and we're all seeing it happen. Sad...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Challenger To Durbin in Illinois?

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin isn't up for re-election until 2008, but there's already talk about just who the GOP might run against him. Sounds like a good candidate is being mentioned. Remember the name John Shimkus.

Hometown News

Thought this was a neat story. Takes place in my hometown, and involves the company my Mom works for...

Milliken Taps into Landfill Methane
The manufacturer will purchase 80 percent of gas generated.
by Mairi Beautyman
Interior Design - August 15, 2005

Methane gas emitted from the community landfill in LaGrange, Georgia will help carpet manufacturer Milliken replace 30 percent of its natural gas consumption. The gas harvesting program, initiated by the City of LaGrange municipality, launches next month.

"Methane burns cleaner and greener," says David Beard, Milliken's director of energy resources. "We looked at solar energy and other sources, but only methane had the power output comparable to natural gas."

The manufacturer will purchase 80 percent of the gas generated. According to the city, revenues from the program will offset property taxes, in addition to reducing methane released into the atmosphere. U.S. landfills are the largest source of methane worldwide.

"There is no downside for the community," says According to Patrick Bowie, director of utilities for the City of LaGrange, "industrial customers will have a source of green energy and the city is using the landfill space much more efficiently."

Over the past two decades, Milliken has eliminated use of PVC, introduced the market's only closed loop carpet process, and achieved zero waste. Last year, the manufacturer received Cleaner and Greener certification.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Time For Cindy Sheehan To Pack Up And Go Home

James Taranto, from the WSJ's Best Of The Web, sums up the Cindy Sheehan situation so well...

The Sad Story of Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan suffered a grievous loss for a noble cause: Her 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died in combat in Iraq. Because of this, it seems churlish to criticize her. But enough is enough.

Sheehan has been camping out a few miles from President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, staging a protest that has received extensive media attention. Her demand: a meeting with President Bush. "I want to ask George Bush, 'Why did my son die? What was the noble cause that he died for?' "

In fact, Sheehan has met with President Bush, as her hometown paper, the Reporter of Vacaville, Calif., reported in June 2004. At the time, although she clearly held antiwar views, she pronounced herself pleased with the meeting:

Sincerity was something Cindy had hoped to find in the meeting. Shortly after Casey died, Bush sent the family a form letter expressing his condolences, and Cindy said she felt it was an impersonal gesture.

"I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis," Cindy said after their meeting. "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith." . . .

The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.

For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.

For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again.

"That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together," Cindy said.
That gift seems not to have lasted. The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald reports that Sheehan and her husband, Pat, have separated and that "family members of Sheehan denounced her actions Thursday in an e-mail":
Sent to a San Francisco radio station Thursday, the first public acknowledgment of a family rift came from Cherie Quartarolo, sister-in-law to Cindy Sheehan and godmother to her son, Casey.

Reached by phone Thursday, Quartarolo said she consulted with other family members before releasing the brief statement, but she declined to elaborate. She signed the memo on behalf of Casey's paternal grandparents, as well as "aunts, uncles and numerous cousins."

Noting that her family is still grieving the loss of Casey, Quartarolo wrote: "We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation."

Casey's father, Patrick, of Vacaville, was not mentioned. He has acknowledged that he and his wife are separated, but he has avoided the spotlight that surrounds his wife's high-profile protest.

The family's e-mail, however, said "The Sheehan family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country and our president, silently, with prayer and respect."
What are we to make of Mrs. Sheehan's demand for a second meeting with President Bush? She claims she wants an explanation of why her son died, but she acknowledges that her mind is already made up. This is an excerpt of a speech she gave Monday, as transcribed on the Web site of an outfit called Veterans for Peace, describing how she conceived of her protest (quoting verbatim):
I'm gonna tell them, "You get that evil maniac [the president] out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who's blood is on his hands, has some questions for him."

And I'm gonna say, "OK, listen here, George. #1, you quit, and I demand, every time you get out there and say you're going to continue the killing in Iraq to honor the fallen heroes by continuing the mission; you say, except Casey Sheehan.' "

"And you say except for all the members of Goldstar Families for Peace' cuz we think not one drop of blood should be spilled in our families' names. You quit doing that. You don't have my permission."

And I'm gonna say, "And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for." And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy' I'm gonna say, bulls**t.

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.

Cuz, we're not freer. You're taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country.

You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine

(massive round of applause)

And if you think I won't say bulls**t to the President, I say move on, cuz I'll say what's on my mind.
According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute." So we now have it on absolute moral authority that America is a cancer, that Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein, and that Israel must be destroyed? The question is somewhat facetious, of course; Dowd is not known for thinking through the implications of the things she writes.

Yet thousands of American parents have lost children in Iraq, and thousands more in, among other places, Afghanistan, Germany, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, New York, Pennsylvania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tanzania, Virginia and Yemen, either fighting Islamist terrorism or as a result of the failure to fight Islamist terrorism with sufficient determination. Although these thousands of parents doubtless have a wide range of opinions on the Iraq war and other subjects, we'd venture to say that not many--especially among those whose children were in the military--agree with Cindy Sheehan.

Indeed, we are now starting to see stories like this one, from the Gloucester County (N.J.) Times:
Marine Cpl. Marc T. Ryan, of Gloucester City, was killed in an explosion in Ramadi, Iraq in November.

"I would tell Cindy Sheehan that, as one mother to another, I do realize your loss is your loss and there's nothing you can do to heal from it," said the corporal's mother, Linda Ryan.

"George Bush didn't kill her son, it's the evildoers who have no value of life who killed her son. Her son made a decision to join the Armed Forces and defend our country, knowing that, at any time, war could come about," Ryan said. . . .

"George Bush was my son's commander-in-chief. My son, Marc, totally believed in what he was doing," she said.

Sheehan, she believes, is doing what she's doing because of the agony over losing her son.

"She's going about this not realizing how many people she's hurting. When she refers to anyone killed in Iraq, she's referring to my son. She doesn't have anything to say about what happened to my son," said Ryan.
Losing a child is probably the saddest thing that can happen to anyone. Unlike the death of a parent or a spouse, it is not part of the ordinary course of life. Yet somehow the vast majority of parents who suffer such a loss are able to maintain some perspective while coping with the experience.

That Cindy Sheehan has been unable to do so makes her story all the sadder. But it does not validate the hateful views she is espousing, nor does it make her pain more important than that of Linda Ryan or the thousands of others who have lost a child but maintained their dignity.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Ironic That He Had TRIPLE Bypass Surgery

I know this story has been all over the web for a couple of days, but it's too got to not pass along. From the Globe and Mail...

Three weddings and a funeral?

A lifetime of love, lies and a trio of wives unravelled for Melvyn Reed as he lay recovering from open-heart surgery in a British hospital room, police confirmed yesterday. The 59-year-old bigamist was expecting his wives to visit his sickbed, but he had planned to see them at carefully staggered intervals. Instead, he faced an incomparably awkward moment as all three arrived within minutes of each other.

It began when his second wife, Denise Harrington, 38, walked into the room to find his third wife, Lyndsey Hutchison, seated at his side. Mr. Reed introduced his third wife as a hospital visitor. But both grew suspicious when his first wife, Jean Grafton, 61, strolled in and added to the mounting confusion. The three women then went out to the parking lot to compare notes and found they were all married to the same man.

Mr. Reed, a round, balding used-car salesman, had managed to keep his three wives separate for years...

No Good Deed...

A 75 year-old woman in Connecticut is riding in an SUV that jumps a curb, crashes through a fence and plunges into a river. She's rescued by divers, her life saved. How does she repay this good fortune? She sues the town where the accident occured for taking too long to rescue her. Oh, the driver of the SUV was her son-in-law. He survived. She's suing him too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hate Speech

Linda Chavez looks at the comments made by Harry Belafonte and others at the recent Voting Rights act rally in Atlanta. She calls them "hate speech". Exactly...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lost During World War II, USS Lagarto Found

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A World War II submarine, lost during the final days of the War and presumed sunk, has finally been located beneath the South China Sea. The USS Lagarto, and her crew of 86, were apparently sunk in late April or early May 1945. Families of the crew never knew the fate of their loved ones. But divers found the sub in May in the Gulf of Thailand, and the Navy has declared it a protected gravesite. Divers placed flowers and an American flag on the remains.

More on the Lagarto can be found at this site.

Friday, August 05, 2005

MIT Devises Cancer Smart Bomb

As long as these anti-cancer terrorbots use their powers for good and not evil...

Imagine a cancer drug that can burrow into a tumor, seal the exits and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins, all while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

MIT researchers have designed a nanoparticle to do just that.

The dual-chamber, double-acting, drug-packing "nanocell" proved effective and safe, with prolonged survival, against two distinct forms of cancers-melanoma and Lewis lung cancer-in mice.

The team loaded the outer membrane of the nanocell with an anti-angiogenic drug and the inner balloon with chemotherapy agents. A "stealth" surface chemistry allows the nanocells to evade the immune system, while their size (200 nanometers) makes them preferentially taken into the tumor. They are small enough to pass through tumor vessels, but too large for the pores of normal vessels.

Once the nanocell is inside the tumor, its outer membrane disintegrates, rapidly deploying the anti-angiogenic drug. The blood vessels feeding the tumor then collapse, trapping the loaded nanoparticle in the tumor, where it slowly releases the chemotherapy.

The team tested this model in mice. The double-loaded nanocell shrank the tumor, stopped angiogenesis and avoided systemic toxicity much better than other treatment and delivery variations.

But it is patient survival and quality of life that really inspire this research, Sasisekharan said. Eighty percent of the nanocell mice survived beyond 65 days, while mice treated with the best current therapy survived 30 days. Untreated animals died at 20.

The nanocell worked better against melanoma than lung cancer, indicating the need to tweak the design for different cancers.

Bell Employees Help Toronto Airbus Passengers

Thanks to Girl On The Right for bringing this story to light. Bell Mobility has an office close to Pearson International airport, where an Airbus 340 ran off the runway and burst into flames earlier this week.

As thick smoke billowed from the Airbus A-340 crumpled in a ravine at Toronto's Pearson airport, a team from Bell swung into action.

Their goal: get cell phones and calling cards to the survivors to enable them to tell family and friends they had made it through the terrifying crash of Air France Flight 358 Tuesday afternoon.

"One young girl of about 17 was shaking so much she couldn't dial the phone," said Julia Quinton, Mobility's Associate Director of Communications, who went behind police lines to help in a room packed with about 200 dazed and tired passengers. "She was holding my hand, my arm, so tightly as I dialed. Then I heard her say 'Hello, maman' and burst into tears. I had to struggle to hold back my own tears.

"She said the media in France were reporting no survivors. Can you imagine how relieved her family was to hear her voice?"

That's just one of many stories of the fast and compassionate response from Bell that put 50 cell phones and 500 calling cards into the hands of passengers, crew and emergency workers within three and a half hours of the crash. All 309 people escaped with their lives after their plane ran off the end of runway 24-L after a flight from Paris.
Nice to see a company jumping out to help those in need during an emergency.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Disturbing Judge's Ruling

The ability of law enforcement to go after child predators over the Internet may have just taken a huge hit, courtesy of a federal judge in Kansas City. Jan Helder of Mission Hills, Kansas was found guilty in federal court of trying to entice a minor for sex. He was busted in a Platte County (Missouri) Sheriff's Department sting.

But minutes after the guilty verdict was read, U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple overturned the conviction. He ruled that a conviction under federal law required actually enticing a minor - not enticing a Platte County deputy pretending to be a minor.

Apparently intent has no bearing on guilt or innocence, at least in this judge's eyes. Helder was actively trying to entice a child. Because the "child" he was chatting up was actually a cop, he's not guilty?