FaithWalk Clothing by William Renae
In today's world and in times past collaboration and partnering has been an instrumental strategy. Partnering helps us to grow, learn, change and exchange ideas. Even the Bible endorses partnering based on the scripture that says, "Where two or three are gathered, I am there."
I want to introduce to you a mother/son partnership, which currently launched a new clothing line. The clothing line is called FaithWalk. The new line is created to encourage others to save themselves and to take control of their own destiny.
Renae Parker Benenson is a Mom, certified Chaplin (spiritual listener and encourager), writer and co-founder of FaithWalk. William Marshall Parker II is a Son, entrepreneur, writer and co-founder of FaithWalk. Together they compliment each other and have found support for their individual and collective growth and development.
They started FaithWalk because they get it. They have figured out that their life is to get better spiritually, emotionally, financially, intellectually and physically it will be because they have prayed to God and believe that the Creator will equip them for the journey and fill them with unfathomable power to be and to do more than they can ever imagine.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
After a BBC reporter failed to get Somali pirates on the phone, her 12-year-old daughter begged for a chance to call them. "Mummy, mummy," she said from the back seat of their car. "I want to phone the pirates." At the end of her rope, the frazzled mother agreed—and soon heard her girl giggling on the phone with pirates on-board the Sirius Star. The next day, the reporter told a BBC producer, who was inspired to call the pirates again.
“We have no life. Our last resource is the sea, and foreign trawlers are plundering our fish,” a pirate said when the BBC called. He added that the crew was in good shape. "They can move from place to place. They can sleep in their own beds, they even have their own keys. The only thing they're missing is their freedom to leave the ship."
Reindeer have found yet another way to give of themselves for our holiday benefit. An Illinois zoo is selling Christmas tree ornaments fashioned from the creatures' droppings, the Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph reports. The small droppings are dried, painted, and incorporated into whimsical designs. The $5 gifts have been dubbed “magical reindeer gem ornaments” by the Miller Park Zoo.
“Each one is unique—they are each a work of art,” said a zoo official, who anticipates the ornaments will be a hit. “We will meet the demand within reason.”
Fraudulent biblical artifacts come a dime a dozen, but reputable archaeologists are turning out to be far less common, Nina Burleigh writes in the Los Angeles Times. The latest example involves an Israeli collector who claimed to have relics from the time of Christ. Declaring the items forgeries, authorities prosecuted the man, but a judge’s doubt could undermine the case and threaten the integrity of the antiquities market.
One archaeologist said he felt the case put archaeology itself on trial. The case also shows that Israeli authorities are unable to spot fakes, writes Burleigh, and the Jewish state’s legal system shouldn’t have the final word on authenticity. Urging restraint, the author adds that "sober and serious biblical scholars need to take steps to shield the public from their more ruthless colleagues.”
Friday, November 28, 2008
The “Associated Press” reported Tuesday that Wayman Tisdale who had a 12 year career in the NBA as a center/power forward had part of his right leg amputated on Monday.
Tisdale who has had a second successful career as a jazz bass guitarist, released a statement on his website that he was having the operation. Tisdale was found to have cancer in his leg after he suffered a break in February of 2007.
Tisdale’s wife Regina told reporters the operation “went well.”
Tisdale played for the Indiana Pacers from 1985-1989, the Sacramento Kings from 1989-1994, and finished his career in the Association with the Phoenix Suns retiring in 1997.
The 6′9” native of Tulsa, averaged over 15 points, 6 boards per game during his career. Tisdale in his statement wrote he expects to tour this fall.
Tisdale wrote “This may sound drastic, but I have put it in God’s hands and now have peace, knowing that this is the best way to put this disease in check.
I have complete faith that with the Lord’s blessings this surgery will eliminate the cancer from my body and I’ll soon be back on the road doing what I do best.”
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Adam Bender is an 8-year-old boy who had cancer as an infant. The tumor that wrapped around his leg forced it to be amputated. But it has not stopped Adam, who competes in all types of sports -- baseball (as a catcher), football (as a quarterback), soccer and wrestling. He even has his own Web site on which he encourages that all children, no matter their ability, have a chance to play sports.
Americans looking at the night sky this weekend will be able to see the three brightest celestial bodies come together for a Thanksgiving reunion, the AP reports. Jupiter and Venus will move closer and appear to be just a finger's width apart by Sunday. By Monday, the crescent moon will appear right next to them, forming a triangle of light not to be seen again until 2052.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Travelers breezed through airport terminals and drivers cruised open roads today, the effects of a sour economy blamed for keeping people closer to home at the start of the annual Thanksgiving rush. Even though gas prices fell and airlines offered last-minute deals, many Americans appeared to be skipping trips this year.
Security lines were less than 10 minutes long at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport, the world's busiest airport, and travelers found parking spots in the front row of the lot at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood. The Automobile Association of America says 41 million Americans were expected to travel more than 50 miles for the holiday, down about 1.5%, or 600,000 people, from last year. Flying is expected to be down more sharply, about 7%.
Churches led the charge against Proposition 8 and gay marriage because of their insecurities over the breakdown of heterosexual families and the consequent rise of independent women, says gay author and devout Catholic Richard Rodriguez. Gays are scapegoats because they—like feminists—threaten "an alternative to the traditional male-structured society."
Churches "want to reassert some sort of male authority over the order of things," says Rodriguez. But their actions smack of hypocrisy. "The real challenge to the family right now is male irresponsibility and misbehavior toward women," he says. "If the Hispanic Catholic and evangelical churches really wanted to protect the family, they should address the issue of wife-beating in Hispanic families and the misbehaviors of the father against the mother. But no, they go after gay marriage."
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Cancer researchers reported a good-news milestone today: Both the number of new cases and the number of cancer deaths are declining for the first time, USA Today reports. Scientists gave most of the credit to a drop in the number of smokers. “By preventing smoking, you can give someone 10 or 15 years,” one of the study’s authors said. Overall death rates are down 1.8% and new cases by .08%.
The statistics about new cases cheered researchers, who had seen almost the exact opposite trend between 1995 and 1999. Still, doctors think death rates and incidence can be much lower. “We discover breakthroughs, but we don't deliver them to everyone," an American Cancer Society official said. “We need to make sure all Americans have timely access to prevention, so the entire population can benefit.”
Alleged victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests can move ahead with a lawsuit against the Vatican, the Wall Street Journal reports. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that the Vatican can be held liable for negligence in the thousands of such cases reported in the US. A Vatican spokesman said it will probably not appeal to the Supreme Court.
It's possible, however, that the Vatican—recognized as a sovereign state—will argue that it has immunity from civil trials, the Journal notes. The court ruled that the church government is liable for actions taken by US bishops who were following church policy. The bishops allegedly tried to hush up the problem and failed to report cases. Catholic dioceses have paid out $1.5 billion in damages, but this decision could open up the Vatican's coffers as well.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Diamond Bar High's Andrew Luk, a 16-year-old sophomore who is blind, is shown through an underwater camera as he prepares for a junior varsity race during a meet at Villa Park High.
Luk is blind, and the fact he has the courage to compete for his high school swim team is emboldening teammates and opponents alike.
Luk's story is more than inspirational. It's a triumph of the human spirit.
Luk joined Diamond Bar's junior varsity swim team last month after much agonizing over what he should do with his life.
At 5, he lost his vision because a 1.1-centimeter tumor damaged his optic nerves. Radiation reduced the tumor's size, but its location on the brain stem made it too risky for surgery, leaving him blind and partially deaf. He can detect light and darkness from his left eye but nothing from his right eye.
As the years went by, he'd swim for fun, but making the decision to join a team was never considered, until last year.
With the urging of teachers and counselors, he enrolled last summer in a competitive swimming program at Mt. San Antonio College run by Jodi Lepp, an age-group instructor for Brea Aquatics.
She taught him fundamentals of swimming competitively, though she had never worked with a blind student before. Through repetition and learning to count his strokes, he figured out when he would be approaching a wall.
Luk joined Diamond Bar's swim team in February. He was a 16-year-old sophomore welcomed with open arms by Michael Spence, a dedicated, always positive veteran coach who has a Santa Claus-like white beard and a "big heart," as one parent put it.
Spence immediately endorsed the idea of Luk competing for Diamond Bar. And he assigned one of his varsity swimmers, senior Lynn Han, to serve as his mentor and personal coach.
Before each race, Han takes Luk by his arm and guides him to the pool rail, where he gingerly drops into the water for competition.
Han is one of two tappers who hold a 75-inch long white pole with a tennis ball fastened at the end to touch Luk as he nears each wall. It's the way he avoids banging his head when he loses count of his strokes.
Han has taught him how to refine his stroke and swim in a straight line within his lane.
In his first race this month, Luk's time in the 500 free was 9 minutes 55.14 seconds. Two days later, his time was 9:32.45. In his next race, it dropped to 8:54.28. The personal bests keep coming, and last week, he practiced for the first time diving into the water, a dangerous maneuver for someone who is blind but important toward improving his time.
Luk lives in Chino Hills. His older sister attends UCLA and is studying to become a doctor. He has two younger sisters, ages 11 and 8. His mother, born in Indonesia, and his father, a native of Vietnam, run a furniture business.
Luk lives in Chino Hills. His older sister attends UCLA and is studying to become a doctor. He has two younger sisters, ages 11 and 8. His mother, born in Indonesia, and his father, a native of Vietnam, run a furniture business.
Luk, 6 feet and 165 pounds, gets around Diamond Bar's campus with the help of a cane. He has a laptop that allows him to translate letters in Braille. He's visited once a week by a mobility instructor and has an aide lookings out for him during the school day. And then there are the many students who admire his commitment to participate in the high school experience.
Luk had a 3.8 grade-point average last semester and is well-versed in a variety of subjects, including politics, music and sports. He plays the piano and listens to countless radio programs. He said he might want to become a journalist because he likes to write and recently won a trip to Spain for one of his essays.
DAYTON, Ohio -- A 9-year-old swimmer is leaving the competition in her wake even though she was born with a crippling disability.
Anna Amend has only one arm and a stunted leg, but that doesn't keep her out of the pool.
She competes for the YMCA in Dayton, Ohio, amazing her parents, coaches and spectators.
"I really liked the Olympics. I watched swimming the most. It was really cool," she said.Anna's parents had adopted her from a
Ukrainian orphanage when she was three, and doctors had told them she would never walk.
The speedy swimmer says someday, she might even go for the Olympic gold.
The Accolade sounds like a typical female rock band: Its members have teased hair and facial piercings, and their clothing shocks passers-by as they tell a New York Times reporter about their new song with lyrics about a failed relationship. But the Accolade’s home base is conservative Saudi Arabia, and its members have turned taboo-breaking up to 11.
Their native city of Jidda may be slightly less strict than other parts of the country—the girls can get away with wearing their abayas open to reveal jeans and shirts underneath—but their music remains underground. If the Accolade starts playing gigs, it’ll have to be inside private compounds. The religious police, while more lenient than a decade ago, haven’t gone away.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
You acquire full power only by realizing that you have been using that power all along to thwart yourself. You are potentially the prisoner, the jailer, and the hero who opens the prison, all rolled into one.
Deepak Chopra, The Book of Secrets
Part of what existence means to me is knowing the difference between what I am now and what I was then. It is being capable of looking after myself intellectually as well as financially. It is being able to tell when I am being wronged and by whom. It means being awake to protect myself and the ones I love. It means being a part of the world community, and being alert to which part it is that I have joined, and knowing how to change to another part if that part does not suit me. To know is to exist: to exist is to be involved, to move about, to see the world with my own eyes.
Alice Walker, In Search Of Our Mothers’ Gardens
Dorothy pleads: "Don't go without me," but the mortal Wizard can only wave goodbye as he floats away - powerless to control it: "I can't come back. I don't know how it works." Dorothy cries: "Oh, now I'll never get home," although her friends wish her to stay. The Lion tearfully tells her: "Stay with us, then, Dorothy. We all love ya. We don't want ya to go." Dorothy loves them too but she is still homesick and depressed for Kansas - her home:
That's very kind of you. But this could never be like Kansas. Auntie Em must have stopped wondering what happened to me by now. Oh Scarecrow, what am I gonna do?
Before he can answer, he points to the Good Witch of the North ("Look, here's someone who can help you") who makes one final appearance. She descends to the ground in her familiar, shimmering, rainbow-hued bubble from the sky. Glinda steps out of the ball of light and kindly tells Dorothy that she has always had the power to go home with the magical power of her ruby slippers, but she had to discover it for herself.
Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Lyman Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
he Vatican forgave John Lennon today for saying the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, Reuters reports. Calling the 1966 remark "a boast,” the Vatican's newspaper said it was made "by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success." The paper also praised the Beatles' music, saying "the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time.”
Islamic authorities in Malaysia issued a fatwa today against Muslims practicing yoga, BBC reports. The chair of Malaysia's National Fatwa Council said Hindu elements are essential to yoga and could destroy a Muslim's faith. "We are of the view that yoga combines physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god," he said, the AP reports.
Some activists and yoga practitioners in Malaysia defended yoga as non-religious. "What next? Gyms?" asked one activist. "Most gyms have men and women together. Will that not be allowed any more?" Today's move comes after two other recent edicts, and parliamentary losses by the conservative Malay Muslims. "They are making a stand," one expert said. "They are saying 'we will not give way.'"
Move over, Rover: Man has a new best friend that is helping to combat two scourges plaguing the developing world. Rats, normally reviled as filthy vermin, are sniffing out land mines and detecting tuberculosis bacteria. "Rats are usually considered pests or enemies of humanity,” said one Mozambican handler, but they’re “helping my country escape the shadow of death.”
The raccoon-sized rodents, which are too light to trip explosives, are cheaper than dogs, less emotionally attached, and are far less susceptible to disease, the Boston Globe reports. In labs, rats evaluate potentially infected saliva samples quicker than technicians. They’re also “really nice creatures” to boot, said the developer of both programs. “They are organized, sensitive, sociable, and smart.”
Surgeons in Cincinnati implanted a prosthetic iris this week in the eye of a 7-year-old boy, the first US child to get one. “It’s just like Mom’s,” said Nathaniel Brantley as he looked in a mirror. “Just like it’s supposed to be.” Born without irises, Nathaniel suffered a rare condition that prevented his pupils from contracting. Bright light hurt his eyes, he couldn’t focus well, and he suffered partial color blindness.
Nathaniel's family had to get special FDA permission to use the iris because it is still not approved in the US, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. If all goes well, doctors will repeat the process on his left eye in about a month. Nathaniel’s vision is improving so far; he was able to read the entire bottom line of an eye test after his surgery. “I can barely read those,” his mother said.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A Nepalese teenager revered by many as a reincarnation of Buddha has returned to the jungle to meditate after emerging for less than two weeks, officials said Saturday.
Ram Bahadur Bamjan, 18, reappeared on Nov. 10 after several months of meditation to bless thousands of his followers, speaking to them on at least two occasions.
He made his last appearance on Friday and then returned to the jungle to meditate, said Biswo Prakash Newpane, a government administrator in the area. It was not clear when he would return again.
His followers lined up near the jungle of Ratanpur, about 100 miles south of Katmandu, to be blessed by Bamjan. He tapped the believers on their forehead but did not speak to them individually.
The followers believe he has been meditating without food and water since he was first spotted in the jungles of southern Nepal in 2005. Believers say he spent months without moving, sitting with his eyes closed beneath a tree.
Buddhism, which has about 325 million followers, teaches that every soul is reincarnated after death in another bodily form.
But several Buddhist scholars have been skeptical of the claims that Bamjan is a reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in southwestern Nepal roughly 2,500 years ago and became revered as the Buddha, or Enlightened One.
Rakesh, a Buddhist scholar, told the Associated Press last week that being Buddha means the last birth and the highest level that can be achieved and there can be no reincarnation of Buddha, even though Buddhists believe in life after death.
Princeton scientists say they have found evidence that organisms can essentially control their own evolution, a finding that could provide a fundamental shift in our understanding of Darwin's theory, reports the university's news service. The research suggests that evolution isn't entirely random, as Darwin believed. Rather, proteins within organisms constantly make self-correcting adaptations to bring about the fittest being.
The theory jibes with one in 1858 by Alfred Wallace, who articulated the theory of evolution independently of Darwin. "The discovery answers an age-old question that has puzzled biologists," said one researcher. "How can organisms be so exquisitely complex, if evolution is completely random, operating like a 'blind watchmaker'? Our new theory extends Darwin's model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness."
A study that links entrepreneurial success to risky decision-making, a trait less prevalent among buttoned-up business managers, has scientists pondering whether a pill could boost enterprising behavior. Riskiness is associated with the hormone dopamine, which could inject chutzpah into hesitant managers, the Telegraph reports. Critics doubt chemicals are solely responsible, pointing out that older entrepreneurs—whose dopamine is depleting—remain risk-takers.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Michael Jackson has followed the path of fellow entertainer Cat Stevens in converting to Islam, a source tells the British tabloid the Sun. Jackson—now called Mikaeel—recently went through a ceremony at a friend’s Hollywood Hills home, after being swayed by pals who said the faith had made them better people. Stevens, now Yousef Islam, stopped by to offer his congratulations.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
MIAMI – D'Zhana Simmons says she felt like a "fake person" for 118 days when she had no heart beating in her chest.
"But I know that I really was here," the 14-year-old said, "and I did live without a heart."
As she was being released Wednesday from a Miami hospital, the shy teen seemed in awe of what she's endured.
Since July, she's had two heart transplants and survived with artificial heart pumps — but no heart — for four months between the transplants.
Last spring D'Zhana and her parents learned she had an enlarged heart that was too weak to sufficiently pump blood.
They traveled from their home in Clinton, S.C. to Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami for a heart transplant.
But her new heart didn't work properly and could have ruptured so surgeons removed it two days later.
And they did something unusual, especially for a young patient: They replaced the heart with a pair of artificial pumping devices that kept blood flowing through her body until she could have a second transplant.
Dr. Peter Wearden, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh who works with the kind of pumps used in this case, said what the Miami medical team managed to do "is a big deal."
"For (more than) 100 days, there was no heart in this girl's body? That is pretty amazing," Wearden said.
The pumps, ventricular assist devices, are typically used with a heart still in place to help the chambers circulate blood.
With D'Zhana's heart removed, doctors at Holtz Children's Hospital crafted substitute heart chambers using a fabric and connected these to the two pumps.
Although artificial hearts have been approved for adults, none has been federally approved for use in children.
In general, there are fewer options for pediatric patients.
That's because it's rarer for them to have these life-threatening conditions, so companies don't invest as much into technology that could help them, said Dr. Marco Ricci, director of pediatric cardiac surgery at the University of Miami.
He said this case demonstrates that doctors now have one more option.
"In the past, this situation could have been lethal," Ricci said.
And it nearly was. During the almost four months between her two transplants, D'Zhana wasn't able to breathe on her own half the time. She also had kidney and liver failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Taking a short stroll — when she felt up for it — required the help of four people, at least one of whom would steer the photocopier-sized machine that was the external part of the pumping devices.
When D'Zhana was stable enough for another operation, doctors did the second transplant on Oct. 29.
"I truly believe it's a miracle," said her mother, Twolla Anderson.
D'Zhana said now she's grateful for small things: She'll see her five siblings soon, and she can spend time outdoors.
"I'm glad I can walk without the machine," she said, her turquoise princess top covering most of the scars on her chest.
After thanking the surgeons for helping her, D'Zhana began weeping.
Doctors say she'll be able to do most things that teens do, like attending school and going out with friends.
She will be on lifelong medication to keep her body from rejecting the donated heart, and there's a 50-50 chance she'll need another transplant before she turns 30.
For now, though, D'Zhana is looking forward to celebrating another milestone.
On Saturday, she turns 15 and plans to spend the day riding in a boat off Miami's coast.
Rep. Linda Sanchez worries Washington may frown on her pregnancy because she isn’t married, but Patt Morrison, in the Los Angeles Times, thinks things have changed. “Twenty years ago, it simply wouldn't have been possible—pregnant, single and a member of Congress? Oh, the scandal! But the culture wars have been fought to a truce of exhaustion, and ‘unwed mother’ has been recast as ‘single mom.’”
“Who do we have to thank for that? Thousands, from Madonna to Dan Quayle,” Morrison argues. “And, of course, Bristol Palin. She and her boyfriend shushed a censorious chorus that appeared to believe the only thing more morally dangerous than unplanned single parenthood was Planned Parenthood.” The 39-year-old California Democrat, due May 21, says her pregnancy was planned, and she’s “unofficially” engaged to the baby’s daddy.
More than 400 years after Copernicus determined man's place in the universe, scientists returned the favor by pinpointing his grave in an old Polish cathedral. Using DNA from a tooth and a bone, scientists identified a 70-year-old man buried in an unmarked grave as the astronomer who determined that the Earth revolves around the sun, and not vice versa, Discover reports.
Scientists matched the DNA with a strand of hair found in one of the astronomer's books. Researchers knew he was buried among the many anonymous graves in the cathedral and used radar to scan all the bodies. When they found one of a man buried around age 70, they extracted DNA and found an old friend. Plans are in place for a tomb more befitting one of the world's scientific giants.
The Blink-182 boys are hanging out again, ending a nearly 4-year hiatus after drummer Travis Barker dodged death in a fiery plane crash, E! reports. The trio met up for what vocalist Mark Hoppus calls “positive conversations,” deciding recent events trump the past. As for a reunion, “None of us know,” he writes on his blog. “Life is too short.”
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
After an Air Canada captain had his co pilot handcuffed and dragged from his seat during a January flight, a female flight attendant helped steer the London-bound passenger jet to the ground in Ireland, the Guardian reports. The original co-pilot was “quite harried” when he entered the cockpit, a report released today shows, and his condition quickly deteriorated mid-air.
“The first officer began conversation which was rambling and disjointed in nature,” the report says, becoming belligerent and uncooperative. A struggle ensued, and the cabin crew helped remove the pilot, who was later checked into a psychiatric unit. The heroic attendant, a qualified commercial pilot, came forward when the captain asked passengers if any professional pilots were on board.
Don Wakamatsu is the first Asian-American manager of a major league baseball team, AP reports, hired today by the Seattle Mariners. Wakamatsu, 45, played catcher, mainly in the minors, before coaching stints with Texas and Oakland. The Oregon native—who says he knows just a little Japanese—inherits a Mariners team that lost 101 games last season.
A new Web site that makes video searchable by actual images, rather than by often inaccurate and misleading metadata tags, is making finding the clips you’re looking for easier, Katherine Boehret writes in the Wall Street Journal. VideoSurf.com—currently in its public beta form—“sees” images rather than relying on tags and, Boehret says, it does a pretty good job.
VideoSurf is at its best when searching for famous faces. It presents results in a “filmstrip” format, allowing users to watch a video from several points, and it allows users to edit videos to specific lengths and send those portions as email attachments. VideoSurf aggregates content from YouTube, CNN, Hulu, ESPN and Comedy Central, as well as 55 other sites.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
TOKYO – The knuckleball — the fluttering, hard-to-hit pitch that's rare in the major leagues — is propelling a 16-year-old girl to the pros in Japan.
Eri Yoshida was inspired to learn how to throw the knuckler after seeing a video of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield. On Monday, she broke the gender barrier by being drafted for an independent league team as Japan's first female professional baseball player.
"Hope I can see her pitch one day," Wakefield said in a message he texted to the Red Sox that was relayed to The Associated Press. "I'm honored that someone wants to become me. I wish her the best of luck. Maybe I can learn something from her."
The high schooler was chosen by the Kobe 9 Cruise in the Japanese League, which starts its inaugural season in April.
The Cruise are a far cry from Tokyo's Yomiuri Giants. Making the squad is more like earning a tentative slot on a farm team than warming up in the bullpen for the Red Sox.
Even so, the 5-foot, 114-pound Yoshida has smashed the glass ceiling with her unorthodox, sidearm pitch in baseball-crazy Japan, where women normally are relegated to amateur, company-sponsored teams or to the sport of softball.
LONDON – Doctors have given a woman a new windpipe with tissue grown from her own stem cells, eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs.
"This technique has great promise," said Dr. Eric Genden, who did a similar transplant in 2005 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. That operation used both donor and recipient tissue.
Only a handful of windpipe, or trachea, transplants have ever been done.
If successful, the procedure could become a new standard of treatment, said Genden, who was not involved in the research.
The results were published online Wednesday in the medical journal, The Lancet.
The transplant was given to Claudia Castillo, a 30-year-old Colombian mother of two living in Barcelona, suffered from tuberculosis for years. After a severe collapse of her left lung in March, Castillo needed regular hospital visits to clear her airways and was unable to take care of her children.
Doctors initially thought the only solution was to remove the entire left lung. But Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, head of thoracic surgery at Barcelona's Hospital Clinic, proposed a windpipe transplant instead.
Once doctors had a donor windpipe, scientists at Italy's University of Padua stripped off all its cells, leaving only a tube of connective tissue.
Meanwhile, doctors at the University of Bristol took a sample of Castillo's bone marrow from her hip. They used the bone marrow's stem cells to create millions of cartilage and tissue cells to cover and line the windpipe.
Experts at the University of Milan then used a device to put the new cartilage and tissue onto the windpipe. The new windpipe was transplanted into Castillo in June.
"They have created a functional, biological structure that can't be rejected," said Dr. Allan Kirk of the American Society of Transplantation. "It's an important advance, but constructing an entire organ is still a long way off."
So far, Castillo has shown no signs of rejection and is not taking any immune-suppressing drugs, which can cause side effects like high blood pressure, kidney failure and cancer.
"I was scared at the beginning," Castillo said in a press statement. "I am now enjoying life and am very happy that my illness has been cured."
Her doctors say she is now able to take care of her children, and can walk reasonable distances without becoming out of breath. Castillo even reported dancing all night at a club in Barcelona recently.
Genden said that Castillo's progress needed to be closely monitored. "Time will tell if this lasts," he said. Genden added that it can take up to three years to know if the windpipe's cartilage structure is solid and won't fall apart.
People who might benefit include children born with defective airways, people with scars or tumours in their windpipes, and those with collapsed windpipes.
Martin Birchall, who grew Castillo's cells at the University of Bristol, said that the technique might even be adapted to other organs.
"Patients engineering their own tissues is the key way forward," said Dr. Patrick Warnke, a surgeon at the University of Kiel in Germany. Warnke is also growing patients' tissues from stem cells for transplants.
Warnke predicted that doctors might one day be able to produce organs in the laboratory from patients' own stem cells. "That is still years away, but we need pioneering approaches like this to solve the problem," he said.
Army and Navy recruiters took one look at 330-pound Ulysses Milana and told him to forget about joining. "'You've got to lose weight,'" Milana remembers them saying. But Marine recruiters were willing to work with him as he began his weight-loss journey in December 2007.
Now, 11 months later, Milana is 140 pounds lighter as he leaves Monday for Parris Island, S.C., to begin boot camp.
It wasn't easy, Milana said, but he managed to slim down through exercise, healthier eating habits and forgoing an occasional beer after work. The 23-year-old said he even refused a beer at his going-away party Saturday night.
Milana said he always wanted to follow in his family's footsteps by serving his country. His wife, Latoya, also comes from a military family.
Much of his weight-loss motivation came from Latoya, a nurse, who helped him reduce his calorie intake when he began his effort in earnest last December.
"It was really difficult for him at first. He always said, 'I'm gonna lose weight.' But I never took him seriously," Latoya told the Sun Journal newspaper. "Then, when he started to do it, I told him he needed to cut his portion sizes way down."
Marine recruiters also worked with him, helping to develop a workout regimen.
"You can sit there and preach and preach, but if you're not willing to help, then it doesn't lead you to success," Staff Sgt. George Monteith said. "If I say, 'Go lose weight and I'll see you in a year,' then what kind of help have I offered to make that happen?"
A former culinary student, Milana said it was a challenge to give up favorites like pizza and hot wings, but cracking open a cold beer after work was perhaps the toughest guilty pleasure to abandon.
"It was really hard. You see all your friends drinking beer, and you're like, 'Oh, man, I want one,'" he said. But his determination kept him on track, and he would head for the gym or don a head lamp and go out for a run.
Monday, November 17, 2008
France has overturned a Muslim couple’s divorce ruling made on grounds that the bride lied about being a virgin, the BBC reports. That means the couple is married again—whether they like it or not. Husband and wife both accepted the original decision, but it sparked a public outcry; some feminists slammed it as “a real fatwa against the emancipation of women.”
In the case, the husband’s lawyers held that he had been duped into marrying a woman who’d assured him she’d never had a boyfriend. Feminists said that, were the gender roles flipped, that argument would never fly; others wondered if the ruling was affected by the couple’s religion in a country that calls itself secular.
Prince has found religion, and, after decades in Minneapolis, the artist has moved to LA to search for what makes its music moguls tick. “It’s all about religion. That’s what unites people here,” the Jehovah's Witness told the New Yorker during a tour of his new digs. “They all have the same religion, so I wanted to sit down with them, to understand the way they see things, how they read Scripture.”
The Purple One is promoting his new book, 21 Nights, which features photos of him shot during his stint in London last year, plus poems and a CD. Also on his mind: politics and social issues. Asked for his perspective on the latter, he tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’”
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Former Washington Redskins quarterback and all-time NFL Draft bust Heath Shuler may by eyeing a run at the Senate in 2010. The Times-News of Hendersonville reports that Shuler, who was recently elected to his second-term as a Democratic
Congressman from North Carolina, could be looking to challenge incumbent Richard Burr in the state's next Senate election. If so, the campaign would be an all-football affair, as Burr played defensive back while attending Wake Forest in the 1970s.
If history is any indication, Shuler's success in the House doesn't necessarily portend a similar outcome in the Senate. After all, it was just 13 years ago that Heath Shuler was an up-and-coming, can't-miss prospect with his eyes focused on a bigger and brighter stage. And we all know how that turned out.
But is it even possible to be a Senate bust? What would that entail? Would Shuler have to spill Pepsi on some important legislation? Or while defending an important bill, he'd instead recite the lyrics to Funky Cold Medina?
Although, I guess as long as his colleagues in the Senate Chamber don't start chanting for Gus Frerotte, everything should be alright. Heath in 2010!
The first woman ever to become pregnant after an ovary transplant has given birth to a healthy baby girl, the Daily Mail reports. The formerly infertile London woman described the newborn as her "little miracle," made possible by groundbreaking surgery and an ovary donation from her twin sister. The new mother says she hopes the birth will give hope to infertile women worldwide.
Nine previous ovary transplants from identical twins failed to produce a pregnancy. The woman's surgeon, in St. Louis, Mo., sees the transplant procedure as offering hope for women who might have an ovary removed and frozen before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer. He is also doing transplants on several pairs of non-identical twins. The 39-year-old mom has named her daughter Maja, after the Roman goddess of fertility.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Gay rights supporters waving rainbow colors marched, chanted, and danced in cities coast to coast today to protest the vote that banned gay marriage in California and to urge supporters not to quit the fight for the right to wed, the AP reports. Crowds gathered near public buildings in cities large and small, including Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and Fargo, to vent their frustrations, celebrate gay relationships, and renew calls for change.
"Civil marriages are a civil right, and we're going to keep fighting until we get the rights we deserve as American citizens," Karen Amico said in Philadelphia, holding up a sign reading "Don't Spread H8". Protests following the vote on Proposition 8 in California have sometimes been violent, but organizers of today's rallies asked supporters to be respectful and refrain from attacking other groups.
Craig Watkins is becoming famous for something rather unusual for a district attorney: getting people out of jail, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Dallas County prosecutor is painstakingly going through hundreds of convictions secured by his predecessors, using DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions. His Conviction Integrity Unit has freed six convicts in the last year alone. One had served 27 years for a murder he didn't commit.
The exonerations have put Watkins in the national spotlight and made waves in the legal world. Critics accuse Watkins of being a "hug-a-thug" DA, and some prosecutors say he is giving the justice system a bad name.
Watkins says his quest to correct the wrongs of the past—in a county notorious for slipshod, convict-at-all-costs prosecutions—isn't about publicity, but simply about doing the right thing. "We have the constitutional obligation to seek justice," he said.
Friday, November 14, 2008
A one-eyed, three-legged dog that won the title of world's ugliest pooch this summer has died. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida reports that Gus, a Chinese crested dog, had cancer. He was 9. Gus was rescued from a bad home and went on to win the annual World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in northern California.
Gus came from humble origins. According to the fair, his adopted family in Gulfport, Fla., rescued him after learning he was being kept in a crate inside someone's garage.
He had one leg amputated because of a skin tumor and lost an eye in a cat fight.
Gus' owner had said the prize money from the contest would be put toward the dog's radiation treatment.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
~ June Jordan
by: Sarina Cliff
Are you tired all the time? Angry, frustrated or depressed? Going to work – a drag? Have you experienced your muscles tensing up? Do you get sick? How do you feel deep down – like a fraud? Do you lack energy and enthusiasm to do anything that matters to you? Are you held captive by your fears?
If you have answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, you are not alone. Many of us are at this same threshold, wondering and waiting for a change. We are standing on street corners, at the coffee machine and sitting with colleagues at lunch and in our living rooms complaining about our life, our world and our circumstance. Some of us know we are out of balance. Yet, it seems easier to live with the imbalances. Why? Often it’s because we’re afraid to try. Or we don’t have the clarity or confidence in other alternatives.
What kind of wake up call do we need to motivate us and move us to attend to our life, especially to the fulfillment of a dream that has been postponed or deferred. What will build our awareness? Will it be the illness of a loved one, the loss of a job, the break up of a relationship; or a doctor telling us we have been diagnosed with an incurable disease? Maybe it will take another war or the loss of our 401K. Perhaps another dream will lay dormant.
The wake up call I received was from my son. He is half my age. Yet he was the one who reminded me of how often I complained about work and spoke joyfully about creating opportunities to improve myself and to empower others. Initially I refuted his claims but knew deep down that what he was saying was true. I felt embarrassed. I felt scared because he was challenging me to walk the talk of my faith.
We cannot know the measure of our faith -our courage, our strength, our creativity- until we engage our beliefs, values and dreams. I am grateful for my job. It is a blessing. However, it is not what I feel called to do for the rest of my life. I have a dream…. many dreams but “who and what have I been waiting for” to attain my dreams? What is the measure of my faith?
I believe in timing, order and opportunities. I value wake up calls to keep me on time, in order and ready for the next opportunity. If I don’t achieve my dreams, it will not be the world’s fault. It will not be the result of my skin color, language skills, religious tradition, gender, or past. It will be the result of my fears.
I have yet to give to the world my best work. Have you done your best work? There is much work to be done. Some one encouraged me and now I am encouraging you; fear not. Though this is the worst of times, it is also the best of times. Let us take the time to consider - “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Thomas Beatie, who was born a woman but lives as a man in Oregon after surgery and hormone treatment, is expecting a second child, Beatie has told Barbara Walters in an interview set to air on television on Friday.
Beatie, 34, who is legally a man but kept female reproductive organs when he had a sex-change operation 10 years ago, is in his first trimester of pregnancy, he told celebrity interviewer Walters for the ABC news program "20/20" that will air on November 14. Walters highlighted the interview on her daytime chat show, "The View," on Thursday.
With his thin beard, Beatie made headlines around the world and was dubbed the "pregnant man" before giving birth to a baby girl on June 29. He told Walters that after giving birth he did not go back on the male hormone testosterone that he took after his sex change, because he wanted to have another baby.
"I feel good," Beatie told Walters. "I had my checkups with my hormone level, as far as the hCG. And everything is right on track."
Beatie was referring to human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone which is produced in women during pregnancy.
He said that the new baby is due on June 12.
Beatie's wife, Nancy, 46, whom he married five years ago, was unable to conceive because of a prior hysterectomy. He has said that is why he had a baby himself, through artificial insemination using donor sperm and Beatie's own egg.
The couple live in Bend, Oregon, and have lead a quiet life since the birth of their baby girl, Susan.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
World leaders pleaded Wednesday for religious tolerance at a UN conference sponsored by Saudi Arabia, but were unable to escape internal rifts of their own.
The meeting at UN headquarters in New York of representatives from 80 countries targeted religious and cultural divisions dubbed the "clash of civilizations."
Saudi King Abdullah -- who heads the ultra-orthodox Wahhabi branch of Islam and allows no other form of public worship -- called for "peace and harmony."
Speaker after speaker echoed these words, insisting that the world's major religions all back tolerance.
But anger over the Israeli-Arab conflict, as well as resentment at Western economic and social policies, soon surfaced, reflecting tensions behind the talk of goodwill.
Barely discussed, but also haunting the conference, was the divide between the West and Islamic countries over exactly what tolerance means.
More than a dozen heads of state were due to speak, including US President George W. Bush on Thursday. He was represented Wednesday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In the opening speech, the president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, lashed out at Western morals and warned the world desperately needs to learn the positive lessons of religion.
His attack on the "unbridled greed" of the "dominant" Western culture was likely to strike a chord among many at the conference.
Jordan's King Abdullah II also criticized Western policy, saying "ignorance" had subjected Islam to "injustice."
"Millions of people, especially young people, question whether the West means what it says about equality, respect and universal justice.
Meanwhile, extremists -- Muslim, Christian and Jewish -- are thriving on the doubts and divisions," he said.
But if King Abdullah II, like other Muslim leaders, saw intolerance and stereotyping against Islam as the problem, Western representatives were mindful of the lack of personal freedom in the Islamic world.
The issue was doubly sensitive given Saudi King Abdullah's sponsorship of the conference and was only indirectly addressed.
In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush believed that "the king of Saudi Arabia has recognized that they have a long way to go and that he is trying to take some steps to get there."
Representing France, former premier Alain Juppe echoed his Arab colleagues in urging "tolerance and building and consolidating peace."
But he laid a very Western emphasis on human rights, especially "recognizing unrestricted freedom of faith in all its forms."
Juppe also touched on free speech, an especially sore point given Islamic outrage at European newspapers' printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that devout Muslims found offensive.
"Freedom of religion cannot be achieved without freedom of speech, even if it is sometimes used to express derision," Juppe said, without mentioning the cartoon controversy.
Critics in the run-up to the conference homed in on Saudi King Abdullah's role, questioning whether the leader of the Wahhabi sect was the right person to promote inter-faith relations.
Wahhabism is a rigid form of Islam. Under Saudi rule, other Islamic sects and other religions are either restricted or banned altogether in public.
"There is no religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, yet the kingdom asks the world to listen to its message of religious tolerance," Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said ahead of the conference.
However, Israeli President Shimon Peres welcomed the king's initiative as "unprecedented" and impossible just a decade ago.
"What we are witnessing today is a new beginning," he said at a press conference. "What was today demonstrated was the will. We now have to work for the way."
King Abdullah pushed for the conference as a follow-up to efforts at promoting inter-faith dialogue in the "World Conference on Dialogue" held last July in Madrid.
The Madrid declaration was noted for its call for an international agreement on fighting the root causes of terrorism.
This time it is not clear whether the session will end with a UN resolution or a lower-grade declaration, said Enrique Yeves, spokesman for d'Escoto.
"They are still negotiating among themselves," he said.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Barack Obama provides a boost for black educational achievement that is much more powerful than any policy. His bookish example may throw a lifeline to black nerds who, scorned for "acting white," feel pressure to slack academically to stay cool, John McWhorter writes in New York. Research shows that the smarter the black student, the fewer friends he has. Now a teased kid can simply retort, "Is Barack Obama white?"
“Those four little words could do more to improve black-student achievement than any number of new charter schools and reading tests," McWhorter writes.
A spectacular gold, pearl, and emerald earring, dating to the time of Jesus, has been discovered in Jerusalem, AP reports. The 2,000-year-old find, close to the Old City walls, is causing a sensation because Roman-era jewelry is rare as the city was ultimately destroyed and what survived was often melted down.
"Suddenly, one of the excavators came up shouting 'Eureka!'" said the dig director. "Jewelry is hardly preserved in archaeological context in Jerusalem. Such a precious item, it couldn't be one of just ordinary people. It must have belonged to one of the elite in Jerusalem."
Donald Trump has been sheltering Jennifer Hudson and some relatives in his swanky, self-named tower for free since the Oscar-winner's mother, brother, and nephew were murdered last month, People reports. “She's a great girl. And we're protecting them well,” the mogul says.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Deutsche Post will close all of its DHL Express service centers, cut 9,500 jobs in the US, and eliminate US-only domestic shipping by land and air, the company said today, citing heavy losses and fierce competition with UPS and FedEx. The company said the new round of cuts are on top of another 5,400 layoffs it already announced.
The Express unit currently employs some 18,000 workers. The plan calls for the halt to domestic shipping by Jan. 30, after the firm closes all of its ground hubs. The move is expected to reduce operating costs at the US Express unit from $5.4 billion to less than $1 billion. International shipping won’t be affected.
Which young, thin, non-white, Ivy League-educated politician who has a foreign-sounding name and prominent ears is changing the face of politics as we know it?
Oh … and whose name is not Barack Obama?
That’s right, the president-elect may hold a monopoly on current buzz, but some in the GOP are looking to their own whiz kid to lead them out of the proverbial wilderness the Democrats have just left behind.
His name is Bobby Jindal, and he’s the 37-year-old Indian American governor of Louisiana.
Right now, for most people, handicapping 2012 probably feels like re-watching the previews right after sitting through a 7-hour movie. Yet some Republicans looking to resurrect their party from the ashes of Tuesday’s electoral conflagaration are already turning to the conservative Jindal, at least at the search box.
Jindal’s name has surged 350% in searches this week, tied with Mitt Romney and second only to Sarah Palin in 2012-related political queries. Buzz patrons are also reading up on the rising star in a bevy of speculative articles about the future of the GOP.
Jindal has consistently stated he's focused only on winning the 2011 re-election in Louisiana. But UPI is already calling the governor and his family “the other Obamas.”
Presumptuous, perhaps. But in 2004, who'd have thought that a first-term African American senator with a last name that rhymed with the country's enemy number one and a middle name that matched enemy number two's would be our next president?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Barack Obama made more than history when he won the election this week: He also inspired black school kids to believe they could do the same, the New York Daily News reports. "It means people can be anything they want," says 9-year-old Elijah Timmons, who sees himself in the Oval Office one day. "Instead of 'Obama! Obama!' they're going to be yelling 'Elijah! Elijah!'"
But Elijah might have to go up against friend Rafi Privett'e, who already has his platform outlined. One of the cornerstones: healthier school lunches. "But I'm keeping the pizza on Fridays," he says. Teens are also feeling the Obama bug: "I used to think a black man could never be President," said a 16-year-old. "Now, I think that there is no such thing as never."
Saudi Arabia has a particular brand of counter-terrorism: a cozy detention center where captured militants share their feelings, practice art therapy, snack on Twix, rumble on PlayStation, and leave with the prospect of a wife. The retreat, Katherine Zoepf writes in the New York Times magazine, is part of the kingdom’s rehabilitation program for jihadis, often age 18-36.
Saudi schools feature jihad-focused curricula in a country founded on the doctrine. But now the Saudis are adopting a decidedly softer approach, trying to “fight thoughts with thoughts,” one teacher said, and prevent militants from turning against them. Scholars disagree over whether new al-Qaeda recruits join for purely religious reasons, but many agree they leave because of fear and disillusionment.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
A small town in Oregon has elected the nation’s first transgender mayor, reports News Channel 8 (Portland). “I identify mostly as a heterosexual male,” said Stu Rasmussen, who has breast implants and is partial to skirts and high heels. “I just like to look like a female.” Rasmussen has been mayor of Silverton twice before, but not as an openly transgender man. “I think it's amazing a small town like this can be so open-minded,” one voter said.
Rasmussen has a longtime girlfriend, and he explained his recent decision to have implants matter-of-factly. "Some guys' mid-life crisis is motorcycles or sports cars or climbing mountains or trophy wives or whatever. I always wanted cleavage, so I went out and acquired some.” He said his devotion to the town and knowledge of the issues won over voters. “I'm prejudiced, but I think this is just about the coolest town on Earth.”
Friday, November 7, 2008
A pilot who lost his sight flying a light aircraft back from a family holiday and had to be guided to safety by an RAF jet was seriously ill in hospital.
Solo pilot Jim O'Neill was taking the two-seat Cessna back from Scotland to Essex, when he was suddenly blinded over North Yorkshire.
It is reported that Mr O'Neill had a stroke mid-flight and blood at the back of his head put pressure on his optic nerves, immediately blinding him.
Mr O'Neill put in a mayday alert and attempted to land his plane at Full Sutton Airfield near York, but was unable to complete the manoeuvre even with the help of air traffic controllers.
A RAF team from nearby Linton-on-Ouse was scrambled and a Tucano T1 jet took off to find the aircraft and guided the stricken pilot to the ground.
Mr O'Neill, 65, with 18 years' flying experience, was taken to York Hospital before being transferred to Queen's Hospital in Romford, Essex. He is thought to be seriously ill in a brain unit at the hospital.
Mr O'Neill told the Daily Mirror from his hospital bed: "I should not be alive. I owe my life - and those of dozens of people I could have crash landed onto the RAF. It was terrifying. Suddenly I couldn't see the dials in front of me".
Thursday, November 6, 2008
PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Authorities in Arizona say a jogger attacked by a rabid fox ran a mile with the animal's jaws clamped on her arm and then drove herself to a hospital. The Yavapai County sheriff's office said the woman told deputies she was on a trail near Prescott on Monday when the fox attacked and bit her foot.
She said she grabbed the fox by the neck when it went for her leg but it bit her arm.
The woman wanted the animal tested for rabies so she ran a mile to her car with the fox still biting her arm, then pried it off and tossed it in her trunk and drove to the Prescott hospital.
The sheriff's office says the fox later bit an animal control officer. He and the woman are both receiving rabies vaccinations.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
She was the toast of the town—and much of the nation—today, but 106-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper isn't letting her starring role in Barack Obama's acceptance speech go to her head, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "It's nothing unusual really," said Cooper, the Atlanta resident Obama talked about at length because she was born "just a generation past slavery" but lived to see a black man be elected president.
“I never thought we’d see that happen," said Cooper, who made a point to vote early for Obama. "I always thought it would be a white man. Now I see that things can change and I’m glad to know it.” As for the endless stream of reporters traipsing through her home today: “I’ve had all the excitement one could expect when something like this happens,” she said. "It’s been real nice.”