Archive for November 21st, 2007

Brain-Injury Tests Changed Because Troops Caught Cheating

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Soldiers, who have been injured in combat, have been cheating on brain-injury test in order to remain in combat. That’s “remain” in combat. Not do everything possible to get out of combat. Not pulling “Klinger” (MASH TV Series) style stunts in order to be removed from the war, but actually cheating on test that, if failed would remove them from combat, in order to stay in combat. These men and women are exceptional people and my hat is off to them. They have my gratitude, my prayers and my admiration.

Military doctors have issued a new test for combat troops who may have suffered brain injuries following reports that they have been cheating on the exams so they can stay on the battlefield.

Doctors at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) changed certain questions to a test used to diagnose concussions because cheating on it could put servicemen and women, as well as their comrades, in danger.

“If a teacher found kids cheating, the teacher would come up with different tests. It’s the same idea,” said Chuck Dasey, a spokesman with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The test, called the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE), is administered to service members in combat who have suffered blows to the head, often after bomb blasts have thrown them into nearby surfaces.

Military doctors have administered the oral evaluation since 2000 at the scene of an accident or bombing or shortly after an incident occurs in the field.

Soldiers have been supplying each other with answers to prior exams so they can pass and remain with their units.

Part of the test requires memory recall of a series of simple words. On the old examination, doctors would read a list of words including “elbow,” “apple” and “bubble” and ask the patient to say them in any order. The exercise is done three times initially, and then again later to see if patients can still remember the words.

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Justices Will Decide if Handgun Kept at Home Is Individual Right

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

“A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
-Amendment II (the Second Amendment) of the United States Constitution

Is there some part of this that is hard to understand?

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would decide whether the Constitution grants individuals the right to keep guns in their homes for private use, plunging the justices headlong into a divisive and long-running debate over how to interpret the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

The court accepted a case on the District of Columbia’s 31-year-old prohibition on the ownership of handguns. In adding the case to its calendar, for argument in March with a decision most likely in June, the court not only raised the temperature of its current term but also inevitably injected the issue of gun control into the presidential campaign.

The federal appeals court here, breaking with the great majority of federal courts to have examined the issue over the decades, ruled last March that the Second Amendment right was an individual one, not tied to service in a militia, and that the District of Columbia’s categorical ban on handguns was therefore unconstitutional.

Both the District of Columbia government and the winning plaintiff, Dick Anthony Heller, a security officer, urged the justices to review the decision. Mr. Heller, who carries a gun while on duty guarding the federal building that houses the administrative offices of the federal court system, wants to be able to keep his gun at home for self-defense.

Mr. Heller was one of six plaintiffs recruited by a wealthy libertarian lawyer, Robert A. Levy, who created and financed the lawsuit for the purpose of getting a Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court. The appeals court threw out the other five plaintiffs for lack of standing; only Mr. Heller had actually applied for permission to keep a gun at home and been rejected.

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Pastor Says Superintendent Doesn’t Want Sex-Ed Curriculum Revealed

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

The school board in St. Lucie County, Florida will hold a public forum Saturday, December 8, on the proposed sex-ed curriculum called “Get Real About AIDS.” But Pastor Brian Longworth, associate pastor of Covenant Tabernacle World Outreach Center in Port St. Lucie, says the public forum is not being advertised or promoted. He believes superintendent Michael Lannon is hiding the curriculum’s content from parents because of its sexually graphic nature, which Lannon maintains is meant to promote abstinence.

Pastor Longworth alleges the educator is “not being honest with people” about the program material.

“Superintendent Lannon is presenting this curriculum as an abstinence curriculum,” he says. “However, this curriculum mentions condoms and contraception 210 times to only 17 times that it mentions abstinence. Only once does it mention abstinence without immediately following up with a reference to condoms or contraception.”

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Author Testifies of Misery, Family Dysfunction that Comes from Homosexual Parenting

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Dawn Stefanowicz recounts her story of growing up in a homosexual home in Toronto, Canada, during the 1960s in Out from Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting (Annotation Press). Stefanowicz says she was prompted to write the book back in 2004 after testifying before a Canadian Senate committee against hate crime legislation and expressing public opposition to sexual diversity curriculum in her country’s schools.

Stefanowicz says she wrote the book with the knowledge that other children in homosexual homes would also come forward to “find truth and their own healing.”

“Children are impacted long-term in homosexual environments — not just while they’re growing up, but throughout their adulthood,” says the author. “Children [of homosexuals] who have been in touch with me, even into their fifties and sixties, still describe certain difficulties that they are facing long-term.”

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Stem Cells Without Embryos: Skin Cells Transformed

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Well, this should be one more nail in the coffin of abortion as one of the last so-called “legitimate” reasons for abortions is dispelled.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two separate teams of researchers announced on Tuesday they had transformed ordinary skin cells into batches of cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells — but without using cloning technology and without making embryos.

Their breakthroughs could make possible the long-sought goal of tailor-made medicine, but without the political, scientific and ethical roadblock of using human embryos.

Both teams call the new cells induced pluripotent stem cells and say they look and act like embryonic stem cells — the master cells that give rise to every cell and tissue in the body.

“We can now envisage a time when a simple approach can be used to produce stem cells that are able to form any tissue from a small sample taken from any of us,” Ian Wilmut of the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement.

“This will have enormous implications for research and perhaps one day for therapy,” added Wilmut, who helped clone the first mammal, Dolly the sheep, in 1997.

James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin in Madison and colleagues reported their finding in the journal Science while Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan and colleagues reported theirs in the journal Cell.

Both teams used just four genes to transform ordinary skin cells called fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells — iPS cells for short.

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Failed Assassin of Former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto Used One Year Old Child

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

The hideousness of this defies description. When are the Muslims going to love their children more than they hate all the rest of us?

Meanwhile, horrifying new details emerged last night of the attempt by suicide bombers to kill Ms Bhutto on her return home from exile last month.

Investigators from Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party said yesterday they believed the bomb, which killed 170 people and left hundreds more wounded, was strapped to a one-year-old child carried by its jihadist father.

They said the suicide bomber tried repeatedly to carry the baby to Ms Bhutto’s vehicle as she drove in a late-night cavalcade through the streets of Karachi.

“At the point where the bombs exploded, Benazir Bhutto herself saw the man with the child and asked him to come closer so that she could hug or kiss the infant,” investigators were reported as saying. “But someone came in between and a guard felt that the man with the child was not behaving normally. So the child was not allowed to come aboard Benazir’s vehicle.”

Ms Bhutto is said to have told investigators she recalls the face of the man who was carrying the infant. She has asked to see recordings made by television news channels to try to identify the man.

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Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

She’s been called the “Jewish” Judy Collins, and her original lyrics and hauntingly beautiful voice have garnered accolades from the Jewish community to veterans of the music industry. In her debut CD, folk singer and songwriter, Phyllis Blackman reaches new spiritual heights with her call for all Jews to “Come Home”, which also happens to be the name of her new album.

“I dedicated my CD to my beloved parents and to the person who inspired me to write these songs, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis,” said Phyllis Blackman. “For the past 18 years, I have attended the Rebbetzin’s Torah classes and her messages of returning to Hashem and living a fully committed Torah life were the catalyst and driving force behind this album. The title track, “Come Home” is a call for all Jews to return to Hashem. Hashem asks, “Where are My children, why don’t they come home, I’m waiting so long, why don’t they answer? I’m waiting for you, My special treasure.”

The Brooklyn College graduate and former lead singer in a band did not always lead a Torah life. “In college, I sang with five men in a folk group. We sang ballads with wonderful harmonies and became very popular on campus. Hashem put me at CBS Records, working as an assistant to a producer. When the producer heard me sing, he wanted me to do an album, but I was very shy and said no. In my later years, I became more business oriented opening my own company, Blackman Consulting, and put my music on hold. During that time, I met Rebbetzin Jungreis”, and my life began to change.

The 11 track CD (really 12, with the hidden track) features a song called “Hineni”, named after the international Torah outreach program founded by Rebbetzin Jungreis in 1973. Phyllis describes her journey as filled with Heavenly assistance. “I became fully observant and passionate about Judaism, but my music was still on hold. It was on Shabbos that I read a passage which said, ‘whatever talents you’ve been given, use them to serve G-d’. It was at that moment I decided to write music for Hashem. As I was praying a song came into my head with words and melody. “Come Home My Children” was born, and on every Shabbos since then a new song has be given to me”.

Other soulfully inspired melodies on the CD include, “Thank You Hashem”, “Dwell With Me”, “Gifts from G-d”, “Pischu Li”, “Hineni”, “Oh Dad” and “Because It’s Shabbos”. Phyllis credits the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach with being a musical muse and source of inspiration. “I always wanted to sing Rabbi Carlebach’s songs. He was a trailblazer in Jewish music and his heart, soul and passion came through in all of his music. That’s why I recorded “Return Again”.

Recorded at Lofish Productions in October of 2007 with the help of sound engineer Reed Taylor and a group of Phyllis’ very musical
friends, all of the songs were written by Phyllis with the exception of a few which are credited on the CD. The “Hineni” song, Phyllis said, “was originally written for me as a love song, but I felt it was a perfect vehicle to express my appreciation to Hineni and so with permission, I rewrote the words. It is one of my favorite songs on the CD”.

Also on the album are Dan Becker -soprano saxophone and flute, Phyllis herself playing guitar, doing vocals, playing bongos and cowbell, David Goldman – guitar and arrangements, Beth Kanter – bongos, shakers, sound effects and reading names, Katie Schielle – oboe, Ariella and Michael Shloush – vocals, laughter, Reed Taylor – djembe, guitar, shaker and Sheri Wagner on guitar.

Phyllis’ lovely, wistful, alto voice is joined by another voice in the song “Acheinu”, which is dedicated to Jonathan Pollard, and the three Israeli soldiers (Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev) kidnapped by Hizbollah and Hamas. Phyllis asks listeners not to forget them, to continue to pray for their safe return.

“Dwell With Me”, Phyllis says, “Speaks of building a Temple for Hashem in our lives, to set Hashem before us, to learn, pray and to perform acts of kindness. We ask Hashem to dwell with us everyday.”

In “Gifts From G-d”, Phyllis sings of the simple things in our daily lives that we often take for granted. The wonder of the universe, “the sound of thunder, the smell of bread baking, the taste of chocolate, the sun on our face, the changing leaves of autumn, the breeze in our hair, watching the sunrise, the quiet prayer at sunset”, all gifts from G-d to be appreciated.

One of the most personal and heartfelt songs is entitled, “Oh Dad” written for her late father, Sol Blackman, Z”L. Phyliis said, “I wrote this for his birthday and he proudly walked around playing it for everybody. When he was sick in the hospital I brought my guitar and played it at his bedside. When he couldn’t talk, he would tap his foot to it and when he died I read the words as his eulogy”. It speaks of their special relationship, and her great appreciation of his devotion. “Oh Dad, you’ve given me life not only mine but yours”.

This album scores a big thumbs up as a musical must in your CD collection. It’s soul stirring melodies, permeated with Ahavas Hashem and a sense of genuine warmth, will arouse even the most hard boiled among us. It’s lyrics and tunes will melt away our sorrows, as the words remain in the deep recesses of our hearts and our memory banks.
Simply put, one cannot walk away from listening to this CD without developing a greater appreciation of the daily wonder and miracles that our lives represent. We will gain a greater understanding of our G-d given path and mission as Jews, as we are inspired to embrace our Holy Torah and indeed, to “Come Home” to the Master of the Universe.

“Come Home” is now available at J. Levines bookstore, Kips Bay Borders and Hineni. For further information on obtaining this CD, please contact Phyllis Blackman at:


Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

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