Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ray Ray McELrathbey

Thank you to my friend in the Dominican Republic for a heads up on this blog where I was able to read about this young man:

Ray Ray McELrathbey is a Clemson University football player with a unique roommate -- his adopted 11-year-old brother. (ABC News)

Quote from this blog:

This past Friday night ABC news featured an incredible story about their "Person of the week." This young man, Ray Ray McELrathbey, is worth sharing with our readers. Click here for a few other links about this extraordinary story. And while you wait for the page to open, say a prayer of thanksgiving for the grace of God which allowed this young man to overcome his own struggles in order to be such a great "father."

Open Letter

I got an email (fundraising) the other day from an organization that I used to support, and attempted to respond. Though I replied to a valid email address, it came back to me undelivered. Apparently, it is not possible to respond to the email that way. In fact, NONE of the emails I have sent since Mar of 2003 have gotten through after the first one I sent when the email discussion groups were suddenly shut down.

So, I am going to 'send' it to him here, via my blog. I have sat on this for four days now (it is the 27th when I am writing THIS section.

Sorry, T. I no longer distribute CC tapes/books. I remember you, however, in my prayers. Hope your child is ok, as I have heard nothing since the CC L 2 days.

Though I am also fighting the same fight against no fault divorce (for much longer, without the fanfare), I also do not distribute B's information, and I have told her why when I was in a yahoo group.

I do support Stephen Safranek's work in prayer and on my blog, as well as Stolen Vows and Defending Holy Matrimony (and use their original petition for marriage).

A huge difference in perspectives lies in the fact that I cannot associate with the 'martyr' mentality, as I am an active 'stander', which is what Scripture tells us to do when we have done all... grin. I am not dying for my Faith or Vows, I am standing with them fully intact, LIVING them daily in forgiveness and Hope, as an obedient daughter of the Father who witnessed our Covenant way back on June 27, 1970. I am a warrior, a member of the Church Triumphant. Should I actually die in my stand, THEN I will have been a martyr, but not until. I will also have been faithful to my vows 'all the days of my life'.

I do follow the news about them and keep them in prayer, however.

God bless, T!

"Sinne Clanna Gael. Ní fiú cur inár gcoinne. Comhshamhlófar sibh."
" We are the Irish. Resistance is useless. You will be assimilated."

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sarah Culberson--A Princess has Responsibility

Nearly every little girl dreams of learning that they are a princess. Some of us have FELT like a princess at different times of our a little girls dressed up for a special occasion, going to our first Prom, or even sometimes on our wedding day. But somewhere along the line, even if it is only in reading the Fairy Tales of youth, or watching the Disney movies, we dream of that day when we will learn that we are, in truth, a Princess. And some even dream of meeting the Handsome Prince.

So you are a little girl growing up in the USA, and you know that you have been adopted for several reasons. One being that your parents have told you, but even more... you are a racially mixed child growing up in a white family, in a town of mostly white people... and you, like any other little girl, have your dreams.

Perhaps that dream for Sarah Culberson was no different than those that I had as a little girl, or as my daughters had as they grew up (and I am thinking in particular of my second child at this moment... grin). But for Sarah, there was one difference.

For Sarah, it became reality.

Sarah first learned about her birth mother, learning that she had passed away from Cancer before she had been found. At that time, she did not know very much about her birth father, but several years later, she chose to search further.

Sarah is learning a side of being a Princess that most little girls never think of. With the title comes responsibility, not always a handsome Prince. From looking at her website, and reading the two articles that were sent to me about her, I think that Sarah may be perfect for the title......

Sept. 16, 2006, 11:08PM
It's no fairy tale when adoptee discovers she's princess

Suburban Girl Finds Out She's a Princess
Now, She's Giving Back to Her African Kingdom

BUMPENYA (Lady of Bumpe) (Video)

Website and photos

Nice story!!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who gets to make decision on end of life?-`Futile-care law' in Texas under fire

Long, but worth reading. A friend of mine faced this not too long ago in TX. She got past the doctors by asking for them to consider if they would treat the infection if it were HER, not her mother that had it. The doctors treated it, and she  had a few days more with her mother, who was able to sit up and talk to her.

God bless!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nancy Valko
Date: Sep 17, 2006 9:58 PM
Subject: From Ron: Who gets to make decision on end of life?-`Futile-care law' in Texas under fire

Who gets to make decision on end of life?
`Futile-care law' in Texas under fire

By Howard Witt  Tribune senior correspondent  September 17, 2006

HOUSTON -- If it had been up to her doctors, the Houston hospital where
she was treated and the laws of the state of Texas, Kalilah
Roberson-Reese would be dead by now.

Instead, the severely brain-damaged 29-year-old woman is being cared for
in a Lubbock nursing home, where she's become a focal point in a growing
struggle over a controversial Texas law that permits hospitals to
withdraw life support from patients whose conditions they deem hopeless
-- even if family members object.

Under the terms of the state's "futile-care law," a hospital seeking to
discontinue treatment must give a patient's family 10 days to find an
alternate facility willing to accept the patient. After that, the
hospital can legally pull the plug.

To its supporters in the medical and legal communities, the Texas law,
one of only two in the nation that set such a transfer-or-perish
deadline, is a sensible and compassionate solution to one of the most
vexing end-of-life questions posed by modern medicine: How long should a
patient be kept alive when there is no hope of recovery?

"When a loved one is dying, none of us wants to let go of that
situation," said Garnet Coleman, the state legislator who co-authored
the law, formally titled the Texas Advance Directives Act. "But
ethically, a physician should not be forced to do harm to a patient by
continuing treatment. With this law, they have the ability to say, `I
can't do any more for this patient, and it's wrong to do more.'"

To the growing ranks of critics, however, including disability-rights
groups, right-to-life organizations and family members of some of the
terminal patients, the Texas law is an outrage that grants hospitals
immoral power over life and death and forces beleaguered families into
an 11th-hour scramble to save their loved ones.

"This law allows doctors and hospitals to abandon patients and provides
them safe harbor and immunity to do it," said Jerri Ward, an Austin
attorney who has filed several lawsuits to prevent doctors from ending
treatment. "The Hippocratic oath has morphed from treating illness and
saving people's lives to allowing doctors to make subjective
quality-of-life decisions about ... who should die."

That's what Cynthia Deason, Roberson-Reese's mother, believes happened
in the case of her daughter, whose cascading medical tragedy started
with pregnancy complications and led to the loss of her premature baby.
She suffered an embolism in her lung, and kidney and heart failure. Her
breathing tube became dislodged, and by the time nurses noticed the
problem, she had suffered irreversible brain damage.

In late June, Memorial Hermann Hospital informed Deason that further
treatment would be medically futile and gave her the required 10 days to
find an alternate facility. Deason balked and sought a court order to
block the hospital from discontinuing life support. The hospital
relented, and by late July, administrators had found a nursing home in
Lubbock willing to accept Roberson-Reese.

Today, Deason reports, her daughter has regained some consciousness,
responds to familiar voices and can sit upright in a chair.

"Nobody has the right to determine whether my daughter should live or
not," said Deason, of Long Beach, Calif., whose son is autistic and
whose husband recently suffered a stroke.

Memorial Hermann Hospital officials are guarded in their comments about
Roberson-Reese's case, because Deason has said she may file a medical
malpractice suit. But they say they followed the procedures required by
the futile-care law, including convening a futility review committee of
independent physicians and nurses to examine the case.

"The futility review committee affirmed the treating physician's
judgment that continuing life support is medically inappropriate," the
hospital said in July.

In many ways, the controversy over the Texas law is a mirror image of
the "right-to-die" struggles in the 1970s and '80s, when patient-rights
advocates worked to persuade hospitals to honor the wishes of the
terminally ill who did not want extraordinary measures taken to prolong
their lives.

Now it's often the hospitals seeking to discontinue treatment, but many
states have yet to grapple with the turnabout. Only 10 states have
passed laws forbidding hospitals to withdraw treatment if family members
or guardians object and requiring treatment to continue until a patient
can be transferred, according to a study by the National Right to Life
Committee in Washington.

Only two states impose deadlines for family members to find alternate
facilities for their loved ones: Virginia allows 14 days and Texas 10 days.

Texas' futile-care law has been on the books since 1999, but it's only
in recent months that families of some terminal patients, often
supported by Texas right-to-life groups, have begun waging public
battles against it. More than a dozen cases like Roberson-Reese's have
now surfaced, which prompted lawmakers to hold hearings this summer on
possible amendments.

Among the changes being proposed: extending the 10-day transfer deadline
and introducing independent mediators in cases where hospitals and
family members disagree.

Texas Right to Life, the state's leading pro-life group, initially
supported the futile-care law as a compromise between the rights of
families to protect their loved ones and the rights of doctors to
withhold pointless treatments. But the group says some hospitals have
abused the law's provisions by seeking to withhold care from patients
whose conditions are complicated and expensive to treat.

Some cases in which the law has been invoked "do seem to be financially
motivated," said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. "The
hospitals will say it is not, of course, but it does seem that the
majority of patients or families calling us for help are either
uninsured, underinsured or they have Medicaid."

Groups supporting the rights of the disabled also suspect hospitals'

"The way the medical community and society in general have valued the
lives of people with disabilities does not bode well when it comes to
doctors making decisions as to whether a life is worth living," said
Colleen Horton, public policy director at the Texas Center for
Disability Studies. "People who don't see the value of living with a
significant disability are determining whether your life is a burden and
treatment is futile."

Even supporters of the law, who see it as necessary to helping hospitals
deal with families that cling to false hopes, concede that some
provisions ought to be revised.

"There are situations where it's no longer medically appropriate to
continue procedures that have no therapeutic benefits other than to
prolong organic life," said William Winslade, a lawyer specializing in
medical ethics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

"But I am unhappy with the statute because of the way it loads the dice
in favor of doctors and hospitals," Winslade added. "The patients and
their families just don't have any resources ... We don't need a law
that appears to be railroading the families."

- - -

How the law works

Key steps in Texas' "futile-care law":

- If an attending physician refuses to provide life-sustaining treatment
to a patient because the doctor believes such treatment would be without
benefit, and the patient's legal guardian or family members object, the
case is referred to a hospital's medical review committee. Family
members must be given at least 48 hours notice of the meeting and are
allowed to attend.

- If the committee agrees that life-sustaining treatment should be
withdrawn, and the family or guardian still objects, treatment must
continue for at least 10 days while hospital administrators help the
family find a nursing home or other facility to accept the patient.

- If a provider cannot be found within 10 days, the hospital may
withdraw life-sustaining treatment unless a court orders an extension.

SOURCE: Texas Advance Directives Act


Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Have YOU hugged your coach (teacher, Scout Leader) from the past today?

Yesterday, I learned something about my brother that I did not know.

I know that he has affected the lives of many young people in his nearly 55 yrs. I know he is a sports enthusiast. I know he loved playing softball. (Not only loved it, was obsessed with playing it, being on multiple teams for years.)

I know that he coached his middle child in fast pitch softball. She was a pitcher, and ended up getting scholarships to a very expensive private college here in WI as a result of the many years of basement practices, broken light bulbs, fixtures, windows, in spite of mattresses against the wall...including taking a not working well radar gun and getting it to work, using it to gauge her speed at pitching.

I know he has had clinics for fast pitch softball. I forgot that he'd helped to coach football long ago!

Where is my brother now?

In Alaska (don't ask me where) being treated to a ten day ALL expense paid vacation (apparently told to bring a toothbrush and two changes of to be washed, one to be worn, they supply the toothpaste...). How did he get there? He and another coach were invited by one young man who has been successful in life (and invented something used all over the banking world, apparently) ... who now has multiple homes, multiple vehicles, etc. And in gratitude for helping him out when life was tough on him, he invited them to fish in Alaska.


Have you hugged your coach today? Your Scout leader? A teacher who went above and beyond and lifted you up when you were down? It doesn't really take an all-expense paid trip to Alaska to do so. A note, a call, a word can do the same thing.

To Mrs Derricks, Sr Grace, and to my many teachers who touched my life (most are now gone Home)... thank you. Mrs Siebers (work), Peg Olson (work) and so many nurses, instructors that I worked with (also so many have gone Home).... thank you.

Pat R, social worker who helped us in our adoptions... thank you!

God bless!

Catholic Online Headline

Check out this Catholic Online Headline
Sent from: Me

Vatican resuscitates issue of whether brain death means total death

Accused teen's mom says he was bullied at school

Another story on same topic...

Accused teen's mom says he was bullied at school

Sturtz, two others arrested in alleged plot at East High

The Associated Press
September 17, 2006

The mother of one of the teenagers arrested in a foiled Columbine-style plan to bomb and shoot students at Green Bay East High School said Saturday the boys were victims of bullying and harassment at school.

Elizabeth Sturtz, 48, the mother of 17-year-old Shawn Sturtz, said bullies often called her 300-pound son who had a learning disability fat and stupid so she understands how her son could have been angry.

But she said she saw nothing in his past or recent behavior showing he would plot a Columbine-like attack on the school.

"They were pushed to the limit. They couldn't handle it anymore," the mother said Saturday.

Police arrested Sturtz and William Cornell, 17, Thursday and Bradley Netwal, 18, on Friday, for conspiracy to commit homicide and arson. Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski said he planned to file charges for the 17-year-olds Thursday.

Investigators said the teens planned to set off bombs near bathrooms, light exits on fire and shoot people whom they didn't like at the school.

Elizabeth Sturtz said Cornell was 300 pounds as well and both were subject to bullying. She blamed herself for not doing more to help her son.

"I don't know what to do to help him," the mother said. "I ain't going to condemn him for what he did. There is a reason why him and Billy did this. I blame myself because I don't know what I did wrong and what I missed."

She sobbed, "My baby is in jail. I am sorry I didn't catch it sooner."

All three were being held in the Brown County Jail Saturday.

"I'm glad they are in jail and I am not going to their funerals. I am sorry they are there," Elizabeth Sturtz said. "I am grateful for the kid who came forward."

Sturtz and Cornell had long been fascinated by the April 1999 Columbine massacre in Littleton, Colo., in which two students armed with guns, knives and bombs killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves, Sterr said.

But Sturtz's mother said her son and Cornell didn't become close friends until last year so they could not have plotted for years. She said her son was kicked out of the school last year for bringing a knife because he felt he needed protection and was assigned to an alternative school for the last part of the year. She said she called the principal and social workers to alert them to her son being bullied, but no one ever called back.

"He didn't want to go to school because of the kids and he knew the teachers wouldn't do anything because we tried last year," the mother said, sitting in a wheelchair because of severe arthritis and diabetes.

Green Bay School Superintendent Daniel Nerad said he didn't know the specifics of the teen's situation but said the district has made stopping bullying a priority and has a strong stance against it. He encouraged Sturtz's mother to sit down with school officials to voice her concerns.

The mother said her son liked to watch television and play video games and used to work busing tables at a local ballroom. He had trouble reading, she said.

No one answered the door Saturday at Cornell's home and no address could be found for Netwal.

East High graduate linked to alleged bomb plot

I had not been blogging much the past week or so, due to other things happening here. So I had not mentioned the events at Green Bay, shortly after the incident in Canada. It is not necessarily happening 'out there' any longer...

Today, there is a third young man in custody.

East High graduate linked to alleged bomb plot

Netwal 'played a role,' police say

By Andy Nelesen
September 17, 2006

A third person in an alleged bomb plot to attack Green Bay East High School was arrested after investigators interviewed him and determined he "played a role" in the conspiracy, a police detective said.

The man, Bradley Netwal, an 18-year-old 2006 East High School graduate, was arrested about 3:55 p.m. Friday and booked into the Brown County Jail for conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide and conspiracy to commit arson.

Netwal has not been charged. He is to appear in Brown County Court at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Green Bay police Cmdr. Tom Molitor said detectives interviewed Netwal as part of a sweeping investigation and placed him in custody after the interview.

Molitor did not provide specifics Saturday.

"When a plan like this is formulated, people play different roles in the plan," Molitor said. "He played a role."

East High students Shawn Sturtz and William Cornell, both 17, were arrested at school Thursday after officials uncovered an alleged plot to bomb the school and shoot classmates. Sturtz and Cornell are both in the Brown County Jail being held in lieu of $500,000. They are expected to be charged Thursday in connection with the alleged plot.

Molitor described Netwal as a friend of Cornell and Sturtz.

Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski was reviewing reports from the case late Saturday afternoon and declined to characterize the suspect's involvement until the review is finished.

"As we review the file, we'll see to what extent and if charges are appropriate," he said. "As part of the investigation his name came up as being involved at some point with the other two suspects.

"There was enough given in statements and in his interview to warrant the hold right now," Zakowski said.

He said it was not surprising that another person may be involved in the case.

"There was information early on that there may be somebody else that was involved," Zakowski said.

Interviews with other people connected to the Columbine-style plot pointed police to the third suspect, Molitor said.

"We are trying to figure out the width and the depth and the breadth of this thing, and we're talking to a lot of people," Molitor said early Saturday. "You never know where the investigation is going to lead you."

As a precaution, school administrators brought a police dog to search the school Saturday, but the animal did not find anything.

"It was only for precautionary reasons and it was something the principal wanted to do and I'm totally behind (him)," said Green Bay School Superintendent Daniel Nerad. "They were very thorough going through the school, and they did not find anything."

He said they do not have information that there are other students police are looking for, but that the investigation is ongoing.

Last week's incident is the focus of a meeting planned for East High School parents Wednesday night at the school.

"Have them come in, ask questions, have a discussion about what the school did and just try to make sure people understand how we acted," Nerad said. "It's an opportunity to listen to parents because this is unsettling, and it's a chance to connect with the East High parent community."

The meeting begins at 7 p.m.


I listen to the latest news, with so many saying that McCain's way is the way to go in the 'torture' venue, yet I wonder if he has forgotten Colonel Rich Higgins?

There was no call for his captors to follow the rules of the Geneva Treaty when he was captured. Why not? He wore the uniform of a US military man, he wore the Blue Beret of a UN Peacekeeper.... so he was a hostage, rather than a POW? And his captors were NOT wearing uniforms, were NOT military men of any nation?

The kinds of torture that the US gov't may use is NOTHING to compare to what those who are now fighting without any uniform use regularly.

Heavy metal music? Sleep deprivation? Torture?

How about beheading, or hanging..... or forced religious conversion at gunpoint?

I cannot agree with McCain at all on this. While he was a POW, and was subjected to torture by the North Vietnamese, he was wearing our uniform, they were wearing theirs.

North Vietnam did not follow the Geneva Convention, because, it in its view, the conflict in Vietnam was an "undeclared war." Go here for the story that accompanied the photo this quote is under. The sad thing is that the world, especially us, let them get away with this thinking back then. WE called them POW's, but the enemy did not treat them as such.

Instead, today, WE want to forget that the enemy who does not follow the basic laws and customs of war, wears no uniform or other distinguishing sign that can be recognized easily at a distance, and does not carry their arms openly.... is not covered under the Geneva Conventions .

THEY remember it. We should also.

Let's not forget men like Colonel Rich Higgins. It took over ten years for our gov't to even posthumously recognize that he was a POW.

Pope 'Deeply Sorry' for Muslim Reaction

Pope 'Deeply Sorry' for Muslim Reaction

Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo, Italy

Pope Benedict XVI deeply sorry for the reactions of some Muslims to a speech he delivered last week about Islam which quoted medieval texts about Muhammad