Friday, April 20, 2007

Limbo, limbo, not

Pope approves report on teaching limbo By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
Fri Apr 20, 5:48 PM ET

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has reversed centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, approving a Vatican report released Friday that says there were "serious" grounds to hope that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven.

Theologians said the move was highly significant — both for what it says about Benedict's willingness to buck a long-standing tenet of Catholic belief and for what it means theologically about the Church's views on heaven, hell and original sin — the sin that the faithful believe all children are born with.

Although Catholics have long believed that children who die without being baptized are with original sin and thus excluded from heaven, the Church has no formal doctrine on the matter. Theologians, however, have long taught that such children enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, a state commonly called limbo, but without being in communion with God.

"If there's no limbo and we're not going to revert to St. Augustine's teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we're left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.

"Baptism does not exist to wipe away the "stain" of original sin, but to initiate one into the Church," he said in an e-mailed response.

Benedict approved the findings of the International Theological Commission, a Vatican advisory panel, which said it was reassessing traditional teaching on limbo in light of "pressing" pastoral needs — primarily the growing number of abortions and infants born to non-believers who die without being baptized.

While the report does not carry the authority of a papal encyclical or even the weight of a formal document from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it was approved by the pope on Jan. 19 and was published on the Internet — an indication that it was intended to be widely read by the faithful.

"We can say we have many reasons to hope that there is salvation for these babies," the Rev. Luis Ladaria, a Jesuit who is the commission's secretary-general, told The Associated Press. He stressed that there was no certainty, just hope.

The Commission posted its document Friday on Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service, the news agency of the American Bishop's Conference.

The document traces centuries of Church views on the fate of unbaptized infants, paying particular attention to the writings of St. Augustine — the 4th century bishop who is particularly dear to Benedict. Augustine wrote that such infants do go to hell, but they suffer only the "mildest condemnation."

In the document, the commission said such views are now out of date and there were "serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision."

It stressed, however, that "these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge."

No one can know for certain what becomes of unbaptized babies since Scripture is largely silent on the matter, the report said.

It stressed that none of its findings should be taken as diminishing the need for parents to baptize infants.

"Rather ... they provide strong grounds for hope that God will save infants when we have not been able to do for them what we would have wished to do, namely, to baptize them into the faith and life of the church."

Vatican watchers hailed the decision as both a sensitive and significant move by Benedict.

"Parents who are mourning the death of their child are no longer going to be burdened with the added guilt of not having gotten their child baptized," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

He said the document also had implications for non-Christians, since it could be seen as suggesting that non-baptized adults could go to heaven if they led a good life.

"I think it shows that Benedict is trying to balance his view of Jesus as being central as the savior of the world ... but at the same time not saying what the Evangelicals say, that anyone who doesn't accept Jesus is going to hell," he said in a phone interview.

The International Theological Commission is a body of Vatican-appointed theologians who advise the pope and the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Benedict headed the Congregation for two decades before becoming pope in 2005.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


"Cybertooth" for patients may replace pills
Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:05AM EDT

By Corinne Heller

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - A "cybertooth" that dispenses medicine to chronic patients may replace pills and injections for those who have a hard time remembering to take their pills, researchers say.

The European Union is funding the Intellidrug project to develop a cybernetic oral device that attaches to a tooth and administers a dosage programmed by a patient's doctor.

"The device is going to be crucial, first of all for patients who have disabilities in remembering -- like Alzheimer's patients," said Ben Z. Beiski, one of the developers, at Assuta Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.

"Rather than having a nurse running up to them and reminding them to take the pill, we have a device that will do it automatically," he said.

Beiski said the method would also be ideal for people who take medication to treat asthma attacks, especially those who suffer from them during the night.

"The software (is) programmed to deliver the drug at any time that you like".

A doctor would also program into a remote control information such as when the drug should be administered, and the patient's age, weight and medical history.

The device can be fixed in a patient's mouth, either as an attachment, or type of crown, to a tooth or as an implant.

When the time comes to administer the medicine, a panel on the device opens and releases the programmed dosage into the back of the patient's mouth, where it would mix with saliva and enter the bloodstream.


The method has several disadvantages. Any foreign object placed inside the body could be prone to infection. Also, some drugs are incompatible with the device.

The oral device joins other medical methods of "slow-release", such as some capsules and injections, which release chemicals slowly to minimize side-effects.

"A slow-release system is a good thing," said Hebrew University professor Yoram Altschuler, an expert in pharmacology and oral drug delivery systems. "But some medicines cannot be packaged or formulated chemically for slow-release".

Alcohol, for example, naturally takes less than an hour to absorb into a person's body, he said.

The device can contain up to several weeks of doses of most drugs and administer more than one type of medicine, Beiski said.

t transmits to a remote receiver information on when it is about to go empty and needs to be replaced.

Beiski said he and colleague Andy Wolff, a dentist and expert in oral medicine, are planning to conduct clinical trials, along with scientists in Europe, in three months. They hope to market the device within three years, he said.

Tests of the device conducted on pigs months ago proved successful. High levels of the drugs that were given were found in their blood and the medicine was distributed evenly, he said.

Beiski said researchers also took into account that a patient could accidentally swallow the device.

"We decided to put the drug itself in a sort of protective matrix, so even if (the device is) swallowed once, the drug will be released at a slow rate (and) not be dangerous for the patient," Beiski said.

Assuta is a private hospital that also conducts research with counterparts abroad. The developers have not yet reached the stage of deciding how to market the product and are waiting for the human trials.

Dumb Drunk

Man exiting bar with beer bottle sues for tripping

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

4/11/2007 12:00 PM
By Ann Knef

A man injured by his beer bottle after tripping out of an Alton tavern last year is seeking more than $200,000 for neck, face and chest injuries.

Matthew Shewmake filed suit against Norb's Tavern in Madison County Circuit Court April 4.

He claims that as he was leaving the premises at 2505 State St. on April 8, 2006, he tripped over a toejam at the exit, causing him to fall onto and fracture the beer bottle he was carrying. He was exiting the tavern with a bottle of beer to consume on the parking lot area, the complaint states.

"Plaintiff was pitched forward out the door upon exiting and was unable to catch himself as the outside walkway was a steep ramp without rails which defendant knew or should have known was a dangerous condition for patrons leaving the premises who may stumble and be unable to stop or catch their fall," the complaint states.

Shewmake is represented by Rod Pitts of Wood River.

He claims it was the defendants' duty to exercise ordinary care and caution in an about the management of the premises and to keep the entrances and exits in a reasonably safe condition.

The suit alleges Shewmake has incurred doctor and hospital bills in an attempt to cure him of his injuries. He has been prevented from attending to his usual duties and affairs and has lost large sums of money which he otherwise would have earned, the suit states.

Co-defendants include Roxie D. Halvorsen, Thomas A. Halvorsen and Halvorsen, Inc.

On The Cat-Walk

Paw thing on the catwalk
By ERIN PARKE - The Dominion Post | Thursday, 19 April 2007
Dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs took to the catwalk in an annual animal beauty show that featured one wee problem.

The beautiful and the bizarre were on display at Animates store at Kaiwharawhara, Wellington, yesterday, with the pets sashaying down the runway to the strains of pop star Christina Aguilera. Maybe it was nerves but the only hiccup was some contestants, who would not have won a prize for toilet training.

As entrants slugged it out for the best dressed and pet-owner lookalike categories, there were high hopes for french bulldog Gucci, who wore a stylish tiara. Her owner, Ruby Perigo-Blackburn, 8, of Melrose, said it was the most fun she had had in the school holidays, though Gucci was overlooked by the judges.

Laura Neal, 6, of Karori, wanted to bring her pony, but ended up taking her collie Jessie down the catwalk. "Jessie doesn't like cats so it's lucky there are none here.'

Lizzie Deane-Jackson entered pet rat Popcorn in the lookalike category. The five-year-old from Karori says her cat is her best friend "even though he doesn't eat popcorn".

Falling Asleep at a car

Driver who fell asleep at pump jailed for 18 months
By KIM RUSCOE - Fairfax Media and | Thursday, 19 April 2007

A two-year-old who was left in the back seat of a car when her drunk father fell asleep while refuelling the vehicle called out "Bye, Daddy" after he was jailed for 18 months today.

At Waitakere District Court today Shannon Perenara, a 30-year-old Auckland labourer, was sentenced to 18 months in jail and disqualified from driving for three years, effective from today.

He was denied leave to apply for home detention.

The incident happened around 9am on March 24 when officers were called by a concerned Rotorua service station attendant who found Mr Perenara slumped at the petrol pump. Officers had to wait 40 minutes for him to wake up before he could be breath-tested.

The man's daughter was left unrestrained on the back seat while her father lay collapsed at the pump.

Mr Perenara tested more than four times above the legal limit, with 1729mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

Police said at the time it was one of the highest readings in New Zealand. At Waitakere District Court today, Judge Barry Morris said he had no choice but to sentence Perenara to prison.

Judge Morris said Perenara had 23 prior convictions over nine years for offences including traffic, drugs and assault.

Included in this were six convictions involving drink driving, the first being 10 years ago, and four for driving while disqualified.

Mr Morris said that if Perenara was "stupid and irresponsible enough to endanger his own daughter then what concern does he have for us?"

Perenara showed no emotion while being sentenced but family members including his mother and his partner cried.

Perenara mouthed "I love you" to family members as he left the courtroom.

- With NZPA

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Harlan Coben's New Thriller!

Harlan Coben Newsletter
"I see my father with that shovel...."

And so begins THE WOODS, my newest thriller, available everywhere NOW or on April 17th, which, uh, depending on when you’re reading this, could be today. I love this time of the year -- when the novel finally gets in your hands and becomes a real book.

You can read an excerpt here ( or for those who like hardcopy, the first chapter will be printed on the back page of the Arts section in today’s (again April 17th) New York Times. UK readers: THE WOODS comes out May 17th. French readers: Go to for details.

I am scheduled to appear (always somewhat tentatively) on the NBC TODAY SHOW on April 17th and CBS EARLY SHOW on April 18th before departing on book tour. Here is the full tour schedule. I hope to see some of you on the road. I am still watching my figure (THE WOODS book tour catchphrase: Bringing Sexy Back) so let’s keep those snacks healthy.

What else? Oh, the audio version of THE WOODS is read by the great Scott Brick. You can see him read the beginning here. Scott read NO SECOND CHANCE and THE INNOCENT and is really an extraordinary talent.

PROMISE ME is out in paperback both here and the UK. There is a cute nine-second commercial for the book being shown on ATMs throughout the UK. Click here and check it out.
ATM Video: (full screen)

Well, I’m off. Hope to see you soon and that you really enjoy the new book. As my UK publisher likes to say, "Get Lost in THE WOODS...."


Monday, April 16, 2007

Taser Happy

Taser used on dad leaving Houston hospital with baby

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

A Houston couple said both the Houston Police Department and the Woman's Hospital of Texas are responsible for endangering their newborn when the husband who held the baby in his arms was hit by a taser as an off-duty police officer as he attempted to leave the hospital early Thursday morning.

But police maintain that William Lewis, the baby's father, endangered the 2-day-old infant by refusing orders to quit trying to remove the baby from the hospital when abduction alarms went off.

Lewis, 30, said he and his wife were preparing to leave the hospital when staff told him he would not be able to leave with the baby. After a failed attempt to leave through the elevators with the baby, who wore an alert sensor that warns hospital officals about potential kidnappings, staff called security, Lewis said.

The man's wife, who did not want her name used, said she came out of her room into the hallway as police arrived and saw off-duty HPD Officer D.M Boling shocking her husband. Boling was working security at the time.

"He was holding the baby when [the officer] tasered him. My baby hit the concrete floor," said Lewis' wife, who was still in the hospital at the time recovering from a C-section. "When I went down to pick her up to take her to the neo unit her scream was so loud and so bad I thought she was dying right there."

The mother said hospital pediatricians examined the baby after the incident and said she was fine, "but my baby she had the shakes real bad. She's not as calm as she was before."

Lewis was first charged with kidnapping, although it was later changed to endangerment, police said. Lewis appeared in State District Judge Debbie Stricklin's court today. His arraignmnent was rescheduled for April 30 and Lewis is free on a $5,000 bond.

Boling tased Lewis after Boling repeatedly told Lewis he could not leave the hospital, Houston police spokesman Officer Gabe Ortiz said today.

Boling's report of the incident does not indicate whether he knew Lewis was the baby's father, Ortiz said.

He said the report showed that Lewis dropped to the hallway floor after being hit by the Taser. Boling estimated in his report that the baby fell from the father's arms about two feet before landing on the floor.

Boling joined the department in September 1984 and was working an off-duty security job at the hospital when the incident occurred.

Records show that since HPD officers began carrying Tasers in December 2004, Boling has shocked at least two other people. In one incident, in February 2005, Boling discharged his Taser three to four times to subdue a man who resisted arrest during a disturbance call.

The reports show that the baby was born April 9 and was two days old when Lewis decided to leave the hospital with the baby about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Ortiz said.

Police reports gave no indication that the baby suffered from any conditions that required continued treatment, Ortiz said.

Hospital officials did not address whether they believe the father should have been leaving with the baby in a statement released after the incident.

"Our nurses educate the mothers and their family members upon admission regarding the safety procedures throughout our hospital," hospital officials said. "The security of our infants is our utmost priority here at The Woman's Hospital of Texas."

Security measures identify the mother with a new infant from the moment of birth, they said. "In this case, our safety measures worked. Our infant abduction deterrent was effective."

Woman's Hospital spokeswoman Kris Muller said the hospital has had the most advanced anti-abduction meaures availalble in place at the hospital since it opened in 1976.

"We regularly upgrade it whenever improvements are available,'' Muller said.

The hospital delivered 8,867 babies in 2006 and 8,333 in 2005, Muller said.

St. Luke's Hospital spokeswoman Melinda Muse said that institution also has sophisticated anti-infant abduction security measures in place. However, the hospital does not release details of the systems, Muse said.

"My deal is that I broke no laws and maybe I broke some hospital policies but I broke no laws," Lewis said. He and his wife said they were preparing to leave because they felt they were ready to leave, but "it was like you can't leave no explanation, no reason," Lewis said.

Lewis' wife said "the only thing that endangered my child was that police officer who tased my child when Will was holding the baby ... I don't know how it went from us leaving to this."

Lewis' wife said she was prepared to ask for a copy of the hospital's surveillance video. She also said she may not return to the hospital "because they hired an irresponsible cop and he was taser happy."

In the Army Now

I Think I Saw Something

Did You Mean Me?

Looks Clear - No Need To Be Quiet


I'm Having A Hard Time Seeing Very Far Without My Glasses

Aim for The Ass

I Can't Reach This Pocket (assistance requested)

I Have Been Hit (showing approximate size of hole)

Something's Wrong With My Gun (repeat gesture to add "..again!" to indicate frustration)

This is My Stop

Shut Up A Second

My Battery Died

Jesus Christ they're Shooting at us!

Be Quiet for Once In Your Goddamned Lives, Already

I Need More Ammo




Bearded Thug




Big Tits

Boyish, Hairless Male



Shit, I Think He Was On Our Side

He'll Be Out In A Minute

I Missed Because My Sights Are Off

Sorry, My Fault

My (Fogged-up) Goggles need a Wipe

I Brought the Wrong Ammo Again

This is what I think of your Opinion

They Haven't Got A Chance

They May Have A Chance

We haven't Got A Chance

You First

There's No Way I'm Going In There

We're Outta Here

Stay In Front of Me Where It's Safe

Are there Two Teams, or what?

This Gear is Heavy, My Lower Back Could Use a Massage

Kinder Care?

Kindergartner Charged With Felony Tantrum
Avon Park, Fla., is a zero-tolerance kind of place.

On March 28, Desre'e Watson, a 6-year-old kindergarten student at Avon Elementary School, had a bad morning. She cried. She wailed. She kicked. She scratched. She hit a teacher. That's what the police say, anyway.

The police? That's right. To subdue the unruly kindergartner, school officials phoned Avon Park's police department ("committed to enhancing the 'Quality of Life' of the community"). When the cops arrived, young Desre'e attempted to resist arrest by crawling under a table. But Avon Park's finest pulled her out, cuffed her, put her in a police cruiser, drove her to the county jail, and charged this 50-pound menace with a felony and two misdemeanors. The police report is below.

"When there is an outburst of violence," Police Chief Frank Mercurio told a local news station, "we have a duty to protect and make that school a safe environment for the students, staff and faculty. That's why, at this point, the person was arrested regardless what the age." Let's hope his message gets across to those brats in the neonatal wards.