Finally, at a clinic in Atlanta, she heard something new. Doctors there had been doing bone marrow transplants for years and recently had been eradicating sickle cell anemia, among other blood diseases, with the procedure. It was a revelation, a possible way out.I'd encourage you to read the whole story and share your thoughts. I'll try to share mine when I have some more time.
She went back to the library and the phones to study up on bone marrow transplants and learned an infant sibling who could donate cord blood (rather than bone marrow), rich in stem cells, from an umbilical cord would offer the best chance of a successful transplant and a cure.
But a second pregnancy for CeCe and Carlos would mean the risk of a second child born with sickle cell disease. And there would be no guarantee that a second child, or a third, or even a fourth, would necessarily be both free of the disease and a genetic match for Carmani. They couldn't risk it. They began talking about in vitro fertilization and genetic screening instead.
CeCe pulled together a team that included an in vitro specialist, Dr. Michael Jacobs in Miami, who would biopsy the Boozers' developing fertilized embryos and later perform an in vitro fertilization; a geneticist, Dr. Mark Hughes in Detroit, who would test those embryos in order to determine which of them were sickle-cell free as well as genetically compatible with Carmani's immune system; and a transplant expert, Dr. John Fort at Miami Children's Hospital, who would transplant the sibling's cord blood into Carmani's system, replacing his bad stem cells with healthy ones. Twenty-six eggs were fertilized and began to develop. Ten were genetically compatible. Two of those were disease-free, and both were implanted in CeCe's uterus in case one of them didn't develop.
Six weeks later, the Boozers learned they had twins on the way.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
'I only got a dollar out of the $20', declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'
'Yeah, that's right', exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'
'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'
'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
(HT: Douglas Wilson)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance). Indeed, 'only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross', wrote Canon Peter Green, 'may claim his share in its grace.'"--John Stott, The Cross of Christ, page 60(HT: Josh Harris)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The legitimate mission of evangelism, the job of the ‘church dispersed,’ has replaced the worship of God by His people and the edification of the saints, the biblical objectives of the church ‘gathered.’ Truth is diluted or displaced by self generated ‘talks’ on perceived issues of importance. These inventions come from communicators who regard their own thoughts more highly than God’s Word, sadly somehow believing that they are assisting the work of the gospel by avoiding the words of the Lord Himself. Such arrogance; go figure. These same messages so lacking in biblical truth are aimed at an audience that too often has no concept of what they are missing. Starving and they don’t even know it. Junk food is all they have ever known, and they have no reference point to relieve their hunger or remedy the ache in their gut. The thing that is missing, the thing they are longing for, the only thing that will feed them is what God’s Spirit was sent into the world to bring . . .Read the whole post here.
Monday, October 20, 2008
THE financial world is a mess, both in the United States and abroad. Its problems, moreover, have been leaking into the general economy, and the leaks are now turning into a gusher. In the near term, unemployment will rise, business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary.I particularly enjoyed these two paragraphs, near the end of the piece:
So ... I’ve been buying American stocks. This is my personal account I’m talking about, in which I previously owned nothing but United States government bonds. (This description leaves aside my Berkshire Hathaway holdings, which are all committed to philanthropy.) If prices keep looking attractive, my non-Berkshire net worth will soon be 100 percent in United States equities.
A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real value of cash accounts.
Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
Ouch! Obama slips up and talks about his “Muslim Faith” instead of Christian faith in an interview on ABC.
John McCain promises to veto beer. Prohibition anyone?
At a campaign rally, Joe Biden tells wheelchair-bound Chuck Graham to stand up. I know people say Obama is a Messiah, but this might be a little too much!
McCain claims Putin is President of Germany.
Terry Moran on Nightline goofs up and says Barack Obama has two dads. Yes, that would definitely go down in the history books.
Obama has visited all 57 states of America.
McCain’s going after Osama to the gates of hell. I wonder if he’ll have that smile on his face once he gets there.
Barack Obama introduces Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.
McCain sings “Bomb Iran” and then tells reporters who question him to lighten up and “get a life.”
Obama gets lost without a teleprompter.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Read the full piece in the Jackson Sun.
Could the threat - or even the existence - of an economic depression be enough of a reality check to return us to a point where selfishness is not the predominant characteristic of our nation? Would it refocus us and make us reconsider what's important in life? I can't say for sure. But am I willing to put up with an economic downturn - perhaps even a depression - if it means a brighter future for my children? If it means a future in which they feel more connected to their neighbors and communities? If it means a future in which they recognize the value of the eternal more than the temporal? If it means a greater emphasis on the wholesome and the upright, rather than the decadence and filth that mark so much of American society?
If a depression is what it takes to achieve that, then bring it on. It's a price I'm happy to pay.
McCain doesn't escape unscathed, either. Here's the very next paragraph:
Presently, the bottom 40% of income earners pay zero income taxes. The top 20% pay 80% of all the federal income taxes. Therefore, it is not possible to give the bottom 40% a tax cut because they pay no money to the government. So this begs the question: How is Barack Obama proposing to give a tax cut to 95% of Americans?
The truth is that he is not going to give a tax cut to most Americans; it is not possible. Instead, he is going to give welfare subsidy to the bottom 40%. This subsidy Obama is calling a ‘tax cut,’ but in reality it is a tax increase in an attempt to redistribute wealth.
However, the problem is that the Republican candidate is likewise offering socialistic solutions in the time of a desperate economy. McCain’s proposal that the Federal Government buy up bad mortgages is disastrous. Home ownership is no more an American right then is health care and the government guaranteeing bad decisions on purchased homes penalizes those who didn’t make bad decisions on home purchases. In point of fact, McCain’s proposal on buying bad mortgages with a view to negotiating mortgages downwards is an incentive for all of those who are paying mortgages to suddenly discover they can’t afford their mortgages. McCain’s proposal is socialist insanity.Read the full post, titled "Socialists Everywhere."
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Read the whole review here.
It’s obvious Young’s book has struck a chord with the culture at large, and the evangelical culture not least. It’s clear the people in our churches crave an immanent God—one who understands our needs, our weaknesses, and who is able to identify with us in our fragile human existence. And indeed the Word Incarnate is the Father’s way of whispering tenderly in our ear. In Christ, the transcendent God draws near to us in flesh and bone. He walks our paths and feels our pain. Young’s desire for a God of compassion and tenderness is legitimate, and we do well to ask why such a deficit might exist in our churches. Have we failed to communicate properly the deep love that God has for his children? Perhaps. But if we have, Young’s book is not the best corrective. Young, in an attempt to wipe the blood off of God’s hands, ends up diminishing the transcendence and power of God. The best way to correct an unbalanced view of God is not by introducing an opposing unbalanced view of God.
I have no doubt that The Shack is Young’s sincere attempt to sort out some rather troubling issues. The question of how a good God can allow suffering and evil is difficult, no matter how you slice it. But this is not a book I can recommend. For those who need a theodicy wrapped in a narrative, a work such as Lewis’ Till We Have Faces is the better, even if more difficult, way forward.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
The folks at Culture Making Blog have put together (above) a beautiful diagram of biblical cross-references:
This diagram arose from a collaboration between a Carnegie-Mellon Ph.D student and a Lutheran pastor to create a grand map of Biblical cross-references: “We wanted something that honored and revealed the complexity of the data at every level –- as one leans in, smaller details should become visible. This ultimately led us to the multi-colored arc diagram… The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc - the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.
(HT: Life Together)
I can smell it. It’s like toast or steak or brownies. It doesn’t just draw our desire, it creates desire. Deep drops in the stock market make many people salivate. They know it will rebound. They are sitting on cash. By year’s end their pile could ride the recovery to riches.
For such people I have a word from God. The word is: Don’t desire to be rich. It will kill you. And in a world like ours many will probably perish with you. Paul’s language is more graphic than mine:There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.
It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1Timothy 6:6-10)
Friday, October 03, 2008
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33
Ray Ortlund:In our anxious times, this verse stands out. Let's be clear about what the Lord is saying.
The Lord isn't saying, "If what you really want is 'all these things,' here's how you get it. Seek first God's kingdom and righteousness." He can't be saying that, because seeking God's kingdom and righteousness first means first. The word "first" makes the kingdom and righteousness, not the 'all these things,' our true goal. God is generous, but he will not be used as a stepping-stone to something higher.
The Lord is saying, "Make it THE goal of your life, even above necessities, to seek God's kingdom and righteousness. Use everything else in your life to make progress toward this goal and to help others make progress toward this goal. Don't use God, but use the things of this life toward God, and God promises he will back you up. He will give you all of 'all these things' that you need for a God-seeking-first, kingdom-advancing-first, righteousness-pursuing-first lifestyle."
Every one of us is either seeking God or using God, moment by moment. The word "first" reveals the difference. And God's promise belongs to all who seek him first. The only safe place in all the world.
(HT: Vitamin Z)
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Democrat Representatives who voted Yes
Chris Van Hollen
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Jo Ann Emerson
|J. Gresham Barrett|
If you read that list carefully, you'll see a name I mentioned before the list - Republican Representative of Ohio, John Boehner. Evidently Representative Boehner developed a taste for fecal matter during the week. What a disgusting display of politics. At this point I'd normally go on a rant talking about how dumb it is to say that our economy is in trouble because people have been borrowing too much money, so we need to tax them more so that they can borrow more money. Or I'd rant about how this is a larger scale equivalent to me cashing out my savings, going to Vegas and blowing it all on craps, and then getting bailed out by the government, despite the fact that I took a really stupid risk. But I'm not going to go into any rants. I just have one question. If you eat a crap sandwich, will you poop whole food?