Five Best and Worst Ideas of the Week

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Five Best Ideas of the Week

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Score for Scientists
Key Cancer Spread Gene Found

University of Cambridge Scientists have pinpointed a gene linked to more than half of all breast cancersThe gene, NRG1 (neuregulin-1), is also thought to play a role in many bowel, prostate, ovarian and bladder tumours.  Lead researcher Dr Paul Edwards said: “I believe NRG1 could be the most important tumour suppresser gene discovery in the last 20 years as it gives us vital information about a new mechanism that causes breast cancer.


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Religion Alive and Well
One of the World’s Oldest Synagogues Was Uncovered near the Sea of Galilee in Israel

A 2,000-year-old synagogue from the Second Temple period was discovered this month during archaeological excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Migdal near the Sea of Galilee.  A square stone featuring sides adorned with reliefs and engraved with a seven-branched menorah was discovered in the hall atop a pedestal with a triangular base.  “This is the first time a menorah decoration was discovered from the Second Temple Period,” says Dina Avshalom-Gorni, Excavation Director, Israel Antiquities Authority, “And the synagogue that was uncovered joins just six other synagogues in the world that are known to date to the Second Temple Period.”

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Bravery Goes Gene Deep
Flood Rescuer Repeats Father’s Heroic Actions

As Zack Stephney stepped into the floodwaters last week, history washed over him.  30 years before, his father had saved two others from drowning.  A third panicked, forcing them both under raging currents.  His body would not be found for a week.  But dying wouldn’t be Zach’s fate this past week.  He spotted Melissa Brooks in her submerged Mazda being swept away by rising floodwaters.  Without hesitation, and with crystal clarity, Zach ran to his shop, grabbed a spool of 1,000-foot yellow nylon rope, and went to work.  With his lightning speed and quick thinking he saved Melissa’s life.  “It could’ve happened to me the same way it did my dad,” he said.  But he had something else pushing him, the kind of inspiration rooted in family legacy.

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August Rush Can Be True
Homeless Man Becomes a Millionaire after Writing Hit Symphony With No Musical Training

A self-trained musician who slept rough on the streets for a decade has been hailed a genius after writing a symphony.  Stuart Sharp’s Angeli Symphony has been described as a work of ‘genius’ by music experts and is to be played in the Royal Albert Hall. It took several years to write the symphony, which will be a soundtrack for a documentary film about his life story, which is now being filmed.

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Real Savings
Congressional Budget Office Shows $54 Billion in Savings by Cutting out the Lawyers

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has produced a report on the savings that the government could reap if relatively painless tort reform provisions are included in the health insurance reform bill before Congress. And the results would be encouraging, if there were any chance of these provisions becoming law.

Five Worst Ideas of the Week

1. Safety for our Kids?

More Bad News on Kevin Jennings, Safe School Czar

It was revealed last week that Safe School Czar, Kevin Jennings, praised NAMBLA icon, Harry Hay, calling him an “inspiration” in a 1997 speech.  NAMBLA is the North American Man Boy Love Association, whose major aim, according to an FBI informant is to promote pedophila.
This is heaped on Jenning’s other problems.  He reported himself that instead of informing authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him at school that he had met a man in the bus station the night before, he answered, “I hope you used a condom,” essentially giving a green light to statutory rape.   Then there’s his writing of the introduction to “Queering Elementary Education” and his heading GLSEN, who finds what they call “heterosexualism” offensive.

Jennings’ bad news may be good news for America if the calls for his resignation bear fruit.

2. Nobel Sur Prize

Even Obama Not Expecting the Peace Prize

Obama supporter or not, the President’s award from Sweden was astonishing.  Nominated for the award less than two weeks into his presidency, Obama was given the nod, apparently, for the hope that he would do something worthy of it, rather than the realization.  Pardon, but we thought the award was for the body of work over a lifetime promoting peace.  Apparently, this time, it was awarded based on star power.

3. People Deserve to Vote

Same-Sex Marriage a Slam-Dunk in DC-For Now

With 9 out of 13 council members acting as co-sponsors, a same-sex marriage bill was introduced October 6, at the Washington DC council meeting by Councilman David Catania.  The District of Columbia already recognizes same-sex marriages performed in states where they are allowed.

According to USA Today, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, ranking Republican on the subcommittee that oversees the District of Columbia, says he’ll try to stop the bill. Because Democrats control Congress, though, he says the likelihood of a full vote in the House is “slim to none.”
Marriage protectors, led by Bishop Harry Jackson, are pushing to put an initiative on the 2010 ballot defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  They say people deserve to vote on an issue with such profound social implications.

4. Disputing the Healthcare Bill
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops say Federal Funding of Abortion Included

Senator Orrin Hatch offered two amendments in the Senate Finance Committee to the Baucus healthcare bill, both of which were soundly rejected.  The first was that elective abortion would not be subsidized in the health plan, and the other was an amendment to codify current conscience protections so that medical personnel who had religious objections to performing abortions would not be forced to do so. No, said the committee. 

In two recent letters, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have expressed their concern over abortion in the healthcare plan.  On Thursday, they sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to “exclude mandated coverage for abortion,” and include “policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.” 

The bishops noted that they “remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously,” they insisted.

Using tax-payer money to fund abortion is not only a bad idea, it tramples conscience.  The Hyde Amendment, which is designed to protect against this would not be applicable to the healthcare bill.

5. The Boarded Up Mojave Cross
Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Divisive Case

In an obscure spot in the Mojave National Preserve, 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles, stands an 8-foot-tall cross that the National Park Service has boarded up with plywood pending a decision by the Supreme Court on whether it should be removed altogether.  It was erected in 1934 as a war memorial commemorating soldiers who died in World War I.