January 18, 2009

Positivity: Chris’s Battle Joined

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 1:02 pm

From eastern Cincinnati, and many other points:

January 18, 2009

Turn a 3-on-3 tournament into a benefit, add an auction, multiply by Facebook, and ….

The good thing about bad news is the caring that follows. Serious illness is an enemy that elicits many foes. The destruction it causes is no match for the love it provokes.

Chris Norwell has cancer. Burkitt’s lymphoma, to be precise. If you’d seen this kid at Anderson High (Class of 2003) or at the University of Illinois – 6 feet 6, 300 pounds, bench-pressing 405 pounds “in my prime,” as he says – you’d hardly believe it. But cancer doesn’t discriminate.

He went from starting four years at defensive tackle for the Illini, 49 games in a row, most at that position in school history, to spending 60 nights in the hospital between October and New Year’s. Big, strong, indestructible Chris, Anderson’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, 28-2 as a starter on the football team, losing his hair and 55 pounds, his life of possibilities defined by four white walls and an IV, dripping helpful poison into his body.

The chemotherapy stopped 13 days ago. Next is a barrage of tests to determine if the disease is in remission or in need of further destruction. The doctors call it “re-staging.” Chris doesn’t know when that life-turning day will come, only that it will be soon. So he waits. And learns how much love there is in the world.

They’re holding a 3-on-3, fund-raising basketball event for him at Anderson on Feb. 22. It’s just a little gathering of people who have heard about Chris Norwell and his illness. All that’s involved is 140 teams paying $25 apiece to hoop it up; a silent auction of stuff from Illinois, Ohio State, Anderson High and possibly the Reds; and a few hundred volunteers and a few thousand people coming to watch.

All it has taken is a couple Anderson teachers, one in particular, spending 101 percent of his free time monitoring a blog and a Facebook page and tracking down silent-auction items and marshalling an army of volunteers and wondering how he’s going to fit 140 teams onto five basketball half-courts in one day.

“It’s literally becoming the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Justin Servis. He runs the marketing program at Anderson High. He’s marketing hope in his spare time. People seem to like it. “They’re coming out of the woodwork,” Servis says.

Here’s how it started:

Anderson has a 3-on-3, seniors-versus-faculty tournament every year at the end of the basketball season. Four student teams, one faculty squad, proceeds to charity. It’s a nice couple hours for a worthy cause. Servis and fellow teacher Stacey Bailey decided late last fall to send this year’s donations to Chris Norwell’s family, to help with his medical bills.

Chris had come home in early September. After graduating last spring from Illinois, he’d wanted to play in the NFL but hadn’t been drafted. His agent, Richard Katz, had gotten him tryouts with the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings released Chris just before the season.

All summer, Chris had suffered fatigue and a pain in his hip. He attributed the pain to a hernia operation he’d had last January. He attributed the fatigue to being out of shape. Only, the pain intensified and he started losing weight. “In hindsight I should have seen it coming,” says Vince Suriano, Chris’ coach at Anderson. Suriano saw Chris in mid-October, at a Redskins football game. “He told me he’d lost 25 pounds. I asked him his weight, because I’d heard through the grapevine that one of those NFL teams was an injury away from calling him back.”

The hip pain became so severe, Chris couldn’t walk for hours at a time. Doctors diagnosed him on Oct. 17. He started chemo three days later. Not long after, Stacey Bailey was talking to Justin Servis about the 3-on-3 tournament. “How can we make it bigger?” she wondered.

The power of the Internet was about to answer that question. Emphatically. …..

The event for Chris Norwell is Sunday, Feb. 22, from noon to 8 p.m. at Anderson High. Information can be found at oncearedskin.blogspot.com.

Go here for the rest of the story.

Hysterical Hansen Hype: Obama ‘Has Four Years to Save Earth’

This is a hopefully good news, bad news post.

First, the bad news: James Hansen, head of NASA’s the Goddard Institute of Space Studies is still bloviating about the catastrophes that await us because of what yours truly and others refer to as globaloney (the belief that the earth is dangerously warming, that human activity is the cause of the warming, and that radical steps that would cause huge reductions in standards of living around the world are required to save the planet from extinction). Reporter Robin McKie carries Hansen’s latest “we’d better act or else” warning at the UK Guardian.

The hopefully good news is that Hansen’s warning is thus far getting very light press coverage. A 9:45 a.m. Google News search done on “Hansen climate” (not in quotes) for January 16-18 came back with all of 24 items (the first page of results says there are 267, but there are really only 24.

Here are the first five paragraphs of McKie’s article, if you can bear reading them (bolds after title are mine):

President ‘has four years to save Earth’
US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration, he added.

Soaring carbon emissions are already causing ice-cap melting and threaten to trigger global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. “We cannot afford to put off change any longer,” said Hansen. “We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

Hansen said current carbon levels in the atmosphere were already too high to prevent runaway greenhouse warming. Yet the levels are still rising despite all the efforts of politicians and scientists.

Only the US now had the political muscle to lead the world and halt the rise, Hansen said. Having refused to recognise that global warming posed any risk at all over the past eight years, the US now had to take a lead as the world’s greatest carbon emitter and the planet’s largest economy. Cap-and-trade schemes, in which emission permits are bought and sold, have failed, he said, and must now be replaced by a carbon tax that will imposed on all producers of fossil fuels. At the same time, there must be a moratorium on new power plants that burn coal – the world’s worst carbon emitter.

Hansen – head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies and winner of the WWF’s top conservation award – first warned Earth was in danger from climate change in 1988 and has been the victim of several unsuccessful attempts by the White House administration of George Bush to silence his views.

Space and time don’t allow me to correct every error or to debunk every shoddy argument being made, but here are three egregious busts:

  • The US is not the world’s greatest carbon emitter. China became the biggest 18 months ago. This was noted in an article carried in …. the UK Guardian. A June 2008 article in the New York Times reported that China had increased its lead.
  • Sea ice is back to 1979 levels.
  • The alleged White House campaign to “silence” Hansen is an urban legend (scroll down a bit at link).

Of course, by posting on this I am giving Hansen’s global warming and “climate change” hysterics wider play. But I figure that commenters can offset the negative impact of the increased exposure with additional debunking of their own. So have at it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: Hot Air Headlines had picked up the NewsBusters version of this post.

Positivity: Catholic teen only graduate of Alaskan Christian high school

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:59 am

A World Youth Day 2008 attendee was the only person in her class to graduate from a small Alaska high school.

Marchelle Renner was the only 2009 graduate of North Pole Christian School, which she attended since kindergarten.

Her final year marked the first time Renner was in a class of one.

“She’s awesome, and we’re totally proud of her,” said Renner’s mother, Rochelle, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Eielson Church of Christ Minister Kevin Knight spoke during the graduation ceremony, giving Renner advice for her future.

Using American Express advertisements in which celebrities say their cards have given them things like freedom and independence, Knight told Renner, “You have something better than an American Express card — you have the God of the universe.”

Renner delivered her own reflections at the ceremony, saying that the most important thing she has learned was to think of God not only in the bad times, but also to remember Him in the good times.

She also noted the most memorable moments in her life, such as her five mission trips to Mexico.

“It’s seeing the children and the love they have for God, even though they don’t have much else,” Renner said.

She plans to take a sixth trip in January, the Daily News Miner reports.

Renner’s father Mark described his daughter as adventurous and determined. He said he saw her take charge in a thoughtful and caring way during her trip to World Youth Day in Australia.

“We’re so blessed to have her as a daughter,” he said. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.