some possible topics for discussion
- some possible topics for discussion
here's a thought, read all of these diverse pieces and start a discussion on any or all of them
for instance, on the first item, why not start groups with names like
the acronymn would be BRAT
if you joined you would be a BRAT a bus rider against terrorism
then get the group to buy ads on buses showing arab atttacks against Israel, arab attacks
against the UK, arab attacks against Spain, etc. etc. etc.
Strong Zionist Counterattack against Seattle Bus Ads
Published: 12/23/10, 5:30 PM / Last Update: 12/23/10, 6:24 PM
by Gil Ronen
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.
Supporters of Israel mounted an impressive campaign this week to try and prevent Seattle buses from running anti-Israel advertisements, sending over 1,800 email messages to local government council members and to the bus company involved.
The planned advertisements show a group of Arab children standing near a bombed-out building and carry the text: "Israeli War Crimes: your tax dollars at work." The ads are supposed to appear on at least 12 buses that run through downtown Seattle, starting December 27, the second anniversary of the Cast Lead counter-terror campaign mounted by Israel after eight years in which Gaza terrorists shelled Israeli population centers.
Pro-Israel group StandWithUs alerted supporters worldwide to the planned campaign and asked them to send email messages of protest to the King County Council members and to the Metro bus company.
"We've received copies of over 1,800 emails so far," StandWithUs informed its supporters Thursday. "And we know that that is only a small portion of the emails that have been sent - not everyone copied us on their emails. Plus, the phones at Metro have been ringing off the hook with complaints about Metro accepting the anti-Israel 'Israeli War Crimes' ad."
"Since Monday, StandWithUs Northwest's professional and Seattle lay leadership have been on the phones, calling King County Council members, lobbying them to come out in opposition to the anti-Israel ad."
"As a result of your emails and calls, and calls from other community members and leaders, along with StandWithUs Northwest lobbying, we know that at least three King County Council members have publicly come out in opposition to Metro running the ad. The first to speak out was Council member Peter von Reichbauer. Yesterday both Council members Reagan Dunn and Jeanne Hague also came out very strongly with statements opposing the ad."
StandWithUs also succeeded in having a 'stuffed' poll on the subject of the advertisements pulled from the Internet. KING 5 TV, which first broke the story, had an on-line poll on whether or not Metro should carry the ads. "It very quickly became the most visited page on their website, with tens of thousands of people voting. Blogs across the country directed people to vote in the poll. By Monday evening, slightly more than 50 percent of the votes were against Metro running the ad. Then, between late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, more than 15,000 nearly unanswered 'yes' votes came piling in, supporting Metro running the ads."
StandWithUs Northwest's co-chairs called KING 5 and explained that it was statistically nearly impossible for so many 'yes' votes to come in so quickly in a legitimate way. KING 5 responded immediately by investigating the problem and, within an hour, pulled the poll off the web.
In addition, StandWithUs and three other community organizations - the AJC, the Federation of Greater Seattle and ADL - met Wednesday afternoon with representatives of the King County Executive's office and the senior management of Metro. "Both the King County Executive's office and the Metro management heard our position. No decision was reached at the meeting, but we expect to hear from them shortly," StandWithUs reported.
20 Rabbis' Wives: Girls, Don't Date Arabs
by Gil Ronen
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.
Twenty rebbetzins (wives of rabbis) sent a public letter to Jewish girls Tuesday imploring them not to engage in romantic connections with Arabs. The rebbetzins warned: "Once you are in their hands, in their village, under their control - everything becomes different. The attention you wanted for yourself will be replaced by curses, beatings and humiliations."
The rebbetzins instructed girls not to go out with Arabs, not to work in places where Arabs are employed, and not to carry out volunteer national service in such places.
Rebbetzins traditionally hold leadership status alongside their husbands in the congregation and community, especially vis-a-vis women and girls.
The rebbetzins' letter joins an earlier letter signed by over 300 rabbis, calling on Jews not to sell or rent out homes to Arabs, and citing intermarriage as one of the negative results of allowing Arabs to move into Jewish neighborhoods. In addition, demonstrations have been held in Bat Yam and the Hatikvah neighborhood in Tel Aviv, which included signs asking Jewish girls to beware of Arab suitors.
Harassed in Ashkelon
Ashkelon Councilman Tomer Glam of the "Unity of Israel" faction sent a letter Thursday to the Minister of Public Security in which he said that Arabs routinely harass Jewish girls in the coastal city and asked for a greater police presence.
"Unfortunately," wrote the councilman, "we have recently become aware of a growing nationwide phenomenon of minority-members who harass young women, which has not bypassed the city of Ashkelon. Here, the situation is getting worse in the last few years, and one reason for this is the growth in the number of buildings being constructed throughout the city. We must stress that these incidents occur repeatedly, and once every few weeks, I unfortunately receive into my care girls who wind up suffering [from these ties]."
Glam went on to point out what he said was a new phenomenon, which manifests itself on Fridays on the cities' beaches and in certain neighborhoods. Arab construction workers who rent apartments in Ashkelon or are given apartments to live in by the contractors "bring girls aged as young as 12 into town and 'go out on the town' with them at parties that include, among other things, the serving of alcohol to girls."
Glam characterized the Arabs as sweet talkers who lavish girls with gifts in the initial stages of their courtship. He asked for an increased police presence in Ashkelon.
A breakdown of authority
Family-values activists in Israel blame decades of leftist brainwashing and legislation for breaking down parental authority in the Israeli Jewish family, thus hampering parents' ability to protect and guide their children. Leftist propaganda erodes family values by demeaning motherhood and demonizing fathers.
What can high-vitamin E foods do for you?
* Protect your skin from ultraviolet light
* Prevent cell damage from free radicals
* Allow your cells to communicate effectively
* Help protect against prostate cancer and Alzheimer's disease
What events can indicate a need for more high-vitamin E foods?
* Digestive system problems, especially malabsorption
* Tingling or loss of sensation in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
* Liver or gallbladder problems
Excellent sources of vitamin E include: mustard greens, chard, sunflower seeds, and turnip greens. Very good sources include almonds and spinach.
For serving size for specific foods, see Nutrient Rating Chart below at the bottom of this page.
* Deficiency Symptoms
* Toxicity Symptoms
* Cooking, storage and processing
* Factors that affect function
* Drug-nutrient interaction
* Nutrient interaction
* Health conditions
* Food Sources
* Public Recommendations
What is vitamin E?
Even though its name makes it sound like a single substance, vitamin E is actually a family of fat-soluble vitamins that are active throughout the body. Some members of the vitamin E family are called tocopherols. These members include alpha tocopherol, beta tocopherol, gamma tocopherol, and delta tocopherol.
Other members of the vitamin E family are called tocotrienols. These members include alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. As increasing information has become available about these forms of vitamin E, more and more of them are understood to have unique functions.
How it Functions
What is the function of vitamin E?
Prevention of oxidative stress
Although humans must breathe oxygen to stay alive, oxygen is a risky substance inside the body because it can make molecules overly reactive. When oxygen-containing molecules become too reactive, they can start damaging the cell structures around them. In chemistry, this imbalanced situation involving oxygen is called oxidative stress.
Vitamin E helps prevent oxidative stress by working together with a group of nutrients that prevent oxygen molecules from becoming too reactive. This group of nutrients includes vitamin C, glutathione, selenium, and vitamin B3. Some researchers believe that vitamin E is the most important member of this oxidative stress-preventing group.
Supporting healthy skin
Vitamin E has sometimes been described as the "lightening rod" of the cell, allowing reactive molecules to strike the cell, like lightening, without causing damage. This "lightening rod" function of vitamin E is particularly apparent in the case of the skin, since vitamin E directly protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation (also called UV light). In numerous research studies, vitamin E applied topically to the skin has been shown to prevent UV damage. When the diet contains vitamin E-rich foods, vitamin E can travel to the skin cell membranes and exert this same protective effect.
Protection against Bladder Cancer
One of the benefits of making foods rich in vitamin E-nuts, seeds, spinach, mustard greens, peppers and olive oil-a part of your healthy way of eating is an up to 50% reduction in risk of developing bladder cancer, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, Orlando, FL, May 23, 2004.
Bladder cancer, which kills 12,500 Americans annually, is the fourth leading cancer killer among men, and is four times more common in men than women. The study, which included 468 bladder cancer patients and 534 cancer-free controls drawn from residents of Houston, TX, collected data using eating habits questionnaires. Those whose vitamin E intake was in the top 25% had half as much bladder cancer as those in the lowest 25%.
Increasing vitamin E intake to the amount consumed by those in the top group would not be difficult since the actually difference in the amount of vitamin E-rich foods the two extremes consumed was small-the equivalent of a single daily serving of spinach or a handful of almonds.
The research team looked at the two most common forms of vitamin E, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, and found that only alpha-tocopherol was associated with lower bladder cancer risk. Also, whether study participants got their vitamin E from food alone or from vitamin pills, the reduction in risk was roughly the same. Those with the highest intake of alpha-tocopherol from food had a 42% reduced risk of bladder cancer, and those with a vitamin E rich diet who also took vitamin E supplements had a 44% reduced risk.
Vitamin E from Foods, but not Supplements Offers Protection against Prostate Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease
While the type of vitamin E usually used in supplements is alpha-tocopherol, research published in the December 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates another form of vitamin E, gamma-tocopherol, but not alpha-tocopherol, inhibits prostate cancer cell proliferation, without affecting healthy prostate cells.
Plus, the anti-cancer effect of gamma-tocopherol, when combined with other forms of vitamin E such as delta-tocopherol, appears to be additive.
As noted above, Vitamin E is a generic term for a family of at least eight structurally related molecules. When the first research was conducted on vitamin E by the Shute brothers early in the 19th century, in rats, one fraction of vitamin E, alpha tocopherol, appeared more potent since it was necessary for successful pregnancy and production of offspring. For this reason, the Shutes named the vitamin "tocopherol," from the Greek word meaning "to give birth."
More recent research has revealed that, in humans, other vitamin E fractions may be even more beneficial. Gamma-tocopherol has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects, which has led researchers to think this fraction may be more cardioprotective than the alpha-tocopherol found in most supplements. Not only is gamma-tocopherol anti-inflammatory, but it is also highly attracted to the nucleus in cells-the site where mutations in the genetic code can promote the development of cancer.
When Dr. Jiang and his team investigated the anti-carcinogenic potential of various forms of vitamin E, they found that gamma-tocopherol, particularly in combination with other forms of vitamin E such as delta-tocopherol, induced apoptosis (cell death) in androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells within 3 days of treatment. Alpha-tocopherol alone did not have this effect.
The gamma and delta E fractions appear to induce apoptosis by interrupting the synthesis of sphingolipid, a fatty molecule in cell membranes that acts as a signaling messenger to modulate events inside the cell. In the cell membranes of human prostate cancer cells, the interruption of sphingolipid's synthesis by gamma and delta tocopherols causes the cancerous cells to self-destruct, while leaving healthy cells unaffected. Both fractions, as well as alpha tocopherol, are naturally present in foods rich in vitamin E, which include a number of greens (mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach, collard greens, and kale), sunflower seeds and almonds.
A high intake of vitamin E from food, but not from supplements (which usually contain just alpha-tocopherol) is also inversely associated with Alzheimer's disease. Rush University's Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., lead nutrition researcher for CHAP, the Chicago Health and Aging Project, found a 67% lower risk of Alzheimer's in subjects with the highest intakes of vitamin E from food and concluded: "various tocopherol forms rather than alpha-tocopherol alone may be important in the vitamin E protective association with Alzheimer's disease."
Other roles for vitamin E
While most of the research on vitamin E has focused on its role in prevention of oxidative stress, a variety of new roles have recently been suggested. Most of these new roles involve the transfer of chemical information from one cell to another, or across different structures inside of a cell. This transfer of chemical information is referred to as "cell signaling," and many researchers believe that cell signaling cannot accurately take place without the help of vitamin E.
What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin E?
Deficiency symptoms for vitamin E are difficult to pinpoint and controversial in the research literature. The area of broadest agreement involves malabsorption. In many research studies, low levels of vitamin E are associated with digestive system problems where nutrients are poorly absorbed from the digestive tract. These problems include pancreatic disease, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and celiac disease.
A second area of focus for vitamin E deficiency symptoms is called peripheral neuropathy. This area focuses on nervous system problems in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Pain, tingling, and loss of sensation in these extremities have been associated with vitamin E deficiency. Although many healthcare practitioners report that skin problems appear closely linked to vitamin E deficiency, there are limited human research studies to support this view.
What are toxicity symptoms for vitamin E?
When obtained from food sources alone, vitamin E has no documented research of toxicity. Vitamin E supplements, when taken in very high doses of 3000 IU or more, have been shown to have toxic effects. These effects include intestinal cramps and diarrhea, fatigue, double vision, and muscle weakness. Below the 3000 IU level, the research on vitamin E toxicity is inconsistent, but the majority of studies do not demonstrate toxic effects.
An exception to the generally low risk of toxicity associated with vitamin E involves simultaneous vitamin K deficiency. For persons with vitamin K deficiency, high intake of vitamin E can prolong bleeding time and interfere with clotting. In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences set a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin E of 1,000mg (or 1,500 IU of vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol). This daily limit applies to supplemental vitamin E only, and is intended to apply to all individuals age 19 and older.
Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing
How do cooking, storage, or processing affect vitamin E?
Exposure to air and factory processing can be particularly damaging to the vitamin E content of food. In wheat, for example, where most of the vitamin E is found in the germ layer, commercial processing removes 50-90% of the food's vitamin E. In 60% extraction wheat flour - the kind that is used to make over 90% of all breads, baked goods, and pastas sold in the U.S., the alpha tocopherol content drops almost 90%, and the beta tocopherol content drops 43%. (Alpha and beta tocopherol are two forms of vitamin E.)
To help protect their vitamin E content, vegetables oils like olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and peanut oil should be kept in tightly capped containers to avoid unnecessary exposure to air.
Factors that Affect Function
What factors might contribute to a deficiency of vitamin E?
Since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, poor absorption of fat in the digestive tract can contribute to vitamin E deficiency. Some specific health conditions that can cause fat malabsorption include pancreatic disease, celiac disease, and gallbladder disease. Premature birth has also been shown to increase risk of vitamin E deficiency in infants.
What medications affect vitamin E?
Use of the following medications can reduce the body's supply of vitamin E: Anticonvulsant drugs (like Dilantin ) and cholesterol-lowering drugs (like probucol, cholestyramine, clofibrate, colestipol, and gemfibrozil) can significantly reduce the body's supply of vitamin E.
Long-term, regular use of mineral oil (for example, as non-prescription laxative) can also compromise the body's supply of vitamin E.
How do other nutrients interact with vitamin E?
The recycling of vitamin E in the body is intricately connected to four other nutrients: vitamin C, glutathione, selenium, and vitamin B3.
Vitamin C is required to keep vitamin E in its metabolically active form; glutathione (a very small protein molecule called a tripeptide and consisting of three amino acid building blocks) is required to keep vitamin C in its active form; and selenium (a micromineral) and vitamin B3 (in a special form called NADPH) are required to keep glutathione in its active form.
The fact that vitamin E is so heavily dependent on vitamin C, vitamin B3, selenium, and glutathione means that a diet high in vitamin E cannot have its optimal effect unless it is also rich in foods that provide these other nutrients.
At moderately high levels of 1,000 milligrams or more, vitamin E can interfere with the bodily activities of vitamin K. The potential injury to vitamin K metabolism was largely the reason why the National Academy of Sciences, in the year 2000, set a Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) of 1,000 milligrams per day for vitamin E.
What health conditions require special emphasis on vitamin E?
Vitamin E may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions:
* Alzheimer's disease
* Angina pectoris
* Breast cancer
* Fibrocystic breast disease
* Graves' disease
* Infertility (male)
* Inflammatory bowel disease
* Macular degeneration
* Multiple sclerosis
* Oral cancers
* Parkinson's disease
* Peptic ulcers
* Peripheral vascular disease
* Pregnancy-induced hypetension
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Senile cataracts
* Squamous cancer
* Tardive dyskinesia
Form in Dietary Supplements
What forms of vitamin E are found in dietary supplements?
The vast majority of vitamin E supplements contain a single form of the vitamin, alpha-tocopherol. More specifically, most supplements contain a natural form of alpha-tocopherol, called d-alpha tocopherol (or d-alpha tocopheryl acetate). Practitioners often prefer this form of the vitamin over a synthetic version called l-alpha tocopherol.
However, because vitamin E is actually a family of vitamins involving many tocopherols and many tocotrienols, some practitioners recommend vitamin E supplements containing not only d-alpha tocopherol, but other tocopherol and tocotrienol forms of vitamin E.
Supplements containing this wide variety of vitamin E forms are typically referred to as "mixed tocopherol" or "mixed tocotrienol" supplements. Human research studies comparing the effects of different types of vitamin E supplements are too limited to allow definite conclusions, but recent research suggests dietary vitamin E is preferable to supplements containing only one fraction of this nutrient.
What foods provide vitamin E?
Excellent sources of vitamin E include mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, and sunflower seeds.
Very good sources of vitamin E include almonds and spinach.
Good sources of vitamin E include collard greens, parsley, kale, papaya, olives, bell pepper, brussels sprouts, kiwifruit, tomato, blueberries, and broccoli.
Introduction to Nutrient Rating System Chart
In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the World's Healthiest Foods that are either an excellent, very good, or good source of vitamin E. Next to each food name, you'll find the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition, the calories contained in the serving, the amount of vitamin E contained in one serving size of the food, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.
World's Healthiest Foods ranked as quality sources of:
Size Cals Amount
Mustard greens, boiled 1 cup 21.0 2.81 14.1 12.0 excellent
Swiss chard, boiled 1 cup 35.0 3.31 16.6 8.5 excellent
Spinach, boiled 1 cup 41.4 3.74 18.7 8.1 excellent
Sunflower seeds, raw 0.25 cup 205.2 18.10 90.5 7.9 excellent
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 28.8 2.48 12.4 7.8 excellent
Almonds, dry roasted 0.25 cup 206.0 8.97 44.9 3.9 very good
Collard greens, boiled 1 cup 49.4 1.67 8.3 3.0 good
Kale, boiled 1 cup 36.4 1.11 5.6 2.7 good
Papaya 1 each 118.6 3.40 17.0 2.6 good
Olives 1 cup 154.6 4.03 20.1 2.3 good
Bell peppers, red, raw, slices 1 cup 24.8 0.63 3.1 2.3 good
Brussel sprouts, boiled 1 cup 60.8 1.33 6.7 2.0 good
Kiwifruit 1 each 46.4 0.85 4.3 1.7 good
Tomato, ripe 1 cup 37.8 0.68 3.4 1.6 good
Blueberries 1 cup 81.2 1.46 7.3 1.6 good
Broccoli, steamed 1 cup 43.7 0.75 3.8 1.5 good
Foods Rating Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%
Public Health Recommendations
What are current public health recommendations for vitamin E?
In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences established the following Adequate Intake (AI) levels for vitamin E:
* Males and females, 0-6 months: 4 milligrams
* Males and females, 6-12 months: 5 milligrams
In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences established the following Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin E:
* Males and females, 1-3 years: 6 milligrams
* Males and females, 4-8 years: 7 milligrams
* Males and females, 9-13 years: 11 milligrams
* Males and females, 14 years and older: 15 milligrams
* Pregnant females, 18 years and older: 15 milligrams
* Lactating females, 18 years and older : 19 milligrams
The National Academy of Sciences set a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin E of 1,000mg (or 1,500 IU of vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol). This daily limit applies to supplemental vitamin E only, and is intended to apply to all individuals age 19 and older. For more details on this, see the Toxicity Symptoms section above.
* Azzi A, Stocker A. Vitamin E: non-antioxidant roles. Prog Lip Res 2000;39(3):231-255 2000.
* Bendich A, Machlin LJ. Safety of oral intake of vitamin E. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48:612-619 1988.
* Cooney RV, Franke AA, Harwood PJ et al. Gamma-tocopherol detoxification of nitrogen dioxide:superiority to alpha-tocopherol. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993 Mar 1;90(5):1771-5 1993.
* Darr D, Dunston S, Faust HH, et al. Effectiveness of antioxidants (vitamin C and E) with and without sunscreens as topical photoprotectants. Acta Derm Venerol 1996;76:264-268 1996.
* Groff JL, Gropper SS, Hunt SM. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. West Publishing Company, New York, 1995 1995.
* Jiang Q, Wong J, Fyrst H, Saba JD, Ames BN. gamma-Tocopherol or combinations of vitamin E forms induce cell death in human prostate cancer cells by interrupting sphingolipid synthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Dec 21;101(51):17825-30. 2004. PMID:15596715.
* Mascio PD, Murphy ME, Sies H. Antioxidant defense systems: the role of Carotenoids, tocopherols, and thiols. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:194S-200S 1991.
* Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, Bienias JL, Wilson RS, Aggarwal NT, Scherr PA. Relation of the tocoperol forms to incident Alzheimer disease and to cognitive change. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):508-14. 2005. PMID:15699242.
* Packer L. Vitamin E is nature's master antioxidant. Sci Amer 1994;Mar-Apr:54-63 1994.
* Packer L, Weber SU, Rimbach G. Molecular aspects of alpha-tocotrienol antioxidant action and cell signaling. J Nutr 2001;131(2):369S-73S 2001.
* Schwenke DC. Does lack of tocopherols and tocotrienols put women at increased risk of breast cancer. J Nutr Biochem 2002 Jan;13(1):2-20 2002.
* Sokol RJ. Vitamin E deficiency in adults. Ann Int Med 1984;100:769 1984.
* Wu X, Radcliffe J. Papers on alpha-tocopherol intake and bladder cancer risk. presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, held in Orlando, FL, May 23, 2004. 2004.
Ahmadinejad Adds 9/11 to his `Denial List'
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has denied the Holocaust, now says that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States were "a big fabrication" that the American government used as an excuse to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iran's government-controlled media quoted Ahmadinejad on Saturday as saying the attacks were an "intelligence scenario and act [and] "a result of mismanagement and inhumane management of the world by the United States."
He explained that the attacks were staged and carried out by Israeli or American intelligence agents. Ahmadinejad said last September, on Iran's annual anti-Israel day, that the Holocaust "is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim."
More than 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 suicide airplane attacks on New York City's Twin Towers, which collapsed afterwards, and dozens of others died in an airplane attack on the Pentagon and on a plane that crash-landed in an open field, thanks to the courage of its passengers who attacked the hijackers, before the terrorists were able to carry out their plan to explode it on the White House.
How cops can crack Gilgo Beach case
Originally published: December 19, 2010 1:50 PM
By MICHAEL AMON, MATTHEW CHAYES, ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO, EMILY C. DOOLEY AND ANDREW STRICKLER lidesk@...
Four nameless victims. No witnesses. No suspects. Scant physical evidence.
Suffolk police say they have a "monumental task" in the coming weeks as detectives try to solve the deaths of four unidentified women whose bones were found wrapped in burlap off Ocean Parkway in Gilgo Beach a crime bearing the hallmarks of a serial killer, criminal justice experts said.
Investigators must cast a wide net now that the initial theory of a killer targeting prostitutes was upended last week, when the medical records of a New Jersey call girl who vanished nearby did not match any of the remains.
PHOTOS: Four bodies found along beach | LI and U.S. serial killers | LI's most notorious crimes through the years
VIDEO: Investigation continues
MAP: Where the bodies were discovered
Dep. Insp. William Neubauer said the case already is taking "twists and turns." He added, "Sometimes we run into roadblocks. And, you know, we deal with it, and we move on."
Authorities are pouring resources into the case. Searches of miles of sand and brush on foot with cadaver-smelling dogs and by helicopter turned up no more substantive clues. The sweep concluded Friday, but police said other areas still may be searched. Officials await results of tests comparing DNA taken from the bones with that of missing persons from across the country.
Neubauer stressed Friday that the hypothesis of a serial killer as the perpetrator may not prove true, days after Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said the deaths "could be" a serial killer's work.
While running down scores of new tips, detectives are opening up old casework, re-interviewing witnesses and looking at "literally thousands" of unsolved missing-person cases, Neubauer said. Police say they do not know how the four women died.
As difficult as it appears, experts on serial killers said Suffolk police can solve the case if they follow every lead, use forensics and other evidence to develop profiles of victims and suspects, and accept help from other agencies. One lucky break could be the key.
"Every case is solvable. It's just tenacity," said Joseph Pollini, a former New York City police investigator of cold cases and a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "If they have enough time to pursue it and the resources, there is no question about it."
From the start, the crime scene presented investigators with serious challenges. The unburied bodies were exposed to the elements for months, possibly years, in the damaging environment of a windswept barrier island.
"The longer they sit there, the more they degrade," said Capt. Nelson Andreu of the West Miami, Fla., Police Department, who has investigated five serial killers. "They are handicapped right there."
With so little evidence, the smallest detail takes on huge importance. A discarded receipt. An old traffic ticket. Perhaps a rare plant seed found on the beach that could be matched to one later pulled from a suspect's carpet.
The burlap wrapping presents the most significant clue so far disclosed, experts said, because it's a direct tie to a suspect and a relatively uncommon item. It's used mostly on farms, for home gardening and to ship goods such as coffee beans.
Fiber analysis of the burlap could lead police straight to particular businesses or even reveal writing or a label, Pollini said. "If more than one wrapped in burlap, that is an indication of one perpetrator," said Dr. Michael Warren, director of the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the University of Florida.
Who the women were is the single most important clue, experts said. "Before you can do a proper homicide investigation, you have to have an identification," said Todd Matthews, spokesman for the Doe Network, which assists police worldwide in solving missing-person cases and unsolved killings. An ID gives police friends and relatives to interview and places to search.
The bones have been sent to the New York City medical examiner's office, where the country's top forensic anthropologists will examine them under microscopes, looking for wound marks and clues to the victims' age, height and race, officials said. Bradley Adams, chief of the office's team of forensic anthropologists, said biological profiles of each body are being developed.
The women's DNA will be extracted from bone marrow and sent to the University of North Texas' CODIS, a databank of DNA from missing persons, their relatives and criminal defendants, Adams said. Results may take weeks, and even then may not yield a match. Teeth may be useful for comparison with dental records. Adams helped develop a computer program known as Odontosearch, which looks for unique patterns of dental work and missing teeth and compares findings with a large population sample.
Learning how the victims died is almost as important as their identities, Andreu said. Hammer blows, cut marks and slashes are often found in bones, but not always, said Dr. Turhom Murad, professor emeritus of forensic anthropology at Chico State University in California. Strangulation may break a certain bone in the throat, another potential clue. The skull will be examined for fracture patterns, he said.
Investigators will develop a "profile" of the killer or killers with whatever physical evidence is gathered, along with information on their victims and methods, among other things, experts said.
The grouping of the women's bodies on Gilgo Beach immediately suggests a "disorganized" serial killer a broad category of suspect who is typically socially inept and usually leaves bodies close to home, in a place the perpetrator knows well, Pollini said.
The burlap suggests someone with a blue-collar job, which is consistent with the "disorganized" profile, he said. Serial killers tend to have an "ideal" target, so similarities among the victims will be key, experts said. If the women were prostitutes or drug addicts, for instance, the vice squad could be asked to pump their street sources for information, Andreu said. Suffolk police have not accepted the FBI's offer of a profiler a move that puzzled experts.
"You should get to a profiler early and provide them with as much information as possible as it comes in," Andreu said. "Sometimes homicide detectives, they try to keep things close to themselves ... but you have to share information." He also recommended setting up a task force whose members are briefed regularly on the case.
Suffolk police said a multitude of precinct commands and specialized squads, including missing persons, computer crimes, homicide, and major cases are involved. No task force has been set up.
A lucky break
Consider serial killers Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz. Bundy, perhaps the nation's most infamous serial killer, was arrested in 1978 after an alert cop checked the plate on a stolen car he was driving in Florida, thousands of miles from his earliest known victims in Washington. Authorities have linked him to more than 30 killings in five states.
"Son of Sam" Berkowitz, who confessed to killing six in a spree that terrorized New York City, was caught in 1977 after a woman saw him glaring menacingly at passersby and taking a parking ticket off his car in the Bronx. Using the ticket, police traced Berkowitz to his Yonkers home, where they found a gun his car.
In Suffolk, Pollini said investigators will look at toll-booth cameras on bridges and interview people who frequent the roads near where the women's bodies were recovered. "He dumps a body, he speeds away and blows a red light, boom, you have a traffic ticket," Pollini said.
Still, even when things go right, a serial murder investigation can stall. Suffolk's case initially was compared to a 2006 case in southern New Jersey. Four prostitutes' bodies were found near one another in a drainage ditch, all missing shoes, all turned to face the Atlantic City skyline. All were identified. A suspect was identified; he maintains his innocence and never was charged. The case remains unsolved.
On Friday, Neubauer summed up the challenge of the Gilgo Beach case: "We have a monumental task for us in the weeks ahead."
In addition to replacing all the older, more inefficient V-6s, with various levels of toxic emissions cleanliness, the PentaStar V6 is more efficient, and therefor has a lesser appetite for fuel.
Unsaid but also true, is that the new 3.6 liter V6 is capable of meeting a totally clean air, the end of the line, the penultimate Air Quality regulation: LEV III SULEV II & PZEV non emissions level, created expressly as an EV cleanliness level. And doing this as an ICE engine.
For those unfamiliar with what that "tech-speak" means, it is that a model of this V-6, produces nothing deleterious out of the tailpipe other than perfectly clean air. Air as pristine, as if the car were an electric vehicle. Cars equipped this way are no longer producers of pollution.
You might think of these resultant vehicles as private "Clean Air Pumps", sucking in ambient, polluted air, cleaning it, and expelling air out of the exhaust, totally Clean Air, much cleaner than that going into the intake.
For you governmental control freaks, imagine if you could REQUIRE citizens to purchase "Clean Air cleaners" and require tens of thousands to operate at citizens expense, in every city, to cleanse the Air.
In effect that is what is happening. In this aspect, such a car is plainly Superior to a pure EV, which does not as a side benefit, improve the Air Quality. An EV merely maintains what ever level of Air Quality that is present.
This V-6 in addition to scrapping All the various V-6 models that Chrysler has in its current inventory, is also eventually replacing an entire small V-8 family, the SOHC "semi-Hemi".
Obama Appoints Robert Ford as Ambassador to Syria
Published: 12/30/10, 10:19 AM / Last Update: 12/30/10, 12:57 PM
by Chana Ya'ar
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The White House has announced the appointment of a new ambassador to Syria -- a controversial move by U.S. President Barack Obama, who used his Constitutional muscle on Wednesday to name the envoy while the Senate was not in session.
The previous ambassador to Syria was withdrawn by former President George W. Bush in 2005 in response to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as well as its support for Saddah Hussein-sympathizers and terrorism in general. There were strong indications at the time that Syria was behind Hariri's murder, although Damascus denied involvement in the truck bombing.
The Obama administration has contended since taking office that re-establishing diplomatic relations would be the best way to convince Syria listed by the State Department as a "state sponsor of terrorism" to change its policies towards Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
Robert Ford, a career diplomat who has been waiting in the wings since his confirmation hearings were completed in February, was appointed to become the new envoy. Ford, who has previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Algeria, was not confirmed by the Senate, which has refused to consider sending an ambassador to Syria.
"Making undeserved concessions to Syria tells the regime in Damascus that it can continue to pursue its dangerous agenda and not face any consequences from the U.S.," explained the incoming chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She told reporters in a prepared statement, "That is the wrong message to be sending to a regime which continues to harm and threaten U.S. interests and those of such critical allies as Israel."
Obama used a Constitutional power that enables him to make recess appointments in order to work around the impasse. Under the loophole, the president can fill a post when the Senate is not in session, and the appointment is valid until the end of the next session of Congress. Presidents often use the power to make appointments when Senate confirmation is blocked.
Other appointments that were filled Wednesday by Obama during the Senate recess included envoy posts to Azerbaijan and NATO allies Turkey and the Czech Republic.
the description below is from wikipedia:
As used in modern political discourse in some quarters, Arabist refers a generally non-Arab specialist in Arabic language or culture perceived to be excessively sympathetic towards Arabic culture and political views. Accusations of bias appear to have arisen in the United States where "Arabists" in public service were perceived to be "pro-Arab"
an Arabist is defined at
1. A specialist in the Arabic language or culture.
2. One who is favorably disposed toward Arab concerns and policies.
Robert Stephen Ford
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This article is about an American diplomat. For other people named Robert Ford, see Robert Ford (disambiguation).
Robert Stephen Ford
Robert Stephen Ford is an American career diplomat currently nominated as the United States Ambassador to Syria. He served as the United States Ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008.
* 1 Personal life and education
* 2 Career
o 2.1 Honors
* 3 References
Personal life and education
Ford is originally from Denver but is more recently a resident of Maryland. He received his Master of Arts in 1983 from Johns Hopkins University. In addition to English, Ford speaks German, Turkish, French, and Arabic. A senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq once described Ford as being "regarded as one of the best Arabists in the State Department". Ford is married to Alison Barkley, who is a fellow diplomat.
Ford is a career member of the United States Foreign Service. He entered the service in 1985 and has been stationed in Ýzmir, Cairo, Algiers, and Yaoundé. Ford served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bahrain from 2001 until 2004, and Political Counselor to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2004 until 2006.
Ford was nominated for the position of United States Ambassador to Algeria by President George W. Bush on April 13, 2006. The nomination was sent to the Senate on April 24 and confirmed on May 27. He was sworn in on August 11. He served in the Algiers post until June 26, 2008.
Ford was nominated in 2010 as the first United States Ambassador to Syria in five years (pending Senate approval).
Ford is a recipient of several Department of State awards, including the 2005 James Clement Dunn Award for outstanding work at the mid-level in the Foreign Service as well as three Superior Honor Awards and two Meritorious Honor Awards.
References item directly below is from:
The Peace FAQ:
Arabists, "Pro-Arab Sympathisers"
Frequently Asked Questions:
* What is an Arabist?
* What motivates the Arabists?
* Who are some prominent Arabists?
* How have the Arabists betrayed America?
* What does the Arabist risk?
What is an Arabist?
* Under Construction
What motivates the Arabists?
* Arabists in government do not have names like Hamadi or Abdullah. No, they have names like Hendrikson and Smith and they work diligently for the government of America - except when they don't. When they don't, they work first for themselves and then for their Arab connections. They may be in the White House, the State Dept. and the Intelligence Agencies on orders from any of the above.
Then there are corporations who have leases on Arab oil land, contracts, shipping lines, and these executives are plugged into the highest offices of government. They can be generally defined as either motivated by money or as Arabists: meaning they ideologically agree with Arab orders. (Recall how the multinational oil companies accepted orders from Saudi Arabia during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The orders were to cease delivering oil to American civilian and military depots. These American based corporations followed the Saudi orders and cut off supply.
Strangely, there was no demand for trial or imprisonment - perhaps because they were so well represented in government that they were untouchable.
- from RETRIBUTION, by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East analyst & commentator
Who are some prominent Arabists?
* Under Construction
How have the Arabists betrayed America?
* Perhaps the reader has forgotten the blowing up of the American Marine barracks; or the orders as recorded on tape by Arafat personally ordering the execution of American Ambassador Cleo Noel, Jr. held hostage by Arafat's Force 17 in Khartoum March 1973; or the killing of Leon Klinghoffer off the Achille Lauro; or the bombing of Pan Am 103; or the torture murder of Marine Col. William Higgins; or the World Trade Center bombing; or a thousand other atrocities fomented by a hostile Arab world.
The address of these and a thousand other atrocities is Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya and the PLO who were all kept well-funded by Saudi Arabia. All of these nations who supported terror with money, safe houses, weapons, training bases also had confederates in America. They came from corporations who extracted billions from oil, banking, shipping and construction contracts. The value of their money increased by virtue of their phony escalation of oil prices, fueling world inflation and world hunger. They, in turn, shoveled money into our political system which influenced the Congress and the White House. They became enthusiastic Arabists, thereby opening the doors to terror in America.
Perhaps its time, before the terror begins, to weed out Arabists before we have to find them, after hundreds of Americans are killed by Islamic fundamentalists.
- from RETRIBUTION, by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East analyst & commentator
What does the Arabist risk?
* One day there will be payback time for those Americans who helped the Arab countries build conventional and unconventional forces...
...The American people will move from fear into rage and begin to look for those who not only carried out the operations but those in government and industry who assisted in the growth industry of those terror nations and terror organizations.
I can clearly see the day when the FBI begins to interrogate State Department employees at the highest levels. Was it not the Arabists within the State Department who have assisted and protected Syria all these many years? Was it not the State Department who worked covertly with Yassir Arafat to build his base of terrorists and establishing their cover as "policemen"
Surely, we will see such men as former President Bush questioned on his role in supplying Iraq's Saddam Hussein with money and weapons. Former Sec. of State James Baker will be interrogated about his actions in tasking the CIA to build up the credibility of Saeb Erekat, a man now acting liaison for Arafat and the US. All of the Bush cabinet who were given waivers would be investigated for their special investments in Iraq during the Gulf War. Yes, indeed, besides State Dept. officials, former and sitting Presidents, some in Congress - we may see more than a few indictments as an enraged citizenry demands justice for the American Arabists who assisted the growth of terror for oil money...
...Clearly, in their zeal to assist their friends for the money it brings, American Arabists have become accessories to terrorist murders. If former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State and Defense and State Department officials have been part of the growth of terror, then they must go to prison.
- from RETRIBUTION, by Emanuel A. Winston, Middle East analyst & commentator
* RELATED SECTIONS:
Arabs, Islam, The Stockholm Syndrome, Fear, anti-Zionism, antisemitism, Terrorism, Peace Now, Palestinians, Media Bias, Double Standards, Moral Relativism
* WWW RESOURCES:
* BOOKS & PRINTED MATERIAL:
o Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite, by Robert D. Kaplan http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0028740238
o The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People, by John Loftus, Mark Aarons
o Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, by Bat Ye'Or, Bat Yeor
o Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism, by Dore Gold http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0895260611
o For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies, by Robert Irwin
item directly above is from:
A Pinpoint Beam Strays Invisibly, Harming Instead of Healing
By WALT BOGDANICH and KRISTINA REBELO
December 28, 2010
The initial accident report offered few details, except to say that an unidentified hospital had administered radiation overdoses to three patients during identical medical procedures.
It was not until many months later that the full import of what had happened in the hospital last year began to surface in urgent nationwide warnings, which advised doctors to be extra vigilant when using a particular device that delivers high-intensity, pinpoint radiation to vulnerable parts of the body.
Marci Faber was one of the three patients. She had gone to Evanston Hospital in Illinois seeking treatment for pain emanating from a nerve deep inside her head. Today, she is in a nursing home, nearly comatose, unable to speak, eat or walk, leaving her husband to care for their three young daughters.
Two other patients were overdosed before the hospital realized that the device, a linear accelerator, had inexplicably allowed radiation to spill outside a heavy metal cone attachment that was supposed to channel the beam to a specific spot in the brain. One month later, the same accident happened at another hospital.
The treatment Ms. Faber received, stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS, is one of the fastest-growing radiation therapies, a technological innovation designed to target tiny tumors and other anomalies affecting the brain or spinal cord, while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.
Because the radiation is so concentrated and intense, accuracy is especially important. Yet, according to records and interviews, the SRS unit at Evanston lacked certain safety features, including those that might have prevented radiation from leaking outside the cone.
The mistakes in Evanston involve linear accelerators commonly used for standard radiation therapy that were redesigned by the manufacturer, Varian Medical Systems, so they could also perform SRS. As the devices became more versatile and complex, problems arose when vital electronic components could not communicate with one another.
In the last five years, SRS systems made by Varian and its frequent German partner, Brainlab, have figured in scores of errors and overdoses, The New York Times has found. Some mistakes were caused by operator error. In Missouri, for example, 76 patients were overradiated because a medical physicist did not realize that the smaller radiation beam used in radiosurgery had to be calibrated differently than the larger beam used for more traditional radiation therapy.
Medical physicists say there is nothing inherently wrong with linear accelerators that deliver general radiation therapy, as well as SRS. And, they say, the overdoses might have been caught had users followed a more rigorous system of checks and double-checks.
"Tens of thousands of patients have been treated with protocols properly followed and no mistakes were made," said Dr. Frank J. Bova, a medical physicist in Gainesville, Fla., and a pioneer in developing and enhancing the accuracy of SRS. "It has changed many difficult procedures, ones with high surgical risk, into one-day outpatient procedures."
But radiation safety experts say the retrofitted devices made up of different companies' products present a special challenge.
Dr. Howard I. Amols, chief of clinical physics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said some problems appeared to be "a combination of user error, coupled with neither the manufacturers nor the F.D.A. being able to anticipate a potential safety flaw in a `mix and match' treatment delivery system."
Dr. William David Bloomer, chairman of radiation medicine at Evanston Hospital, said the mistakes happened even though medical personnel there had followed the manufacturer's instructions. "We rely on them to make sure the medical devices are safe," he said.
Varian, the world's leading manufacturer of linear accelerators, declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that it has "deep concern" for accident victims and their families. "Our products include many built-in safety features, and we work continually to make them even safer," Varian said.
Brainlab denied any role in the accidents.
The accidents highlight shortcomings in the regulation of medical radiation.
Despite their complexity, the multipurpose devices are less regulated than their more simply designed competitor, the Gamma Knife, a device engineered specifically for stereotactic radiosurgery.
Linear accelerators, which generate radiation without using radioactive material, are overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, while the Gamma Knife is regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because it uses a radioactive isotope. The nuclear commission has more authority to investigate and publicize radiation errors.
The F.D.A. approved the retrofitted linear accelerators with little review on the grounds that they were mere extensions of existing technology.
But since there is no requirement that all mistakes involving linear accelerators be reported to a central database, getting a handle on how often SRS errors occur is difficult. "Everybody says these are isolated incidents," Dr. Bloomer said, "until you find out that maybe they are not so isolated."
Seeking Respite From Pain
Before Marci Faber became a nursing home invalid at age 50, she had been leading a rich, full life. She loved musicals, country music and anything to do with her three daughters. When a mother was needed to oversee the sale of Girl Scout cookies, Ms. Faber was there.
"We go into a room and people really didn't care so much about me Marci was definitely the person that people gravitated to," said Richard Faber, her husband. "She was gregarious, had a great smile. Her eyes light up the room."
Last March, Ms. Faber sought treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, a non-life-threatening condition that produces facial pain. While Ms. Faber's pain was intermittent, some cases become severe.
"It's unimaginably bad and can drive some people to suicide," said Dr. Daniel Yoshor, chief of neurosurgery at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. "It's an awful, awful thing and the cause of it is not very well understood."
What is known is that the pain emanates from the tiny trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. And stereotactic radiosurgery is one of the most effective methods of eliminating the source of the pain.
But treating trigeminal neuralgia "is probably the most technically demanding" form of radiosurgery, said Dr. Bova. "You are literally giving doses that are very, very high," he said, "and the machine has to be able to deliver the dose to the trigeminal nerve and stay off the brain stem, which is immediately adjacent to it."
Standard radiation therapy can involve dozens of treatments at lower doses, so one incorrect treatment might not cause much damage. But with SRS, there is often just a single potent dose requiring scalpel-like accuracy.
"It requires a little different mindset than when you are actually saying, I will give a little dose today, a little dose tomorrow and I will check it later," Dr. Bova said. "This has to be checked the first time you do it because there is not a second day."
For years, the Gamma Knife provided the necessary power and accuracy to accomplish its goal.
But many institutions could not afford it; the device costs upwards of $3 million and requires its own room, and treatments take longer. There is also the added difficulty of handling and replacing radioactive material.
"It doesn't pay to have a Gamma Knife unless you have a large number of patients," said Dr. Amols.
By using linear accelerators retrofitted with cone attachments, hospitals expanded their pool of patients without having to buy an extra unit.
Radiosurgery appeals to patients because it is an alternative to surgery and can be performed as an outpatient procedure, often in a single day. In recent years, the use of these small beam treatments has soared, as doctors have begun using them on parts of the body other than the brain and spine.
When Ms. Faber entered Evanston Hospital in March 2009, she had every reason to believe that her treatment would put an end to her pain. Indeed, when she left the hospital her trigeminal nerve was no longer an issue.
Little Problems Get Bigger
At first, Ms. Faber had no reason to be especially concerned. After her procedure, she experienced some vomiting, burning in her throat, and even a little weight loss. Swatches of hair began to fall out.
Still, the Fabers did not connect any of this to her radiation treatment.
But weeks later, as the hospital was on the verge of overradiating a fourth radiosurgery patient, its medical physicist caught the problem. He fixed it, and the patient received the correct dose.
But the hospital temporarily shut down its stereotactic radiosurgery program and began to investigate. What it found was deeply disturbing: three patients, including Ms. Faber, had been overradiated around the same time. All the victims were notified.
Evanston Hospital declined to discuss specific cases on privacy grounds, but a brief report sent to the F.D.A. in 2009 said one patient had been hospitalized three weeks after treatment with an irregular heartbeat, weakness, and changes in mental status; another was hospitalized for four days because of nausea, vomiting and dehydration; and the third, apparently Ms. Faber, was said to have experienced hair loss.
But about a year after her treatment, Mr. Faber said, his wife began losing her balance, falling occasionally and having memory problems. "I was sick to my stomach scared," he said.
Jordan Kagan, a family friend, said that when Ms. Faber attended his daughter's bat mitzvah in April, she was mentally coherent but physically diminished.
Then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, she disintegrated. "Four weeks later, she was like a vegetable," Mr. Kagan said. "It was mind-boggling to see one person who was not elderly deteriorate that quickly."
Now, she can only blink her eyes and lightly squeeze her husband's hand. "It is very hard on the kids," Mr. Faber said. "It has been hard on me but really nothing compared to what Marci is going through."
Doctors who deal with her type of radiation injury say the prognosis for any meaningful recovery is poor.
At the hospital, officials had been scrambling to figure out what went wrong. While the software that drives the linear accelerator is complex, the mechanics of how the overdoses occurred is strikingly simple.
Linear accelerators can be adapted to perform stereotactic radiosurgery in two ways: with small computer-controlled metal leaves that shape the beam, or with a cone attached to the machine's opening through which radiation is delivered. That opening is made smaller or larger by moving four heavy metal "jaws" that shape the beam into a square. When a cone attachment is used, the square beam must fit entirely within the circumference of the cone. If the square is slightly larger than the cone, radiation will leak out through the four corners of the jaws and irradiate healthy tissue. In the Evanston accidents, records show, the beam was four times too large.
Operators could not see this incorrect setting directly because a metal tray on which the cone is mounted hides the jaws, though the settings should have been displayed on a computer screen, according to people who have worked with this device. The mount also blocks a light field that could have shown where the radiation was to hit the patient.
But while the mount blocks light, it does not block radiation, which in the case of Ms. Faber and other Evanston patients went into healthy brain cells.
Determining that the jaws had been set wrong was the easy part. Then the hospital had to figure out how and why.
A Failure to Communicate
Precisely why the jaws were open so wide is still in dispute. There is no indication that the State of Illinois or the F.D.A. has investigated the accident. No lawsuits have been filed. And Varian has declined to answer questions.
But public records and interviews with doctors and others familiar with Varian's equipment point to a complicated matrix of computer systems and communication flaws that made such an accident more likely to happen.
That system is supposed to work this way: A treatment plan is developed on one computer, then transferred into another software system that, among other things, verifies that the treatment plan matches the doctor's prescription. The data is then sent to a third computer that controls the linear accelerator.
Several months after the Evanston accidents, Brainlab reminded customers to verify the correct jaw setting, specifically citing the possibility that treatment information could be altered as it passed "through a chain of devices."
Evanston Hospital had earlier encountered its own communication glitches after upgrading Varian software in December 2008. As a result, medical personnel had to load patient information onto a USB flash drive and walk it from one computer to another.
Then, three months ago, concerned that radiation might leak outside the cone, Varian warned customers that its software did not recognize cone attachments on the type of linear accelerator involved in the Evanston accidents.
To work around that problem hospitals needed to, as one medical physicist put it, essentially trick the machine into thinking it was using a different attachment, which it did recognize. To do that, users had to enter additional data into the SRS system.
Similar communication problems affected three other Varian brands of linear accelerators.
"If you weren't careful, you could give the wrong treatment," said Dr. Subhash C. Sharma, chief physicist at Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Last year, Varian promised to devise, among other things, a decidedly low-tech solution: a decal to stick on the machines, warning operators to be extra careful in setting the radiation field.
Dr. Bloomer, the radiation oncologist at Evanston Hospital, said the manufacturer had not answered the hospital's questions about why the overdoses occurred there. "We haven't gotten an adequate response," he said.
Dr. Amols, the Sloan Kettering physicist, said he believed several factors could have contributed to the accidents.
"Arguably, the physicist or radiation therapist should have noticed that there was a mismatch," Dr. Amols said, "and arguably there should be stricter laws regulating the `mixing and matching' of complex medical equipment from different manufacturers. But at present there's no legal requirement for different companies to make equipment integration transparent to the end user i.e., the hospitals."
After the accidents at Evanston, Brainlab and Varian this year released a software fix that will restrict the jaw size, so similar accidents will not occur, said David Brett, a Brainlab official. So far, 75 percent of the affecte<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)