Archive for April 2012
HOUSTON, Texas — (DMN) – A high school student ended up with multiple staples in her head and a swollen eye after being beaten by a fellow student despite going to a school administrator for help. Thursday night, Pamela Flowers’ daughter told her that another female student at Thurgood Marshall High School threatened to kill her. “She told 50 people, ‘I’m going to kill her. I’m like, oh my god,” Flowers said. The argument was over a boy, Flowers told KHOU-TV, but she wasn’t going to take the threat likely. She called the school at 11:30 a.m. the next day.
Flowers says she was transferred to the school’s 10th grade principal and she expressed her concerns. “He did tell me Ms. Flowers don’t worry about it. I am on top of it,” Flowers said. Three hours later, her daughter was allegedly attacked by the threatening student. The suspect hit her dozens of times with a sock stuffed with a combination lock. Flowers’ daughter had to be taken to an emergency room where doctors put multiple staples in her head and treated the cut below her eye. Her mother immediately contacted the school’s principal. “You had enough time to stop this, pull her out of class, pull the other girl out of class and asked them questions,” Flowers said. She says the principal apologized and said he had forgotten about her phone call and that it had slipped his mind. “I don’t understand how you let something life threatening slip you mind,” Flowers told KHOU. Fort Bend ISD has not been able to release a statement.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — (DMN) – U.S. officials say there is no credible terror threat against the United States on the 1-year anniversary of the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. At the same time, American and European security officials told ABC News today that they fear al Qaeda may soon try to explode U.S.-bound aircraft with explosives hidden inside the bodies of terrorists. As a result, security at several airports in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East has been substantially stepped up, with a focus on U.S. carriers.
Additional federal air marshals have also been shifted overseas in advance of the anniversary. A year ago Tuesday night, President Obama announced on live television that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. raid on a compound in Pakistan. In an interview on ABC World News Tonight medical experts say there is plenty of room in the stomach area of the body for surgically implanted explosives. “The surgeon would open the abdominal cavity and literally implant the explosive device in amongst the internal organs,” explained Dr. Mark Melrose, a New York emergency medicine specialist.
Saudi fugitive Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is shown in this handout photo from the Saudi interior Ministry of the most wanted terror suspects. (Saudi Interior Ministry/Landov)
For the last year, U.S. and European authorities have publicly warned that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, and its master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, have been designing body bombs with no metal parts to get past airport security. Security officials say they have been treating the intelligence seriously since first learning about it in 2011. Asiri placed a bomb inside the rectal cavity of his own brother for a suicide mission aimed at Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in 2009. That bomb exploded prematurely, officials said, and the only casualty was Asiri’s brother 23-yearold brother Abdullah. Asiri is also believed responsible for the “underwear bomb” with which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to take down Northwest flight 253 on Christmas 2009, and for the printer bombs in the failed cargo bomb plot of 2010.
In public, U.S. officials say there is no credible information of an impending attack. But today, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan called the al Qaeda group in Yemen the greatest threat to the U.S. “AQAP continues to be al Qaeda’s most active affiliate, and it continues to seek the opportunity to strike our homeland,” said Brennan during a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.
Brennan said bin Laden admitted al Qaeda had lost its way, agreeing that “a large portion” of Muslims around the world “have lost their trust” in al Qaeda. Confessing to “disaster after disaster” in al Qaeda plots, Brennan said, bin Laden urged leaders to feel to places “away from aircraft photography and bombardment.”
When you think about Americas war on drugs, you are probably drawn to headlines about the narco-border war with Mexico or “Shake N Bake Meth Labs” throughout the Midwest and Plains. You might be hearing a lot about powerful painkillers. David Ison, a 46-year old Indiana man recently received a life prison sentence for killing five people over a botched drug deal. Seems Ison’s dealer had raised the price for his supply of oxycodone. Some argue that the war on drugs is lost and while it may very well be, drugs do impact innocent people and not in a good way.
The Associated Press reports that at less than a month old, Savannah Dannelley scrunches her tiny face into a scowl as a nurse gently squirts a dose of methadone into her mouth. The infant is going through drug withdrawal and is being treated with the same narcotic prescribed for her mother to fight addiction to powerful prescription painkillers. Disturbing new research says the number of U.S. babies born with signs of opiate drug withdrawal has tripled in a decade because of a surge in pregnant women’s use of legal and illegal narcotics, including Vicodin, OxyContin and heroin, researchers say. It is the first national study of the problem.
The number of newborns with withdrawal symptoms increased from a little more than 1 per 1,000 babies sent home from the hospital in 2000 to more than 3 per 1,000 in 2009, the study found. More than 13,000 U.S. infants were affected in 2009, the researchers estimated. The newborns include babies like Savannah, whose mother stopped abusing painkillers and switched to prescription methadone early in pregnancy, and those whose mothers are still abusing legal or illegal drugs. Weaning infants from these drugs can take weeks or months and often requires a lengthy stay in intensive care units. Hospital charges for treating these newborns soared from $190 million to $720 million between 2000 and 2009, the study found.
The study was released online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Savannah is hooked up to heart and oxygen monitors in an Oak Lawn, Ill., newborn intensive care unit. In a pink crib, she sleeps fitfully, sometimes cries all night, and has had diarrhea and trouble feeding — typical signs of withdrawal. Some affected babies also have breathing problems, low birth weights and seizures. It nearly breaks her young mother’s heart. “It’s really hard, every day, emotionally and physically,” said Aileen Dannelley, 25. “It’s really hard when your daughter is born addicted.”
Doctors say newborns aren’t really addicted, but their bodies are dependent on methadone or other opiates because of their mothers’ use during pregnancy. Small methadone doses to wean them off these drugs is safer than cutting them off altogether, which can cause dangerous seizures and even death, said Dr. Mark Brown, chief of pediatrics at Eastern Maine Medical Centerin Bangor. Newborn drug withdrawal is rampant in Maine, Florida, West Virginia, parts of the Midwest and other sections of the country. Dr. Stephen Patrick, the lead author of the study and a newborn specialist at the University of Michiganhealth system in Ann Arbor, called the problem a “public health epidemic” that demands attention from policymakers, as well as from researchers to clarify what long-term problems these infants may face.
University of Maine scientist Marie Hayes said her research suggests some affected infants suffer developmental delays in early childhood, but whether those problems persist is uncertain. It’s the 21st century version of what was known as the “crack baby” epidemic of the 1980s. Some experts say that epidemic was overblown and that infants born to mothers using crack cocaine face no serious long-term health problems. Some think the current problem is being overblown, too. Carl Hart, an assistant psychiatry professor at Columbia Universityand a substance abuse researcher at the New York Psychiatric Institute, noted that only a tiny portion of the estimated 4 million U.S. infants born each year are affected.
Hart also said the study probably includes women who weren’t abusing drugs during pregnancy, but were taking prescribed painkillers for legitimate reasons. He said he worries that the study will unfairly stigmatize pregnant women who are “doing the right thing” by taking methadone to fight their addiction. Doctors pushing powerful painkillers “like candy” contribute to the problem, said Arturo Valdez, who runs the Chicago substance abuse program that Aileen Dannelley attends. Patients at his West Side clinic include men and women who are prescribed opiate painkillers for legitimate reasons, such as car accident injuries, and find themselves addicted when the prescriptions runs out. Some turn to street drugs, which can be cheaper and easier to obtain, Valdez said.
In some states, mothers of newborns with drug withdrawal are arrested and jailed, but Valdez said addiction is a brain disease that should be treated like other illnesses, not stigmatized. Aileen Dannelley said she started abusing drugs after an adult neighbor introduced her to crack when she was 14. She said she would “never have touched it” if she had known how addictive drugs can be. She said she has abused Vicodin, which a doctor gave her to treat back pain from sitting all day at an office job, as well as other prescription painkillers and heroin. Dannelley was still abusing drugs early in her pregnancy but decided in December to quit, vowing: “I’m not going to go back to that lifestyle. There’s a baby inside me.”
Now she is trying to get her life back on track. Estranged from her husband, she is living with her parents and just signed up for nursing classes at a local junior college. She visits Savannah every day. The baby has been in the hospital since she was born in early April, and her mother hopes to take her home soon. “I am doing so good for the first time in my life,” Dannelley said.
New York, New York this afternoon.
Dan Savage is to the toxic left what Fred Phelps is to the toxic right…both are extremists. While I admire Savage for his “It Gets Better” project aimed at reducing suicide by gay youth, my admiration stops and ends right there. Columnist and gay-rights advocate Dan Savage is standing by his comment that “we can learn to ignore the bulls**t in the Bible about gay people” at a recent conference for high school students, a line that prompted some to walk out and spurred intense online debate.
In a blog post on Sunday, Savage wrote that his remark at a conference for the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association was “being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue.” “I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised,” Savage wrote. “I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against — and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying ‘motivated by faith’) — because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong.”
Some Christian students walked out of the Seattle speech, prompting another controversial line from Savage: “It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how pansya**ed people react when you push back.” Savage apologized for that specific remark in Sunday’s blog post, writing that his word choice “was insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong.” One of the teachers attending the speech with his students told CNN’s Carol Costello on Monday that he was taken aback by the speech and that he supported the decision of some of his students to walk out of it. “It took a real dark, hostile turn, certainly, as I saw it,” said Rick Tuttle, a teacher at Sutter Union High School in Southern California. “It became very hostile toward Christianity, to the point that many students did walk out, including some of my students.” “They felt that they were attacked … a very pointed, direct attack on one particular group of students. It’s amazing that we go to an anti-bullying speech and one group of students is picked on in particular, with harsh, profane language.”
Dan Savage is a punk and a bully. He bullied those Christian kids who had come to hear him and for what purpose? A sound byte? Five minutes of fame on MSNBC? Right-wing fanatical radio hosts are pointing out that Dan Savage and his “It Gets Better” Project is endorsed by the White House’s own StopBullying.gov. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelious and President Obama have both recorded videos endorsing Savage and his organization. Of course they want to drive the wedge of divisiveness even deeper but actually, the President and Human Services Secretary endorsed the “It Gets Better” PROJECT…not Dan Savage. While I think we all can agree that bullying needs to be stopped and is a real threat to American youth, I cannot stand by the rancid tirades of Dan Savage anymore than I can stand by the insanity of Rick Santorum or Fred Phelps.
As President Obama and Governor Romney begin to square off against each other, we are getting a preview of the 2012 general election campaign. The candidates are still giving the economy cursory attention will preferring to grand-stand on issues that, quite frankly, don’t really matter. As David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN and an adviser to four presidents says; ” An aggressive public relations offensive by the White House, celebrating the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, is kicking up a hot political fuss. But are we arguing over the wrong question? Of course we are. Who cares? The President made the right call…any President likely would have made that call despite the crap they might say on the campaign trail. Have the promises to close Gitmo not taught us anything?
With their eyes clearly locked on the November elections, President Barack Obama and his team are going all out to dramatize his decision-making and success in taking out America’s most wanted. What they’re doing: Opening up the White House situation room for a presidential interview with NBC, running a television ad by former President Bill Clinton, feeding stories to authors and journalists, encouraging surrogate attacks on Mitt Romney’s courage, even a catchy campaign slogan from Joe Biden — “Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” Yada…yada…yada.
In mock innocence, the White House says they are only responding to news media requests. Yeah, sure. Is this White House exploitation for political purposes indecorous and unbecoming, as Republicans claim? Of course it is. President George H.W. Bush set the standard for exemplary conduct when he refused to dance on the Soviet grave after its empire collapsed and directed credit toward the U.S. military when they chased Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. But more often than not, a president looking toward re-election has gone too far the other way, milking foreign adventures for votes and Republicans have been as guilty as Democrats.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asserted firmly Monday he would have given the order to kill Osama bin Laden if he were president, despite past comments in which he questioned the value of hunting down the former al Qaeda chief. Romney implied the president’s decision – which is being hailed by Obama’s re-election team as a gutsy move – was an easy call. Asked by a reporter if he would have given the order to kill bin Laden, Romney said “of course,” and quipped: “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” Carter might have given the order but there is doubt that it would have succeeded. Remember Jimmy’s attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran?
In the past week top surrogates for Obama’s re-election team began touting the decision – made nearly one year ago – to take out bin Laden at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In making their arguments, many of the president’s advisers have questioned whether Romney would have made the same choice. Team Obama made the argument in a web video posted Friday. In a campaign-style speech Thursday, Biden hailed Obama as having a “backbone like a ramrod,” and called into question Romney’s resolve. “We can’t say for certain what Gov. Romney would have done,” Biden said after hailing the president’s decision. In his speech, Biden used Romney’s own words to paint the candidate as weak on fighting terrorists. Biden quoted Romney in 2007, during his first White House bid, saying “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Days later, Romney clarified, saying “We’ll move everything to get him (bin Laden).”
Gergen says that even though Obama’s critics have a valid point about his current PR offensive, they shouldn’t beat him up. The public is a good judge of when a president and his team overplay their hands. Indeed, it would be far better for Republicans to acknowledge that the president, his advisers and especially the CIA and the Navy SEALs handled bin Laden superbly. Because they did. This was a moment that richly deserves public praise. If they would acknowledge that achievement, his critics would then have the credibility to raise the more important and serious question: whether the killing of bin Laden and the gradual crushing of al Qaeda as a serious threat to the U.S. has been as transformative as the White House would lead us to believe.
No one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is hanging up “Mission Accomplished” banners, but with elections a half year away, the White House wants us to know that we have a warrior commander in chief at the helm nailing our enemies. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Serious observers are arguing that in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death, the world may actually have become more dangerous. In Sunday’s Washington Post, columnist David Ignatius persuasively makes the case that we got our man but, as bin Laden hoped, other militant Islamistsare now gaining political strength in key countries such as Egypt and Syria.
In an excellent essay in Timeon bin Laden’s elimination, Kennedy School scholar Graham Allison argues that as we now focus on Iran producing its first bomb in the coming 12 months, an increasingly unreliable Pakistan could produce 12 in the same time span. “So as we applaud extraordinary performance in this operation,” concludes Allison, “we are left contemplating a discovery that means we are likely to soon face even more daunting challenges in the days and months ahead.” In a political campaign filled with too many diversions, these are the challenges we should be arguing about on the bin Laden anniversary.
CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE FOR LIVER COVERAGE FROM CBS NEWS
When I started blogging back in 2008 over on Live Journal, my philosophy was that I would write to make sense of my world. I really did not care whether anyone read the entries or not. It was, at the time, purely therapeutic allowing me to release emotions and put thoughts to digital paper. I wrote some pieces that were picked up and covered by other bloggers and mainstream media. Some of those pieces went global and because of my reporting, action was taken. For those of you around since the Live Journal days, you may remember the report I did on Cody Basham, the Texas Prison guard who said he wanted to “kill inmates.” As a direct result of my reports, Cody was escorted off of the TDCJ Byrd Unit at Huntsville and subsequently fired.
After that report, I began getting e-mails from people around the world telling me stories of injustice in their own countries and often just words of encouragement. I continued to write and share with the knowledge that others were reading and liking my work. Instead of writing for myself, I write to make sense of the world…our world. My initial philosophy has not changed. Writing stories, providing photo’s and video helps to make sense of the events that shape our lives…our existence. Sometime back, I moved the bulk of my material over to the WordPress servers because of the unreliability of Live Journal. (They keep getting DDOS attacked and are down more than they are up)
I am pleased to find that you folks are responding…in record numbers. In April, DMNEWSI had 18,500 views. We have people from 104 countries that come to DMNEWSI for a look at our world. These numbers are exciting and I appreciate the tremendous trust you have placed in the reporting on this blog. I am not sure why with so many people reading DMNEWSI, my Facebook page only has 148 likes. Of course, everything that is posted on the blog also goes on the Facebook page, however, breaking news and weather updates of interest to the United States sometime only appear as entries on Facebook.
At any rate, for whatever reason, I am glad you are here. I can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
If you have visited Lower Manhattan since 9/11, you have probably born witness to both the most horrid attack this country ever suffered and at the same time, the American spirit destined to show the world that although we might get kicked…we’ll never bow. More than a decade after a terrorist attack brought down New York’s twin towers, their under-construction replacement will become the city’s tallest building on Monday. The placement of a column of the 100th floor will bring the colossal new steel structure of One World Trade Center tower to a height of 1,271 feet – surpassing the frame of the Empire State Building, which is currently New York’s tallest skyscraper, by 21 feet.
Built on what was referred to as ground zero in Lower Manhattan, the building is expected to reach 1,776 feet when it is finished by early 2014. The Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is the country’s current record holder at 1,450 feet. The One World Trade Center building will have three top-floor observation decks. Its first 90 floors will be designated for office space, and the following 10 floors will be reserved for air conditioning, heating, and electrical equipment. Despite years of political infighting and real estate squabbling that delayed its construction, more than half of the building has now been rented, with a tenant list that includes Conde Nast publishing company and a Chinese real estate investment firm called Vantone Holdings. In its shadow, twin reflecting pools are situated in the footprints of where the twin towers once stood.
A memorial at the site of one of the original World Trade Center buildings. The names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks, as well as six people who died in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, are emblazoned across bronze panels ringing the pools. The steel beams will be placed atop the structure on Monday, one day before the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. The project is bringing a major milestone to the city and country, said Mike Mennella, the construction executive who was in charge of building the first towers and is helping to build the new structure. “Today is a day where we can really look back and say the milestones we’ve surpassed and overcome are certainly more significant than the ones ahead of us,” he said. “The building is in position now where we can see it coming from the top, and see it being finished off in a very, very significant way.”
As the man who built the first towers, only to watch them fall during the terrorist attacks, Mennella knows just how important it is to be able to rebuild and start a new chapter in lower Manhattan. “It’s also big in the region,” he said. “Seeing this building from all over the region – Long Island, New Jersey, New York – it’s just a statement for the region that we’ve reached a real milestone.” Mennella said he came to the site on September 12, 2001, amid the devastation and always hoped he’d be able to be part of an effort to rebuild. He felt it wasn’t just about rebuilding an icon of New York’s skyline, but about helping heal and move forward. “I think as people look at the building from afar and then realize the site that it sits on, the memorial it adjoins and what the site is about, what was lost here, and what is now being put back together – it’s an exciting moment,” he said.
Earth Cam and CNN contributed to this report.
Verna McClain, the vocational nurse who is accused of killing a young mother and stealing her baby outside a Woodlands area pediatric clinic and trying to pass the victim’s baby off as her own says, ““I’m nothing like what these people are making me out to be. I’m the same person everybody knows and loves … Don’t sit and look at me as if I’m some sort of monster. I’m not. Until you know the facts, don’t sit and judge.” McClains comments came during a visit with her fiance and “Community Activist” Quanell X at the Montgomery County Jail witnessed by KHOU-TV reporter Rucks Russell.
McClain, 30, is charged with capital murder for allegedly killing Kala Golden Schuchardt and abducting her 3-day-old baby after suffering a recent miscarriage. Montgomery County investigators said that McClain had been pregnant with her fiance’s child and the couple was planning to marry in May. But after she suffered a miscarriage, investigators said McClain decided to find another child and convince her fiancé it was his. “Right now, I’m so paranoid I don’t know who to trust,” said McClain. “Mentally, I’m borderline.”
According to authorities, McClain shot Schuchardt multiple times in the chest, placed the baby in her car and sped off. Schuchardt died later at Memorial Herrmann Hospital in the The Woodlands, and police found Keegan unharmed at a home in northwest Harris County. Schuchardt was married and had two other children: Kamden, 4, and Keaton, 2. Montgomery County Prosecutors have indicated they intend to seek the death penalty against McClain.