Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday 02-29-12

Man shocked by arrest after daughter draws picture of gun at school

KITCHENER — A Kitchener father is upset that police arrested him at his children’s’ school Wednesday, hauled him down to the station and strip-searched him, all because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Jessie Sansone, 26, said Thursday.

“I was in shock. This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school.”

The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They said they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.

“From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there’s guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child,” said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services.

Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Kevin Thaler said there was a complaint from Forest Hills public school that “a firearm was in a residence and children had access to it. We had every concern, based on this information, that children were in danger.”

Their concern wasn’t based on the drawing alone, he said.

Neaveh, the child who made the drawing, also made comments about it that raised more flags.

Sansone thinks police overreacted. He didn’t find out until hours after his arrest what had actually sparked the incident.

He said he went to the school Wednesday afternoon to pick up his three children. He was summoned to the principal’s office where three police officers were waiting. They said he was being charged with possession of a firearm.

He was escorted from the school, handcuffed and put in the back of a cruiser.

At the same time, other police officers went to his home, where his wife and 15-month-old child were waiting for his return.

They made his wife come to the police station while the other three children were taken to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed.

“Nobody was given any explanation,” said his wife, Stephanie Squires. “I didn’t know why he was being arrested.

“He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them. ‘You’re making a mistake.’ ”

At the police station, Sansone talked to a lawyer who said only that he was being charged with possession of a firearm, Sansone said.

He kept asking questions. He was given a blanket and told he would appear before a judge in the morning to post bail.

“I was getting pretty scared at that point,” Sansone said. “It seemed like I was actually being charged at this point.”

He was forced to remove his clothes for a full strip search.

Several hours later, a detective apologized and said he was being released with no charges, Sansone said.

The detective told him that his four-year-old daughter had drawn a picture of a man holding a gun. When a teacher asked her who the man was, the girl replied, “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”

“To be honest with you, I broke down,” Sansone said. “My character got put down so much. I was actually really hurt, like it could happen that easy.

“How do you recognize a criminal from a father?’’

He said he thought he had good relations with the principal who offered him a job last year counselling students at the school.

“We’re educated,’’ he said. “I’m a certified PSW (personal support worker) and a life issues counsellor. I go into schools to try to make a difference.’’

After he was released, Sansone was asked to sign a paper authorizing a search of his home. He signed, even though he didn’t have to, he said.

“I just think they blew it out of proportion,’’ Squires said. “It was for absolutely nothing. They searched our house upside down and found nothing. They had the assumption he owned a firearm.

“The way everything happened was completely unnecessary, especially since we know the school very well. I don’t understand how they came to that conclusion from a four-year-old’s drawing.’’

Scott, of Family and Children’s Services, said the agency was obligated to investigate after getting a report from the school.

“Our community would have an expectation if comments are made about a gun in a house, we’d be obligated to investigate that to ensure everything is safe.”

If there’s a potential crime that’s been committed, the agency must call in police, she said

“In the end, it may not be substantiated. There may be a reasonable explanation for why the child drew that gun. But we have to go on what gets presented to us.

“I’m sure this was a very stressful thing for the family,” she acknowledged.

The school principal, Steve Zack, said a staff member called child welfare officials because the law requires them to report anything involving the safety or neglect of a child.

The agency chose to involve police, he said.

“Police chose to arrest Jessie here. Nobody wants something like this to happen at any time, especially not at school. But that’s out of my hands.”

Sansone says he got into some trouble with the law five years ago, and was convicted of assault and attempted burglary. But he’s put all that behind him. He never had any firearms-related charges.

As for the strip search, Thaler said it was done “for officer safety, because it’s a firearms-related incident.

“At the point in the investigation when it was determined it was not a real firearm, the individual was released unconditionally,” he said.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday 02-26-12

I would not usually give Sunday to the "religion of peace" but it burns me up that they are not being held responsible for what their religion teaches. If it was a Christian killing people for burning a bible, they would be raking them over the coals in the media, but they won't sayng anything about the "religion of peace".

Taliban to Afghans: Kill foreigners over Quran burnings

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Taliban urged Afghans Thursday to target foreign military bases and kill Westerners in retaliation for burnings of copies of the Quran at NATO's main base in the country as a third day of violent protests began.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered across the country, some chanting "Death to America!", Reuters witnesses and officials said. In eastern Kabul, hundreds of youths threw rocks at police, who fired shots into the air to try disperse the crowds.

"Our brave people must target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases," read an emailed Taliban statement released by the insurgency's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "They have to kill them (Westerners), beat them and capture them to give them a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy Quran again."

However, provincial officials and police said Thursday that there were peaceful demonstrations in three eastern provinces to vent anger over the Quran burnings.

More than 2,000 people turned out at the biggest demonstration in the capital of eastern Laghman province, officials and police said.

About 500 people protested in the Khoshi district of Logar province and the rally ended without incident. Hundreds also protested in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

On Wednesday, seven people were killed in clashes between Afghan security forces and protesters demonstrating over the Quran burnings.

'Take up jihad'
Most Westerners were already confined to their heavily fortified compounds, including within the sprawling U.S. Embassy complex and nearby embassies in central Kabul.

The Quran burnings could make it even more difficult for U.S.-led NATO forces to win the hearts and minds of Afghans and bring the Taliban to the negotiating table ahead of the withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.

Muslims consider the Quran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence. Desecration is considered one of the worst forms of blasphemy.

PhotoBlog: Protests spread amid Afghan fury at Quran burning

Large protests erupted in eastern Laghman province and the eastern city of Jalalabad, despite an appeal by President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday for calm after officials said six people were shot dead and dozens wounded in demonstrations.

Protests also kicked off in the relatively stable northern provinces of Badakhshan and Takhar on the border with Tajikistan, as well as nearby Baghlan province

The fury could complicate efforts by U.S. and NATO forces to reach agreement on a strategic pact currently under consideration with the Afghan government that would allow a sharply reduced number of western troops in the country well beyond their combat exit deadline of end-2014.

Underscoring these concerns, hundreds of students in Jalalabad rejected any strategic pact with the United States, saying they would "take up jihad" if one was sealed.

In the Khoshi district of eastern Logar province, around some 500 protesters rejected any strategic deal, while in restive Khost province hundreds more chanted "death to America" and "we don't want Americans in Afghanistan".

The U.S. government and the American commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan apologized for "unintentional" burnings after Afghan laborers found charred copies of the Koran while collecting rubbish at the huge Bagram Airbase, about an hour's drive north of Kabul.

A report into the incident by NATO investigators and a team of senior Afghan clerics was to be handed to Karzai as soon as Thursday, making clear how the burning happened.

Findings in NATO Quran burning probe due soon

Martine van Bijlert, from the respected Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), said the demonstrations were a combination of religious outrage, pent-up frustration over economic and security conditions, and groups wanting to stir trouble.

"There have been different kinds of outrage. One is the bewilderment felt by many Afghans, and foreigners, that after ten years of efforts in Afghanistan there was apparently still no understanding of how inflammatory mistakes like that are made," van Bijlert said on the AAN website.

"Second, there is the pent-up anger and frustration, with the international military, but also with life in general."

2 US troops shot dead inside Afghan ministry

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A gunman killed two American military advisers with shots to the back of the head Saturday inside a heavily guarded ministry building, and NATO ordered military workers out of Afghan ministries as protests raged for a fifth day over the burning of Qurans at a U.S. army base.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack at the Interior Ministry, saying it was retaliation for the Quran burnings, after the two U.S. servicemen _ a lieutenant and colonel and a major _ were found dead on their office floor, Afghan and western officials said.

The top commander of U.S. and NATO forces recalled all international military personnel from the ministries, an unprecedented action in the decade-long war, highlights growing friction between Afghans and their foreign partners at a critical juncture in the war.

The U.S.-led coalition is trying to mentor and strengthen Afghan security forces so they can lead the fight against the Taliban and foreign troops can go home. That mission, however, requires a measure of trust at a time when anti-Western sentiment it at an all-time high.

Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak called U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to apologize for the shooting and offer his condolences, Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement released in Washington.

"This act is unacceptable and the United States condemns it in the strongest possible terms," Little said.

Security is tight in the capital, which is covered in snow, and foreigners working at the U.S. Embassy and other international organizations have been banned from leaving their compounds.

U.S. officials said they were searching for the assailant, who has not been identified by name or nationality.

The two American service members were found by another foreigner who went into the room, which is only accessible by people who know the correct numerical combination, according to the Afghan official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose details about the shootings.

They were shot in the back of the head, according to Western officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information. Authorities were poring over security camera video for clues, the Afghan official said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid identified the shooter as one of their sympathizers, Abdul Rahman. He said an accomplice inside the ministry helped Rahman get inside the compound to kill the Americans to retaliate for the Quran burnings.

"After the attack, Rahman informed us by telephone that he was able to kill four high-ranking American advisers," Mujahid said. The Taliban often inflate death tolls and sometimes claim responsibility for killings they did not conduct

Little, of the Pentagon, said Wardak indicated that President Hamid Karzai was assembling religious leaders and other senior Afghan officials to take urgent steps to protect coalition forces.

U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, met with Afghan Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, who offered both his condolences to the families of the victims and his apologies, Little said.

Afghanistan's interior and defense ministers were expected in Washington next week

Allen said he recalled all NATO personnel from the ministries "for obvious force protection reasons" but also said the alliance remains committed to its partnership with the Afghan government. NATO forces have advisers embedded in many Afghan ministries. The advisers are helping to develop the ministries so that Afghans can take the lead by the end of 2014, when foreign combat forces are to transfer control of security to Afghan security forces.

At least 28 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since Tuesday, when it first emerged that Qurans and other religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large U.S. base north of Kabul.

President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have apologized for what they said was a mistake, but their regrets have not quelled the deadly protests.

An Afghan soldier turned his gun on foreign troops, killing two American soldiers, during one riot outside a U.S. base in Nangarhar province on Thursday. It was the latest in a rising number of incidents where Afghan soldiers or policemen, or gunmen wearing their uniforms, have killed NATO forces. Last month, France suspended its training program and threatened to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan a year ahead of schedule after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers on a base in the east.

Karzai has said that the Afghan people have a right to protest the Quran burnings, but he urged them to demonstrate peacefully and refrain from destroying property. In a statement on Saturday, Karzai urged Afghan security forces to be patient with the protesters.

Hundreds of demonstrators staged peaceful protests in Afghanistan, but ones in Laghman, Kunduz and Logar provinces turned violent.

"The culprits of the burning of the holy Quran should be arrested and hanged to death in public," said Mohammad Karim, one of 1,000 protesters who burned tires and threw stones at Afghan police in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province, south of Kabul. "We don't accept it when they say `We apologize. We apologize.' We don't want Americans here at all."

Laghman provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Sarjang said about 1,000 protesters threw stones at Afghan security forces, smashed windows of government buildings and tried to attack the nearby governor's house in the provincial capital of Mehterlam.

In Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province in northeastern Afghanistan, more than 1,000 protesters threw rocks at government buildings and a U.N. office, said Sarwer Hussaini, a spokesman for the provincial police. He said the police fired into the air to try to disperse the crowd. Dr. Saad Mukhtar, health department director in Kunduz, said at least three protesters died and 50 others were injured in the melee.

In a statement, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said the U.N. had deep respect for the Islamic faith and understood why Muslims were upset about the desecration of their holy book, but urged the demonstrators to exercise self-restraint and not let militants use the protests to foment violence.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday 02-25-12

5 Reasons You Should Never Agree to a Police Search (Even if You Have Nothing to Hide)

Do you know what your rights are when a police officer asks to search you? If you're like most people I've met in my eight years working to educate the public on this topic, then you probably don't.

It's a subject that a lot of people think they understand, but too often our perception of police power is distorted by fictional TV dramas, sensational media stories, silly urban myths, and the unfortunate fact that police themselves are legally allowed to lie to us.

It wouldn't even be such a big deal, I suppose, if our laws all made sense and our public servants always treated us as citizens first and suspects second. But thanks to the War on Drugs, nothing is ever that easy. When something as stupid as stopping people from possessing marijuana came to be considered a critical law enforcement function, innocence ceased to protect people against police harassment. From the streets of the Bronx to the suburbs of the Nation's Capital, you never have to look hard to find victims of the bias, incompetence, and corruption that the drug war delivers on a daily basis.

Whether or not you ever break the law, you should be prepared to protect yourself and your property just in case police become suspicious of you. Let's take a look at one of the most commonly misunderstood legal situations a citizen can encounter: a police officer asking to search your belongings. Most people automatically give consent when police ask to perform a search. However, I recommend saying "no" to police searches, and here are some reasons why:

1. It's your constitutional right.

The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless police have strong evidence (probable cause) to believe you're involved in criminal activity, they need your permission to perform a search of you or your property.

You have the right to refuse random police searches anywhere and anytime, so long as you aren't crossing a border checkpoint or entering a secure facility like an airport. Don't be shy about standing up for your own privacy rights, especially when police are looking for evidence that could put you behind bars.

2. Refusing a search protects you if you end up in court.

It's always possible that police might search you anyway when you refuse to give consent, but that's no reason to say "yes" to the search. Basically, if there's any chance of evidence being found, agreeing to a search is like committing legal suicide, because it kills your case before you even get to court.

If you refuse a search, however, the officer will have to prove in court that there was probable cause to do a warrantless search. This will give your lawyer a good chance to win your case, but this only works if you said "no" to the search.

3. Saying "no" can prevent a search altogether.

Data on police searches are interesting, but they don't show how many searches didn't happen because a citizen said no. A non-search is a non-event that goes unrecorded, giving rise to a widespread misconception that police will always search with or without permission.

I know refusing searches works because I've been collecting stories from real police encounters. The reality is that police routinely ask for permission to search when they have absolutely no evidence of an actual crime. If you remain calm and say no, there's a good chance they'll back down, because it's a waste of time to do searches that won't hold up in court anyway.

4. Searches can waste your time and damage your property.

Do you have time to sit around while police rifle through your belongings? Police often spend 30 minutes or more on vehicle searches and even longer searching homes. You certainly can't count on officers to be careful with valuables or to put everything back where they found it. If you waive your 4th Amendment rights by agreeing to be searched, you will have few legal options if any property is damaged or missing after the search.

5. You never know what they'll find.

Are you 100 percent certain there's nothing illegal in your home or vehicle? You can never be too sure. A joint roach could stick to your shoe on the street and wind up on the floorboard. A careless acquaintance could have dropped a baggie behind the seat. Try telling a cop it isn't yours, and they'll just laugh and tell you to put your hands behind your back. If you agreed to the search, you can't challenge the evidence. But if you're innocent and you refused the search, your lawyer has a winnable case.

Remember that knowing your rights will help you protect yourself, but no amount of preparation can guarantee a good outcome in a bad situation. Your attitude and your choices before, during, and after the encounter will usually matter more than your knowledge of the law. Stay calm no matter what happens, and remember that you can always report misconduct after things settle down.

Finally, please don't be shy about sharing this information with your friends and family. Understanding and asserting your rights isn't about getting away with anything, and it isn't about disrespecting police either. These rights are the foundation of freedom in America, and they get weaker whenever we fail to exercise them.

Denver family stranded after passport denied because of crease

DENVER — A Denver family was supposed to be in Belize this week enjoying a beach getaway with their loved ones.

Instead, they’re in a hotel room in Dallas, TX because an American Airlines official there claimed they had a mutilated passport.

“We started at Denver International Airport, where we checked in and all our passports were checked very thoroughly,” said Kyle Gosnell.

Gosnell, his wife Dana, and their young son, Kye, received boarding passes all the way through to Belize City.

But in Dallas, they hit a roadblock. “They took a look at our passports and said that my passport was mutilated, therefore I wasn’t able to fly,” Gosnell said.

Little Kye’s passport has a crease on the back cover, which Gosnell says came from him accidentally sitting on the passport.

His passport was questioned, but not denied. It was Kyle Gosnell’s that was the real problem. It has a small crease on the back cover, and is overall weathered and worn.

While some travelers may consider that a badge of honor, of sorts, the government doesn’t.

Ray Priest, owner of International Passport Visas in Denver, said your passport isn’t actually yours at all; it belongs to the US government.

“To have a passport is privilege, it’s not entitled to you by citizenship,” Priest said. He said the issue may be with a microchip embedded in the back of all new passports. “They have no reason in the world to let you travel if it’s been damaged,” Priest said. “It’s like cutting your photo out or something if that chip doesn’t work.”

Kyle Gosnell has used this passport to travel to Belize before. The family just wants there to be more uniform policies.

“There was no protocol,” said Dana Gosnell. “They don’t have the same system of rules for the Denver airport that they do for the Dallas airport.”

But Priest called this a fair warning for other travelers. “This is done for national security, for whatever reason they can’t make an exception, period,” he said. American Airlines is paying for the family’s hotel.

A spokesperson for the airline didn’t give FOX31 an official statement, but said it is within the airline’s rights to refuse a traveler for a passport that might not be able to be scanned.

The family is going to the passport office Tuesday to hopefully get new documents and continue with their scheduled trip to Belize.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday 02-24-12

More from the "religion of peace"

Taliban to Afghans: Kill foreigners over Quran burnings

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Taliban urged Afghans Thursday to target foreign military bases and kill Westerners in retaliation for burnings of copies of the Quran at NATO's main base in the country as a third day of violent protests began.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered across the country, some chanting "Death to America!", Reuters witnesses and officials said. In eastern Kabul, hundreds of youths threw rocks at police, who fired shots into the air to try disperse the crowds.

"Our brave people must target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases," read an emailed Taliban statement released by the insurgency's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "They have to kill them (Westerners), beat them and capture them to give them a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy Quran again."

However, provincial officials and police said Thursday that there were peaceful demonstrations in three eastern provinces to vent anger over the Quran burnings.

More than 2,000 people turned out at the biggest demonstration in the capital of eastern Laghman province, officials and police said.

How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google's New Privacy Policy Takes Effect

[UPDATE 2/22/2012] It is important to note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. More information at the end of this post.

On March 1st, Google will implement its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future. Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google's other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more. If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.

Here's how you can do that:

1. Sign into your Google account.

2. Go to

3. Click "remove all Web History."

4. Click "ok."

Note that removing your Web History also pauses it. Web History will remain off until you enable it again.

[UPDATE 2/22/2012]: Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. It also does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could be sought by law enforcement.

With Web History enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months, and certain kinds of uses, including sending you customized search results, will be prevented. If you want to do more to reduce the records Google keeps, the advice in EFF's Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy white paper remains relevant.

If you have several Google accounts, you will need to do this for each of them.

And the hits keep coming, i don't remeber anywhere in the Consitution, where they have the right to make gun shops sell guns to criminals so they can kill people, guess i was out of school that day?

Second gun used in ICE agent murder linked to ATF undercover operation

Prosecutors recently sentenced a Texas man, Manuel Barba, for trafficking a weapon connected to the murder of Immigration and Customs (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata. Nobody was more astonished to learn of the case than Zapata's parents, who didn't know that Barba had been arrested or linked to their son's murder.

"The family was obviously surprised to learn that there was a case involving a weapon linked to the Zapata incident," attorney Trey Martinez told CBS News. Martinez represents Zapata's parents and the surviving ICE agent in the assault, Victor Avila. "They were surprised they had never been contacted in the capacity as victims so they could give a response or some kind of reaction at the time of sentencing."

Barba was sentenced to 100 months in prison on January 30th. When we asked why the Zapatas weren't contacted, prosecutors in Houston told CBS News they only handled the weapons charges: conspiracy, false statements and exportation/receipt of firearms. Zapata's actual murder "is being handled by another US Attorney's office and... is separate and apart from the firearms case that was handled by our district," said a spokeswoman. She added the firearms offenses "are crimes that do not involve victims in the legal sense of the word and therefore, notifications are not part of the legal process."

In a related development, CBS News has obtained documents showing that Barba was under ATF surveillance for at least six months before a rifle he trafficked was used in Zapata's murder. Zapata's government vehicle was ambushed by suspected cartel thugs in Mexico Feb. 15, 2011.

Documents indicate ATF opened its case against Barba, entitled "Baytown Crew," in June of 2010. During the investigation, court records state Barba recruited straw purchasers and "facilitated the purchase and exportation of at least 44 firearms" including assault rifles. On August 20, 2010 Barba took delivery of the WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle later used in Zapata's murder, obliterated its serial number, and sent it to Mexico with nine others just like it. Nearly two months later, on Oct. 8, 2010, ATF agents recorded a phone call in which Barba "spoke about the final disposition of ... firearms to Mexico and also about the obliterating of the serial numbers before they were trafficked." Barba told straw purchasers the guns were destined for the Zeta drug cartel.

A warrant wasn't issued for Barba's arrest until four months later; coincidentally, the day before a rifle he trafficked was used against Zapata.

Barba is now the second weapons trafficker who had been under ATF surveillance to be linked to Zapata's murder. As CBS News previously reported, ATF had also been watching suspect Otilio Osorio during the time he trafficked a different weapon used in Zapata's assault. Records show ATF watched on Nov. 9, 2010 as Osorio, his brother Ranferi and Kelvin Leon Morrison transferred a cache of illegal weapons to a confidential informant but failed to arrest the men at the time.

The government has kept a close hold on nearly all information surrounding Zapata's murder, denying the family's Freedom of Information requests on the basis of an ongoing investigation. The Zapata's attorney says they will keep pursuing the information by "whatever means necessary."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday 02-23-12

Nasty, contagious norovirus is 'everywhere' now

It has been a busy season for the "stomach flu," that nasty, highly contagious bug that has led officials from California to Washington, D.C., to close schools, issue alerts and launch massive cleaning efforts.

The microbial culprit, norovirus, affects one in 15 Americans every year, causing sudden vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps that continue for a very unpleasant 24 to 48 hours, usually requiring no medical intervention.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says about half of cases of food poisoning are caused by norovirus, which has gained infamy as the cause of outbreaks on cruise ships, college campuses, nursing homes and other gathering places.

This month, at least 85 students fell ill at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., plus 186 at Rider University and about 100 at Princeton University, both in New Jersey. It also has hit hundreds of students in elementary, middle and high schools, and passengers on at least three cruise ships.

Wash hands. Passing your hands under a few sprinkles of water won’t do it. Wet hands with clean running water, hot or cold, apply soap and work into a lather. Scrub all parts of hands for 20 seconds (two rounds of the Happy Birthday song). Rinse and dry with air or a clean towel.

Avoid touching contaminated surfaces. Be aware that elevator buttons, door knobs, water fountain handles, all could potentially be contaminated.

Be careful in the kitchen. Wash fruits and vegetables, cook shellfish before eating. Don’t prepare food if you’re sick and for three days after you recover.

Alcohol gels. Their efficacy against norovirus is uncertain, but between hand-washings, they might help. They shouldn’t be a substitute for soap and water.

Clean surfaces. Use bleach-containing disinfectant wipes or a solution of 5-25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water to wipe down bathrooms, kitchen and “high-touch’’ surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, light switches, hand rails.

Wash laundry. Immediately remove clothing or bedding that might be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. Handle carefully to avoid spreading the virus. Wash in detergent at the longest cycle length and machine dry.

If you get sick, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids and if you can’t, get medical help.

The best offense against norovirus illness, health officials say, is a good defense. Tips to reduce risks:

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"It's everywhere," says Jan Vinje of the CDC, who spoke about norovirus last week at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Basically, January through April is high season for norovirus activity," he says, adding with a quip: "And now it's February — Norovirus Appreciation Month."

Norovirus is estimated to affect more than 20 million Americans every year, causing about 800 deaths, usually a result of dehydration in the very young or the elderly.

There is no vaccine and no treatment, and if you get infected by one strain, you can get walloped by another strain, or even re-infected a few months later by the one that got you first time around. People are contagious from the moment they feel ill to at least three days — and possibly two weeks — after they recover, the CDC says.

But there's hope. An antiviral medicine is in early development, and significant progress is being made toward a vaccine.

Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University, who also spoke at the AAAS meeting, reports that a vaccine could be ready in a few years. LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals of Bozeman, Mont., is testing its nasal spray vaccine in human volunteers, and a second research group, coordinated through ASU, is moving toward human trials of a slightly different nasal vaccine.

They're likely to require annual booster doses because of the potential for changes in the virus or for new strains to emerge, Arntzen says.

Norovirus is a hardy bug, says Natalie Prystajecky, an environmental public health microbiologist at the University of British Columbia, the third presenter at the AAAS symposium. "It can survive in cold water as long as 61 days and be infectious," she says, and it's detectable for two weeks on hard surfaces, though it's not clear that it could still cause illness at that point. Cooking destroys it, but foods eaten raw, such as produce washed with contaminated water or foods prepared by cooks with unclean hands, can carry the virus.

Oysters, which are nourished by filtering water on the ocean floor, are the single food most likely to be contaminated, and many restaurants post warnings to consumers to be aware of the risk, especially the elderly, very young or those with weakened immune systems.

At George Washington University, Lynn Goldman, a physician and dean of the GW School of Public Health, says the outbreak there temporarily overwhelmed the health clinic. Crews have been called in to disinfect areas where the virus could lurk on surfaces, such as dorms, bathrooms, student lounges and study halls, and hand-washing is being promoted.

"One of the unusual things about norovirus is that one person who is ill can infect a lot of other people," Goldman says. "As few as 18 viral particles are enough to cause infection. With many other infections, you need to be exposed to hundreds of them."

Students on the campus of 25,000 are "taking it seriously," she says, but "they realize that for young, healthy adults, it's not any reason for alarm, as long as they don't get dehydrated."

It will be coming to your state next, once the ball starts rolling and states looking for easy money they will be tapping this soon. to start collecting Va. sales tax

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration has reached a deal with Inc. for the giant online retailer to start collecting sales taxes in Virginia.

The agreement calls for Amazon to start collecting the taxes of purchases made by Virginians on Sept. 1, 2013.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch ( reports that the company would be collecting the taxes about 10 months after Amazon plans to open two large distribution centers in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties.

The House of Delegates finance committee on Wednesday approved legislation authorizing the state to require an out-of-state seller with distribution facilities or other related entities in the state to collect sales taxes.

The bill's fiscal impact statement estimates that Virginia could gain up to $24 million in uncollected tax revenue annually.

Not i'm just saying or asking, why there is no up roar about this

2 U.S. troops killed in Koran backlash

Two U.S. troops have been shot to death and four more wounded by an Afghan solider who turned his gun on his allies in apparent anger over the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, an Afghan official tells CBS News.

A statement from the International Security Assistance Force - Afghanistan, the international coalition in the country, confirmed that two troops were killed in Eastern Afghanistan on Thursday by "an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform."

ISAF does not typically give the nationality of casualties until family members have been notified, but the CBS News source in the Afghan government said those killed and injured in the attack in the eastern Ningarhar province, along the border with Pakistan, were Americans.

The source also said the shooting appeared to be motivated by the burning of Korans at the sprawling U.S. Bagram air base, north of Kabul, but he did not provide additional details as to what led him to that conclusion.

The suspect apparently joined other protesters already demonstrating against the U.S. at an American military outpost and opened fire with an automatic weapon, according to the Afghan source.

There have been violent anti-U.S. protests for three days across Afghanistan, since the American military apologized for what it said was the accidental "improper disposal" of religious materials, including Muslim holy books, at Bagram. The U.S. is cooperating with the Afghan government to investigate the incident.

The protests Thursday at U.S. and NATO military bases around Afghanistan and in the capital city of Kabul saw renewed clashes between demonstrators and police, with security forces in Kabul reportedly opening fire and wounding several protesters. Three protesters were reportedly killed by police at protests in the north and south of the country.

For U.S. and NATO commanders in Afghanistan, main concern is what may come after Friday prayers in 24 hours. Friday is the holy day in the Muslim week, and protests are typically much larger as thousands of Muslim men flood out of mosques and converge in cities and towns in protest.

While calls from some Afghan parliamentarians for citizens to try and attack Americans are unhelpful - especially coming from an ally - they pale in significance against the potential damage which the religious leaders could inflict if they urge similar attacks in their Friday prayer speeches.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said Thursday that President Obama had sent a letter to him formally apologizing for the incident at Bagram, and top U.S. commander Gen. John Allen, who ordered the investigation, is making intense efforts to keep that probe as open as possible, but the investigation is not appeasing Afghans, who are tired of apologies.

They "are tired of apologies" but they think it ok for them to "kill" someone because they burned a piece of paper? Or to "kill" someone because they said or drew something about someone that died hundreds of years ago. They think that is ok? And we are helping them, why?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday 02-22-12

i guess there comes a point when a comman man says enough is enough

New Mexico Sheriffs Threaten To Arrest Obama’s Federal Agents If They Continue To Violate The U.S. Constitution.

have reported earlier that sheriffs in New Mexico are threatening to arrest federal agents if they attempt to enforce unconstitutional federal acts in contravention of state law.
The even better news is that Sheriffs in other states are doing the same.

Sheriff Brad Rogers of Elkhart County, Indiana has told Food and Drug Administration agents they will be arrested if they go on Amish farmer David Hochstetler’s land. Having falsely alleged that raw, unpasteurized milk sold by Hochstetler had caused several cases of food poisoning, the FDA filed a complaint in federal court to support their attack on the farmer.
I have consumed raw milk for years and can affirm that it is not only safe, but much healthier than pasteurized milk.
The threat of incarceration led the feds to withdraw their complaint against Hochstetler.

This was even after US Department of Justice attorney Ross Goldstein emailed the Sheriff that he would be arrested if he protected Hochstetler. When Sheriff Rogers refused to back down, the FDA cried uncle.

Rogers’s communication to the feds seemed to have been quite convincing: “Any further attempts to inspect this farm without a warrant signed by a local judge, based on probable cause, will result in Federal inspectors’ removal or arrest for trespassing by my officers or I.” The feds have gotten used to acting without due process — in this case, that means not bothering to get a search warrant.

Rogers’ campaign website listed his number one objective as “Upholding the Constitution.” He is also concerned about the heart condition of his inmates and is determined to help “Provide Hope to Change a Heart.” Under that header he says, “The Elkhart County jail has 74 church services a month and allows unprecedented access to ministry volunteers. Not only can we impact inmates for the here and now, but for eternity.”

United States Republic Constitution By We The People!
Sheriff Rogers requires his deputies to take three, two-day classes on the Constitution (at a tuition rate of $125 per person).
Rogers is not alone in his love for the Constitution.

Ellis County, Texas Sheriff Johnny Brown has stated that he would resist any effort by the federal government to confiscate firearms in his county.

Sheriff Joe Baca in Sierra County, California told his county commission that he will not enforce road closures on Bureau of Land Management and Gila National Forest Lands.

Sheriff Gil Gilbertson of Josephine County, Oregon has told the Forest Service that he will protect those using the forest in his county. He has written a short treatise entitled, “Unraveling Federal Jurisdiction within a State.” It is actually a scholarly piece based on citations from the Constitution, court cases and statutes and concludes that the Forest Service has no authority in any county.

Siskiyou County, California Sheriff Jon Lopey has said: “I have told federal and state officials over and over that, yes, we want to preserve the environment, but you care more about the fish, frogs, trees and birds than you do about the human race. When will you start to balance your decisions to the needs of the people?…We are right now in a fight for our survival.” Lopey spearheaded a coalition of eight sheriffs calling themselves: “Defend Rural America.”

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, power was out for days. Food and medicine were about to be lost. So Sheriff Billy McGee of Forrest County, Mississippi — a Democrat — took action when he realized that a federal shipment of six trucks of ice bound for Hattiesburg turned out to be only four. McGee went in search of the other two and found them being guarded by some Army reservists who possessed bureaucratic mindsets.

McGee took steps to secure the ice, but was told he was not authorized to take the vehicles. When a reservist would not get off one of the trucks, McGee had him handcuffed. The ice was delivered where it was needed in Hattiesburg, explaining why McGee is also known as The Ice Man.

Not surprisingly, the feds have brought suit against the Sheriff in federal court. Perhaps McGee will arrest any marshals seeking to interfere with the duties of a peace officer.

It is encouraging that men of integrity, who understand that the sheriff is the top law enforcement officer in his county, have been elected in counties around the country. We should be looking for more who fit this description.
Please let me know if you are aware of any constitutional sheriffs, and email me their names and stories at

Liberation Wellness Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday 02-21-12

'Now it's my turn': Greenbrae man, 90, testifies about shootout with suspect

When a residential burglar fired a gun at Jay Leone last month, he was initially too angry to realize he had been shot in the head, he testified Friday.

"To tell you the truth, I never felt a thing," said Leone, 90, of Greenbrae. "I said, 'F—- you, you son of a bitch, now it's my turn.'"

Whereupon he shot five bullets at the suspect from his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson snubnose revolver, hitting the burglar three times in the abdomen. A scuffle ensued between the wounded men.

"Then he took the gun and put it to my head — click!" said Leone, who knew there were no bullets left in the gun. "And that was the end of that. He ran away."

Leone testified at the preliminary hearing of the suspect, Samuel Joseph Cutrufelli, who is charged with attempted murder, burglary, robbery and firearms offenses by a felon. After the hearing, Judge Paul Haakenson will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial.

The shooting occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Jan. 3 at Leone's home on Via La Cumbre. Police said Cutrufelli entered the home, detained Leone at gunpoint and searched the residence for property.

After the gunbattle, Leone called 911 from his house, and Cutrufelli called 911 after stopping his car just over the San Rafael border. Cutrufelli, a 30-year-old Novato resident, said he had shot himself and needed medical attention, according to Twin Cities police.

Leone testified energetically, despite having been shot in the face just weeks ago. With his head shaved and a bandage on his left cheek, he described how the bullet entered his jaw area and exited the back of his neck, avoiding a fatal wound but eventually leading to a jaw infection, pneumonia and a breathing tube.

Under questioning from prosecutor Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, Leone described how the burglar entered his home, held a gun to his head and said there was a "contract out" on him.

"I said, 'How could there be a contract out on me?'" Leone said. "He said, 'I understand you're the guy with all the expensive cars.'"

While Leone had collected 1970s-era cars in the past, he had only a 1996 Mitsubishi and a 2005 Ford in his garage at the time. Then the burglar led him at gunpoint to the bedroom, which he allegedly ransacked for valuables while Leone sat on the bed.

Leone said he concocted a plan: He said he needed to use the bathroom, which is where his five guns were hidden. When the burglar refused, Leone pulled his pants down and said he would defecate on the spot.

The burglar let him leave for the bathroom but would not let him close the door, Leone said.

"I said, 'Do you like to watch people take a s—-?'" Leone testified. The burglar let him close the door, and Leone went for his Smith & Wesson snubnose.

Cutrufelli spent nine days at Marin General Hospital before he was well enough to be booked into jail. His public defender, Kathleen Boyle, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, saying Cutrufelli was denied access to a lawyer while he was in the hospital, and the crime scene was contaminated in the interim.

The motion to dismiss is scheduled to be heard by Judge Andrew Sweet on March 15.

Outside the courtroom, Leone, a fitness buff and former member of the sheriff's air patrol, said he would like to go another round with Cutrufelli, perhaps in a classic duel at three paces.

"The doctor says I'm healing well," Leone said. "He said, 'For some reason, it didn't kill you.'"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday 02-20-12

He is someone that can be looked up to instead of some of these "athletes"

Editorial: John Glenn, endangered species

It was hard to take in Monday's 50th anniversary of John Glenn's historic space flight without feeling wistful.

Glenn, the fighter pilot turned astronaut turned U.S. senator, made his name in the types of bold national causes that now fall victim to petty squabbling. He fought fascism in World War II and communism in the Korean War before thrilling the nation as the first American to orbit the Earth.

After his space exploits, Glenn became the type of politician that today seems all but extinct. He eschewed bombast and invective in favor of getting things done in the U.S. Senate, where he served as a Democrat from Ohio and showed a willingness to break from party orthodoxy from time to time to position himself as a centrist.

No-nonsense from the beginning, Glenn was the straight arrow from small town Ohio in a Mercury Seven field of military aviators known for their swagger, fast cars and and purposeful partying. He was devoted to wife Annie, the high school sweetheart to whom he has been married for 69 years. In the Senate, he was a work horse among the show horses. In 1998, at age 77, he became the oldest person to fly in space, aboard the shuttle Discovery.

On Monday, Glenn, now 90, was honored at Ohio State University and chatted via video link with the crew of the International Space Station. Commander Dan Burbank said Glenn "paved the way for America to become a space power, and to go to the moon."

Today, it's hard to see what peaceful endeavor might unite Americans the way the space race with the Soviet Union did in the 1960s. Energy independence perhaps — a worthy goal that, like the moon program, could create a profound sense of national achievement. But it's not likely to be solved by a Congress barely able to agree that government shouldn't default on its debts. Nor is it prone to solution in just eight years — the eye-popping timetable John F. Kennedy set for the United States to go from ineptly earthbound to the moon.

The list of large-scale, festering problems that the nation faces now can be addressed only by leaders with vision and common purpose. That would take more people like Glenn, who do not confuse patriotism and partisanship.

That would also take a great overarching national cause — like what Glenn felt, indeed what the whole country felt, a half-century ago, when he climbed into a tiny capsule called Friendship 7.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday 02-18-12

Feds arrest man allegedly heading to U.S. Capitol for suicide mission after sting investigation

Authorities arrested and charged Friday a Virginia man allegedly on his way to the U.S. Capitol for what he thought would be a suicide attack on one of the nation's most symbolic landmarks.

The federal criminal complaint against the suspect identifies him as Amine El Khalifi, a 29-year-old Moroccan citizen who has been living in the United States illegally since 1999 after his visa expired. He was nabbed following a lengthy investigation by the FBI, initiated after he allegedly expressed interest in conducting an attack. Court documents say he came onto the radar screen in early December after he told an undercover agent about an earlier plan to bomb a northern Virginia building.

According to charging documents, he first entered the country that year on a tourist visa, which expired and was never renewed. Khalifi was charged Friday in U.S. District Court in northern Virginia with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The suspect allegedly weighed hitting various targets ranging from a military installation to synagogues to a Washington restaurant before settling on the Capitol.

The man thought undercover FBI agents assisting him in his plot were associates of Al Qaeda. He purchased bomb materials including jackets, nails and glue in preparation for an attack. He even conducted a test explosives demonstration in a quarry.

When he was arrested Friday in Washington, he was carrying with him a vest that he had been led to believe was packed with explosives, but the material inside was not actually dangerous, Fox News was told.

A short time earlier, Khalifi had been praying at a mosque in the Washington area. His destination was Capitol Hill.

The public was never in danger, as he had been under constant surveillance for some time, officials said. The FBI provided the suspect with a disabled gun during their ongoing operation, Fox News has learned.

The U.S. Capitol Police, in a statement that confirmed the arrest but provided few details, said the suspect had been "closely and carefully monitored."

A senior source involved with law enforcement at the Capitol also told Fox News the investigation was "all very controlled." The source said the U.S. Capitol Police was involved with the FBI and other agencies in tracking the suspect "not more than a year."

A former landlord in Arlington said he believed El Khalifi was suspicious and called police 18 months ago.

Frank Dynda said when he told El Khalifi to leave, the suspect said he had a right to stay and threatened to beat up Dynda. Dynda said he thought El Khalifi was making bombs, but police told him to leave the man alone. Dynda had El Khalifi evicted in 2010.

El Khalifi had several men staying with him and based on packages left for him, Dynda said, it appeared that he was running a luggage business from the apartment, although Dynda never saw any bags.

"I reported to police I think he's making bombs," Dynda said. "I was ready to get my shotgun and run him out of the building, but that would have been a lot of trouble."

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers in leadership positions had been briefed on the investigation, though rank-and-file members did not appear to have prior knowledge of the case.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., called the plot a "stark reminder" of the dangers Americans face.

"I think it will encourage more of us to take the tunnel. ... Maybe we have to walk around with a little higher level of paranoia," Cleaver told Fox News.

Sites in Washington have long been a target for terrorists, especially self-radicalized extremists caught in FBI stings.

In September, a Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly plotting to fly bomb-laden model planes into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. FBI agents claiming to be associates of Al Qaeda provided 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus with what he thought was explosive material for the remote-controlled planes.

Nearly a year earlier, a Virginia man was arrested for trying to help Al Qaeda plan multiple bombings against Washington's Metrorail system. For months, 34-year-old Farooque Ahmed of Ashburn, Va., had been meeting and discussing "jihad" with individuals he thought were affiliated with Al Qaeda, but in fact he was meeting with FBI agents.

In the past year alone, at least 20 people have been arrested in the United States on terrorism-related charges, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Most of the arrests" have involved "lone wolves," radicalized online and able to use the Internet to build bombs, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate committee last month.

At the time of Ahmed's arrest in October 2010, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, said the case showcases "our ability to find those seeking to harm U.S. citizens and neutralize them before they can act."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday 02-17-12

My Kind of burger, a true Monster burger

Man eating 'heart attack burger' at Heart Attack Grill has heart attack

WASHINGTON - An unidentified man began consuming a 6,000-calorie Triple Bypass Burger last weekend at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, which markets itself as "Taste Worth Dying For." He then went into cardiac arrest.

An onlooker captured video of paramedics removing the man, the Daily Mail reports, after trying to consume the burger, consisting of three patties, 12 strips of bacon, cheese, onion, tomato and the restaurant's "unique special sauce."

He topped it off with some "Flatliner Fries," which are cooked in pure lard.

The chain is known for its anti-health advertising. An Arizona branch reads, "Go away. If you come in this place, it's going to kill you," according to the Daily Mail.

Health advocates have criticized Heart Attack Grill's marketing toward the morbidly obese. The fa├žade of the Las Vegas restaurant includes a huge neon sign that reads "Over 350 lbs Eats Free."

The man who suffered from cardiac arrest reportedly is recovering at a hospital, according to the Heart Attack Grill's Facebook page.

Check out the video of last Saturday's medical crisis. H/T Daily Mail.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday 02-16-12


A REMARKABLE medical breakthrough has seen heart attack patients have their damaged heart muscle repaired with a stem cell injection.

The simple procedure that literally mends broken hearts brings the prospect of “science fiction” regenerative treatments for heart attacks a step closer.

The pioneering technique uses patients’ own cells to regrow muscle damaged by the heart attack.

It not only halved the amount of scarring on the heart, which is normally permanent following an attack, but it also led to the growth of new muscle.

The revolutionary trial results could transform the lives of millions of people suffering the devastating after-effects of an attack.

There are around 124,000 in the UK each year, and once heart muscle is damaged or weakened by an attack, the result can be heart failure which now blights the lives of 750,000 in Britain. The trials on patients who had all suffered recent attacks showed injecting them with stem cells from healthy tissue from their own hearts brought huge improvements to the damage done.

Professor Eduardo Marban, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, who led the US team, said: “The effects are substantial, and surprisingly larger in humans than they were in animal tests.

“This discovery challenges the conventional wisdom that, once established, scar is permanent and that, once lost, healthy heart muscle cannot be restored.”

The study, which was chiefly conducted to evaluate safety, is published in an online edition of The Lancet medical journal. It follows a similar trial at Harvard Medical School and the University of Louisville whose findings were reported in The Lancet last year.

Future work will examine whether stem cell treatment can help heart attack patients who later suffer heart failure, when a weakened heart is not strong enough to pump sufficient blood round the body, causing breathlessness and exhaustion

Dr Shlomo Melmed, a colleague of Dr Marban’s, said: “This study shows there is a regenerative therapy that may actually reverse the damage caused by a heart attack.”

Professor Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said: “It’s early days, and this research will certainly need following up, but it could be great news for heart attack patients who face the debilitating symptoms of heart failure.”

The BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts appeal aims to raise £50million for research into such regenerative heart treatments.

Stem cells have the ability to become virtually any type of cell within the body.

They can be harvested from mature cells in bone marrow or elsewhere, then transplanted back into a patient without fear of rejection.

‘We’re edging closer to the holy grail‘

PROFESSOR Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “If you go back 20 years the thought of the heart repairing itself after being damaged by a heart attack was unthinkable.

“It was completely out of reach for the brightest minds working in labs around the world.

“Then, a decade ago, scientists in America discovered that a few cells in your heart, about one in 1,000, could divide. It was an exciting discovery because it offered hope that the heart might have the capacity to repair itself.

“If we fast-forward to the present day we’re edging closer to the holy grail of mending broken hearts.

“It’s apt that during National Heart Month we hear about a small clinical trial in which scientists appear to have reduced heart damage following a heart attack by injecting cells taken from a healthy part of the heart back into the damaged hearts.

“This is the most promising of a series of studies on the effects of cell therapy to improve the function of damaged hearts.”

Preschooler’s Homemade Lunch Replaced with Cafeteria “Nuggets”
State agent inspects sack lunches, forces preschoolers to purchase cafeteria food instead

RAEFORD — A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs - including in-home day care centers - to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.

The girl's mother - who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation - said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a "healthy lunch" would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.

"I don't feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home," the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.

The girl's grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.

"What got me so mad is, number one, don't tell my kid I'm not packing her lunch box properly," the girl's mother told CJ. "I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn't really care for vegetables."

When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.

"She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her," her mother said. "You're telling a 4-year-old. 'oh. your lunch isn't right,' and she's thinking there's something wrong with her food."

While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.

"With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that's the dairy," said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. "It sounds like the lunch itself would've met all of the standard." The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.

There are no clear restrictions about what additional items - like potato chips - can be included in preschoolers' lunch boxes.

"If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child," Kozlowski said.

Ultimately, the child care provider can't take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she "would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child."

It is unclear whether the school was allowed to charge for the cafeteria lunches they gave to every preschooler in the class that day.

The state regulation reads:

"Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.

"When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements."

Still, Kozlowski said, the parents shouldn't have been charged.

"The school may have interpreted [the rule] to mean they felt like the lunch wasn't meeting the nutritional requirements and so they wanted the child to have the school lunch and then charged the parent," she said. "It sounds like maybe a technical assistance need for that school."

The school principal, Jackie Samuels, said he didn't "know anything about" parents being charged for the meals that day. "I know they eat in the cafeteria. Whether they pay or not, they eat in the cafeteria."

Pridgen's office is looking into the issue

Female Passengers Say They’re Targeted By TSA

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Women passengers complain that TSA agents are targeting them for extra screening.

The Transportation Security Administration has a policy to randomly select people for extra screening, but some female passengers are complaining. They believe there is nothing “random” about the way they were picked.

A Dallas woman says TSA agents repeatedly asked her to step back into a body scanning machine at DFW International Airport. “I feel like I was totally exposed,” said Ellen Terrell, who is a wife and mother. “They wanted a nice good look.”

When Ellen Terrell and her husband, Charlie, flew out of DFW Airport several months ago, Terrell says she was surprised by a question a female TSA agent asked her. “She says to me, ‘Do you play tennis?’ And I said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘You just have such a cute figure.’”

Terrell says she walked into the body scanner which creates an image that a TSA agent in another room reviews. Terrell says she tried to leave, but the female agent stopped her. “She says, ‘Wait, we didn’t get it,’” recalls Terrell, who claims the TSA agent sent her back a second time and even a third. But that wasn’t good enough.

After the third time, Terrell says even the agent seemed frustrated with her co-workers in the other room. “She’s talking into her microphone and she says, ‘Guys, it is not blurry, I’m letting her go. Come on out.’”

When TSA agents do a pat down on a traveler, only female agents are allowed to touch female passengers. But the TSA allows male agents to view the images of female passengers.

Ellen and Charlie Terrell are convinced that the extra screenings were unnecessary, possibly even voyeuristic. “I think it’s sexual harassment if you’re run through there a third or fourth time,“ responded Texas State Representative Lon Burnam of Fort Worth. “And this is not the first time I have heard about it,” said Burnam, who adds that a number of his constituents have voiced concerns about privacy.

CBS 11 News dug through more than 500 records of TSA complaints and found a pattern of women who believe that there was nothing random about the way they were selected for extra screening. TSA redacted the names of the passengers who complained, but here are quotations from several complaints.

•“I feel I was targeted by the TSA employee to go through the see-you-naked machine because I am a semi-attractive female.”
•“The screener appeared to enjoy the process of picking someone rather than doing true random screening. I felt this was inappropriate. A woman behind me was also “randomly selected.”
•“TSA staff ‘trolling’ the lines looking for people to pull out was unprofessional.”
•“After that, I saw him going to the private room where x-rays are, to speak to the guy on that room.”
•“I know he went to that room to see my naked body through the machine with the other guy.”
•“When I looked around, I saw that there were only women that were “told” to go through this machine. There were no men.”
•“Maklng American citizens unwilling victims of a peep show by TSA employees using full body imaging devices is an over-the-top invasion of privacy to which I strenuously object.”
CBS 11 News first contacted the TSA in mid-January to request a one-on-one interview on camera. A TSA spokesperson told us that no one was available for that kind of interview. The TSA held a news conference the following week. “Privacy issues is the main point,” said Amy Williams, Federal Security Director for Dallas Love Field.

At the news conference, the TSA announced that DFW and Love Field airports now have all-new scanning machines. The updated technology shows a only a generic-body outline which highlights potential threats. “With the old technology, we had to have an image room that was separate from the equipment,” says Williams. The older scanners, which create more detailed individual x-ray like images, are still used in 39 airports across the country.

“It just makes me wonder what’s going on. Are they doing this all over the country? They’re missing their focus,” said Charlie Terrell.

“You just feel like your privacy has been violated,” says Ellen Terrell.

Ellen Terrell told CBS 11 News that she did not file a complaint because she did not realize that she had that option. Passengers may not be aware that they also can opt out of the scanner by requesting a pat-down screening instead.

The TSA provided CBS 11 News with the following statement in response to our investigation.

“TSA does not profile passengers. All of our millimeter wave technology units including those in Dallas have been upgraded with additional privacy enhancements that no longer display passenger-specific images. Even prior to this upgrade, officers reviewing the images were located in a separate room and would have never seen the passenger being screened. To further ensure passenger privacy and anonymity, a privacy filter was applied to blur all images. The technology remains optional to all passengers.” — Kristin Lee, Assistant Administrator, Office of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs, Transportation Security Administration

A TSA spokesperson told CBS 11 News that it is not protocol to send a passenger back into a scanner more than once. He said the agency takes all complaints seriously and urges consumers to file complaints if they have a problem. He said airports store video of checkpoints for at least 30 days and complaints filed within that timeframe may be reviewed using the video. He added that passengers can notify a TSA supervisor on location to make a complaint.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday 02-15-12

Stupid idea tag, you can not make it up.

FBI says paying cash for coffee is a sign of terrorist intent

Icecube sez, "Earlier this month, a flier was released by the FBI saying that TOR users might be terrorists. It seems that there is another article that was recently published that says that if you see someone paying for a cup of coffee in cash, they too could be a terrorist. I wonder how much longer it'll be before drinking a cup of water at home could be considered suspicious as well."

Using cash for small purchases like a cup of coffee, gum and other items is a good indication that a person is trying to pass for normal without leaving the kind of paper trail created using a debit or credit card for small purchases.

The most recent update asks coffee shop owners, baristas and other customer-service specialists to be on the lookout for the enemy who walks among us (who evidently has been reanimated from the graves of the 1950s Red Scare era of blacklisting and Communist-baiting or the KGB's constant witch hunt for capitalist sympathizers or people who resent being witch-hunted for their political beliefs).

Good news for the home team

Making a Difference - Helping Sarah McKinley

John Boch was interviewed by WCIA News, you can see the clip here:

I'm sure you've seen Sarah McKinley in the national news recently, she's the young woman who had the misfortune of having two bad guys break into her house less than a week after her husband died. She was forced to shoot one of them. What hasn't made national news? What an Illinois/Indiana gun club has done to help her out. Read on....

Originally Published in GunsNews by John Boch

At the January meeting, GSL President John Boch brought up the story from New Year’s Eve of Sarah McKinley from Blanchard, OK. This 18-year-old mother lost her husband to cancer on Christmas Day 2011 and less than a week later, two opportunistic, armed thugs try to break into her home, probably to rape her. She barricaded her front door with her couch, then got her shotgun, her baby and her phone and retreated to the back of the residence.

For twenty-one minutes she waited for police to arrive as the two men tried to force their way in through both doors. Bad guy #1 was on the verge of breaching the front door when the 911 operator told Sarah not to shoot unless the intruder made it inside the house. The bad man got in far enough to begin climbing over the couch when young Sarah McKinley perforated him with her boom-stick. Amorous bad guy #2 suddenly sobered up and decided he had to be somewhere else and later turned himself in.

Boch spoke with the Blanchard police and they have nothing but praise for how McKinley handled the unfortunate situation. “It doesn’t get much more righteous than this one,” a detective told Boch.

McKinley’s primary home defense gun, the shotgun, was taken for evidence. “We’ll probably have it for at least a couple of months,” the detective said.

Mr. Boch and some friends decided to make a difference and make sure Sarah McKinley has a replacement home-defense shotgun. Antonio Luna, a part-time adjunct staff instructor with Fortress Defense Consultants, made some contacts and lined up a gun. The Blanchard police chief referred Mr. Boch to a trusted, nearby gun dealer, Nathan Morrison of KAIROS Services, LLC., and offered to send a squad to give Sarah a ride to pick up the shotgun once it arrived.

Everyone at Blanchard PD, from the chief down to the front desk clerk, expressed profound and sincere appreciation for any help we or others could provide. “Anything you can do to help with be very much appreciated as that young woman is having a very difficult time right now,” the desk clerk told Mr. Boch.

Mr. Luna secured most of the money needed for a bare-bones Remington 870. A day later, at the Tuesday evening GSL meeting, Mr. Boch asked GSL members to help come up with a $100 to $150 in order to trick out the shotgun with a side-saddle, sling and to take care of any incidental costs. After Boch started a hat around with $10, a few minutes later, GSL members came through with not one, but two hats, stuffed with $487.

Sarah McKinley’s gun arrived on Martin Luther King’s birthday. It’s a tricked-out Remington 870 Express 12ga with a Hogue fore-end and 13” youth stock, a Mesa Tactical 8 round side saddle, Trijicon ghost-ring tritium sights, an Advanced Technologies mag clamp swivel mount and a Vickers Tactical Blue Force two-point sling. Also included are a few boxes of Federal Personal Defense 00 buck, which the gun loves.

The gun was test fired before shipping. Ryan Stoy, of ZX Gun in Goshen, IN told Boch, ”I test fired the gun this afternoon. It’s a good gun. I built it up myself and it’s what I would want someone I care about to have.”

We (Boch, Luna, etc.) are weighing options for either giving McKinley a check for the remaining cash, or making arrangements to (legally) get her a personal defense caliber revolver.

There is a trust account set up to help Sarah McKinley. If you missed the meeting and would like to contribute to help this girl have a better year in the Year 2012, here is the contact information.

Sarah McKinley Trust Fund
Chickasa Bank & Trust
405 485-2300
Ask for Leah.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday 02-14-12

Feds: Mich. militia members ready to 'go to war'

DETROIT (AP) - Displaying guns, vests and other military gear, a prosecutor told jurors Monday that members of a Midwest militia were willing "to go to war" in an extraordinary plot to kill a police officer as a springboard to a broader rebellion against the U.S. government.

Some of the evidence was placed directly in front of the jury box as trial opened for seven members of a group called Hutaree, who are charged with conspiring to commit sedition as well as weapons crimes.

Still, defense attorneys dismissed any talk by the defendants as little more than fantasy and equated the group more to a "social club" than a militia.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline said the anti-government Hutaree was looking for some type of conflict to trigger an attack _ maybe a traffic stop, a search warrant or a dispute between authorities and another militia.

"They wanted to start an armed confrontation. ... The war to them meant patriots rising up against the government," said Graveline, who held up automatic weapons and other items seized after nine people were arrested in southern Michigan, Indiana and Ohio in March 2010.

The defendants are accused of conspiring to someday ambush and kill a police officer, then attack the funeral procession with explosives and trigger a broader revolt against the U.S. government.

Graveline showed the jury a video clip of leader David Stone declaring, "Welcome to the revolution." The government placed an undercover agent inside the Hutaree and also had a paid informant. More than 100 hours of audio and video were recorded.

"They were ready, willing and able to go to war. They were preparing for war," the prosecutor said.

Stone and others, wearing their Sunday best instead of military fatigues, listened closely at the start of a trial that could last six to eight weeks. Two defense attorneys offered an opening rebuttal to the government's introduction, telling jurors there was no specific plan to do any harm to anyone in authority.

Todd Shanker, attorney for David Stone Jr., acknowledged there are "offensive statements" on the recordings but said the words were "almost fantasy" made among people who were comfortable with each other.

"These are extreme charges. ... They are going to fail, and they are going to fail miserably," said Shanker, adding later that the Hutaree really was more of a "social club" than any organized militia.

William Swor, attorney for David Stone, said his client was a firm believer in the Bible's Book of Revelation and the coming of an "anti-Christ."

"The anti-Christ as David Stone understands it will come from overseas, and the troops of the anti-Christ will take over America. That is the resistance that David Stone was preparing for," Swor said.

He told jurors the government was displaying weapons in court to "make you afraid." Swor said members lived hand-to-mouth and couldn't even afford transportation to a regional militia meeting in Kentucky, a trip that wasn't completed because of bad winter weather. He said it was the undercover agent who supplied the van, gas and a secret camera that captured Stone on video.

"There is a lot of talk and no action whatsoever. ... You will have to decide whether this is a real conspiracy or David Stone exercising his God-given right to blow off steam and open his mouth," Swor said.

Of the original nine defendants, Joshua Clough of Blissfield, Mich., is the only one to make a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in December to illegal use of a firearm, faces a mandatory five-year prison sentence and could be called as a witness to testify for the government.

Besides the Stones, the other defendants are Tina Mae Stone and Joshua Stone, both from Lenawee County; Thomas Piatek of Whiting, Ind.; Michael Meeks of Manchester, Mich.; and Kristopher Sickles of Sandusky, Ohio. Jacob Ward of Huron, Ohio, will have a separate trial. Besides conspiracy charges, all face at least one firearm charge and some have more.

Twelve jurors and four alternates were selected before opening statements. There are nine women and seven men.

Now you get to pay to get felt up, what a government we have. First they abuse you then they make you pay for it.

Obama budget proposes new security, airline fees

(Reuters) - Airlines and their passengers would pay up to $32 billion in new air traffic and security fees over 10 years, and grants to big airports would fall sharply under White House budget proposals on Monday aimed at deficit reduction.

The Obama administration wants major carriers, their passengers, business jets and airports to pick up more of the costs of air travel and airport improvements that for years have been borne by taxpayers.

New fees are sure to trigger strong opposition from airlines and other aviation groups who argue that the industry is already over-taxed and over-regulated.

Ideas quietly floated and then discarded during congressional budget negotiations last summer reemerged in the fiscal 2013 transportation and homeland security portions of the White House budget sent to Congress that outlines $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

Under the proposal, ticket fees that help pay for passenger and bag security screening at more than 400 U.S. airports would double to a mandatory minimum of $5 per one-way trip.

The fee would jump 50 cents per year beginning in 2014, raising the total to $7.50 in 2018. The administration hopes the changes will yield between $9 billion and $25.5 billion in new revenues over 10 years.

The budget proposal would also permit the Homeland Security Department to raise the fee on its own after that through regulation.

Congress has resisted previous efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations to raise security fees, which cover less than half of the cost annually of screening airline passengers and their bags for weapons and bombs.

But airlines worry that Congress may yield to the enormous pressure to cut federal spending. Airlines are also making money again on higher fares, which could make it more difficult to convince lawmakers to see things their way.

The administration is also proposing a $100 departure fee for airlines, business jets and other aircraft to help cover the costs of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control.

The new fee would raise $7.4 billion over 10 years, the administration estimates.

The budget also proposes to cut guaranteed grant funding for medium and large airports by $926 million in 2013 to $2.4 billion. Instead, airports would be permitted flexibility to increase certain ticket charges to raise revenue on their own for airport construction projects.

Airports have unsuccessfully pushed for congressional authority to raise more money through higher fees, which are capped at $4.50 per passenger, per flight.

Cincinnati High School Paying Students To Come To School

CINCINNATI, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) — A Cincinnati high school is paying its students to come to school.

The Dohn Community High School has launched a $40,000 incentive program to get students to come to class.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, students will get Visa gift cards for showing up everyday for school, being on time for class and not getting into trouble. Seniors would get $25 while underclassmen would get $10.

The school would also put $5 into a savings account for the student that earns a gift card.

Despite taking criticism for the program, Dohn Principal Ramone Davenport brushes it aside.

“People will say you’re rewarding kids for something they should already be doing anyway,” Davenport told the Enquirer. “But they’re not doing it. We’ve tried everything else.”

Dohn students have come around to the idea, excited about being rewarded for coming to school.

“I’m very excited to get the money,” 16-year-old student Arneqka Lester told the paper. “It makes me want to come to school on time, not that I don’t. But some students don’t have the money and this will help them. It’s a good idea.”

The school is trying out this new idea after the Ohio Department of Education designated the school an “academic emergency” on its report card. About 14 percent of students graduated from Dohn during the 2010-2011 school year.

CBS Cleveland has reached out to Dohn Community High School for comment.

U.S. stops minting unloved $1 coins

There's a lot to like about $1 coins. They are more durable than paper money, and they're easier and cheaper to handle. The only problem is, Americans hate using them.

Because of that, the Federal Reserve has literally entire warehouses full of unused $1 coins returned to them by banks because people don't want them. From Robert Benincasa and David Kestenbaum at NPR's Planet Money:

The federal government will stop minting unwanted $1 coins, the White House said Tuesday. The move will save an estimated $50 million a year.

Earlier this year, we reported on the mountain of $1 coins sitting unused in government vaults. The pile-up -- an estimated 1.4 billion coins -- was caused by a 2005 law that ordered the minting of coins honoring each U.S. president.

We calculated that the unwanted coins had cost taxpayers some $300 million dollars to make. There were so many coins piling up that the Federal Reserve was redesigning a vault in Texas to help hold them all.

We got to see a vault in Baltimore. It was the size of a soccer field, filled with bags of dollar coins.

On the merits, dollar coins are all-around better than dollar bills, but as long as you make them optional, rather than taking $1 bills out of circulation to force the change, Americans will kick them to the curb.
That's true for a couple of reasons. First off, I think people in the U.S. have kind of stopped thinking of coins as real money. Most people seem to look at coins as "loose change" and "pocket change," not holders of real value.

The other reason is that American men generally don't carry an item that's pretty much ubiquitous in places with valuable coins: a coin purse or wallet capable of securing coins. Whenever I'm in Europe visiting the Swedish branch of my family, I'm always struck by how pretty much every dude walking around over there has a coin holder, which is a real rarity in this country and in approximately the same class of coolness as, say, a calculator watch or Velcro shoes.

Of course, that problem would immediately be solved as soon as $1 bills were eliminated. While it might take a while for men to abandon their classy money clips, there are a few things people hate more than losing money. It would only take a few bucks rolling out of their pockets to make men reconsider the style characteristics of coin-carrying wallets.

But people like paper money, and they hate $1 coins, and Congress is having difficulty even mustering up the political will to keep the lights on at this point, so I don't see it happening anytime soon. As a result, it's probably smarter for the government to keep the $50 million.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday 02-13-12

NRA official: Obama wants to outlaw guns in 2nd term

A top official with the National Rifle Association said Friday that President Obama will move to "destroy" gun rights and "erase" the Second Amendment if he is re-elected in November.

While delivering one of the liveliest and best-received speeches at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said the president's low-key approach to gun rights during his first term was "a "conspiracy to ensure re-election by lulling gun owners to sleep."

"All that first term, lip service to gun owners is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term," he said.

"We see the president's strategy crystal clear: Get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms' freedom, erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and excise it from the U.S. Constitution."

Mr. LaPierre said the president's two Supreme Court appointees — Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan— are "two of the most rabid anti-gun justices in history." He also accused Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of being a foe of gun rights.

And with the possibility of two or more Supreme Court justice positions opening during the next four years, the NRA official warned that gun ownership would be in jeopardy if Mr. Obama stays in office.

"If we get one more like those three, the Second Amendment is finished," he said. "It'll be the end of our freedom forever."

Mr. LaPierre, who said "there is no greater freedom than to own a firearm," predicted that gun owners will rally en masse to defeat Mr. Obama in November.

"All of what we know is good and right about America, all of it could be lost if Barrack Obama is re-elected," he said. "It's all or nothing."

Man sues county to keep pet goat, ducks, chickens

CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md. (AP) - A Chesapeake City man has filed a federal suit against Cecil County claiming its order to get rid of his pet goat, six chickens and two ducks violates his freedom of religion.

In a suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Craig Balunsat says caring for the animals promotes living in harmony with nature. He tells the Cecil Whig that the goat, named Snowbird, is part of a native American ritual.

Balunsat says he is of Filipino heritage, but has adopted a native American religion.

County law states that to raise or house animals other than dogs or cats, a resident must own an acre of property. Balunsat's land is only three-quarters of an acre.

A Cecil County official said the county has not seen the lawsuit.

The sad part is the ends justify the means, it is never about right and wrong, it is about what they see is right.

Feds pursue suicidal vet

The federal government broke a promise, according to the lawyer for a Navy veteran facing criminal firearms charges after he called for help on what is promoted as a confidential suicide prevention hotline.

The government alleges the former petty officer from Blacksburg committed four felonies by making a homemade gun using a pipe and a shotgun shell. The veteran’s lawyer claims the government is violating due process by using information from his call to prosecute him.

Mental health professionals suggest the charges against Sean Duvall could hamper national suicide prevention efforts by creating doubts about whether calls for help will be considered confidential.

Duvall, a Persian Gulf War veteran, was despondent and contemplating suicide after being evicted from his apartment in June, according to his motion to dismiss filed in Roanoke federal court. He wandered the streets of Blacksburg, sometimes sleeping on the ground.

Among his few belongings, Duvall carried a homemade gun consisting of a short length of pipe with a cap allowing a nail to serve as a firing pin for a shotgun shell. Duvall built the device for the sole purpose of taking his own life, according to his lawyer.

On June 8, Duvall called the Veterans Crisis Line, billed as a “confidential toll-free hotline” by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He explained he had a device for committing suicide and he “really needed help,” the motion read. He said he wanted to hand over the device for someone to safely dispose of it.

Duvall gave the device to the police officer who responded, along with his backpack and what was to be a final note to his family.

The call for help was a success story for Duvall’s state of mind. He was released after a few days at a psychiatric hospital. According to his motion, he is now on medication and sees a counselor and a psychiatrist regularly. He has a new job and a new apartment.

The same call for help also brought trouble. Duvall first was charged with a misdemeanor – carrying a concealed weapon. Then the federal authorities stepped in.

Duvall now faces four federal felony charges with a possible punishment of 40 years in prison. All four charges are based on the one crude homemade shotgun. Duvall is accused of possessing an unlawful destructive device, possessing an unregistered firearm, manufacturing a destructive device and possessing a destructive device without a serial number.

Duvall’s lawyer, Randy V. Cargill with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Roanoke, was blunt in asking a judge to dismiss the charges. “It is wrong to break a promise,” he wrote in the motion to dismiss.

Duvall never expected his call to the “confidential” hotline to be used against him by a prosecutor, Cargill said. “It is contrary to Congress’ express goal of helping veterans in need and encouraging them to get help without fear,” he wrote. “This is dishonorable; it is wrong; it is unfair; it shocks the conscience.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment because Duvall’s case is still pending. A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled for Feb. 14.

The Department of Veterans Affairs defended its procedures in a written statement, but did not address whether its efforts might be hampered by the Duvall charges.

The V.A. noted it is permitted under law to disclose otherwise private information “when necessary to avert a serious and imminent threat to the health and safety of an individual or the public,” according to the statement provided by spokesperson Phil Budahn.

“Alternative solutions are always explored with the Veteran, and if none can be found that guarantee safety, local law enforcement is notified. At that point, the responder is trained to keep the Veteran engaged and safe. Once help arrives, responsibility for the situation is turned over to the local authorities. All policies and procedures of the Crisis Line are based on respecting callers’ rights of confidentiality,” the V.A. statement said.

Two mental health professionals involved in national discussions of suicide prevention for service members and veterans suggest Duvall’s prosecution could undermine prevention efforts.

“Actions such as this only serve to compound the problem, fueling the impression that the essential networks are not there to help but, as in this case, punish and prosecute,” said University of Utah psychologist M. David Rudd, scientific director for the National Center for Veterans Studies.

Washington psychologist Alan L. Berman, president of the International Association of Suicide Prevention, agreed. “The threat of punishment will deter help-seeking, the very thing that Mr. Duvall did in calling the VA Crisis Line to begin with,” Berman said.

Rudd said the veterans treatment courts which are sprouting around the country are designed to handle this type of case. Although Roanoke federal courts offer a veterans treatment program, it was not clear why Duvall’s case was not referred to it.

Both Rudd and Berman say they hope federal prosecutors back off from the charges against Duvall.

“Clearly the veteran in this case wanted help and made the right decision,” Rudd said. “Now, we need for the justice system to make the right decision.”