Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
A woman who sews sock monkey toys for a living ran into a surprising obstacle while trying to board a flight at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport this week–TSA officials confiscated a two-inch toy pistol that’s an accessory for one of the boys. More from NBC News:
Phyllis May of Redmond, Wash., was travelling from St. Louis on Dec. 3 when she noticed a TSA agent inspecting one of her carry-on bags, according to NBC affiliate King 5.
May sells the dolls and had several sock monkeys and sewing supplies in the bag. One of the monkeys, named “Rooster Monkburn,” after John Wayne’s character “Rooster Cogburn” in the movie “True Grit,” is a cowboy with a two-inch long pistol.
“She said ‘This is a gun,’” May told King 5. “I said ‘No, it’s not a gun, it’s a prop for my monkey.’”
“She said ‘If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not,’ and I said ‘Really?’” May said.
May told King 5 the TSA agent took the monkey’s gun and informed May she was supposed to call the police.
“Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe,” she told King 5. “I understand she was doing her job, but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”
King 5 reported that the agent did not call police and May was able to keep her sewing supplies and other dolls and board the plane.
In a statement, the TSA defended its action, citing its longstanding policy of prohibiting any replicas of firearms from being allowed onto airplanes.
Image: Sock monkey, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, December 5th, 2013
The mother of a former high school football player in Lunenberg, Massachusetts is a suspect in an incident in which racist slurs were scrawled on her home. The episode prompted school officials to cancel the rest of the football season when it was believed that fellow players may have committed what was called a “hate crime.” Fox Sports has more on the new developments:
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According to the Boston Globe, Lunenburg (Mass.) police and the FBI questioned Andrea Brazier on Nov. 25 about the offensive messages spray painted on her home. 13-year-old Isaac Phillips, Brazier’s son, is half-black and was believed to be the target of the graffiti, which was discovered on Nov. 15 and included the phrase “Knights don’t need n——!”
Brazier previously told police that Phillips had been harassed by teammates on the Lunenburg High School football team, and the initial thought was that the writing was the handiwork of those players. But the players were later cleared, and police then began to pursue other suspects.
The court records obtained by the Boston Globe included an affidavit that detailed Brazier’s conversation with investigators on Nov. 25. During the interview, Brazier reportedly stated that neither her husband, Anthony J. Phillips, nor her son were responsible for the graffiti. However, Brazier also reportedly pushed for the investigation into the matter to end.
“Andrea stated ‘OK,’” the affidavit said, according to the Globe. “Andrea just kept answering ‘OK’ and that she wanted everything to end and that we did not understand.”
After the meeting with Brazier, police received a warrant to search Brazier’s home, which they executed Tuesday.
During the search, the Globe reports, police found a can of Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint, as well as a can of Krylon Fusion spray paint, which is generally used on plastic — however, it is unknown what color those paints were or whether they could have been used in the crime.
During a previous visit to Brazier’s home on Nov. 18, police also observed two burnt aerosol cans in a fire pit outside the home. According to the Globe’s report, police were given three different accounts of where those cans came from at the time.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
“To Train Up a Child,” a parenting book that advocates parents use such extreme discipline measures as starvation and severe beatings with switches and plastic tubes, has been implicated in the murders of three children, all adoptees: 4-year-old Sean Paddock, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz, and 13-year-old Hana Williams. Last month, Williams’ adoptive parents, Larry and Carri Williams, were convicted of homicide by abuse after the girl died of malnutrition and hypothermia, both punishments linked with advice from the book, which was written by a preacher and his wife. Politix.com reports on a petition that is circulating urging Amazon.com to remove the book from its website–so far, the petition has garnered more than 80,000 signatures:
The book by preacher Michael Pearl and his wife Debi advocates using a switch on babies starting at 6 months old. The book also recommends beating older children with a flexible plumbing pipe that “can be rolled up and carried in your pocket.” The Williams’s seem to have taken that advice to heart. When Hana died, her body was scarred by beatings with the plumbing line.
The same kind of tubing was used to beat Lydia Schatz, 7, whose adoptive parents were convicted of second-degree murder in her death. Her parents would intersperse beatings with prayer. Lydia “died from severe tissue damage, and her older sister had to be hospitalized,” the New York Times reports. Another small child, 4-year-old Sean Paddock, was scarred by beatings with the tubing when he died at the hands of his adoptive parents.
The Williams’s told friends that Hana was “rebellious” and recommended To Train up a Child as manual for dealing with rebellious children, according to Slate. Hana has also been deprived of food (perhaps following the Pearls’ advice that “a little fasting is good training”) and forced to shower outside and sleep in a barn without bedding, even in freezing weather.
Currently over 670,000 copies of To Train Up a Child are in circulation.
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Discipline Without Spanking
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Katelyn Roman, a 13-year-old Florida girl whose felony charges were dropped yesterday in the case of a schoolmate’s suicide that was allegedly prompted by cyber-bullying, is telling the media, “I do not feel l did anything wrong.” In September, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick took her life after her family said she was “absolutely terrorized” by cyberbullies who were taunting her on social media. Roman and another girl–unnamed because she is a juvenile, were charged with third-degree aggravated stalking last month, but the charges have been dropped. More from Today.com:
Katelyn and a 14-year-old girl whom TODAY is not identifying because she is a juvenile were charged last month after Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff Grady Judd saw a derogatory post on Facebook that he claims was written by one of them. The two girls were arrested after Judd said they were allegedly involved in the bullying of Rebecca Sedwick, 12, who committed suicide on Sept. 9, with the 14-year-old allegedly writing on Facebook, “Yes ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a f---].”
Judd also publicly revealed the girls’ names and their mug shots at an Oct. 15 news conference and told TODAY on Oct. 16 that one of the girls did something “despicable” with the post on Facebook.
On Wednesday, the Florida state attorney’s office announced that charges had been dropped and withheld comment on its reasoning because both girls are juveniles. After his public outrage over the alleged bullying by the two girls last month, Judd said at a news conference Wednesday that he was “exceptionally pleased with the outcome of the case.”
“We see the children are going to get the services they need,’’ Judd told reporters, referring to both girls being in counseling. “That’s the best outcome for juveniles. Our goal is that these kids never bully anyone again.”
Image: Web page, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 14th, 2013
William Pollack, a medical researcher who worked at the Ortho Pharmaceutical Company in Raritan, N.J., in the early 1960s, has died at age 87. While Pollack’s is not a household name, he is responsible for helping to develop the vaccine against Rh disease, an illness caused by seemingly minor differences in the blood types of pregnant women and their fetuses. Pregnant women today are routinely tested for Rh status, and if they are Rh negative, they receive the vaccine so their bodies will not mistakenly attack their babies’ cells if the babies are Rh positive. More on Pollack and his work from The New York Times:
Rh disease occurs when a pregnant woman is Rh negative and her fetus is Rh positive. In the mixing of blood between the two during pregnancy, the mother’s Rh-negative blood cells produce antibodies that attack the blood cells of the fetus. Depending on the strength of the mother’s immune response, the effects on the baby can range from mild anemia to stillbirth.
Dr. Pollack and his partners devised an “ingenious” counterattack, as it was described in an introduction to their work in “Hematology: Landmark Papers of the Twentieth Century,” a collection published in 2000 by hematologist organizations.
The three men produced a vaccine that patrols the mother’s body, dispatches invading Rh-positive cells and causes no harm to the fetus. The vaccine was made from a passive Rh-negative antibody, which soon wears out. It not only solves the mother’s temporary immunity problem but also, more important, prevents her immune system from mounting a full-fledged response of its own, which would endanger the fetus she was carrying as well as any future ones.
“It was an absolutely brilliant idea,” said Dr. Richard L. Berkowitz, the obstetrics and gynecology director of resident education at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital. “A lot of people know who Jonas Salk is, but they should know William Pollack’s name, too. This disease was a major, major problem, and it’s been virtually eradicated.”
Researchers had developed other approaches to treating Rh blood disease, including potentially dangerous intrauterine transfusions, before the idea of a vaccine emerged. Among his other contributions, Dr. Pollack was credited with devising the process in which the blood components needed to make the vaccine are isolated and recombined in a liquid solution.
Image: Vaccine, via Shutterstock
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