Long Island man arrested for firing rifle near group of men on his lawn

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/09/06/2010-09-06_long_island_man_arrested_for_firing_rifle_near_group_of_men_on_his_lawn.html

By Scott Shifrel
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Monday, September 6th 2010, 3:57 PM

A “mild mannered” Long Island man accused of firing a rifle in the air during a confrontation with a large group of men on his lawn was charged with felony assault Monday.

George Grier, 31, fired the shots – without injuring anyone – on Sunday night after arguing with the men, police said.

Grier, who is black, was arguing the group of Hispanic men at his Uniondale home. His family told the Associated Press he was trying to protect them.

But police said there was no indication of a racial motivation and disparaged comparisons with a notorious 2006 case in which a black man was convicted of killing a white teen he said was threatening him.

“He’s a very mild mannered young man,” said Grier’s former lawyer, Jordan Stern, who successfully represented him in a lawsuit involving an automobile accident. “I would never expect anything violent from him.”

Stern was arraigned Monday on charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and faces up to seven years in prison. Judge Angelo Delligatti ordered him held on $10,000 bail.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/09/06/2010-09-06_long_island_man_arrested_for_firing_rifle_near_group_of_men_on_his_lawn.html#ixzz0ywOIWDHU

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 8:38 am  Leave a Comment  

California Cops Taser Senior Citizen in His Own Home

 

 
   

In America, now officially a police state, you will be tasered in your own home if you lip off to the police.

Senior citizen Peter McFarland of Marin County, California, discovered this after he fell down the stairs outside his home last year. On June 29, 2009, McFarland tumbled down the stairs and after his wife called paramedics the cops showed up. They entered McFarland’s home and tasered him because they claimed he was suicidal.

“We want to take you to the hospital for an evaluation, you said if you had a gun, you’d shoot yourself in the head,” a deputy can be heard saying on a video of the incident captured on a taser mounted camera. McFarland said the comment was hyperbole made because he was in pain.

“Stand up, put your hands behind your back or you’re going to be tased,” the deputy commanded. McFarland refused, told the police in no uncertain terms to get out of his house, so the cop tased him not once, but three times, as his wife looked on in horror and pleaded with the cops to stop because her husband has a heart condition.

McFarland’s lawyer, John Scott, said the cops did not have a search warrant or any reason to enter the McFarland residence. Scott told KGO-TV in San Francisco his client was arrested, jailed and charged with resisting arrest. A judge later dismissed the charge. McFarland has filed suit against the Marin County Sheriff’s Department.

Cops no longer need a search warrant in order to enter your home and torture you with a device akin to field telephone magnetos used on prisoners during the Vietnam War.

In fact, far too many cops have no idea what the Fourth Amendment stands for or do they understand that in large part the American Revolution was fought because agents of the crown used general warrants to enter homes, interrogate colonists, and seize “prohibited and uncustomed” goods.

John Adams, founding father and the second president of the United States, viewed these events “as the spark in which originated the American Revolution.” Adams and the founders understood a man’s home is his castle, as Edward Coke declared a century before, and a fortress “for his defense against injury and violence,” a concept that seems to be largely lost on many Americans.

India halts HPV vaccine trial after six girls die, US does nothing in response to 67 deaths and counting

http://www.naturalnews.com/029632_India_HPV_vaccine.html

(NaturalNews) The horrors caused by Merck & Co.’s Gardasil vaccine and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Cervarix vaccine continue as six young girls recently died from the shots during an experimental Indian trial. The two human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have been implicated in at least 67 deaths in the U.S., prompting no response from U.S. officials other than to keep pushing it on the public, but the six deaths in India have prompted the government there to immediately stop all trials of the vaccines.

“Two imported brands of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, namely Gardasil and Cervarix, were allowed to undergo clinical trial (Phase III) in India, before being granted permission for import and market authorization,” explained S. Gandhiselvan, minister of state for healthy and family welfare, in a statement to India’s parliament. However, because of the deaths, he advised all states to stop vaccinating immediately.

According to reports, the trials were wholly unethical and illegitimate to begin with, and were nothing more than blatant exploitation by drug companies of disadvantaged people from a developing nation. Since many women in the industrialized world are now learning about the dangers of HPV vaccinations and rejecting them, Big Pharma has moved on to other populations in its quest to jab the entire world with the dangerous shots.

TruthAboutGardasil.org, a website devoted to exposing the true dangers associated with HPV vaccinations, also explains that drug companies are falsely advertising the vaccines in other counties, even going so far as to falsely claim that they are mandatory in the U.S., France and Australia.

“We consider this a human rights violation, and request the U.S. to take the lead in protecting fundamental human rights by calling for a congressional hearing,” said Rosemary Mathis from TruthAboutGardasil.org.

However, there have been 67 U.S. deaths from HPV vaccinations reported thus far in the Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERS), and countless reports of serious, life-damaging side effects, and officials have done nothing about it. So it is unlikely that the U.S. will do anything to stop the poison from being marketed around the world as a cure.

Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 7:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Police Shoot And Kill Spokane Preacher

http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-082610-preacher-killed,0,4730091.story

Web Reporter

5:48 PM PDT, August 26, 2010

Spokane Valley – A Spokane Valley Baptist preacher has been shot and killed by a police officer.

Police say Pastor Wayne Scott Creach, was shot sometime late Wednesday night during a confrontation with an officer in an unmarked patrol car.

Police say the officer had parked near the plant nursery Creach operated in response to concerns over late night car prowls. Creach, who lived next door to his nursery approached the officer and sometime during the confrontation the officer fired his duty weapon.

Creach served as pastor of Greenacres Baptist Church for 40 years.

Detectives say a handgun was found on the ground near Creach.

Copyright © 2010, KCPQ-TV

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 8:05 am  Leave a Comment  

India halt vaccine programmes after the deaths of four children

http://www.weeklyblitz.net/962/india-halt-vaccine-programmes-after-the-deaths

by Christina England
August 27, 2010

in India once more, when four children died after they received the measles vaccination in Lucknow. The four children were reported to have fainted soon after they were vaccinated and witnesses reported seeing the children’s eyes roll back as they began to have seizures. All of the children were under the age of two years of age, with the youngest being just six months. Sadly the children died before medical aid workers could reach them.

As news of the deaths spread, immunization drives in 41 villages have been halted until further investigations have taken place.

The Indian Express stated in their article 4 children die within minutes of vaccination – www.indianexpress.com that-

“The immunisation programme was being conducted as part of the government’s Jachha Bachha Suraksha Abhiyan launched on August 15. Minutes after vaccination, the children started gasping for breath.”

NDTV reported that the Health Ministry has ordered an inquiry after the four infants, all believed to be below nine months, died after the vaccine. The inquiry team has yet to reach Uttar Pradesh, however, the Uttar Pradesh government has announced compensation for the families of the victims.

This is not the first report of adverse reactions after the measles vaccination. The measles vaccine has had a dubious and rather tainted history. In the UK, a government report dating back to 1968 , exposed on the website VacTruth.com in May of this year stated:-

Section 6 – Reactions

“Mild febrile reactions and transient rashes may be expected to follow the administration of the vaccine in a substantial proportion of cases. The rise of body temperature which may occur from 5 to 10 days after vaccination – usually about the 8th day – is due to the multiplication of the attenuated virus. This febrile reaction, when it occurs, seldom lasts more than 24 to 48 hours. The Committee on Safety of Drugs has agreed that severe and unusual reactions to measles vaccine should be reported on the yellow card used for reporting adverse reactions to drugs. The Committee does not however, wish to receive reports of mild febrile reactions and rashes associated with the use of this vaccine.”

This proves that the UK government as far back 1968 knew that the measles vaccine gave children adverse reactions, in fact, after reading the papers it is very clear that they were quite happy to be offering babies a vaccine that they admit, in a substantial proportion of cases, gives them high fevers and rashes.

That same report stated in section 7 that it was unwise for this vaccine to be given to children under the age of 9 months.

“Section 7 – Routine Vaccination

The live measles vaccine should not be given to children below the age of nine months since it usually fails to immunise such children, owing to the presence of maternally transmitted antibodies.”

The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization who advise the government said that the vaccine should instead be given to children in their second year of life after the completion of the immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus whooping cough and polio.!

Yet it appears that none of this was ever even considered before the children of India were vaccinated.

In India ,this is the third vaccine disaster this year. In April the Indian Times wrote an article Hib vaccine: Are press releases telling whole truth? – Health … and reported that their country was being misled over the effectiveness of the HIB vaccine. The vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae type b (the main cause of childhood meningitis and pneumonia) was advertised as being safe and effective however, in the Medical Journal of Medical Research three senior paediatricians accused three agencies, USAID, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health the Hib Initiative and the GAVI Alliance of misrepresentation of the facts by selectively and inaccurately reporting the actual findings of the Bangladesh Hib probe study in order to promote the vaccine’s wider use. The India Times said :-

“According to the Agencies joint press release the results of the Bangladesh study conducted in 2007 “showed that the routine immunization of infants with the Hib conjugate vaccine prevented over one-third of life-threatening pneumonia cases and approximately 90 per cent of Hib meningitis cases”.

It further said “this vaccine study builds on the evidence of the real burden of Hib pneumonia” in Indonesia.

Both these statements argue in favour of Hib vaccination in developing countries through “selective interpretation/presentation of the actual research findings”, says Jacob Puliyel at St. Stephens Hospital in New Dehli and one of the doctors finding fault with the press release.

The Bangladesh study compared Hib vaccination status among children with confirmed pneumonia or meningitis against those without these diseases (controls). The major finding that there was “no difference” in the Hib vaccination status of children with pneumonia compared to community controls was omitted in the press release, the Indian doctors claim.

The study also found that among those who received all three doses of the vaccine, there was “no statistically significant protective effect” against either confirmed meningitis or probable meningitis but it found statistical significance in a sub-group that received only two doses of the vaccine.”

The Times continued:-

“The press release made another misrepresentation by saying the study “builds on” evidence of the burden of Hib pneumonia from Indonesia whereas the Indonesia study actually reported more pneumonia in the Hib vaccinated group than controls, says Puliyel.

In fact, the Indonesia study paper concludes by saying

” Hib Vaccine” will not have a major role in efforts to reduce the overall burden of respiratory illness…..as improvements in nutritional status, maternal education and socioeconomic status” (can have).”

Sadly India were to be told further vaccine lies again in April this year, this time relating to the Gardasil vaccine. In an article I wrote at the time India suspends use of HPV Gardasil vaccines :: Weekly Blitz I reported the following:-

“It seems that the HPV vaccine Gardasil manufactured by Merck, has been in the spotlight again this week, as the news pours in that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has decided to immediately suspend it’s cervical cancer control vaccination programme for girls. The action was taken after 4 girls died and 120 were injured after receiving the vaccine.”

Further on I continued by adding:-

“The programme was marred by controversy after four deaths and complications among 120 girls were reported after vaccination. The girls complained of stomach disorders, epilepsy, headaches and early menarche. Women activists fear the vaccine may impact the mental health of girls who have shown no signs of distress so far.”

A few weeks later a letter appeared on the front page of the The Hindu on the 14th April 2010 to Azad that read:-

“Another issue which unfortunately has not been addressed in your letter is the conflict of interest involved in the PATH project. This NGO is a partner of the manufacturing company MERCK in other projects.

As a partner, it can be easily understood that the conflict arises from the interests of the subjects of the project, in this case children, on the one hand, and the vaccine manufacturer, on the other.

If there is not to be a cover-up of what appears prima facie to be a case of connivance with a vaccine manufacturing company in violation of set guidelines, I would once again request you to kindly look into the aspect of the inquiry, both in its terms of reference and in its composition.”

So if The Hindu’s research is correct and all indications show that it is, the NGO can hardly be classified as impartial, can he?

The campaign group the Truth about Gardasil were disgusted by these revaluations. India was at the time a country trying to come to terms with the fact that their children were used as part of an experiment, when all the time it was known that the vaccine used had been seen to cause adverse reactions worldwide.

The Truth about Gardasil put out a press release stating:

“Where is representation for the families of the four young tribal girls in Khammam district who died following the vaccination? Where is representation from the 70 public health organizations, networks, medical professionals, human rights groups and women’s organizations that brought the HPV vaccine campaign in India to its knees on April 7, 2010 by voicing their intense opposition to the unethical nature of the HPV vaccination ‘projects’ conducted in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat by PATH International, in collaboration with ICMR and State Governments?

Where are these organizations now? Perhaps they will be allowed to sit in the balcony of their congressional hall just as the women adversely affected by the first birth controls pills in the 1960’s had to do as they listened to senate testimony orated by men as they argued the risks and benefits in January of 1971.”

However, the deaths did not stop there as the death toll in India rose to 6 but according to the reports that followed none of the deaths had anything to do with this vaccine. One article reported the deaths of the 6 girls was not due to vaccine failure but according to Indian minister they were put down to various causes including, viral fever, drowning, suicide and a suspected snake bite.

If vaccines continue to injure and kill the children of India, India may decide to become the first country to ban vaccinations altogether, after all who could blame them?

As yet no one is sure why there have been so many vaccine disasters in India this year. It seems that false advertising by the drugs companies and conflicts of interest could be held responsible at least to some extent.

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 8:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Nightmarish Hospital Visit Capped by Beating, Accident Victim Says

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/25/29858.htm

By RYAN ABBOTT

     UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (CN) – A man who was hurt in a car crash but was misidentified as a cancer patient claims security guards at Prince George’s Hospital beat him up when he tried to leave the hospital to avoid chest surgery he didn’t need – “to have a potentially cancerous mass removed from his chest.” He adds that one guard repeatedly called him “bitch” as he roughed him up.
     Joseph Wheeler says a June 23 car accident put him in the hospital, which is owned by Dimensions Health Corporation. When he woke up hungry on June 24 and asked a nurse for food, she told him he couldn’t eat because he was scheduled for surgery, Wheeler claims in Prince George’s County Court.
     Wheeler says the nurse checked his identification bracelet and told him the surgery was “to have a potentially cancerous mass removed from his chest.”
     Wheeler says his ID bracelet “contained a name that was different from Mr. Wheeler’s, appeared to be that of a woman, and had a birth date that was 13 years prior to his own.”
     The complaint continues: “Mr. Wheeler, still in serious pain from the car accident and subsequent treatment from injuries sustained, was starting to fear for his safety as the hospital had misidentified him and he was being prepped to go into a surgery that he knew nothing about.
     “At this point, Mr. Wheeler’s wife, Felicia Ann Wheeler, came into the room to see her husband. Mr. Wheeler immediately told Mrs. Wheeler about what was taking place. The Wheelers decided that it was in their best interest to leave Prince George’s Hospital Center and seek medical care for Mr. Wheeler elsewhere.”
     Mrs. Wheeler confirmed with nurses outside her husband’s room that he was scheduled for cancer surgery, and when she told the nurses that she and her husband were leaving, “an argument ensued.”
     According to the increasingly bizarre complaint, Mr. Wheeler, “hearing the argument, took out his I/V, got out of the hospital bed, put his clothes on, and started to walk out of the room. He was bleeding from the spot on his hand where that I/V had been connected.
     “Mrs. Wheeler and the nurse met Mr. Wheeler at the door. The nurse told Mr. Wheeler that he was not allowed to leave. She put a bandage on Mr. Wheeler’s hand to stop the bleeding from the I/V spot, and then yelled for security.
     “Mr. Wheeler, now bandaged and clothed, began to walk toward the exit of the floor while his wife gathered the rest of his belongings. As he moved toward the exit, two large men in security uniforms moved quickly toward Mr. Wheeler.”
     These men, defendants William Reese and Donovan Scott, worked for the hospital and/or defendant Broadway Services, according to the complaint. The Wheelers say the two security guards were “immediately hostile.”
     “Defendant Scott harshly asked, ‘Where do you think you’re going?’ Mr. Wheeler told both Reese and Scott that his business was finished at the hospital and that he was on his way out,” the complaint states.
     “In the moments immediately following this exchange, defendant Scott began to appear angry and upset with Mr. Wheeler. He began to use profanity directed at Mr. Wheeler about getting back to Wheeler’s ‘damn room.’
     “At this point the two officers put on black padded gloves in front of Mr. Wheeler and defendant Scott started to hit his fist against his own hand and moved closer in proximity to Wheeler’s face. Defendant Scott appeared angry and agitated.”
     Wheeler, “in fear for his safety,” tried to reason with the guards.
     “He told the officers that he had been in a serious car accident and suffered from multiple injuries to the torso and shoulders. Wheeler also told the officers that he was retired from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and that he knew that the security officers had no right or authority to detain him. Wheeler stated that he wanted to leave.”
     At that point, Wheeler says, Scott grabbed him and shoved him “hard from behind into the adjacent wall and metal railing,” hurting his ribs.
     The complaint continues: “Mr. Wheeler, in serious pain and feeling like he was going to black out, fell to floor. Defendant Scott stood over him and yelled, ‘Get off the floor bitch! This game is over!’
     “Defendant Scott continued, ‘I don’t care who you think you are, this is my camp, you listen to what I got to say!’ The vocal officer then grabbed Mr. Wheeler and pulled him up off of the ground as Wheeler pleaded with the officer to stop hurting him.
     “At this point the defendant Reese said to the vocal officer, ‘Man, ease up on him. He might really be hurt.’ Defendant Scott replied, ‘Hell no, he don’t come up in here and be telling us what the fuck to do!'”
     As the two guards “escorted” him back to his room, “Scott accused Wheeler of attempting to push the second officer down a flight of stairs,” and “continued to shout expletives at Wheeler,” according to the complaint.
     Wheeler says the men took him to the hospital security office, where an unidentified lieutenant questioned him.
     “After Mr. Wheeler explained what had happened, the lieutenant looked at Wheeler’s hospital-provided identification bracelet and acknowledged that Wheeler had been misidentified,” Wheeler says.
     But that was not the end of the conflict. Wheeler says the lieutenant became agitated when he would not return the incorrect bracelet, and ordered the security guards to stop him from leaving.
     He says a plainclothes hospital employee, a woman he identifies as an “administrator … intervened in the conversation” and after he explained the situation, said she would make sure he “would have his own private room and any type of drug he wanted, just to name the pain killer.”
     Wheeler says he and his wife chose to leave the hospital, but when he tried to leave with the incorrect ID bracelet, one of the security guards “charged Wheeler, again calling Wheeler ‘bitch,’ and shoved him against the wall.”
     “Mr. Wheeler spent the next three days at St. Mary’s Hospital and was diagnosed with four broken ribs, a sprained shoulder, a ruptured spleen, and a concussion,” he says.
     The Wheelers seek $3.2 million in compensatory damages and $9.5 million in punitive damages for assault and battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress.
     They are represented by Bryan Dugan with Dugan, McKissick, Wood & Longmore of Lexington Park, Md. 

Big Brother Facebook

The introduction of something called Facebook “Places” this week should have everyone just a little bit concerned about where, exactly, this technological world is taking us. As I understand it, users of iPhones can use Places to let people know where they are by “checking in” when they arrive at, say, Moe’s for a beer. Other Places users see you’re there and, voila! Your posse is in place.

How I would have loved this back in my analog high school days, when missing a key phone call on a Friday night could leave me high and dry — something today’s cell-phone wielding teens cannot remotely imagine. Now, Places takes that info-overload a step further, and one can certainly imagine its appeal for the most socially inclined among us.

Of course, there’s a vast potential for misuse of this technology. You could be set upon by annoying advertisers, old boyfriends, that guy you all just ditched or, horror of horrors: your parents, who pop by the party house since they were “in the area.” Extend those scenarios and you have the ex who’s under a restraining order popping up at the restaurant, the stalker you’ve been trying to evade showing up at the mall or the IRS tracking your spending patterns. That’s why privacy groups like the ACLU have already started weighing in on the dangers of Places, and why we’re likely to hear a lot about all this in the weeks and months to come.

Facebook, no doubt, will counter that the service is entirely voluntary. But while that may be true, the reality is today’s teens and 20-somethings are so embedded in the FB culture that being on the Places bus may be hard to resist — and it’s likely many young users won’t give much though to the potential pitfalls when they click whatever box to join. This is the generation that posts compromising photos of themselves or other personal information that comes back to bite them later (some employers now do routine Google searches on prospective employees just to see what might turn up to offer unsavory character references).

Places is so Orwellian as to surpass even what Orwell imagined in books like “1984” and “Animal Farm.” It’s not cameras or listening devices checking up on everyone; it’s even worse: voluntarily putting monitoring devices on our person to be exploited in who knows what evil ways. What’s next, I wonder — the FB Places Chip that goes under the skin?

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but this stuff scares me. New studies coming out about the connected world are raising alarms about how always being “on” is detrimental to our well-being. When work follows us via e-mail, 24/7 on our Blackberries; when our every mood or thought is recorded for all to see on Facebook; when our laptop or smart phone is always on, always online and always making us available to the world — where’s the down time? As many hyper-wired folks will admit, voluntarily turning stuff off or stepping away is tough to do when these devices — and the connectivity they provide — become part of the very fabric of our lives. A decade ago, a cell phone was an optional accessory. Today, not having one is like saying you don’t have a television. When my 9-year-old asks for a cell phone for his birthday (a deadly serious request that was denied; the standard, we told him, is when he starts middle school), it’s time to wonder why we all think we need to be so in touch and on the grid at all times.

Cell phones, maybe, but Places? No thanks.

Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at amiller@summitdaily.com or (970) 668-4618.

Mexican Police To Patrol NY?

http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/mexican_police_234.html

By Jeffrey Smith

NEW YORK, New York — In a series of events which has caused wide notice and a storm of protests, the government of Mexico, through its consulate in New York in the United Nations, has announced it will begin patrolling the New York City borough of Staten Island to “safeguard” its nationals there.

The actions of Mexico come after a series of incidents the Mexican government terms “bias attacks.”

Ironically, these so-called “hate crimes” have been perpetrated by blacks and Asians, indicative of rising tensions between various ethnic groups in the U.S. The Catholic Examiner and NBC New York both reported the Mexican government’s intention to mount surveillance, patrol and police in and around the Staten Island community of Port Richmond, which in recent years has seen a large influx of Mexican illegal immigrants.

Since the Examiner’s coverage, however, councilor officials, city hall and the local press have begun to carefully de-emphasize any possible role of Mexican law enforcement or military in efforts to secure the neighborhood.

Mexican officials have set up a neighborhood office and a local phone hot line for their nationals to report “bias incidents”—regardless as to whether they are in the United States legally.

New York City police had been monitoring the situation and investigating the reported assaults as local crimes. The actions of the Mexican government have caused Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to order what many observers say is the most concentrated police mobilization since the World Trade Center disaster.

The main street of Port Richmond was swiftly transformed into what the New York Times described as a war zone like atmosphere with over 120 newly assigned officers, high-intensity night lighting, two huge “sky tower” police observation posts, frequent helicopter overflights and 20 police cars to watch the center of the relatively small neighborhood. Several long-term residents described it as a constant hornet’s nest of activity.

Both published reports and residents say that reports of fights between Mexicans and other groups began years ago, in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Many charge the present round of incidents started in 2003 with one loss of life in 2006, which might not even be connected to the present series of events.

 

At a major community gathering held at the historic St. Phillips Baptist Church, speakers addressed the current situation in the neighborhood and the borough, while Mexican councilor officials looked on.

But while the Richmond anti-violence organization and assorted left-leaning journalists who attended may have been expecting a mea culpa from local residents, what they got instead was a blast of community push-back. Speaker after speaker from the black community told of horrendous conditions the largely illegal immigrants had brought to their community. Speakers described the pattern in communities affected by an influx of illegals.

Community residents, many of whom are black first-time homeowners, told of constant disputes, alcohol and drug sales, late night disruptions, trespassing and public urination.

Others in the audience, who declined to testify, spoke of men wearing clothes bearing symbols of La Raza, Aztlan and other militant pro-Mexican groups.

They also spoke of repeated attempts to summon the state liquor authority’s enforcement agency to deal with the surging illegal liquor sales in the area, with little in the way of a response .

Jeff Smith is an New York-based freelance writer.

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 11:37 am  Leave a Comment  

In Face Of Egg Recall, FDA Calls For More Authority

Aug. 23, 2010 | NPR
Win McNamee/Getty Images
 Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said consumers should strictly avoid “runny egg yolks for mopping up with toast.”  

 

Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the Food and Drug Administration is limited by law to a mostly reactive stance on food safety and argued that it needs a more “preventive approach.” she said Congress should pass pending legislation that would expand the FDA’s reach.

 Food and Drug Administration chief Margaret Hamburg said Monday her agency is limited by law to a mostly reactive stance on food safety and argued that it needs a more “preventive approach.”

 Giving a series of network interviews in the wake of the egg and salmonella breakout, Hamburg said the FDA is taking the issue “very, very seriously.” At the same time, she said Congress should pass pending legislation that would provide her agency with greater enforcement power, including new authority over imported food.

 “We need better abilities and authorities to put in place these preventive controls and hold companies accountable,” Hamburg said as she discussed the approximately 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning and the recall of roughly a half-billion eggs from two Iowa egg distributors.

 She also had some practical advice for consumers: Reject over-easy eggs. She said that as federal investigators continue their work with the companies involved, consumers should strictly avoid “runny egg yolks for mopping up with toast.”

 Two Iowa farms linked to the disease outbreak — Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms — share suppliers of chickens and feed as well as ties to an Iowa business with a history of violating state and federal law.

 The number of illnesses, which can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems, is expected to increase. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever eight to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product.

 Jewanna Porter, a spokeswoman for the egg industry, said Saturday the company Quality Egg supplies young chickens and feed to both Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. The two share other suppliers, she said, but she did not name them.

 The egg industry has consolidated over recent years, placing fewer, larger businesses in control over much of the nation’s egg supply to consumers.

 The salmonella outbreak has raised questions about federal inspections of egg farms. The FDA oversees inspections of shell eggs, while the Agriculture Department is in charge of inspecting other egg products.

 William D. Marler, a Seattle attorney for a person who filed suit alleging illness from tainted eggs in a salad at a restaurant in Kenosha, Wis., said Sunday his firm has been retained by two dozen families and was representing a woman who was hospitalized in California.

 Businessman Austin “Jack” DeCoster owns Wright County Egg and Quality Egg. Wright County Egg recalled 380 million eggs Aug. 13 after it was linked to more than 1,000 cases of salmonella poisoning. A week later, Hillandale Farms recalled 170 million eggs.

 DeCoster’s companies have a long history of problems:

 – In 1994, the state of Iowa assessed at least four separate penalties against DeCoster Farms for environmental violations, many of them involving hog waste.

 — In 1997, DeCoster Egg Farms agreed to pay $2 million in fines to settle citations brought in 1996 for health and safety violations at DeCoster’s farm in Turner, Maine. The nation’s labor secretary at the time, Robert Reich, said conditions were “as dangerous and oppressive as any sweatshop.” Reich’s successor, Alexis Herman, called the state of the farms “simply atrocious,” citing unguarded machinery, electrical hazards, exposure to harmful bacteria and other unsanitary conditions.

 –In 2000, Iowa designated DeCoster a “habitual violator” of environmental regulations for problems that included hog manure runoff into waterways. The label made him subject to increased penalties and prohibited him from building new farms.

 — In 2002, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a more than $1.5 million settlement of an employment discrimination lawsuit against DeCoster Farms on behalf of Mexican women who reported they were subjected to sexual harassment, including rape, abuse and retaliation by some supervisory workers at DeCoster’s Wright County plants.

 — In 2007, 51 workers were arrested during an immigration raid at six DeCoster egg farms. His farms had been the subject of at least three previous raids.

 -In June 2010, Maine Contract Farming, the successor company to DeCoster Egg Farms, agreed in state court to pay $25,000 in penalties and to make a one-time payment of $100,000 to the Maine Department of Agriculture over animal cruelty allegations that were spurred by a hidden-camera investigation by an animal welfare organization.

 In a statement Sunday, Wright County Egg spokeswoman Hinda Mitchell said the company had reacted quickly in the past to correct its operations when “issues have been raised about our farms.”

“We are approaching our work with FDA in the same forthright manner,” she said.

 The FDA investigation could take months, and sources of contamination are often difficult to find.

 The CDC said last week that investigations by 10 states since April have identified 26 cases where more than one person became ill. Preliminary information showed that Wright was the supplier in at least 15 of those cases.

 Hamburg appeared Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, and NBC’s Today show. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

 

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  

TSA getting even tougher on searches!

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1276131

New Logan searches blasted

TSA tests frisky frisking policy

By Donna Goodison
Saturday, August 21, 2010 – Updated 3 days ago

Logan airport security just got more up close and personal as federal screeners launched a more aggressive palms-first, slide-down body search technique that has renewed the debate over privacy vs. safety.

The new procedure – already being questioned by the ACLU – replaces the Transportation Security Administration’s former back-of-the-hand patdown.

Boston is one of only two cities in which the new touchy-feely frisking is being implemented as a test before a planned national rollout. The other is Las Vegas.

“We’re all for good effective security measures,” American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts spokesman Christopher Ott said. “But, in general, we’re concerned about this seemingly constant erosion of privacy, and we wonder whether or not it’s really going to be effective.

“Accepting these kinds of searches may keep people safer in some situations, but not in every situation, and we’re encouraging people to stop and think about what is the right balance between privacy and security,” Ott said.

A TSA spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the switch to what the agency calls an “enhanced patdown.”

“TSA is in the process of implementing an enhanced patdown at security checkpoints as one of our many layers of security,” said Ann Davis, TSA spokeswoman for the Northeast region. “Patdowns are designed to address potentially dangerous items, like improvised explosive devices and their components, concealed on the body.”

The body searches are conducted by same-gender TSA officers, and passengers can request private screenings at any time.

Previously, TSA screeners used patdown motions of their hands to search passengers over their clothes, switching to the backs of their hands over certain ’sensitive’ body areas, such as the torso.

But now the searches will be done using all front-of-the-hand sliding motions over greater areas of passengers’ bodies, including sensitive areas.

“The pat down just (because I) was wearing jewelry seems like overkill,” one woman wrote on Logan’s Twitter account yesterday.

But Justine Griffin, a senior vice president at Rasky Baerlein Communications and frequent flier, said yesterday, “The most important thing is to have an effective patdown. If using the back of the hand is less effective, then security trumps niceties.”

The TSA implemented the new body-search procedures at Logan and Las Vegas-McCarran because both airports are using the greatest number of the walk-through full-body scanners. Those scanners use low-dose X-rays to produce two-sided, head-to-toe images of passengers’ bodies – including discernible but not distinct images of their private parts – but blur their facial features.

Passengers who opt not to walk through the full-body scanners – which have also been assailed by privacy advocates – must instead walk through a metal detector and submit to a body search. If the full-body scanners detect an image on a person’s body that screeners can’t decipher, those passengers also are subjected to body searches.

If there is no full-body scanner at a security checkpoint, passengers go through a metal detector and are subjected to a body search if the alarm sounds. The TSA also subjects random passengers to body searches.

Does the new body search policy go too far? Take the poll and tell us your Logan security story by e-mailing HeraldSquare@bostonherald.com.
 
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