Thursday, October 8, 2009
You may recall the case of Nataline Sarkisyan, 17, who was denied a liver transplant by CIGNA, on the grounds that the operation was "too experimental."
Nine days later, following a number of protests, the company changed its mind, but it was too late: Nataline died hours later, on Dec. 20, 2007.
Two New Baby Baboons Make Public Appearance At NC Zoo
After operating largely under the radar during his first few months in office, Al Franken is beginning to make political ripples.
On Tuesday night, he got his first piece of legislation passed by the Senate via roll call vote. The amendment stopped federal funding for those defense contractors who used mandatory arbitration clauses to deny victims of assault the right to bring their case to court.
It passed by a 68-30 margin with nine Republicans joining each voting Democrat. And in the immediate aftermath, Franken was granted the chance to revel, ever so slightly, in his victory.
"The story came to my attention of Jamie Leigh Jones who, when she was 19, went to Iraq to work for Chenery's KBR and she was put in the barracks with 400 men and was sexually harassed," Franken said after the vote. "She complained. But they didn't do anything about it. She was drugged and gang raped and they locked her up in a shipping container. She tried to sue KBR and they said you have a mandatory arbitration clause in your contract. She tried to fight back and said this is ridiculous. She took it to court and they have been fighting her for three years."
"This bill would make it so that anybody in business with the Department of the Defense can't do this," he concluded emphatically.
"They can't have mandatory arbitration on issues like assault and battery."
Meet the pro-rape repugican senators
Barrasso (r-WY) is pro-rape.
Bond (r-MO) is pro-rape.
Brownback (r-KS) is pro-rape.
Bunning (r-KY) is pro-rape.
Burr (r-NC) is pro-rape.
Chambliss (r-GA) is pro-rape.
Coburn (r-OK) is pro-rape.
Cochran (r-MS) is pro-rape.
Corker (r-TN) is pro-rape.
Cornyn (r-TX) is pro-rape.
Crapo (r-ID) is pro-rape.
DeMint (r-SC) is pro-rape.
Ensign (r-NV) is pro-rape.
Enzi (r-WY) is pro-rape.
Graham (r-SC) is pro-rape.
Gregg (r-NH) is pro-rape.
Inhofe (r-OK) is pro-rape.
Isakson (r-GA) is pro-rape.
Johanns (r-NE) is pro-rape.
Kyl (r-AZ) is pro-rape.
McCain (r-AZ) is pro-rape.
McConnell (r-KY) is pro-rape.
Risch (r-ID) is pro-rape.
Roberts (r-KS) is pro-rape.
Sessions (r-AL) is pro-rape.
Shelby (r-AL) is pro-rape.
Thune (r-SD) is pro-rape.
Vitter (r-LA) is pro-rape.
Wicker (r-MS) is pro-rape.
It's not organ trafficking, but it sure seems just as disgusting.
In Peru, a preserved lung was stolen from the exhibit "Bodies: The Exhibition."
The exhibit has traveled the world, and of course, nothing like this has ever happened before. (We would hope so!)
Few read them; less care.
Bosses do read blogs
(We here at Carolina Naturally do know who is reading this blog and when and where.
They are mostly good people and the nefarious ones are swiftly dealt with accordingly.)
And we don't care whether your job sucks or not, either. So stop your belly-aching.
Possible explanation for near death experiences:
Electrical readings from seven patients who died in hospital suggest that the brain undergoes a surge of activity at the moment of death, according to a study just published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. [...]
This is not the first time these have been noticed, but previous reports were single cases and the electrical surges were explained away as due to electrical interference from other sources. In these new cases, the doctors could be pretty confident that previously suggested sources of interference weren’t present.
Instead, they suggest that the surge was due to ‘anoxic depolarization’ - a process where the lack of oxygen destabilizes the electrical balance of the neurons leading to one last cascade of activity.
But none of his previous experiences covering wars, school killings and the mob gave any hint that Mr. Halderman might himself become the central figure in a crime story that seemed like fodder for his current CBS program, “48 Hours Mystery.”
In interviews, friends and colleagues of Mr. Halderman said they were stunned last week by the news of his arrest in front of CBS News headquarters on charges of trying to blackmail David Letterman for $2 million. The case compelled Mr. Letterman to admit on his television show, “Late Show With David Letterman,” that he had had sex with female staff members.
“I said to my mother that this was like her waking up to find out I’d been arrested for this,” said Marcy McGinnis, Mr. Halderman’s boss for many years in the 1990s as the London bureau chief for CBS.
Stephanie Birkitt, a longtime Letterman staff member, also lived for a time with Mr. Halderman. Ms. Birkitt is on a paid leave of absence, according to a spokesman for Mr. Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants. Mr. Halderman has been suspended with pay by CBS pending legal developments.
CBS, which has kept a firm grip on all comments about the case, denied a report posted Monday on the Web site AmLaw Daily that it was conducting an internal investigation of Mr. Halderman. The network said it had initiated no such investigation on its own and was only cooperating with the authorities who were pursuing the case.
CBS colleagues described Mr. Halderman, known as Joe, as a big personality with a penchant for running to the hottest news spots — the Falkland Islands, Bosnia and Somalia.
“Joe went to every nasty place there was,” Ms. McGinnis said. She recalled him saying after hearing the news of the killing of 16 children at a school in Scotland in 1996: “Just let me grab a bag and I’m there.”
In another sign of how much support Mr. Halderman still commands inside CBS, two of his current co-workers, Andy Soto and Marc Goldbaum, posted the bond for Mr. Halderman’s bail. Neither man would comment Wednesday, but Mr. Halderman’s lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel, confirmed that the men had posted the bond.
Mr. Shargel continued to argue on Wednesday that Mr. Letterman’s behavior and credibility would be relevant issues in the case, repeating, as he has in several media outlets, that Mr. Letterman sexually harassed his staff members. He said that it was valid for him to make what he called “this media blitz” of comments about Mr. Letterman.
“I’m looking to level the playing field,” Mr. Shargel said. He said that the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, “seemed to embrace Letterman’s story” in a news conference last week and made it appear that “this was an open and shut case” against his client. And he said that Mr. Letterman had a national television show on which to make his points.
“All I’m saying is, there is more to the story,” Mr. Shargel said. A spokeswoman said the district attorney’s office would not comment on the remarks.
Asked about the accusation that he seemed to be trying to muddy Mr. Letterman’s reputation, Mr. Shargel said: “This is not a parlor game. My client is facing 15 years in jail. If Letterman gets muddied up, so be it.”
Several legal commentators have said that the defense will have a difficult time getting a judge to admit details of Mr. Letterman’s behavior. Mr. Shargel said that no one from the prosecution had approached him to discuss a plea arrangement.
“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it,” he said.
A spokesman for Mr. Letterman declined to comment on Mr. Shargel’s remarks.
The bail payments were evidence of another observation several colleagues made about Mr. Halderman: he was in apparent financial trouble, partly because of obligations from a divorce and child-support payments.
One former CBS colleague said that the case was not surprising in that it involved money and sex. “He lived on the edge,” said the colleague, who asked not to be identified because of the limit CBS has imposed on comments about the case. “He had a bit of a checkered love life.”
Some other colleagues said that Mr. Halderman was known to be very confident around women, though Ms. McGinnis, who called him “a flirty guy,” said she had never witnessed anything inappropriate. “I was his boss, of course, but he never put the moves on me.”
Tom Fenton, a former CBS News correspondent who traveled overseas extensively with Mr. Halderman as his producer, said he was “absolutely dumbfounded” by the accusations.
“It’s like he was struck by lightning," said Mr. Fenton.
Neighbors of Mr. Halderman in Norwalk, Conn., where he shared a home with Ms. Birkitt, said they saw him only occasionally.
Kevin Lane, 48, a glazier who lives next door to Mr. Halderman, said a woman he knew as Steph lived with Mr. Halderman for about four of the five years he had the house.
He recalled a dinner that Mr. Halderman cooked for him and Ms. Birkitt last summer, during which she talked about her job on the Letterman show.
“She seemed to like him,” he said of Mr. Letterman. “She liked her job. She said it was fun.”
Phillip Markoff, 23, who is being held without bail in the Nashua Street jail in Boston for his trial in the April 14 murder of Julissa Brisman, 29, of New York City at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, and the April 10 robbery of Trisha Leffler, 29, a Las Vegas prostitute, at the Westin Copley Place.
The Rhode Island charges result from an investigation by Warwick police after a Las Vegas exotic dancer, 26, reported that she was held at gunpoint on April 16 at the Holiday Inn Express on Jefferson Boulevard. She said her husband came to her rescue and was also assaulted, they told Warwick police.
Before Markoff was arrested April 20, the man being sought was dubbed the “craigslist killer” because he contacted women who advertised erotic services through the online classified service craigslist.
The two felony counts on which Markoff has been indicted in Rhode Island each carry 20-year maximum penalties.
Markoff pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder and six other charges in Suffolk (Mass.) County Superior Court on June 22.
Massachusetts prosecutors said Wednesday that they are seeking a DNA sample from Markoff, but the man’s lawyer would not say whether he will turn it over voluntarily.
During a pretrial hearing, Assistant District Attorney Ed Zabin said he has no known sample of Markoff’s DNA and wants Markoff to turn one over.
Markoff’s lawyer, John Salsberg, declined comment after the hearing when asked whether Markoff will give a sample without being ordered to do so by a judge.
And now it's noteworthy for another reason: 12-year-old Jennifer Valdivia, who ended up with the historic ball, was ushered to the Phillies clubhouse after the game to exchange it for an autographed one. Her mother sued the organization and now Jennifer has Howard's 200th home run ball back in her possession.
"My ball,'' Jennifer beamed, according to the Miami Herald. "I have it, finally.''
On Wednesday, NPR's Melissa Block spoke with Norm Kent, Valdivia's attorney, and he explained why the family decided to file a lawsuit.
"The Philadelphia Phillies' team representative, knowing not only the historic value of that baseball, but its financial value, sent a team representative to Marlin security to retrieve young Jennifer from the stands," Kent said. "And she was there, 12-year-old Jennifer, with her 15-year-old brother, neither of the age of majority, offered her some cotton candy and a baseball worth 100 bucks in exchange for one that was worth thousands."
The baseball also had value to Howard, who had just made history, Block countered, before noting that the comments on the Miami Herald web site (Howard set the record in Miami against the Marlins) didn't support the lawsuit.
"Mr. Kent, you probably would not be surprised to know that the comments ... are not favorable to your side," Block began. "I wanted to read one of them to you: 'Way to teach a 12-year-old how to extort money at an early age.' And you know that extorting money for baseball, ball hawking, is becoming a big business among fans."
Kent's response? "I think that if there was extortion that occurred here, it was the Phillies holding the baseball hostage from her for two months after they unlawfully deprived her of it."
Your routine -- something you're ordinarily quite attached to -- will be most definitely disrupted now, but only because of surprise errands or short trips you'll find extremely pleasant.
This means that the trouble you dealt with recently will be all but a distant memory by the time your head hits the pillow tonight.
In the meantime, don't give it a second thought.
Think about what a lovely day you're having -- and about the fact that tomorrow's agenda could present an equally delightful instant replay.