Friday, February 2, 2007

Pregnant woman arrest on way to hospital, miscarries

For now, Sofia Salva will let her attorney and the videotape of two police officers ignoring her pleas for medical help speak for her.

Salva, who said she was three months pregnant and bleeding when Kansas City police stopped her for traffic violations last February, believes she wouldn't have had a miscarriage had officers aided her.

A police videotape released Tuesday brought attention to the incident. Salva also has filed a wrongful death and personal injuries lawsuit against the Kansas City Police Department and two officers who arrested her.

"It's tragic, it's disappointing, it's frustrating, it's sickening at times," Salva's attorney, Andrew Protzman, said Wednesday. "This is a lady who was in severe medical distress and clearly needed emergency medical attention and medical treatment."

Kansas City police spokesman Capt. Rich Lockhart said Wednesday that he doesn't know how long the department's internal investigation will take. The two officers remain on duty.

"We want to ensure the community trusts us to get to the bottom of this regardless of the way it reflects on the Police Department," Lockhart said.

Salva, a Sudanese native, was pulled over Feb. 5, 2006, by officers Melody Spencer and Kevin Schnell, who had seen her affix a fake temporary tag on her car's back windshield.

"She told the officers repeatedly over the course of 45 minutes that she was bleeding, she was pregnant, she needed medical attention," Protzman said. "And they ignored her request and refused to listen to her and refused to take care of her."

Salva was taken to jail and kept overnight on traffic violations and outstanding city warrants. The next morning, Salva claims, she was released and delivered a premature baby boy who died a minute after birth.

"If Sofia could have her baby back, she would love to have that," Protzman said. "But the police took that opportunity away from her. She's pursuing the only recourse that's available to her under the law."

The suit, filed Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court, seeks actual damages exceeding $25,000 and punitive damages to punish and deter such conduct in the future.

Protzman said the officers made the wrong assumptions about Salva, who declined interview requests.

No telephone numbers are listed for the two officers, and a representative of their union, the Kansas City Police Officers' Association, did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday. Lockhart said both Spencer and Schnell are declining comment for now.

Spencer has been with the department four years and Schnell less than two years.

The videotape of Salva's police stop was released after The Kansas City Star made an open records request. The tape shows Salva telling the officers numerous times that she was pregnant, bleeding and needing to go to the hospital.

After the ninth request, Spencer responds: "How is that my problem?"

Once she's been told why she's under arrest, Salva tells the officers she is having a miscarriage and is bleeding.

"Do you want to check me?" Salva asks. "I'm bleeding. I have a 3-month baby inside."

The tape shows Schnell walking away from the car and telling his partner: "She just gave me a line of excuses. She said she's bleeding. She said you can check her."

Salva repeats that she's three months pregnant and bleeding.

"OK," Spencer answers. "Why are you driving to the store and then putting a fake temporary tag in your car?"

Salva explains that she was on her way to the hospital.

The officers make Salva sit on the curb as they search her car, purse and grocery sacks. Salva again says she's bleeding, asks the officers to check her underwear and asks to go to the hospital.

"Well," Spencer says, "that will be something you can take care of when we get done with you."

Salva becomes upset after officers take awhile to get her identifying information. "I have a baby in my stomach and I'm bleeding and I open my underwear for you to see," she says.

"Stay seated!" Schnell yells.

"If I die here, will you take care of me?" Salva asks. "If I die here?"

"Fair enough," Schnell says.

The officers handcuff Salva after learning she has outstanding city warrants for mistreatment of children, trespassing, driving while suspended and other traffic violations.

"I'm bleeding. I swear to my God," Salva says.

Schnell replies: "I don't doubt that you're possibly bleeding, but you got a lot more problems with us."

Salva, in her lawsuit, says she continued to plead for help at the jail but still was ignored.

The next morning, jailers let her go to a hospital after she passed a large blood clot.

25 Reasons Why You Should be Skeptical About Global Warming

A 21-page report from something called the "Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change" has been released Paris, no less...and as expected, it's predictions are dire. According to the report: "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level." Yeah right...we've heard all this before.

But the biggest bombshell here is this one: no matter what we do, global warming will not be reversed. It will go on for centuries, according to this report. The sea levels will continue to rise as polar ice caps melt. So I guess if Al Gore wins his Nobel Peace Prize, we'll still experience global warming. So much for riding to work everyday in your hybrid's not doing a thing. The situation is futile, according to this report.

But really, it makes sense that the global warming crowd would come to this conclusion. After all, global warming is a religion. The anti-capitalist enviro-nazis don't ever want the problem to be solved. After all, if global warming were to be solved tomorrow, what would they blame the United States for? They'd have to find some other reason.

Sorry .. I'm still a skeptic. In no particular order here are just a few of the reasons why I'm not buying this man-made global warming scare:

* The United Nations is anti-American and anti-Capitalist. In short .. I don't trust them. Not a bit. The UN would eagerly engage in any enterprise that would weaken capitalist economies around the world.

* Because after the fall of the Soviet Union and worldwide Communism many in the anti-capitalist movement moved to the environmental movement to continue pursuing their anti-free enterprise goals. Many of the loudest proponents of man-made global warming today are confirmed anti-capitalists.

* Because the sun is warmer .. and all of these scientists don't seem to be willing to credit a warmer sun with any of the blame for global warming.

* The polar ice caps on Mars are melting. How did our CO2 emissions get all the way to Mars?

* It was warmer in the 1930s across the globe than it is right now.

* It wasn't all that long ago that these very same scientists were warning us about "global cooling" and another approaching ice age?

* How much has the earth warmed up in the last 100 years? One degree. Now that's frightening.
* Because that famous "hockey stick" graph that purports to show a sudden warming of the earth in the last few decades is a fraud. It ignored previous warming periods ... left them off the graph altogether.

* The infamous Kyoto accords exempt some of the world's biggest CO2 polluters, including China and India.

* The Kyoto accords can easily be seen as nothing less than an attempt to hamstring the world's dominant capitalist economies.

* Because many of these scientists who are sounding the global warming scare depend on grant money for their livelihood, and they know the grant money dries up when they stop preaching the global warming sermon.

* Because global warming "activists" and scientists seek to punish those who have different viewpoints. If you are sure of your science you have no need to shout down or seek to punish those who disagree.

* What happened to the Medieval Warm Period? In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a chart showing climatic change over a period of 1000 years. This graph showed a Medieval warming period in which global temperatures were higher than they are today. In 2001 the IPCC issued another 1000 year graph in which the Medieval warming period was missing. Why?

* Why has one scientist promoting the cause of man-made global warming been quoted as saying "we have to get rid of the medieval warming period?"

* Why is the ice cap on the Antarctic getting thicker if the earth is getting warmer?

* In the United State, the one country with the most accurate temperature measuring and reporting records, temperatures have risen by 0.3 degrees centigrade over the past 100 years. The UN estimate is twice that.

* There are about 160,000 glaciers around the world. Most have never been visited or measured by man. The great majority of these glaciers are growing, not melting.

* Side-looking radar interferometry shows that the ise mass in the West Antarctic is growing at a rate of over 26 gigatons a year. This reverses a melting trend that had persisted for the previous 6,000 years.

* Rising sea levels? The sea levels have been rising since the last ice age ended. That was 12,000 years ago. Estimates are that in that time the sea level has risen by over 300 feet. The rise in our sea levels has been going on long before man started creating anything but natural CO2 emissions.

* Like Antarctica, the interior of Greenland is gaining ice mass.

* Over the past 3,000 years there have been five different extended periods when the earth was measurably warmer than it is today.

* During the last 20 years -- a period of the highest carbon dioxide levels -- global temperatures have actually decreased. That's right ... decreased.

* Why did a reporter from National Public Radio refuse to interview David Deming, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma studying global warming, after his testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unless Deming would state that global warming was being caused by man?

* Why are global warming proponents insisting that the matter is settled and that no further scientific research is needed? Why are they afraid of additional information?

* On July 24, 1974 Time Magazine published an article entitled "Another Ice Age?" Here's the first paragraph:

"As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age."

Hey ... I could go on. There's much more where that came from. But I need to get ready to go on the air. Just know that many of the strongest proponents of this "man-made" global warming stuff are dedicated opponents to capitalism and don't feel all that warm and fuzzy about the United States.

Final Harry Potter book gets record Amazon orders

- Inc. said on Friday first-day advance orders for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and last installment of J.K. Rowling's successful book series, were 547 percent higher than for its predecessor.

Thursday's pre-orders for "Deathly Hallows" exceeded the first two weeks of pre-orders for its predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Seattle-based Amazon said. "Half-Blood Prince," released in July 2005, generated more than 1.5 million pre-orders on Amazon, the online retailer said.

The final Harry Potter book is slated for release on July 21. Scholastic Corp. publishes the book in the United States, while Bloomsbury Publishing handles the book in Great Britain.

Viacom demands Google, YouTube to pull 100,000 clips

Entertainment conglomerate Viacom has demanded that YouTube and Google Video remove more than 100,000 unauthorized clips of its video content, the company said in a statement Friday.

Viacom, the parent company of cable shows such as Comedy Central, BET, and Nickelodeon, said that months-long negotiations between the companies broke down recently.

"It has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users," Viacom said in a statement. "Filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video.

"YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it. "

YouTube or Google were not immediately available for comment.

47 Tombstones Found in Dead Man's Locker

A dead man's storage locker yielded dozens of tombstones, a macabre collection that police believe represents "a lifetime of stealing."

Some of the 47 gravestones date to the late 1800s; others are relatively recent. Police say they probably came from different cemeteries at different times.

The markers were found in the rented storage unit by the family of Clarence Horner, 54, after he died last year.

Police Chief Tom Casady said the tombstone collection "probably came from a lifetime of stealing headstones." Horner had a criminal record that included convictions for drunken driving and failing to appear at a hearing on a vandalism charge.

Two of the tombstones have been matched to graves.

Casady on Thursday found the mother named on a stone that said only: "Infant son of Charles & Janice Schmidt 1965."

Janice Schmidt of Clatonia, 25 miles south of Lincoln, said she and her husband had always thought of their stillborn baby as Michael Shawn Schmidt, so in 2000 they put in a new stone with the name.

She was shocked that the original gravestone had turned up in a storage unit.

"To think that it was stolen from wherever it was stolen from, you feel kind of hurt or violated," she said.

The second matched tombstone was a temporary marker for a Shelly Wright-Lair, who died Oct. 5, 1981. Someone from a Lincoln cemetery saw the marker on a police Web site and matched the name to cemetery records.

"We don't know how long it had been missing," police spokeswoman Katherine Finnell said, "but a larger one had been put back on the grave."

Authorities believe Horner died March 10. "He had been dead in his apartment for several weeks when maintenance found him, so I don't think he had much contact with family," Finnell said.

Buying bottled water is wrong, says Suzuki

Canadians wanting to do something about the environment can start by drinking tap water, environmentalist David Suzuki says.

"Everywhere I go across Canada, I insist I be given tap water when I get up to speak," Suzuki told CBC News on Thursday.

"I think in Canada it's absolutely disgusting that people are so uncertain about their water that we buy it, paying more for bottled water than we do for gasoline."

Suzuki — who was in St. John's on Thursday to launch a cross-country speaking tour aimed at engaging people in politics, particularly environmental issues — said there is no good reason for Canadians to buy bottled water.

Moreover, he said it's destructive to import bottled water from producers in countries such as France.

"It's nuts to be shipping water all the way across the planet, and us — because we're so bloody wealthy — we're willing to pay for that water because it comes from France," he said in an interview.

"I don't believe for a minute that French water is better than Canadian water. I think that we've got to drink the water that comes out of our taps, and if we don't trust it, we ought to be raising hell about that."

Key environmental issues with bottled water, Suzuki said, are waste and uncertainty over the long-term health effects created by plastic.

"Not only does bottled water lead to unbelievable pollution — with old bottles lying all over the place — but plastic has chemicals in it," he said.

"Plastics are ubiquitous. I don't believe that plastics are not involved in a great deal of the health problems that we face today."

Last August, delegates to the United Church of Canada's general council voted to discourage the purchase of bottled water within its churches. The motion called on church members to advocate against the "privatization of water" and to support healthy local supplies of water.
50 stops on Suzuki's tour

Suzuki spoke Thursday to a group of students. Through his David Suzuki Foundation, Suzuki will be visiting 50 communities across the country throughout February.

The tour is called "If You Were Prime Minister," and asks participants to identify what environmental regulations they want politicians to enact.

"This was actually planned months and months ago, and it just happens to coincide with this tremendous upsurge in public concern in the environment," said Suzuki.

The purpose of the tour, he said, is to tap into basic concerns that Canadians have about the environment, and then bring those messages to Ottawa.

"Right now, we're at the top of the polls and the politicians are going to do everything they can to seem green. But it's up to us to demand that those things be done — not just rhetoric."

Suzuki, meanwhile, said the tour does not indicate he has political aspirations. At 70, he said, he sees himself as "an old fart" and that running for office is best left for a younger generation.

NFL Wants To Remind You That Having People Over To Watch The Super Bowl On A Big Screen Is Copyright Infringement

What is it with sports leagues and their desire to limit how their fans can enjoy the game? There's Major League Baseball, who keeps trying to insist that they own the facts related to a game, and no one can use them without paying MLB first. Then, there's the NFL, who freaked out about TiVo and also tried to ban any broadcasters from using "unauthorized" video feeds to show what happens in the stadium (i.e., no sideline cameras any more). They've been particularly fussy about the Super Bowl, however, forcing advertisers to call it "the Big Game" or whatever, claiming excessive control over the trademark (remember, trademarks are really designed to prevent consumer confusion, not to give holders full control over the mark).

The latest situation is perhaps even more bizarre -- but tragically, seems to fall closer to a correct legal reading of a really poorly written law. The NFL apparently nastygrammed a church for planning to host a Super Bowl party. The original complaint was first that the church was charging people, but also that they used the term "Super Bowl" (as if people would somehow believe that the church was associated with the NFL?). After the church agreed to let people in for free and not use the term, the NFL continued to complain, saying that showing the Super Bowl on a screen larger than 55 inches represents copyright infringement. While we, at first, doubted the reality of this, Ben Austro sent in the fact that it is, indeed, spelled out in copyright law that once you get above 55", you may be talking about a "public performance," though, as Ben notes, the wording sounds like it was clearly written by a lobbyist. No matter what the law states, this seems ridiculously short-sighted by the NFL. It's hard to see how they lose out in any meaningful way by not allowing groups to watch the Super Bowl together. Of course, now that this particular quirk of copyright law is getting some attention, how long will it be until the MPAA starts cracking down on those of you with really big screen TVs from showing movies in your home theaters. What was a joke just a few months ago, may become real.

Student’s Recording of Teacher’s Views Leads to a Ban on Taping

After a public school teacher was recorded telling students they belonged in hell if they did not accept Jesus as their savior, the school board has banned taping in class without an instructor’s permission, and has added training for teachers on the legal requirements for separating church and state.

A junior at Kearny High School in New Jersey, Matthew LaClair, 16, complained to his principal after the teacher in his American history class, David Paszkiewicz, told students that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark and that only Christians had a place in heaven. He started recording the comments in September because, he said, he was afraid school officials would not otherwise believe that the teacher had made them. Matthew said he was ridiculed and threatened after his criticism became public.

After several students complained to the school board that their voices had been broadcast on the Internet and on television news programs without their consent, the board adopted a policy in mid-January that requires students to request permission from an instructor to record or videotape a class.

“Adoption of this rule at this time sends all the wrong messages,” said Paul LaClair, Matthew’s father. “We were in negotiations and this is extremely ill-advised and disrespectful, if not bad faith.”

About the same time, the school board president, Bernadette McDonald, addressed a memo to the Kearny School District community that every teacher would receive mandatory instruction about how to interpret the Constitution’s separation of church and state and how it should apply to classroom discussions. Ms. McDonald also asked the school board to adopt a policy showing “its strong commitment to the principle that the personal religious beliefs of our instructional staff have no place in our classrooms.”

Kenneth J. Lindenfelser, the board’s lawyer, said classes were being planned to inform students of their constitutional rights, to encourage them to come forward with questions and to explain that people “who exercise their rights should not be viewed negatively.”

School officials said they took “corrective action” against Mr. Paszkiewicz, but would not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Matthew said that Mr. Paszkiewicz recently told the class that scientists who spoke about the danger of global warming were using tactics like those Hitler used, by repeating a lie often enough that people come to believe it.

Mr. Lindenfelser said that the district did not investigate the report of that comment, which he said was not religious or a violation of “any kind of law.”

Britain's Royal Grandchildren Losing Queen's English Accent

What a shame. Queen Elizabeth's grandchildren are not quite so "posh" anymore.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has acknowledged that her granddaughter Zara Phillips no longer speaks the Queen's English.

Royal biographer Kenneth Rose revealed that during a conversation he had with the queen about a recent study claiming her accent had become "less posh," HerMajesty made a reference to Zara's less than eloquent speech.

He told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, "The queen is not the least bit interested in how she is perceived by her subjects or how her accent sounds. But she did say that her grandchildren spoke Estuary English. I took this as a reference to the children of the Princess Royal, Zara and Peter Phillips."

The Queen's English is a form of pronunciation of the English language also referred to as Received Pronunciation (RP) and perceived as being spoken by the upper classes.

Over recent years a "less posh" form of RP has developed called Estuary English, a term referring to a Southern middle-class accent displaying working-class or cockney phonetic features.

Zara has reportedly come in for a bit of playful stick after she spoke with a typical Estuary accent during her acceptance speech for her BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in December.