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Archive for the ‘Crazy News’ Category

Because of stories like the one below.

(Written by one of my friends and fellow journalism grads!) Random shout out over.

By Robbyn Mitchell, St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA — Steve Valdez used one of his prosthetic arms to slip a check to the teller at Bank of America downtown.

“She said, ‘Obviously you aren’t going to be able to give us a thumbprint,’ ” Valdez recalled.

The teller went to get the branch manager to find out what to do, Valdez said.

Valdez was born without arms, and this wasn’t his first time cashing a check at someone else’s bank.

The check was from his wife, so he took it to her bank Thursday, thinking that would make it simple.

Not this time.

He could not understand why his two forms of photo ID were unacceptable.

He said the manager gave him two options: open an account or come back with your wife.

He did neither.

Instead, he went back to his desk at the Hillsborough County Public Works Customer Satisfaction Center, called his wife and told her never to make him go to her bank again.

“There were a few extra expletives,” joked the 54-year-old Tampa native and Hillsborough High graduate.

Bank of America spokeswoman Nicole Nastacie said the policy of requiring people who don’t have an account at the bank to put a thumbprint on personal or business checks is a decade-old practice instituted to prevent fraud.

Tampa attorney Maureen Deskins has handled more than 10 cases of discrimination against the disabled.

She said under state law, once a disabled person asks a public establishment to alter its rules or guidelines within reason, it’s up to the establishment to prove that request is unreasonable.

Deskins said she would need to know more in order to say whether this situation was a violation of the disabilities act. The bank’s overall policy determines whether, under the law, Valdez had been treated unfairly.

Even so, Bank of America called Valdez to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused him, Nastacie said.

“We should have offered alternative requirements if an individual is not able to give a thumbprint,” she said.

Valdez said that even as representatives were apologizing they were explaining that the branch manager was just following bank policy.

“That’s just shocking to me,” he said. “This can’t have been the first time this has ever come up.”

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art.obama.gun.poolThe presence of guns has entered the health care debate. This could easily get out of hand. And what’s crazy, is so far, the media is acting like this is OK. How do health care reform and gun rights correlate? This is disturbing in so many ways and shouldn’t just be seen as people exercising their Second Amendment rights. I wish these all these angry folks would own up to what they’re really angry about because it sure isn’t health care.

From the Associated Press:

PHOENIX – About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday — the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

Gun-rights advocates say they’re exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday’s event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn’t need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

The man with the rifle declined to be identified but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. “In Arizona, I still have some freedoms,” he said.

Phoenix police Detective J. Oliver, who monitored the man at the downtown protest, said police also wanted to make sure no one decided to harm him.

“Just by his presence and people seeing the rifle and people knowing the president was in town, it sparked a lot of emotions,” Oliver said. “We were keeping peace on both ends.”

Last week, during Obama’s health care town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., a man carrying a sign reading “It is time to water the tree of liberty” stood outside with a pistol strapped to his leg.

“It’s a political statement,” he told The Boston Globe. “If you don’t use your rights, then you lose your rights.”

Police asked the man to move away from school property, but he was not arrested.

Fred Solop, a Northern Arizona University political scientist, said the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona could signal the beginning of a disturbing trend.

“When you start to bring guns to political rallies, it does layer on another level of concern and significance,” Solop said. “It actually becomes quite scary for many people. It creates a chilling effect in the ability of our society to carry on honest communication.”

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When I first read this story I had to reread it a few times just to make sure the Marriott in downtown Stamford, Conn., is really blaming a woman for getting raped on the hotel’s property. But it wasn’t a misread.

From the Connecticut Post:

STAMFORD — A downtown hotel being sued by a woman raped at gunpoint in its parking garage is claiming she was careless, negligent and “failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities,” according to court documents.

The victim’s attorneys also argue the hotel has inadvertently identified her to acquaintances by asking them to testify.

The Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa, along with the firms in charge of managing the hotel and its parking garage, made the claim as part of a list of special defenses filed in state Superior Court in Stamford last month. Such defenses allow defendants in civil suits to argue they are not responsible for damages even if the plaintiff’s story is true.

The woman filed the lawsuit in May 2008, six months after Danbury native Gary Fricker, 56, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a plea deal in the case.

On Oct. 10, 2006, Fricker stuck a handgun in the back of the then 40-year-old woman and forced her and her children, then 3 and 5, into their minivan as they left the hotel, according to court documents.

She let him go through her wallet and told him he could take it, but Fricker demanded she take off her clothes. Fricker sexually assaulted the woman for several minutes, pointing the gun at her and her children and threatening to sexually assault one of her children. (more…)

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In the week since the House began its break, several town hall-style meetings have been disrupted by demonstrators. These episodes have drawn widespread media attention, and Republicans have seized on them as well as polls showing a decline in support for Obama and his agenda as evidence that public support is lacking for his signature legislation. St. Louis Post Dispatch

When I read about the town hall meetings across the country getting out of hand last week, my first reaction was whealth-care-meetinghat’s going on? Why are people coming out of a Tampa health care town hall meeting looking like they just left an unruly club “let out” where the police had to be called to the scene? —>

Adults can’t sit down and act civilized to actually discuss an issue anymore?

An overflow crowd outside of a forum on aging in St. Louis led to confrontations and arrests. Link here.

On Friday, a Democratic lawmaker from Washington received a faxed death threat a day after he described angry town hall demonstrators as “a lynch mob.” Rep. Brian Baird of Washington, who supports President Barack Obama’s push to overhaul the health care system, said that he also received threatening phone calls. He canceled the rest of the town halls he’d scheduled during Congress’ August recess.

A few Democratic congressional offices also have received threats connected to the health care debate. The U.S. Capitol Police has advised all of them to cancel their town halls.

“President Obama underestimated the free-fall the nation had already taken in partisan hostility when he talked about bringing change to Washington,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who supports reform. “It has gotten worse. There is something at play here that is indescribable.” Miami Herald

How did this issue get so volatile so quickly? And why are the protesters sooo angry? They just want to be angry, I thought. Just like the Tea Party protests, it’s more than just health care – they’re just angry at the administration and want people to know they’re mad as hell and aren’t taking this mess anymore! (more…)

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After two years, four teen suspects in the Dunbar Village gang rape of a mother and her son will finally go to trial.

According to police, a group of armed, masked intruders broke into the woman’s Dunbar Village apartment, forcing her and her son, then 12, into sex acts.

Afterward the attackers took pains to cover their tracks, pouring alcohol, nail polish remover and ammonia on the woman, according to a police report. Palm Beach Post

And these four aren’t even the only ones involved in this unthinkable crime. The others involved have not been caught. I can’t get over how the police said Avion Lawson showed no remorse for what happened. So disturbing and scary that there a people in society who can do things like this to others and not even blink an eye of remorse.

Go here for more background on the story.

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I have no words for how horrible this story is. I’m always shocked at how cruel people can be, but this is just on a whole other level.

cemetery

From AFP:

Grave robbers stripped at least 300 plots at a historic black cemetery outside Chicago, dumped many of the bodies and then resold the plots for a profit, officials said Thursday.

The years-long scheme was carried out by the cemetery’s manager and three gravediggers who sold the “used” graves so they could pocket the fees rather than pass them along to the Arizona-based owners.

“This was not done in a very delicate way,” Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said at a press conference.

“They would excavate a grave, excavate the entire site and then they would proceed to dump the remains wherever they found a place to do it in the back of the cemetery.”

They would also sometimes leave the remains in the grave and “pound them down and put someone else on top,” Dart said.

It will likely take months before authorities can identify all of the bodies and restore the gravesites, Dart said, adding that efforts will be complicated by the fact that the cemetery’s records were destroyed and altered.

“We don’t know what else to tell the people, but we are horrifically sorry they have been subjected to this,” Dart said.

“We are working on making this right.”

The scheme came to light when Burr Oak Cemetery’s Arizona-based owners contacted the sheriff’s department after discovering a large discrepancy in the cemetery’s finances. (more…)

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Update 1: It looks like another pool has opened its doors to this children’s day camp.

Update 2: Now that the story has created a media stir, suddenly the swim club wants to re-invite the day camp back to their pool.

“The board decided we would reach out to Creative Steps to . . . get the kids back to the club in a safe environment,” said John G. Duesler Jr., president of the Valley Club.

Because the issues with overcrowding and safety that the swim club pulled out after the controversy began are suddenly all gone now huh? Sure.

A Huntington Valley swim club is facing accusations of racial discrimination after 65 children from a Northeast Philadelphia day camp claim they heard prejudicial remarks by club members and later had their club membership rescinded.

The children, kindergarten through 7th graders who attend the Creative Steps, Inc. day camp, showed up to the pool at The Valley Swim Club on June 29.

While the campers were swimming, Alethea Wright, executive director of Creative Steps, said three children came up to her and said they heard club members asking what African Americans were doing at the club.

Repeated attempts to reach club President John Duesler and other club officers were unsuccessful. A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter was asked to leave the club premises when he asked for a comment. NBC 10 reported today that Duesler made the following statement: “There was concern that alot of kids would change the complexion …..and the atmosphere of the club.”

Several days after the incident, Wright said the camp’s $1,950 check in membership fees to the swim club was refunded, meaning the children no longer had access to the pool. She said Duesler did not provide a reason for the refund. Philadelphia Inquirer

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Valley Swim Club advertised open membership, and revoked the kids’ membership after finding out their race. A trip to the courthouse is probably a coming.

But what’s so troubling and sad about this story is the impact on the children who were turned away. To be told they’re not good enough to swim with other people.

The club was extra bold for the changing the complexion of the club comment. I didn’t know one’s skin color could taint an entire pool club. (more…)

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