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Heart - Black

3 Canadians Accuse U.S. Border Guards of 'Molestation'

© Brent Foster/Canadian Press
The Ambassador Bridge at the Windsor-Detroit international crossing is pictured in November 2010. Two lawsuits involving three Canadian women were filed Tuesday against female U.S. border agents, alleging aggressive and inappropriate searches.
WARNING: This story contains disturbing details

Three Canadian women filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging "sexual molestation" by American female border guards at the Canada-U.S. border near Windsor, Ont.

Two separate lawsuits were filed, one involving two women travelling together and the other by a woman travelling separately who alleged incidents at the Ambassador Bridge and the Windsor-Detroit tunnel.

Including a similar lawsuit filed by a Stratford, Ont., woman in February 2011, there are now at least four Canadian women accusing border agents of sexual assault at the Canada-U.S. crossing, according to the lawyer for all three cases, Tom Wienner.

"These were not pat-downs or limited personal searches, these were clearly in the nature of sexual molestation," the Rochester, Mich.-based lawyer told CBC News.

Leslie Ingratta, of Windsor, Ont., told CBC News she was heading into Detroit for a shopping trip in January 2011 when she was taken aside for further questioning.


Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation Part XX

"What struck both of us was that there were huge gaps in Houdini's life story and some puzzling inconsistencies. So we embarked on a journey to discover the real man. Early on, we discovered an important connection that most biographers seemed to miss."

From the Introduction to The Secret Life of Houdini, by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, 2006
As noted earlier in this series, there is considerable debate over the question of whether Harry Houdini ever lived in the Laurel Canyon home known locally as the "Houdini House" (the History Channel's Brad Meltzer's Decoded recently aired an episode on Houdini that included a segment filmed at the site, which was unreservedly identified as the former Houdini estate; the series, however, doesn't appear to be overly concerned with accuracy).
© Library of Congress
Harry Houdini, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, in chains in 1899.

Even if Houdini did live in the home that now lies in ruins, his story would seem to have little relevance here. After all, Harry Houdini, widely considered to be the consummate entertainer of his era, reached the peak of his career long before there was a Laurel Canyon - before there was even that magical place known as Hollywood. What then is there to gain through an examination of the life of Harry Houdini? Quite a bit, as it turns out.

What are generally claimed to be the basic details of Harry Houdini's life can be found in countless published biographies and web posts. Born Erik Weisz in Budapest, Hungary on March 24, 1874, he was the fourth of seven children born to Rabbi Mayer Samuel Weisz and the former Cecelia Steiner. The family later changed the spelling of their names and Houdini became Ehrich Weiss, known by friends and family as "Ehrie," which ultimately became "Harry." His stage surname was an homage to famed French magician Robert Houdin.

In mid-1878, Rabbi Meyer, with his five sons and pregnant wife in tow, set sail for America, arriving on July 3, 1878. The family first put down roots in Appleton, Wisconsin before later moving, in 1887, to New York City. Four years later, Houdini launched his career as a magician, at first performing basic card tricks. He had little success and at times would make ends meet by performing in circus freak shows.

In 1893, he met singer/dancer Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner, known as "Bess," who would become both his wife and lifetime stage assistant. The pair though, performing as "The Houdinis," continued to find success an elusive goal.

To say that Houdini's fortunes changed in 1899 would be a bit of an understatement. As recounted by Kalush and Sloman, "Within months, he had gone from cheap beer halls and dime museums to the big-time - vaudeville. In one year's time, he had gone from literally eating rabbits for survival to making what today would equal $45,000 a week." After finally hitting it big, however, Houdini then did something rather inexplicable - he abruptly sailed off to England to begin a lengthy European tour.


Grim Calculus of Rights of Conscience

© unk
"Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would've been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say "this guy", because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results."
― George Carlin

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
― George Carlin
I'll let you in on a secret: I'm tired of writing about religion. Honest to gods, I'm tired of it. But every damn subject you care to name has been religion-ized by the GOP. Honestly: try to think of something. Odds are, some conservative has appealed to scripture - even teacher's pay, or how employers should treat employees.

Probably, it will turn out that God is against water saving toilets. Surely Jesus had something to say about that.

And completely without surprise is Jesus' retroactive support for plutocracy. Yes, it turns out the champion of the poor really did have a big ole soft spot for the rich. Guess we've been misinterpreting his comment about the difficulties of rich people going to heaven.

I guess it would be unthinkable today for Jesus to even begin his ministry today without corporate sponsorship. Imagine the Sermon on the Mount, brought to you by Monsanto and its genetically engineered fish and loaves.


RIP Amina: Moroccan suicide triggers Twitter outrage

© unk
16 year old Amina's parents forced her to marry her rapist to preserve their "dignity", she killed herself to preserve her own.

The story of a 16-year-old Morrocan girl who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist reverberated through the Arab world on Tuesday.

Amina reportedly ingested rat poison in her hometown Larache, in norther Morocco, on the weekend as a last resort to escape her marriage and the domestic violence she experienced at the hands of her husband.

The girl's plight dates back to a year ago, when she was reportedly raped by a man 10 years her senior. After the incident was reported to authorities, the two families struck a deal in which Amina was married to her rapist to preserve her family's 'honour'. This example of a practice which is still common in some parts of the Arab world struck a nerve with many.


Lyme Disease Proved to be Cause for Tourette-like Symptoms in Le Roy Girl


Keep hearing the same thing over and over, and you will believe anything
Le Roy Mystery Disease Update Video 2/8/2012: Lori Brownell, one of two girls passing through Le Roy New York last summer who started exhibiting the same Tourette-like symptoms as the 12 girls at Le Roy High School, is reported by News Channel 13 WNYT to have contracted Lyme Disease. Lori, the "scholar/athlete" who lives in Corinth New York, was forced due to the illness to "take a leave of absence from school and sidelined from the sports she loves playing - softball and field hockey:"
"I lost out on my junior year. I'm missing out on my life because of this," explained Lori.

But next Tuesday Lori will begin treatment for Lyme disease. It's a tick-borne bacterial illness, which left untreated can lead to neurological problems.

"I was very relieved to hear I have Lyme disease. Not happy to have it, but relief because I can get treatment and start to get better over the next few months," said Lori.

Lori first shared her story with NewsChannel 13 in January and since then has been seen by specialists all over the northeast. The physicians told her the problems could be caused by a strep infection, Tourette's, past concussions and that they were possibly psychiatric in nature.

Lori claims she was even tested for Lyme two years ago, but that she was told bacterial levels weren't high enough to warrant treatment.

Lori's mom, Tosha, wasn't convinced by the previous assessments.

"This is validation. I know what it was about, I'm not giving up for her and I'm not giving up for anybody," Tosha said.

Lori may not be in school, but believes the lessons she's learned these past few months are even more valuable - to never give up and to fight for what you believe in, especially when it comes to your health. read more

Arrow Down

Exploitation of Poor By Human Organ Traffickers

© news.upickreviews.com
A Michigan State University anthropologist who spent more than a year infiltrating the black market for human kidneys has published the first in-depth study describing the often horrific experiences of poor people who were victims of organ trafficking.

Monir Moniruzzaman interviewed 33 kidney sellers in his native Bangladesh and found they typically didn't get the money they were promised and were plagued with serious health problems that prevented them from working, shame and depression.

The study, which appears in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and Moniruzzaman's decade-long research in the field describe a growing worldwide market for body parts that include kidneys, parts of livers and even corneas.

Moniruzzaman said the people selling their organs are exploited by unethical brokers and recipients who are often Bangladeshi-born foreign nationals living in places such as the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Because organ-selling is illegal, the brokers forge documents indicating the recipient and seller are related and claim the act is a family donation.


British Teen Arrested for Anti-War Comments on Facebook

© unk
Police said the teen 'didn't make his point very well' on the social networking site
A teenager will appear in court after being arrested for allegedly making comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan last week.

Azhar Ahmed, 19, is said to have posted the comments on his profile page and has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said Ahmed, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, was criticising the level of attention the British soldiers who died in a bomb blast received compared to Afghan civilians who have died in the war.

The spokesman said: "He didn't make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother."

Ahmed will appear at Dewsbury Magistrates Court on March 20.

He was arrested on Friday and charged over the weekend.

He has been bailed to an address outside the county.

Heart - Black

Dying cancer patient booted from hospital for medical marijuana

© Unknown
Angel Raich
A California woman who says she is dying from a brain tumor was kicked out of a California hospital this week for using doctor-prescribed medical marijuana.

Angel Raich told NBC Bay Area that the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco asked her to leave after she refused to stop using the drug.

"I'm in a state university hospital in the state of California," she explained. "And I have a right to have the same medical care that any other patient does, and [the pharmacist] says, 'We're going to have to ask you to leave then if you're not going to not use your cannabis.'"

As Raich was speaking to the NBC Bay Area reporter outside of UCSF Medical Center, she had a seizure and was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco.

UCSF Medical Center released statement saying that their smoke-free policy extended to marijuana use.

"Even a vaporized form of medical marijuana releases particles in the air that are damaging to the lung," according to the statement. "Any particles from vapor and odor could have an impact on other patients and hospital employees. Under federal and state law, a physician is at legal risk related to any activity that could be construed as prescribing medical marijuana to a patient."


Delta 737 rolls off taxiway into embankment at Atlanta airport

A Delta jet rolled off a taxiway and into an embankment at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Tuesday morning.

No one was injured when a Delta plane rolled off a taxiway and into an embankment at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Tuesday morning.

Two Delta maintenance workers were testing the engines on the 737 aircraft shortly after 5 a.m. when the brakes failed and the plane began to move, according to Delta spokesman Eric Torgenson.

No passengers were aboard the plane when it left Taxiway E and crashed into the embankment. The plane sustained damage, but the extent of it is not yet known, Torgenson said.

A runway adjacent to Taxiway E is closed while crews work to move the plane.

According to the FAA, the incident has had no impact on operations at Hartsfield although it may do so later when Delta tries to recover the plane.

msnbc.com contributed to this report

Alarm Clock

Kansas to Pregnant Women: "A Little Lie from Your Doctor Won't Hurt You"

© reprofreedom

It's what every pregnant woman I know dreads. Going into that big ultrasound, having the ultrasound tech, who had been so chatty, suddenly go silent. Having her do sweep after sweep across your belly without saying another word, until finally, she gets up and solemnly says, "I am going to get the doctor."

As far as pregnancy nightmares go, I thought that was one of the worst. But now politicians in Kansas are giving pregnant women and their partners something new to worry about. Buried in a sweeping anti-abortion bill is a provision that would immunize a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient. That's right. If the bill passes, a doctor who opposes abortion could decide to lie about the results of your blood tests, your ultrasound, your cvs or your amnio. Lie to you so that you won't have information that might lead you to decide to end your pregnancy or that might lead you to learn more about your child's condition so that you are prepared to be the best parent you can be to your child.

Now, I have been working for a long time defending the right of a pregnant woman to make the best decision for herself and her family, whether that is continuing the pregnancy, adoption, or abortion, based on full, accurate information. I thought I had seen just about every manner of government intrusion into those fundamentally personal and private decisions. I thought I was past the point of being shocked and outraged. But as a mother who has been through those ultrasounds myself, the thought that my doctor could choose to withhold this information from me and take this decision away from me and my husband ... well, let's just say it really touched a nerve.