Monthly Archives: July 2007

Teens charged with felony butt slapping

Students in Oregon beware: smacking people in the butt as a greeting gesture could end up getting you charged with felonies and labeled as a sex offender.

In yet another shining example of dysfunctional justice, two 13 year old middle school students in Oregon are reportedly facing up to 10 years in a juvenile detention facility and may have to register as sex offenders because they smacked girls on the rear end at school.

In February, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison were caught in the halls of Patton Middle School in McMinnville, OR slapping girls on the rear end. In a telephone interview with ABC news, Mashburn said that this was a common way of saying hello that wascpracticed by lots of kids.

Both boys spent five days in a juvenile detention facility, charged with five counts of felony sex abuse for what they and their parents said was simply inappropriate behavior, not criminal behavior.

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Update 2 on Adam the Burned Kitten

Below is an email update about Adam and the 11 year old boy who saved him from Jennifer Kirchner, Executive Director of Forgotten Felines. If you donate online your email address is added to an update list. They have a newsletter you can sign up for too. There is also a special page dedicated to Adam with regularly posted updates.

Dear Friends: On behalf of Adam and all of us at Forgotten Felines, thank you SO very much for the contribution you have made through our web site for his care. The outpouring of support, well wishes and healing energy sent his way means a great deal – to him and to us. At this time, we have no idea what the cost of his care will be, but your donations will definitely lighten that load!

If you haven’t already been receiving them, we are sending out periodic “Adam Reports”. I know how busy everyone is and how inundated we can get with e-mail, so if you don’t want to be on our e-mail list, just let me know and I’ll remove you. When you have the time, you can always view the reports at our web site –

Adam’s surgery which was supposed to have been today (Tuesday 7/24) was pushed up a day, so he is now recovering from the skin graph which occurred yesterday, Monday 7/23. Normally the night after surgery is very difficult for him, but this time he did very well. In fact, he was up and running around so much that Dr. Leavey, one of the vets at Animal Hospital of Cotati had to get him to settle down. Today he is sleeping and recovering nicely.

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Update on Adam the Burned Kitten

The animal Hospital of Cotati and Forgotten Felines have reportedly been receiving calls, donations and emails for Adam, the burned kitten from the ‘A Touching Saga of Survival’ post. His story was picked up the the Associated Press and has resulted in an avalanche of outrage and support from all over the world.

Please note: there is a minor update from 7/24/07 below.

The Animal Hospital of Cotati has received about 100 calls according to Heather Rommel, a hospital receptionist. So far the hospital has taken about 40 credit card donations from people all over the country who want to see Adam survive.

Two black kittens believed to be Adam’s siblings were reportedly seen not far from where Adam was burned by the two teenage girls. One male kitten was caught. His name is Sampson. Attempts to catch the other one have proven unsuccessful so far.

The animal control officials investigating the case believe Adam’s siblings were set free. They found no evidence that the other kittens were harmed.

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Easy-Bake Oven Recalled Again

Approximately 1 million Easy-Bake ovens are again being recalled by Hasbro. The ovens were previously recalled in February of this year.

A hazard exists that lets young children insert their hands into the opening in the front of the oven.

Since the recall in February, Easy-Bake has received 249 reports of children getting their hands or fingers caught in the oven’s opening. There have been 77 reports of burns, 16 of which were reported as second and third-degree burns. 1 report was received of a serious burn that required partial finger amputation to a 5 year old girl.

The Easy-Bake oven is a purple and pink plastic oven that resembles a kitchen range with four burners on top and a front-loading oven. “Easy Bake” is printed on the front of the oven. Model number 65805 and “Hasbro” are stamped into the plastic on the back of the oven. This recall includes all units with the retrofit kit.

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A Touching Saga of Survival

Once in a while, people can learn lessons from the animal world. Such is the case of a 3 month old feral kitten named Adam. I have to warn you though, some of the paragraphs below are a little graphic. Unfortunately it’s a true story that will both enrage you and hopefully make you want to help. This story first appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and later in the San Francisco Chronicle.

On June 19, 2007 two 15 year old girls allegedly poured flammable liquid on Adam while he was trapped in a cage and lit him on fire. The names of the girls haven’t been released. An 11 year old boy and his friend saw smoke and heard the cat shrieking while the girls stood there laughing. The girls, whose names were not released, were arrested on felony cruelty to animals charges.

Adam was one of six feral kittens that were to be transported the next morning to Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County to be spayed and neutered. They would then be released on a farm to roam as they pleased. The four other kittens have not been found yet and are presumed dead.

The animal hospital of Cotati is treating Adam. It’s too early to know if he’ll survive yet. The tips of his ears and his tail had to be amputated. The skin on his back is gone, burned to the bone. There is still a high risk of infection due to second and third degree burns over 75 percent of his body as well as the chance of a viral infection.

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Online Resources for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens are one of the fastest growing groups of new internet users. Below is a small list of links I’ve thrown together to help Senior Citizens learn about some of the resources available to them. If you would like to see something added to this list, or more information about something, feel free to contact me here.

Online resources for senior citizens:

  • Senior Citizens’ Resources from
  • – (from the site) Every day, people from every walk of life become the victims of crime. And every day, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is there to help them rebuild their lives
  • – over 125,000 discounts for people over 50
  • What Happens Now – share, learn, live through and prepare for life’s changes and challenges
  • – a connectivity and community site for Senior Women
  • Home Well Senior Care – hourly live in caregivers
  • Benefits, advocacy and information on aging for people age 50 and over from AARP
  • SeniorNet – bringing wisdom to the information age
  • Suddenly Senior – a place for everyone who’s become senior before their time
  • Benefits Check Up – a service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA) – for people 55 or over – helps thousands of people every day to connect to private or government programs that help them pay for prescription drugs, health care, utilities and other needs
  • – The Official U.S. Government site for people with Medicare
  • Medicare Rights Center – Your Guide Through the Medicare Maze
  • Wired Seniors – gives Seniors “a web of your own” and serves as the main hub of many Seniors related web sites
  • – a comprehensive source of information and services for seniors and their caregivers
  • Independent Life Resources – unlimited resources and support for persons with disabilities, senior citizens and those who care
  • – Senior Citizens’ resources
  • – Senior Citizens news and information daily on the web
  • Becoming aware of elder abuse – a post I made in this blog in December 2006 with links and information about elder abuse
  • SeniorLaw home page – a site where senior citizens, their families, attorneys, social workers, and financial planners can access information about elder law, Medicare, Medicaid, guardianship, estate planning, trusts and the rights of the elderly and disabled
  • – Senior home care, home healthcare, assisted living, caregiver support services
  • SeniorJobBank – jobs for the over 50 talent pool (plus numerous other links and resources too)
  • Directory of resources for Senior Citizens from
  • eMedical Assistans – a site that helps those who want to pursue a medical assisting career – Authored by Health Care Providers

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Blue Cross to charge billing fees

It’s not enough that the U.S. health care system is already a major cluster you-know-what that over-charges millions, especially in California. Now Blue Cross reportedly wants to charge hundreds of thousands of Californians a $2 service fee every month to have their bills mailed to them.

Of the 7.5 million customers Blue Cross insures, 820,000 of them are Californians. Nick Garcia, Blue Cross of California spokesman, said the fees will be introduced in September. “Business costs don’t stay stagnant. “There have been increases in postage and paper costs” he said.

Part of the philosophy behind charging people is to get them to turn to electronic billing. It’ll be interesting to see how much more money they’ll make when they start selling your personal information and violating your privacy.

Health Net charges their 100,000 California members $5 a month in an effort to get them to switch to electronic billing as well. Switching to electronic billing eliminates the paper trail which is sometimes vital for record keeping.

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BofA settling class action lawsuit

Bank of America (BofA) has proposed a settlement of a $14 million class-action lawsuit that involves alleged privacy violations. Approximately 35 million current and former BofA customers are eligible to collect part of the settlement.

The lawsuit was filed in September 1999 alleging that BofA engaged in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices by disclosing personal, private and confidential information of consumers without their consent, and without making proper disclosure.

Social Security numbers, account numbers and other sensitive data was turned over to telemarketers, direct-mail marketers and various other vendors for millions of dollars in fees and commissions.

The lawsuit alleges that despite assurances in BofA’s privacy policy that the information was secure and confidential and that it was only shared for ‘legitimate business purposes,’ it was made available to others.

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Scam that targets military spouses

The American Red Cross issued a press release at the end of May about a new scam that targets military families. It’s pathetic that some people stoop to these lows. The information below is from the press release from the American Red Cross web site:

The caller (young-sounding, American accent) calls a military spouse and identifies herself as a representative from the Red Cross. The caller states that the spouse’s husband (not identified by name) was hurt while on duty in Iraq and was med-evacuated to a hospital in Germany. The caller stated they couldn’t start treatment until paperwork was accomplished, and that in order to start the paperwork they needed the spouse to verify her husband’s social security number and date of birth. In this case, the spouse was quick to catch on and she did not provide any information to the caller.

The American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members/dependents directly and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant channels. Military family members are urged not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown/unverified individuals, to include confirmation that your spouse is deployed.

It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for a person to falsely or fraudulently pretend to be a member of, or an agent for, the American National Red Cross for the purpose of soliciting, collecting, or receiving money or material.

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The top secret wiretapping snafu

What would you do if a Federal Agency whos Mission Statement begins “To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law” was blantantly breaking the law invading your privacy? How would you feel if you received a document marked “top secret” that contained a detailed list of some of your private phone calls?

A very disturbing report from (Wired Magazine) details how The nation’s highest law enforcement agency accidently gave a copy of a top secret document detailing private phone calls to a Washington D.C. attorney. Two months later the FBI showed up, demanded the documents back and ordered him to forget he ever saw it. Simply freaking amazing.

In August 2004, Washington D.C. attorney Wendell Belew received that document. He and his colleague, a fellow attorney, are suing the government for $1 million each. Recently, an Appeals court dismissed one of over 50 lawsuits against the National Security Administration (NSA) based on narrow procedural grounds, not the legality of the program.

Belew was one of many lawyers representing the U.S. branch of the prominent Saudi Arabian charity Al-Haramain, formerly one of the largest charities in Saudi Arabia. Federal officials were investigating the Ashland Oregon branch of the group for alleged links to terrorism and had already frozen U.S. assets of the charity. The group of lawyers was trying to keep the charity off a U.S. Treasury Department watch list.

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