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Corey Demaline

Paralyzed man must crawl, twice, thanks to Delta Airlines

D. Baraka Kanaan sues for “great physical and emotional suffering”

After confirming with a representative from Delta Airlines he would be provided with assistance getting off his flight to Massachusetts, former college professor D. Baraka Kanaan never thought he’d find himself on hands and knees crawling to his wheelchair.

The embarrassing process for Mr. Kanaan consisted of crawling down the aisle, exiting down a flight of stairs and across a tarmac, all the while in the presence of Delta Airlines attendants and several passengers; not one person, he claims, offered assistance.

Mr. Kanaan suffers from partial paralysis in his legs due to a tragic car accident in 2000.

Mr. Kanaan’s initial flight was canceled due to poor weather. He was rescheduled to depart the following day and when he arrived, Mr. Kanaan was told he didn’t have an aisle chair to help him get out of his seat, nor was a lift being provided to assist him in getting off the plane.

Shocked, D. Baraka Kanaan asked flight attendants what he was supposed to do to which, he claims, was told, “I don’t know, but we can’t get you off the plane.” Mr. Kanaan also claims he could see a lift from a distance at an adjacent gate.

The Air Carrier Access Act requires both airlines and airports to “provide boarding assistance to individuals with disabilities by using ramps, mechanical lifts, or other suitable devices where level-entry boarding by loading bridge or mobile lounge is not available” for any airplane with a seating capacity of 31 or more passengers. Whether or not Mr. Kanaan boarded an airplane of this capacity is still unknown.

Mr. Kanaan, 40, states that the incident caused “great physical and emotional suffering.”

Before his return flight home to Hawaii, D. Baraka Kanaan called Delta to report the incident and also to verify that the proper assistance would be available to him this time. But when Mr. Kanaan arrived at the boarding station, he said a flight attendant told him the assistance he requested was yet again unavailable.

Generously enough, the boarding attendant offered to lay down a piece of cardboard on the ground so that his “best suit” would not get dirty. Once again, D. Baraka Kanaan was forced to crawl on the ground. After he returned home, Delta Airlines offered Mr. Kanaan 25,000 “sky miles” and a $100 voucher for the inconvenience. He turned down their sympathetic (more like pathetic) offer, in fear he would face the same humiliating situation again.

This is not the first time Delta Airlines has behaved in such a way. In 2008, a woman with muscular dystrophy was forced to crawl off two separate flights with Delta Airlines. In his complaint to the court, Mr. Kanaan states, “Just a year before, Delta received no less than 5,000 complaints against it and was ordered to pay record breaking fines for its persistent ‘egregious’ treatment of disabled passengers.”

Delta Airlines has refused to comment on either matter. D. Baraka Kanaan is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, to which will be determined at trial.

FBI rescues more than 100 children in sex-trafficking raid

150 pimps arrested, Operation Cross-Country makes history

After a 72-hour nationwide operation raiding out pimps, over 105 children were rescued from the hands of sex-traffickers. A majority were ages 13 to 17 with the youngest victim being just 9 years old.

Sex trafficking has been a longtime fight in which authorities have recently brought out of the shadows. Many of these children are extremely vulnerable and come from broken homes, foster care or are even considered runaways. Pimps take advantage of the children’s vulnerability in order to make a profit for themselves. The kids become solely dependent upon their pimp and look to them as a parental figure, filling an empty void.

A majority of these pimps send the children to work at hotels, casinos, street tracks and truck stops. The act spans across all socioeconomic levels and demographics.

Typically, the FBI is not associated with the matter of prostitution, as it is usually handled through state and local authorities. But over the years the FBI has made it a priority through Operation Cross-Country. The program was included in sting operations over 76 U.S. cities and, as a result, arrested 150 pimps nationwide. Of the 150 suspects, 18 were arrested by agents based in Detroit, 17 by agents from San Francisco and 13 by Oklahoma City agents, the FBI said. Thanks to Operation Cross-Country, nearly 1,350 people have been convicted as part of the program and at least 10 of them have been sentenced to life in prison.

This latest sweep was the seventh and largest under Operation Cross-Country.

During a news conference on Monday morning, Ronald Hosko, Assistant Director of the FBI’s criminal division, says child sex trafficking remains “one of the most prevalent, violent and unconscionable crimes in our country.”

“We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows and put a spotlight on it,” Hosko says.

Corpse flower: First smell of rotting flesh

United States Botanical Gardens reveal blooming of titan arum

 

What attracts people to Washington’s botanical garden? A stinky flower that smells of rotting flesh.

You read right. On July 11th, the United States Botanical Gardens placed a corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanium) on display for the world to see. This is no ordinary, gigantic flower.

The stinky plant was first discovered in 1878 and is native to Sumatra, Indonesia. Typically, the titan arum can be found in tropical rainforests. After the corpse flower has matured, it finally blooms for a short 24-48 hours. The strongest time of stench is during its peak bloom. Once staff became aware that the stinky plant was ready to bloom, they quickly moved it to public display.

This flower is rarely seen outside of garden staff, as its hidden away in their production greenhouse located in southeast Washington. The titan arum must live in hot, humid weather in order to survive. The United States Botanical Garden is home to 14 other corpse flowers awaiting their bloom. Upwards of seven U.S. institutions have at least one titan arum in their collection of plants.

This particular corpse flower has been residing in Washington since 2007. The garden has publicly displayed on their website the titan arum’s live web cam and time-lapse video. Over 20,000 visitors from all over the world have circled around the stench of the titan arum since Monday and continue to flock to its rotten smell.

Bill McLaughlin, the garden’s curator of plants, said that even though it smelled sweet at first, the stench soon “began descending from the roof, like a pile of dead animals.”

“It’s hilarious that all these people are here to smell something awful,” he said.

Jenny McCarthy joins "The View"

Hasselbeck exits, McCarthy enters in September

As if The View doesn’t have enough crazy-minded women, ABC decided the best way to increase their audience was by adding another one to the mix. On September 9th, comedic actress and blogger of ‘Daily Jenny’ for the Chicago Sun-Times will join ABC’s 19th season of The View.

Longtime co-host and conservative-minded Elisabeth Hasselbeck will be exiting the show to join ABC’s live talk show Fox and Friends. Hasselbeck seems to have started a trend, as Joy Behar is making her departure later this summer and Barbara Walters, who assisted in the creation of the show back in 1997, is exiting next August.

McCarthy (ex-girlfriend of actor Jim Carrey) has made her fortune starring in leading shows and big-screen films. ‘Daily Jenny’ has also sparked the media’s attention by claiming her son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism due to recommended vaccine immunizations. Whether or not Evan was actually diagnosed remains a mystery.

The best-selling author supports British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, in his study linking the MMR vaccine to be a probable cause of autism. Wakefield has not only been discredited from the medical community, but has also lost his medical license. So will McCarthy survive future interrogations from her soon-to-be co-hosts? I’ll let you decide.

Since the ABC hit morning show announced Jenny McCarthy’s future co-hosting spot, a group called Every Child by Two, which urges parents to vaccinate their babies, have voiced their opinion in a letter, sent to producers and Ms. Walters. The letter reads:

 “Ms. McCarthy’s unfounded claims that vaccines cause autism have been one of the greatest impediments to public health in recent decades. These false assertions, in addition to her condemnation of public health officials and the medical community over all, has spread fear among young parents, which has led to an increased number of children who have not received lifesaving vaccines.”

Whether or not you agree with McCarthy’s “educated” view on the matter, it is a fact over two-dozen studies have failed to find a link between autism and vaccines. The advocacy group Autism Speaks also states there is no connection leading medical professionals to believe vaccine immunizations are a cause of autism.

Ms. Walters stated she is more than thrilled Jenny McCarthy is joining the program. Maybe it’s a good thing Walters is getting out now rather than later. Her logic seems to be a bit off. Will The View survive the arrival of McCarthy and departure of Behar and Walters? Only time will tell. Stay tuned…

Are they into you?

How to tell if your crush is crushing on you

 

Let’s face it. It’s not easy trying to read a person’s act of affection or flirtation. They winked at you, but does that mean they are flirting or just being silly? They gave you a hug, but was it just a friend hug or more? Here are some helpful tips on how to read those signals that have you wondering if they are interested in being more than friends.

Emojis, emojis, emojis: We live in a world where texting is a very convenient form of communication. Unfortunately, text messages can be misleading to someone who is interested in being more than friends with a person. Those winky faces will get you every time. So how do you know if these tricky little emojis mean something more? Honestly, you don’t know. Not unless you know them well enough in person to be able to read their texts the correct way. Your best friend may send you a text that includes a smiley face that carries no underlying meaning. Who’s to say your crush isn’t doing the same? Communication is key, but texting can be so confusing when trying to get to know someone. The best thing you can do is talk with them in person before overanalyzing their texts.

They kissed me! We’re in love!: Let’s not get too excited yet. Most people see kissing as a sign of affection. But for others, a kiss on the cheek could just be a sign of sincerity. For example, you’re talking with your crush about a problem you’re having with a friend. After they offer you advice, they lean in and kiss your cheek. This might not mean what you hope it means. They could just be showing you a sign of comfort. Misinterpreting this kind of affection could lead you to getting your hopes up. The best way to handle a kiss on the cheek or hand is to wait it out. If they’re interested in being more than friends, the time will come when the two of you will experience a real kiss! Plus, if they had the courage to kiss your cheek, who’s to say they won’t try for the lips? Be patient and see if they make the first move.

Text me back! Return my call!: When we first develop feelings for someone, it’s only natural to want to talk to them as often as we can. But this can happen with a new friendship as well. Either way, meeting a new person you click with is exciting, but just because you feel it doesn’t mean they do, too. So how many times should you call them? Is texting them every morning and night too much? The best way to tell if someone interested in being more than friends is by how much they communicate with you. If you’re the one calling and texting them first every day, this may be a sign they don’t feel the same way. Obviously, if they are answering your calls and texting you back, they like having you in their life. But tomorrow morning, instead of texting your usual greeting, wait for them to send the first message. Instead of calling them on your lunch break, see if they call you. This will be a huge indicator on just how much they really want to be involved in your life and whether or not they’re thinking about you throughout the day.

Girl friends and guy friends: Men and women tend to have more friends of the opposite sex when they are single. So when you meet someone you’re really interested in, it’s almost a given they will have a lot of guy friends or girl friends. But how they treat those friends will determine whether or not you’re one of them or something more. Pay attention to how they act around their friends of the opposite sex the next you all go out together. Do they flirt with them? Are they giving them just as much attention as they give you? Are they doing anything differently with you that they’re not doing with them? These are big indicators on how they feel about you. If they’re affectionate with you and not with them, this is a good thing! If they talk with them but only flirt with you, take it as a sign that they’re into you. Just make sure this is the case and they’re not shooting winks to someone else across the room.

7-Eleven celebrates Free Slurpee Day

July 11th marked the convenience store’s 86th birthday

 

Since 2002, 7-Eleven has been celebrating its birthday by generously offering free Slurpees to the public. In past years, 7-Eleven has offered 7.11-ounce cups for its birthday. This year, the convenience store upped its game and offered the regular size cup of 12 ounces. This nearly doubled the previously used size.

“We’re doing that because people wanted more Slurpee and we already have a lid for the small size,” company spokeswoman Margaret Chabris said. “So it makes it much easier to pour the Slurpee, easier for the straw to hold up in and easier for moms to avoid a mess.”

7-Eleven’s summer flavors are Strawberry Lemonshade and Slurpee Lite Sugar-Free Mango Lemonade.

After customers picked their flavor of choice, the longtime-running convenience store encouraged them to dance with it! 7-Eleven says YouTube sensation, Nathan Barnatt, posted his own version of the Slurpee dance. He insisted that others take part by posting clips of their dancing skills to 7-Eleven’s Facebook page.

7-Eleven offered free Slurpees between the hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at participating stores.

Laura Gordon, 7-Eleven vice president of marketing and brand innovation, said, “7-Eleven Day, July 11, occurs at the approximate midpoint of summer and the Slurpee season when summer fun is in high gear. It also marks a milestone for 7-Eleven when we raise a collective Slurpee toast and dance a crazy dance to celebrate our birthday and all things 7-Eleven.”

According to a Times.com report, each year on July 11th, 7-Eleven sees a dramatic boost in overall sales. Customers are drawn into the convenience store on this special day and tend to purchase small snacks to go along with their free Slurpee. In addition, Slurpee fans can’t seem to get enough so they purchase larger sizes of the popular frozen drink or become regular customers.

Memorabilia from the epic day can be purchased on 7-Eleven’s website, which offers free printable party favors and “Slurpee swag” including hats, sandals and sunglasses.

“We promised #Awesummer this year with more fun, more free stuff and more surprises and summer is far from over,” Gordon said. “There’s lots more to come.”

Arizona Wildfire 2013

Yarnell Hill blaze takes the life of 19 firefighters

 

What started as a 200-acre wildfire quickly escalated to 6,000 acres overnight. Driving down Yarnell Hill on Monday was the heartbreaking scene of vans headed to a coroner’s office carrying 19 elite firefighters who lost the battle against a vicious wildfire.

 These firefighters are known as “Hotshots” who are specifically trained to fight off the country’s most brutal and deadliest wildfires. Sadly, 19 out of 20 Hotshots lost their lives on Sunday after they reported to their team leader, Clay Templin, that the entire Hotshot crew had deployed their shelters.

During an interview with Dan Fraijo, the Prescott Fire Chief said he feared the worst when he received a call Sunday afternoon from someone assigned to the fire.

“All he said was, ‘We might have bad news. The entire Hotshot crew deployed their shelters. When we talk about deploying the shelters, that’s an automatic fear, absolutely. That’s a last-ditch effort to save yourself when you deploy your shelter.”

When a fire has become too overwhelming for Hotshots to handle, they are trained to deploy their emergency shelter in which they step into, lie face down on the ground and pull the fire-resistant blanket over themselves. This special fabric was designed to resist heat, trap cool and maintain breathable air for a short period of time while the flames pass over them.

Unfortunately, the shelter is only a temporary protective shield against a raging fire. If flames can move over the shelter quickly enough, the person has a good chance of surviving. But if the fire stays intact and does not pass over, the shelter is only good for so long before the flames win the battle.

Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, expressed her deepest sympathy, saying it’s “as dark a day as I can remember.”

“I know that is it unbearable for many of you, but it also is unbearable for me. I know the pain that everyone is trying to overcome and deal with today,” said Brewer, trying to find her voice numerous times as she spoke to residents at Prescott High School.

On Monday, President Barack Obama called Brewer from Africa to reinforce his commitment to battling the deadly flames by providing federal support to defeat the fire.

More than 200 homes were threatened in a town of 700 people.

Over 1,000 residents turned out Monday to a gym at the Prescott campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to honor those killed in the Yarnell Hill wildfire. After the ceremony, drumming to a march down the wooden steps of the auditorium were several wildfire fighters sporting Hotshot t-shirts as a symbol of support for the lives taken on Sunday.

Michael Jackson's son, Prince, will testify in negligence case

The King of Pop’s son is the first of three to fight against AEG Live

 

Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, has filed a negligence case against concert promoter AEG Live LLC.

During Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, AEG Live is being accused for negligence in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s personal physician.  Murray, who was caring for the singer as he prepared for shows, was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

 AEG Live executives have taken the stand and denied the accusations. The trial began in April and on Wednesday, Jackson’s oldest son, Prince, will testify on his behalf. The 16-year-old is the first of three to testify, as TJ Jackson, co-guardian of the three kids, and Taj, TJ’s brother, will soon give their testaments.

If you recall, Michael Jackson was said to have died at the age of 50 due to an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol while rehearsing in Los Angeles for a series of comeback concerts in London in 2009.

AEG Live has stated they did not hire Dr. Conrad Murray and argues that Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems well before entering into any agreement with the concert promoter.

Standing along side Prince are three other plaintiffs, including Katherine Jackson, 83, and Jackson’s other children, Paris and Blanket.

If this trial isn’t enough to handle for the month of June, Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, was rushed to the hospital after attempting suicide. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff was forced to order a court investigation into the 15-year-old’s “health, education and welfare” when Paris was hospitalized on June 5 for taking Motrin pills and cutting her arm with a kitchen knife.

Katherine Jackson’s lawyer, Mr. Perry Sanders, said that Judge Beckloff reviewed the report on the investigation and will not be making any changes in Jackson’s children’s living situation. 

Kate Upton topless: Men's fantasy comes true

A horse, one piece of a bikini and lots of cameras

What happens when you put Kate Upton in a bikini and throw her on top of a horse? Well, you might forget about the actual bikini, as the 21-year-old Kate Upton did during a recent photo shoot. A horse lover and longtime equestrian, Kate Upton posed topless on the back of a horse. Upton had every intention of holding on to her girlies, keeping them covered by hand.

After some time, her hands must have become exhausted as she let them slip off, revealing every inch of herself from the waist and up. Since news spread, a video of the incident made its way online. Upton’s video went viral and is now in the hands of every die-hard Kate Upton fan.

You may remember seeing Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Upton was named Rookie of the Year following her first Sports Illustrated appearance in 2011. Sports Illustrated loved her so much they put Upton on the cover in 2012 and 2013 as well. In 2012, Maxim placed her on their HOT 100 list.

The five most dangerous cities in the U.S.

The state of Michigan holds two spots, but which ones?

America, we congratulate you on yet another increase in poverty rates and violent crimes from East to West Coast. If relocating, the safer of the two coasts would be the East. Reason being, New York and the Carolinas seem to be A-okay. So which cities should you veer away from when deciding between out-of-state colleges or career moves? Here’s the list. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

5. Memphis, Tennessee

– Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,750.0
– Population: 657,436
– 2012 murders: 133
– Poverty rate: 27.2%
– Percentage of adults with high school degree: 83.4%

Oh, Tennessee. Shame on you for letting down country music fans everywhere. As if the south doesn’t get grilled enough for being uneducated and judgmental, now they must worry about whether or not their cars will be stolen in the middle of the night or they’ll be mugged walking down the sidewalk. Then again, mugged isn’t even the worst of it since murders have increased from 2011. Hopefully this realization will be a wake-up call for the “Volunteer State.”

4. St. Louis, Missouri

– Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,776.5
– Population: 318,667
– 2012 murders: 113
– Poverty rate: 27.0%
– Percentage of adults with high school degree: 83.9%

Okay, okay. So their crime rate isn’t as high as it was last year, but St. Louis will always be a city that could use more improvement. There were 80 less violent crimes per 100,000 people from 2011 to 2012.  They’ve shown more improvement in this area than any other city on the list. Officials believe this is due to an increase in police presence in high-crime neighborhoods. So will the “Show-Me State” continue to show us safer roads and neighborhoods? Let’s see how the 2013 census looks come next year.

3. Oakland, California

– Violent crimes per 100,000: 1,993.1
– Population: 399,487
– 2012 murders: 126
– Poverty rate: 21.0%
– Percentage of adults with high school degree: 79.9%

Let’s be honest here, are we really that surprised to see Oakland on the list? From reality cop shows to filling up national news reports, this struggling city seems to have a pattern of the worst crimes nationwide. From 2011, just about every crime has increased. But who can really blame Oakland? In desperate times, the city came up with the bright idea to lay off a significant amount of their police department with a $30.5 million deficit. This here’s “Golden State” doesn’t seem to be so golden. Maybe the drastic increase is just what California needed to reorganize their priorities. Only time will tell.

2. Detroit, Michigan

– Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,122.6
– Population: 707,096
– 2012 murders: 386
– Poverty rate: 40.9%
– Percentage of adults with high school degree: 77.4%

I wish I could say Detroit has seen much improvement over the years, but with the overwhelming increase in poverty and unemployment, residents are currently at a median household income of $25,193. Fortunately for the creative mind, the city is coming in strong with a unique music and arts community. But with the lack of jobs and violence climbing the charts, many are beginning to realize Detroit’s economy is continuously plummeting. Better luck next year for Motor City.

1. Flint, Michigan

– Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,729.5
– Population: 101,632
– 2012 murders: 63
– Poverty rate: 40.6%
– Percentage of adults with high school degree: 82.9%

I don’t know about you, but growing up in the state of Ohio, I never would have thought the birthplace for General Motors (GM) would be number one on the list of most dangerous, crime-filled cities in America. Then again, ever since the state’s economy became non-existent, residents are trying to survive by any means necessary. Sadly, Flints carries a drastic 2,729.5 violent crimes per 100,000 people. If that doesn’t scare you, the city, with a population just over 101,000, brought in 63 total murders and 1,930 aggravated assaults. Between Detroit’s increase in unemployment and Flint’s assault record, the “Great Lakes State” could desperately use a change.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St.