Mark Levy, Washington DC-based counsel and chair of Kilpatrick Stockton’s Supreme Court, Appellate Advocacy Firm, Commits Suicide in his Office

The law offices of Kilpatrick Stockton had laid off 24 lawyers yesterday and this morning, police and firefighters responded when Mark Levy, Washington DC-based counsel and chair of Kilpatrick Stockton’s Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy practice, shot himself at the DC office. What a selfish SOB. He was reportedly one of the attorneys terminated this week.

His listing on the firm’s web site states that he was a Yale Law School grad, a former member of the Clinton Department of Justice and a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law. The firm employs more than 500 attorneys in ten offices globally: Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia; Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, North Carolina; New York, New York; Washington, DC; Dubai, UAE; London, UK; and Stockholm, Sweden.

I have written pretty extensively about the recent rise in murder-suicides and a common thread is the inability to deal with financial problems. Most of us are struggling to make ends meet right not, but there is no problem that is insurmountable. As I said before, when the going gets tough, we see the true character of many of these people who kill themselves and members of their families.

Georgia Latest State to Confirm Swine Flu Victim, 30-Year Old Female Recently Returned from Cancun, Mexico

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a case of swine flu today at West Georgia Medical System Hospital in LaGrange. I have been on pins and needles wondering when it would come to my neck of the woods. Well, it has arrived. A 30-year old female, who is from Kentucky but visiting relatives in LaGrange, returned from a trip to Cancun, Mexico on April 21. She has been hospitalized in LaGrange since April 26.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Jeff Dore interviewed Jerry Fulks, CEO of West Georgia Medical System Hospital, live on Action News at Noon and Fulks said the patient was put into isolation on April 26 and was still there Thursday.

“The staff that works with her are using masks, gowns and other protection devices,” said Fulks. He said the hospital is not under quarantine. “Our hospital is open; there has been no lockdown,” Fulks said. “We continue to serve the needs of our patients.” Fulks said the patient’s family in LaGrange has been checked and tested negative for swine flu. Source: WSBTV

The CDC lists cases of swine flu in at least 11 other states including Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Meanwhile in Alabama, officials shut down schools for about 31,000 students in Madison County because of two probable cases of swine flu. We are all bracing for more cases in the state and have to stress that people need to exercise proper hygiene — wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.

Four People Pronounced Dead After Car Careens Into Crowd at Dutch Queen Beatrix and her Family’s Motorcade in Apeldoorn

There are some really crazy people living in this world. At least four people were reportedly killed and several hurt in the Netherlands after a car careened into spectators watching a royal motorcade Thursday. A photographer said the car appeared to be deliberately driving at high speed toward an open bus carrying Queen Beatrix and her family in the western Dutch city of Apeldoorn.

Prosecutors said that they believe the incident was deliberate, but not an act of terrorism. They did not indicate a motive or say why the popular queen might have been a target. The driver was a 38-year-old white Dutch male with no police record or history of mental illness, police said and they declined to release his name.

Still developing……

Minnesota’s Freeborn County Crisis Response Team and Rose Olmsted Defend Coloring Book With Smoldering Twin Towers

Once again, FEMA is entangled in another scandal. Rose Olmsted, the coordinator behind a children’s coloring book that was pulled from FEMA’s Web site last week is defending her work, despite its controversial and insensitive cover, which shows a child’s drawing of New York’s Twin Towers on fire with a plane flying toward them.

Minnesota’s Freeborn County Crisis Response Team developed “A Scary Thing Happened,” downloadable coloring book, which was designed to help children cope with disaster, following a local tornado in 2003. It was posted on The Smoking Gun Web site after FEMA took it down last week. Ms. Olmsted said the coloring book has been distributed to “thousands” of children as a way to help them deal with disasters. Even children in Australia colored its pages following that nation’s recent wildfires, she said in an interview with Fox News.

“I stand firm that it was a very well thought-out and useful resource for kids,” Olmsted told FOXNews.com. “But it’s obviously being misinterpreted by a lot of people.”

Olmsted, who acknowledged that no 9/11 victim groups were contacted prior to the release of the 25-page coloring book, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent a letter to her organization six year ago to recognize a job well done.

“It’s not distributed to just any child — it’s intended to be used in a number of ways, with parents reading it, pastors, Boy Scout leaders,” Olmsted said. “Kids of coloring age have a difficult time speaking about their experiences. When they’re drawing, it’s much easier for them to speak about their experiences, and it’s very useful in that context.” Olmsted suggested that the controversy over the book was linked to Monday’s flyover of Lower Manhattan by a presidential plane and an F-16 jet. Source: Fox News

Why am I not surprised that nobody from FEMA realized that picture was very insensitive to the victims of September 11 and their families. Teaching kids how to handle traumatic events should be done in a toned-down manner, not with something as violent as the terrorist attacks that crippled this country for weeks, with the effects still lingering today. I don’t think the idea of using that depiction was malicious. It was just not done in good taste.

Vice President Joe Biden Says He Would Tell His Family to Avoid Subways, Planes after Swine Flu Outbreak

Vice President Joe Biden is at it again. He’s stirring up a hornet’s nest and that’s not what we need right now. Unless, of course, he has information the general public is not privy to, or I am inclined to believe, he’s just up to his usual tricks. He said that he would not recommend taking any commercial flight or riding in a subway car “at this point” because swine flu virus can spread “in confined places.” A little more than one hour later, Biden rushed out a statement backing off.“I would tell members of my family – and I have – I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said on NBC’s “Today” show. These comments were clearly ill-timed and not smart. Of course, he said that would be in response to if asked by a family member. He has surpassed even his most outlandish gaffe with these comments.

“It’s not that it’s going to Mexico. It’s [that] you’re in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. That’s me. … “So, from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation. If you’re out in the middle of a field when someone sneezes, that’s one thing. If you’re in a closed aircraft or closed container or closed car or closed classroom, it’s a different thing.” he added.

Aren’t his comments a direct contradiction to the more restrained advice from President Barack Obama and the federal government? Isn’t the last thing the White House needs at this moment is Joe Biden startling people enough to cause mass hysteria across this country by shutting down the airline industry and big city subways? All I can say is that every American should practice proper hygiene. Keep your hands washed, cover your mouth when you cough and cover your nose when you sneeze.

Elizabeth Marie Grube, 70, and Sister, Elaine Volkert, 65, Arrested On Drug Heroin Charges

Sisters Elizabeth Marie Grube & Elaine Volkert. CBS

Talk about grannies gone wild! Elizabeth Marie Grube, 70, and her 65-year-old sister, Elaine Volkert, from Monroe County, Pa., have been arrested for allegedly distributing heroin and are facing drug charges after being arrested on April 14. According to CBS 3, investigators seized 400 bags of heroin with a street value of $8,000 and more than $2,000 from the home of Grube in the 1000 block of Ehler Street. On the same day, a task force seized 988 bags of heroin with a street value of $20,000 and approximately $1,600 in cash from Volkert’s home also in the 1000 block of Ehler Street. Whoa. This is heavy-duty stuff!

Police reportedly also seized quantities of Oxycontin and marijuana during the search. According to investigators, both Grube and Volkert had been selling between 500 and 1,500 bags of heroin every two weeks for the past two months. Police said that prior to selling heroin, the sisters had been selling crack cocaine.

Two days after the sisters were arrested, their supplier, Julio Cesar Checo, was taken into police custody. Grube and Volkert have been charged with possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin) and criminal conspiracy. Bail was set at $20,000.Checo was charged with Possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin), criminal conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility (cell phone). He is being held on $75,000 bail. Source: CBS3.com

This is major and these two women, if found guilty, should be locked up for a long time. Wait, a long time won’t really be that long now, will it? The last thing one would expect to see are senior citizens being a part of the drug trade.

U.S. House passes ‘Matthew Shepard Act’ Hate Crimes Bill, as GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx Calls his Murder a "Hoax"

After steep opposition from the Republicans in the House of Representatives, the Matthew Shepard Act was passed. The bill will now make its way to the Senate, who will come up with its own version. I have no doubt that it will pass here as well, but I am sure with a great deal of opposition from the GOP.

The “Matthew Shepard Act.” The bill, which was introduced in 2007, was named after Matthew Wayne Shepard who died on October 12, 1998. He was twenty-one at the time of death. His killers are currently serving life behind bars. During the trial, witnesses said that Shepard was attacked because of his sexual preferences, which was a travesty and a hate crime.

The real drama came from GOP Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina who referred to Matthew Shepard’s hate-motivated murder as “a hoax.” Voters in her district need to note her incendiary comments about the bill and vote accordingly when she comes up for re-election. She owes the family and all other victims of hate-crimes an apology. This is a disgrace and she should be called out on it.

According to Reuters, , the vote passed through the US House by 249-175. That means one-hundred and seventy-five House Representatives had given their opposition to the bill, of which the Republicans had a large number of detractors. Opponents of the bill have said that it is discriminatory. In this piece, GOP Representative Trent Franks of Arizona said the bill puts equal protection in danger. He added that it destroys equality of protection amongst all groups. Really Trent Franks? So, I guess my question to him is what really constitute a hate crime?

Franks gave the argument that this bill if signed into law would undermine equal protection. He made the argument that handing out justice to perpetrators of a crime will end up depending on gender, ethnicity, sexual preferences, and so forth. So, I am guessing that the whole notion of a hate crime is moot to him and we should just sit by and watch people get hurt or even killed and just shrug our shoulders. Contrary to the flawed argument from the Republicans, this bill will strength civil rights protections.

Fox Broadcasting Will Not Air President Obama’s Speech

The Fox Network is not showing President Obama’s speech tonight. Fox is the only major network not airing the speech. Fox’s sister channels, Fox News and Fox Business channels will both air the speech. The speech is said to cost the networks an estimated $21.5 million dollars in revenue for the prime time slot of 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM according to Nielsen.

The other networks are airing the speech commercial free and in its entirety on its regular TV channels as well as its news channels. So is this a financial decision for Fox or is this Fox’s way of “sticking” it to the Obama administration?

I think it is fine. In the day of satellite and cable television, I think it is OK for a non-cable channel to offer something different for the many Americans that are completely clueless to the fact that the country is in a deep recession, war is threatening on every front and that there could possibly be a pandemic going on. Provide them with something else to watch. They need it.

23-Month Old Boy in Texas 1st Confirmed Casualty of Swine Flu Disease in the U.S.A., Edgar Hernandez, "Patient Zero," Identified in Village in Mexico

There is some very sad news to report this morning. We have our first death from the swine flu. Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a two-year old child from Texas has become the first fatality from the swine flu in the United States. As a parent, my heart goes out to the family of this child and I am very concerned for what the near future holds for each of us across this nation. Besser said on CNN this morning that the CDC is not changing its recommendations as a result of the confirmed swine flu death. Watch Besser assess the situation »

“I expect we’ll see more cases,” Besser said. “And as we do, we’ll learn more about this, and if there needs to be more stringent or less stringent recommendations, we’ll be making those.”

The only other confirmed swine flu deaths have been seven in Mexico, out of more than 112 confirmed swine flu cases worldwide. “Given what we’ve seen in Mexico, we have expected that we would see more severe infections and would see deaths,” Besser said. However, he stressed that people should maintain their perspective on the swine flu outbreak.

“Seasonal flu each year causes tens of thousands of deaths in this country — on average, about 36,000 deaths,” Besser said. “And so this flu virus in the United States, as we’re looking at it, is not acting very differently from what we saw during the flu season.” Source: CNN

It is really scary how this outbreak has spread across four continents in a short period of time. Health officials reportedly said they think they may have found “patient zero,” Edgar Hernandez, 5, in the global outbreak in the village of La Gloria in the mountains of Mexico, where he resides with his family.

As of Wednesday morning, the World Health Organization said at least 112 cases have been confirmed worldwide. On Tuesday it listed 105 cases, including those in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom. Additional cases have been reported in Germany and Costa Rica.

Separately, U.S. pork producers have discovered that the name of the virus is bad for their business. U.S. officials want the name changed from swine flu. At a recent news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the “H1N1 virus.” “This is not a food-borne illness, virus. It is not correct to refer to it as swine flu because really that’s not what this is about,” Vilsack said.

According to Reuters, Israel has already rejected the name swine flu, and opted to call it “Mexico flu.” Jewish dietary laws forbid eating pork. The World Organization for Animal Health also objected to the name, saying the virus contains avian and human components and no pig so far has been found ill with the disease. There is growing sentiment in the farm sector to call it the North American virus, though, according to Reuters, disease expert Anthony Fauci told a Senate hearing the “swine flu” designation reflected scientific naming protocol.

To read more on Edgar Hernandez, CLICK HERE.

Michelle Malkin, Neal Boortz, Glenn Beck, Other Right Wing Commentators Using Swine Flu to Promote Racism against Illegal Mexican Immigrants

The conservative right wing nutjobs like columnist Michelle Malkin, radio show hosts Neal Boortz and Michael Savage, as well as the lunatic Glenn Beck need to be put in check sooner rather than later for spewing racist hatred by stating illegal immigrants are responsible for carrying swine flu across the Mexican border and infecting innocent Americans. Lost in all Michelle Malkin’s babble is the fact that she is the product of an immigrant family and her lack of empathy for immigrants is insulting and hypocritical, to say the least. These people have sunk to a new low and that’s just pitiful. There is no evidence to support such scurrilous claims but this has not deterred these morons from spreading these accusations faster than the contagion itself.

Here is a sampling of the racist accusations:

“Illegal aliens are bringing in a deadly new flue strain. Make no mistake about it,” blares Michael Savage.

“I’ve blogged for years about the spread of contagious diseases from around the world into the US as a result of uncontrolled immigration,” writes Michelle Malkin.

“What happens if there’s a rash of deaths in Mexico… and if you’re a family in Mexico and people are dying and Americans are not, why wouldn’t you flood this border?” announces Glenn Beck.

There is more. These idiots are also trying to convince their audiences that Islamic terrorists have somehow been able to do what has eluded scientists elsewhere in the world, the ability to concoct a deadly new flu virus, and then miraculously introduce it into the Mexican population.

“What better way to sneak a virus into this country than to give it to Mexicans….then spread a rumor there there are construction jobs here, and there they come,” says Boortz.

Savage — “make no mistake about it” — believes that radical Islamic countries planted the virus in Mexico knowing that humans make the “perfect mules for bringing the strain into America.” Source: The Huffington Post

Their comments are idiotic and deeply divisive at the same time. They owe the Mexican people an apology. Why would the terrorist groups single out Mexicans instead of Americans if they were able to create this new bio-terrorist flu? Geez, I guess these morons didn’t bother to think of that little detail. Here’s another gem. Isn’t Mexico City, the epicenter of this outbreak, hundreds of miles from the US border? Lastly, didn’t the eight students from New York City contract the disease after a trip to Cancun, Mexico? Who are the real idiots now? Michelle Malkin, Neal Boortz, Mike Savage and Glenn Beck are spreading something far more vile than swine flu — deep-rooted hatred and that’s a very dangerous thing.