Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Overbearing authorities punish father for giving son lemonade

I saw the menu this man looked at when he ordered lemonade for his son.

It said:

If it had been all alcoholic beverages on the menu, I wouldn't buy the man's story that he made a mistake. But who would guess that there would be NO non-alcholic beverages on the menu?

Dad's Oversight Lands Son In Foster Care
April 28, 2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- An Ann Arbor couple's 7-year-old son ended up in foster care over Mike's Hard Lemonade.

Christopher Ratte, 47, a professor at University of Michigan, claims he accidentally gave his son, Leo, some of the alcoholic beverage at Comerica Park a few weeks ago. He said he didn't even know the alcoholic lemonade existed.

"I got a beer for myself and asked Leo if he wanted a lemonade because there is a sign that said, 'Mike's Lemonade,'" said Ratte.

He said he bought his son the drink at the beginning of the Tigers game and it wasn't until the ninth inning when a security guard noticed the bottle in Leo's hand.

The security guard asked Ratte if he knew it contained alcohol. He said he didn't and when he went to grab the bottle out of the child's hand, the security guard grabbed it first.

"It's just the simple fact that I didn’t know this brand and didn’t suspect some of the lemonade sold in ballparks are alcoholic."

A short time later, Ratte was being questioned by Detroit police at Children's Hospital, where the child was taken by ambulance.

The child said he was feeling a little nauseated, but showed no other symptoms of being intoxicated.

The security guard said the boy drank about 12 ounces of the hard lemonade, which is about 5 percent alcohol.

However, the child's bloodwork detected no trace of alcohol.

The child remained in foster care for two days before his mother, Claire Zimmerman, a U-M architecture professor, was able to take their son home as long as the father relocated to a hotel.

It was two more weeks before the father could move back home. The last hearing closed the case.

Ratte and his wife have filed a formal complaint with the Child Protective Services ombudsman's office stating they thought the treatment was excessive.

"Fine this guy bought this drink for his son. We need to look into it, but we don't need to take the most extreme measures," Ratte said in reference to Child Protective Services.

Ratte has apologized for his mistake.


Pillars of the community are sometimes worse than the delinquents

Dungeon case stuns Europe's media

BBC News
April 29, 2008

The events in the eastern Austrian town of Amstetten are front-page news across Europe. As well as disgust at the revelations surrounding the actions of Josef Fritzl, there is disbelief that he escaped the notice of the authorities - and the suggestion that he may have had outside help.

Austria ran out of superlatives to describe the horror suffered by Natascha Kampusch, kidnapped and isolated in a dungeon by her captor for eight long years. Overwhelmed, Austrians will not find words strong enough to convey the monstrous and diabolic history which has played out in secret for three decades at Amstetten.

The Austrians are asking themselves: Why didn't social services, who visited the family several times, notice anything unusual? How could the neighbours who all know each other in this part of town not have realised anything? How was Josef able to live a double life for almost a quarter of a century? And what did his wife, who according to the investigators "didn't ask questions", really know?

What does this say about a community, in which an authority figure can go about breaking this private taboo without any great difficulty for almost a quarter of a century? Is this a society which is afraid to have to look into its own abyss?

The World's Most Evil Dad... the brute whose word was absolute law, locked the door with a code only he knew and cruelly told Elisabeth and the children that it was booby-trapped with explosives.


Neighbours said the three [children] kept above ground were well-balanced and polite members of the police sports club and voluntary fire brigade. Their grandmother, according to many, was a pillar of the community, baking cakes for fetes and becoming an active member of the parent teachers' association at their private school.

How was it possible that Josef Fritzl regularly went on holiday to Thailand for two to three weeks without his prisoners starving in the cellar? Did he handle it completely by himself or did he have help from outside?

You can see the birdcage from the pavement of Dammstrasse... When he wasn't playing the good husband with old Rosemarie, or wasn't too tired from being a good grandfather to the three son/grandsons that he ended up looking after, when he wasn't telling jokes in the bar, watering his lawn, going fishing or helping his neighbours fix their broken kettles, when he wasn't disappearing for hours into the cellar to work, when in reality he was opening up the secret bolt to feed his slaves, when his double face didn't have to divide itself between the normal and the horrific, he also found time for them - those small birds, poor little things.


Monday, April 21, 2008

April 20 birthdays include world's oldest person

Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana turned 115 yesterday. She was born April 20, 1893. Scientists think she's lived so long because of genetics, environment, and not dwelling on stressful events.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Key scientist sure "God particle" will be found soon

Click here for original article
Key scientist sure "God particle" will be found soon
Mon Apr 7, 2008
By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters) - British physicist Peter Higgs said on Monday it should soon be possible to prove the existence of a force which gives mass to the universe and makes life possible -- as he first argued 40 years ago.

Higgs said he believes a particle named the "Higgs boson", which originates from the force, will be found when a vast particle collider at the CERN research centre on the Franco-Swiss border begins operating fully early next year.

"The likelihood is that the particle will show up pretty quickly ... I'm more than 90 percent certain that it will," Higgs told journalists.

The 78-year-old's original efforts in the early 1960s to explain why the force, dubbed the Higgs field, must exist were dismissed at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Today, the existence of the invisible field is widely accepted by scientists, who believe it came into being milliseconds after the Big Bang created the universe some 15 billion years ago.

Finding the Higgs boson would prove this theory right.

CERN's new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) aims to simulate conditions at the time of that primeval inferno by smashing particles together at near light-speed and so unlock many secrets of the universe.

Higgs was in Geneva to visit CERN for the first time in 13 years in advance of the launch...