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American Scene: Man in Detroit case not mentally competent
Question of the Day
Man in Detroit explosive case still not mentally competent
MARQUETTE | A judge has ruled that a Michigan man who authorities say placed an explosive outside a federal building in Detroit last year is still not mentally competent to face the charges.
The Mining Journal of Marquette reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Greeley made the determination Tuesday in the case of Gary Mikulich. Judge Greeley made a similar determination in August. Mr. Mikulich, 44, is in custody for treatment to try to improve his mental health.
An email seeking comment was sent Thursday to an attorney for Mr. Mikulich.
Mr. Mikulich, of Kingsford, is charged with leaving a metal box containing explosive components outside the McNamara Federal Building on Feb. 26, 2011. After his arrest, his family said he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 18 years ago and often refuses to take medication.
Police: Woman gave illegal buttocks-enhancing injections
PHILADELPHIA | Police arrested a Philadelphia woman they say gave illegal buttocks-enhancing injections, and investigators are examining her possible connection to the death of a foreign tourist in a similar case last year.
Authorities say Padge Victoria Windslowe faces charges including aggravated assault and deceptive practices following her arrest Wednesday night.
Police say Ms. Windslowe was taken into custody as she prepared to host a “pumping party” where she would illegally inject clients.
Woman gives birth to third Leap Day baby
PROVO | A Utah woman has tied a record after she gave birth on a third consecutive Leap Day.
David and Louise Estes‘ daughter Jade was born Wednesday morning in Provo. The birth comes four years after their son Remington was born Feb. 29, 2008, and eight years after their son Xavier was born Feb. 29, 2004.
Mrs. Estes says Xavier’s Leap Day birthday was a coincidence, but the couple aimed for the birthday with the other children.
Leap Days happen once every four years to account for the 365 days and 6 hours it takes Earth to orbit around the sun.
Student protesters close most of campus
SAN FRANCISCO | Student protesters at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shut down most of the campus Thursday as part of statewide demonstrations against budget cuts to higher education.
Hundreds of students blocked all entrances to the coastal campus and prevented vehicles from entering, said Josh Brahinsky, a graduate student and union representative who helped organize the action.
The protest at Santa Cruz is part of demonstrations being held by college students at about 30 campuses in California and was scheduled to coincide with state budget negotiations, organizers said. Rallies, marches, teach-ins and walkouts to call on lawmakers to restore funding to higher education also were planned.
The campus protests are a prelude to a major “Occupy the Capitol” rally in Sacramento on Monday. Dozens of students and faculty members plan to march roughly 100 miles from the San Francisco Bay area to the state capital in the next few days.
The protesters are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, to reject any budget deal that includes higher education cuts or tuition increases. They also want the governor to support a ballot measure that would raise taxes on millionaires to pay for education and social services.
“We’ve destroyed our tax base and we stopped funding the most important parts of our society,” said UCSC’s Mr. Brahinsky. “We’re calling on the state to tax the wealthy and use that money to build services for all of us.”
The demonstrations were coordinated by ReFund California, a coalition of student groups and labor unions that organized a series of sometimes rowdy campus protests during the fall.
Faulty elevator creates 20-story hike for firefighters
NEW YORK | Malfunctioning elevators forced about 50 New York firefighters to climb 20 stories carrying about 100 pounds of gear each in order to fight a top-story blaze.
The building in Brooklyn is part of public housing, and fire was reported early Thursday. FDNY crews discovered the blaze and tried to call the elevators to get to the top, but they didn’t work.
They hiked up stairs and found an 89-year-old woman in the burning apartment. She was critically injured, but crews were able to revive her and shuttle her down in a basket.
The FDNY says a second resident was treated for smoke inhalation.
Crews had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes. They are investigating why the elevators didn’t work.
Federal judge apologizes for racist Obama email
HELENA | Montana’s chief federal judge apologized for forwarding an email to his friends that contained a joke involving bestiality and President Obama’s mother, but he said the incident stemmed from his dislike of the president, not from racism.
Judge Richard Cebull of Billings forwarded the email from his chambers to six people on Feb. 20, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
Judge Cebull told the newspaper Wednesday that his brother sent him the email, which he forwarded to “old buddies” and acquaintances. The email was prefaced with the message: “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.”
The judge apologized and acknowledged that the content of the email was racist but said he does not consider himself racist, the newspaper reported. He told the Billings Gazette that he did not write the preface to the message.
He said he has treated all people in his courtroom fairly and he has not heard any complaints otherwise.
“The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” Judge Cebull told the newspaper. “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”
Report: Overdose killed 18-year-old Occupy protester
OKLAHOMA CITY | An autopsy of an 18-year-old protester found dead in his tent during an Occupy OKC protest last year shows he died of an accidental morphine overdose.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released the autopsy report Thursday to the Associated Press. It shows that Louis Cameron Rodriguez died of “probable acute morphine toxicity.”
Rodriguez was found dead inside a tent Oct. 31 at a protest at a park in downtown Oklahoma City. He was a member of a group that was protesting wage and wealth disparity that had coordinated with similar Wall Street protests across the country.
According to the autopsy report, witnesses told authorities a passer-by had offered the group morphine and other drugs before Rodriguez died.
Fellow protesters had said Rodriguez was homeless.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
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