Happy Friday! I've got the latest in Ebola (spoiler alert: the news isn’t good), the latest in White House security, a very tragic story involving a child on life support, and the sentencing of the most hated housewife in America and her husband.
Are these stories interesting? Infuriating? Does this Ebola thing scare the crap out of you? Let me know in the comments or tweet my way @AmandaLauren.
Earlier this week, I reported on the Ebola patient who is currently being treated in Dallas. I have lots of new information for you. Thomas Eric Duncan is a 42-year-old Liberian citizen who came to the United States to visit family. Back in Liberia, reports say he was exposed to the virus when he helped carry a pregnant woman who was reportedly infected home after she was turned away from a local hospital because there wasn’t a bed in the Ebola ward to treat her.
Duncan was experiencing symptoms on September 24 and went to the hospital in Dallas, but he was sent home. According to his family members, he began vomiting. Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids and this may have infected his entire family. They are all being quarantined at home and will need to submit to blood testing. In fact, it is estimated that 100 people came into contact with Duncan. Currently, there are 12 to 18 people are being monitored for Ebola symptoms, 5 of whom are children.
But it gets worse. According to Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority, Duncan lied on his Ebola screening form, saying he checked “no” when asked if he had come into contact with someone who may be infected. Kesselly said:
He lied on his form. If he had answered truthfully, he would have been sent to secondary screening immediately and not allowed to leave.
Duncan may be prosecuted when he returns to his country -- if he returns to his country.
The Secret Is Out
Julia Pierson, who was the first female director of the Secret Service, resigned on Wednesday after a huge lapse in White House security on September 19th. Omar Gonzalez, an Iraq war veteran, jumped the fence and then entered the White House through an unlocked door, wielding a knife and sending Secret Service on a wild chase. When Gonzalez entered the door, an alarm should have been heard, but it was turned down because White House Usher’s Office complained it was too loud. Furthermore, dogs should have been released to stop Gonzalez, but the security nixed the idea because were too many people around. Joe Clancy has been named as Pierson's replacement.
Orange Is The New Jersey
Back in March, Real Housewife of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice pleaded guilty to a laundry list of charges including mail and wire fraud. Their sentencing finally took place yesterday after a long day in court filled with delays (the Twitterverse couldn’t handle the anticipation, trust me, I was there). Joe received 41 months in prison, and Teresa received 15 months. Joe will have to pay $414,588.90 in restitution, as well as enter an alcohol treatment program in prison.
Because the couple has four young daughters ranging from the age 5 to 13, the judge will allow them to serve staggered sentences, so there will be always be a parent available to take care of the girls.
Teresa Giudice broke down in court, begging the judge for leniency, saying her life was now ruined and she was in a deep depression. She said she didn’t care about handbags, which was a reference to a nearly $2,500 one she carried on a recent episode of the show. However, there were reports that Giudice didn’t actually buy the bag and it was loaned to her for production. The judge addressed her saying, "I need to send a message. In the eyes of the law it doesn't matter who you are. There are consequences to pay."
Teresa will have to turn herself in on January 5th to serve her sentence first. The judge was lenient on Teresa, as sentencing guidelines usually require 21-27 months of lockup.
Family of Brain Dead Oakland Teenager Wants Her Declared Alive
Ten months ago, Jahi McMath, 13, of Oakland, California, was declared brain dead after going into cardiac arrest as a result of a routine throat surgery. Jahi’s brain damage was so severe that doctors and the courts agreed there was no chance she could ever survive off life support. The coroner even signed off on the girl’s death certificate. Because she was legally dead, her doctors then wanted to take Jahi off life support. However, the girl’s parents refused to accept that their daughter would never wake up again.
The family went to court to keep her on life support. Their request was denied, but after an appeal, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ultimately agreed to release Jahi to her mother, Latasha "Nailah" Winkfield because attorneys argued that her religious and privacy rights were being violated under the Uniform Determination of Death Act. Jahi was released with a ventilator and intravenous fluid lines. Because the girl’s heart still beating, her mother still sees her as alive. Wikifield also argued that because her daughter moved her arms and legs, she was not dead, although doctors testified in court that limb movement isn’t uncommon in brain dead patients.
Since her transfer, Jahi has been staying in a Roman-Catholic hospital in New Jersey, which has been privately funded. But now, after 10 months, the family’s attorney has filed papers to have her declared alive again. Why does this matter so much? If she is declared alive, Jahi will be entitled to disability benefits, which basically means keeping her on life support, will be at the taxpayers’ expense.
The Family’s attorney, Chris Dolan says:
[Tests] show that Jahi has brain activity and is not brain dead – that is an improvement from being brain dead. She also responds to her mother’s voice.
The family is expected to have a press conference on October 3rd.
• If you live in San Francisco, congrats -- you have 32 new free WiFi hotspots courtesy of Google, who paid $608,000 to the city to fund this project.
• Michael Dunn was found guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old black teenager. In 2012, Dunn, who is white, shot Davis at a gas station because he was playing music too loudly from his car.
• On Wednesday, California officially entered its fourth consecutive year of drought. The New York Times reported that East Porterville has been out of water for five months now and the residents have had to rely on bottled water and donations to survive.