Friday, March 23, 2007


EU birthday to mark 'new phase'
How mosquitoes find their targets
Iran accuses Britain over sailors
Documents: Gonzales OK’d firings

Food bank leftovers found in desert
Girl's death stirs debate over psychiatric meds - Kids & Parenting -
Rio Grande on endangered rivers list
Gore warns of 'planetary emergency'
WP: Who's responsible for Gaza?
Bolton talks regime change in Iran
Fierce fighting rages in Mogadishu
Bush, Congress refuse to blink
Senate panel approves White House subpoenas
Mystery creator of anti-Clinton ad ID’d
Official: Talks under way with insurgents
Word on Wikipedia: Trust but verify
Report: Gates wanted to shut Gitmo
U.S.: 15 UK troops seized by Iran

New Miss USA being selected tonight
Britney Spears completes rehab, manager says
Democrats set collision course with Bush
OnStar teams with CDC to help car wreck victims
Your response to Disney's new princess
Bodies dragged, burned in Mogadishu battle
Molester and his parents indicted in boy's death
McCartney is first to sign with Starbucks label
Celebrity lawyer avoids Spector jury duty
Schwarzenegger to Limbaugh: I'm not selling out
Off-duty cop accused of beating female bartender
Movie pirates put bounty on heads of 2 sniffer dogs
Dobbs: 'Showdown' a battle of partisan buffoons
Fierce fighting rages in Somali capital
Unmanned plane finds child sex abuse suspect
Bush threatens to veto Iraq deadline
Diplomats tackle Iran's arrest of sailors
Schneider: Elizabeth Edwards big asset to husband
Weak home prices spur sales
Tainted food will kill more pets, scientists warn
Bush spokesman has growth in abdomen
Rat poison found in pet food
Iranian president cancels U.N. visit

Us Revises Aid Package To Palestinians - Guardian Unlimited
Leader says Iran will retaliate if attacked: report - Reuters
Rice walks narrow line on new Palestinian Cabinet - Daily Star - Lebanon
Paul McCartney Gets Starbucked - IGN
Hamas Seen Gaining Strength - The Jewish Week
Empathy is hard-wired into the mind, study finds - Los Angeles Times
Report raps poor planning for Iraq reconstruction - CNN International
'This American Life' keeps its voice in shift to TV format - Boston Globe
Court Snuffs Internet Smut Law -
Has success spoiled private equity? - International Herald Tribune
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck unveils kinder, gentler menus - KESQ
Musharraf pledged to settle issue of army post: US - Pakistan Dawn
Grizzlies at Yellowstone no longer 'threatened' - USA Today
Iranians detain 15 British sailors - Citrus County Chronicle
Guantanamo Prison Likely to Stay Open Through Bush Term - Washington Post
Rat Poison Found in Food Linked to 14 Animal Deaths - New York Times
Can Elizabeth Edwards Beat The Odds? - FOX News
Gates to get his degree - Seattle Post Intelligencer


Americans support the troops with food, soap, DVDs
British leave, battle erupts over Basra


Creator of anti-Clinton video unmasked
North Korean nuclear talks break down
Senate panel OKs subpoenas for top Bush aides
Rates on 30-year mortgages inch up but still near annual low
Regulators: Oversight of subprime mortgages is lax
Panel: Billions 'wasted' in Iraq reconstruction
Grizzlies at Yellowstone no longer 'threatened'
Drones could defend airports
Geographic center of USA is 'moving'
Israeli poll shows Olmert's party would lose
Rare copy of U.S. Declaration of Independence sells for $477,650
Britain demands Iran release 15 British sailors, marines
Pet food manufacturer to compensate animal owners for medical bills
Officials trace recent spinach E. coli outbreak to California ranch
Weekly paper fills mug shot hunger
Judge rejects defense call for dismissal of Padilla charges


Light bulbs, cars, tax advice and ... subprime mortgages
Goodyear Tire to sell belt, hose business to Carlyle for $1.5 bln
CNN's Soledad O'Brien shuns the 'train wreck' stories
Jim Cramer's big mouth reveals Wall Street at its worst
Auto makers advance, limit downside, in steady Europe trading
Gold marks for first loss in seven sessions, gains for the week
Dollar gains vs. euro after housing data; yen steadies
Nike profit rises, sees weak margins in quarter and year
U.S. stocks post strong weekly gains on Fed boost
Bed Bath & Beyond shares gain with retail sector
Existing-home sales rise 3.9% in February
No lasting impact of subprime woes on credit markets: Geithner
New Century gets a little breathing space from Barclays
The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week
House approves timetable for withdrawing troops

Disney Has Starz in Its Eyes
Open Season on Openwave
Is Monsanto Going to Seed?
Citi Trends Is Trending Upwards: Fool by Numbers
Is It Time to Buy Subprime?
Thumb Your Nose at Subprime Woes
How Much Longer Can Nike Do It?

Iranian Navy Seizes U.K. Marines
DaimlerChrysler Jumps Amid Deal Talk
Maven: Starbucks' Ticket to Ride
Friday's Tech Winners & Losers
Retailers Warm Up to Russia

Disney, startups battle for tweens online
Citigroup said to eye ABN AMRO bid
Carlyle said to create $15B buyout fund
Crude turns higher on Iran report
Home price slump helps spur sales
How you'll pay for renewable power

Should we medicate children?

A troubling story is breaking in the news, about a 4-year-old girl named Rebecca Riley. Rebecca died Dec. 14th, of an over dose of prescription medication. Her parents are being held on charges that they deliberately over medicated Rebecca. The girl, had reportedly been having troubles for a long time, and a number of people around her were concerned, but none of them took enough action to protect her. In the months leading up to her death, she was described by a school nurse as being as floppy as a toy doll. Her mother, Carolyn Riley, kept coming up with reasons that her daughter needed medication, her pharmacist has reported.

While the death in itself is sad. It brings into question the medicating of such young children at all. How can it be known at such a young age, if they are in need of medication, or if they may just be developing at a different pace than their peers. The two fold trap I see for medicating children, is that parents will choose medication as an easy way to handle children they don't have time for. A bigger threat that I see, is what do the terms of mental illness mean at such a young age. If you child is struggling in school, and not bringing home the grades that would make you proud, do they need medication to be a better student. Will parents be giving their children drugs, because they think that if they are not a straight A student, something is wrong with them. The long term question, is that we do not know that long term effects of giving children, in some cases medications that are designed for adults. We do not know how it may adversely effect their developing bodies and brains.

According to the medical examiner, when Rebecca died, the following drugs were found in her system: Clonidine, a blood pressure medication used for ADHD; Depakote, anti-seizure / Bi-polar medication; a cough suppressant and an anti-histamine. The medical examiner said that the amount of Clonidine alone, was enough to be fatal. The two name brand drugs, are approved for adult use, but are often prescribed to children.

Rebecca's parents are defending themselves, saying that they were only following the doctors orders. They told police that Rebecca had been diagnosed with ADHD when she was 2 1/2 years old, and the doctor told her parents to give her the same medication that her older brother and sister. School officials and teachers claim to never have seen behavior that would indicate that the little girl had any of the medical problems her parents are claiming.

How does a child as young as 2 1/2 years old get labeled as being mentally unsound, and in need of medication? The vast majority of the young children I have known have had problems of an attention deficit, but they learn focus as they get older. How much are we medicating children for problems that either don't need to be dealt with, as they will naturally digress, or simple therapy or education could solve?

Prosecutors are claiming that the parents used the medication as a way to control Rebeca, and are charging them with murder for her death. The parents are pointing the finger at their doctor, Dr. Kayoko Kifuji, the doctor claims that Rebecca was diagnosed with ADHD based on family history, description of behaviors from Mrs. Riley and a brief office visit. The family doctor, her license has been suspended pending an investigation, told police that she had become alarmed when Mrs. Riley told her she was increasing Rebecca's dose from 2 tablets to 2 1/2. Kifuji, says that she warned Rebecca's mother that a dose that high could kill her.

According to people who saw the children in the months before Rebecca's death, they all looked listless. The day care that Rebecca stayed at called Mrs. Riley a number of times with concerns about the young girls health, her mother told them Rebecca was tired from not sleeping well.

The lawyer for the family is claiming that they are victims of the doctor, and the system, saying that they trust the advice of the doctor, looking up to them as god. Both the parents were un-employed, and had their own mental health issues. Her father Micheal Riley is awaiting trial on charges of sexually molesting a step-daughter in 2005. Her mother according to reports suffered from depression and anxiety.

While the family is claiming that the doctor prescribed to large a dose for Rebecca, the pharmacy records are showing a different story. In the last year of Rebecca's life, according to the pharmacist, the family was able to get 200 pills more than they should have. Mrs. Riley one time said the pills were lost, the next she said that water had gotten in the bottle and they were ruined. After a few incidents like this the doctor cut the amount to be dispersed from 30 day refills, to 10 day refills. On Aug 16th, Mrs. Riley filed an order for a 10 day refill, even though she had gotten another 10 day refill the day before. The lawyer for the family asserts that some of the pills may have been lost while cutting them in half, or given to Rebecca's siblings.

The most damning evidence may come from those who saw the girl in the days before she died. Rebecca's uncle James McGonnell, who lived with the Riley's said that the children were put to bed sometimes as early as 5 p.m. McGonnell, said that often Rebecca would sleep through the day, waking only to eat. He further supports the claims by the prosecution that pills were given to the children when they were "acting up". The last days of her life, Rebecca spent wondering around the house, sick and disoriented, her parents have said it was just a cold.

Kelly Williams, McGonnell's girlfriend who also lived in the house, told police that the night before Rebecca died, she looked pale and out of it. When the young child knocked on her parents door and called for her mommy, Mr. Riley yelled through a crack in the door for her to go back to her room. McGonnell found his niece later that night, struggling for breath, he wiped the vomit from her mouth and kicked in her parents door. He says he told her parents that they needed to take her to the hospital. Instead her mother gave her more medication.

Rebecca was found dead, on a pile clothes, magazines and a stuffed bear, on her parents' bedroom floor.

A note to you...

I am aware of the fact, that while I have set out to create a blog that would be a place to enable me to be a better writer, I have done little writing here. I have been posting a lot of videos and links because of time for one reason, and two because I need to get a faster computer at home. I am doing most of my work from the school computers at this point.

I hope that this blog is becoming an interesting source of information. My goal is that someone who reads my blog, will know a little about what is going on in the world. I am on the run a lot because of work and school, and I think that a lot of you are on the run a lot as well. I aim to make this a fast source of news, that will keep you informed of the topics that are being discussed, or if you are the type to want to bring up topics with your friends, a source of information on widely covered stories. I also aim to bring new things to your awareness, maybe you love gossip (I do), and you read this page for the gossip, but you see some of the other things and you get interested and expand your taste for news. I have my own slants, and while I am not going to attempt to make this a journal without a slant, in my own life I believe in looking at many sides of the issue. I will do my best to present different sides of an issue, because I believe that as intelligent readers, you want more than the one sides story that you are getting from other sources.

I would love it if you could leave a comment now and then, and let me know how am I doing. If you love something or hate it, something I could be doing better, let me know.

On a side note, I feel compelled to cover the stories of children who are abused in this world. There really is so much sadness in their lives, and in their deaths. While I would love to give them each a tag, for their stories to stand-out, this would lead to the opposite effect. Therefore I am labeling all these stories "Jessica Lunsford", they are all precious.

Casey Johnson

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