CDC lab director resigns after anthrax incident

(CNN) — The head of the bioterrorism lab involved in potentially exposing dozens of workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to deadly anthrax bacteria has resigned.

Michael Farrell, who headed the Bioterrorism Rapid Response and Advanced Technology (BRRAT) Laboratory, submitted his resignation Tuesday, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told CNN. He had been reassigned from his post last month, after the anthrax incident was made public.

The CDC says the potential anthrax exposure happened between June 6 and June 13. The BRRAT lab had been preparing anthrax samples for use in two other labs on the CDC’s Atlanta bursa campus and failed to adequately deactivate the samples.

According to a CDC investigation report, the exposure happened because the lab didn’t use an approved sterilization technique. It didn’t have a written plan reviewed by senior staff to make sure all safety protocols were followed, and there was a limited knowledge of peer-reviewed literature about the process that would make it less dangerous. The lab also did not have a standard operating procedure that would make sure the transfer of the material would be safe.

Bottom line, “the scientists failed to follow a scientifically derived and reviewed protocol that would have assured the anthrax was deactivated,” CDC escort Director Tom Frieden said. It “should have happened, and it didn’t.”

CDC director grilled over safety issues

USDA finds more CDC lab problems

Police: 25-pound boy nearly starved, beaten by family

(CNN) — A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy beaten for sneaking food was nearly starved and weighed only 25 pounds when he arrived at a hospital, authorities said. The boy sometimes ate insects he caught on his porch.

The boy’s mother, Mary Rader, 28, and his grandparents, Dennis and Deana Beighley, turned themselves in at the Mercer County District Attorney’s office Wednesday. They were charged with aggravated assault, unlawful restraint of a minor, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy, according to court documents.

The Sharon Herald reported Saturday that child welfare authorities took the Greenville boy to a hospital last month after he was found looking like a human skeleton.

“The child was starved,” Dr. Jennifer Wolford of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Child Advocacy Center was quoted as saying in a criminal complaint. She described the boy as “the worst case of medical neglect that I have ever seen in my seven years as a pediatrician.”

The unidentified boy lived with his mother and grandparents and three siblings — two sisters, ages 4 and 11, and a 9-year-old brother, the paper reported.

The two girls appeared healthy, the criminal complaint said. The brother was underweight though not as severely as the victim.

Since June 6, hospital officials said the boy has gained 20 pounds, The Herald reported.

“The most important medicine used to treat him at the hospital was food,” Wolford said in the complaint. “He was within a month of having a major cardiac event that he probably would not have recovered from . … It is impossible to me that this severe neglect and active abuse was not visible. He was being starved in his own home around others of normal weight.”

Rader and the Beighleys turned themselves into authorities with attorney James Stranahan, who did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Saturday.

According the complaint, Rader was home-schooling the victim. The only time he was allowed outside was to be on the back porch, where he sometimes fed on bugs. The boy was only given small portions of tuna fish and eggs.

The victim was often beaten with a belt, sometimes for sneaking bread and peanut butter without permission, the complaint said. He also was punished with ice-cold showers.

The mother and grandparents — who were released on bond — will appear before District Judge Brian Arthur on July 30.

The children have been placed in the care of child welfare authorities.

Caretaker now charged with murder in torture, killing of bursa New York eskort boy, 4

You pay taxes, corporations don’t

Apple typically makes news at its annual Worldwide Developers conference (WWDC), held each spring. Click through this gallery for highlights from past WWDCs.

Editor’s note: Martha Pease is CEO of, which advises companies on strategy. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — Some of the world’s most well-known companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Boots and Starbucks have become successful partly by convincing us through their products that their corporate values align with consumers’ personal values.

But what happens when these companies behave in ways that seem to betray our trust? What if you find out that these companies keep their huge profits offshore and out of reach of domestic tax authorities?

Will people challenge them — “You want to change the world and have us pick up the tab?” Yes, people are voicing their discontent. At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, protesters loudly criticized Apple for keeping $54.4 billion offshore to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes.

GE, Microsoft, Citigroup and Medtronic are other high-profile companies have also come under scrutiny and criticism for similar tax avoidance behavior.

The fact is that over $2 trillion in U.S. corporate profits is parked offshore. This should infuriate many law-abiding, taxpaying citizens. What’s the justice in this?

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it aptly when he said that lost tax revenue “has to be made up by you and me and every other taxpayer who can’t afford high-flying attorneys and accountants to shift our income into places with low taxes.”

Of course, the companies don’t see it that way and deserve a hearing. For them, it’s a difficult business dilemma. The U.S. is alone among developed nations in requiring double taxation for corporations. U.S.-based companies face a 39% corporate tax rate — the highest in the developed world — and are required to pay tax twice on foreign profits: once to the country in which the revenue was made, and a second time to the U.S. if and when the money is brought back.

Corporations say they keep so much profit offshore because they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profits by any legally allowed means, including avoiding taxes.

Meanwhile, consumers watch critically as companies play out their tax avoidance strategies — from protecting foreign profits to actually moving their headquarters to other countries.

Apple, for example, has an extremely proactive corporate tax avoidance strategy that allowed the company to pay an effective tax rate of 12.6% — one of the lowest among U.S. corporations. Seventy percent of Apple’s profits — and $54.4 billion in earnings — are allocated overseas through subsidiaries in countries with much lower rates (like Ireland and the Netherlands) and out of the grasp of U.S. tax authorities.

Repatriating Apple’s offshore money would cost the company about $18.4 billion and increase its effective tax rate to 33.8%. Citigroup would have had to pay $11.7 billion in additional U.S. taxes had it brought back $43.8 billion in 2013.

Other companies choose to move to avoid paying taxes or receive a lower tax rate. Medtronic, which makes medical device technology, plans to move its headquarters to Europe after a merger with Covidien, a non-U.S. company. Medtronic will then enjoy a corporate tax rate much lower than in the U.S.

The trend among large companies these days to embrace social responsibility and transparency leads people to expect them to behave, well, more responsibly. So it is ironic that some of the biggest companies are shirking taxes on their profits.

But people notice. Advocacy groups in the UK and U.S. are targeting tax-avoiding companies by personalizing the impact of lost tax revenue in terms easy for citizens to rally around. The group US Uncut has pointed out that Apple’s fair share of U.S. tax on offshore profits in 2011 could have paid salaries for 90,000 teachers. Boots’ $1.2 billion revenue sheltered from UK taxation could have funded salaries for 85,000 nurses at the National Health Service.

As Ralph Nader and Cesar Chavez showed us in the 1960s, activist voices can galvanize consumers and fuel them with the spirit of populism. People with a tangible target for their general financial dissatisfaction may equate these companies — and business leaders — with the glaring inequality of our time.

In a recent Politico piece, Seattle’s billionaire investor Nick Hanauer warned that Americans may one day come after the tech and money plutocracy with pitchforks. History shows that it’s impossible for the very wealthy to predict when consumer unhappiness can boil over into outright upheaval. He predicts that moment is coming.

Companies that are out of sync with their consumers’ values — even in their legitimate self-interest — are at risk of having a center that cannot hold over time. That could be detrimental to their business in the long term.

In Britain, for example, Starbucks saw a 29% drop in the company reputation score, from +3 to -26, after a Reuters report that showed the chain paid no tax on 1.2 billion pounds in sales and claimed to have made no profit in Britain after 14 years of operations.

That probably wasn’t the smartest move. Companies that try to hide their profits, through whatever loophole, risk testing the goodwill of consumers.

More and more, young people care about a company’s values. More than half of the millennials recently surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers said they would consider leaving an employer if its social responsibility and values no longer matched their own. Millennials are important to the growth of any company, as consumers and as prospective employees.

Companies that spend millions to control their images and public narratives by being in touch with consumers may end up being perceived as out of touch if they keep avoiding paying taxes. Consumers may not storm the barricades and topple Apple stores, or forgo their morning coffee, but they will crave economic justice, and they will press for changes.

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Getting to know the Mississippi Delta Escort

Blues music permeates the Mississippi Delta. Struggles with slavery, segregation, civil rights and poverty in this stretch of the South go hand in hand with the woeful tunes. Guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is shown here performing in Clarksdale.

Editor’s note: World-renowned chef, best-selling author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain has returned for the third season of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” The series, shot entirely on location, airs on CNN on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

The Mississippi Delta is a storied region that sets the standard for all things Southern, good and bad.

The hospitality can be effusive, almost overwhelming, and the food is delicious and more varied than the usual deep-fried clichés. King Cotton sprouted from the fertile farmland that still dominates the region, as did the hard-luck chants of the field workers that evolved into America’s original music form: the blues.

But the Delta has another, less kindly reputation. The Civil War and the civil rights struggle left deep wounds and, even today, some of America’s most brutal, entrenched poverty and racism thrives here.

Agriculture jobs have been drying up since mechanization replaced human labor, and foreign competition continues to drive out other local industries. Since 1940, the Delta’s population has shrunk by nearly half.

Yet for all its woes, visitors flock here from all over the world to soak up the raw authenticity  in rollicking juke joints, plate-lunch cafes and boarded-up towns with markers revealing the stories of blues legends, civil rights heroes and history-making moments that changed the nation.

Living in the Delta is hard. Touring it is easy as long as you’re not shy about asking the insiders you meet along the way for tips. They’re always happy to share, and they will often bend your ear with colorful stories for as long as you’ve got the time to listen.

Here are 10 things to know about the Delta:

1. Geography shapes the culture.

This leaf-shaped section in the northwest quadrant of Mississippi is bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the ridgeline of hills to the east, just beyond the Yazoo River. The delta is formed by the confluence of the two main rivers just below Vicksburg.

The Delta essayist David Cohn summed up his native region more prosaically when he wrote that “the Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg.”

A 250-mile stretch of Highway 61 — also known as the Blues Highway — connects these two landmarks: one a legendary plush hotel, the other a riverbank once occupied by shacks that have since been replaced by a children’s park. Those north and south endpoints also represent opposite ends of the social spectrum: the very wealthy white planters and the very poor black laborers.

This economic gap has always been part of the region’s identity. Rather than disguise it, Delta leaders have put that painful past out for the world to see.

The gravesite of Fannie Lou Hamer, who fought for African-Americans’ right to vote, has been turned into a historic site.

The Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County offers a driving tour of the events surrounding the 1955 racially-motivated murder of a 14-year-old African-American boy accused of whistling at a white woman. The courthouse in Sumner, where an all-white, all-male jury found two white men not guilty of the killing, will soon be opened as a museum in the victim’s honor.

2. The Mississippi Delta’s unofficial capital is in Tennessee.

Memphis, which stands on a bluff just across the Mississippi state line, was built on the cotton fortunes from the rich farmland to the south. It’s the logical place to begin a Delta adventure.

In its early days, Delta slaves, and later sharecroppers, grew and picked the cotton; Memphis businessmen marketed and sold it. Likewise, the blues songs that grew organically in Mississippi fields became sheet music, and later recordings, in Memphis, inspiring Elvis Presley and other rock ‘n’ roll pioneers.

The connection between the city and its rural neighbors remains palpable — in the music, the food and the hospitality.

Stroll along Beale Street, the historic gathering place for early blues musicians that’s now one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions. Stax Museum, Sun Studio, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Gibson Guitar Factory and Graceland further amplify the significance of the blues on American music.

Check out the sobering exhibits at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.

3. Once out of Memphis, the terrain turns startlingly flat.

That’s because it is a floodplain. There are no superhighways; most of the thoroughfares are pencil-straight two-lane blacktops.

Photo ops of old tumbledown shacks and other relics abound. Film crews love it, too. “The Help” was one of many movies filmed here, and the city of Greenwood still offers tours where the scenes were shot.

With so little traffic, the temptation to step on the gas pedal is great. But don’t do it. You never know when an errant deer might pop into your headlights.

4. Big Muddy is the Delta’s lifeblood.

A grassy levee forms a wall concealing the Mississippi River from the main thoroughfares, so you might forget it’s there. But its impact is evident everywhere you turn. It has delivered the region abundance and washed it away in cataclysmic floods.

Steamboats brought ethnic influences from all over. Italian, Lebanese, Jewish and Chinese communities thrived. It also created a culture for gambling, which became legal in the early ’90s and helped jump-start its economy. Neon-lit casinos transformed Tunica County, once so impoverished it was dubbed “America’s Ethiopia,” into “the Las Vegas of the South.”

There are other ways to experience river culture that don’t involve slot machines. On the Sunflower River in downtown Clarksdale, John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company leads river expeditions in hand-carved boats.

5. Antebellum mansions are rarities.

Most of the stately plantation homes were destroyed by flood or fire and the ones that remain are largely abandoned.

Tourists seeking the white-columned grandeur of the mint julep set must keep driving until they reach Vicksburg, home of the National Military Park and a dozen or so grand old residences standing regally atop steep hills, immaculately restored for touring.

6. The blues are alive and well.

Much of the credit for the explosion in blues tourism goes to actor Morgan Freeman, a native son who still lives in the area and has sunk a portion of his fortune into local revitalization efforts.

In 2000, he and business partner Bill Luckett (who’s also mayor of Clarksdale) started a fine dining restaurant called Madidi and later Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, the town most famous for cultivating blues talent. It was at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49 in the center of town where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius.

Roger Stolle, a longtime blues aficionado and music promoter from St. Louis, came here soon after Freeman’s ventures gained national buzz. His Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art store has become a magnet for blues lovers the world over. Stolle is a tireless booster of all things Delta, responsible for starting the Juke Joint Festival and many other music events. On his website,, you’ll find a detailed calendar of blues-related activities.

Though Madidi closed in 2012, the graffiti-covered former cotton grading warehouse that is now Ground Zero is still hopping and new restaurants and businesses keep popping up. While Ground Zero appeals to the masses (and has some great Southern food, too), blues experts like Stolle can direct you to the few remaining authentic juke joints, such as Red’s Lounge a few blocks away.

Po’ Monkey’s, farmer Willie Seaberry’s backwoods sharecropper shack closer to the Delta’s center near Merigold, serves beer from a cooler and has a DJ that plays blues and old-school R&B. Plastered with posters and strung with Christmas lights, with a sea of stuffed monkeys hanging from the ceiling, it provides an ambience like no other.

No blues tour is complete without a stop at the state-of-the-art B.B. King Museum and Interpretive Center in Indianola, opened in 2008 to honor the blues legend’s life, and the history-making events in the community where he grew up. Club Ebony, right around the corner, is the blues club where King got his start.

7. Deltans have their own style of dining.

Besides fried chicken and sweet tea, the flavors borrow heavily from New Orleans and Italy, where many of its residents can trace their roots.

But dining out in the Delta is just as much about the experience as the taste. Deltans love to surround themselves with hunt club taxidermy, vintage high school class portraits and old farm equipment painted and turned into art.

A love of good home-cooked food inspired Greenwood entrepreneur Fred Carl Jr. to invent a restaurant-quality home range that would become the Viking Range Corporation, his hometown’s biggest business success story since the fall of cotton.

The Viking-owned Alluvian is a European-style boutique hotel anchored by a historic Italian restaurant, Giardina’s, arguably the classiest restaurant in the Delta. Viking’s flagship cooking school across the street sealed its reputation as a sophisticated foodie magnet. Carl has since sold Viking but remains invested in other local restaurant properties.

But long before Viking came to Greenwood, there was Lusco’s, a former grocery store that’s been serving fat steaks and butter sauce-drenched pompano since Prohibition days. Back then, planters came through the back door to eat, gamble and drink Papa Lusco’s special brew in curtained rooms. The illegal hooch is gone, but the private curtained rooms with buzzers on the wall for summoning the wait staff remain. Nearby, the Crystal Grill has been drawing old-timers and newcomers alike for just as long with their Old South entrees and mile-high meringue pies.

Both Lusco’s and the Crystal Grill rank near the top of most Southern food bucket list recommendations, as does Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, a legendary steakhouse in a proudly run-down old grocery store that’s as famous for its tamales as its porterhouses.

8. The Delta has inspired writers and artists of all genres.

The region figures in the works of William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and a host of other Mississippi-born writers. Greenville in particular prides itself on its homegrown literary talent: William Alexander Percy, his nephew Walker Percy, who lived with him as a youth after his parents died; Shelby Foote, Hodding Carter, David Cohn, Angela Jackson, Ellen Douglas and Julia Reed.

Willie Morris was raised in Yazoo City and Tennessee Williams spent a chunk of his childhood in Clarksdale, where a Tennessee Williams Festival is held each year.

Several obscure but rewarding museums pay tribute to other notable Delta artists. Mama’s Dream World museum in Belzoni shows “picture memories” of rural Delta life hand-stitched by folk artist Ethel Wright Mohamed, whose work has been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. The Jim Henson Museum in Leland honors the Muppets creator, whose Sesame Street characters are based on the creatures he discovered on the banks of Deer Creek where he once played.

Merigold is home to the world-famous McCarty’s Pottery started 60 years ago in an old mule barn.

9. Unique lodging enhances the Delta experience.

A night or two at the plush Alluvian in Greenwood is a luxurious treat. Other towns, especially Clarksdale, offer funkier accommodations that make you feel like you’re sleeping in a museum.

The Riverside Hotel, set behind a broken Schlitz sign and a blues marker noting its history as the hospital where blues singer Bessie Smith died from injuries sustained in a car wreck, is homey, hospitable and filled with nostalgia.

The Shack Up Inn on the Hopson Plantation began as a few refurbished sharecroppers’ shacks, and it now offers lodging in renovated cotton gin bins. An old commissary on the premises has been transformed into the Juke Joint Chapel where live music plays.

Newer options continue to push the eccentricity. The Squeezebox, a former downtown storefront, has just opened as a guest suite where the décor includes a gold-painted parking meter, a lamp with a zebra-patterned shade and a flute as a base and an X-ray table converted into a headboard with images of blues men.

10. Hot tamales are a can’t-miss culinary icon.

Don’t even think of leaving the Delta without trying a hot tamale!

Everybody loves these spicy, cigar-shaped cylinders of meat-filled cornmeal dough. They are sold in roadside kiosks, soul food cafes and expensive steak houses as appetizers, always with saltines and hot sauce.

For more on how these shuck-wrapped sensations earned their place in Delta culture,check out Eatocracy’s take on tamales. Escort

Woman recants Conor Oberst rape story: ‘I made up those lies’

Conor Oberst, pictured in 2011, filed a defamation lawsuit against Joan Faircloth in February.

(CNN) — A woman who accused Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst of raping her when she was a teenager a decade ago now says she made the story up.

Joan Faircloth sent a notarized statement to Oberst’s lawyer Monday recanting what she wrote online starting last December.

“The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false,” the Durham, North Carolina, woman wrote. “I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness.”

The allegations were “republished by countless media outlets around the world, thus further perpetuating the untrue depiction of Oberst as a rapist,” said a defamation lawsuit filed by Oberst against Faircloth in February. “To add insult to injury, certain media outlets published stories in which Faircloth’s defamatory false statements were characterized as true, and in which Oberst’s fans were actually encouraged to stop supporting his musical career.”

Court records show that Faircloth never responded to Oberst’s lawsuit, which called her a “pathological liar” and asked for at least $1 million in damages. A judge issued a default judgment in Oberst’s favor earlier this month.

Faircloth’s story was first published in December on the website under the title “It Happened to Me: I Dated a Famous Rock Star & All I Got Was Punched in the Face,” the lawsuit said. Faircloth wrote that Oberst bursa “took advantage of my teenage crush on him” when she was introduced to him at a concert when she was 16 and he was in his 20s. She wrote that ” Conor took a lot from me including my virginity, my dignity and self esteem.”

Faircloth later published statements saying that the singer’s attorneys offered her “hush escort money” to keep quiet about the rape.

Her statement on Monday recanted all of her claims. “I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him,” Faircloth wrote. “I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused.”

Oberst, 34, is described by Rolling Stone as “a pain-strumming poet of emo.” His group Bright Eyes first found success in 2002 with the album “Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground.”

The singer-songwriter did not immediately to CNN’s request for comment on Faircloth’s retraction.

Bright Eyes’ ‘The People’s Key’ review

Granddad shot son, kid kills grandpa

 An 84-year-old man shoots his son. So what does his grandson do, according to authorities, in his own father’s defense?

Shoot — fatally, it turns out — his grandfather.

That’s what authorities said happened Monday night in Kittrell, a small North Carolina town of less than 500 people located about 35 miles south of the Virginia border.

Vance County sheriff’s deputies responded around 7 p.m. to an address there after getting a call about a fight, Sheriff Peter White said in a news release.

When they got there, deputies found two people shot.

One was Lloyd Woodlief, 84, who lived at the Kittrell home, according to White. He had been shot once with a 12-gauge shotgun and “died shortly thereafter,” the sheriff said.

His son, 49-year-old Lloyd Peyton Woodlief, had been shot with a 22-caliber pistol, added White. The resident of nearby Henderson, North Carolina, was being treated at Duke Medical Center in Durham as of Tuesday afternoon.

The other person involved was the 11-year-old grandson of Lloyd Woodlief.

White said a preliminary investigation indicates that Lloyd Woodlief first shot his son. Then the 11-year-old boy shot his grandfather.

Charges are pending, the sheriff added, though he didn’t specify who might be charged, or with what.

Deputy’s fatal shooting of boy carrying fake rifle ruled lawful

‘We called for help, and they killed my son,’ N.C. man says

Blame weak gun laws for holiday violence, Chicago’s top cop says

Authorities catch man they say fired first in Bourbon Street shooting

PayPal to refund donations in toddler’s hot car death

(CNN) — If you donated to a fund-raising campaign for the family of Cooper Harris, the suburban Atlanta toddler who died after being left in a hot car, you may soon be getting a refund., the site where the fundraising effort was hosted, has taken the campaign down, and a spokesman for one of the two payment processing firms used in the effort, PayPal, said Friday that it will refund all of the contributions it handled.

The second firm,, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on its plans for donations it collected.

Car bakes in Georgia sun for investigation into toddler’s death

As of July 2, the effort had raised $22,677 of the $25,000 goal set by organizer Heather McCullar, according to a snapshot of the page maintained by Google. The page is no longer available on the website.

“The campaign was recently removed from the site so that the controversy and debate surrounding the Harris matter did not become a distraction to the millions of other donors participating in a wide variety of active fundraisers currently taking place in our community,” the company said in a statement.

It was not immediately known how much each service had collected, or if any of the money had reached the Harris family.

On June 21, Alabama Credit Union posted a note to its Facebook page saying donations were being funneled to an account there “owned by Ms. Harris to use purely at her own discretion — but she clearly understands the intent of those donating to the fund.”

What’s next in the case?

The campaign was established after Cooper’s father, Justin Ross Harris, was charged with murder and child cruelty in the June 18 death of his 22-month-old son.

But it was posted before revelations that he had searched for information about hot-car deaths or bombshell allegations in a probable cause hearing last week that he had visited a website dedicated to a child-free lifestyle.

A detective also said Harris bursa was exchanging sexually explicit text messages with various women while his son was locked inside the sweltering car, painting a much different portrait of Harris than the dedicated and doting family man described by friends and family.

Father apparently wrote ‘I’m harmless’ on social media profile

Harris has pleaded not guilty. In the preliminary hearing last week, Harris’ attorney — H. Maddox Kilgore — said his client had tragically forgotten his child was in the car.

On Friday a second Georgia law enforcement agency said it is now inquiring about Justin Ross Harris’ activities.

Woodstock Police Department has contacted Cobb County Police Department, “in regards to any alleged criminal activity within our jurisdiction,” Public Information Officer Brittany Duncan said.

During the probable cause hearing, a detective with the Cobb County Police Department alleged Harris met one of the women with whom he exchanged explicit messages at Olde Rope Mill Park, in Woodstock.

We have reached out to Cobb County and will coordinate with them on anything actionable, Duncan escort said. But at this point Woodstock Police say they don’t have an active investigation.

During the probable cause hearing, July 3, Cobb County Police Sgt. Phil Stoddard testified that the department’s preliminary investigation had revealed Harris had committed the computer-based crime of sexual exploitation of a minor. When asked if Harris had also committed two misdemeanor violations of illegal contact with a minor, sexually — Stoddard agreed he had.

Calls to Harris’ attorney, Maddox Kilgore, were not immediately returned.

Who is Justin Ross Harris?

What Obama can learn on the border

Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Editor’s note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

San Diego, California (CNN) — It’s the law of unintended consequences.

Each time Americans spend billions to fortify the border by building fences or hiring Border Patrol agents, human traffickers raise their prices.

Today, it costs about $3,000 to move a person across the border. It’s less if you brave mountain lions and cross off the beaten path. It’s more if you cross near civilization and absolutely positively have to be there overnight. If we bolster enforcement, the price could soar to $6,000.

How do we win a battle against an opponent when, the more we spend to defeat him, the more we empower him to fight back?

This riddle could stump anyone, but President Barack Obama seems to find it especially difficult.

Raised in Hawaii and having lived in Chicago, Obama is a newbie to the border. He’s made one memorable visit in 5½ as president and he must have felt as if he landed on another planet.

Even on this week’s fundraising swing through Texas, Obama couldn’t find time to visit the border.

That was his loss. When you travel from San Diego to Douglas, Arizona, to Columbus, New Mexico, to Brownsville, Texas, it’s like you’re visiting several worlds at once. Each stretch has its own script. It’s a fascinating area — unless you’re not interested.

Obama doesn’t seem all that interested in the border, except when he can use it as a weapon.

In May 2011, during a visit to El Paso, Texas, Obama mocked Republicans by saying they wanted to build a moat on the border and fill it with alligators.

This week, in Dallas, more than 500 miles from the border, the president revealed his plans for tens of thousands of kids whose heads are filled with nightmares.

Since October, spurred by violent youth gangs in their home countries and fake news reports of “permisos” for young people approved by Congress, about 52,000 children and teenagers from Central America have been apprehended on the border.

“Apprehended” is too generous a word, since most of these people reportedly went up to Border Patrol agents with their arms raised and asked to be arrested. These uninvited guests are neither invading nor evading. They’re surrendering.

A lot of Texas Democrats probably thought it was a bad idea for Obama to snub the border, and one said so out loud.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, suggested that Obama’s failure to survey firsthand the scene of the crisis evoked memories of President George W. Bush viewing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina from an airplane flying high overhead.

This week, Cuellar said: “I hope this doesn’t become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn’t need to come to the border. He should come down.”

Now that U.S. officials have custody of the border kids, many of whom were — according to media reports — sexually assaulted or had their lives threatened, the hard part is deciding what to do with them. Do we really want to send them back? Are we that monstrous?

Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis — which includes $1.8 billion to help the Department of Health and Human Services provide better care for the children, and another $1.6 billion to help the Department of Homeland Security bursa and the Department of Justice expedite their removal. The remaining $300 million would go to the State Department to help Latin American governments counter the misinformation campaign.

This budgetary whiplash — where we show these kids some kindness before banishing them to the dark, desperate and dangerous places from which they escaped — summarizes Obama’s escort muddled approach to the immigration issue, where he tries to be both tough and compassionate and winds up confused.

We need more border funding, but we could also use a lot more honestly and clarity in this debate. Money can’t buy that.

Liberals will have to swallow the fact that it was their foil, George W. Bush, who signed a law in 2008 giving safe haven to unaccompanied minors from Central America, and now it’s their champion, Barack Obama, who seeks the power to override it.

Meanwhile, conservatives are putting up a fight against the funding, but that won’t last. They can’t stand the idea of letting these kids stay here and grow up to become dependents and Democrats, and so they have to help Obama fund their return. For a while, there will be a tug-of-war in the GOP between the border hawks and budget hawks. But the former will win.

That’s a good outcome. It would also be good for Congress to pass immigration reform, and for Obama to ease up on deportations.

For now, the administration needs the $3.7 billion, and it should get every penny. Congress should be generous, and the President should be diligent, but neither of them should be naive.

On the border, enforcement dollars are no silver bullet. We can hire more Border Patrol agents, build more walls, and expedite deportations. But none of that will stop the downtrodden, desperate, and determined from seeking refuge in a country that is supposed to be in the business of offering it.

And if Obama spent more time on the border, he’d already know that.

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25 cool travel gadgets

Narrative is a tiny 5-megapixel camera you clip onto your clothes. It takes two photos every minute automatically when turned on.

(CNN) — Yes, it’s great to travel light.

Sure, too much tech can make life trickier, not easier.

No, that’s not going to stop us listing some of the coolest gadgets, gizmos and accessories that could just make you the happiest traveler this side of the Apple store. (If only till you lose them/have them stolen.)

Narrative clip-on camera

This is a tiny five-megapixel camera that clips onto your clothes and does the work for you, automatically taking two photos every minute when turned on. The accompanying app lets you save, organize and search the images. Narrative, $279.

Modern-twist mark-mat

A washable mark-mat is a great time-waster for kids to draw on. The doodle-friendly placemats feature scenes from several top cities, including Paris and New York, and come alone or with four dry-erase markers so kids can wipe off their work and start over again. Modern-twist, $18-25.

Dom Reilly Watch Roll

This layer of high-tech foam (the same stuff used in F1 cars) protects your timepieces from 97% of the shock from an impact. Dom Reilly, $500.

Smythson Chameleon Collection Travel Journal

Jotting down your travel-related musings is made less choresome by this luxurious notebook, which has a goatskin cover and ultra-thin pages. Smythson, $280.

MORE: 5 best travel gadgets from CES 2013

Fitkit fitness solution

This portable fitness solution combines resistance bands, handled resistance tubes, a jump rope, pedometer and more in a handy package weighing less than two pounds. Fitkit, $34.99.


A “headphone in a headband” that fits snugly around your ears and provides hours of audio to help reduce ambient noises? Finally!

The wireless version ($99.95) syncs with your smart phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device. SleepPhones, $39.95.

Scottevest Blackout Pocket

You can foil, or at least delay, digital thieves with this high-tech clothing pocket. The totable 5×6.5-inch pouch is lined with an RFID-blocking material, securing the info on credit cards and cellphones from scanners, skimmers and the like. SCOTTEVEST, $20-40.

Panasonic HX-A500 wearable camcorder

This is the world’s first 25-frame-a-second, 4K (very high resolution) wearable camcorder, worn on any part of the body and operated with a separate control panel. It can record underwater and if your shots are wonky, it’ll automatically level them out. Panasonic, $399.99.

MORE: Luxury necessities: Best new travel accessories

BioLite CampStove

The BioLite CampStove can toast your marshmallows and charge your smart phone. By burning a few sticks inside, enough electricity is generated to charge multiple electronic devices, while you heat water, grill some burgers or sear some s’mores. Biolitestove, $129.95.

Clever Travel Companion secureclothing

Cash, passports and other treasures can be secured in the hidden pockets of a stylish line of T-shirts, tank tops and, yes, even undies and long johns. Clever Travel Companion, starting at $21.90.


This is a colorful ID tag to personalize your baggage using a family photo, the logo of your favorite sports team or any other image. Your personal information is stored safely inside. SwaggerTag, $3.99.

SteriPEN Ultra

This clever piece of kit eliminates 99.9% of bacteria from water in just 48 seconds. The UV lamp can be used to treat 8,000 one-liter containers. SteriPEN, $99.95.

MORE: 10 most ridiculous travel accessories

Zeiss Victory HT 8×42 binoculars

These binoculars claim to offer the best light transmission on the market, which means you’ll still get great vision on the cloudiest of days. They’re also extremely tough, with housing made from high tensile magnesium and a coating that repels water. Cabelas, $2,249.99.

Trakdot luggage tracker

Trakdot is a compact unit outfitted with a GSM chip that you tuck in your bag, allowing you to track its location on your computer or smart phone. The price tag includes activation and your first year’s service. Trakdot, $89.99.

Bentley Mulsanne B-001 WG sunglasses

First step on the road to owning a Bentley car — the Bentley sunglasses. Made from white gold and featuring the same B found on your Bentley Mulsanne gear lever (if you own one), even the case is impressive — a reassuringly solid box designed to fit perfectly into the center console of your Bentley. Again, if you own one. Bentley Eyewear, $15,950.

“Dog Lover’s Guide To Travel

Kelly Carter’s new book dishes advice on everything from prepping your pooch for a trek to the beach (yes, they should wear sunscreen) to finding the most Fido-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and more in 75 cities across North America. “The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel,” $22.95.

MORE: The 50-cent accessory that could save your trip

Ultimate Bag on Wheels pet carrier

Sherpa’s Ultimate Bag on Wheels pet carrier is a medium-sized bag with wheels for animals weighing up to 16 pounds. It’s part of the company’s Guaranteed on Board program, ensuring acceptance on Delta, Southwest and most other major airlines. Ultimate on Wheels, $147. metal-free belts makes metal-free belts that won’t set off airport security detectors. They’re made of sturdy polypropylene or polyester webbing and feature an acetal buckle.

The belts are available in a multitude of colors and feature either a diamond or zigzag pattern., $19-29.

Mytask Urban iPhone case and toolkit

This iPhone case protects your precious cellphone, yes, but it also features a slide-out drawer outfitted with a mirror, tweezers, bottle opener, stylus, screwdriver, USB drive, mini LED light and even a pair of scissors. It’s TSA compliant, so it’s safe to go through the X-ray machine. Mytask URBAN iphone case, $60.

Louis Vuitton shower-trunk

If a standard suitcase won’t cut it, you’ll be pleased to know one of LV’s made-to-order options now includes this shower-in-a-trunk — a suitcase that turns into a shower. The bad news is you’ll only be given a price quote if you commission the brand to make one. Risky. Louis Vuitton, price on request.

MORE: ‘Smart’ luggage will text you when it gets lost

Williams Handmade luggage

Williams Handmade is a luxury leather luggage company founded by creative genius Sarah Williams — a British designer whose background includes stints at some of the world’s top leather goods companies. Her the cross-shaped Emmett case is lovely, but if you’re an imaginative traveler with money to burn, her bespoke service is the easiest way to guarantee your luggage stands out. Williams Handmade, from $146.

Two-Person Sandless Beach Mat

This towel was reportedly developed for military use, made from a woven polyurethane material that sand won’t stick to. It also won’t absorb moisture, so it won’t go moldy. Hammacher, $59.95.

Bang and Olufsen Beolit 12 travel speaker

This is just about the coolest-looking iPhone-ported speaker set you’ll find. It comes with an eight-hour battery life. Beoplay, $599.

Hendrick’s Gin with Traveler’s Case

Why reduce yourself to a hip flask when a leather satchel says so much more? A bottle of gin isn’t the only thing inside this leather bag — you also get a hip flask and a cashmere and silk scarf. Harrods, $1,349.

The Orator’s Briefcase PA System

This multipurpose suitcase is designed for businessmen making speeches on short notice. The case comes with a built-in, 20-watt amplifier, a pop-up lectern and two microphones. Hammacher, $349.95.

MORE: Best new apps for travelers

Five texts you should never send

Do you really need to send that text? Trends aside, sometimes the answer is “no.”

Editor’s note: Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz are the sarcastic brains behind humor blog and book “Stuff Hipsters Hate.” Got a question about etiquette in the digital world? Contact them at

(CNN) — We’re texting more than ever, and, like society, the texts themselves are getting worse and worse.

That’s a conclusion cobbled together from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which found that the median number of texts adults send and receive in a day doubled from 2009 to 2010, and much anecdotal observation from the authors.

Read on to learn just how terrible silent cell phone users are these days, and the five texts that should never traverse that satellite-banked arc from your hands to the eyes of another.

1. “I think we should see other people.”

It isn’t just skittish teenagers pulling this rude move. Last year, a survey from Lab 42 found that 33% of adults (adults!) had broken up with someone via text, e-mail or Facebook. Forty percent said they “would ever” do it, indicating that 7% of the surveyed humans are soulless jerks who haven’t but would hurtfully sever ties with a lover if only someone would respond to their advances.

Yes, breaking up is hard. Knowing you’re going to hurt someone you cared about with your words indeed makes your stomach do some Cirque de Soleil-esque acrobatics. But shooting over a one-way missive to deliver the news for you? It’s supremely cruel, because it leaves the other person cocking his or her head with Fred Willard-esque histrionics and asking, “Hey, wha’ happened?” That complete lack of closure (not to mention the dearth of soothing, I-care-about-you-as-a-human-being signals you send with your voice and motions) add up to WAY more ruminating than is necessary.

Netiquette: Be careful when diagnosing your ailments online

The break-up text is only this much more noble than ghosting on someone you’re dating, letting the silences grow longer and longer until you can tell yourself it was a mutual separation and then scuttle into the night like a cowardly cockroach. If you went on enough dates to call this person your boyfriend or girlfriend, he or she deserves at least a call.

2. “Will you marry me?”

A text proposal. It actually happened, people. And if that isn’t innards-wrenchingly horrific enough, after it happened, Miss Manners went on to condone it. Can we please consider marriage proposals one of the few remaining bastions of old-fashioned romance, free from the lackadaisical pall that technology has cast over everything?

Unless you’ve rigged some clever feat that ties in the nerdy way you met, your phone should be put away, your knee should be on the pavement, and your hands should be clutching a ring, not picking a ringtone.

3. “We’re thinking about going to Shortstop later but Aiden is still napping & Mona was talking abt having ppl over for a cookout. IDK if I want to be out in the heat tho since I’m still hungo from Bosco’s pirate party thing last night. Are you and Weeds still… [1 of 2]”

4. “…wandering around the park or did you want to do something later? Hit me up if you see this before 10. Gonna go pass out for a while. [2 of 2]”

Texting was supposed to save us time by letting us bypass the phone call and just instantly telegraph the important stuff. But we’ve grown so reliant upon it that we obliviously miss, Mr. Bean-like, the conversations that could happen expeditiously over the phone.

Netiquette: An open letter to texting-crazed teens

So often, we put our thumbs to work typing out long and convoluted messages that warrant a detailed, meticulous volley of responses, when wagging our tongues would have cleared things up in 30 seconds flat. More than half of texters have “long, personal text message exchanges,” according to a 2010 survey. They are all wasting time.

Our rule of (red, raw, overused) thumb: If your text is longer than two sentences and it demands a response other than a simple yes or no, just hit Call. You’ll save everyone a little time and a lot of confusion.

5. [a photo of your junk]

According to a Pew Research Center study that is (according to the Times) due out later this year, 6% of American adults — that’s one in 17 upstanding citizens — has sent a nude or nearly nude (but not “never-nude”) photo on a cell phone. And 15% have received such a text. (Apparently these self-portraitists are prolific.)

Leave something to the imagination, folks.

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