China defends screening software

June 9, 2009

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The Great Firewall of China just got an upgrade…
– FlashAddict

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By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

China has defended the use of new screening software that has to be installed on all computers.

Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the software would filter out pornographic or violent material.

Critics have complained that it could also be used to stop Chinese internet users searching for politically sensitive information.

But Mr Qin, speaking at a regular press briefing, said China promoted the healthy development of the internet.

All computers sold in China – even those that are imported – will have to be pre-installed with the “Green Dam Youth Escort” software.

‘Poisoned minds’

The news came in a directive from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the new regulations will come into force on 1 July.

The directive says the newest version of the software has to be pre-installed on Chinese-made computers before they leave the factory.

Imported computers must contain the software before they are sold.

The aim is to build a healthy and harmonious online environment that does not poison young people’s minds, according to the directive.

Mr Qin defended the move on Tuesday: “The purpose of this is to effectively manage harmful material for the public and prevent it from being spread,” he said.

“The Chinese government pushes forward the healthy development of the internet. But it lawfully manages the internet,” he added.

The Chinese government regularly restricts access to certain internet sites and information it deems sensitive.

The BBC’s Chinese language website and video sharing website Youtube are currently inaccessible in Beijing.

Critics fear this new software could be used by the government to enhance its internet censorship system, known as the Great Firewall of China.

But a spokesman for one of the companies that developed the software, Jinhui Computer System Engineering, rejected this accusation.

“It’s a sheer commercial activity, having nothing to do with the government,” Zhang Chenmin, the company’s general manager, told the state-approved Global Times newspaper.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8091044.stm

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John DeVeaux – Portfolio

May 17, 2009

To download a high-res PDF version of my portfolio, please click the link below (17 MB in size):

http://www.ecuad.ca/~jdeveaux/john_deveaux_portfolio.pdf

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John DeVeaux - Portfolio

About the Artist

John DeVeaux is a third year Film, Video and Integrated Media student at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Classifying himself as a Digital Artist with future aspirations to be an accomplished professional in either the film or video game industry, his work focuses on combining a wide range of media including crowd sourcing, data capture, film/video, installation, storytelling and internet blogging.

Artist Statement

clean   [kleen] -er, -est, adverb,  -er, -est, verb –adjective
1. characterized by a fresh, wholesome quality: the clean smell of pine.
2. free from all writing or marking: a clean sheet of paper.
3. complete; unqualified: a clean break with tradition.
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sim·ple   [sim-puhl] -pler, -plest, noun –adjective
1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.: a simple matter; simple tools.
2. not elaborate or artificial: a simple style.
3. not ornate or luxurious: a simple gown.
+
ef·fec·tive   [i-fek-tiv] –adjective
1. producing the intended or expected result: effective steps toward peace.
2. creating a deep or vivid impression; striking: an effective photograph.
3. able to accomplish a purpose: an efficient secretary.
=
de·sign   [di-zahyn] –verb (used with object)
1. to plan the form and structure of: to design a new bridge.
2. the combination of details or features of a picture, building, etc.: the design on a bracelet.
3. to intend for a definite purpose: a scholarship designed for foreign students.

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World of Warcraft: The Burning Addiction
Research Project – ECUAD Creative Process 2007

World of Warcraft: The Burning Addiction

For this project, I wanted to focus on what extent people would spend time from their real lives on their virtual ones. I then went to the Alcoholics Anonymous website and took their manifesto of questions that they ask potential addicts (ie: Have you ever missed school or work due to alcohol?) and then remixed the questions to ask my fellow Warcraft players (ie: Have you ever missed school or work due to Warcraft?) and was amazed at how honest their responses were.

Click the link below to download the full project PDF and explore the addictive qualities of video games in greater detail (1 MB in size):

http://www.ecuad.ca/~jdeveaux/addiction/addiction_print.pdf

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World of Warcraft: Haikus
Video Editing and Production – ECUAD Video Art 2009

This Video Art project required us to use found footage and splice it together within the theme of a haiku and I chose to focus again on World of Warcraft. Several different scenes from official game play trailers were used along with my own poem sequences in order to create its own unique storyline set to a haunting yet beautiful soundtrack.

I also received some additional publicity from a major World of Warcraft fan blog and as a result, have now had over 6,000 views on YouTube:

http://www.wowinsider.com/2009/05/12/wow-moviewatch-world-of-warcraft-haikus/

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Medal of Honor: European Assault
Poster Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

Medal of Honor: European Assualt

With creative control to choose our own subject matter, I decided to create this poster for the soon to be released add-on of the popular Medal of Honor video game using World War II imagery and incorporating pertinent graphics and typeface layouts, with the centerpiece being this iconic image of the D-Day landing.

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Emily Carr Foundation Exhibition
Poster Design – ECUAD Digital Basics 2008

Emily Carr University Foundation Exhibition

In my Digital Basics course, our instructor challenged us to create our own poster design that would be submitted for that year’s Foundation Exhibition. The design that I chose focused on a clean and precise grid layout, with the typeface echoing this overall theme as well.

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Read Between the Lies
Poster Design – ECUAD Visual Communication 2008

Read Between the Lies

With an overall political theme required for this project for my Visual Communications course, I decided to focus on the ongoing tragedy occurring in Iraq. I wanted my critique to be bold and biting, yet symbolic at the same time by using George W. Bush’s own words being contradicted by documented facts on the ground within the layout of the American flag.

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The Starlight Express
Poster Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

The Starlight Express

One of the first poster design projects that I worked on in the Design Essentials program at ECUAD and BCIT, I wanted the overall theme to reflect a bygone age in which the Royal Hudson train serviced passengers from Vancouver to Squamish. This was all tied in with the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics along with using Futura as the typeface.

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International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Layout Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

International Campaign to Ban Landmines

This layout design was created to reflect on the tragedy that landmines cause in third world countries by mirroring two family units. Where the Nuclear Family is shown with the requisite two parents and two children, the Landmine Family is shown with obvious limbs missing and the daughter being replaced by a tombstone due to a landmine explosion.

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Tribeca Film Festival
Layout Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival

Utilizing still images from the films playing in that year’s festival, a double-sided handbook spread was made highlighting film screenings and appearances in a clean and elegant design.

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Phoenix Rising v1.0
3D Design – ECUAD Design One 2007

Phoenix Rising v1.0

These sculptures were created for my Design One class as the project called for us to construct new and unique 3D sculptures by combining a singular object in a repetitive fashion so that the original object would get lost in the sum of the whole of the new piece. Version 1.0 is a freestanding structure and able to balance on the tips of plastic spoons.

Phoenix Rising v2.0
3D Design – ECUAD Design One 2007

Phoenix Rising v2.0

Version 2.0 was created as an alternative and two interpretations that I have with this sculpture are that of a Phoenix Rising out of flames (hence the title of the pieces) or of a frame-by-frame rotation of a high board diver tucking in as he falls to the water below.

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OBSCENE
Flipbook – ECUAD Digital and Interactive Arts 2008

OBSCENE

Wanting to play on my audience’s moral standards, this flipbook showcased a woman performing an otherwise overtly sexualized activity, yet because I enlarged and hyper pixilated the original video footage, the viewer is not able to immediately ascertain what they are viewing. On initial viewing, they may in fact realize what they are seeing, but due to their personal embarrassment, may not give in to such puerile thoughts.

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HDR Porteau Cove
HDR Photography – ECUAD Digital and Interactive Arts 2009

HDR Porteau Cove

On a very windy and cold January afternoon, my girlfriend and I drove up to Whistler from Vancouver and stopped briefly at the Provincial Park in Porteau Cove where I wanted to capture the incredible whitecap waves and this beautiful island in the distance. I took my original shot into Photoshop and digitally manipulated it in order to create this much richer and vibrant image.

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Oppositions
Design Exploration – ECUAD Design One 2007

Oppositions

Playing around in Illustrator for one of my Design One projects in 2007, I became transfixed in creating artificial 3D perspective illustrations on a digital 2D plane that draws the viewer in to mesmerize and make them dizzy.

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Compression
Typography Exploration – ECUAD Visual Communication 2008

Compression

For this typography exploration, I decided on taking words at their literal meaning and creating abstract illustrations out of the words themselves. Compression being a thematically delicious word to utilize in such a fashion, the word is repeated and imploded without end into itself.

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Poster Girl
Illustrator Project – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

Poster Girl

One of my first major digital illustrations, this image has always been a favorite of mine and its title harkens back to the process of origination by using the Posterize tool in Photoshop to create the initial blueprint and then cleaning it all up within Illustrator.

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ROLEX Submariner
Illustrator Project – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

ROLEX Submariner

Another of my digital illustrations, I spent over 20 hours on this perfecting every detail in order to match the precision of the original watch itself. Created entirely in Illustrator, this illustration could substitute for the original any day.

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Idris Salih Photography
Website Design, Identity, Logo 2005

IDRIS SALIH Photography

IDRIS SALIH Photography

One of my freelance web design clients back in 2005, I was originally hired to just design and produce his portfolio site, but after seeing the logo and identity that he had been using, I challenged myself to provide him with a new one which would reflect the high contrast and starkness that is representational of his b/w portraiture photography and he loved it.

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John Fortunato Photography
Website Design 2005

John Fortunato Photography

Another of my freelance web design clients from a few years back, his work reflected a lot of what my design philosophy entails as well: clean + simple + elegant = design. With that in mind, I decided to use a clean palette with a lot of white space and simple, yet intuitive navigation, in order to allow the photographs to stand out and have greater impact on the viewer.

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The new pornographers

February 20, 2009

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I’ve been hearing more and more about this in the news over the past few weeks and it simply doesn’t make any sense…charging teens with child pornography when they it is they who are photographing themselves?!?
– FlashAddict

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What’s more disturbing — that teens are texting each other naked pictures of themselves, or that it could get them branded as sex offenders for life?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Life

Salon

Feb. 20, 2009 | The photographs show three naked underage girls posing lasciviously for the camera. The perps who took the pictures were busted in Greensburg, Pa., and charged with manufacturing, disseminating and possessing child pornography — and so were their subjects. That’s because they are one and the same.

It all started when the girls, ages 14 and 15, decided to take nudie cellphone snapshots of themselves. Then, maybe feeling dizzy from the rush of wielding their feminine wiles, the trio text-messaged the photos to some friends at Greensburg-Salem High School. When one of the students’ cellphones was confiscated at school, the photos were discovered. Police opened an investigation and, in addition to the girls’ being indicted as kiddie pornographers, three boys who received the pictures were slammed with charges of child porn possession. All but one ultimately accepted lesser misdemeanor charges.

“Sexting,” where kids trade X-rated pictures via text message, has made headlines recently after a rash of cases in which child pornography charges have been brought not against dangerous pedophiles but hormonally haywire teenagers — potentially leaving them branded  sex offenders for life. Just last week, there came news that a middle-school boy in Falmouth, Mass., might face child porn charges for sending a naughty photo of his 13-year-old girlfriend to five buddies, who are also being investigated. There’s been plenty of outrage to go around: Some parents are angry to see teens criminalized for simply being sexual, while others find the raunchy shots pornographic, another blinking neon sign of moral decay in a “Girls Gone Wild” era. In both cases, it amounts to a tug of war between teenagers’ entitled sense of sexual autonomy and society’s desire to protect them.

It’s rather stunning that in the same age of the Pussycat Dolls, Disney starlets’ sexy photo scandals, Slut-o-ween costumes for kids and preteen push-up bras and thongs, teenagers are being charged with child porn possession for having photographs of their own naked bodies. That noise you hear? It’s the grating sound of cultural dissonance.

According to these recent interpretations of the law, a curious teenage girl who embarks on an “Our Bodies, Ourselves” journey of vaginal self-discovery, and simply replaces a hand mirror with a digital camera, is a kiddie pornographer. The same goes for the boy who memorializes his raging boner or the post-pubescent girl who takes test shots of herself practicing the porn star poses she has studied online. Theoretically, this is true regardless of whether they share the pictures with anyone, and if they do share them, they could be additionally charged with peddling child porn.

There are plenty of examples of the moral and legal gray areas created as technology broadens our behaviors: cyber-cheating, MySpace bullying, online gossip, upskirting, employers’ Web snooping. When it comes to “sexting,” though, the potentially damaging implications — for child pornography law, free speech and kids’ sexuality — are abundant. And it’s not going away any time soon. A recent online poll found that 20 percent of teens have shared nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves, the majority with a boyfriend or girlfriend. (Sure, voluntary polls tend to be self-selecting, but the results seem obvious, maybe even understated.) Teens will, as they always have, experiment with their sexuality. But at a time when free hardcore porn is ubiquitous, technology is cheap and the Internet is a comfortable channel for expression and experimentation, is it really any surprise that this is a generation of amateur pornographers?

It certainly isn’t to 20-somethings like myself who came of age during the Internet’s youth. By the time I was 14, I had seen my share of online porn and late-night HBO and made frequent use of the phrase “U wanna cyber?” in early AOL chat rooms. In high school in Berkeley, Calif., at least two student sex tapes were rumored to be making the rounds. I didn’t have a cellphone camera or a webcam, thank god — though I did have a Polaroid camera, which, to be sure, my longtime boyfriend and I toyed around with.

This is all part of how kids initiate themselves into our sexual culture long before they actually have sex. At one time, that meant a boy would flip through his father’s stash of Playboys and a girl would try on her mother’s ample bra. For me, it meant privately mimicking the stripper moves I had seen on TV and having online chats with people who occasionally turned out to be aging pervs. It was the best way I knew to try on, test out and confirm my femininity without actually having sex. (And that’s having been raised by hippie parents who compared the spiritual magic of sex to “two star systems colliding in outer space.”)

That sexual rite of passage remains, but today’s teens have an entirely different notion of privacy than past generations. They grew up in the exhibitionistic Web culture of LiveJournal, YouTube and MySpace. They’ve seen girls on TV playfully jiggling their breasts for plastic beads, “Real World” cast members boldly screwing in front of cameras, Britney flashing her bald lady parts. These days, why would a girl be concerned about her silly topless snapshot circulating around school?

That’s certainly the case with 16-year-old Melissa, a student at a high school near Greensburg-Salem, who has never worried about any of the X-rated pictures she’s shared, because she cropped her face out of the photos, so “no one could identify me unless like [they] lifted up my shirt to figure it out haha,” she wrote in a message sent on the blog platform Xanga. On her profile page, a rap song with the lyrics “I jus’ wanna act like a porno flick actor” plays. It also exhibits a self-portrait she took with a cellphone camera of her reflection in a floor-length mirror; the sassy expression on her face matches the page’s background: a sexy hot pink and lime green leopard print.

Joey, an 18-year-old who graduated from a San Francisco high school last year, has gotten X-rated snapshots from girls on his phone, through e-mail and on his MySpace page since he was 15. Some were longtime girlfriends that he swapped photos with and others were girls he’d just casually met; some pictures were suggestive, others were explicit. (“How graphic do you want me to get?” he asks, cautiously. “I’ve had girls send me photos of them fingering themselves.”)

“Older adults have a short memory. There were things we did — people flashed each other and played spin the bottle,” says Elizabeth Schroeder, director of Answer, Rutgers University’s program dedicated to promoting sexuality education. “This is this generation’s way of doing that.” Heather Corinna, the 38-year-old founder of Scarleteen, a Web site that provides sex-positive education for young adults, agrees: “Before we had this media, we had video cameras, before that film cameras, before that the written word, and all throughout, public or semi-public sex, ways of proclaiming to peers that one is sexually active or available to become so,” she says.

But, clearly, there is a big difference between testifying on the wall of the boy’s bathroom about the toe-curling blow jobs the school’s head cheerleader gives and sending your buddies photographic proof. These digital offerings bring the potential for humiliation and blackmail if the photos or video get into the wrong hands — and, let’s face it, they often do. Acting as your girlfriend’s personal porno star is one thing; ending up a pedophile’s favorite child pinup is quite another.

There’s good reason to be concerned about teens being self-pornographers. But many, especially legal experts, are disturbed by the fact that a healthy horn-dog of a teenager could be grouped in the same criminal category as a clinically ill pedophile. “These cases are picturing these teenagers as both predators and victims of themselves,” says Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University who has studied child porn laws. “Child porn law was founded on a very different vision of what the major threat was.”

That major threat, of course, is supposed to be adults who produce and peddle child smut. Reed Lee, a Chicago attorney and board member of the Free Speech Coalition, says: “A law to protect victims shouldn’t send those very victims to jail.”

Typically, kiddie porn is seen as exponentially harmful because it’s more than the original sexual abuse: It allows for a reliving of the trauma every time another pervert gets ahold of the material. But “if the initial photograph was not taken as part of a traumatic episode and was, like it or not, part of a more normal teenage experience, the abuse rationale becomes harder to see,” Adler argues. Still, plenty of child pornography cases have been prosecuted where the original photo is awfully benign — for example, a family picture taken at a nudist camp that is discovered by a pedophile and then cropped to reveal only the naked kid.

But it’s tough to impress those kinds of nuances on kids, says Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Douglas. He once spoke to a high school class and tried to explain that, even though everyone seems to be “sexting,” it “can literally destroy your life.” The response? A boy rolled his eyes while making a grand jack-off gesture. “It’s just the bullshit that adults tell them when they come to talk to them,” he said. “It’s tragically funny.”

Douglas points out that the bungled law reveals fascinating cultural conflicts about childhood and teen sexuality. “I think the problem originates from the pathological fear that our culture, particularly the legal part of the culture, takes toward juvenile sexuality.” He has defended numerous child porn cases and says prosecutors will treat the exchange of trial evidence like “an undercover heroin deal.” Douglas says, “The fear is so enormous that it’s like you’re dealing with something radioactive. They don’t consider the context or the meaning.”

The context here is that teens are undertaking the sexploration that our porned culture at once dictates and forbids — in the same way that girls are taught that there is desirable validation in their sexuality and then are shamed for actually being sexual. Rutgers’ Elizabeth Schroeder says an example of this contradiction is that sex educators like herself have to fight an uphill battle just to get into schools, while all it takes is a click of a button and a kid can catch an episode of “G-String Divas.” She once asked a group of 12-year-old boys what they thought it meant to be a girl and the first response was: “Girls are here to give lap dances to boys.”

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/02/20/sexting_teens/


Teacher: Wrong Computer Click Ruined My Life

January 28, 2009

In 2004 Julie Amero was a 37-year-old substitute teacher who looked forward to the impending birth of her first child and enjoyed educating students.

But her life took a drastic turn on Oct. 19 of that year and now, four years later, Amero has a scarred reputation and said she has suffered emotional distress after facing serious pornography charges that destroyed her teaching career.

“Everybody out there should be afraid,” the now 42-year-old Amero said on “Good Morning America” today. “If it can happen to me it can certainly happen to you.”

The Back Story: Spyware Cause Porn Popups on Teacher’s Computer

Amero started that fateful school day at Kelly Middle School in Norwich, Conn., by checking her personal e-mail and then she stepped out of the classroom to use the bathroom. While she was away from her desk, the computer began displaying a flurry of pornographic images.

She returned to find two students giggling at the computer screen. Amero said she tried to close the inappropriate images, but to no avail.

“The pop-ups never went away. It was one after another. They were continuous. Every time I clicked the box in the corner, the red box, the red X, more were generated,” she said according to a court transcript.

For several hours she says she tried to get the images of “women in lingerie, bathing suits” and more to stop. What Amero didn’t do, though, was shut down the computer.

“I didn’t even know where the button was,” she said, “never been shown, never been told.”

Amero said she wasn’t computer savvy and had limited knowledge of how to use the device.

“[My husband] had just taught me recently how to do the computer,” Amero said.

She alerted the school’s vice principal about the incident on her break and the administrator initially told her not to worry.

But then several angry parents who learned of the incident from their children called the school to complain.

“I knew there was a problem the third day at the end of that school day,” Amero said.

“At the time no big deal was made of it. Then kids went home, told their parents and it exploded from there,” said Hartford Courant newspaper columnist Rick Green, who has followed the case.

The school notified police and told Amero she could never work as a substitute teacher again. Shortly afterward she was arrested on 10 counts of risk of injury to a minor.

A Wrongful Guilty Verdict

Eventually, authorities dropped six of the counts, but Amero still faced four and a total of 40 years in prison.

“It’s a fascinating glimpse into what can happen to you if you are arrested in a wrongful situation,” Green said.

Prosecutors claimed that Amero had been surfing pornography Web sites in the seventh-grade classroom.

They offered her a deal that would have expunged the charges from her record after two years of good behavior. Amero refused the deal and maintained her innocence.

In the 2007 trial, Amero was convicted, but computer experts following the case disagreed with the verdict.

After their outcry, prosecutors sent the computer’s hard drive to state police forensics laboratory where analysis found evidence that contradicted the state’s expert witness.

“This Web page that she had allegedly clicked on, which had been presented at the trial as evidence, clear evidence by the prosecution, everything indicated to the exact contrary that she had not clicked on that link,” said Sunbelt Software CEO Alex Eckelberry, who came to Amero’s aid after reading about her case in the newspaper.

Combatting the Conviction

The bevy of computer experts that came to Amero’s aid proved that the true culprit of the pornographic pop-ups was a malicious spyware program.

The evidence was so compelling that a judge overturned Amero’s conviction, saying the prosecution’s star witness, a computer forensics expert, had given false testimony.

But for 18 months prosecutors pondered whether they should retry the former educator. They dropped the felony charges, but in November 2008 Amero pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. She can never work in a classroom again.

She said the plea bargain was the result of not wanting to spend more time in a courtroom because the entire ordeal had taken a serious toll on her health.

“They got a pound of flesh,” said Amero, who remains unemployed and says she’s unable to get work thanks to the ordeal. “The doctors all agreed that I would not make it through another trial.”

Amero said the stress of the trial caused a miscarriage and prompted breathing troubles.

Her husband, 57-year-old Wes Vello, said he sees the plea agreement as the state’s way of being inflexible.

“They were unwilling to admit they’d made a mistake,” said Vello, who works seven days a week as a shipbuilder. “In my opinion it was just a saving face for the state.”

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=6739393&page=1