[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/10/12/fake.veteran/art.veteran.imposter.cnn.jpg caption="Richard Strandlof says he didn't mean to cause harm when he lied about being a military veteran."]
Erica Hill | BIO
It’s been a while, dear blog readers… but I’m still kicking around the 7th floor offices. While more desks may be empty than usual, our rundown isn’t showing signs of Columbus Day.
And since I’m not assigned to a story today, I thought I’d hop back on the blog with a “news Note”; thanks for indulging me.
Sadly, every day provides ample opportunity for disappointment and outrage when you skim the headlines. But sometimes, there is a silver lining in those stories – today’s can be found in a long overdue arrest.
Richard Strandlof’s name may not be familiar, but his story is difficult to forget. Earlier this year, he admitted to Anderson – on the air – that he had lied about surviving the September 11th attacks. Lied about surviving a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Lied about the injuries he sustained in that fictitious blast. And he used those lies to make a name for himself, founding the “Colorado Veterans Alliance” and campaigning for politicians, all the while touting his 9/11 and battle field scars.
He even lied about his name.
On Friday, the FBI arrested Strandolf – aka Rick Duncan – on the charge of “stolen valor” and held him for “false claims about receipt of military decorations or medals.”
The first step, perhaps, toward some justice.
A Delaware first grader was so excited about becoming a Cub Scout, he wanted to bring some of his new camping knowledge to school with him. He took his snazzy new fork/knife/spoon camping tool to school, with plans to use it at lunch. Instead, he’s been suspended and is now facing 45 days in reform school, according to the New York Times. This was the first story I read in the paper this morning – who could ignore those tidbits? His family has started a website, complete with an online petition, to plead this 6-year-old’s case.
The school tells the paper it has a strict “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to weapons in schools…understandable, but it also makes one wonder if maybe a case-by-case basis isn’t such a bad thing.
Let’s end this on a positive note, shall we? Amidst all the stories of higher fees for everything from checked bags to pretzels, a silver lining for air travel: lower ticket prices. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. One airline ticket research site says you could see holiday airfare as much as 15 percent below 2008 prices. But you may want to book your tickets sooner rather than later, since we all know prices seem to change with no rhyme or reason not only from one day to the next, but one minute to the next. Good luck, bargain hunters!
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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