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Fri, 14 Aug 2020
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Mammoth Lakes, California Files for Bankruptcy Over $43-Million Judgment

© Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times
Mammoth Lakes' ski resort is quiet in May after a poor season. The High Sierra town said Monday that it filed for bankruptcy because it cannot afford to pay a $43-million breach-of-contract judgment won by a developer.
The High Sierra town of Mammoth Lakes says it is filing for bankruptcy because it cannot afford to pay a breach-of-contract judgment won by a developer.

In a prepared statement, Mammoth Lakes officials said "bankruptcy, unfortunately, is the only option left" for the town, whose largest creditor, Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, had won a state court order requiring full payment by June 30, 2012.

Facing a judgment nearly three times the size of its annual operating budget and a $2.8-million shortfall in its 2011-12 fiscal year, the town had already cut many services and asked employees to take reductions in pay. Compounding problems, the adjacent Mammoth Mountain ski resort was forced to lay off 70 full-time employees last year because of a dearth of snow.

A breakdown in negotiations with the developer was the last straw.


Harper Confronted by Shouting Protester in Quebec

PM's speech interrupted by shouts of 'Stop Harper, stop Jean Charest!'

A speech by Stephen Harper was briefly interrupted Monday when a shouting protester approached the stage at an international conference in Quebec City.

As the prime minister addressed a world forum on the French language, the man walked to the front of the large room and delivered a message of his own.

"Stop Harper, stop Jean Charest," the protester yelled in his outburst.

"Citizens rise up. We need you, everybody."

The interruption lasted only a few seconds before the man was grabbed by two security guards and hustled out of the room through a side door.

His rant earned him a muffled applause from some of the attendees inside the Quebec City conference centre.

Quebec provincial police later indicated that the man, in his 30s, was released and will not face charges.


Wife of Robert Bales, Soldier Accused in Afghan Massacre Says Husband is Innocent

The wife of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of leaving his southern Afghanistan base and murdering 16 unarmed civilians, believes her husband is innocent.

Kari Bales said she's in touch with her husband, but has not asked him about what happened.

"I just don't need to ask him," she said Monday on CBS This Morning. "I know my husband, and it's not a question I really need to ask. I know him. I know what he's capable of and not capable of, so I don't need to ask the question."

When asked what life would be like if her husband were to be found guilty, Bales said, "At this point I haven't gotten that far. I truly believe that my husband did not do this. I really just want the facts to come out through the fair trial."

Bales said she was "completely shocked" and didn't believe that it had happened. "(I) didn't believe that my husband was involved at all. I still do not, no," she said. "I want to know what happened. I don't know what happened. I don't think that anyone really knows what happened."

Bales believes the truth of what happened will come out at trial. She said initial details of what happened were "very confusing and didn't make a lot of sense." "They were sensationalized," she said. "A lot of untruths about me and my husband, our life. So it makes it hard to believe anything that came out."

Cowboy Hat

SWAT Team Raids Wrong House, Throwing Stun Grenade After Online Threat

© geeky-gadgets.com
18-year-old was watching Food Network when door came down, stun grenade went off

Imagine you're sitting at home, comfortable on the couch, watching the Food Network, when all of a sudden a heavily armed SWAT team breaks down your door and storms into your living room.

That's what happened to 18-year-old Stephanie Milan, who was watching TV in her family's Evansville, Ind., home last Thursday (June 22), when a team of police officers broke down her storm door - the front door was already open - and tossed a flash-bang stun grenade into the room.


Satanists Claim Theft Is Hate Crime

© CBS News
Satanists Luigi and Angie Bellaviste have decorations in their yard that depict their religious beliefs

A local couple who claim to be Satanists believe they're a victim of a hate crime and were targeted because of their religious beliefs.

Someone cut down a political poster stating, "VOTE SATAN" from their front porch where they live in Mountain View, a suburb of Denver.

"We are Satanists... Satanists," said Luigi Bellaviste.

Luigi and Angie Bellaviste belong to the Church of Satan. They even have a Satanic Bible in their home.

The couple is upset because a poster they had hanging from their front porch was recently cut down.

It wasn't very popular with some neighbors.


DA Gets to See Occupy Tweets

© unknown
Twitter Inc. must turn over messages posted by an Occupy Wall Street protester, a Manhattan judge ruled on Monday, another move toward giving law-enforcement agencies broad access to comments made on social media.

Monday's order was the second time Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. has ruled that law-enforcement agencies can subpoena messages posted on Twitter.

In April, Judge Sciarrino ruled Malcolm Harris, a 23-year-old writer charged with disorderly conduct during an Oct. 1 protest on the Brooklyn Bridge, couldn't quash the Manhattan district attorney's office's subpoena to Twitter.

On Monday, the judge rejected Twitter's argument that its users have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment, much as people who write emails do.


Philly Archdiocese Ex-CFO Pleads in $900k Theft

© The Associated Press/Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
In this undated hand out photo Anita Guzzardi is seen.
Philadelphia - A former financial executive of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $900,000 from the church.

Forty-two-year-old Anita Guzzardi of Haddon Heights, N.J. pleaded guilty Friday to charges of theft by deception, unlawful use of a computer and forgery.

Prosecutors say Guzzardi used hundreds of church checks to pay personal credit card bills from 2005 to 2011. The investigation began after American Express contacted authorities.


Internal Revenue Service to Increase Scrutiny of Tax-exempt Political Organizations

The Internal Revenue Service is signaling that it will increase its scrutiny of tax-exempt political organizations, which are becoming a force in elections by raising tens of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors.

The IRS has been corresponding with such groups and is preparing questions to ask them as part of effort to determine whether their fundraising or advertising work runs afoul of tax law. IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said on Thursday the scrutiny will affect a range of tax-exempt groups.

The move comes as such tax-exempt groups - many of which have better-known sister organizations known as "Super PACs," or political action committees - are under criticism from Democrats and some Republicans for using money from anonymous sources to try to influence elections.

Like Super PACs, tax-exempt political groups can raise and spend unlimited funds - in contrast to political campaigns, which may receive only $2,500 per donor each election cycle.

Comment: For more information on how the super-rich influence elections through political donations:
The .0000063% Election: How the Politics of the Super Rich Became American Politics


What makes Clever Women Stick by Creeps for So Long?


Katie Holmes has filed for divorce from Tom Cruise
Two long-suffering wives have finally dumped their high-profile husbands. Katie Holmes has filed for divorce from Tom Cruise, demanding sole custody of their daughter Suri.

Tom seems to relish playing dorks - in his latest film Rock Of Ages, he is Stacee Jaxx, a repulsive singer in a heavy metal band,who performs stripped to the waist, a bold move for a chap turning 50.

Sadly, the film, like his marriage, has bombed - according to this paper, it's 'crass when it should be comic' - but did weirdo Tom ever have a sense of humour?

The man who leapt on a sofa on Oprah, declaring his love for Katie in 2005, has never seemed to be an earthling, more an alien dropped from outer space, striving to appear 'normal', but not quite succeeding.


Insane "Christian" Craze: 12-yr Old Zealot Burns Cross Into His Back

An unnamed Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, boy joined a dangerous new meme this week when he burned a large Christian Cross on his back using salt and ice and posted the video on YouTube.

The 12-year-old zealot took up a challenge sweeping the internet that instructs young Christians to draw crosses on their backs using regular table salt and press an ice pack against the design. The process induces an endothermic reaction, which usually results in serious burns and scarring. The phenomenon, according to New York's Daily News, is known in religious circles as the "salt-and-ice challenge."

The craze has affected so many kids that officials at a Philadelphia middle school put out a PSA warning parents about the challenge in April.