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US: Former New York State Police Major Accused of GPS Theft

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© Tomas E. Gaston
Robert Kreppein
New York State Police have arrested the former head of the agency's Aviation Unit, accusing him of grand larceny for taking a navigation device.

According to police, 47-year-old Robert Kreppein (KREP'-in) of Walden is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree possession of stolen property and official misconduct.

Kreppein, who joined the State Police in 1987, retired last month as a major. That followed a New York Post report that he allowed family and friends of troopers to ride in police helicopters on routine traffic patrol.

Police say he took the Garmin GPS the agency bought for about $2,400 in 2008. He was released Wednesday with a ticket to appear in Colonie Town Court on Aug. 3.

A message left for Kreppein's lawyer was not returned Wednesday afternoon.

Info

US: Park Service to Thin Out Yosemite's Growing Crowds of Trees

Thousands of younger pines and cedars will be cut down this fall to restore many of the park's original scenic vistas that in previous decades were managed by natural and controlled fires.
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© Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
The granite walls of the Yosemite Valley are illuminated by stars and the moon on a clear winter night. The stand of evergreens at the base of the cliff would obscure such a view for most drivers and visitors.

Reporting from Yosemite National Park -- National parks tend to be a tree hugger's paradise. Layers of federal laws, strict park service rules and even the disapproving scowls from some visitors prohibit so much as driving a nail into a tree, much less cutting one down.

But it's getting a bit crowded in Yosemite, where more than a hundred years of prompt firefighting have allowed towering pines and cedars to clog the park's meadows and valleys. These days, you can barely see the granite for the trees.

That's about to change. Yosemite National Park officials say thousands of trees will be felled to preserve the iconic views of the park's waterfalls and the craggy faces of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Heart - Black

US, Seattle: Scrap Metal Thieves Strike Charity for Kids with Cancer


The scrap metal thieves who hit Gilda's Club probably didn't realize that they were stealing from kids, some of whom are battling cancer.

"We work so hard in our community. We've touched thousands and thousands of lives of people touched by cancer, and now we have to find $10,000 to fix this," said Anna Gottlieb, the club's executive director. "It's going to be a real struggle to get everything fixed and up and running again."

The non-profit discovered the missing copper early this week. Someone called police after seeing two men running from the back of the building late last week, according to a police report. When an officer investigated, he found the copper wiring and pipes missing from two large heating and cooling units behind the club, at 1400 Broadway on Capitol Hill.

"It's very inappropriate and very wrong to do something like that," said Jake Sears, a 17 year old who survived brain cancer as a child. "It just kills the mood of what's going on."

Eagle

US: Boston Scientific to Lay off 1,200-Plus

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© unknown
Despite some setbacks and the resignation of CEO J. Raymond Elliott, quarterly profit was better than expected.
Boston Scientific Corp. said yesterday that it plans to eliminate 1,200 to 1,400 jobs worldwide during the next 2 1/2 years to free money for new investments, the Natick medical device maker's second major round of cuts since last year.

The company would not say how many jobs will be lost in Massachusetts, where fewer than 2,000 of its 25,000 employees are based. In February 2010, Boston Scientific said it would pare 1,300 jobs worldwide, but similarly did not say where.

Yesterday's move, a day after Boston Scientific disclosed it was investing $150 million and hiring 1,000 people in China, raised fears that the company will gradually shift more work to foreign sites with less government oversight and lower costs than the United States.

"I've asked for information on where they are cutting jobs,'' said state Senator James B. Eldridge, an Acton Democrat. He has proposed so-called clawback legislation that would allow the state to recover money from businesses that receive tax breaks here - including Boston Scientific - and then reduce their workforces.

Heart - Black

US: Alabama Wal-Mart Goes Nuclear Over Chicken Necks; Newlyweds Lose House; Husband Deported

walmart chicken
© Unknown
Newlywed shoppers claim Wal-Mart's false accusation that they tried to steal $2.90 worth of chicken neck bones caused the wife to be falsely arrested and lose her job, her husband to be deported, and both to lose their car, all their possessions and their house - though Wal-Mart's security video showed they had paid for the damn chicken bones.

Mary Hill Bonin sued Wal-Mart and several of its managers in Jefferson County Court.

Bonin says the imbroglio ensued when she went shopping at the Adamsville Wal-Mart on July 1, 2007, with her husband of 2 months, who was not yet a U.S. citizen.

They used the self-checkout counter to save time.

Bonin says the scanner would not register the $2.90 worth of chicken necks, so she asked a Wal-Mart employee for help. The employee checked the machine and told her "it's okay," according to the complaint.

Comment: The inmates are well and truly running the asylum now.


X

Texas, US: 'People are sick'! Several cats found sawed in half in Austin

Someone is cutting cats in half in a Northwest Austin neighborhood.

The Austin Police Department is stepping up its patrols in Pecan Creek Park because of what officers say may be a troubling trend that's resurfacing here.

Kynama Wald met with police recently after a second disturbing discovery this month at Pecan Creek Park. Just a few weeks ago, she found a dead cat that appeared to have been cut in two.



Vader

Food, Control and the Growing Police State

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Food has always been a tool the elite have used to control the masses. When you control the food supply, you control everything, even life and death. A starving man is more likely to sell his soul for a potato then someone with a full tummy. The relatively free market of food production and distribution that has been in place in this nation for a few centuries now has led to unrivaled prosperity. Food can, in fact, be grown for practically nothing if you have the land, the time and can afford to buy just a few heirloom seeds to grow the organic vegetables necessary for good health. This will save you money, is better for you than grocery store vegetables which may be genetically modified or may contain unwanted chemicals, and helps you to become less dependent on the state for your survival.

It is the last part of the above statement that frightens government officials. They want you dependent on them. For some, it makes them feel important. Others may just want to feel needed or helpful. Still others may just want the paycheck. Whatever the case, they don't seem to just want to leave you alone to your own devices. Perhaps that's why they're attempting to pass laws making it illegal to grow your own garden. Perhaps that's why they want to make sure you're a compliant grass farmer just like your neighbors. Perhaps that's why they're trying to control the food necessary for life.

There was much reporting done on the story of Julie Bass from Oak Park, Michigan, who was arrested for growing a garden in her (gasp) front lawn. There was so much reporting on this story, in fact, that the city of Oak Park decided to drop the charges. They had claimed that the citizens of Oak Park were in favor of such ordinances that made it a crime to have anything but nicely manicured, inedible, Kentucky bluegrass lawns (an exaggeration, but you get the idea). I think they were rather surprised when the Bass's neighbors came out decidedly against the arrest. Rather than apologizing and admitting they were wrong like normal people would do, however, they did what you would expect of government control freaks who think they're perfect. They found something else to charge poor Julie Bass with. Things get tough for you once you're on the government's shit list.

Nuke

New Japan Law 'Cleanses' Bad Nuclear News

mother,child & radiation worker
© n/a
Friday, July 15, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (METI) - Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, opened a call for bids (tender) regarding the "Nuclear Power Safety Regulation Publicity Project", for contractors to monitor blogs and tweets posted about nuclear power and radiation.

Saturday, July 23, The Japan Times reported, about 1,500 cows that were fed hay containing radioactive cesium, in excess of the government limit, were found to have been shipped from Fukushima and other prefectures to all of Japan except Okinawa, as of Thursday, July 21. Evidence of rising contamination in and around the plant has tempered optimism, and new reports has consumers raising questions about whether it remains safe to eat beef, chicken and pork.

Since March 11, 2011 it has been reported that YouTube videos containing footage or comments unfavorable to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) or the Japanese government have been removed within several hours of their posting. Examples of offending YouTube videos include excerpts of TV shows with controversial comments like footage showing smoke emitted from the nuclear reactors, and an ex-TEPCO employee speaking on his Fukushima experiences. Likewise, Twitter accounts with too much content regarding nuclear power and radiation issues have been disrupted.

People

Ten Years Ago Portugal Legalized All Drugs -- What Happened Next?

portugal map
© thinkstockphotos
Drug related deaths fell by 50%

The government in Portugal has no plans to back down. Although the Netherlands is the European country most associated with liberal drug laws, it has already been ten years since Portugal became the first European nation to take the brave step of decriminalizing possession of all drugs within its borders - from marijuana to heroin, and everything in between. This controversial move went into effect in June of 2001, in response to the country's spiraling HIV/AIDS statistics. While many critics in the poor and largely conservative country attacked the sea change in drug policy, fearing it would lead to drug tourism while simultaneously worsening the country's already shockingly high rate of hard drug use, a report published in 2009 by the Cato Institute tells a different story. Glenn Greenwald, the attorney and author who conducted the research, told Time: "Judging by every metric, drug decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success. It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country."

Back in 2001, Portugal had the highest rate of HIV among injecting drug users in the European Union - an incredible 2,000 new cases a year, in a country with a population of just 10 million. Despite the predictable controversy the move stirred up at home and abroad, the Portuguese government felt there was no other way they could effectively quell this ballooning problem. While here in the U.S. calls for full drug decriminalization are still dismissed as something of a fringe concern, the Portuguese decided to do it, and have been quietly getting on with it now for a decade. Surprisingly, most credible reports appear to show that decriminalization has been a staggering success.

The DEA sees it a bit differently. Portugal, they say, was a disaster, with heroin and HIV rates out of control. "Portugal's addict population and the problems that go along with addiction continue to increase," the DEA maintains. "In an effort to reduce the number of addicts in the prison system, the Portuguese government has an enacted some radical policies in the last few years with the eventual decriminalization of all illicit drugs in July of 2001."

Camcorder

US, Florida: Two women Bulgarian students find hidden cameras in apartment near Westchase

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© Bay News 9
Vanya Samokovareva, 22, left, and roommate Ralitsa Dzhambazova, 23, stand in front of a shower in their apartment where a camera was aimed.
The tiny cameras were hidden in smoke detectors and motion sensors, placed in the bedrooms and bathrooms of a west Hillsborough apartment.

Late Monday, two Bulgarian women discovered the covert cameras in their apartment. And now the Bulgarian students are afraid their every move - from sleeping to showering - may have been broadcast on the Internet.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating and says detectives have recovered some equipment and are following several leads.

However, between Tuesday night - when a report about the episode appeared on Bay News 9 - and Wednesday morning when detectives returned, some of the electronic equipment was removed, said sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

The women didn't answer their door Wednesday, but in an interview Tuesday with Bay News 9 said their landlord has a key to the apartment.

The Sheriff's Office declined to name any suspects.