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Tue, 19 Jan 2021
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Are We Ready for a Zombie Attack?

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© unknown
No one in emergency preparedness circles really believes the dead will rise and come looking for living people to devour -- that weird face-eating incident in Florida aside.

But they do see zombies -- the moaning, flesh-eating stars of a plethora of horror novels, comics and movies -- as a brain-grabbing way to get people to think about preparing for large-scale disasters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency became the latest federal government agency to shamble onto the zombie bandwagon, following in the footsteps of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency that captured the hearts of internet geeks everywhere when it unveiled its "Zombie Apocalypse" preparedness page and social media campaign last year.

"We need something that gets their attention, so I applaud that," said Richland Fire Chief Grant Baynes, who is involved in local disaster planning.

Baynes likened getting the public engaged in emergency planning to "trying to sell an umbrella on a sunny day."

In a place that's relatively disaster-free -- the Tri-Cities doesn't get catastrophic hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or floods as other parts of the United States -- residents can become complacent and forget that a flu pandemic or some other disaster might be around the corner.

Baynes said it's good that people feel safe, but he'd also like them to be mindful that life is unpredictable.

"Preparedness isn't just a technical thing," he said. "It's mental. It's an attitude. It's that same attitude that says, 'I know there is that potential, so I'll buy this umbrella now while I have the opportunity.' "

Binoculars

Are you better off?: 40 statistics that will absolutely shock you

obomney
© KickThemAllOut.com
Are you better off today than you were four years ago? This is a question that comes up nearly every election. This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it: #AreYouBetterOff. The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not. So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago? Of course not.

One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago. But the same thing was true four years ago as well. Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time. The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this. A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: "Decline of middle class not Obama's fault", and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November. But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy. So who should we blame?

Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy. The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is "above politics" and that their "independence" must never be questioned.

But the truth is that the debt-based financial system that the Federal Reserve is at the core of is absolutely central to our economic problems. If you do not understand this, please see this article: "10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve".

Sherlock

A 15-year Mystery in Syracuse: Who Keeps Sending These Anthrax Hoax Letters?

The FBI has evidence that for the past 15 years someone in Syracuse has been panicking office workers with powder-filled letters threatening an anthrax attack.
Anthrax Hoax Letters
© FBI
The drawing common to many of the letters, which appears to be drawn from the works of horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft.
The pattern is the same: A letter arrives with a mound of white powder inside. The writer claims it's anthrax. It terrorizes the poor soul who opens the letter and has to wait as long as 36 hours to find out it was only baby powder.

Then the terrorist disappears for months, even years.

For 15 years, through 21 scares in Syracuse and throughout the East, the FBI has tried to solve the mystery.

Now the FBI wants help.

The agency is sharing details about the chain of terror. It says the letters contained white powder with threats that it was lethal anthrax spores. But in each case, it turned out to be baby powder, detergent or other nonhazardous materials.

The letters also carry clues about the sender, including his penchant for the writings of a long-dead science fiction writer.

The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of whoever sent the powder in 21 threatening letters from Syracuse since 1997.

Black Cat

World's Richest Woman Supports $2 per Day Slave Wages

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Gina Rinehart, the world's wealthiest woman, claims that iron-ore mining in Australia may have to abandoned if wages are not cut.

Rinehart then proudly added that African miners are "willing to work for less than $2 per day," reports the BBC (video below).

In a video recently posted on the Sydney Mining Club website, Rinehart, who is worth $18[B], said Australia should emulate Africa, reports RawStory.com.

Dollar

Flying le coop: France's Richest Man Seeks Belgian Citizenship, Denies its an Attempt to Dodge Taxes

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Bernard Arnault, France's richest man with a net worth estimated at US$41 billion, has applied for Belgian citizenship - citing personal and business reasons and maintains this has nothing to do with François Hollande's 75 per cent tax hike on the super-r[ich].

As the Belgian authorities evaluate Arnault's request to determine whether or not he has demonstrable "real ties" to Belgium, it stands to reason that Arnault would wish to seek shelter under Belgium's 50 per cent tax rate.

Arnault insisted on Saturday that he was not becoming Belgian to dodge tax.

Dollar

Debt Slavery! Collectors Cash in on $1 Trillion in US Student Loans

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Most US college students hope to land a good job with a high salary after graduation. But for some the reality is very different. Many find themselves faced with insurmountable debt - and a loan industry that's happy to cash in on their misfortune.

­As the number of people taking out government-backed student loans has soared, so has the number of borrowers who have fallen behind in making payments.

Around 5.9 million people nationwide have fallen at least 12 months behind in their payments. This number has grown by a third in the last five years, according to a State Higher Education Finance survey.

Many who can't repay their loans feel they have no choice but to default. It's a decision that can be disastrous - ruining a borrower's credit and increasing the amount they owe. It can also result in penalties of up to 25 per cent of the balance.

Comment: The student loan racket is destroying the future for many young people and often forces them to take desperate measures:
Prostitution Attractive Option for Med Students with Debt
"I Cannot Eat Your Prayers": How Student Debt Changed One Woman's Mind on "Christian Charity"
America's Student Loan Racket
US: Students Protest Debt While These Companies Rake in Money


Heart - Black

Gardening company faces $12.5 million penalty for adding poison to bird food

bird
© Agence France-Presse/Patrick Pleul
The US law and garden products company, Scotts Miracle Gro, the world's largest marketer of residential pesticides, is facing $12.5 million in fines for violating numerous federal pesticide laws and for adding illegal toxins to wild bird food.

The company pleaded guilty to distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, distributing unregistered pesticides and falsifying pesticide registrations - but the most disturbing was its use of toxic insecticide in its bird food products, including Storcide II and Actellic 5E.

Part of Friday's $12.5 million criminal settlement will go towards restoring some of the wildlife the company may have endangered. Scotts will be forced to contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitats. Other fines include a $6 million civil penalty, $2 million for environmental projects and a $4 million criminal state fine.

"Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife," reads the label on the containers of the chemical. Still, Scotts used the substance and sold its illegally treated bird food for two years after it began making it and for six months after employees warned the company of its dangers. The company admitted it used the toxic substances to protect against insects in the bird food during storage.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had prohibited the use of Actellic 5E and Storcide II, both of which were used by Scotts and which the company imported illegally from other countries.

House

Wells Fargo loses all of family's possessions after wrongfully foreclosing on home


Wells Fargo employees wrongfully foreclosed a modest home near a small town in California, removing and destroying nearly all of an old couple's belongings.

Alvin and Pat Tjosaas, who have been married for 56 years, lost three generations worth of their belongings when a contracted foreclosure crew accidentally broke into the wrong house. The Tjosaas had no mortgage on the house that Alvin had built with his dad as a teenager.

"Good news, we know who took it: Wells Fargo. Bad news, the stuff is all gone," Alvin Tjosaas told CBS Los Angeles.

Subcontractors hired by the bank broke doors, smashed windows and stole valuables while foreclosing the couple's vacation home near Twentynine Palms.

A 14-year-old Alvin had build the house brick by brick with his dad in 1961 and has taken his family and kids there ever since.

"I put my whole life into this place, building it for my mom and dad," he told ABC News.

"I know every inch, every rock... my mom mixed all the cement by hand," he told CBS.

Among the stolen goods were three tractor mowers, three golf carts, masonry tools, carpenter tools, a WWI uniform and flag, and decades worth of family heirlooms.

Che Guevara

Greeks protest fresh cuts as 'troika' auditors visit

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© Agence France-Presse/Sakis Mitrolidis
Thousands of workers protest against budget cuts in Thessaloniki
More than 12,000 protesters marched Saturday against fresh austerity measures the Greek government has prepared to win another slice of an international bailout loan.

As auditors from Greece's international creditors inspected the government's books, four separate marches took place in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

"The Greek people can't take any more," read one banner. A number of ambulances joined the demonstration: hospital workers are among those hit, both by salary cuts and reduced public spending.

"Very soon, the vast majority of the Greek people is going to react," said Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition radical Syriza party, currently riding high in the polls.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is leading the country towards a catastrophe, he warned.

After the main demonstrations, about a thousand activists confronted police near the university in the city centre.

The police, pelted with projectiles, responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades before charging the crowd and scattering them.

The main trade unions, opposition parties including the Syriza party and communist activists all joined the protest, and police put the turnout at more than 12,000.

Camcorder

Rochester Police Exempt from Red-Light Cameras

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© MPR Photo/Sea Stachura
119 infractions recorded, but violators won't have to pay

New York - Over the past 18 months, city of Rochester employees have committed at least 119 red light violations while driving city vehicles, records show.

But while employees can be disciplined for the violation, "payment of the related fine will not be required," according to a newly adopted city procedure for handling the violations.

One-third of the infractions were by police department vehicles, including one driven by Police Chief James Sheppard. These are not instances where squad cars are going through intersections with lights and sirens blaring. But Sheppard said most do involve emergency responses, and typically are rolling stops on right turns.