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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,752

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Lawyers for 2 Ex-Christie Aides Call for Immunity

Source: Associated Press


— Mar. 21, 2014 7:14 PM EDT

Lawyers for two former underlings of Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in separate court filings Friday that a legislative committee should be able to offer their clients immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing information for the committee's investigation of possible political payback.

The briefs on behalf of former Christie aide Bridget Kelly and ex-campaign manager Bill Stepien were highly critical of the court filings from the lawmakers early this week, questioning their motives for releasing emails involving their clients and their legal positions.

Kelly's lawyer, Michael Critchley, compared the committee's arguments to "Alice in Wonderland."

The issue before a state court judge in Trenton is whether the lawmakers can force Kelly and Stepien to comply with subpoenas in the investigation of politically motivated traffic jams created near the George Washington Bridge last year. The judge, Mary Jacobson, had asked both sides to write briefs on the issue of immunity.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/lawyers-2-ex-christie-aides-call-immunity

NC Pulls Deal With Duke On Coal Ash Pollution

Source: Associated Press


— Mar. 21, 2014 4:41 PM EDT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina regulators say they have asked a judge to withdraw a proposed settlement that would have allowed Duke Energy to resolve environmental violations by paying a $99,000 fine with no requirement that the $50 billion company clean up its pollution.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement Friday that it would scuttle the proposed consent order to settle violations for groundwater contamination leeching from coal ash dumps near Charlotte and Asheville.

The decision comes after a Feb. 2 spill at a Duke coal ash dump in Eden coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

The settlement was initially tabled last month, the day after an Associated Press story highlighting what environmentalists criticized as a "sweetheart deal" to Duke.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/nc-pulls-deal-duke-coal-ash-pollution

BREAKING: Australian PM: Australia Checking 2 Objects in Search for Plane (Update: PHOTOS)

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Australian PM: 2 objects in search for Malaysian jet may have been found.

@BreakingNews: More: Prime minister says Royal Australian Airforce Orion aircraft diverted to investigate objects - @smh http://t.co/E10hk5liHK


— Mar. 19, 2014 11:16 PM EDT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Australia's prime minister says objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight have been spotted on satellite imagery.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament in Canberra on Thursday that a Royal Australian Airforce Orion has been diverted to the area to attempt to locate the objects. The Orion is expected to arrive in the area Thursday afternoon. Three additional aircraft are expected to follow for a more intensive search.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/thai-radar-might-have-tracked-missing-plane

Video Shows Toronto Mayor Inhaling From Glass Cylinder - Police

Source: Reuters

Video shows Toronto mayor inhaling from glass cylinder -police

TORONTO | Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:13pm EDT

By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - A video obtained by police last year shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has admitted to using crack cocaine, inhaling some kind of vapor from a glass cylinder, according to police documents unsealed on Wednesday.

The documents also said some of Ford's meetings and calls with friend and occasional driver Sandro Lisi were "indicative to that of drug trafficking" and showed that police asked for a warrant to access some of Ford's phone records.

The mayor has not been charged in the investigation, and allegations in the documents have not been proven in court. Ford did not respond to requests for comment.

Ford, who is running for re-election, made international headlines last May when media blog Gawker and the Toronto Star newspaper said they had seen a video that appeared to show him smoking crack.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA2I1UZ20140319?feedType=RSS&irpc=932

APNewsBreak: NYC Inmate 'Baked to Death' in Cell (Homeless Mentally Ill Veteran)

Source: Associated Press

APNewsBreak: NYC Inmate 'Baked to Death' in Cell

NEW YORK March 19, 2014 (AP)
By JAKE PEARSON Associated Press

A New York City official tells The Associated Press that a mentally ill homeless veteran who died behind bars last month "essentially baked to death" in a jail cell that overheated to more than 100 degrees.

Fifty-six-year-old Jerome Murdough (muhr - DOH') had been charged with trespassing and placed in an observation unit for inmates with mental illnesses at Rikers Island.

Four city officials say Murdough, who took anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, apparently did not open a small vent to let cool air into his cell, as other inmates did. Officials also said he was not checked for hours, in violation of department protocol.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation by the city's Department of Correction.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/apnewsbreak-nyc-inmate-baked-death-cell-22968762

Texas Man Falls 350 Feet to His Death at Grand Canyon

Source: CBS News

Texas man falls 350 feet to his death at Grand Canyon

Mar 18, 2014 7:47 PM EDT

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. - Authorities investigating the death of a Texas man at Grand Canyon National Park believe he fell about 350 feet from the canyon's edge after trying to retrieve something, possibly a hat.

John N. Anderson, 53, of Grapevine, Texas, died Saturday after falling about 350 feet from the South Rim near El Tovar Lodge, park officials said. Witnesses reported seeing Anderson near a small rock wall that serves as a barrier between visitors and the massive gorge, but no one saw him fall, Grand Canyon Chief Ranger Bill Wright said Tuesday.

Wright said authorities believe Anderson was trying to retrieve something, possibly a hat, when he fell over the edge. The Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report of a man falling around 8 a.m. Saturday.

Rangers found the man's body in a rock outcropping and began CPR, but efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. A helicopter was used to remove Anderson's body, park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-man-falls-350-feet-to-his-death-at-grand-canyon/

A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet


A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet


- snip -

For me, the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. And there most likely was an electrical fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent. It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations.


TOM TOMORROW: The Woman Who Took Birth Control

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/17/1282385/-Cartoon-The-woman-who-took-birth-nbsp-control

SPARKY'S LIST & EMPORIUM OF SHOPPING: Support independent cartooning: join Sparky's List—and be sure to visit TT's Emporium of Shopping Fun!

EXCLUSIVE: Radar Data Suggests Missing Malaysia Plane Flown Deliberately Toward Andamans - Source

Source: Reuters

EXCLUSIVE: Radar data suggests missing Malaysia plane flown deliberately toward Andamans - sources

By Niluksi Koswanage and Siva Govindasamy
KUALA LUMPUR | Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:19am EDT

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Military radar-tracking evidence suggests a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.

Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints - indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training - when it was last plotted on military radar off the country's northwest coast.

The last plot on the military radar's tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India's Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said.

Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors.

A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were focusing increasingly on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

"What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards," said that source, a senior Malaysian police official.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA2D0DG20140314

Food Stamp Myths Debunked - 'FACT: Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity'


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, the new name for food stamps), is one of the best lines of defense against hunger in the United States. The federally funded program helps working families, seniors and many others in need put food on their tables. But stereotypes about SNAP and who uses it persist.

Let's set the record straight:

Myth #1: People who get SNAP don’t work.

FACT: In 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 30% of households enrolled in SNAP do work. Of all SNAP households in the United States, 49% include children, 16% include seniors and 20% include someone disabled. All together, 76% of SNAP households contain a child, a senior or a disabled person.

Myth #2: SNAP is a drain on taxpayers.

FACT: Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity, according to Moody's economist Mark Zandi. SNAP not only helps low-income people buy groceries, it frees up cash for other expenses, such as medical care, clothing, home repairs and childcare. That benefits local businesses and their employees, which boosts the economy as a whole.

Myth #3: SNAP is rife with fraud and abuse.

FACT: “SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. SNAP fraud has actually been cut by three-quarters over the past 15 years, and the program’s error rate is at an all-time low of less than 3 percent. The introduction of EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards has dramatically reduced consumer fraud. According to the USDA, the small amount of fraud that continues is usually on the part of retailers, not consumers.

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