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Member since: Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:42 PM
Number of posts: 756

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Why are gas prices still so high in California?

It finally dropped to 2.99 at Valero here in the Central Valley...which isn't really helping much either even though it's already winter. I don't get it, it's less than $2 in other states.

Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message criticised online for featuring gold piano


There’s been an online backlash to the Queen’s Christmas message this year after viewers took offence at her gold piano. The Queen was filmed sitting at a desk in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace when she delivered her speech, which included personal reflections on her long life and a wish for peace.

But it was the presence of a gold piano in the background that sparked accusations of hypocrisy and that she was out of touch. Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire said the Queen had killed satire by “lecturing the nation to pull together” while sitting in front of a golden piano in a palace she was charging taxpayers to renovate.

Scottish National Party politician James Dornan also pilloried her message suggesting a singalong on the gold piano might cheer up those hungry and sleeping on the streets. The way the Queen funds her activities, what she personally owns and what is owned by the public, is complex.

Taxpayers fund her activities including a planned renovation of Buckingham Palace (which is not her personal property) through the Sovereign Grant, which is funded from profits generated by the huge commercial property business owned by the reigning monarch but only while she is Queen. In 2017/18, the Crown Estate generated a profit of £329.4 million ($A588 million) and this money was given to the UK Treasury, the BBC reported.

A portion of this money, about £47.4 million ($A84 million), was provided as a grant to the Queen to fund her duties and maintenance of the royal palaces. The gold piano is part of the Royal Collection, an art collection made up of more than one million objects owned by the British royal family. The Queen owns some of the objects as a private individual but others are owned in the right of the Crown.


British police release suspects, say there might never have been a drone at Gatwick Airport

Source: Business Insider

There might not have been a drone at Gatwick Airport in the first place, British police said, after the country's second-largest airport closed for 36 hours last week over reports of drone activity on the runway.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said on Sunday there was "always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place," because police relied on human witnesses to the sighting, The Guardian and The Times of London reported.

Tingley's comments came as police released a local man and woman who had been arrested on suspicion of "criminal drone activity," and offered a £50,000 ($63,300) reward to anyone with significant information about the drone.

Tingley added that police have "no available footage" of drone activity around the airport, which is just outside London. It puts into doubt a video, published last week by MailOnline, of what the news site said was one of the drones hovering over Gatwick during the shutdown.

Read more: https://www..com/gatwick-airport-drone-may-not-have-caused-shutdown-uk-police-2018-12

Mattis is out, and Blackwater is back: 'We are coming'

This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil," the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: “We are coming.”

Is the war in Afghanistan — and possibly elsewhere ― about to be privatized?

If Blackwater returns, it would be the return of a private security contractor that was banned from Iraq, but re-branded and never really went away. By 2016 Blackwater had been re-named and restructured several times, and was known at the time as Constellis Group, when it was purchased by the Apollo Holdings Group. Reuters reported earlier this year that Apollo had put Constellis up for sale, but in June the sale was put on hold.

A representative for Constellis told Military Times late Friday that while it had acquired the former Blackwater training center in the 2016 purchase, it has no affiliation with the former security firm. It did not retain Blackwater’s founder and former CEO Erik Prince and has no current connection to him, or the firm’s former management structure.


Staff at a bank in Ohio called police on a black man trying to cash his paycheck

Source: CNN

An African-American man who couldn't cash his paycheck at a Huntington bank in Brooklyn, Ohio, says the staff was "judging" him. Paul McCowns, 30, told CNN affiliate WOIO he recently got a new job and was trying to cash his first paycheck earlier this month, but the tellers wouldn't cash the check, which was just over $1,000.

As he was leaving the bank emptyhanded, McCowns was met by Brooklyn Police, handcuffed and placed in the back of a cruiser. When McCowns asked what was happening, the officer said the bank's teller had called 911.

"I have a customer here -- he's not our customer, actually. He's trying to cash a check and the check is fraudulent. It does not match our records," a bank employee says on a recording of the 911 call obtained by CNN. McCowns doesn't bank with Huntington and its staff was not able to reach his employer at first, but he followed bank protocol and provided the tellers with two forms of identification and a fingerprint. The bank still declined to cash his check.

"It was highly embarrassing, highly embarrassing," McCowns told WOIO. "The person who made that phone call — that manager, that teller — whoever made that phone call, I feel as though they were judging." The Brooklyn Police Department said in a statement that McCowns was released once officers reached his employer and "confirmed with the account holder the check was valid."

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/19/us/cleveland-man-alleges-racial-profiling-at-huntington-bank-trnd/index.html

Florida deputy kills wife, daughter, granddaughter, self

Source: Ledger Inquirer

A Florida sheriff's deputy fatally shot his wife, granddaughter and daughter before he radioed dispatchers to say he'd hurt his family early Wednesday, then killed himself in front of fellow deputies near a high school, authorities said. The events unfolded before students had arrived for school in Plant City, a rural community east of Tampa.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister identified the deputy as 58-year-old Terry Strawn, who in 2009 was named "Officer of the Year."

"There was no indication, no behavior issues," Chronister said. "Nothing that would lead any employee to believe this employee was struggling."Strawn went on the department's main radio channel just before 7 a.m. Wednesday to say he had harmed his family. The deputy mentioned financial and health problems and said he was going to kill himself near the local high school, the sheriff said.

"Throughout the entire dialogue on the radio, the dispatchers did a wonderful job of trying to convince him that suicide is not the answer," Chronister said. The sheriff said three other deputies quickly located Strawn and they made "every attempt possible to try to convince this deputy sheriff that there was a different way, that there was a different solution. Unfortunately, the deputy took his own life on scene in front of the other deputies," Chronister said.

Read more: https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/nation-world/article223309650.html

Islamist terrorists suspected in murder of Scandinavian tourists in Morocco

Source: Telegraph

Two Scandinavian tourists killed in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains were the victims of a terrorist attack, prosecutors believe. One man has been arrested following the discovery on Monday of the bodies of 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway.

One of the women had been beheaded, a source told AFP. A suspect in the murder was arrested in Marrakech on Tuesday, and was known to have ties to radical Islamist terror networks. Police are hunting for three other suspects. Boubker Sabik, a police spokesman, said terrorism was suspected and that the three suspects on the run had been "identified and a search for them is under way by all the security services".

One of the three had "a court record linked to terrorist acts", he said, while the prosecutor general's office said the man in custody also belonged to an extremist group.

"Radical Islam is not ruled out, due to the profile of the suspect arrested and of the three men wanted," a source close to the investigation told AFP.

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/19/islamist-terrorists-suspected-murder-scandinavian-tourists-morocco/

Toledo Father Dies Making Christmas Presents For Kids

A Toledo father lost his life while he was making Christmas presents for his kids. The coroner says 38-year old Kristoffer Staler was trying to use a homemade wood burner when it electrocuted him. Staler was pronounced dead at his East Toledo home.

Neighbors say his two daughters, age 11 and 14, came home from school and found their father in the garage. Neighbor and friend Tommy Austin says "The door opened and all I could hear is them two little girls screaming."

Staler's mother Mary filed for emergency custody of her 3 grandchildren, the two girls and and 18-year old son. "He was making a display to display his son's karate belts. When he graduates in May he's hoping to have his black-belt and Kris was making a display case," says Staler.

The family and friends have set up a go fund me account to raise money to help support the children and pay for funeral expenses. The children's mother passed away three years ago.



DC-area activist stripped of green card, ordered deported to Mexico

This is pretty big. If you have friends who only have green cards, tell them to be careful and apply for citizenship ASAP! Trump and his MAGAtards are going after green card holders!

ANNANDALE, Va. (AP) — An Arizona judge has stripped a prominent Washington-area immigration and reproductive rights organizer of her green card and ordered her deportation.

The Washington Post reports the immigration judge on Tuesday also denied 33-year-old Alejandra Pablos’ petitions for asylum, saying the Mexican-born legal permanent resident wouldn’t qualify because reproductive rights activists aren’t deemed a group in need of protection.

Pablos was arrested in March when she traveled to Phoenix to check in with immigration officials on a pending deportation case stemming from a felony conviction for driving under the influence.

Pablos’ supporters believe her activism made her a target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which the agency denies.


Who wants to be a police officer? Job applications plummet at most U.S. departments

Chuck Wexler talks to police chiefs frequently, as head of the Police Executive Research Forum think tank in Washington. Recently, he asked a roomful of chiefs to raise their hands if they wanted their children to follow them into a law enforcement career. Not one hand went up, he said.

Nationwide, interest in becoming a police officer is down significantly. In Nashville, job applications dropped from 4,700 in 2010 to 1,900 last year. In Seattle, applications have declined by nearly 50 percent in a department where the starting salary is $79,000. Even the FBI had a sharp drop, from 21,000 applications per year to 13,000 last year, before a new marketing campaign brought an upswing.

And retaining officers once they’ve joined is getting harder, too. In a PERF survey of nearly 400 police departments, 29 percent of those who left their police job voluntarily had been on the force less than a year, and an additional 40 percent had been on the job less than five years. At a PERF gathering in Washington on Tuesday of police chiefs and commanders from across the country, many attributed their declining numbers to a diminished perception of police in the years after the shooting and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and an increase in public and media scrutiny of police made possible by technology and social media.

“There’s an increased potential for officers to be criminally liable for making a good-faith mistake,” said Terry Sult, the police chief in Hampton, Va. “We’re seeing a lot more media coverage of officers being prosecuted, and that weighs heavily on a lot of officers' hearts. ... That’s a stressor on whether I want to stay in this position or not.”

Russ Hamill, an assistant chief of police in Montgomery County, Md., said he would prefer that his kids enter another profession — “even lawyers,” he said to big laughs. “It just has changed so dramatically,” Hamill said. “I see the treatment of our street officers out there. I think it’s time for somebody else to take the torch for a little bit.”

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