Saturday, March 1, 2014



Yeah THAT Linda Thompson! Maybe this will refresh your memory..

Published on Mar 31, 2013
People in Perry County, Pennsylvania are not happy with a recent comment my Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson. During a press conference regarding illegal dumping, Thompson referred to not wanting "some scumbag from Perry County" coming into the city to drop off trash without paying.


And then there is the ReasonTV video highlighting her outstanding work...

Is Harrisburg's Nightmare America's Future?

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson says she's planning a challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry in his south-central Pennsylvania district.
Thompson, a Democrat, said Saturday that she is circulating petitions to get on the ballot in the 4th Congressional District.

The deadline to submit petitions is March 11.
Thompson was beaten in last year's primary after serving one term as mayor. Perry, a former state House representative from York County, is in his first term after running to succeed the retiring Todd Platts.
The district includes all of York and Adams counties and parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties. It leans Republican, with about 209,000 registered Republican voters, about 166,000 registered Democrats and about 66,000 others, according to figures from the state elections bureau.

Dems Fading Fast: Democrat drops out of race for Kelly's congressional seat


A second Democratic candidate has ended his campaign for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler.

Matt Ryan, 31, of Cranberry, sent an email to Georgiann Kerr, chair of the Butler County Democratic Committee, late Thursday saying that he was withdrawing “due to a substantial increase in military obligations in the last 24-48 hours.” Ryan is a member of the Army National Guard.

Rob Joswiak, 31, of Concord, cited family issues in his Feb. 19 withdrawal from the race.

Dan LaVallee, 26, of Cranberry, a former deputy director at American Health Insurance Plan in Washington D.C., is still seeking the nomination in the May 20 primary election.

The 3rd District covers all of or portions of Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Erie, Clarion, Crawford and Armstrong counties.


How Appropriate: Roswell selected as drone plane training center


Pretty soon there will be something a little different flying about Roswell, and it doesn’t have anything to do with aliens.
An international aerospace company has picked Roswell as a drone training ground.
No, they’re not UFO’s, they’re UAV’s.  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, in other words drones.
And come summer unmanned drones will be flying the New Mexico sky.
An international company, Strategic Aerospace, is setting up a drone pilot training center in Roswell.
The program will start with 30 air force academy graduates.
They will eat, sleep, and fly drones for three months straight at the airport.
The drones are battery operated and can’t stay in the air longer than 20 minutes.
“They never go over 400 feet, but they’re 80 knots.  They're pretty fast little things," said Captain Bruce Oaster of Strategic Aerospace International.
And believe it or not, they only weigh 35 pounds.
“It’s all lightweight plastic. It’s like the plastic airplanes you used to put together as a kid," said Oaster.
Only these cost $100,000 apiece.
Pilots will practice take-offs and landings, controlling the flights from a remote control on the ground.
About three will be in the air at a time.
After pilots fly these for three months, they will earn certification.
“There’s countless jobs now coming on the market in agriculture, security, surveillance, law enforcement, the military, they fly pipelines,” said Oaster.
The company says the drones will only be flying over a limited area at the airport. 
The company assures they won't be flying all over Roswell and definitely won't be flying over homes
The program hopes to eventually expand so that anyone interested in the training can apply.
The center hopes to start its first class in May.

Las Cruces police arrest Border Patrol agent


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - A Border Patrol agent in Las Cruces is accused of threatening his family with a gun, shoving his wife and shooting the family dog.
Las Cruces police arrested Carmelo Diaz Jr. late Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated assault against a family member, battery against a household member and extreme animal cruelty.
Police say the dog was euthanized after a veterinarian determined it was paralyzed.
Police also say Diaz allegedly threatened to kill himself during the incident.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Diaz is jailed at the Dona Ana County Detention Center. He has requested that a lawyer be appointed for him.
The Border Patrol says it can't comment on Diaz's case but says it takes allegations of misconduct seriously and will cooperate with any investigation.


Of course they are: Homeland Security reviewing border use-of-force


WASHINGTON (AP) — New Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reviewing the department's use-of-force policies, a Homeland Security official said Friday.
The official said Johnson has been reviewing the rules about when border agents can use their guns since he took office in December.
The official was not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, has been criticized by civil rights groups and others for allowing border agents to use deadly force against people blamed for throwing rocks at them.
Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher said last year that a report by the Police Executive Research Forum, a group that led a government-commissioned review, recommended a ban on deadly force against rock throwers and assailants in vehicles. CBP rejected the recommendations, which Fisher described to The Associated Press as "very restrictive." Now, agents can use deadly force if they have a reasonable belief that their lives or the lives of others are in danger.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that it obtained a copy of the report, which it described as critical of the Border Patrol's "lack of diligence" in investigating agents who fired their guns. The newspaper said the report also concluded that "that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them."
The report found agents sometimes put themselves in harm's way by remaining close to rock throwers when they could have moved away, according to a person who read it and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because it has not been publicly released. It said agents may have been partly motivated by frustration in some rock-throwing cases.
The 21-page review of incidents from January 2010 to October 2012 raised questions about cases in which agents fired across the border fence into Mexico and said "too many" cases don't meet the threshold for use of deadly force, the person said.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, said she read the report and found it "very disturbing."
"It makes clear that there needs to be very serious reform efforts at the agency," she said. "You don't use lethal force against nonlethal force."
The Homeland Security official said Johnson's review was not prompted by any additional incidents or new details.
CBP's policies have been criticized by some civil rights groups and questioned by others.
"When a young person throws a rock across the border ... some agents respond with a gun and others don't seem to respond at all," U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said at a congressional hearing in January. "There seems to some need for consistency in the response to these incidents."
The Border Patrol has long maintained that rocks are lethal weapons.
According to the Homeland Security inspector general, agents were attacked with rocks 339 times in the 2011 budget year. Rock-throwing incidents were the most common assault reported. Agents responded with gunfire 33 times and with less-than-lethal force 118 times.
The latest incident happened on Feb. 18, when an agent fatally shot Jesus Flores Cruz, 41, who allegedly struck the agent in the head with a rock near San Diego. The Border Patrol said Agent Daniel Basinger feared for his life.

N.J. Corruption: Emerson councilman resigns amid election fraud charges


EMERSON – A borough councilman stepped down this week as he faces charges of election fraud. 

Ron Griffin, who on Thursday stepped down from the position that he had held for two months, also had applied for a two-year diversionary court program on Wednesday. Griffin’s hearing in Superior Court in Hackensack is on March 26.  

Griffin did not return messages for comment Friday. His brief resignation letter did not give a reason, but noted that he was “compelled to submit” the resignation.

In December, Griffin and former borough attorney Scott Mooney were charged by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with falsifying or tampering with records, fraudulently defacing a primary petition for nominating candidates, and conspiracy to deface a nominating petition.

The borough’s governing body did not re-appoint Mooney to his post this year, but Griffin assumed office as a first-time councilman in January. Three Republican nominees will now be submitted to the all-Republican council to fill the vacated position, until voters can choose a permanent replacement in November.

Mayor Carlos Colina said he was “disappointed” to learn of Griffin’s resignation.

“In the two months that he served on the council, he made positive contributions. I thought that he brought a fresh perspective to the borough, and he was engaged to a great degree,” Colina said.

At a court hearing on Wednesday, Mooney also entered into the diversionary program, known as pretrial intervention. The program does not result in criminal charges if it is completed without any violations. Mooney also stepped down from his position as a municipal prosecutor in Central Municipal Court in Hackensack and Demarest Municipal Court, and he is barred from holding public office.

Mooney and Griffin allegedly altered a petition signed by 25 borough residents nominating Republican incumbent Elizabeth Garis, adding the name of a political newcomer after residents had already signed the petition. Mooney and Griffin allegedly did the same to a blank petition signed by 15 residents, adding the name of incumbent Stephen Paino, who was reelected. The borough clerk later invalidated Garis’ petition, which prevented her from running for reelection. Paino was not charged with any wrongdoing.

Councilwoman Danielle DiPaola, who had helped Garis gather the signatures for her petition, said Garis was the one affected most by this issue.

“The only right thing to do at this point is to put Elizabeth Garis back on the council,” DiPaola said.


Today's "Name That Party" Quiz


Former St. Louis politician Star Triplett admits misusing campaign funds

ST. LOUIS -- A former St. Louis alderman has been fined $100,000 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for improperly spending nearly $20,000 in campaign contributions on student loans, new clothes and other personal expenses.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Kacie Starr Triplett and her campaign committee also failed to accurately report about $20,000 in donations or expenditures. She can avoid the full fine if she pays 10 percent of it within 45 days. There are no criminal penalties.
Triplett, a Democrat, did not respond to a newspaper interview request. She apologized for her “greed and selfishness” in an email to supporters.
She was elected in 2007 and stepped in 2012. Triplett was also a local spokeswoman for President Barack Obama’s 2008 primary campaign.

Here's the full statement released to the media Thursday afternoon:
Dear Friend:

I am full of regret for not fulfilling the trust, support and friendship you have given me. But most of all, I am sorry.
It will soon become public that, while serving as Alderman, I converted campaign funds for personal use. My actions were illegal and indefensible.
Regrettably, my mistakes resulted not from need, but from greed and selfishness. I fell into a behavior in which, if I desired something that I could not afford, I used my campaign funds to buy it. This was wrong.
My conduct began on a small-scale that I erroneously convinced myself was innocent and harmless. However, I now realize that the misappropriation of any amount is improper and beneath the standards for anyone who serves the public.
Last fall, I contacted the Missouri Ethics Commission to notify them of my violations of our state's election law. Along with legal counsel, I met with them in Jefferson City and laid out every dollar spent on personal use. We provided every transaction and bank statement in an attempt to provide complete transparency for my mistakes. This week, we finalized an agreement documenting my violations and stipulating the restitution and fines I will pay as a result of my actions.
While the official inquiry has concluded, this letter is the first step of my journey to rebuild the trust of individuals like you. So many people took a chance and voted for me at the age of 26. They knocked on doors for me and stood out in the rain for me. You believed in me and I know I have disappointed you. Nothing is more important to me than repairing the damage I have done.
Please know that I am committed to making good on my very bad judgment. I am not yet sure what God and the future holds for me, but I know the first step is to admit what I have done and to no longer keep things in the dark.
Again, I am deeply sorry for my actions, ask for your forgiveness, and welcome your prayers and continued friendship.
Kacie Starr Triplett

Local Governments prove they are not exempt from corruption


Elk Creek lawsuit features belated vote

CRANESVILLE -- Since Nov. 2, 2012, when their lawyer sued in Erie County Court, the Elk Creek Township supervisors have been pursuing a claim against farmer Kenneth Rogers over a 288-by-50-foot parcel of land.

The supervisors, however, did not cast a public vote approving the filing of the suit until Feb. 3 -- 15 months after the suit was docketed in court.

The belated vote -- which came after the Erie Times-News filed a Right-to-Know-Law request over the suit and its cost -- is the latest development in the case, which touches on Develop Erie's plans to bring a iron-smelting plant to an area just west of the disputed parcel, in western Erie County.

The township is claiming the parcel, which is 50 feet wide, makes up a section of Thrasher Road, which is public. Rogers is arguing the parcel is his, as he said is shown in the deed for other land he inarguably owns in the area. He has planted soybeans on the swath.

The suit has languished since the township filed it in November 2012. Rogers has asked a judge to throw out the case, and more activity is likely to come soon.

Rio's World Cup displace 100,000 residents


Rio's working poor are being displaced by projects preparing the city for this year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — With her family of six living in five different houses scattered across the city, Dalvaneide Pequeno do Nascimento longs for the days when her whole clan shared the same roof.
Nascimento, her husband and children were among the more than 230 families forced out of their homes in Vila Recreio II, a Rio de Janeiro slum that was razed three years ago to make way for the Transoeste expressway connecting the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood that'll be the main hub for the 2016 Olympics with the western outskirts of Rio.
It's just one of a slew of urban renewal efforts launched ahead of this year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, works igniting a sweeping transformation of Rio after decades of neglect since Brazil's capital was moved to Brasilia in 1960. Officials are using the events as catalysts for expanded metro lines, roads, airport renovations and other works. Critics say poor residents such as Nascimento are paying the price and estimate some 100,000 people have been evicted or face removals to make way for the projects.
"The city has become the object of the big business, the big interests behind the mega-events," said Marcelo Chalreo, who heads the human rights commission of the Rio chapter of Brazil's bar association. "In the name of the (sporting) events, now everything has to be pretty and nice looking."
Nascimento said city officials presented her and her husband, bricklayer Jucelio de Souza, with a simple choice: Accept a lump-sum compensation for their house, be given an apartment in a distant housing project or walk away with nothing. With Rio's real estate market among the hottest in the Americas and even homes in many slums fetching upward of $50,000, the city's compensation offer of just over $2,300 was grossly inadequate, Nascimento said.
Scared of being left homeless, the couple chose the apartment and were assigned a unit in a housing project in the distant suburb of Campo Grande. Inaugurated in 2011, the Condominio Oiti project, a grouping of beige four-story towers that now houses nearly 200 families originally hailing from slums throughout the city, is 35 miles (60 kilometers) from Rio de Janeiro's center, and prohibitively far from the upscale home where she works as a nanny.
"It's a nightmare," said Nascimento, whose weathered, lined face belies her 36 years, 16 of them spent in the Vila Recreio II slum. "There's nothing here, no work, no hospitals, no public transport, nothing. They forced us out of our houses and dropped us here in the middle of nowhere."
City officials have in the past acknowledged that some 15,000 families were resettled, but insist the moves were done to remove people from areas prone to deadly mudslides and had nothing do with the World Cup or Olympics. The office of Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes confirmed that in a statement, saying it "is not and will not carry out any resettlements" connected to the World Cup.
For coming Olympics preparations, however, city officials said they planned to resettle 278 families living on land that's part of the Olympic Village. Local organizers for the World Cup didn't respond to requests for comment, while Olympic organizers confirmed the removals near the Olympic village.
Amnesty International Brazil paints a different picture, saying 19,200 families in and round Rio have been pushed out of their homes since 2009. An advocacy group for affected slum residents called the Popular Committee for the World Cup and Olympics estimates that 100,000 have or will be moved.
Evictions and the Olympics have long gone hand-in-hand, and even the worst-case scenario for Rio involves far less than the 1 million believed to have been moved for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 or what some rights groups estimate were the 720,000 people displaced ahead of the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Officials have said all removals in Rio have been carried out fairly, with those evicted being offered a wide range of housing options. Advocacy groups and those who have lost their homes, however, tell a different story.
"The city's removal policy is disastrous because it's taking these pockets of poverty and pushing them out to the furthest limits of the city, thus making vulnerable people that much vulnerable," said Renato Cosentino, a member of the Popular Committee.
For Nascimento's husband Souza, in fact, the family's eviction has put more obstacles in the way of an already difficult life.
The distance that separates their new home from the jobs, schools and hospitals of central Rio has wrenched the family apart. Since their 2011 move, Nascimento sleeps five nights a week at her employers' house. Otherwise, her commute would gobble up at least six hours a day, its cost taking a major bite out of her $500 monthly salary. For similar reasons, her husband shells out $190 a month for a tiny rental apartment close to his job. One of Nascimento's youngest children lives with her mother and another with a close friend, while her two teenage boys live alone in the housing project.
"We were working hard and getting ahead in life and then this happens and it sets us not even back to where we started, but way back before the starting point," said Souza, his sunglasses failing to conceal the tears streaming down his face. "I would give everything just to have my little plot of land back and my family whole again."

Interesting: Policing Parents at School


Parents dropping off their children Friday morning at Travis Elementary School were in for quite a surprise when they were greeted at the footsteps of the school not only by the usual smiling teacher, but also by a Harlingen police officer.
"We had one officer actually walking the parking lot looking for people who are texting in the school parking lot," Sgt. Dave Osborne said.
The police department, Osborne said, has received several calls, written complaints and even Facebook posts, from residents complaining about speeding, drivers running stop signs and people not looking out for students walking across the parking lot.
"The officer did not find anyone texting in the parking lot, however he did see other violations," Osborne said.
Action 4 News was only able to find one of the complaints on Harlingen Police's Facebook page. It was from "Maria Love" who wrote: "at Travis on Polk ...Folks pass the lines through the center and usually are speeding and can't see the kids! I hate how unsafe it is. Mornings, but afternoons are the worst."
"We did find a few violations, but it wasn't as bad as it was initially reported," Osborne said.
Parents who encountered the police officer at the parking lot tell Action 4, they were hesitant to drop off the kids, fearful something major had happened. Others said it seemed the officer was calling-in almost all the license plates checking for insurance.
"The Harlingen police department does not do anything illegal," Osborne said. "We're not doing road blocks, we're not stopping cars in the middle of a school zone trying to catch violators - what we're doing is having a presence in a high-traffic area."
It may not be a popular way to ensure kids' safety, but Osborne said it's what the law allows them to do, citing a cell phone use in school zone law, that went into effect September 1st. It bans drivers from using cell phones on all school property, including parking lots.
"We do have two officers in the mornings specifically targeting school zones," Osborne said.