Daily Archives: February 11, 2013

Benedict stuck to conservative ideals through scandal

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – – Pope Benedict was cheered by conservatives for trying to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity but liberals accused him of turning back the clock on reforms and hurting dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians.

The 85-year-old German-born pontiff announced on Monday he would step down at the end of the month because of the effects of old age meant he was unable to complete his ministry. It was a decision that stunned Church officials and Catholics around the world, but one that he had hinted at in the past.

Benedict enjoyed relatively good health most of his life but the first sign that he was slowing down came in October 2011, when he began using a wheeled platform to move up the main aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica.

In a book in 2010, he said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, “physically, psychologically and spiritually” to run the Catholic Church

Before he was elected pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was known as “God’s rottweiler” because of his stern stand on theological issues. But it became clear that not only did he not bite, but he barely even barked.

Despite great reverence for his charismatic, globe-trotting predecessor — whom he put on the fast track to sainthood and beatified in 2011 — aides said he was determined not to change his quiet manners to imitate John Paul’s style.

A professorial type who relaxed by playing the piano, Benedict sought to show the world the gentler side of the man who had been the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer for nearly a quarter of a century.

But child abuse scandals hounded most of his papacy. He ordered an official inquiry into abuse in Ireland, which led to the resignation of several bishops. But the Vatican’s relations with once Catholic Ireland plummeted during his papacy, to the point that Dublin closed its embassy to the Holy See in 2011.

Victims demanded that he be investigated by the International Criminal Court but the Vatican said he could not be held responsible for the crimes of others.

Scandal closer to home hit in 2012 when the pontiff’s butler was s found to be the source of leaked documents alleging corruption in the Vatican’s business dealings, causing an international furor.

GERMAN PAST

The first German pope for 1,000 years, Benedict confronted his country’s past when he visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Calling himself “a son of Germany,” he prayed and asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, most of them Jews, died there during World War Two.

Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory. He was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler’s regime.

But his trip to Germany also prompted the first major crisis of his pontificate. In a university lecture he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying Islam had only brought evil to the world and that it was spread by the sword.

After protests that included attacks on churches in the Middle East and the killing of a nun in Somalia, the pope said he regretted any misunderstanding the speech caused.

In a move that was widely seen as conciliatory, he made a historic trip to predominantly Muslim Turkey in 2006 and prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque with the city’s grand mufti.

But months later, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami met the pope and said wounds between Christians and Muslims were still “very deep” as a result of the Regensburg speech.

In 2007 Benedict made appointed a Polish bishop who once spied for communist police. The bishop had to stand down.

Benedict made a successful trip to the United States in 2008. He apologized for the sexual abuse scandal, promised that pedophile priests would go, and comforted abuse victims.

But 2009 became an annus horribilis for the pope as he made one misstep after another.

The Jewish world, as well as many Catholics, were outraged after Benedict lifted the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, including one who openly denied the Holocaust.

The pope prompted international outrage again in March of 2009, when he told reporters on a plane taking him to Africa and the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS only worsened the problems.

TRUSTED MEN

At the Vatican, he preferred to appoint men he trusted blindly and some of his early appointments were controversial.

He chose Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who had worked with him for years in the Vatican’s doctrinal office, to be Secretary of State even though Bertone had no diplomatic experience.

One of the themes he often returned to was the threat of relativism, rejecting the concept that moral values are not absolute but relative to those holding them.

“We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism, which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” he said in a homily at John Paul’s funeral, which many believed convinced his brother cardinals to vote for him in the conclave that followed.

Benedict committed himself to Christian unity but other religions criticized him in 2007 when he approved a document that re-stated the Vatican position that all other Christian denominations apart from Catholicism were not full churches of Jesus Christ.

He confirmed his conservative view of other religions in 2011, when an inter-faith meeting in Assisi, Italy did not include the simultaneous common prayer that was held when John Paul initiated the gatherings in 1986.

At the same meeting however, he meekly acknowledged “with great shame” that Christianity had used force in its long history as he joined other religious leaders in condemning violence and terrorism in God’s name.

Benedict’s relations with Jews had highs and lows.

Jews were offended by his decision to allow a wider use of the old-style Latin Mass and missal, which included a prayer for the conversion of the Jews.

Jews took offence again in December 2009 when he re-started the process putting his wartime predecessor Pius XII, accused by some Jews of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust, back on the road to sainthood after a two-year pause for reflection.

However in 2011, he won acclaim by personally exonerating Jews of allegations they were responsible for Christ’s death, repudiating the concept of collective Jewish guilt that haunted Christian-Jewish relations for centuries.

TURNING BACK THE CLOCK

His critics saw many of his actions as attempts to turn back the clock on reforms enacted by the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, which modernized the Church and encouraged inter-religious dialogue.

He made it easier for married Anglican priests, upset that their church was becoming too liberal, to convert to Catholicism.

Benedict wrote three encyclicals — the most important form of papal document. His first, “Deus Caritas Est” (God is Love) in 2006, was about the various concepts of love, both erotic and spiritual.

The 2007 “Spe Salvi” (Saved by Hope), was an attack on atheism and an appeal to a pessimistic world to find strength in Christian hope. The 2009 Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), called or a re-think of the way the world economy is run.

Under the German’s meek demeanor lay a steely intellect ready to dissect theological works for their dogmatic purity and debate fiercely against dissenters.

Ratzinger first gained attention as a liberal theological adviser at the Second Vatican Council.

However, the Marxism and atheism of the 1968 student protests across Europe prompted him to become more conservative to defend the faith against growing secularism.

After stints as a theology professor and then archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger was appointed head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the successor office to the Inquisition, in 1981.

He and Pope John Paul agreed that traditionally sound doctrine and theology had to be restored in the Church after a period of experimentation.

In the CDF office, Ratzinger first turned his attention to the “liberation theology” popular in Latin America, and drew criticism for his severity in ordering the one-year silencing in 1985 of Brazilian friar Leonardo Boff, whose writings were attacked for using Marxist ideas.

Ratzinger issued a firm Vatican denunciation of homosexuality and gay marriage in 1986.

He brought pressure in the 1990s against theologians, mostly in Asia, who saw non-Christian religions as part of God’s plan for humanity.

A 2004 document sternly denounced “radical feminism” as an ideology that undermined the family and obscured the natural differences between men and women.

His combative side came out in 2000 in a dispute over a CDF document entitled Dominus Iesus. Aimed at restating the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church against the more inclusive views in Asia, it branded other Christian denominations as deficient or not quite real churches.

Anglican, Lutheran and other Protestant churches which had been in ecumenical dialogue with Rome for years were shocked. They were further upset when Ratzinger dismissed protests from Lutherans as “absurd”.

The son of a police chief, he was born in Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, southern Germany, in 1927.

“Neither Ratzinger nor any member of his family was a National Socialist,” John Allen, a leading Church expert, wrote in a biography of Ratzinger.

In 2002, he became dean of the College of Cardinals which elected him pontiff three years later.

(Editing by Tom Heneghan and Giles Elgood)

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Top dogs at Westminster campaign like politicians

An ad for Oakley, the top ranked dog heading into Westminster (via Blue Rose Kennels)

NEW YORK—Claire Wisch knew there was something special about Oakley even when he was a puppy. Rowdy and playful, Oakley, a German Wirehaired Pointer with a distinctive salt-and-pepper coat and long red beard, was a “handful” when he was young, recalled Wisch, a longtime dog breeder from Brunswick, Md.

But when Oakley did stand still, Wisch was stunned to see him adopt what handlers in the industry call a “free stack”—a perfectly squared pose where the dog’s tail, back and nose are framed in a straight line. Oakley had assumed the posture with no training—only the genetics of his mother, who had enjoyed a brief career as a show dog before he was born.

“He would just stop and pose,” Wisch says “He just had that look. He had a spark. It was clear that he was born to be in the ring.”

This week in New York, Oakley will be the dog to beat in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. He enters Westminster, the most famous dog show in the world, as the top ranked dog in the country, having racked up more than 80 best-in-show titles in his career. He bested more than 97,000 dogs in shows around the country in 2012—spending virtually every weekend last year in competition.

But like most of the dogs who make it into Westminster, Oakley’s rise wasn’t just about his performance in the ring. The dog world’s top competitors, much like presidential candidates, are also expected to wage a pricey, high-profile campaign of photo ops and major advertising to help the win attention and establish a recognizable identity if they are to have any chance to win.

Wisch gave up ownership of Oakley two years ago, signing him over Victor Malzoni, a Brazilian real estate mogul and dog breeder, who agreed to fund what people in the industry describe as a “campaign” for Oakley to raise his profile and to help him achieve the ultimate victory at Westminster.

Over the last year, Oakley has starred in glossy ads in dog industry trade magazines, including Dog News, documenting his many wins around the country as a way to build his “brand” among judges of future contests. The ads, run by virtually every leading dog at Westminster, are similar in spirit to the “For Your Consideration” ads that run ahead of major Hollywood award shows.

But that’s not all. In a move eerily similar to the kind presidential hopefuls undertake every four years, Oakley’s owner agreed to fund a full-out campaign sending the dog to crucial shows around the country to help him rack up points in hopes of earning an invite to Westminster.

Wisch said Oakley traveled to at least 150 dog shows in 2012. In some cases, his handler registered the dog at multiple shows on a single weekend, deciding at the last minute where to deploy the dog to earn the most points.

A dog accumulates points in shows based on the number of dogs competing. For example, if a dog competes against 10 other dogs in a breed category and wins, he or she wins nine points. If the dog then wins best in show at a competition where there are 300 dogs, that’s another 299 points. Dog owners are not only looking to compete in an intense schedule of shows, but they are also looking to score big by winning large competitions.

In December, Oakley edged out his closest rival—an English Springer Spaniel named Peyton—by just 2,100 points to claim the rank of top dog in 2012. His handlers managed the narrow victory by sending him to compete in Pennsylvania, at a smaller show, after learning that Peyton was competing at a larger show in Ohio during the final weekend of competition. It was a fight right to the finish—and no other dogs were close. The closest competitor, a Doberman Pinscher named FiFi, ended the year with just over 66,000 points—almost 30,000 points behind Oakley. All three earned an invite to Westminster.

“It’s a numbers game,” Wisch says. “Do you want to go to Ohio, where there are 3,000 dogs, or do you want to go to Pennsylvania, where there are 1,500 dogs, but you have a better shot at winning? And where is your main competition going to be? Can you beat him that particular day? It’s all a chess game. A high-stakes chess game.”

And it’s pricey. While no owners were willing to say exactly what they pay to “campaign” a dog, some suggested it might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to boost a dog ahead of Westminster. That’s a total that includes not only advertising but travel costs, hiring an experienced handler and the intense grooming and conditioning schedule the dogs maintain.

In some cases, dogs have traveled the country to do meet-and-greets with potential judges–looking for more face time than the typical 30-second period of judging at a show would allow.

“It’s a very expensive hobby,” says Steven Sansone, who, with his wife, Cynthia, owns Havannah, a Giant Schnauzer that will compete at Westminster. “We know there’s a lot of money in dog showing because we have left it there.”

Sansone, who lives outside Philadelphia and works in the finance industry, simply cleared his throat when asked for an estimate on how much he’d spent to promote his dog. Havannah has been featured in several two-page full color ads in Dog News in recent months—an ad that, based on the magazine’s rate card, cost at least $1,200 each time it ran. And that doesn’t include the cost of designing and producing the ad.

“If you are going to do this, you have to promote your dog,” Sansone said. “Does it work with judges? I don’t know. But it’s creating a brand. Your dog has to be known. No question.”

And that is the big unknown: Does any of this campaigning actually work? Many of the judges associated with Westminster declined to talk about their duties ahead of the show. But the show’s organizers have insisted that the judging is based only on how the dog is viewed inside the ring on competition day.

Yet many inside the industry are skeptical that campaigning doesn’t have an impact—suggesting the proof it works is that most of the major dog owners are doing it in more places than ever before.

In the run-up to Westminster, two of the major dog glossies—Dog News and Canine Chronicle—published two of their biggest issues ever, at more nearly 200 pages each. And the campaign has moved online, as a growing number of dog owners have published their ads on websites, including Best in Show Daily.

Denise Sutton—who owns Leo, a top Irish terrier who will compete at Westminster—says she began receiving phone calls and emails about advertising once her dog began moving up in the ranks. She ultimately ran one full-page ad in Dog News in early January, which cost $600.

“There are so many places to advertise now. And I’d love to do more, but it gets really expensive. Let’s get real,” Sutton says. “It adds up.”

But Nancy Martin, a veteran handler who has been showing at Westminster since 1970, says advertising is a requirement for any dog aiming to be taken seriously.

“To me advertising is proof that a product is a worthwhile product. It’s that simple,” says Martin, who was prominently featured in a two-page glossy ad in a recent edition of Dog News with Mimi, a Japanese chin she’ll show at Westminster this week.

Some owners take it even farther. London, a statuesque black poodle from Boca Raton, Fla., has a Facebook page in addition to his ads in the dog industry magazines. His owners, Jamie Danburg and Michele Molnar, post candid behind-the-scenes pictures of London on the road—including photos of the dog in curlers and looking at his iPad–and promote his victories around the country for the public.

“I think people want to keep up with dogs in different ways,” Molnar says. “People are curious about what goes into being a show dog and how he’s doing… People are interested in the subculture of the dog world.”

But some dogs come to Westminster without having campaigned much at all, in hopes that the best dog in judging really does win.

Keaton, a shaggy-haired Tibetan terrier from Long Island, N.Y., arrives at Westminster this week having been the subject of just one ad in Dog News last year.

Herman Goldstein, who owns the dog with his wife, Lois, says they couldn’t afford to do more—especially after last fall, when their house was flooded by Superstorm Sandy. The Goldsteins have been living in a motel ever since, while Keaton, who usually lives with them, has been staying with his handler. Goldstein says they never considered not competing.

“Some people spend so much money getting their dog out there. I wish I could do it. I wish I had the money to spend because I would. I just love my dog so much,” Goldstein said last week, as he affectionately lifted up Keaton’s long shaggy bangs so that this reporter could peer into his eyes.

“I just keep hoping that this will be like a movie, where a real dog like Keaton who really is our pet, can come into Westminster and win, in spite of all the money and campaigning you’ve seen from other dogs,” Goldstein said. “I think if there’s any place that something magical like that can happen, it’s here.”

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Tornado slams Mississippi college town

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Residents shaken by a tornado that mangled homes in Mississippi were waking up Monday to a day of removing trees, patching roofs and giving thanks for their survival. More than a dozen in the state were injured.

Daylight also offered emergency management officials the chance to get a better handle on the damage that stretched across several counties. Gov. Phil Bryant planned to visit hard-hit Hattiesburg, where a twister moved along one of the city’s main streets and damaged buildings at the governor’s alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi. Emergency officials said late Sunday that at least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they weren’t aware of any deaths.

Among those who felt lucky to be alive was 49-year-old Margie Murchison, who was visiting with a friend when her husband started screaming for them to take shelter from the approaching storm in a nearby culvert. They sprinted out of the house as debris flew around them and made it to the conduit that runs under the road. A tree crashed behind them as they made it to their hiding place.

“For a minute there, that wind was so strong I couldn’t breathe,” Murchison said.

Said Murchison’s friend, 55-year-old Wayne Cassell: “If we had wasted any seconds, we wouldn’t have made it.”

After the storm passed, there were trees down all around the Murchison home. She said there was part of the roof damaged and leaking. Windows were broken out and the detached garage was leaning.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said it appears a single tornado caused the damage in Forrest, Marion and Lamar counties. Hundreds of homes are damaged in Forrest County, along with a couple dozen in the other two.

Flynn said the sheer scope of the damage was slowing officials’ assessment.

“The problem is, it was so strong that there’s so much debris that there’s a lot of areas they haven’t been able to get to yet,” he said.

On campus, trees were snapped in half around the heavily damaged Alumni House where part of the roof was ripped away. Windows in a nearby building were blown out, and heavy equipment worked to clear streets nearby in a heavy rain after the worst of the weather had passed.

The university released a statement saying no one was hurt but that it was under a state of emergency, and anyone away from campus should stay away until further notice.

East of campus, 47-year-old Cindy Bullock was at home with her husband and dog, a terrier mix named Vinnie, when she heard the tornado coming. They ran to a hallway and covered their heads. It wasn’t long before the windows in the kitchen and bedroom exploded. The storm stripped all the shingles off the roof and left holes in it, while knocking over a large pine tree in the yard.

After dark, the Bullocks were trying to arrange their stuff inside so it wouldn’t get wet from the dripping water.

“I just looked out the window and I heard the rumbling. It sounded like a train. We ran to the hall, and the kitchen windows and the windows in the bedroom exploded. It happened pretty fast,” she said.

There were large trees blocking the road all through her neighborhood, and several of the houses were hit by falling trees. Her friend was staying with them after the friend’s apartment took a direct hit from a falling tree.

Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee says 10 or 15 people were injured by the tornado that slammed Hattiesburg and other parts of the county — but none of the injuries was serious.

“Most of our injuries have been walking wounded,” he said.

To the west, Marion County emergency director Aaron Greer said three injuries had been reported in the community of Pickwick, about seven miles south of Columbia. Two people were taken to hospitals, but the third didn’t have the injury examined, he said.

Greer said one mobile home was destroyed, three other structures have major damage and several have minor damage.

On Sunday night, John and Katherine Adams were cleaning up around their one-story white house where the storm punched holes in the roof, busted windows and completely destroyed the back porch. The couple was at home with their 7- and 3-year-old daughters when the tornado passed next to their house.

All through the neighborhood, houses and vehicles were damaged by falling trees.

“We’re safe, and that’s all that matters,” said Katherine Adams, 46.

John Adams, who’s in the building supply business, said he was surprised to see broken boards that appeared to be from new construction in his yard because there are no homes being built nearby.

“We’ve got stuff around here; I don’t even know where it came from,” he said.

___

McConnaughey reported from New Orleans.

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Grammy surprise: Mumford & Sons take album of the year

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 10 (Reuters) – A hamstring injury has ruled Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike out of Sunday’s African Nations Cup final, denying him a chance to finish as the tournament’s outright leading scorer. But Victor Moses, who had been doubtful for the match, will play for Nigeria against Burkina Faso at Soccer City. Emenike suffered a hamstring injury in Nigeria’s 4-1 semi-final win over Mali after he had scored his fourth goal of the tournament giving him the same number as Ghana striker Mubarak Wakaso, who played his last game on Saturday. …

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Philippine town mourns world’s largest crocodile

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A southern Philippine town plans to hold funeral rites for the world’s largest saltwater crocodile and then preserve its remains in a museum to keep tourists coming and prevent their community from slipping back into obscurity, the town’s mayor said Monday.

The 1-ton crocodile was declared dead Sunday a few hours after flipping over with a bloated stomach in a pond in an eco-tourism park in Bunawan town, which had started to draw tourists, revenue and development because of the immense reptile, Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said.

“The whole town, in fact the whole province, is mourning,” Elorde said from Bunawan in Agusan del Sur province. “My phones kept ringing because people wanted to say how affected they are.”

In a news conference Monday, Elorde fought back tears as he recalled how the town took care of the crocodile not as a beast but like an “adopted son.”

Guinness World Records had proclaimed it the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity last year, measuring the giant at 6.17 meters (20.24 feet). The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile that measured more than 5 meters (17 feet) and weighed nearly a ton.

The crocodile was named Lolong, after a government environmental officer who died from a heart attack after traveling to Bunawan to help capture the beast. The crocodile, estimated to be more than 50 years old, was blamed for a few brutal deaths of villagers before Bunawan folk came to love it.

The giant reptile has come to symbolize the rich bio-diversity of Agusan marsh, where it was captured. The vast complex of swamp forests, shallow lakes, lily-covered ponds and wetlands is home to wild ducks, herons, egrets and threatened species like the Philippine Hawk Eagle.

Wildlife experts were to perform an autopsy as early as Monday to determine the cause of its death, Elorde said.

Bunawan villagers planned to perform a tribal ritual, which involves butchering chicken and pigs as funeral offerings to thank forest spirits for the fame and other blessings the crocodile has brought, Elordie said. A group of Christians would separately offer prayers before the autopsy.

The rites would be held at the eco-tourism park, where the reptile had emerged as a star attraction, drawing foreign tourists, scientists and wildlife reporting outfits like the National Geographic to Bunawan, a far-flung town of 37,000 people about 515 miles (830 kilometers) southeast of Manila.

The crocodile’s capture in September 2011 sparked celebrations in Bunawan, but it also raised concerns that more giant crocodiles might lurk in a marshland and creek where villagers fish. The crocodile was captured with steel cable traps during a hunt prompted by the death of a child in 2009 and the later disappearance of a fisherman. Water buffalos have also been attacked by crocodiles in the area.

About 100 people led by Elorde pulled the crocodile from a creek using a rope and then hoisted it by crane onto a truck.

Elorde’s town wanted to launch a new hunt for a larger crocodile, which he said he and other villagers saw lurking near a river shortly before Lolong was captured. But he said the town needed to get permission from wildlife officials, who have banned such hunting expeditions amid an ongoing survey of the crocodile population in Agusan marsh.

Philippine officials had planned to construct a road to the park to accommodate the growing number of tourists, Elorde said, adding that he planned to have Lolong preserved and placed in a museum so Bunawan villagers and tourists could still marvel at it.

“I’d like them to see the crocodile that broke a world record and put our town on the map,” he said.

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$1 million reward for fugitive ex-L.A. cop

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A record $1 million reward was posted on Sunday for information leading to the capture of a fugitive former Los Angeles policeman suspected of targeting police officers and their families in three killings committed in retaliation for his 2008 firing.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said the reward, raised from private donations, police unions, businesses and city and county governments, marks the largest sum ever offered in Southern California in a criminal investigation.

The reward was posted as law enforcement agencies across the region pressed on for a fourth day in their search for the suspect, ex-LAPD officer and U.S. Navy reservist Christopher Dorner, 33. Beck described it as the most extensive manhunt ever mounted in the Los Angeles area.

He called the spate of revenge-driven violence Dorner is accused of committing “an act of domestic terrorism.”

“This is a man who has targeted those who we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered,” Beck said.

At a news conference, Beck said investigators were making progress but he declined to elaborate, saying they presumed that if Dorner is still alive, he would be following media coverage of the manhunt closely.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa added, “Our dedication to catching this killer remains steadfast, our confidence in bringing him to justice remains unshaken.”

An LAPD spokesman also said police would be providing extra security for the recording industry’s Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angles.

The search for Dorner has been focused in the snow-covered San Bernardino Mountains northeast of Los Angeles since a pickup truck belonging to Dorner was found abandoned and burning near the popular ski resort community of Big Bear Lake on Thursday.

Police throughout the region also have chased down numerous unconfirmed sightings and dead-end leads.

One of the latest of those, prompted by calls from two individuals reporting they had seen someone resembling Dorner, led police on Sunday to a hardware store in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley community of Northridge.

The store was evacuated and searched, but no evidence of Dorner’s presence was uncovered, police said.

His last confirmed encounters with authorities came early on Thursday in two Riverside County towns east of Los Angeles, police said. He is accused of exchanging gunfire with a pair of police officers in Corona, injuring one, and later ambushing two policemen at a stoplight in Riverside. One of those officers was killed, the other wounded.

‘UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE’

A rambling manifesto posted on Dorner’s Facebook page last week claimed he was wrongly terminated from the LAPD in September 2008 and vowed to seek revenge by unleashing “unconventional and asymmetrical warfare” on police officers and their families.

A former Navy lieutenant, Dorner was named as a suspect in last weekend’s slayings of a campus security officer and his fiance, the daughter of a retired Los Angeles police captain blamed in Dorner’s manifesto for his dismissal. The couple, Keith Lawrence, 27, and Monica Quan, 28, were found shot dead last Sunday in their car on the top level of a parking structure in the city of Irvine, south of Los Angeles.

Dorner had ended his military service two days earlier, but the Navy has not disclosed the circumstances of his discharge.

Quan’s father, Randy, had represented Dorner in disciplinary proceedings that led to his dismissal from the LAPD after a police inquiry found he had made false statements accusing a superior officer of using excessive force against a homeless person.

Beck announced on Saturday a reopening of the inquiry to “reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair.”

The LAPD also has launched an inquiry into a police shooting in which two women were wounded when officers opened fire on a pickup truck resembling Dorner’s vehicle in a case of mistaken identity on Thursday. The two women, one of them aged 71, were delivering newspapers when they were shot.

The police officer who was killed in an ambush that morning was publicly identified on Sunday as Michael Crain, 34, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Riverside Police Department for 11 years.

LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith said “an army” of police officers would be providing security for a public memorial service planned for Crain on Wednesday.

In addition to keeping up the manhunt in and around Big Bear Lake, police were searching areas around the homes of more than 50 Los Angeles police officers whose families authorities believe Dorner has targeted as potential victims.

(Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman. Editing by Christopher Wilson)

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$1 million reward for fugitive ex-L.A. cop
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Rich Carson: The Big One

It was January 30th at 5:03 PM at night when the earthquake hit. I live 13 miles south of the epicenter that was in Amboy, Washington. For those of you who don’t know the geography of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area, that is northeast of the Vancouver mall. I was watching a movie with my daughter Anna and at first I thought someone had slammed the front door too hard. But then I realized it was an earthquake. It was a 3.7 magnitude earthquake.

It was in that moment that I realized we were there again. This is not about some mythical musing about the end of times. This is about the scientific fact that we will have a 9.0 earthquake. The Juan de Fuca Plate is a tectonic plate generated from the Juan de Fuca Ridge and is subducting under the northerly portion of the western side of the North American Plate at the Cascadia subduction zone. The subduction zone snaps every 350 years and we are now in the time zone.


So what do I know about earthquakes? First, I have experienced them. I was:
·        

  •  In Los Angeles during the Sylmar earthquake (1971)
  • At a conference in San Francisco during the Loma Prieta Earthquake  in (1989).
  • Living in Oregon during the Silverton earthquake that damaged the capitol (1993).
  • Watching television during the Amboy earthquake (2013).
And second and more importantly, I secured funding for a mapping program for some $750,000 from FEMA. At the time, I was the director of regional planning for METRO . This is the Portland metropolitan regional planning agency for the 25 cities and 3 counties, and some 1.5 million human beings. So I got the funding and managed the regional study. And that is how I learned the bad news.


I recently read a book called The Black Swan. In it written Nicholas Taleb and he uses the metaphor of the non-existent black swan. As far back as Aristotle (300 B.C.) it was believed that there were only white swans. The some 2,000 years later, they found black swans in Australia. Taleb’s point is that the unexpected happens. A turkey has a good life until the day they kill it for Thanksgiving. So the San Juan de Fuca is a black swan. Here is the reality of the big one. Keep in mind that you never thought Mt. St. Helens would explode and bury much of the region in ash. Another black swan.


The Oregonian (2-9-2013) says that “A report out this week by the advisors to the governor says that in such an event hundreds and possibly thousands of Oregonians would die and that the crippling damage to homes and public infrastructure would be so great as to crater the state’s economy by more than $30 billion.”

I am giving you maps of where the worst and best places are to live in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. But you need to understand that no matter where you live here, you will need to find a way to survive for days, weeks and months. This is not a hurricane event. This is the worst earthquake event anyone can ever imagine. Things to consider.

  • Your homeowners insurance no longer covers earthquakes. The insurance companies quietly dropped earthquake insurance after the St. Paul earthquake of 1993. So now you have to buy a separate insurance rider.
  • You will be isolated. When all of the interstate bridges are gone, then no one can go anywhere. That means I-205 (Glenn Jackson) and I-5 (Interstate OR-WA) will cut off all interstate commerce. Locally the Marquam, Steel, Ross Island, St. Helens, Broadway, Morrison, Fremont and Burnside bridges will all be gone. The disruption of transportation means nothing gets restored for weeks, months and years. 
  • Infrastructure means water and sewer, mail, garbage service, cell phone and Internet. Even worse, the public utilities will not be able to move equipment from location to location because of the bridge failures.
  • The power grid will be gone for weeks. You will now be living off the grid. Hopefully, this event this will happen in warm weather. Otherwise you will need a power generator to survive the frigid cold. In my case we are talking about a propane powered generator. In the middle of winter, in the Pacific Northwest, you may simply starve or freeze to death.
  • You will need food. The estimate is that such an event will shut down commerce and transportation for about 30 days. That means you won’t have water or food for that long.

This would more amusing if I was just some crazy guy reading Internet stories. But I was the ranking public official in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area when I found the truth. And now I am a doctorate student in public sector organizational development. And I am a husband and a father. I do take all this seriously.

Richard Carson was a director of planning for Portland’s regional government (METRO), senior advisor to three Oregon governors and is currently a doctorate student in organizational development at Washington State University.

References:

Megathrust earthquake. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1379187/U-S-fears-overdue-megathrust-earthquake-trigger-tsunami-decimate-unprepared-north-west.html

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

X + Y = Not My Problem. California Quits 8th Grade Algebra to Comply With Lowered Standards of "Common Core." Oregon Copying.

California has made a deal with the Feds: we’ll take your money in exchange for lowered educational standards. That’s why it has just announced that it’s lowering math requirements, adopting Common Core standards  As a result, California–and other states–will now cease requiring algebra for 8th graders.

From the Daily Caller:

California will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college. 

Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.

Oregon is well on the path to fully adopting these “Common Core” standards. See the video below to discover why some people oppose these federal standards.

The money to come up with these “Common Core” standards came originally from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The video below explains why the federal Education Department’s consultants decided to start with math instead of more politically sensitive programs.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com