Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Democrat sense of entitlement: Joe Biden’s niece finally pays up for $100K credit card scam

Joe Biden’s niece finally pays up for $100K credit card scam

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s wild-child niece has finally coughed up the $100,000 she owed from a 2016 stolen-credit-card binge at a posh Greenwich Village pharmacy.
Caroline Biden, 30 — whose financier dad, James, is the ex-veep’s brother — had racked up bills totaling $110,810.04 at Bigelow Apothecaries on Sixth Avenue.
The privileged Georgetown University grad had borrowed the unidentified victim’s Chase card in 2015, with permission to make a single purchase at Bigelow totaling $672, according to prosecutors.
But then she set up an unauthorized account in the card-owner’s name and went on a spending spree at the posh drugstore, where such common items as hairbrushes and skin creams can run into the hundreds of dollars.
She’d pleaded guilty to grand larceny in June in Manhattan Supreme Court, receiving a no-jail deal.
By making court-ordered restitution on Friday, her plea deal gets even sweeter: Once she completes 10 days of community service, she’ll be able to re-plead to petit larceny.
She’ll then serve two years’ probation.
The cheerful-looking blonde declined comment after court Friday; she returns on June 11.
Biden has done a stint in rehab and was busted for resisting arrest and harassment after a dust-up with her Tribeca roommate in 2014.

Kabul: Gunmen 'attacking Intercontinental Hotel'

GV of Intercontinental Hotel
At least four gunmen have launched an attack on Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, Afghan officials say.
Special forces were attempting to engage the gunmen, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.
An official at the Afghan spy agency told AFP that the gunmen were "shooting at guests".
The attack began at about 21:00 local time (16:30 GMT), Mr Danish said. There were no immediate details of casualties.
The attackers appeared to include suicide bombers, Mr Danish was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Another interior ministry spokesman said security forces were trading fire with the attackers on the hotel's third and fourth floors.
The attackers had set the hotel kitchen on fire, the spokesman added. Meanwhile the hotel's fourth floor was also ablaze, an official with the National Directorate of Security (NDS) told AFP.
A guest at the hotel told AFP that people were hiding in their rooms.
"I don't know if the attackers are inside the hotel but I can hear gunfire from somewhere near the first floor," the guest said.
"We are hiding in our rooms. I beg the security forces to rescue us as soon as possible before they reach and kill us."
Some reports said the hotel had been hosting an IT conference attended by provincial officials at the time of the attack.
The Intercontinental is a state-owned hotel which often hosts weddings, conferences and political gatherings.
It was attacked by the Taliban in 2011. Twenty-one people were killed including nine attackers.
Security has been tightened in Kabul since last May, when a huge truck bomb killed at least 150 people.
However, there have been several attacks in recent months. They include a bomb at a Shia cultural centre last month that killed more than 40 people.

Black on white crime and the Stockholm syndrome

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 72-year-old woman was the victim of a car jacking in Chicago, the latest in a rash of them in the city.
She was outside of a school in the 4900 block of West Montrose, waiting to pick up her grandchildren and reading a bible.
Tracy Baldwin, daughter of carjack victim. said: “Where else can you feel safe? If you can’t feel safe outside a church and school, where else can you feel safe in the city?”
Baldwin says her 72-year-old mom was parked right next to the playground at St John’s Lutheran Church and school on Thursday, waiting to pick up her grandkids. That’s when a car pulled up in front of her.
An armed suspect approached and demanded that she get out of her car, CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports.
Police say a male black suspect, 18- to 22-years old, exited a small silver hatchback style vehicle with a gun pointed at the victim. A second suspect remained in small silver hatchback.
The victim got out of vehicle and the gunman took her purse and drove away in her car.
Both vehicles fled scene northbound towards Montrose.
If the attack happened 30 minutes later, the kids would have been in the car.
“I don’t even want to think about that,” Baldwin said
The woman was not injured during the incident.
The victim – who’s too frightened to be shown on camera – was sympathetic to the carjacker.
“She even called [the suspect] good-looking and said his hand was shaking and he seemed nervous and so she felt bad for him,” Baldwin said.
The crime is the latest in a series of carjackings in the city. Also on Friday, Chicago police warned residents of Jefferson Park of three such crimes in the past five days.
They happened in the 5600 block of West Byron on January 14, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.; the 5100 block of West Warwick on January 15, 2018 at 2:55 a.m.; and the 4300 block of North Lavergne on January 18, 2018 at 2:05 p.m.

Turkey is not a friend of the west or of freedom they are vile the Kurds.

HASSA, Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Turkey opened a new front in Syria’s war on Saturday, launching airstrikes against a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia in Afrin province that raise the prospect of deeper strains between Ankara and NATO ally Washington. 

Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey January 20, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
The operation, which the Turks dubbed “Operation Olive Branch”, sees Ankara confronting Kurdish fighters allied to the United States at a time when relations between Turkey and Washington - both members of the coalition against Islamic State - appear dangerously close to a breaking point. 
The attacks could also complicate Turkey’s push to improve ties with Russia. Moscow will demand in the United Nations that Turkey halt the military operation, RIA news reported, citing a member of the Russian parliament’s security committee. 
“We are carrying out this operation from land and air,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told broadcaster NTV. He said the attacks were being carried out to target the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia and that no civilians had been hurt. 
A Turkey-backed rebel group in Syria, the Free Syrian Army, was also providing assistance to the Turkish military’s operation in Afrin, a senior Turkish official said. 
The YPG said a number of people had been wounded in the air strikes. 
“The aerial bombardment is still ongoing now. There are injuries. It’s still unclear how many people,” said Rojhat Roj, a YPG media official in Afrin. 
He said the warplanes pounded parts of Afrin city and villages around it, while there were skirmishes with Turkish forces and their rebel allies at the edge of Afrin. 
Hevi Mustafa, a top member of the civilian administration that governs Afrin, said people were holed up in shelters and homes and several wounded people had arrived in hospitals. 
Reuters cameramen in Hassa, near the border with Syria, heard the sound of heavy bombardment and saw thick plumes of smoke rising from the Syrian side of the border. The warplanes appeared to be striking from the Turkish side of the border, one of the cameramen said. 

Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey January 20, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
The attacks follow weeks of warnings against the YPG in Syria from President Tayyip Erdogan and his ministers. Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a deadly, three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast. 
Turkish officials have said the operation is likely to continue toward Manbij. 


The YPG’s growing strength across a swath of northern Syria has alarmed Ankara, which fears the creation of an independent Kurdish state on its southern border. Syrian Kurdish leaders say they seek autonomy as part of Syria, not secession. 

Slideshow (4 Images)
The Turkish military said its operation in Afrin was to provide safety for Turkey’s border and to “eliminate terrorists... and save friends and brothers, the people of the region, from their cruelty.” 
“We will destroy the terror corridor gradually as we did in Jarabulus and Al-Bab operations, starting from the west,” Turkey’s Erdogan said, referring to previous operations in northern Syria designed to push out Islamic State and check the YPG’s advance. 
Earlier on Saturday, the military said it hit shelters and hideouts used by the YPG and other Kurdish fighters, saying Kurdish militants had fired on Turkish positions inside Turkey. 
Differences over Syria policy have further complicated Turkey’s already difficult relationship with NATO ally the United States. Washington has backed the YPG, seeing it as an effective partner in the fight against Islamic State. 
A U.S. State Department official on Friday said military intervention by Turkey in Syria would undermine regional stability and would not help protect Turkey’s border security. 
Instead, the United States has called on Turkey to focus on the fight against Islamic State. Ankara accuses Washington of using one terrorist group to fight another in Syria. 
Additional reporting by Osman Orsal in Hassa; Orhan Coskun, Tulay Karadeniz, Gulsen Solaker and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Omer Berberoglu, Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul; Writing by David Dolan, Editing by William Maclean

The special people strike mention of the chemical composition, is it hard or soft, never mind.

California 'raw' water fans pay $9 a gallon for Oregon tap water

When people in central Oregon's Madras, Culver and Metolius turn on their taps, untreated spring water flows forth. It costs them less than a penny per gallon.
A company in California buys that same water and sells it in big glass jugs for up to $8.60 a gallon around Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The jugs are flying off the shelves. 
"The water's been doing really well," said Edwin Diaz, manager of Erewhon Market in Calabasas, a small city northwest of Malibu. "It's kind of a specialty item."
Fans are quenching their thirst for "raw water" – water with no chemicals or other treatment that passes federal regulations because it's clean at the source.
"It's a no-brainer," said Lee Sayer, a musician in San Francisco and anti-fluoride activist who has been drinking raw water for months. "You have water that's processed through the earth through natural processes – it's cleaned. And being that water has memory, it has a memory of tumbling through the rocks. It has micronutrients and I believe it's alive."
But don't look for raw water in Oregon stores.
Only a few companies are selling untreated bottled water in the United States and their sales are small. The supplier that uses the central Oregon spring water touts its natural probiotics to promote a healthy digestive system, but doesn't yet offer it here.
Industry watchers don't foresee untreated water becoming a new trend in bottled water, which surpassed sales of carbonated beverages in 2016 and accounted for about $37 billion in sales last year, according to Beverage Marketing Corp.
"We view it as a bit of a gimmicky fad," said Gary Hemphill, the marketing group's managing director of research. "There is the potential to have some interest and appeal with a small number of consumers, but by and large I think the market is driven by traditional bottled water, which is likely to have the greatest growth and the lion's share of the market."
Christopher Sanborn started his raw water venture three years ago as a one-man operation. He hiked through the snow to mountain springs in California, filling up glass jugs and then delivering them to customers around Los Angeles.
In 2015, the same year he founded Fountain of Truth Spring Water, he came upon the artesian water from Opal Springs, fed by an underground aquifer at the bottom of the Crooked River Canyon.
"I was on a road trip looking for springs and thinking about moving to Oregon because I enjoyed my time there so much," Sanborn said via text message. "When I realized how amazing the water was, it felt like perfect alignment."
Another company, Summit Spring Water Inc., sells untreated spring water from an ancient source on a hilltop in Maine.
"We're the pioneers of the untreated water concept in the United States," said Bryan Pullen, Summit Spring's president.
The bottler registered the name Raw Water in 2009, he said. In 2016, it created the brand, Tourmaline Spring, to get away from the term "raw."
"That name causes a lot of confusion," Pullen said. "It's good for you because of what's not in it. It's naturally pure."
The company sells 300,000 gallons of spring water a year for about $3 a liter to East Coast customers, including in Florida. The water is also sold on Amazon and shipped nationwide, including to Hawaii, Pullen said.
"It's a niche product," he said.
Mountain Valley Spring Co. in Arkansas also sells untreated spring water, but a spokeswoman said it's run through a charcoal filtration system before bottling.
Sanborn, who unofficially goes by the name Muktande Singh, calls his version "Live Water" and touts its beneficial microbes.
"Anxiety, weight gain, fatigue and countless other ailments are linked to an imbalance of proper gut bacteria," his website says. "Living spring water is the key to unlocking a perfect microbiome balance."
One Facebook fan called it the "nectar of the gods." Another wrote: "Just holding the crystal glass jug energized me."
His website links to an independent analysis of the Opal Springs water in 2015 and says the report's findings show the water has "exclusive" probiotics.
But the bacteria listed in the testing report aren't anything out of the ordinary, said Dr. John Townes, head of infectious diseases Oregon Health & Science University.
They're common in the environment, widely found in soil and water, Townes said. They're mostly harmless to people, though a few infections have been linked to the bacteria in studies.
Experts say if you want more probiotics look to yogurt or other fermented foods like kefir.
They also caution against drinking untreated water that doesn't come from a known, vetted source like the Opal Springs.
Most drinking water is treated in the United States to prevent people from getting sick from harmful bacteria, parasites and other toxins. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that in 2013-14, the latest statistics available, more than 1,000 people got sick, nearly 125 were hospitalized and 13 died in drinking water-related outbreaks.
A majority were due to legionella, bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease of the lungs. The others were attributed to parasites – cryptosporidium and giardia – along with chemicals and other toxins that got into the water systems.
Sanborn said his water has never made anyone ill.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates bottlers and requires companies to test samples of the source water and finished bottles for harmful microbes, chemicals and other compounds.
The Opal Springs water has consistently passed state and federal drinking water tests, Oregon data show.
"When he's saying he's selling his customers raw water, he's right," said Ed Pugh, general manager of the Deschutes Valley Water District, the community utility that owns the rights to Opal Springs. "But I'm also doing the same thing with my Culver, Metolius and Madras customers. They're all getting raw water."
The water district conducts multiple tests a month for bacteria that might indicate the presence of fecal matter. State regulations also require annual tests for harmful chemicals and screenings every four years for radiological contaminants, like uranium.
In test after test, the water has come out clean. There have been a few temporary exceptions, but follow-up checks did not confirm the presence of harmful bacteria, state data show.
Opal Springs, discovered by homesteaders at the turn of the 20thcentury, feeds the Crooked River. Access to the springs is blocked off by a locked gate. The only other way to access it would be to hike down the canyon or kayak in on the river.
No one knows its age. Engineers have tested the water and determined that it lacks tritium, fallout from a nuclear explosion. That means it predates the first nuclear tests and bombs.
The water district pumps water from the springs and three artesian wells nearby through steel pipes to storage tanks, serving about 12,000 people.
It also supplies two water bottlers. Earth2O sells throughout the Pacific Northwest and a small family-owned bottler, Opal Springs Water Co., serves central Oregon. Both of them treat their water with UV light and ozone gas to increase shelf life by neutralizing bacteria that might multiply and turn green over time.
Opal Springs Water Co. also supplies untreated water for Sanborn's operation, shipping it in bottles from its plant in Culver via semi-trucks to California.
Opal Springs isn't an anomaly. There are nearly 1,300 water systems in Oregon that pipe untreated ground water to homes and businesses, said Kari Salis, technical manager of Oregon's drinking water program.
Like Opal Springs, they have exemptions or variances from the state that allow them to bypass traditional treatment requirements because the water is pristine.
Most provide water to small communities, like mobile home parks or subdivisions.
Avion Water Co. is one of the largest, serving about 33,000 people in the Bend area. It draws from the same aquifer that feeds Opal Springs.
"We drill down to the ground water table," said Avion President Jason Wick. "It's the same drainage basin."
Avion, like the Deschutes district, doesn't chlorinate or otherwise treat the water.
The untreated Opal Springs water sold by Sanborn's company is popular at the few natural food stores where it's available.
At Rainbow Grocery, a worker-owned cooperative in San Francisco, the Fountain of Truth water has sold for $36.49, including $22 for Sanborn's signature 2.5-gallon glass dispensers.
"People want it," said Paul Knowles, who's on the coop board. "It just sells on its own."
At three Erewhon Markets in the L.A. area, it sells for $43.49, including the deposit.
Sanborn said he hopes to offer it in Portland and Seattle by the end of the year.
That there's even a demand for Opal Springs water in California amuses Christine Carpenter, an organic farmer in the Madras area.
"On our farm, we water our crops with Opal Springs water," Carpenter said.
-- Lynne Terry