Photo of the Day

Pickering Trail Google MapsThe Ghosts of Pickering Trail

When Frank Milliken died in his home, his wife Janet and their two children couldn?t bear to live among reminders of him. They left their home in California and moved to Pennsylvania to start over in new surroundings. The house they bought, an airy colonial on a quiet street, seemed idyllic. But once they moved in, things started to go wrong. Odd sounds, strange sensations, whispers from the neighbours; the Millikens began to suspect that their ghosts had followed them across the country. When they discovered that their house had a dark history, they went to court to battle the sellers, and found themselves entangled in a drawn-out legal battle. At its core lay an issue more suited to priests than to lawyers: how to define our relationship to the dead. ?The Ghosts of Pickering Trail? is an intimate chronicle of the Millikens? harrowing attempt to escape the memories of a home, and how we put a price on death and loss.

In the spring of 2006, following a long illness, Frank Milliken died in his home. His family?his wife, Janet, and their two children, Ryan and Kendra?took the death hard. For three years, they?d watched Frank slowly waste away from pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable disease that causes the lungs to thicken and scar, blocking the flow of oxygen to the blood. In the last months of his life, the illness had confined him to his bedroom. After his death, the character of the Milliken house seemed to change. Physically, it was the same: a big, comfortable rambler in Concord, California, with a red-tile roof and a copse of fruit trees in the backyard. But the house felt different. After Frank passed away, the memory of his death lingered. Janet took the kids to a hotel for a few days, but when they returned it was no better.

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Photo Of The Day

First claim: In an interview to be with CBS', Charles Cullen at first says he thought he was helping people by ending their suffering.

First claim: In an interview, Charles Cullen at first says he thought he was helping people by ending their suffering.

The Tainted Kidney

Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is a former nurse who is the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history and is suspected to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. He confessed to authorities that he killed up to 40 patients during the course of his 16-year nursing career. But in subsequent interviews with police, psychiatric professionals, and journalists Charles Graeber and Steve Kroft, it became clear that he had killed many more, whom he could not specifically remember by name, though he could often remember details of their case. Experts have estimated that Charles Cullen may ultimately be responsible for over 300 deaths, which would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history

Cullen, is serving eighteen consecutive life sentences in a New Jersey penitentiary. Behind bars, he can no longer take life, yet he?s found a way to give it?in the form of an organ transplant. But no one wants to give him the chance to play God again.

The Angel of Death looks sleepy. His face shows nothing. His eyes are closed. Charles Cullen sits motionless in the wooden defendant?s chair of the Somerset County Courthouse as, hour after hour, his victims? families take the stand. They read poems and show photographs, they weep and yell. If Cullen hears them, he doesn?t say; he never does. During his years in custody, Cullen has never apologized or made excuses. He has never issued a statement, offered a public word, never faced the families of his victims. In fact, the only reason he?s in court today is because he wants to give away one of his kidneys.

To that end, he has cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to appear at his sentencing on the condition that he be allowed to donate an organ to the dying relative of a former girlfriend. To many of the families of his victims, this deal is a personal insult?the man in shackles still calling the shots, the serial-killer nurse wanting to control the fate of yet another human life. But for the families of his New Jersey victims, this is the first and last chance to confront Charles Cullen. So they are here, and they are angry.

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Photo Of The Day

This image of a collar was released by the FBI at a press conference in Erie, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003. The collar with a locking mechanism was found on the body of pizza delivery man Brian Douglas Wells after an explosive device attached to the collar detonated after a bank robbery Thursday, Aug. 28, in Erie, Wells died from the blast. (AP Photo/Erie Times-News, Rich Forsgren)

This image of a collar was released by the FBI at a press conference in Erie, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003. The collar with a locking mechanism was found on the body of pizza delivery man Brian Douglas Wells after an explosive device attached to the collar detonated after a bank robbery Thursday, Aug. 28, in Erie, Wells died from the blast. (AP Photo/Erie Times-News, Rich Forsgren)

Pizza Bomb Victim was the Dupe in a Greedy Plan

He sat on the road with his legs twisted under him and his hands cuffed behind his back. His oversized glasses drooped as he cried for help.

Brian Wells, a pizza deliveryman, was caught in a bizarre bank robbery. He had walked in with a bomb strapped to his neck, and now no-one wanted to help him. No one knew what was going on or seemed to understand how a simpleton got involved in such a vicious plot.

At 2:28 PM?on August 28, 2003,?a middle-aged pizza deliveryman named?Brian Wells?walked into a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania. He had a short cane in his right hand and a strange bulge under the collar of his T-shirt. Wells, 46 and balding, passed the teller a note. ?Gather employees with access codes to vault and work fast to fill bag with $250,000,? it said. ?You have only 15 minutes.?

Then he lifted his shirt to reveal a heavy, boxlike device dangling from his neck. According to the note, it was a bomb. The teller, who told Wells there was no way to get into the vault at that time, filled a bag with cash?$8,702?and handed it over. Wells walked out, sucking on a Dum Dum lollipop he grabbed from the counter, hopped into his car, and drove off. He didn?t get far. Some 15 minutes later, state troopers spotted Wells standing outside his Geo Metro in a nearby parking lot, surrounded him, and tossed him to the pavement, cuffing his hands behind his back.

Wells told the troopers that while out on a delivery he had been accosted by a group of black men who chained the bomb around his neck at gunpoint and forced him to rob the bank. ?It?s gonna go off!? he told them in desperation. ?I?m not lying.? The officers called the bomb squad and took positions behind their cars, guns drawn. TV camera crews arrived and began filming. For 25 minutes Wells remained seated on the pavement, his legs curled beneath him.

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Photo Of The Day

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”

Tubman was born a slave in Maryland’s Dorchester County around 1820. At age five or six, she began to work as a house servant. Seven years later she was sent to work in the fields. While she was still in her early teens, she suffered an injury that would follow her for the rest of her life.

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Face of the day



cartoonist Mohammed Sabaaneh.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed a team to investigate today’s face of the day, cartoonist Mohammed Sabaaneh. Despite being censored by his own Editors and being imprisoned in the past by Israel for five months because of? contact with a hostile organisation? in 2013 he still does not agree with freedom of expression. He argues that a cartoonist should not harm any religion.

He was against the re-publication by Western newspapers of Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of Mohammed. “Republishing them reactivates hatred and hostility. It’s provoking more hatred in the society, based on religion.”

Ironically however it was Sabaaneh’s cartoon of Mohammed that got him suspended from his job and under investigation.

He tells Ben Lynfield in Ramallah that he just wanted to make people think


It was meant to be a favourable image, designed to counter negative stereotypes of Islam in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

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Banning guns would have prevented this tragedy

Just ask Piers Morgan, guns are bad and should be banned. Banning guns will prevent all sorts of fatal/near fatal shenanigans anytime, anywhere. Nobody was ever killed or injured at the end of a weapon other than a gun, ever.

Murrysville, Pennsylvania: A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, leaving as many as 20 people injured, including a school police officer who eventually subdued the boy with the help of an assistant principal, police said.

Of the 19 students injured, four suffered serious wounds, but all were expected to survive, hospital officials said. The injured officer was discharged.

Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld said the bloody crime scene at Franklin Regional High School, some 24 kilometres east of Pittsburgh, was “vast” and may take a couple days to process.

Most students received stab wounds to the torso, particularly the lower abdomen. Some suffered scrapes and cuts in the mayhem that ensued at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville on Wednesday morning.

Police haven’t named the suspect, who was taken into custody for questioning and later driven from the police station in the back of a cruiser for treatment for a minor hand wound.

Investigators haven’t determined a motive, but Seefeld said they’re looking into reports of a threatening phone call between the suspect and another student the night before. Seefeld didn’t specify whether the suspect reportedly received or made the call.

Two student victims were in critical condition, according to Dr Mark Rubino of Forbes Regional Medical Centre, the closest hospital to the school where eight victims were taken.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre treated a dozen patients. Officials said a 17-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy were in critical condition, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were in serious condition, and a 17-year-old boy and two 17-year-old girls were in fair condition.

Five UPMC patients had been discharged, including three 15-year-old boys, a 16-year-old girl and an adult.

Seefeld wouldn’t detail the carnage beyond saying, “The juvenile went down the hallway and was flashing two knives around and injured the people.”

The chief said someone, possibly a student, pulled a fire alarm after seeing some of the victims being stabbed. Although that created chaos, he said, it also resulted in students running out of the school to safety faster than they might have otherwise.

“The fire alarm being pulled probably assisted with the evacuation of the school and that was a good thing that that was done,” Seefeld said.

The district serves about 3600 students who live in the bedroom communities of Murrysville, Export and Delmont.

Parents and former students say the school, which doesn’t have metal detectors but does spot searches when security officials deem it necessary, generally does a good job of keeping students safe.

“I think the school reacted as fast … as possible,” said Rich Nickel, whose daughter, Jenna, 16, is a sophomore. “It’s obviously a (lone) individual’s act.”

The banning of guns would have also prevented the Boston bombings, 911, Oklahoma bombing and the recent Washington State mudslide.

/dripping facetiousness

Anti fracking activists not just liars, but creepy deviants too

We all know hippies are a bit weird, over the top with their views, hypocritical and smell bad, but this woman just needs to be locked up:

A top environmental activist has been making some odd claims about child sexuality,reports?the Washington Free Beacon.

Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist and director of Citizens for Clean Water Vera Scroggins said that parents ?should have sexual relationships with their children and expose them to sexually explicit imagery at a young age,? reports the Free Beacon.

?Are there cultures that mothers or fathers pleasure their children and teenagers sexually or genitally and also possibly initiate them into sexual expression at some point?? she?askedin a 2001 message to a Yahoo group called?Peacelist. Read more »

Poor buggers, having to exploit a back door loop hole

A gay couple in Pennsylvania have had to resort to all sorts of legal trickery in estate planning because their state doesn’t recognise same-sex marriage. Poor buggers…this is just sad when you think about it.

A man in Pennsylvania has adopted his partner of 44 years to circumvent high property taxes that would be imposed on either of the men if the other dies.

John, 65, and his partner Gregory*, 75, made the decision to become father and son to avoid a 15 per cent tax on any property and assets willed to one if the other should die – a much higher tax than married spouses or family members are required to pay.

The state of Pennsylvania, where the men reside, recognizes marriage as being only between a man and a woman and has no provision for civil unions at this time.

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Wednesday Weapons – Why the terrorists will never win

I read this post at Federalist Paupers and thought about the parallels here in new Zealand after the tragic killing of Rosemary Ives. There were a great many calls from gun-grabbing liberals for tighter controls on firearms, without them thinking that the controls were quite tight enough and that Andrew Mears broke every single one of them with his stupid action. The point was missed utterly about how few people actually get killed or injured during hunting, and the fact that it is actually more dangerous driving to recreational areas than being in them.

The post at Federalist Paupers nicely provides some numbers and some facts that counteracts the gun-grabbers. The post also nicely shows why no one will ever successfully cow the United States, either politically or externally.

The state of Wisconsin?has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That?s great. There were over 600,000 hunters.

Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months,?the eighth largest army in the world ? more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined ? deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay.

But that pales in comparison to the?750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan?s?700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in?a quarter million hunters in West Virginia, and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

These numbers are part of why those of us who grew up in rural parts of the country simply don?t comprehend the gun-grabbing impulses of some. Every single year, millions of Americans carry high power rifles into the woods and more or less do as they please ? some shoot at deer, some just drink a lot ? and it is a complete non-story. The number of people injured and killed by these guns?will pale in comparison to those injured and killed in driving accidents during the same time period.

But however well or badly we handle our guns, woe will befall he who thinks he can conquer America. 500 years ago, Machiavelli compared ancient Persia with then-modern France. Persia was highly centralized, so the emperor was firmly in control of all parts of his realm, and could muster enormous numbers of men to any part of the country. But if you could defeat that army and the central authority that raised it, then you would almost immediately control the whole nation, as Alexander showed. Medieval France, on the other hand, was very decentralized, with petty dukes controlling small centers of power throughout the country. Because of this, the king of France had only marginal control over vast swaths of his country , but no invader could stand a chance at conquering France because of all the small bands of local opposition.

I wish N.M. was around today, if only to hear the praise he would have for a nation that every year assembles and then disbands the world?s largest army purely for the purpose of managing its deer population. For millenia, philosophers have pondered how one can maintain a well-armed population that can fend off all attackers, while simultaneously maintaining ordered governance.? In America, we?ve fulfilled this dream, and we?ve done it so well and so effortlessly that no one seems to have noticed.

That kind of puts things into perspective and shows up the?nonsense?of the gun-grabbing liberal elite who have never had the pleasure of ?tracking, and matching?guile?and stealth with deer or any other animal. Ironically the same greenie gun-grabbers that want to stop hunters are also the ones wanting to rid the country of deer and other pests, they seem quite happy to dump literally thousands of tonnes of toxic poison on our forests but don’t want people to enjoy the outdoors and dispatch a few pests along the way.

In the US deer hunting, for example, is largely limited to defined seasons. Here in New Zealand we would be better to manage our deer populations by changing the laws to remove them from the noxious pest list and to instead create a new tourism industry encouraging people to come to Ne Zealand seeking trophy animals. The only thing stopping this is the dogmatic?instance?of DoC and the green lobby for the total eradication of deer from New Zealand, something that is unachievable and un-needed.

It is high time that the facts were shown to?politicians?in a meaningful way and that isn’t through Peter Dunne. He pretends to support hunters and fisherman and yet he hasn’t done a single thing for them. Far better would be the establishment of list of hunting and fishing friendly MPs, so that people who enjoy the outdoors can see for themselves whether or not their local MP is on their side or not.

Dumb stuff people think up

The Pike River Mine disaster, for that is what it is, sure does bring up some really dumb suggestions.

Here is one that was sent to an MP.

From: A.N. Idiot (name removed to protect the stupid)
To: An MP
Sent: Tue Nov 23 23:44:48 2010
Subject: Mine rescue

My idea is to put a large propeller engine taken off an air force orion in the front of the main entrance to flush fresh air into the mine at 150 km per hour it will flush out the methane gas at that speed it will be like a vaccum and suck it out. Men can walk or ride segways into the mine for speed. Coat the eclectic components in exopy with stop sparks from the motor but this would be ok with the volume of air movement. Make a steel frame to hold the engine and concrete the legs of the frame into the ground with quick dry cement. You could release a hundred or so bats into the mine to test the air and wait for them to come out the ventilation shaft some will settle in the mine others will come out with the air flow.(My grandfather was a westcoast coal miner started work aged 12 in1919)

09 xxx xxxx
021 xxx xxx

Seriously the last thing the dead miners families need is crap like this or the hand wringing of people dreaming of hope.

And right on cue there is the proof positive as to why recovery people couldn’t be sent into the mine. There has been a second explosion in the mine.

Coal mines are nasty things, especially if greenies think that protecting a few trees is preferable to protecting the lives of miners. To get an idea as to why recovery people may never actually ever get to go down that mine look no further than Centralia, Pennsylvania.

Centralia is a?borough and?ghost town in?Columbia County, Pennsylvania,?United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 12 in 2005,?9 in 2007, and 7 in 2010?as a result of a?mine fire burning beneath the borough since 1962. Centralia is now the least-populous municipality in Pennsylvania, with four fewer residents than the borough of?S.N.P.J..

Centralia is part of the?Bloomsburg?Berwick Micropolitan Statistical Area. The borough is completely surrounded by?Conyngham Township.

All properties in the borough were claimed under?eminent domain by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1992 (and all buildings therein were condemned), and Centralia’s?ZIP code was revoked by the Post Office in 2002.

Now would all the fools wanting to risk the lives of people to go pick up body bags just STFU.