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April 12, 2012

Chickens are treated worse than you can possibly imagine at egg factories in America

Maybe it's time for a new category on the newswire: Animal (K)ruelty. Is an Egg for Breakfast Worth This? - NYTimes.com
I’ve reviewed footage and photos taken by the investigator, who says he worked for Kreider between January and March of this year. In an interview, he portrayed an operation that has little concern for cleanliness or the welfare of hens. “It’s physically hard to breathe because of the ammonia” rising from manure pits below older barns, said the investigator, who would not allow his name to be used because that would prevent him from taking another undercover job in agriculture. He said that when workers needed to enter an older barn, they would first open doors and rev up exhaust fans, and then rush in to do their chores before the fumes became overwhelming. Mice sometimes ran down egg conveyer belts, barns were thick with flies and manure in three barns tested positive for salmonella, he said. (Actually, salmonella isn’t as rare as you might think, turning up in 3 percent of egg factory farms tested by the Food and Drug Administration last year.) In some cases, 11 hens were jammed into a cage about 2 feet by 2 feet. The Humane Society says that that is even more cramped than the egg industry’s own voluntary standards — which have been widely criticized as inadequate. An automatic feeding cart that runs between the cages sometimes decapitates hens as they’re eating, the investigator said. Corpses are pulled out if they’re easy to see, but sometimes remain for weeks in the cages, piling up until they have rotted into the wiring, he added. Other hens have their heads stuck in the wire and are usually left to die, the investigator said.

April 11, 2012

Indiana man arrested after blackmailing 100 boys into posing nude via cam

Sextortion: Rural Indiana man accused of making 14-year old boys into "cam slaves"
On February 26, a 14-year old boy in Oakland County, Michigan broke down into hysterics. He told his brother that he had spent the week making sexually explicit videos with his computer's webcam, and that he had done so to appease a blackmailer he had met online. If he wasn't able to convince a friend to have oral sex with him on camera the next day, he risked exposure by the blackmailer. He had actually invited a friend over, without telling the friend why. The brother told their parents, who immediately went to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. A deputy arrived soon after and sat down with the 14-year old for an interview; what he heard was unbelievably lurid. Two days before, on February 24, the boy had visited an unnamed video chat website. He made contact with a man there and showed the man his penis. The man was recording the chat and played back the recording for the boy. Not only did the recording show the boy's genitalia, but it included his face. The man promised to distribute the video to gay porn websites unless the 14-year old agreed to contact him at horni_man@hotmail.com and through Skype. The boy made the Skype call immediately, and the man on the other end announced the boy would now become his "cam slave" if he wanted to save his reputation. The next day, a Saturday, the boy connected to the same Skype account as instructed. The man blacked out his own screen, but he could see the boy. "it's simple if u do what ur told the vid will NEVER b seen by anyone but me if not it will be," wrote the man. He listed specific websites to which he might post the video and told the boy, "ill add your name and email so if anyone googles u they will see ur video. So u wanna play or b a famous gay porn star?" The boy felt he had no choice. When the man ordered him to dance around the room and remove his clothes, he did so. When the man ordered him to masturbate, he did so. When the man ordered him to lick his own ejaculate, he did so. The man then told him to show up the next day for another session.

San Francisco considering water taxis

Water taxis could come soon to a pier near you | City Insider | an SFGate.com blog
For those who wish they could see San Francisco’s waterfront without the slow pedestrians and honking cars, zipping from pier to pier may soon be a reality. After talking about it for nearly three years, the Port of San Francisco is finally planning to start a water taxi service in time for a handful of big events on the Embarcadero next year, such as the America’s Cup, the port’s 150th anniversary, the opening of the Exploratorium, the completion of the Brannan Street wharf and the construction of the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal. The port plans to start looking for a vendor in May. As explained in an informational presentation to the Port Commission Tuesday, the service would ideally consist of 60-foot-long vessels, with about 50 people each, traveling up and down the shore. Stops would include South Beach Harbor, Pier 1 1/2 and Fisherman’s Wharf. This idea isn’t new. In 2010, the port was in talks with a company to bring water taxis to the city. But that plan fell through, port staffers say, because of the difficult economy. Now that the financial climate is sunnier — and the previously mentioned events are projected to bring thousands of visitors to the water — it may be a good time for water taxis to kick it into gear.