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American Scene: Poll: New Yorkers back surveillance of Muslims

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NEW YORK — Most voters in New York City have no problem with the way the police department has treated Muslims, a poll showed Tuesday, despite weeks of criticism leveled against the NYPD's counterterrorism program by Muslim activists and out-of-state politicians.

A series of articles by the Associated Press has revealed how the police department conducted surveillance of Muslim communities, infiltrating student groups, monitoring the Web activity of college students, taking notes at mosques and eavesdropping at cafes and grocery stores.

A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University after the latest stories found that 58 percent of city voters surveyed think the department has treated Muslims fairly, while 29 percent think police were unfair and 13 percent didn't know or had no answer. Overall, 82 percent believe the NYPD has been effective in its counterterrorism efforts.

"New Yorkers overwhelmingly think their police are going a good job of protecting against terrorism, and they don't believe they're picking on Muslims," said Maurice Carroll, director of the university's polling institute.

MASSACHUSETTS

State claims to find Bulger's autobiography

BOSTON — Prosecutors say they've uncovered two documents that may be autobiographies by reputed New England mobster James "Whitey" Bulger.

Federal prosecutors say in a status report filed in court Tuesday they found a document entitled "My Life in the Irish Mafia Wars" at a South Boston home and another document at the apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., where Mr. Bulger was captured last year with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors say it's unclear whether Mr. Bulger wrote the document found in South Boston but say it "appears to be autobiographical."

The government included descriptions of the documents in a list of evidence turned over to Mr. Bulger's lawyers.

Mr. Bulger is the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of participation in 19 murders.

PENNSYLVANIA

Man who drove onto runway was irrational, lawyer says

PHILADELPHIA — A lawyer says a man accused of speeding onto the Philadelphia airport runway was having irrational thoughts of running from people.

Kenneth Mazik was ordered Tuesday to undergo a psychiatric exam.

Lawyer Kerry Kalmbach says Mr. Mazik didn't mean to harm anyone when he crashed through a gate March 1. The FBI says Mazik's speed topped 100 miles per hour.

Authorities have said it was unrelated to terrorism. But it caused pilots and air traffic controllers to scramble and affected dozens of aircraft.

Mr. Kalmbach says he doesn't think the 24-year-old Mr. Mazik was drinking but isn't sure whether he was under the influence of drugs. He said Mr. Mazik takes Adderall for attention deficit disorder.

KANSAS

Lawmakers nix effort to honor Toto's breed

TOPEKA — There may be no place like home, but don't tell Toto.

A Kansas House committee squashed a bid Monday to make the cairn terrier, a breed perhaps best known as that of Dorothy's canine sidekick in "The Wizard of Oz," the state's official dog.

Democratic state Rep. Ed Trimmer told the Wichita Eagle he plans to reintroduce the bill next year. And Brenda Moore, a South Central Kansas Kennel Club official who first proposed the idea, says she plans to drum up public support for it this summer.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposed the measure, saying it believes it would cause Kansas puppy mills to "churn out litter after litter of the breed" and lead to fewer adoptions from animal shelters.

CALIFORNIA

Ministry to continue without Schullers

GARDEN GROVE — Crystal Cathedral Ministries will keep airing the "Hour of Power" television program and hold worship services in its famous glass-paned cathedral despite the departure of founding pastor Robert H. Schuller and his entire family.

The Crystal Cathedral said in a statement Tuesday that church services would return to the "traditional music and message ... synonymous with the ministries' legacy."

The statement said the Orange County megachurch rejects the intellectual property claims that Mr. Schuller and his family have made in bankruptcy court.

Mr. Schuller and his wife resigned from the board last weekend over the intellectual property dispute. His daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, announced during Sunday's services that she was also leaving to start a new church.

HAWAII

Police get no leads on child fingers in trash

HONOLULU — Police say six fingers found in a Honolulu trash bin are likely from a girl who's 2 1/2 to 4 years old.

Authorities have yet to receive a single phone call a day after making a public plea for information about the discovery. Police say many questions remain about the disturbing case and it's not known whether the fingers are recent or older.

The woman who was digging through trash at a housing complex when she made the grisly discovery says at first she thought they were dried ginger root.

Gina Rose Vendegna tells KHON-TV she was looking for recyclables last month when she came across a plastic bag. The mother of five later noticed fingernails and called police.

PENNSYLVANIA

John Wilkes Booth dolls pulled from Gettysburg

GETTYSBURG — Bobblehead dolls of the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln have been pulled from sale in Gettysburg National Military Park's visitors' center.

Dolls of John Wilkes Booth with a handgun were taken off bookstore shelves Saturday, a day after a reporter from Hanover's Evening Sun newspaper asked about them.

Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman Dru Anne Neil said Tuesday the dolls were available only for about a week before the park superintendent, the foundation president and the bookstore manager decided they shouldn't be for sale.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based manufacturer says the Booth dolls are a top seller and more are being produced.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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