When Thelma Lou is getting robbed by a guy named Shirley (now there's a motive right there) in the real-life Mayberry, you know we must be living in a time somewhere near the end of the world.
And good riddance.
A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could be on the verge of becoming an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf. A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.GOD HELP my home state.
"The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."
Asked Friday to comment on the document, NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen said that the additional leaks described were reported to the public late Wednesday night. Regarding the possibility of the spill becoming an order of magnitude larger, Smullen said, "I'm letting the document you have speak for itself."
In scientific circles, an order of magnitude means something is 10 times larger. In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night.
"There is no official change in the volume released but the USCG is no longer stating that the release rate is 1,000 barrels a day," continues the document, referred to as report No. 12. "Instead they are saying that they are preparing for a worst-case release and bringing all assets to bear."
The emergency document also states that the spill has grown in size so quickly that only 1 to 2 percent of it has been sprayed with dispersants.
The Press-Register obtained the emergency report from a government official. The White House, NOAA, the Coast Guard and BP Plc did not immediately return calls for comment made early this morning.
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead and kinked piping currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons -- per day.
If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate.
"Typically, a very good well in the Gulf can produce 30,000 barrels a day, but that's under control. I have no idea what an uncontrolled release could be," said Stephen Sears, chairman of the petroleum engineering department at Louisiana State University.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be leaking at 25,000 barrels a day, five times the government's current estimates, industry experts say.
Basing their calculations on government data and standard industry measurement tools, the experts say the Gulf spill may already rival the historic 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., and 1989 Exxon Valdez disasters.
The massive spill began washing ashore Friday along the Louisiana coast, reaching the mouth of the Mississippi River delta. The disaster also threatens to blunt new oil drilling along coasts, a politically sensitive issue as Congress debates climate change legislation.
The slick started oozing near Louisiana's fragile islands and barrier marshes overnight. Boats patrolled coastal marshes Friday looking for areas where the oil has flowed in, the Coast Guard said, and the state diverted thousands of gallons of fresh water from the Mississippi River to try to flush out the wetlands.
Reiterating the U.S.'s efforts to respond to the spill, President Barack Obama said Friday that the federal government is "fully prepared" and doing "everything necessary." The president said he has ordered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to report to him in 30 days on "what if any additional precautions and technologies should be required to prevent accidents like this from happening again."
When I was young and full of dreams,
My whole life in front of me.
But things are not always the way they seem,
Some things will always change.
My papa’d been a trapper living hand to mouth,
But when I made shop foreman, I had it all figured out,
I thanked God each and every day
When the industry came to town.
Sunset on Louisianne,
The sun going down on the promised land,
I’ve given you everything I can,
I’ve got nothing left to lose.
Married a girl from Pauché Briide,
Raised a family of Cajun kids,
Nobody did no better than we did,
But things can always change.
My sister lost her baby premature,
And my papa got the sickness that got no cure,
And what they told us about it at the plant,
We could not be sure.
Sunset on Louisianne,
The sun going down on the promised land,
I’ve given you everything I can,
I’ve got nothing left to lose.
Smokestacks burning on the river,
From New Orleans to Baton Rouge.
How can I go on believing
When the won’t tell me the truth.
I take my grand son fishing down at Camanida Bay,
I hope some of this beauty will last,
But, lord, it’s changing so damn fast,
Each and every day.
I love the river and I love the swamp,
The snowy egret and the old bull frog,
But they’re harder to find one and all
Since the industry came to town.
On this blog, I don't, as they say, "work blue."
However. . . .
When I run across the likes of this in Friday's Washington Post, keeping things clean doesn't seem to do nearly enough justice to the magnitude of the sphincterlicious inside-the-Beltway shit peddling that's America's "new normal":
The worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday threatened not only the shores of five states but also President Obama's plan to open vast stretches of U.S. coastline to oil and gas drilling.WELL, there you go.
Hours before the spill started washing ashore in Louisiana late Thursday, members of Congress issued new calls for Obama to abandon his plans for expanded offshore drilling, and White House officials conceded that the spreading oil slick could cause the president to rethink his position. "We need to figure out what happened," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "Would a finding of something possibly affect that? Of course."
The outlook in the Gulf of Mexico remained bleak in the wake of the April 20 explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and killed 11 workers. A change in the weather and choppy waters prevented a second burn of oil at sea and slowed efforts by a flotilla of ships to skim the oily mixture from the surface of the gulf, federal officials said. Continuing efforts to use remote-controlled robotic submarines to activate a malfunctioning blowout preventer lying on the sea floor in 5,000 feet of water failed.
The Coast Guard approved an experimental plan by petroleum giant BP, which had leased the rig, to apply chemical dispersants underwater near the places where oil is gushing from three breaks in the well pipes at an estimated rate of 5,000 barrels a day.
In Washington, the White House held a series of high-profile media events aimed at communicating that the administration is fully engaged in the crisis. Obama went to the Rose Garden and said, "While BP is ultimately responsible for funding the cost of response and cleanup operations, my administration will continue to use every single available resource at our disposal, including potentially the Department of Defense, to address the incident."
Hours before the spill started washing ashore in Louisiana late Thursday, members of Congress issued new calls for Obama to abandon his plans for expanded offshore drilling, and White House officials conceded that the spreading oil slick could cause the president to rethink his position. "We need to figure out what happened," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "Would a finding of something possibly affect that? Of course."I WENT to journalism school. I used to work for newspapers. I know all about the hierarchical design of the "inverted pyramid" method of newswriting. And that, my friends, was the second paragraph.
Channel 7 went to the videotape, and its story about Big Mama's was as I expected.
Which means they got about half the story -- the North Omaha half.
What KETV didn't notice was the South O half of the story -- a half that may be even more illustrative. Because in South Omaha, it wasn't that the area was ignored completely -- it wasn't -- but what restaurants there were ignored, amigo.
HERE'S WHAT the TV folk reported -- or some of it, at least:
She said her restaurant wasn't the only one in the area left out of the Berkshire Hathaway guide.ALAS, this is a story older than ol' Jim Crow. It, in fact, is as old as the Good Book.
"North Omaha is here," she said. "We're on the map. We've been here. Why were we left out?"
Her daughter contacted Warren Buffett's office directly, twice in the last two years, but she wasn't able to get an answer.
After KETV NewsWatch 7 got involved on Wednesday, Barron received a surprising voice mail from the head of Berkshire Hathaway himself.
"Hi, this is Warren Buffett. I was calling Patricia Barron," the message went. "I'd appreciate if you'd give me a call. Thanks."
"I'm just thrilled," she said. "He called me."
She said she plans to ask Buffett to get north Omaha in the loop.
"That I'd like to be included on his list, this year and next year, and that I want him to come down and have a meal at Big Mama's," Barron said.
If you're at a party, and you're having a fine time but suddenly get the notion to tell some chick she's fat . . . don't.
It could be that there's a very good reason she packed on a few extra pounds.
Like . . . SHE EATS GUYS' EARS!
YOU CAN just go ahead and file this story from The Associated Press under "People in Lincoln, Neb., Are Just Weird."
And hungry, obviously:
Police say a 24-year-old Lincoln man is missing a chunk of his right ear that was bitten off by a woman who didn't like being called "fat."NOW, Miss Godfrey -- who is kinda cute for a girl who absolutely, definitely IS NOT fat, not in any way, shape or form . . . no way, no how, no siree, Bob -- is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and must not be prejudged, etc., and so on (and please don't eat my ear).
Police spokeswoman Katie Flood says officers were called to a Lincoln hospital around 3:25 a.m. Wednesday to talk to the injured man.
He told them that he'd been bitten at a party.
Flood says officers later learned that the injured man and two others had been arguing with other people at the birthday party. Flood says the man or one of his friends told 21-year-old Anna Godfrey that she was fat.
Officers say Godfrey then tackled the man and bit his ear.
Flood says the ear chunk was not found.
My old high school pal (Deleted), for the sake of democracy, really needs to lose his bid for legislature in that upper-Midwest state of his.
There isn't a whack job out there today in the fever swamps of American paranoiac politics to whom he can't pander.
And now, on Facebook, he "likes" the group page for "ReFounders." ReFounders says it's the "unified voice of Constitutional, Conservative Americans. We are a united movement of pro-Constitution, Conservative women and men of various faiths and traditions, race, ethnicity, age and political affiliation."
SOMEHOW, I don't think Jews or African-Americans need apply. Probably not anyone named Garcia or Gonzales, either.
Here are some photos from the ReFounders Facebook albums and "fan" photos:
OF COURSE, among the "fan" photos is the tea-party's anti-"ObamaCare" staple, the poster of President Obama as an African witch doctor. That, of course, is not racist, because the tea partiers say it isn't.
Just like the following "fan" photo isn't highly anti-Semitic.
LOOK at Hillary Clinton's earring, as well as Joe Biden's and Rahm Emanuel's lapel pins. Each is the Israeli flag.
Follow the link on the bottom of the "artwork" and you'll find your explanation for that.
In brief, the explanation is that the "artwork" is the product of a stone-cold, conspiracy-theorizing, anti-Semitic Holocaust denier named David Dees. Dees says he's not anti-Semitic -- that he actually is "PRO-Jewish, but extremely ANTI-Zionist."
Because, of course, all "PRO-Jewish" people are Holocaust deniers.
Here's some more of his handiwork:
THE DAVID DEES "artwork" appearing on the ReFounders page did not go unnoticed by the page administrator, whose only possible line of defense would be to claim an extreme lack of attention to the picture's detail, as well as a total lack of curiosity about the "artist."
No, to the admin, Dees' whack-job foray into anti-Semitic paranoia instead "speaks volumes, and serves to inspire us."
If anyone in the journalism universe is thinking about making the squelching of the March edition of Omaha North's student newspaper a First Amendment cause célèbre . . . don't.
This is no fit hill on which to die.
Take lazy student "journalists" who can't be bothered with more than a single viewpoint. Add an "in-depth" section on sex. Season with prurient photos and a condoms-on-bananas tutorial.
Then leave out all information on -- for just one example -- sexually transmitted diseases. Serve with a side article about the "fun" and risks of "sexting."
You mean "fun" like five years in the state pen on a child-pornography rap if someone forwards an explicit photo to a buddy?
IT TAKES some doing to make prior restraint seem the lesser of evils, but the staff of the North Star just may have pulled off something special here.
No, after reading this morning's Omaha World-Herald article on the complete lack of professionalism (and good taste) at the North Star -- produced, regrettably, as part of the school's journalism curriculum -- you won't want to be organizing a First Amendment campaign on the students' behalf. Besides, there's also this.
The Omaha North High School journalism teacher has been disciplined after the principal stopped distribution of the March edition of the student newspaper.JOURNALISM ISN'T just about freedom of the press. Journalism is equally about the obligation its practitioners have to their public . . . and to the truth.
A copy of the North Star viewed by The World-Herald included a four-page “In-Depth” section about teens and sex.
The main headline: “Life on the Sheets. Everyone has hormones, but learning how to control them is what matters.”
Articles and graphics focused on sex drive; masturbation; the district's pro-abstinence human growth and development curriculum; the fun and risks of sexting; and how to put on a condom, using a banana in step-by-step photos. Each article was written by a staff member.
There was no mention of the high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among young people in Omaha and no perspective from teen parents or from teens committed to abstinence.
The main photo, taken by a North Star staff member, shows the back of an unidentifiable female, with her partner's hands reaching around her to remove her bra.
Nelson said that the school has a “very diverse student body” and that the material would have been offensive to some North students and their families.
Aerts is “back in the classroom,” Nelson said. She declined to elaborate on how the teacher was disciplined, saying it was a personnel matter.
John Archibald: You have a right to know about News buyouts
It’s hard to look at Ginny MacDonald today and not hear the Neville Brothers in my head, singing their version of that old hymn, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Won’t you please drive real slow?
That Miss Crazy, that you carry,
I sure hate to see her go.
I hate to see her go.
Plus, I want to see the bumper snicker on her hearse. What does it say?
Reports of her death have been greatly exacerbated.
No. Ginny Mac — Birmingham News transportation diva and Driver’s Side columnist — is not exactly dead. Not to you, anyway.
But today is her last day as a full-timer in the newsroom. She’ll keep writing a weekly column on Mondays, but no more front page stories from her about bridge collapses, speed traps or trooper madness.
Why do I tell you this? Because you buy the paper, most of you, and you know Ginny. You have a right to know that she, like so many experienced and trusted news gatherers, has taken a company buyout.
Today is a dark day at The News. It marks the last day not only for Ginny, but for health writer Anna Velasco. By May veteran political writer Tom Gordon — with more stored memory than an iPad — will be gone. So will young Erin Stock.
It’s not just a News thing, it’s a news thing. They tell us, in fact, that our readership is good and ad revenue is rebounding. But technology and economics have worn on profitability in all news operations. Ours is no exception.
But it hurts. In all, since buyouts were offered in 2008, The News has lost more than 500 years of reporting experience. Decorated reporter Dave Parks — who pretty much discovered “Gulf War Syndrome” — went. State editor Glenn Stephens, who could pilot a newsroom through a storm with an even keel, is gone. Food writer Jo Ellen O’Hara left us, as did outdoors writer Mike Bolton.
We’ve lost 32 people in the newsroom. Twenty were reporters, the real workhorses.
That may look small next to losses at the Raleigh News and Observer, which has seen its news staff fall from 250 to 115, or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which cut 93 news staffers in one chunk last year. But it hurts.
If there is good news, it is that The News still has 125 people working to gather the news in Alabama’s largest newsroom.
Still, we mourn the losses to the News family. We mourn the loss to readers, to this community, to the republic.
As legendary editor Gene Roberts told a group of journalists last week in New York, journalism job cuts are more than economic news. They’re a matter of public interest.
“This not just a problem for journalism, this is a problem for democracy,” he said. “What a democratic society does not know, it cannot act upon.”
He is right. You need to know. Think of what you know of your government, and try to separate it from the news. Alabama’s most notable corruptions — Don Siegelman, Guy Hunt, Larry Langford, Jeff Germany, the 2-year college system — all started with reporters on the ground. Issues such as the county’s bond debt and crime in neighborhoods bubble to light in the press.
Those of us left in the newsroom will keep digging. For readers. For the republic. For ourselves, for Ginny and Dave and Anna.
We believe there will always be a need, and a market, for news.
There better be. News, as Roberts put it, is “democracy’s food.”
“If we are going to come up with solutions, then democratic society has to understand that there is a problem,” he said.
It’s not just our problem.
I live in North Platte Noww. Im only 13 and its boring there is nothing to do.. Whats up with all the drugs people say we do.. Yeah we do hang out at the park but so does everyone else. Its a community we know each other its not a big exciting city, but its a great town to live. We have fun in our own ways. You make friends that you will probably have for a lifetime. I love North Platte.
I've been rummaging around in a box of old reel-to-reel tapes again, and I've found another radio classic from Uncle Favog.
And I suppose I have Woodstock -- or at least the soundtrack LP thereof -- to thank for this glimpse into Unk's foray into middle-of-the-road radio disc jockeying.
And it is this glimpse, preserved on Mylar-backed sound recording tape, that comprises this week's episode of the Big Show, otherwise known as 3 Chords & the Truth.
From what I gather from my uncle, who when this aircheck was recorded was going by J. Favog, he got this gig at one of Omaha's AM old-school giants just a week or two beforehand. And that was about a week after he got fired from KOWH-FM, then known as Radio Free Omaha and now known as defunct.
IT MUST have been the first week of May 1970 when Radio Free Omaha got an advance promotional copy of the Woodstock soundtrack album. Uncle Favog had been much into the seminal 1969 music festival at the time, and gave much attention to it on his overnight shows on KOWH-FM.
So one night when he was running a little late for his air shift, he figured he'd throw it on the turntable and let it track through while he gathered his other music for the overnight. In fact, being a big Country Joe and the Fish fan, he figured he'd start with that band's Woodstock set.
Cool. Live version of "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag," preceded by something called The "Fish" Cheer. Must have been "Country" Joe McDonald's humorous commentary on it was raining so much, Max Yasgur's farm was only fit for trout.
Uncle Favog never did get to finish that air shift. He was bummed for a while, but got the overnight MOR job by promising to cut his hair and wear a tie to work.
The station didn't have a copy of the Woodstock LP, alas. Where Unk was concerned, that was probably a good thing.
SO LISTEN UP, and listen in, to my old uncle shoehorning his hippie-dippy self into a Frank Sinatra and Jerry Vale world on this vintage recording.
You know, I think "J. Favog" really came to love that gig. He found it counter cultural, in a weird sort of way.
It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.
Here's a small hint about this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth, coming to this site - and to here, too -- in a matter of hours.
OK, here's another hint (at right).
If you're from these parts -- and by that, I mean Omaha -- you're starting to get warm. And maybe you're starting to get nostalgic, too.
But that's the hint. And the other hint.
And it's coming soon to the Big Show.
It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.
I wonder whether all the tea-party "patriots" worried about "ObamaCare" are much worried about this "death panel"?
Probably not, because WellPoint's death panel is a respectable capitalist death panel, not one of Barack Obama's communistic ones.
I guess Reuters reported the following story because it's based in Great Britain, and the Limeys are "socialists" just drooling all over themselves in anticipation of turning the United States into the simply-red USSA.
And MSNBC picked it up because, well . . . it's MSNBC, which rhymes with "Red TV."
YEAH, THAT'S the ticket:
One after another, shortly after a diagnosis of breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled. First there was Yenny Hsu, who lived and worked in Los Angeles. Later, Robin Beaton, a registered nurse from Texas. And then, most recently, there was Patricia Relling, a successful art gallery owner and interior designer from Louisville, Kentucky.I AM SURE these women, in some manner intentionally not reported by the Brit commies -- you have heard that even the Tories on that benighted isle are "Red" Tories, right? -- really had this coming, and that raw, unrestrained capitalism once again has acted in a manner morally superior to any statist policy paradigm.
None of the women knew about the others. But besides their similar narratives, they had something else in common: Their health insurance carriers were subsidiaries of WellPoint, which has 33.7 million policyholders — more than any other health insurance company in the United States.
The women all paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, none had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.
They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.
Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information. WellPoint declined to comment on the women's specific cases without a signed waiver from them, citing privacy laws.
That tens of thousands of Americans lost their health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with life-threatening, expensive medical conditions has been well documented by law enforcement agencies, state regulators and a congressional committee. Insurance companies have used the practice, known as "rescission," for years. And a congressional committee last year said WellPoint was one of the worst offenders.
But WellPoint also has specifically targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent to cancel their policies, federal investigators told Reuters. The revelation is especially striking for a company whose CEO and president, Angela Braly, has earned plaudits for how her company improved the medical care and treatment of other policyholders with breast cancer.
The disclosures come to light after a recent investigation by Reuters showed that another health insurance company, Assurant Health, similarly targeted HIV-positive policyholders for rescission. That company was ordered by courts to pay millions of dollars in settlements.
In his push for the health care bill, President Barack Obama said the legislation would end such industry practices. Making the case for reform in a September address to Congress, Obama specifically cited the cancellation of Robin Beaton's health insurance. Aides to the president, who requested they not be identified, told Reuters that no one in the White House knew WellPoint was systematically singling out breast cancer patients like Beaton.
Many critics worry the new law will not lead to an end of these practices. Some state and federal regulators —- as well as investigators, congressional staffers and academic experts — say the health care legislation lacks teeth, at least in terms of enforcement or regulatory powers to either stop or even substantially reduce rescission.
"People have this idea that someone is going to flip a switch and rescission and other bad insurance practices are going to end," says Peter Harbage, a former health care adviser to the Clinton administration. "Insurers will find ways to undermine the protections in the new law, just as they did with the old law. Enforcement is the key."
The cancellation of her health insurance in June 2008 forced Robin Beaton to delay cancer surgery by five months. In that time, the tumor in her breast grew from 2 centimeters to 7 centimeters.
Two months before Beaton's policy was dropped, Patricia Relling also was diagnosed with breast cancer. Anthem Blue Cross of Kentucky, a WellPoint subsidiary, paid the bills for a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
But the following January, after Relling suffered a life-threatening staph infection requiring two emergency surgeries in three days, Anthem balked and refused to pay more. They soon canceled her insurance entirely.
Unable to afford additional necessary surgeries for nearly 16 months, Relling ended up severely disabled and largely confined to her home. As a result of her crushing medical bills, the once well-to-do businesswoman is now dependent on food stamps.
"It's not like these companies don't like women because they are women," says Jeff Isaacs, the chief assistant Los Angeles City Attorney who runs the office's 300-lawyer criminal division. "But there are two things that really scare them and they are breast cancer and pregnancy. Breast cancer can really be a costly thing for them. Pregnancy is right up there too. Their worst-case scenario is that a child will be born with some disability and they will have to pay for that child's treatment over the course of a lifetime."