In the news by vander kok



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The past ten years have been the most active hurricane seasons on record. Some say this trend could persist for another twenty years or more. Some believe it is a consequence of natural salinity and temperature change in the Atlantic’s deep current circulation, elements that shift back and forth every 40 to 60 years.

Federal government has dispatched assistance to the affected regions including 5.4 million pre-cooked meals, 13.4 million liters of water, more than 1000 search and rescue personnel and the floating hospital ship, the USNS Comfort. Bush on Good Morning America said there are more than 22,000 National Guard troops on the Gulf Coast after an additional 10,000 arrived Wednesday.

Goodness of human nature is shown in various situations some families allowing other families to move in with them.. story about a family coming to stay with another family in a townhouse in Indianapolis—but there was not enough room so a neighbor wrote them a $500 check to help out. .. .. Robin Roberts , a Good Morning America anchor.. whose hometown was in Mississippi. , Pass Christian, .. she has friends with different skills going to the coast rather than going on vacation saying “Believe me they will put you to work.

There’s no shortage of need for able-bodied individuals to help out there. “ Corporations are donating millions. Abbot lab—2 million, BP Amoco 1 million to Red Cross, Anheuser Bush—825,000 cans of water, Chevron—5 million, Citigroup-3 million, Eli Lilly—1 million, plus 40,000 vials of insulin. , Exxon Mobil—2 million; GE—1 million; GM $400,000 plus 25 cars & trucks to the Red Cross, Home Depot 1.5 million. JP Morgan-3 million. Merck CO—1 million; Merril Lynch—1 million; Nissan North America 50 trucks to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency; Office Depot—1 million to Red Cross, plus the contents of 5 New Orleans stores—valued at 4 million dollars; Pfizer Inc.—2 million; Qwest Comm—230,000 to Red Cross; State Farm Insurance—1 million; Verizon Wireless will double the amount employees contribute to the Red Cross; WalMart—1 million to Salvation Army; Walt Disney –2.5 million to help rebuild;

Tulane students were evacuated and sent home. One of the breeches in the levee wall will be repaired by the end of Thursday; Lt. Col. Carl Strock, commander of the Army Corp of Engineer reported that a large breech in the 17th st canal.. should be filled in by Thursday. Walter Baumy , chief of the corp engineering division , New Orlean district, said contractors were using sheet pile walls to try to close the front of the canal. Illinois has been ordered to accept children from the disaster areas into the schools.

State corrections Dept in Illinois offered supplies including 8500 blankets and 256,000 half-pints of water to prisons in the states devastated by the hurricane. In other news—Nancy Ann Kissell was convicted of murdering her husband by putting sedatives in his milkshake and then beating him to death with a heavy metal household ornament. The trial took place in hong Kong. She received a mandatory life sentence.

Angels won the final two games of the 3 games series with the A’s to remain tied with the A’s on the top of the AL west.

Judge in Aruba is allowing Joran Vandersloot to be released under the condition that he remains available.

Re. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

In April 2002, Workers in the western desert were busy smelting down the last … from a long defunct uranium enrichment project..inspectors learned, and around this time U.S. Satellite reconnaissance were doubled around suspected WMD sites.

Suggesting renewed production at chemical production facilities, but what they didn’t realize was that the activity was being photographed more frequently, not that there was more activity. Story about the uranium sale from Niger to Iraq---it appeared to be untrue—the document a forgery, and some of his advisors warned him not to use it in his state of the union speech. Nonetheless, he did use it in the speech.

He also mentioned “tubes’ that they believed were to be used for nuclear warheads. On January 8, 2003, Bush delivered his annual address saying, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa…” and he said, ‘Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear production.”

He also made mention of mobile bio-weapons lab and a man nicknamed “curveball’ who was apparently in charge of such. Later , the IAEA publicly exposed the Niger document as a forgery and found the aluminum tubes poor candidates for centrifuges. They also debunked Curveball’s tale as well. On March 17 Bush told the American people that “There was no doubt that Iraq had some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

All of the suspects being held in the Aruba case have been released or ordered released. One of the busses carrying the evacuees from New Orleans to Houston overturned killing one and injuring several others after a passenger apparently approached the driver and told him to stop.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineer estimated it will take 36 to 80 days to drain the city. 3-star general Honore , according to CNN’s Barbara Starr who said “He is very determined to keep this looking like a humanitarian relief operation. A few moments ago he stopped a group of National Guard troops and told them to point their guns down, saying ‘This is not Iraq.”

Authorities continued working to evacuate the Earnest M Morial convention center, trying to help the most at-risk people first. President Bush toured the city with the governor and the mayor—the mayor who had just blasted Bush and the federal relief efforts a day earlier. Bush Said “I will not forget what I’ve seen.” Mayor Ray Nagin praised President Bush after his trip through the region.

Officials have spotted a major oil spill in the Venice area of the Mississippi delta region. .. tanks capable of holding 2 million barrels appeared to be leaking. 25 miles southeast of New Orleans. .. hospital Dr. Sanjay Gupta says about one of the hospitals… “it’s gruesome.. morgue in the basement—completely flooded imagine the scene.. patients die, they put them in the stairwells. One of the most unbelievable situations I’ve seen as a doctor.” 1400 additional National Guard & police will be arriving every day, said Chertaff
September 3, 2005

Anniversary of the deaths of the terrorist attacks at the school in Russia—at least 330 killed in that bombing.. Lot of people in New Orleans Intl. Airport—triage, many dying. Warehouses burning in New Orleans. 12 gunfire shots at French Quarter during the night. Man was dead under a blanket , blood ran from his body down to the gutter. They said he died violently. Tropical Storm Maria building up strength—13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season—one of the busiest on record—historically, only about 6 or7 have usually formed by this time of year.

Superdome evacuations halted in order to evacuate the Hyatt hotel. .. right across the street from the Superdome.. mayor was using the Hyatt as a base for a while, now the police & national guard will be using it. “ Until flood water is removed from New Orleans… impossible to determine how many bodies are hidden. “ says Stephen Morse, founding director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Columbia University in new York. “For sure it will cost more than any other post disaster reconstruction effort in U.S. History” to re-build New Orleans. Section of the 8 mile twin span bridge, about 40%, that connects New Orleans with Slidell collapsed into Lake Ponchartrain. …. Trying to allow work to begin to repair a … 300 foot span of the Pascagola Bridge…[says Leslie Miller VZW News]

Francophile culture…as dusk fell on Friday evening, a woman’s bloated and brutally distorted figure lay prostrate on the corner of Jackson Ave & Magazine St. somebody across the street yelled at photographers taking pictures of her, “She’s been there for five days, since Monday.” Police passed by without taking notice of the body.

Another black woman’s body lay in full view face down in shallow waters even as National guard stood there to keep the site secure. In the garden district where multi-million Greek revival mansions still stand, the deserted streets are littered with downed trees, destroyed cars, and garbage.

Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabwi, has attacked the movie, “The Interpreter” starring Nicole Kidman saying it is part of a propaganda campaign by the CIA showing that Zimbabwe’s enemies did not rest. Georgia’s Governor said he would temporarily halt gas taxes until the end of the month, bringing about 15 cents relief.

This is the largest displacement of Americans since the Civil War. More than ½ million people have been uprooted by hurricane Katrina. Katrina has scattered more than twice as many people as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and more people in a few days than fled the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. More than 800 people are currently sleeping on inflatable beds on the gymnasium floor at Louisiana State university, Shreveport, where the living quarters are not much more than the average car. Government officials are chartering three of Carnivals cruise line ships, for six months to shelter more than 7000 persons displaced by Katrina. The two largest cruise ships can hold up to 2600 passengers, while the smaller one can hold up to 1800.

CNN reports that 300 Air Force members in Iraq & Afghanistan & elsewhere abroad will return to the Mississippi Air Force Base so that they can attend to their families needs. While 1000’s of people waited in New Orleans to be evacuated two major fires raged along the waterfront Saturday. Without water the firefighters were helpless, despite the fact the fire threatened to consume an upscale riverfront mall. Although much of the city is covered with fouled water, the fire hydrants are dry.

Some people are speculating that $4 /gallon of gas is possible in some areas, soon. There could be 500 million dollars in export losses for U.S. producers who normally export through the Gulf Coast ports. International buyers may look elsewhere for corn & soybeans. Waiting by the Wilshire Red Cross bldg. The Mars Rover Spirit ascended to the peak of Husband Hill part of the low ranging Columbian Hills.

The Rover reached the 270 foot high summit, about the height of the Statute of Liberty on August 21. This is day 591 of the originally planned 90 day mission. Five silverfox unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) equipped with thermal imaging technology to detect the body heat of storm survivors are enroute to New Orleans. “With thermal imaging capabilities you can actually see into the buildings and see the body image of a person still alive, said Wheldon, vice-chairman of the House Arms Services & Homeland Security Commission. The lightweight drone, about five feet long, can be operated with a laptop computer.

Frist, a physician turned congressman, says that 8 to 10 people are dying per day at the triage center in the Orleans Intl. Airport. Pet dogs have been taken from the ruins to Houston. Natural coral bridge in Aruba collapsed before dawn on Friday, destroying one of the islands biggest tourist attractions. The bridge is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean, 25 feet high and 100 feet long, a formation of coral limestone cut out from 100’s of years of pounding waves and strong winds. 100’s of visitors walked across it each year.

Not long after the tsunami devastated south Asia the better Business Bureau began receiving numerous complaints of charity scams, and warn Americans about donating to just anybody. Salvation Army & Red Cross have done a great job of providing help, but if you want to donate to another charity they say check on websites such as charitynavigator.org. which ranks charities.

Ten Germans are attempting to soap themselves down for 101 hours in hopes of breaking the record for the longest shower, two women and eight men , ages 18 to 22, will try to remain under the constant stream of water from Wednesday through Sunday. They are allowed a ten minute break for food water and toilet trips and to rub cream into their skin to protect it from the constant stream of water. A doctor is also on hand to make sure a lack of sleep does not affect their health

Justice Renquist died—after 33 years on Supreme Court, age 80, surrounded by 3 children, appointed in 1971.. elected to chief justice by Reagan in 1986. Makes it into world cup by beating Mexico 2-0..first time since 1984 since America has been the first team into the world cup for north and central america and the caribbean .. 5th straight world cup for the Americans who are ranked 6th in the world one spot behind Mexico.

Lance Armstrong will donate $500,000 from his foundation to katrina victims with cancer—to help them get treatment. Armstrong survived a bout with testicular cancer that spread to the lungs and brain before winning the 1st of his record 7 straight Tour de France titles.

Kenye West—the singer.. said Bush doesn’t care about black people and that when media shows black people going into stores for food they say they are looting but when white people go in they are saying it is for survival

13% of the female students at Timken Sr. High School are pregnant. 64 students in the senior class are pregnant . Expecting students get 6 weeks maternity leave. 30 people died at a nursing home at St. bernard parish. California is the world’s largest producer of wine after France, Italy, & Spain. Steve Lee found a 1.22 carat gem quality diamond at the Crater Diamond State Park in Murfreesboro worth about $1000. He said he’s going to give it to his mother.

Fire in Caledonia Township, Michigan (not Caledonia Kent County) .. house/barn exploded.. felt miles away—six people killed. .. health official concedes that the death toll from the New Orleans disaster could be in the 1000’s. …Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had declined to estimate the death toll but conceded that an untold number of people could have perished in swamped houses and temporary shelters. Human services secretary Michael Leavitt conceded the death toll could be in the 1000’s.


Valerie Bennett was evacuated from a New Orleans hospital. Rescuers told her there was no room in the boat for her pet dog. She pleaded, offering him her wedding ring and her mom’s wedding ring , the 30 year old nurse recalled on Saturday, adding, “He wouldn’t budge.” At one hospital a doctor euthanized some of the animals at the request of the owners who feared they would be abandoned and starve to death. He set up a small gas chamber out of a plastic wrapped dog kennel. The bigger dogs were fighting it. It took them longer. “When I saw that I said I can’t do it” said Bennet’s husband Lorne. Valerie Bennet left her dogs with anesthesiologist who promised to care for about 30 pets on top of the hospital roof for as long as he could. Louisiana State Treasurer, John Kennedy, who was helping out with the evacuation said some owners refused to leave without their pets.

Bartenders in New York are selling drinks for $10 ..Big Easy Classics like the Sazerac, the Ramos, the Gin Fizz, Pimms cup, and the Hurricane.. along with a free set of Mardi Gras beads.. the money they make to support New Orleans bartenders and bars. Wilderness Park city of Downey. .. .. singer Macy Gray is helping out at the Astrodome in Houston.. on Sunday Salvation Army conducted an outside religious service including songs such as “What a Friend we Have in Jesus” outside the Astrodome.

Natural disasters are caused by sin in the world said Major John Jones the area commander for the Salvation Army..who led the service, ‘The acts of God are what happens afterward…all the good that happens.” Tim Washington, age 42, said that “God made all this happen for a reason. This city has been going to hell in a handbasket spiritually.”

We’re getting reports how some religion-based aid groups are trying to fly evangelists into stricken areas and how some Army Chaplains are carrying Bibles, not food & water, to comfort people” said Ellen Johnson president of American Atheists in a statement. “People need material aid, medical care, & economic support, not prayers & preaching” she said. Article in Reuters News.



240,000 Louisianians have found sanctuary in the lone-star state and hotels and large shelters.. others in church-run shelters , still others in private homes. Texas’ Bill White said in a phone interview that the city began mobilizing at a new level when the levees were breached.. “ a lot of us understood what that meant.. and that it was a different issue than a weather issue.. and that we were dealing with the virtual destruction of a major American city”. They are also housing people at the former Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, --building #1536, converted into a business park known as Kelly USA, a quarter mile long structure.

Shootout in New Orleans, five persons killed. Two police officers committed suicide.

Reinhold Messner, one of the most famous mountain climbers, who has scaled the fourteen major peaks in the world—without bottled oxygen, was climbing Nanga Parbat…. On June 28, 1970 Messner himself lost seven toes and parts of fingers to frostbite, .. was coming down when an avalanche struck and buried his brother, … now Reinhold went back after somebody found what they think are the remains of his brother, Gunther.

And he also defends himself against critics who said that he took an easier route down , leaving his brother to take a more difficult route—and thereby leaving his brother alone…Gunther apparently was also suffering from altitude sickness. Reinhold is suing two of the persons, Hans Saler & Max Engelhardt-Von Kinglan. who wrote books contending Reinhold deserted his brother.

This is one of the worst summers for Hollywood since 1977 in terms of movie attendance.. Manning Bros. Peyton & Eli .. set up the Peyback Foundation which has contributed to youth organizations in Indiana, Tennesee, & Louisiana, put together a plane full of supplies which they sent to Baton Rouge.

Toni Pugh, a volunteer on the flight said she evacuated with her children, but her husband didn’t come with her, and she hadn’t heard from him in six days. By the time she landed, a voice message from her neighbor, Ralph, saying he was safe.

Two police officers commit suicide, Sgt. Paul Accardo, a spokesperson for the police department took his own life with his own gun, and Patrolman Lawrence Celestine also used his own gun. Fourteen contractors escorted by police were fired upon while crossing the Danziger Bridge--, which spans the canal connecting Lake Ponchartrain and the Mississippi River. Kuwait has offered $500 million in disaster relief, while Kuwait’s neighbor Quatar has offered $100 million.. The hotline for missing persons is 888-544-5475. Many states in addition to Texas are setting up shelters.

In Fort Chafee, Arkansas, relief workers turned the post where Elvis Presley entered the army in 1958 as a processing center for refugees . The homeless were registered by the social security administration, checked by doctors, and given post office boxes. An area near Battlecreek , MI was trasnforming itself into a welcoming station. 500 evacuees were headed for the Fort Custer training center.

In Denver Qwest Communications sent up a bank of 50 phones at a processing center so that refugees could call their loved ones. A steel company sent employees to a shelter at the Mississippi coliseum in Jackson to recruit workers. At the Astrodome people were given jeans, sandals, t-shirts, toiletries, towels, etc. and were allowed to make free long distance phone calls courtesy of SBC communications. . Jefferson Parish in Louisiana were allowing residents back in as long as they had a valid ID, proved residency, brought food, and had a full tank of gas, and promised not to drink the water.

Parish president Aaron Boussard warned 463,000 residents that they would find no traffic signals, no opened stores, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Williams beat sister Serena Williams to reach the quarter finals of the US Open. They’ve had fourteen career matches together and are tied at 7 apiece.. Serena had a little fit at the end of the match, slamming her racket on the ground. Serena won the last five matches. 25 year old Venus won Wimbledon two months ago—her third Wimbledon. Now she’s going for her 3rd US Open title. Serena, almost 24 years old now, was seeded no. 8, Venus no 10. . Amid the tragedy, about two dozen persons gathered in the French Quarter for the decadence parade, an annual Labor Day celebration. John Roberts has now been chosen by Bush to be the Chief Justice.

Airplane crash kills 131 in Indonesia, crashing into the residential neighborhood of Medan, seconds after takeoff, .. about a dozen passengers survived. The fire engulfed a dozen houses and at least ten cars. There’s been five major airline accidents in August—the deadliest month for airline accidents since May, 2002.
September 5, 2005

Author of “Education Myths” in his book says” that since 1970 we have doubled student spending after inflation yet test scores and graduation rates have remained essentially flat. “ He says aren’t worst but the billions of dollars haven’t made them better either. Six years after California hired 50% more teachers to reduce class size a RAND corporation study found that test scores were increasing just as much in large classes as in small classes and concluded that smaller classroom made no academic difference.

Teacher quality—research shows that high quality teachers are very important, but that certified teachers are not, especially. He points out that of the 33 best designed studies not a single one showed any impact between teachers credentials and student performance. Academic ability matters—diligence, motivation, and enthusiasm matters—masters degrees in education simply do not.

This article –the writer says there is no other Supreme Court justice so loaded with racism, or tremendous insensitivity to racial discrimination, than William Renquist. In the early 1950’s when the court was considering the historic Brown v. Board of Education School desegregation case , Renquist wrote a memo defending the infamous 1986 decision, Plessey v. Ferguson which established the separate but equal doctrine.

Renquist noted that “The decision was right and should be affirmed.” Renquist was in favor of segregation. In1964 Renquist testified against a proposed ordinance in Phoenix which would ban racial discrimination in public housing. Renquist wrote at the time that “It is impossible, I believe, to justify the sacrifice of even a portion of our historic individual liberty for a purpose such as this.”

He was the only justice to say that Bob Jones University, the hotbed of racial discrimination & religious bigotry had a legal right to keep African Americans off the campus. The writer says that “It’s not that Renquist had a blind spot concerning race, he was an active proponent of discrimination.” Article in “The Nation” by David Corn (as best as I can tell).

Some people are sticking it out in New Orleans. Some may be in denial. One couple peering out of a window at a street submerged in eight feet of water said she would soon be driving out of the city in her car. 60 year old Warren Reckser said that even though water was up to the front porch he was staying. Boats came by but Reckser, a hotel bell hop, waved them off.
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