Good Morning Conflucians!!! I woke up to a bit of good news: the cracked pipe that caused our water emergency has been repaired and testing of water is underway.
Overnight, crews were able to successfully weld the 10 foot pipe back together with a new metal ring. On Saturday, a seem [sic] in the structure failed, sending 265 million gallons of water into the Charles River.
The water quality tests began after crews made sure the fix to the pipe could withstand the pressure of the water flowing through it and that no other damage was done to the pipe during the break.
According to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, the ban could be lifted in the next 24-48 hours, but that’s the best case scenario.
I feel sorry for my students, who are in the midst of studying for final exams with no coffee or tea available on campus. I heard that yesterday there was a massive exodus of students seeking caffeine infusions in Cambridge, which has its own water supply.
This “aquapocalypse,” as the catastrophic water pipe break in Massachusetts is being called on Twitter, has also revived an old ’60s hit, “Dirty Water,” by the Standells.
In other hard-hit parts of the country, the solution to problems will not come as quickly. The disastrous oil spill off the Gulf Coast continues unabated, and in Tennesee and Mississippi, record rain and flooding have killed 15 people so far.
GULF COAST OIL SPILL
CNN has long story on the latest from New Orleans. For some reason, they focus the story around the fact that incoming Mayor Mitch Landrieu [who will be sworn in today] is the first *white* mayor of NO in 30 years. I’m not sure why his race is the salient point for CNN.
His city is still digging itself out from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina five years ago. And his state’s vitally important seafood industry is threatened by the spill.
Landrieu — who lost two previous mayoral bids in 1994 and 2006 — replaces the term-limited Ray Nagin in a city where about two-thirds of the residents are black.
The city’s last white mayor was Landrieu’s father, Maurice “Moon” Landrieu, who left office in 1978. He is remembered fondly for desegregating the city, appointing African-Americans to positions of city leadership, and opening up public facilities to blacks.
Last week, the younger Landrieu took part in a flyover of the spill for a firsthand look.
“As this situation becomes clearer, there are obvious environmental and health concerns, especially as it relates to Lake Pontchartrain, our coast, and our air quality,” he said Thursday. “But there is also an economic component of the utmost importance including the impact on our fisheries and port traffic.”
The fishing and restaurant industries are preparing themselves as best they can for the approaching disaster that will be caused by the oil spill.
“This isn’t just going to be a short-term thing,” said Ben Wicks, owner and chef at Mahony’s PO-Boy Shop, a neighborhood eatery in a converted shotgun house in uptown New Orleans.
Harlon Pearce, chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, said he applauded the federal government’s decision to shut down fishing for at least 10 days to “ensure everyone that all seafood in the Gulf is of the highest quality and is safe to eat.”
Award winning chef Donald Link, whose Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants in New Orleans are popular with tourists and locals alike, said another problem is the publicity surrounding the slick. He didn’t want anyone to think that Louisiana seafood had disappeared or was unsafe, or that New Orleans restaurants were closed.
BP claims they are taking “full responsibility” for the environmental disaster.
“BP is committed to pay legitimate and objectively verifiable claims for other loss and damage caused by the spill,” a fact sheet for claims and procedures read.
A spokeswoman repeated a pledge given by Tony Hayward, BP chief executive, at the end of last week that the company would “honour legitimate claims for damages”.
“This may include claims for assessment, mitigation and clean-up of spilled oil, real and property damage caused by the oil, personal injury caused by the spill, commercial losses including loss of earnings/profit and other losses as contemplated by applicable laws and regulations…”
Hmmm….There is quite a bit of hedging going on in there if you ask me. Even worse, in Alabama, representatives of BP have been trying to get residents to sign agreements not to sue the company, in return for a lump sum payment of $5,000.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King said tonight that he has told representatives of BP Plc. that they should stop circulating settlement agreements among coastal Alabamians….
The attorney general said he is prohibited from giving legal advice to private citizens, but added that “people need to proceed with caution and understand the ramifications before signing something like that.
“They should seek appropriate counsel to make sure their rights are protected,” King said.
In Alaska, survivors of the Exxon Valdez spill are having traumatic flashbacks.
“As far as what’s ahead, we have a feeling that we kind of know what those communities and individuals are going to go through, and it’s absolutely tragic,” said Stan Jones, spokesman for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. [....]
About 1,300 miles of Alaska shoreline was affected by the spill, including 200 miles that were heavily contaminated, according to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Responders found carcasses of more than 35,000 birds and 1,000 sea otters. That was considered to be a fraction of the bird and animal death toll because carcasses usually sink to the seabed. The council estimated 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, up to 22 killer whales died along with billions of salmon and herring eggs.
Exxon said it spent $2.1 billion on a cleanup, but in a testament to the persistence of crude, oil a few inches below the surface remains on isolated beaches. Students on field trips to islands in Prince William Sound devastated by the spill often uncover rocks soiled in oil with little effort. An estimated 20,000 gallons of oil remain from the spill.
I like to think our Nobel Peace Prize winning President, who supposedly cares about the environment but still wants to open up our coastlines to more offshore drilling, will read that story. Unfortunately, IMO he is so deficient in empathy that it might not move him much even if he read it.
“All of our major creeks and the Cumberland River are near flood level, if not at flood level,” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said at a news conference Sunday, referring to the waterway that bisects Nashville. “The ground is entirely saturated, and the rain continues to fall. There’s nowhere for the water to go.”
Teams of inspectors will be mapping out the damage Monday morning, Nashville officials said.
The western two-thirds of Tennessee has seen between 6 and 20 inches of rain since Saturday, with flooding spreading to Kentucky.
The Nashville Tennessean: Record-breaking flood displaces thousands in middle Tennesee
As darkness set in across the soaked and battered Middle Tennessee region Sunday evening, Nashville began evacuating homes and businesses along the rising Cumberland River.
….Thousands of cars, homes and basements are filled with water. Entire neighborhoods are submerged, and hundreds of people are in shelters.
Authorities were just beginning to comprehend the damage. Late Sunday, Nashville announced that it was shutting down a water treatment plant and that a levee in MetroCenter along the Cumberland River had begun to leak.
After an aerial survey early Sunday evening, Mayor Karl Dean said the damage was worse than he thought.
“This situation is going to require a very large recovery process,” Dean said. “The magnitude of the damage to our community was much more than what I expected. … The safety of some of our infrastructure is questionable.”
We sure could use an FDR type President right now. All those unemployed people could be mobilized to help repair our country’s deteriorating infrastructure. Wouldn’t that be a better long-term goal than saving a bunch of greedy banksters who like make money gambling on whether people will lose their homes or not? Has Goldman Sachs started betting on the fate of the Gulf Coast yet?
TIMES SQUARE FOILED BOMBING
The New York City Police Department has released video showing a white male in his 40s looking back in the direction of West 45th street. He can also be seen in the video shedding a dark-colored shirt, revealing a red one underneath.
The police are discounting claims of responsibility by a Talaban leader (who BTW, had supposedly been killed by one of Obama’s predator drones).
Authorities plan to release another video in the case, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CNN’s “American Morning” on Monday.
Kelly said the person in the video “is seen, we believe, running north on Broadway.” He said the video was obtained from a tourist.
The investigation was focusing on examinations of a Nissan Pathfinder where the attempted homemade bomb was placed. On Sunday, Kelly said the vehicle was being inspected for fingerprints, hair, fibers and other evidence that may help identify who was responsible.
So what are you reading this morning? Post links freely in the comments, and have a marvelous Monday!