Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Time For Shutdown

"Trump says he would shut down government if Democrats don’t agree to his immigration proposals" by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa Washington Post  July 29, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Trump threatened Sunday to stop funding the federal government this fall if Congress does not pass sweeping changes to immigration laws, including appropriating more public money to build his long-promised border wall.

‘‘I would be willing to shut down government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for border security, which includes the wall!’’ Trump tweeted. ‘‘Must get rid of lottery, catch and release, etc., and finally go to system of immigration based on merit! We need great people coming into our country!’’

Trump’s shutdown warning, which he has made before, raises the stakes ahead of a Sept. 30 government funding deadline, a political showdown before the November midterm elections that Republican congressional leaders had hoped to avoid.

A funding fight also could prove a distraction from Republican efforts in the Senate to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Oct. 1.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a Friday interview with a Kentucky radio station that a shutdown will not happen, adding that talks over funding the wall would ‘‘probably’’ have to wait until after the midterms.

Talk of a shutdown was also dismissed by other top Republicans, including Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, who leads the National Republican Congressional Committee, which coordinates campaign efforts for House Republican candidates.

“I think we’re going to make sure we keep the government open, but we’re going to get better policies on immigration,’’ Stivers said on ABC’s ‘‘This Week.’’

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, told CBS’s ‘‘Face the Nation’’ that he supports the president’s effort to pass conservative immigration policies but disagreed with his brinkmanship.

It's worked so far, and "President Trump endorsed Italy’s handling of immigration issues Monday as he welcomed the country’s new premier to the White House for talks on trade and the military. Trump also said he would ‘‘certainly meet’’ with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani if the Iranian leader was willing, adding he would do it with ‘‘no preconditions.’’

If he can pull of a deal with Iran, he will deserve a Peace Prize.

Trump’s declaration on Twitter surprised some lawmakers who have been eager to avoid a bruising funding fight and highlighted his intense desire to make progress on signature agenda items that have stalled.

In recent days, Trump has also spoken with several outside political allies who have urged him to strike a tougher line on the border wall as a means of pressuring Democrats and rallying his core voters in November, according to two people briefed on those discussions. 

I wonder who he talked to.

Trump has sought to make immigration a central campaign theme heading into the midterms.

It is unclear whether simply threatening to shut down the government could push Democrats to agree to fund construction of the wall, particularly because Trump has backed down at the last minute during previous standoffs.

Like now?

There was a brief government shutdown in January, but the Democrats backed down quickly.....


Crash in Cotuit

"Cape DA admits mistake in drunken driving case" by J.D. Capelouto, Amelia Nierenberg and John R. Ellement Globe Correspondents | Globe Staff  July 31, 2018

Nearly two months before he led police on a chase that ended in a fatal head-on collision, Mickey A. Rivera was accused of driving drunk in Hyannis, but even though he already faced charges related to a 2015 slaying, the 22-year-old was released without bail.

On Monday, in a rare public admission, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the assistant district attorney had handled the case improperly.

“The district court prosecutor simply asked for a bail warning and asked that he be released on his personal recognizance,” O’Keefe said days after both Rivera and Kevin P. Quinn, who was returning from visiting his newborn daughter at the hospital, were killed in the crash. “Should he have done that? The answer is no.”

That would be "Kevin P. Quinn, a 32-year-old Mashpee man had survived two combat tours in Afghanistan as a Marine and a new father on his way home from a hospital visit with his wife and newborn daughter."

Her reaction to being told must have been unimaginably heartbreaking. He was just there, but won't be coming anymore. 

At the time of Rivera’s arraignment, the assistant prosecutor had been on the job for only one month and did not have many details about his previous arrest and arraignment in Fall River, O’Keefe said. O’Keefe did not identify the prosecutor.

Rivera was indicted in Bristol Superior Court in June 2015 in connection with the fatal shooting of Anthony Carvalho in March 2015.

Just wondering why he wasn't in jail after that.

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, Mashpee police began chasing Rivera, who was spotted speeding and driving recklessly on Route 28.

The chase lasted just minutes, ending when Rivera collided head-on with a SUV driven by Quinn, 32, a Marine Corps veteran who was returning to his Mashpee home after visiting his wife and their newborn daughter at the hospital.

A passenger in Rivera’s car, Jocelyn Goyette, 24, was in critical condition Sunday. Police did not provide an update on her condition Monday.

Friends on Monday remembered Quinn as a fun-loving man who was deeply committed to his family.

“When you hear about this horrific accident and I hear it stems from a police pursuit of a criminal who has no respect for the police? And kills my friend when he’s coming home from visiting his wife and 2-day-old daughter? I am sad but I am angry,” said Denise Lauren Kalbach, 42, a longtime friend of Quinn’s.

On Monday, she went to the site of the accident to pay her respects, leaving a white cross that had been made by a veteran.

It was not known what triggered Rivera’s decision to flee from police, but his criminal history showed that an arrest could have sent him to jail for an extended period of time.

Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire reduced Rivera’s bail in the Fall River case last fall over the objections of prosecutors.

“I was very disappointed the court reduced the defendant’s bail so drastically, based on the defendant’s criminal record and the serious nature of the charges,” Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said in a statement.

Rivera was due to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Tuesday for the latest hearing in the Fall River case, prosecutors said.

In a separate case, Rivera was charged in March 2015 with armed and masked home invasion, armed assault, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, in connection with the stabbing of two women in Taunton, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors dropped the charges because the victims could not identify Rivera, and the only other independent witness exercised a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, leaving law enforcement without the evidence needed to proceed with the case.


The fatal weekend crash also focused attention on the risks of police chases. While hundreds of people die nationwide every year in crashes linked to these pursuits, no official national or statewide policy or protocol exists about when and how police should pursue suspects.

Globe just did a U-turn and is trying to fault the police!!!

In Massachusetts, the policies for chases are decided by each individual department, said Steve Wojnar, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and chief of the Dudley Police Department.

“It’s the split-second decision on the part of the officer and it’s based on the totality of the circumstances,” said former Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis III. “Are you pursuing someone that just raped and murdered someone, or are you pursuing someone who was wanted for a warrant?”

After listening to radio chatter from the field, a supervisor will often decide whether to pursue a suspect, Davis said. The supervisor considers the nature of the crime against the risk that the pursuit could cause harm.

“Having to make it in the heat of the chase is a horrible decision,” said professor Geoffrey P. Alpert of the University of South Carolina, a leading expert on police pursuits. “The supervisor is an important part of the pursuit triangle because it’s someone who is not involved and doesn’t have a stake in it.”

Away from the adrenaline in the field, the supervisor considers environmental factors such as darkness or rain, as well as factors such as traffic volume or number of pedestrians.

“The fewer people on the road, the more likely police are to make a pursuit,” Davis said.

Mashpee police officials did not respond to questions about whether the department has a formal policy on pursuing suspects.

Just let the guy go next time.

According to transmissions recorded by Broadcastify, the chase reached speeds of up to 65 miles per hour.....


Any relation?

"Woman charged in death of teenager lured into prostitution in Braintree" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  April 30, 2018

DEDHAM — A young Lowell woman lured 19-year-old Reina Rodriguez into prostitution with the promise of money, but later conspired with two men to rob her at a Braintree hotel, in a scheme that resulted in Rodriguez’s death, prosecutors said Monday.

Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Lisa Beatty laid out the chilling allegations during the arraignment of Juana Rivera, 19, in Norfolk Superior Court on murder and other charges stemming from the death of Rodriguez. She was found naked from the waist up with her hands and legs bound by cellphone cords on June 22, 2017 inside a Hyatt Place Hotel room in Braintree, according to prosecutors.

Rodriguez’s mother, Sigryd Garcia, told reporters after the hearing that she hopes Rivera lives “a miserable life” behind bars for her alleged role in the murder.

“She took the life of my daughter,” an emotional Garcia said.

She added that her daughter had “a very good heart. She was a beautiful girl.”

Beatty said Rivera initially promised to show Rodriguez, a former Lawrence resident who was homeless, how to make “a lot of money” through prostitution, but “significant animosity and conflict” developed between the two, and Rivera allegedly hatched a plan with two codefendants, Kentavious Coleman and Kenyonte Galmore, to rob Rivera inside the hotel room on the night of her death.

A statement of the case filed by prosecutors said Rivera became angry when Jason McLeod, an alleged pimp who took proceeds from Rodriguez’s sex work and who previously had a relationship with Rivera, began a relationship with Rodriguez.

On the day of the murder, Rivera, posing as a client, set up a meeting with Rodriguez via text message and passed along Rodriguez’s room number to Galmore, the filing said.

A witness identified only as J.J. told a grand jury that after the killing, Rivera confronted Coleman and Galmore, who claimed that “the victim struggled so they had to smother her until she died,” the document said.

The medical examiner determined that Rodriguez died from “homicidal asphyxia,” according to the filing.

Prosecutors said Galmore’s DNA profile was found on a cellphone cord that bound Rodriguez’s legs, in a red-brown stain on the bed, and in Rodriguez’s finger nail clippings.

Galmore and Coleman are in custody in Mississippi and will be brought back to Massachusetts to face murder charges in the slaying, prosecutors said.

Hotel surveillance footage showed Coleman entering the lobby with Galmore before the murder, and a hotel clerk saw them leave the lobby separately, according to prosecutors.

McLeod was arrested Friday in Maine and faces human trafficking charges in connection with the case, officials said.

SeeTwo men extradited to Massachusetts to face charges in murder of 19-year-old woman

They plead not guilty.

Rivera was handcuffed and wore a beige shirt and pink pants as she pleaded not guilty to all charges. She was ordered held without bail and her next hearing is scheduled for May 10.

She briefly shut her eyes as the clerk read out the charges but showed no obvious signs of emotion.

Her attorney for the arraignment, John Amabile, did not address the allegations in court.

Rodriguez’s older sister, Sigryd Rachad, also attended the arraignment and fought tears as she spoke to reporters afterward.

Marcos Rodriguez, the father of Reina Rodriguez, also became visibly upset as he discussed the case. His daughter, he said, loved horseback riding and roller skating.

He said she was “hanging out with the wrong” crowd at the time of her death.....


Next Day Updates:

"Anger grows over fatal Cotuit crash that killed new dad" by Shelley Murphy, John R. Ellement and Amelia Nierenberg Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent  July 31, 2018

FALL RIVER — When the driver who caused last weekend’s fatal crash on Cape Cod was pulled over in Barnstable on June 3, he reeked of alcohol and didn’t bother trying to deny that he had had too much to drink, but when 22-year-old Mickey A. Rivera was arraigned the next day on drunken driving charges in Barnstable District Court, neither the circumstances of his arrest nor his extensive criminal past were mentioned at all, court records show. 

They didn't even suspend his driver's license? 

They used to do that. I know from personal experience.

In a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, Rivera was released without bail at the recommendation of a prosecutor, even though he was free on bail at the time awaiting trial on felony charges in connection with a 2015 killing in Fall River.

On Tuesday, as anger swirled over the circumstances of Rivera’s release, the district attorney in the Fall River case blasted the state probation department for failing to inform him about Rivera’s June arrest, saying prosecutors would have moved to revoke his bail and have him arrested if they had known.....

Let the buck passing begin.


This next article was buried at the bottom of the Metro section:

"Family mourns young mother dead after Cotuit crash" by Amelia Nierenberg Globe Correspondent  August 01, 2018

NEW BEDFORD — Jocelyn Goyette had one big fear: She never wanted to die in a car. After a minor car accident a few years back, she talked about it a lot, telling family and friends that she couldn’t imagine anything more frightening.

“That is what she was afraid of most,” said Felicia Blouin, 28, one of Goyette’s closest friends.

Early Saturday morning, the 24-year-old’s fear became prophecy while riding as a passenger with a man relatively unknown to her. She died Sunday night.


Over the last four years, Goyette and her fiancé, Jorge Martell, 29, had built a life together. They were raising their 3-year-old son, Javien.

“She was an incredible mother, incredible,” Martell said. “I am just trying to do what she would have wanted me to do. Be a father and mother, play both roles for him.”

After long days at work, she would come home, and the family would spend time together, often going fishing nearby. Martell remembered how much she loved to draw, showing tattoos on his arms that she had designed.

“We were just two young people trying to live life,” he said.

The two had met five years ago, when Goyette was 19 and Martell was 24. He proposed to her at her baby shower in November 2014, and they had been living with his sister at the time of her death.

Goyette was a certified nurse’s assistant at Sacred Heart Home in New Bedford, a nursing home.

Her family is finding solace in Goyette’s decision to become an organ donor, a choice she celebrated on her Facebook page and spoke about with pride.

Her close friends knew little about Rivera. They said she had met him once or twice, but he was not a close friend.

“Nobody knows anything about this kid,” Blouin said, speaking quickly and raising her voice in anger. “I didn’t even know anything about this kid. She probably just wanted to go up there for the carnival. I think it was probably like a spontaneous thing.”


She was referring to the Barnstable County Fair.

Martell was also confused. He and Goyette had a strong relationship, he said, and she saw Rivera only once or twice before. 

So am I.

At 6:48 p.m., Goyette texted her cousin, Janeya Gomes, 21, about her evening plans.

“I was supposed to go out to Cape Cod later with this kid, but now he is switching [expletive] up on me and I’m getting mad,” she wrote.

Forgive me for saying it, but it looks like a drug deal.

Blouin spoke to Goyette at 9:46 p.m. Friday. Goyette said she was out and having fun, but would call when she got home in an hour or two.

Just after 11 p.m., Martell spoke to Goyette, who told him she was on her way home, he said.

Her family and friends don’t know what happened to her in the hour between that call and the crash, which occurred just a few minutes after midnight. They also don’t know why she was in Rivera’s car.

“She was the victim,” Martell said. “She didn’t know anything about him. She didn’t know him from a hole in the wall.”

Her family has set up Go Fund Me page online to raise money for her funeral and the ongoing care of Javien.....


Also seeToddler killed in South Boston crash lived life ‘full of love,’ grieving family says

Holy Moses!

"Brookline woman, 64, killed in Medford crash; police say teen driver was under influence of drugs" by Michael Levenson and Jerome Campbell Globe Staff  April 30, 2018

Judy Moses described her work as a calling. A realtor since 1986, she took pride in mentoring others, especially women, as a past president of the Women’s Council of Realtors and an owner of Pathway Home Realty Group in Newton.

The driver, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was charged Monday in Cambridge Juvenile Court with operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of an accident causing death, operating to endanger, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors did not disclose what drug the driver was found to be using, saying that is part of an ongoing investigation.

Moses was a native Bostonian who lived in Brookline with her husband of 21 years, Charles Capace, and three dogs. She was an accomplished and well-known realtor and a strong supporter of women’s causes and animal welfare, said Michelle Quinn, a colleague at Pathway Home Realty.

“We’re all in such shock,” Quinn said. “She’s just an amazing woman. She knows everybody. Everybody loves her.”

Moses had just held a fund-raiser Friday for two local animal shelters, Quinn said.

“She was all about making her clients’ lives better, which is really what realtors are supposed to be doing,” Quinn said. “She was the real deal.”

Moses initially worked as a travel agent but felt she wasn’t being sufficiently challenged, so she worked nights and weekends to make the switch to real estate in the 1980s, according to an article about her career that ran in Banker & Tradesmen in 2007, the year she was chosen to lead the Women’s Council of Realtors.

“I didn’t make money at first but I’m very persistent once I make up my mind,” Moses told the publication, describing herself as a self-motivated businesswoman.

Capace stood outside his home Monday and pointed to the window of the bedroom where Moses began her business almost 15 years ago.

“She was a woman that couldn’t be stopped and the energy coming out of her office energized the whole house,” he said. She went on to become a savvy realtor, with the best information on the market, neighbors said.

Her husband said she had changed him the most.

“In every way possible that you could make a person better, she did that for me,” said Capace. “I don’t know what I’ll do without her.”

Earlier Monday, Phyllis Schacht, a family friend, recalled Moses as generous.

“I have known Charlie and Judy for many years and can tell you that Judy was a wonderful person who was loved by everyone who knew her,” she wrote. “She enjoyed mentoring, not only other businesswomen but also as a ‘Big Sister’ in the Big Brother-Big Sister organization. She was a loving ‘mother’ to three dogs. Her family and her many, many friends miss her terribly.”

Moses was also a member of the Brookline Rotary Club, the organization wrote in a tribute to Moses on Facebook.

“She will be remembered for her big heart, dedication to literacy, love of animals, and so much more . . . ” the Rotary Club said.


Shark Bait

I'll let you sink your teeth into it:

"‘This isn’t a toy!’ Anger greets photos of dead shark hung by its tail in Scituate" by Jeremy C. Fox Globe Correspondent  July 29, 2018

When many people think about sharks, their emotional responses may be closer to terror than sympathy, but some animal lovers said they were offended or horrified when they saw photos of a dead white shark posted on social media Saturday.

The 10-foot female died after it was unintentionally caught in a gillnet, according to the Facebook and Twitter posts by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Should have just let her go.

It was brought to Scituate, where samples were taken by scientists who study sharks, according to the posts. They included photos of the massive fish suspended by its tail and surrounded by onlookers, prompting criticism as well as messages of support.

Greg Skomal, a biologist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said he avoids social media and had not seen the response to the photos, but he understands the impulse behind the outrage.

“I appreciate people’s passion for this,” said Skomal, who was present in Scituate and took tissue samples from the animal, along with a fisheries scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Certainly we’ve come a long way in the last 50 years, where for the most part, [in the past] the only good shark was a dead shark,” Skomal continued.

The social media response showed how much that attitude has changed. One photo in particular, showing a small girl patting the shark’s head, prompted outrage from a Facebook user.

“This isn’t a toy!” she wrote. “It’s a beautiful animal that has been killed. What is wrong with people.”

One man, who described himself as a “huge supporter” of the conservancy, said he found the organization’s Facebook post “very offensive.”

“What happened to this animal is in my opinion criminal,” he wrote. “Then to hang it like a trophy is disgusting. There are other ways for our children to learn about sharks. Wish you discouraged this and not promote it on your site.”

The conservancy responded, saying it appreciated his support and further explaining the images.

“This white shark was caught and killed unintentionally, which is not illegal,” the organization wrote. “The photos from our post are just after the shark was picked up from the boat to be moved to the ground for scientists to collect samples. Much will be learned from this animal.”

The conservancy and the offended Facebook users did not immediately respond to interview requests on Sunday afternoon.

They've done is virtue signaling for the day, and I wish they would stop waving the kids around.

Skomal stressed that “there was no intent by this fisherman to kill this shark” and explained that the law forbids fishermen from possessing sharks, dead or alive. So when an animal is snared in a net, it is usually thrown back into the water.

They will next time to avoid all the hubbub.

On Saturday, the commercial fisherman who caught the shark was able to contact Skomal, who had the authority to allow the shark to be brought to Scituate and to take possession of it, he said.

“It’s great for us to take advantage of that opportunity and learn at least something from the animal,” he said. “Ideally, we want to keep them alive . . . but if they do die as by-catch, which is rare, we at least want to learn something from them.”

Forget that!

Skomal said it was necessary to hang the shark from its tail to weigh it. He added that he and the other biologist had examined the shark’s reproductive system to determine its sex and whether it was mature and looked at its stomach contents to see what it had eaten.

They took samples of the shark’s backbone to determine its age, took liver and muscle tissue to measure contaminants in its system, removed its heart for study by a specialist in shark circulatory systems, and took its nasal lobes so a biologist could study its sense of smell.

“It is sad that the animal’s dead, but from a scientific standpoint this was an opportunity,” he said.

Skomal said it was “refreshing” that so many people had posted online about their desire to keep sharks alive and treat them with care.

“If people are passionate about protecting an animal that was much maligned historically,” he said, “then I think that we’re going in the right direction.”

Yeah, wow. Now if only there was some outrage over the wars based on lies that are killing thousands if not millions of people by now.


Just wondering where was the outrage for the seal?

Time to close the beaches and get the kids out of the water.


"As the new fishing season begins, many of the city’s fishermen are unemployed, their suppliers stuck with excess inventory, and local officials are questioning whether the millions of dollars in lost revenue will cost the port its ranking as the nation’s most valuable, as it has been for the past 17 years. Carlos Rafael, the disgraced fishing mogul known as “The Codfather,” is now in prison, but the consequences of his crimes are still being felt throughout New Bedford....." 

It's a light catch, and I thought they were going to blame the Trump tariff trap.

Also see: 

Record heat scorches four continents, and more is due

15,000 ordered to two flee Northern California wildfires

I was told they were making progress.

Boy Scout lost in Wyoming wilderness survived on bugs, bark

He was caught off-guard by high winds, snow, and bitter cold, and the sharks were washed out to sea:

"Norway defends killing of polar bear near cruise ship" Associated Press  July 31, 2018

COPENHAGEN — Norwegian authorities on Monday defended the actions of guards from a German cruise ship that killed a polar bear that had attacked and injured a crew member, saying they at first tried to scare it away.

Police spokesman Ole Jakob Malmo said two members of the crew that set foot on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago ahead of tourists first tried to ward off the bear ‘‘by shouting and making loud noises as well as firing a signal pistol, but to no effect.’’

The incident sparked international outrage, with animal rights activists saying that it was wrong to let tourists encroach upon territory known as a habitat for the bears.

The German ship operator said that the purpose of the landing on Svalbard was not polar bear observation.

British comedian Ricky Gervais took to Twitter to call the tourists ‘‘morons,’’ while another user said that if such tourism was banned, guards ‘‘wouldn’t be needed to protect gawking tourists and polar bears would be left in peace and not shot dead merely to satisfy a photo op.’’

He took to that intolerant echo chamber?


Next Day Updates:

A shark named Mueller

San Antonio Aquarium recovers shark stolen in baby stroller

Crews report progress in fight against twin California fires

Great white shark swims by unwary paddleboarder off Cape Cod

"Fox that attacked two women in Middleborough killed by police" by Emily Sweeney Globe Staff  July 31, 2018

A fox that had attacked two women in Middleborough this week was shot and killed by police early Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The animal, which “appeared sickly and ornery,” was spotted by a citizen in a ditch on the side of the road on Plymouth Street, just north of the entrance to the Kampground of America, and was shot by an officer because it was deemed to be “an immediate threat to public safety,” police said in a press release. 

I'm waiting for my social media outrage.

“This is standard procedure when there is an animal that is deemed dangerous or threatening toward the public,” the release said.

A state lab will be testing it for rabies, the release said.

“Given that the animal had attacked two people, it was considered to be a threat to the public and had to be killed in order for it to be tested for rabies and other diseases,” police Chief Joseph Perkins said in the press release. “I want to thank the many residents who reached out yesterday in helping us locate the fox.”

The first attack was reported to police around 7:10 a.m. Sunday, after a woman was bitten by a fox at the KOA campground on Plymouth Street in Middleborough.

The second attack on another woman occurred around 9:45 p.m. Sunday on Muttock Lane, which is less than a half-mile away from the KOA campground.

Gabriela Goncalves, 34, was at home Sunday night when her mother went outside to fetch something from her car in the driveway. Suddenly, she heard her mother scream.

“I heard these desperate screams for help,” she said.

Goncalves immediately ran outside and saw her 66-year-old mother on the ground, trying to fight off a fox that was attacking her. She was holding it by the nose, to keep it from biting her, but the animal was relentless and overpowered her.

“She couldn’t get up because the fox wouldn’t let up,” she said. “She was bleeding everywhere.”

Goncalves grabbed a shovel and hit the fox, but the animal continued its attack. She hit the fox again with the shovel until it finally stopped and ran off into the woods.

Goncalves said the fox bit her mother’s foot first, which caused her to fall, and then bit her all over her legs and thighs. All told, she was bitten more than 10 times.

“You’d never think something like that would happen to you,” she said. “She was caught off guard. She didn’t even know what it was.”

Goncalves said she and her mother moved into this home in Middleborough two and a half months ago, and now they don’t feel safe in their own backyard.



"On Cape Cod, sharks have become an accepted part of the local lifestyle. Souvenir shops are filled with shark-themed item, but over the past week, 10 great white sharks have been spotted off the Cape’s shoreline....."

Also see: 

Great white shark snatched fish off hook, captain says

Shark snags striper from fishermen off Cape Cod

Shark bites bass off hook off Monomoy Island

The Fiend at FEMA

They finally found him!

"FEMA official under investigation over sex misconduct" by Lisa Rein Washington Post  July 30, 2018

WASHINGTON — The former personnel director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who resigned just weeks ago, is under investigation after being accused of creating an atmosphere of widespread sexual harassment over several years, the agency’s leader said Monday.

The allegations include hiring women as possible sexual partners for male employees, said FEMA Administrator William Long.

The alleged harassment and other misconduct, revealed through a preliminary seven-month internal investigation, was a ‘‘systemic problem going on for years,’’ Long said. Some of the behavior could rise to the level of criminal activity, he added.

Some of the claims about the agency’s former personnel chief are detailed in a written executive summary of the investigation provided to The Washington Post.

FEMA officials provided other details and confirmed that the individual under investigation, whose name was redacted from the report, is Corey Coleman, who led the personnel department from 2011 until his resignation in June.

Coleman could not immediately be reached for comment, and no one answered the door at his Northeast Washington home when a Washington Post reporter visited Monday. Coleman resigned June 18, before a scheduled interview with investigators, and FEMA officials said they have not been able to question him since.

Online records show Coleman was a senior executive who was paid an annual salary of $177,150.

In an interview, Long described a ‘‘toxic’’ environment in the human resources department Coleman had led at FEMA headquarters, hiring dozens of men who were friends and college fraternity brothers and women he met at bars and on online dating sites.

Coleman then promoted them to roles throughout the agency without going through proper federal hiring channels, Long said.

Coleman transferred some of the women in and out of departments, some to regional offices, so his friends could try to have sexual relationships with them, according to statements and interviews with employees, said a FEMA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is ongoing.

‘‘What we uncovered was a systemic problem going back years,’’ Long said. He said he has referred several cases to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, who oversees FEMA, to investigate possible criminal assault.

‘‘The biggest problem I may solve here may be the eradication of this cancer,’’ Long said. ‘‘How many complaints were not heard? I’ve got to make sure we have a safe working environment for our employees.’’

Long said the problems extend beyond Coleman. The investigation is ‘‘not going to stop with him,’’ he said.

The misconduct went back as far as 2015, said Long, who received a direct complaint from an employee, who said Coleman sexually harassed her, and forwarded it to the general counsel’s office, which started the internal investigation.

That was during the Obama years when there were no scandals (and he doesn't even mention the granddaddy of them all, using "evidence" supplied by his own political party and candidate and sending it through the national security and law enforcement channels of the government so they could obtain a warrant to spy on and try to infiltrate the opposing party's presidential campaign. It's Nixon on steroids. That's why Obama is laying low).

Coleman was hired at FEMA in 2011 as deputy personnel chief from the Secret Service, where he was chief human resources officer for the information technology department.


Also see:    

DEA Hosted Sex Parties For a Decade
Gulf Oil Overseer Sees Smoke From Pipe
Troubles at the TSA
Sex in the SEC
Pentagon Perverts
On Through the Night
It's Fun Working For the FAA

And let us not forget the secret service agents paying for sex in Colombia. 


Thankfully, the GSA is a good-steward.

Under the Bleachers

"Students walk out of Lincoln-Sudbury high school to protest handling of sex assault allegations" by Emily Sweeney Globe Staff  April 30, 2018

SUDBURY — Hundreds of students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School walked out of class Monday in response to a sexual assault that allegedly occurred on the campus in November 2013 but did not come to light until last week.

The students, who have criticized the school’s handling of the alleged assault, streamed out of the building and walked to the athletic fields behind the school, where they held a moment of silence and gave speeches.

Katie Kohler, one of the organizers of the rally, said the turnout was larger than expected.

Any excuse to get out of class.

“We were blown away by how many students supported this,” she said. “I would say more than half of our school came out. It just really shows that the student body is here to support any victims, any survivors, and even if the administration doesn’t, the student body does, and I think that’s really important to show in our school.”

Sophia Fortunato, one of the speakers at the rally, said the walkout brought the issue of sexual assault to the fore, and she hoped it would spark more conversations. “This walkout is not the end; this walkout has to be the beginning of something,” she said.

The protest was planned after the students learned last week that a former student filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against school officials, alleging that they failed to properly investigate her accusations of sexual assault and to discipline her alleged attackers. The school system has responded that school officials took “prompt and appropriate action” after the alleged assault, which was investigated by Sudbury police.

Kristen Schuler Scammon, the lawyer representing the former student, said she was not aware of any criminal charges filed against the male students. Sudbury police declined to comment on the case.

Scammon provided a statement that said, “The fact that the students of Lincoln-Sudbury have responded in this way to a lawsuit about events that occurred a few years ago may reflect a bigger problem at the school. We support and appreciate their efforts to make their school safer for all students.”

The former student was a sophomore when she reported that two male classmates sexually assaulted her during a football game at the school in November 2013, according to the lawsuit. The assault allegedly occurred on some bleachers and in an unlocked shed at the school’s athletic fields, and after the girl reported it, school officials separated the 15-year-old from her classmates, forcing her to sit by herself in an area where students typically served suspensions and detention, the complaint alleges.

Ciara Conway, one of the rally organizers, said learning about the alleged assault from 2013 compelled students to organize the demonstration. “It really hit home and made it personal for all of us,” she said.

Some students who participated in the walkout carried signs bearing slogans like “No means no” and “Stop blaming victims and start holding attackers accountable.”

Lily Neuhaus, another organizer, said the demonstration was emotional.

“I thought it was the best experience I’ve had at L-S in my entire life,” said Neuhaus. “There was so much cheering . . . I saw people crying.”

After they returned to the building, Neuhaus said, organizers set up a booth outside of the cafeteria. There, during lunchtime, they distributed information about sexual assault and resources for victims. They also handed out teal-colored ribbons for students to wear to show their support for survivors of sexual assault, she said.

The district’s superintendent, Bella Wong, said she thought the students who organized the rally “did a terrific job.”

“I am very proud of how the students comported themselves throughout — they were respectful and attentive to each other and the speakers,” she wrote in an e-mail.

In an e-mail to the Globe on Friday, a lawyer for the school system said the reported assault was investigated by Sudbury police, school administrators, and employees responsible for the district’s compliance with Title IX, the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs.

The lawyer, John J. Davis, said the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education investigated the complaints and found “ ‘insufficient evidence’ to conclude that the school district had ‘failed to promptly and equitably respond.’ ”

The federal office notified school officials that it had concluded its investigation in September 2017. Investigators found that the alleged assault took place “under the bleachers during a game of truth or dare,” and that the accused male students were both given suspensions.


Globe Loves L’Italien

They must have $oured on Koh:

"More female candidates mean tough choices for women’s groups" by Stephanie Ebbert Globe Staff  July 25, 2018

Years ago, women’s political action committees would line up behind the lone female candidate in a given election, focusing all their resources on elevating her over a crowded field of guys.

So quaint.

This year, so many women are running for certain seats that endorsing one means, of necessity, snubbing others. When the National Women’s Political Caucus endorsed state Senator Barbara L’Italien for the Third Congressional District this month, it bypassed four others: Alexandra Chandler, Bopha Malone, state Representative Juana Matias, and Lori Trahan. All five women competing in the Democratic primary met the qualifications for the caucus, which backs women of either party who support abortion rights.

That issue defines you as a woman, as far as the Globe is concerned, and they are adamantly pro-abortion.

Likewise, EMILY’s List — the fund-raising powerhouse that recruits female Democrats who support abortion rights — has been playing favorites in this election cycle, sometimes to the displeasure of individual candidates.

Endorsements can be a dime a dozen in certain races, with candidates touting their embrace by unions, elected officials, and interest groups to appeal to different blocs of voters, but some endorsements carry more weight than others, delivering not just a seal of approval, but money and resources that can be tapped for TV ads, mailers, phone banks, and signs. EMILY’s List is one of the oldest and most successful PACs, with a national web of members who heed endorsements and funnel their donations into promising candidates’ campaigns.

And in races where the field is crowded, the endorsement of a key constituency can help a candidate stand out. The Massachusetts Third congressional race also features several women who would break new ground. Matias, an immigrant who was born in the Dominican Republican and now lives in Lawrence, would be the first Latina congresswoman from New England. Malone, a bank vice president from Bedford, is a Cambodian refugee. And Chandler, a former Navy intelligence analyst from Haverhill, is a transgender woman.

Another female Democrat, Eileen Donoghue of Lowell, decided not to run. 

Is it because she didn't have a political identity and base?

In backing L’Italien, however, both the state and national women’s caucuses pointed to her years of experience — and effectiveness — in the Legislature.

L’Italien, of Andover, has served two terms in the Senate and four in the House. She moved into politics after advocating for her oldest of four children, who has autism. As a freshman in the House, she supported gay marriage and held her ground after her stance got her ousted from a leadership role at her church.

“Her toughness in standing up for what’s right, even when it costs her personally, is admirable,” NWPC president Donna Lent said in a statement. “Barbara L’Italien is the real deal, the sort of change-making woman who will get things done in Congress and carry on this district’s tradition of strong female leadership.”

The Third District congressional race isn’t the only one creating difficult choices for women’s groups in Massachusetts this year. In the Seventh District, where Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is challenging incumbent Mike Capuano in the Democratic primary, Pressley has captured national attention as part of a wave of progressive women taking on tough races.....


Here is how she gets things done (I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in the story above. I guess they don't read each others work):

"State Senator Barbara L’Italien secures $16m in funds for Lowell — for a city she doesn’t represent" by Matt Stout Globe Correspondent  July 30, 2018

In a few short months, state Senator Barbara L’Italien has shepherded some $16 million into various bills for the city of Lowell, funneling state cash toward parks and more than $1 million for the site of a new high school. On Wednesday alone, she managed to secure millions for a parking study, to build a bridge, and other projects in an economic development bill — all pork, all for the Mill City.

There’s just one thing: L’Italien, an Andover Democrat, doesn’t represent Lowell, but she wants to in Congress.

As she vies in a crowded primary for the US House, L’Italien has repeatedly filed, and helped pass, earmarks for the Third District’s largest city, which sits just beyond the boundaries of her own Senate district.

If I didn't know better, I would say she is trying to bribe, 'er, buy her way into Congre$$ with tax loot.

The efforts, she said, are on behalf of Lowell’s former senator, Eileen M. Donoghue, who resigned in April to become Lowell’s city manager, and her former Senate office. Donoghue’s decision to step down from her seat left the city and nearby towns without representation in the upper chamber until next year, and it was L’Italien, Donoghue said, who offered to advocate for Lowell’s targeted projects in the Senate.

Now she was mentioned in the article above.

The practice of legislators filing amendments for another district can be commonplace when there’s a vacancy. For L’Italien, it also comes at a politically expedient time before the Sept. 4 primary. The two-term senator is seeking to distinguish herself in a 10-person congressional field, and she readily acknowledges she will remind voters in Lowell of her recent work for them on Beacon Hill.

After almost 12 years on this blog, I am $ick of the endle$$ $tatu$ quo of Ma$$achu$etts politics, no matter what face they have on during the campaign. It melts away as soon the election is over. 

“Absolutely. Why not?” L’Italien said in a recent interview. “Why not make the pitch? Why not tell people about the hard work that I have done on behalf of the city?

“If I didn’t do it,” she said of getting the funds, “who would do it?”

That's a great attitude, and the primary reason the state is filled with rank rot corruption.

And indeed, she has her name credited to a lot of cash for Lowell. In the final version of the state budget lawmakers sent to Governor Charlie Baker, L’Italien secured $500,000 for a city park and upgrades to Lowell’s downtown. (Baker vetoed both among hundreds of earmarks, but lawmakers have already begun overriding his cuts.)

She scored the same half-million in total for various projects in Lawrence, Andover, Dracut, and Tewksbury — the four communities L’Italien officially represents.

She really brings home the bacon, huh?

Earlier this month, L’Italien helped tuck another $4.5 million in Lowell-specific earmarks into a $2 billion environmental bond bill, including $1.25 million for environmental testing and potential cleanup costs for the site of a new high school and $2.2 million for a new park along the Merrimack River.

They are going to borrow money for pork as they raise taxes and cut services?

For L’Italien’s own district, there was $2 million earmarked for Lawrence, another $1.75 million for Dracut, $1 million for projects in Tewksbury, and $1 million for Andover. Another $250,000 went toward helping clean the Merrimack River.

A similar breakdown followed Wednesday when the Senate passed a sweeping economic development bill: There was $12 million in L’Italien amendments for Donoghue’s former district, including $11 million for Lowell; her own communities also drew $12 million.

Between the three bills’ earmarks, L’Italien secured $18.5 million for her own district and $16 million expressly for Lowell.

“The alternative would have been that they go without,” L’Italien said of pushing Lowell’s projects. “I am in the adjacent district and two of the four communities I represent consider themselves to be Lowell-centric. It made perfect sense for me to be the person to step up and file these things on their behalf,” but her advocacy irked some in her own district, who saw it as a ploy to score political points.

“It’s disheartening” that L’Italien is spending time working on behalf of Lowell, said Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, who is backing state Representative Juana B. Matias in the Third District race but works directly with L’Italien’s office on funding priorities for his city.

Your expectations of her were too high!

“I know that people in Lowell are going to see this as a plot to get votes,” he said.

David M. Nangle, a Lowell representative and one of three serving the city, said L’Italien alerted him to the environmental bond bill’s earmarks after she filed them. And he said on Wednesday he hadn’t spoken to her about any of the city’s $11 million stuffed into the economic development bill.

“If I were to do something like that, I would go through the present, local delegation,” said Nangle. “It’s a common courtesy.”

L’Italien pushed back at the criticism, noting her own towns got similar funding to Lowell. She also accused Nangle of bringing “politics into this.”

Is he responsible for the out-of-district earmarks to try and win votes?


She also misrepresented herself on Fox, so she is the perfect candidate. Lying and looting before even taking office. 

Hey, that's Ma$$achu$etts for you!

Look What Just Popped Up

"As efforts to promote black businesses rise, so do growing pains" by Janelle Nanos Globe Staff  April 30, 2018

Kai Grant had every reason to be riding high. Her venture, Black Market, a Roxbury pop-up for black business owners, was a smashing success in its inaugural year, hosting 150 entrepreneurs, and the recent opening of the second season drew hordes of customers, but the market’s return was marred by controversy after one of the vendors from its first year decided to open a market in the Seaport, which Boston magazine mistakenly heralded in a headline as the city’s first black-owned pop-up.

This new market, which will launch inside District Hall on May 19 and is scheduled to run monthly throughout the year, has prompted conversations about the role that such marketplaces can and should play in Boston’s economy. Grant said she has plans to expand her market to other parts of the city, and was angry that the women running the Seaport market didn’t collaborate with her.

This isn’t the first time the city has witnessed a schism between markets: The organizers of the SoWa Open Market and the South End Open Market operated rival events and entered into a legal battle before the South End Open Market ceased operations last year, but factoring race into the discussion has complicated the current conversation, both for the markets’ founders and the vendors they’re both angling to support.

In an open letter on Facebook, Grant said the article’s misleading headline was a “slap in the face” that undermined her efforts to bring economic development to Dudley Square’s struggling commercial district (the headline has since been changed).

She and her husband, Christopher Grant, opened Black Market with a mission to eradicate the $247,500 wealth gap between black and white Bostonians that was identified in “The Color of Wealth in Boston,” a 2015 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Duke University, and the New School.

The market’s goal, Grant said, is to fill a void left behind by A Nubian Notion, the longtime importer of African goods in Dudley Square that closed in 2016.....


Full Moonves

"CBS chief faces inquiry over misconduct allegations" by Edmund Lee New York Times   July 27, 2018

The CBS board of directors said Friday that it would investigate allegations of misconduct against the company’s chief executive, Leslie Moonves, the subject of an article in The New Yorker focused on claims about his behavior toward women.

A Hollywood gossip site I often frequent outed him months ago.

The article says six women who had professional dealings with Moonves say he sexually harassed them between the 1980s and late 2000s. The New Yorker article also said a culture of misconduct extended from Moonves to other parts of the corporation, including CBS News. It said men in that division who were accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women with complaints.

And I thought that only happened at Fox and NBC.


"The lack of immediate consequences for Moonves was striking at a time when some media companies have taken swift action against prominent employees who have been accused of misconduct. Moonves is well-known in the entertainment community but has spent his career in executive suites, rather than before the camera. Still, the CBS board could face recriminations from consumers and from those who believe more immediate action should have been taken. Moonves draws an annual pay package worth $69.3 million. If the board ultimately fires him without finding him at fault, he would draw more than $184 million in pay and benefits as part of his exit. Moonves, 68, has held senior management roles at the network for more than three decades and has been chief executive since 2006. He led a turnaround at CBS, taking it from last place to the most-watched network with hits like “Survivor” and “The Big Bang Theory.” 

Now you know why there is such gutter humor and slop on that network.

Moonves, 68, a former actor who rose through the ranks to lead CBS and take it from last place to the most-watched television network, is separately embroiled in a legal dispute with Shari Redstone, who controls the company. A statement released on behalf of Redstone denied that she had anything to do with the article in The New Yorker.

“The malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today’s reports is false and self-serving,” the statement said. “Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent.”

In May, CBS and Moonves lost one of the early rounds of the dispute when a judge ruled against CBS’ effort to reduce Redstone’s influence over the network. She, through her family company, controls nearly 80 percent of the company’s voting rights.

Issues over those rights and the leadership of CBS will be decided in the court case this year. That lawsuit had already put Moonves’s storied career at stake; if he loses, he may end up leaving the company.....

It's a bad omen for not only Les but the rest of us.


Oh, he moves comfortably among both Wall Street investors and Hollywood producers, huh?

One wonders if the NYT sat on this like they did Weinstein.

What becomes clear is that the elite ruling cla$$ is made up of pedophiles and perverts, including the pre$$ and ma$$ media that frame the world for you and tell you what to think (what was that dead body doing in your office, Joe?).

UPDATE: CBS mum on Moonves

So is the Globe.

The Knox on Chuck

"Chuck Knox, 86, coach who put three struggling NFL teams in the running" by Richard Goldstein New York Times  May 14, 2018

NEW YORK — Chuck Knox, a three-time NFL coach of the year who believed so strongly in the running game that he earned the nickname Ground Chuck, died Saturday. He was 86.

His death was announced by the Seattle Seahawks, who said he had dementia. The team did not say where he died.

A head coach in the NFL for 22 seasons, Mr. Knox never had a Super Bowl team, but he rebuilt three lackluster teams — the Los Angeles Rams, the Buffalo Bills, and the Seattle Seahawks — into playoff squads.

When he retired in 1995 with a career coaching record of 186-147-1 in the regular season, he was No. 6 in victories among all NFL coaches, behind Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry, Curly Lambeau, and Chuck Noll.

Mr. Knox was convinced that strong running games produced winners. He groomed several running backs, including Lawrence McCutcheon with the Rams, Joe Cribbs with the Bills, and Curt Warner with the Seahawks.

Apart from his conservative inclinations on offense, Mr. Knox preached discipline and hard work on the football field, the qualities he displayed as a rugged lineman at Juniata College of Huntingdon, Pa., having come out of a steel town where his hard-drinking father worked in the mills and wanted him to do the same.

Mr. Knox coached the ’73 Rams to a 12-2 regular-season record and had five consecutive National Football Conference West championship teams in Los Angeles, doing it with five quarterbacks — John Hadl, James Harris, Ron Jaworski, Pat Haden, and Namath at the end of his career, but his Rams were beaten in the NFC Championship game three consecutive times — by the Minnesota Vikings after the 1974 season, then by the Dallas Cowboys and then the Vikings again.

Mr. Knox became the Bills’ head coach in 1978, when they were coming off two losing seasons. He traded O.J. Simpson, who was beginning to decline, developed a running attack behind Cribbs, and took the Bills to the AFC East title in 1980 and a wild-card playoff spot the following season.

He was named head coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 1983, the franchise’s eighth season, and coached them to their first postseason appearance, as a wild-card team, taking them to the AFC Championship game, a loss to the Oakland Raiders.

His Seahawks made the playoffs three more times and won the AFC West title in 1988.

Mr. Knox returned to the Rams in 1992, but they finished last in the NFC West for three straight seasons and he was fired. He then retired.....


At least we still have Bud Grant.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Iceberg, Right Ahead!

"‘Titanic’ director James Cameron backs bid for 5,500 items from doomed ship" Associated Press  July 25, 2018

LONDON — Filmmaker James Cameron, the director of the 1997 blockbuster ‘‘Titanic’’, said there are grave concerns that the collection will be broken up and sold privately because that company has filed for bankruptcy.

‘‘That’s why people who feel some protective role have stepped up and kind of linked arms,’’ Cameron said. ‘‘It’s an incredible piece of history, an object lesson about human hubris. If it gets sold into private hands, it disappears from the public eye. It would be broken up and could never be reassembled.’’

He said his expeditions to the undersea site have made him feel a responsibility to honor those who lost their lives on its doomed voyage in 1912.....

Think what you want of Cameron, but I'm grateful for his artistic independence. He was able to make "Avatar" and thereby indirectly shine a spotlight and criticize the conduct of the  EUSraeli empire through the metaphor of a far-off world.


They sailed to close to Greenland:

"A huge iceberg is looming over the tiny Arctic village of Innaarsuit, raising fears that a chunk might tumble into the ocean and unleash an enormous wave. Thirty-three people have been moved farther inland and people have been advised to get their boats out of the way. The berg is roughly 650 feet wide and 300 feet tall, and weighs up to 11 million tons. Officials are hoping southerly winds and high tides will carry it away (New York Times)."

"Village in Greenland, fearing a tsunami, keeps a wary eye on towering iceberg" Associated Press  July 15, 2018

BERLIN — Earthquakes and tsunamis have created major floods in Greenland in recent years.

If a strong enough wind blows, the berg could be dislodged and float harmlessly into Baffin Bay, but if rain arrives, the warmer precipitation could further destabilize the iceberg. ‘‘We are very concerned and are afraid,’’ Karl Petersen, head of the Innaarsuit Council, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Residents know the effect even a small tsunami could have on the country that doubles as the world’s biggest island. In June, a landslide caused by an earthquake 17 miles north of Nuugaatsiaq partly triggered a tsunami that washed away 11 homes and killed four people.....


Must have melted because that's the last I saw of it.

Laotian Deluge

"Laos dam collapses; hundreds are missing" by Mike Ives New York Times  July 24, 2018

NEW YORK — Hundreds of people were missing Tuesday after a billion-dollar hydropower dam that was under construction in Laos collapsed, killing several people and displacing more than 6,600 others, a state news agency said.

KPL, the official Lao news agency, reported that the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric dam collapsed at 8 p.m. Monday, releasing roughly 175 billion cubic feet of water and sweeping away homes in the southern province of Attapeu, which lies along the country’s border with Vietnam and Cambodia. The agency did not give an exact death toll.

Heavy rain and flooding caused the collapse, according to a South Korean engineering and construction company that Reuters said was building the dam.

The company, SK Engineering & Construction Co., has sent helicopters, boats, and personnel to aid rescue operations, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We are running an emergency team and planning to help evacuate and rescue residents in villages near the dam,” a spokesman for SK Engineering, known as SK E&C, told Reuters by telephone.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos suspended a government meeting and led members of his Cabinet to monitor rescue and relief efforts around the collapsed dam, the KPL agency reported Tuesday.

Laos is a landlocked authoritarian state and one of the poorest countries in Asia.

The 410-megawatt dam was being built as a joint venture of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co., SK E&C and several other companies, the KPL agency said. Construction began in 2013, KPL reported.

SK E&C is an affiliate of SK Group, one of South Korea’s largest business conglomerates. SK E&C has built power plants at home and abroad.

The dam was expected to begin operating by 2019 and to generate approximately 1,879 gigawatt hours of electricity a year, the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co. says on its website. Ninety percent of the electricity would be sold to neighboring Thailand and the other 10 percent within Laos, the company says.

The phone lines of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co.’s two offices in Laos were either busy or rang unanswered Tuesday. The dam was designed to generate electricity from water that has been diverted from three rivers — the Houay Makchanh, the Xe-Namnoy, and the Xe-Pian — in the southern Laotian province of Champasack. The Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co. says on its website that water from the project would be discharged into the Xe Kong River before it flows into the Mekong.

Hydropower dams are a major source of energy in Laos and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, but they are also controversial, in part because they often displace rural poor and cause severe impacts on fisheries and watersheds.

Last year, Radio Free Asia news service, funded by the US government, reported that more than 100 families in three villages near the dam were facing forced eviction. RFA quoted an unidentified resident as saying that villagers there did not want to move to the land the Laotian government had offered them as compensation, which they said was not suitable for farming.

Why did Palestine just come to mind?

In a 2013 letter to the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co., the advocacy group International Rivers said its staff had visited the resettlement zone for the dam and seen firsthand that people there were struggling “with a lack of access to sufficient food, water and land.”

“In addition, families have found that the shallow soil around their homes is inappropriate for growing vegetables, fruits or staple crops, and consistently attest to going hungry,” the letter said.

For years, one of the region’s most controversial hydropower projects was the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River in northern Laos.

Thailand is scheduled to buy nearly all of the Xayaburi dam’s electricity and the Laotian government announced in 2012 that it would go ahead with the project, saying that it would generate billions of dollars in revenue, but scientists have long worried that the Xayaburi dam would disturb spawning patterns and lead to the extinction of many species of fish, a main source of protein for millions of people along the Mekong. They also worry that it would embolden developers to proceed with other projects along the river, which flows from Laos into Cambodia and Vietnam.....


May God help them all.

"In Laos, a Boom, and Then, ‘The Water Is Coming!’" by Mike Ives   July 25, 2018

PAKSONG, Laos — At a news conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said 131 people were still missing and more than 3,000 were homeless. Many had been rescued from rooftops and trees after villages and farmland were flooded.

At least 26 people have been reported killed.

Video posted by the Thai News Agency showed vast quantities of water cascading over what appeared to be the diminished structure of the dam, known as Saddle Dam D.

The official Lao News Agency reported that the dam had collapsed. The main builder of the hydropower project, SK Engineering & Construction of South Korea, said it would investigate whether the dam had collapsed or overflowed because of heavy rains.

International Rivers, an advocacy group that has opposed the rapid growth of hydropower dams in Laos, said in a statement posted online that the auxiliary dam collapsed as flooding from heavy monsoon rains caused it to overflow Monday night.

The group, which seeks to protect rivers around the world, said the disaster showed that many dams were not designed to handle extreme weather events, such as the rains Monday.

“Unpredictable and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent due to climate change, posing grave safety concerns to millions who live downstream of dams,” International Rivers said.

Or weather weapons(?).

People living below the dam had only a few hours’ warning to evacuate before it failed, according to the group.

“Communities were not given sufficient advanced warning to ensure their safety and that of their families,” the statement said.

Seven villages in Sanamxay, which is in Attapeu province, were flooded and more than 6,000 people were displaced by the dam’s failure, officials said.

The Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy is one of 70 hydropower plants that are planned, underway or have been built in Laos, most of them owned and operated by private companies, International Rivers said.....

You can meet one of the victims courtesy of the New York Times.


Also see: 
A Day Before Laos Dam Failed, Builders Saw Trouble 

I've seen more articles on Laos the last three days than the last three years before washing away along with the landmines.

Last thing I remember is when Obama visited and acknowledged the scars of America’s secret war. Even as he was unlikely to drop option of nuclear first strike and remains a central world figure, there was a palpable sense at the G-20 gathering that the world is waiting for a new president to reset US policies on Syria, Ukraine, and North Korea," just not who he thought.

If only he had been running, huh? 

Only question is would he have spied on the Trump campaign like his DoJ and FBI did for Hillary?

They could have used some of that water in Greece:

"Wildfires near Athens kill dozens; some jump in the sea to escape" by Niki Kitsantonis, Richard Pérez-Peña and Russell Goldman, New York Times July 24, 2018

ATHENS — Fast-moving wildfires near Athens have killed at least 74 people, officials said Tuesday, and have forced thousands of tourists and residents to flee in cars and buses, on foot, aboard boats, and on makeshift rafts.

In desperation, some people plunged into the waters of the Aegean Sea and tried to swim to safety, but in Mati, a coastal village wiped out by fire, 26 men, women and children gathered in the hope that they could find the narrow path leading to a small staircase down to the water. With smoke blotting their vision and choking their lungs, they appear to have lost their way. Officials found their bodies the next day, Tuesday; several were clinging to one another.


"It’s a two-day plane ride from Hawaii, followed by a car ride through the desert, culminating with a journey down a stretch of sandy, unmarked roads that lead to the ocean....."

Speaking of Hawaii, they were warned of toxic gas as the earth opened and spewed lava, so hold fast for fear the volcano will blow its top in the coming days and hurl ash and boulders the size of refrigerators miles into the air and encircle the island in a ‘‘Ring of Fire.’’

The new menace is now 20 active fissures that put residents on alert for a possible major eruption and a huge ash cloud of spatter, resulting in a toxic steam cloud from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago ‘‘reminding us again who’s boss.’’

This is going to go on for a long time as another ash cloud spews into the air, and besides lava and ash, the volcano is pumping out ‘vog’ as Imperial troops have entered the base (what do you mean fracking is the source of the earthquakes that led to the eruption?).

Caps a strange spring and summer regarding weather in the U.S. A Montana river crested at its highest level in century as campers escaped to Iowa, and thunderstorms created a small weather-generated tsunami off the New Jersey coast as well as flash flooding that caused havoc from Georgia to Utah.

A milder hurricane season was predicted as the US Gulf Coast braced for Alberto and its dangerous surf and heavy rains.  It then made its way north while Florida officials have made few changes for upcoming storm season, but National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said his office’s job ‘‘is going to spend time spinning them up on the hurricane season, spinning them up on the science.’’  He is also working with Craig Fugate, who was the state’s top emergency official under Governor Jeb Bush and later headed FEMA under President Barack Obama. Too bad they were on the wrong coast as two more storms hit.

It comes as no surprise that 2018 is shaping up to be one of the slowest tornado years in recent memory, and the words weren't even dry on the page before a tornado that tore across the Wyoming prairie was about as big as they get in the state, officials said. Thunderstorms also spawned a small tornado in a Connecticut, and 2 tornadoes  were confirmed in central Massachusetts. Must have been the hot spell that brought temperatures near record levels on Mount Washington despite a cold April and June.

Time to get the fires going again:

Gale-force winds topping 50 miles per hour fanned a pair of fires that tore through seaside areas popular with travelers, leaving behind a trail of charred resorts, burned-out cars, and smoldering farms, and wrapping the region in a pall of smoke.

Officials said that at least 187 people were injured, including 23 children.

Greece’s emergency services were stretched to capacity, as more than 600 firefighters and 250 fire engines were deployed to the sites of the two largest fires, in and around Rafina, about 20 miles east of Athens, and Kineta, about 30 miles west of the capital.

The country’s entire fleet of water-dropping aircraft was deployed Monday, the military sent specially trained units for fire prevention patrols, and officials called on their partners in the European Union for help.

In a 24-hour period that ended Tuesday morning, 47 new fires broke out, though all but four were quickly extinguished, said Stavroula Maliri, a spokeswoman for the national fire service. Government officials and others speculated that at least some of the fires had been set deliberately.

I was wondering about that.


"A 32-year-old man has been charged with intentionally starting nine Southern California fires, including one that has chased thousands of residents from mountain communities. In a separate development....."

He claims he is just a patsy as Yosemite is evacuated (they just reopened the sequoia patch) as thousands of residents throughout rural regions north of San Francisco flee their homes. The smoky haze settling on areas to the south and west was rattling nerves near wine country because there is no way out except up

Proving he has more class and dignity than do his opponents, President Trump issued an emergency declaration for California on Saturday, allowing counties affected by wildfires to receive federal assistance. 

Also see:

"The Costilla County sheriff’s office said Jesper Joergensen of Denmark was arrested on charges of starting the 78-square-mile wildfire in southern Colorado....."

They also arrested three others. Also burning in Michigan as some contractor in Florida started theirs, and as for who started the New Mexican fireswho knows?

My question is who benefits? 

What forces or concerns are going to benefit from these arsons and why? That is not to say every single fire is set; however, the problem, reaction, solution method of control calls for it.

Europe has sweltered through an unusually hot and dry summer, breaking temperature records and fueling significant fires in several countries, including Sweden and Britain.

You know what is the culprit.

In Greece, blazes have consumed entire towns, locals said, and officials warned that the death toll would rise as emergency workers cleared burned homes and cars, in which some evacuees had become trapped.

On social media, people posted pleas for information about missing family members, offers of accommodation for people forced out of their homes, and appeals for blood donations.

Nikos Economopoulos, president of the Hellenic Red Cross, said 26 of the dead had been found in a field near Mati, north of Rafina. Some were locked in an embrace, he told Greek state television.

“Mati doesn’t even exist as a settlement anymore,” a resident told Skai TV. “I saw corpses, burned-out cars. I feel lucky to be alive.”

Many people fled ahead of the flames into central Rafina, while rescue boats and ferries returning from the islands put passengers ashore there, leading to crowding along the waterfront. The intense wind, heat, and flying ash made conditions miserable, but for a while, at least, the people packed into the area had nowhere else to go.

Among them were the Stavrindis family, who returned to their home Tuesday morning and found it intact, the fire having come within about 100 yards of it.

Roads into Athens were choked by residents trying to flee, hampering rescuers’ efforts to reach the fires. Penned in by the flames, some looked to the sea to escape, hitching rides on passing fishing boats, putting to sea on anything that would float, or just diving in.

The coast guard said it had recovered the bodies of at least four evacuees.

Twelve coast guard vessels, aided by about 30 private boats, rescued 710 people trapped in Mati and nearby Kokkino Limanaki and pulled dozens of others from the sea, according to the deputy shipping minister, Nektarios Santorinios.

Greek television channels aired the dramatic escape tales of survivors. The former leader of the country’s Communist Party, Aleka Papariga, who was vacationing in Mati, said she had got out “just in time.” She said that the field where the blaze broke out was flanked by rocks and a precipice, limiting the avenues for escape.

On Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras cut short an official visit to Bosnia because of the fires, and Tuesday he announced three days of national mourning for the victims.

“It’s a difficult night for Greece,” Tsipras said. “We are dealing with something completely asymmetric.” Wildfires are an annual occurrence in Greece, but a drought and a recent heat wave, with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, have helped make this the country’s deadliest fire season in more than a decade.....

And his government was already on shaky ground.


"As Greek wildfire closed in, a desperate dash ended in death" by Jason Horowitz   July 25, 2018

MATI, Greece — Greece, a country that understands tragedy all too well, woke Tuesday morning to its worst one in a decade. In addition to those killed by smoke or fire, or who drowned in the sea while trying to flee, 187 people were hospitalized, more than 20 of them children. Ten people remained in serious condition, the government said Tuesday night.

The fires forced the evacuation of thousands of tourists, as well as residents and retirees, from this vacation area about 20 miles east of Athens. Flames were still licking at the fields of Kineta, about 30 miles west.

“We will do whatever is humanly possible to control it,” Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said in a televised statement on Tuesday as he announced a state of emergency in the Attica region, which includes Athens.

The government, which has declared three days of mourning, dispatched forces from the army, coast guard and fire brigades. It has also called in help from the European Union to quell the fires.

How many refugees you willing to settle?

“We mustn’t let mourning overwhelm us, because these hours are hours of battle, unity, courage and above all solidarity,” Tsipras said.

The acrid smell, wafts of smoke and pools of incinerated garbage lent this seaside community an apocalyptic air on Tuesday. The streets were slicked black and police lights reflected off the broken windows as tow truck operators raised and lowered the ashen remains of burned cars onto flatbed trucks.

Elena Apostolov, a pet store owner, walked around with an empty pet carrier. “We’ve found nothing,” she said.

Danae Koliou, 23, sidestepped dead bodies in the morning and picked up an abandoned cellphone with 48 missed calls.

Firefighters wore gas masks and rescue workers collected bags of crackers, Argos orange juice, bread, and Choco Balls cereal for the hungry survivors, many of whom had lost everything.

“Everything is bad,” said George Roumeliotis, the president of the local civil protection task force. He paused to yell over to colleagues in orange shirts to start bringing food to other sites. “We have dead,” he said, “we have people looking for their friends and their family.”

The seemingly arbitrary blowing of the winds left some houses and bougainvillea bushes relatively untouched by fire and others reduced to nothing but cinders. One family hovered on a relatively untouched balcony near the sea. A few feet away, there was nothing left.

Residents said the flames had come fast.

The sea, too, took its toll. Some residents swam to safety, only to see their neighbors drown. Others treaded water for hours, their eyes burning from smoke, until fisherman pulled them aboard.

The death toll, Greece’s worst since wildfires killed 60 people in the country’s Peloponnese region in 2007, seemed likely to grow as the authorities began the grim task of inspecting the torched cars and wrecked homes in which some evacuees sought escape or refuge, only to find themselves trapped.....


The fires must be out now because the Globe hasn't covered them since, although the burn wards are starting to fill up.

Sunday Updates: 

"Heavy rain fell on parts of Japan and airlines canceled flights Saturday as an approaching typhoon threatened to dump more rain on a region devastated by floods and landslides earlier this month. Typhoon Jongdari was heading west along Japan’s Pacific coast and was expected to make landfall in central Japan by Sunday. It had maximum sustained winds of 78 miles per hour with gusts up to 112 (AP)."

"Cambodians voting in Sunday’s general election will have a nominal choice of 20 parties, but only two serious options: extend Prime Minister Hun Sen’s 33 years in power, or stay home. Any credible opposition was eliminated in November, when the Supreme Court declared the Cambodian National Rescue Party complicit in trying to overthrow the government. The leaders of the now defunct opposition party have called for a boycott of the vote (AP)."

Also see:

Death toll from Greek wildfire reaches 91 as village grieves

With opposition silenced, Cambodia’s Hun Sen coasts to win

Raging California blaze claims 6th victim

Does make you wonder how jet fuels fires melted steel skyscrapers, doesn't it?

Search on for 13-year-old Boy Scout in Wyoming mountains

"Polish rescue workers on Sunday found the bodies of two miners after an earthquake hit a coal mine in southern Poland in the town of Jastrzebie-Zdroj, close to Poland’s border with the Czech Republic....."

Heavy rain causes flooding, sweeps away vehicles in Turkey

They still won't bend.

"In Kenya, at least 80 people have been killed and 244,000 people displaced from their homes by the heavy rains since March, according to the U.N. humanitarian agency....."

"Turtle Hospital officials said that releasing the reptile over Mother’s Day weekend was especially meaningful because they are confident the turtle will lay eggs after reaching maturity. Turtles also face a threat from the plastic pollution, according to a new study from Florida State University researchers. The study found that seed-sized microplastics in sand may be heating up beaches and changing the balance of male and female sea turtles....."