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  1. #46

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Good grief, craig. You're just a big ol' bad news buffet!
    Yes. Don't eat all your food from the same station.


  2. #47
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Unfrippinbelievable. Kirkus, I'm sorry for posting the entire article. It's long. But there's simply nothing cuttable here. And the most disturbiing stuff appears several graphs into the piece.

    *****

    PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A highly decorated Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth died a painful death in Iraq this year. He died not on the battlefield. He died in what should have been one of the safest spots in Iraq: on a U.S. base, in his bathroom.
    Ryan Maseth, a 24-year-old Green Beret, died in his shower January 2.








    The water pump was not properly grounded, and when he turned on the shower, a jolt of electricity shot through his body and electrocuted him January 2.
    The next day, Cheryl Harris was informed of his death. A mother of three sons serving in Iraq, she had feared such news might come one day.
    "I did ask exactly, 'How did Ryan die? What happened to him?' And he had told me that Ryan was electrocuted," she said.
    Her reaction was disbelief. "I truly couldn't believe he would be electrocuted ... in the shower," she said.
    Maseth, 24, was not the first. At least 12 U.S. troops have been electrocuted in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, according to military and government officials.
    In fact, the Army issued a bulletin in 2004 warning that electrocution was "growing at an alarming rate." It said five soldiers died that year by electrocution, with improper grounding the likely culprit in each case.
    The Army bulletin detailed one soldier's death in a shower -- eerily similar to Maseth's case -- that said he was found "lying on a shower room floor with burn marks on his body."
    Maseth's mother says the Army was not immediately forthcoming with details about her son's death.
    At one point, she says, the Army told her he had a small appliance with him in the shower on his base, a former palace complex near the Baghdad airport.
    "It just created so much doubt, and I know Ryan, I know Ryan, I know how he was trained, I know that he would not have been in a shower with a small appliance and electrocuted himself," she said.
    The Army refused to answer CNN's questions about the case, citing pending litigation by Maseth's family.
    Maseth's mother says she pressed the military for answers, eventually uncovering more details about her son's electrocution. The surging current left burn marks across his body, even singeing his hair. Army reports show that he probably suffered a long, painful death.
    Fellow soldiers had to break down the door to help, said Patrick Cavanaugh, an attorney for Maseth's parents.

    "When they kicked down the door, they smelled burning hair, and they rushed over, saw Sgt. Maseth lying there unconscious, and one of the rescuers himself was shocked electrically and sustained a fairly good jolt because the water and the pipes were still electrified," Cavanaugh said.
    Army documents obtained by CNN show that U.S.-paid contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) inspected the building and found serious electrical problems a full 11 months before Maseth was electrocuted.
    KBR noted "several safety issues concerning the improper grounding of electrical devices." But KBR's contract did not cover "fixing potential hazards." It covered repairing items only after they broke down.
    Only after Maseth died did the Army issue an emergency order for KBR to finally fix the electrical problems, and that order was carried out soon thereafter.
    In an internal e-mail obtained by CNN, a Navy captain admits that the Army should have known "the extent of the severity of the electrical problems." The e-mail then says the reason the Army did not know was because KBR's inspections were never reviewed by a "qualified government employee."
    Larraine McGee is the mother of Sgt. Christopher Everett, another soldier electrocuted in Iraq.
    "The impression I got was that this was the first time that it had happened," McGee said.
    Her son was cleaning a Humvee on his Iraqi base with a power washer that was not properly grounded in 2005.
    "I thought Chris was the first and that because of that, they were going to correct the problem, and it wasn't going to happen again," she said.
    When she learned of Maseth's electrocution, she was stunned.
    "It makes me very angry, because there is no reason for this to be going on," said McGee.
    The electrocution of soldiers is prompting anger in Washington.
    "How did this happen?" asked Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
    Waxman has called for an investigation. "Why wasn't it corrected when we had the first signs that people were dying from electrocutions?"
    In a statement to CNN, the U.S. Department of Defense said it "considers this to be a serious issue and has referred it to the DoD Inspector General's office for action."
    The Defense Department said that there are nearly 40,000 structures and housing units in the Iraqi theater and that "we believe there was adequate oversight of the KBR contractors."
    "In the past 12 months, KBR performed over 2 million service or work order repairs across the theater," the Defense Department said.
    It went on to say that the Pentagon has "no information" that personnel with Defense Contract Management Agency, which handles the KBR contract, was aware of the 2004 Army bulletin or that they "failed to take appropriate action in response to unsafe conditions brought to our attention."
    The Defense Department inspector general's office said it could not comment on the new investigation at this time.
    KBR declined a CNN interview, but in an e-mail the company said it found "no evidence of a link between the work it has been tasked to perform and the reported electrocutions."
    The Defense Contract Management Agency declined to be interviewed, citing the Defense Department investigation.
    Harris says she will continue to fight to make sure other soldiers don't die similar deaths.
    "I'm not going to sit around quietly," she said. "I want the answers surrounding Ryan's death -- the accountability. And even further, I want to make sure that our troops are taken care of that are left on the ground ... [so] they don't have to wake up and worry about taking a shower and electrocution."

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/28/sol...ons/index.html

  3. #48

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Unbelievable. Not that needed any more proof contractors did as they pleased in Iraq.
    Picasso: Guernica

  4. #49

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Kerry and Specter push for more high-speed rail

    There's been a lot of talk in Washington and the media lately that one way for the federal government to give the economy a boost would be to start making massive investments in the nation's infrastructure. Such spending would both create jobs in the short term and give the U.S. the kind of infrastructure to build its economy around in the future.

    In that vein, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would allow bonds to be issued to raise more than $23 billion for high-speed rail projects around the country. Some of that money -- it's not clear exactly how much -- could be used on the proposal to build a high-speed rail line in California. Here's a link to a story about the bill in the Boston Globe.

    That is interesting, of course, since voters here earlier this month approved Proposition 1A, which allows the state to issue $9.95 billion in bonds to plan and construct a high-speed rail line. It's not nearly enough to finish the proposed line from Anaheim to San Francisco -- the California High Speed Rail Authority said recently the cost will be $33 billion; critics say it will be much more.

    Still, the federal bill is worth watching. If it passes, it would arguably be a boost for passenger rail along some Amtrak corridors after decades of the nation making heavy investments in the nation's airports and highways.

    The press release from Kerry's office is after the jump.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/bott...and-spect.html


  5. #50

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    High speed rail is a good thing, but it would pointless to build it in California. What would you do in LA or San Diego without a car?

    Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington is probably the most useful place to build it.
    Roger forever

  6. #51
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    High speed rail is a good thing, but it would pointless to build it in California. What would you do in LA or San Diego without a car?

    Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington is probably the most useful place to build it.
    That's what the Acela is


  7. #52

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmm8 View Post
    That's what the Acela is
    Acela is nice (I've used it once), but it's way too slow (between Philly and New York at least)...
    Roger forever

  8. #53
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Trains of any kind scare the crap outta me.

  9. #54

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Trains of any kind scare the crap outta me.
    When was the last time you used one? Subway in New York?


    I love trains...
    Roger forever

  10. #55
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Acela is nice (I've used it once), but it's way too slow (between Philly and New York at least)...
    It's called "high-speed," though.

    Specter and Kerry wouldn't propose a plan for Cali if there were opportunities on the East Coast.

    And if Acela were to be made faster, it wouldn't create jobs, you'd just need to buy better trains (I don't know where they're made, but the trains are currently based on French TGV trains).


  11. #56
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Trains of any kind scare the crap outta me.
    Why? Trains are awesome!


  12. #57
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    When was the last time you used one? Subway in New York?


    I love trains...
    Yes. I can handle anything above ground that doesn't go TOO fast. But anything underground gives me the heebiejeebies... I start thinking about all those movies I've seen when people are trapped underground, and sometimes there's lava involved, or flesh-eating monsters, or an asteroid crashing into the Atlantic... That kind of thing.

    It's strange because when I fly, snakes never cross my mind, or crashing, or anything.

    I just really hate trains.

  13. #58

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmm8 View Post
    It's called "high-speed," though.

    Specter and Kerry wouldn't propose a plan for Cali if there were opportunities on the East Coast.

    And if Acela were to be made faster, it wouldn't create any jobs, you just need to buy better trains (I don't know where they're made, but the trains are currently based on French TGV trains).
    Why is that?

    Trains are all right. They are capable of going much faster, problem is with obsolete tracks and signaling systems...

    Compared to other trains in US it might be "high-speed", but compared to French TGV or German ICE it's still a snail. High speed rail makes sense only if it can beat a car by a lot and be almost the same as airplane for short travel (New York-Washington, for example).
    Roger forever

  14. #59
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    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Why is that?

    Trains are all right. They are capable of going much faster, problem is with obsolete tracks and signaling systems...

    Compared to other trains in US it might be "high-speed", but compared to French TGV or German ICE it's still a snail. High speed rail makes sense only if it can beat a car by a lot and be almost the same as airplane for short travel (New York-Washington, for example).
    Because the tracks are already there.

    (I meant it won't create the substantial amount of jobs that they're looking for)


  15. #60

    Re: National, Regional and Local News

    They should build a bridge from L.A. to Hawaii!

    And a monorail covering every inch of Omaha!

    And a huge seawall to protect Manhattan from rising ocean levels!
    It's hard out here for a Zuz.

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