Melania Trump Club

Melania Trump Club
Melania Trump Club

Friday, May 27, 2011

Clinton exonerates Pakistan over Osama Bin Laden

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to smooth frayed ties with Pakistan during tense meetings in Islamabad Friday, nearly a month after the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistani territory.
Mrs. Clinton was joined in Islamabad by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two were the most senior American officials to visit Pakistan since the May 2 raid, which was launched without Pakistan's knowledge and was widely viewed in the country as a violation of its sovereignty. The dispatching of such a high-level duo to Islamabad signaled the importance placed by Washington on repairing the relationship and getting Islamabad to act more aggressively against Islamist militant groups that the U.S. wants to see taken on, not just extremists who are attacking Pakistan.

Mrs Clinton said that the US had "absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest level of the Pakistani government" knew where Bin Laden was and said she would return to Washington "ever more committed" to the relationship.

This was an especially important visit because we have reached a turning point. Osama Bin Laden is dead but al-Qaeda and his syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both," she said.

There is a momentum toward political reconciliation in Afghanistan but the insurgency continues to operate from safe havens here in Pakistan," she added, saying she believed that Pakistan and the US had the same goals.

It is the first such high-level visit to Pakistan since the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden on 2 May.

The American special forces raid on Bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad prompted protests from Islamabad.

Mrs Clinton was accompanied on her visit by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

The pair held meetings with senior Pakistani politicians and army officers to plead for greater co-operation in the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Mrs Clinton denied that the meetings, held under tight security, were tense and said she had heard Pakistan commit to "some very specific action" against militants for which the country "deserved more credit.
We want to see the OBL [Osama bin Laden] affair turned into an opportunity for closer cooperation," said a U.S. official briefed on Mrs. Clinton's trip. "It looks like we're headed in the right direction."

Messrs. Grossman and Morrel specifically asked that U.S. personnel be allowed to visit the compound where bin Laden lived, according to American officials -- something that Islamabad has approved. CIA forensics specialists were scheduled to begin work on Friday. And the U.S. has asked for Pakistan to act more aggressively against al Qaeda members believed to be still operating inside Pakistan and to cut off the flow of Taliban forces and arms flowing into Afghanistan.

The U.S. has also raised with Pakistan in recent weeks the case of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban's No. 2 commander, who was captured in Karachi in early 2010. Washington wants access to Mr. Baradar and is asking Pakistan to transfer the militant into Afghan custody. U.S. officials said they have received encouraging signals from Pakistan on Mr. Baradar's case.

"There are a broad set of things that are important to us and that are doable on the terrorism front," said the U.S. official. "With progress on a few of them, we will see that, post-bin Laden, we are boosting real cooperation."

Mrs. Clinton expected to seek assurances from Gen. Kayani and Gen. Pasha that they would intensify counter-terrorism cooperation with the U.S., said American officials.

Mrs. Clinton's arrival in Islamabad marks her third visit to Pakistan since becoming secretary of State. She has sought to strengthen Pakistan's civilian government and deepen ties to the South Asian country's media and civil society. The U.S. government in 2009 approved a multi-billion aid package to Pakistan aimed at strengthening its economy and democratic institutions.

Patriot Act surveillance provisions extended in nick of time

Because extending certain provisions of the Patriot Act before they expired at midnight last night was deemed so essential to national security, the extension legislation was, of course, left until the last minutes, thanks to the political paragons of Congress.
Republicans wanted a permanent extension. Democrats didn't.
They settled on June 1, 2015.
After a feud about guns, the four-year Patriot Act Sunset Extensions of 2011 passed in the Senate Thursday 72-23.
Then, with barely 300 minutes to spare, the House passed the same measure, 250-153. Our colleague Lisa Mascaro carefully chronicles some of the bill's provisions, what all the government spooks can peek into now still with secret federal court approval.
Barack Obama, who is in Europe, signed it into law shortly before the provisions were set to expire at midnight. A White House aide said he used an "auto pen", which replicates his signature.

Obama acted shortly after the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate approved the bill overwhelmingly. It passed the House, 250-153, hours after it cleared the Senate, 72-23.

Democrats and some Republicans favoured more protections of civil liberties in the legislation. But congressional leaders, facing the midnight deadline and possibly short on votes, agreed to a four-year, unaltered extension of the provisions to track suspected terrorists.

The provisions empower law enforcement officials to get court approval to obtain "roving wiretaps" on suspected foreign agents with multiple modes of communications, track non-US nationals suspected of terrorism, and obtain certain business and even library records.

"Although the Patriot Act is not a perfect law, it provides our intelligence and law enforcement communities with crucial tools to keep America safe," said the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid.

"The raid that killed Osama bin Laden also yielded an enormous amount of new information that has spurred dozens of investigations yielding new leads every day.

"Without the Patriot Act, investigators would not have the tools they need to follow these new leads and disrupt terrorist plots.
According to aides, Obama had to be awakened early Friday, which was after the deadline by French beach resort time.

The commander-in-chief reportedly reviewed the provisions carefully and ordered his signature affixed to said bill.

Wait! What? The president of the United States didn't actually sign it himself??
Remember, back in 2009 when Obama was so excited about the economic stimulus bill that didn't really work as well as Joe Biden promised everybody? And so Obama flew Air Force One out to Denver with the legislation to personally sign it there, for some reason?

Well, here's one of the dirty not-so-little secrets of American politics. Yes, the....

...Declaration of Independence was actually signed in person by everyone using a feather. Perhaps 200 copies were printed that night and only 26 are known to survive. We'll leave it to Nicolas Cage to find the original original.
The modern truth, however, is that a very large number of the very large number of presidential signatures that leave any White House on photos, letters, mementoes, books, are actually fake. False. As phony as a Donald Trump presidential candidacy.

Their proposed changes cleared Leahy's committee, but neither man was able to bring them up for a full Senate vote.

Leahy said: "The extension of the Patriot Act provisions does not include a single improvement or reform, and includes not even a word that recognises the importance of protecting the civil liberties and constitutional privacy rights of Americans."

But the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said: "The invaluable terror-fighting tools under the Patriot Act have kept us safe for nearly a decade, and Americans today should be relieved and reassured to know that these programs will continue."

The Senate had been tied up in procedural knots over the measure for days. It moved after pressure from the director of FBI, Robert Mueller, and the national intelligence chief, James Clapper, who wrote to congressional leaders, saying that renewal of the provisions was vital to national security.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oprah Winfrey Farewell Spectacular: What we learned from part one

Oprah Winfrey farewell gifts include school libraries, oak trees - May 23, 2011 -- During the "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular" Part 1 show broadcast on The Oprah Winfrey Show Monday, host Tom Hanks introduced journalist Diane Sawyer. Ms. Sawyer gave Oprah Winfrey two of the show's farewell gifts to her school libraries and oak trees.

The gifts are in honor of Oprah Winfrey's Oprah Book Club which increased sales of books and an interest in reading among television viewers who may have not embraced reading for pleasure before. Most of those books in Oprah's Book Club were for adult readers; however, Ms. Winfrey has invested in education for youth by starting a school in Africa and providing a platform on her show for educators and others to discuss the state of education in the United States today. She has also encouraged fundraising for education, books, scholarships, and related needs.

Who is the one living woman Madonna admires, according to her comments during part one of the Oprah Winfrey Farewell Spectacular?

Oprah, obviously. So tough luck to you, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Madonna BFF Gwyneth Paltrow, and the adult women that Madonna’s daughters, Lourdes and Mercy James, will eventually grow up to become.

Who runs the world, according to Beyonce?

Girls, of course! Also, based on Beyonce’s backup dancers, sexy female attorneys, the kind who wear Ally McBeal miniskirts while wearing intellectual glasses.

Oprah Winfrey Show, Target is building or rebuilding 25 school libraries around the country and supplying them with books and supplies. In front of each of those libraries will be an oak tree, the "Oprah tree," reminiscent of the oak tree Ms. Winfrey has said she sat in to read when she was young.

Not only that, but Diane Sawyer announced that there will be 25,000 oak trees planted across the United States in Ms. Winfrey's honor, 1000 for each season of the show.

The Oprah Winfrey Show will end its 25th and final season on Wednesday.

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci (born February 12, 1980) is an American actress. Ricci received initial recognition and praise as a child star for her performance as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993), and her role as Kat Harvey in Casper (1995). Ricci made a transition into more adult-oriented roles with The Ice Storm (1997), followed by an acclaimed performance in The Opposite of Sex (1998), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. She continued her success with well-received performances in Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Monster (2003).
Ricci has appeared in the films Black Snake Moan (2007), Penelope (2008), Speed Racer (2008), New York, I Love You (2009) and After.Life (2009) opposite Liam Neeson.

Adult roles
Ricci subsequently appeared in films like the independent hit Buffalo '66 (in which she played Vincent Gallo's unwitting abductee-turned-girlfriend), John Waters' Pecker, and Don Roos' The Opposite of Sex (as the acid-tongued, manipulative Dede). For her performance as Dede, Ricci won acclaim and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Although she missed out on an Academy Award nomination, Entertainment Weekly honored her well-received performance as one of the "Worst Oscar Snubs Ever.
Later films included Sleepy Hollow (alongside Johnny Depp), and Prozac Nation (which featured her first on-screen nude scene.) She starred opposite Charlize Theron in the film Monster. During Theron's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, she acknowledged Ricci, calling her the "unsung hero" of the film. Ricci had to turn down the role of Ronna in Go because of scheduling conflicts. Ricci was turned down four times for the role of Dolores Haze in Lolita. Ricci was originally slated to play the lead in Ghost World (2001), but by the time it was filmed she was too old for the part and had moved on to other projects. Ricci also turned down a role in Loser. Ricci made a cameo appearance on Beck's successful album Guero, providing vocals on "Hell Yes.

Personal life
Ricci owns her own production company, Blaspheme Films, responsible for Prozac Nation and Pumpkin. She is on the national board of VOX-Voices for Planned Parenthood. She will also be appearing in national ads for emergency contraception. She supported John Kerry's presidential bid in 2004.
After making the top of PETA's worst-dressed list and receiving a letter from the animal rights group, Ricci decided to give up wearing fur.
In 2004, Ricci appeared as the first model in the Spring/Summer 2005 Louis Vuitton show, and also appeared in advertisements for the popular French fashion house that year.
In April 2007, Ricci became the national spokesperson for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network for the United States,[citation needed] which assists victims of these crimes and promotes programs that help prevent them from occurring. She cited some of her research in Black Snake Moan role as educational on the importance of the issues that RAINN deals with.
Ricci has many tattoos: a lion on her right shoulder blade (a reference to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a favorite novel of hers as a child), a fairy on the inside of her right wrist, praying hands on her left hip (this tattoo was originally a bat), the name "Jack" on her right thigh for a dead pet, a sparrow on her right breast, and a mermaid on her left ankle. She also had the words "Move or Bleed" on the left side of her ribcage as well as a bouquet of sweet pea on her lower back.
She was briefly engaged to fellow actor Owen Benjamin.

Early life
Ricci was born in Santa Monica, California, the fourth and youngest child of Sarah (née Murdoch), a former Ford Model and real estate agent, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and psychiatrist. Regarding her ancestry, Ricci has stated that "the Italian blood has been bred out of me. There's an Italian four or five generations back who married an Irish woman and they all had sons. So they married more Irish women, there were more sons, and more Irish women. Now I'm basically Scots-Irish.
The family moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where she grew up attending Edgemont Elementary School, Glenfield Middle School, and Montclair High School as well as the Morristown-Beard School. After one year, she left the high school for the Professional Children's School in New York City. Her siblings are Rafael (born 1971), Dante (born 1974), and Pia (born 1976).

Early work
A critic for the Bergen Record discovered Ricci at age eight in a school play (The Twelve Days of Christmas) at Edgemont School in Montclair, New Jersey. The critic's son was originally cast in the role, but Ricci got him to hit her and told on him; he lost the role to her as part of his punishment. After this, she did several commercials starting at the age of six, until she finally got her big screen debut in Mermaids in 1990 as Cher's younger daughter. The young actress made enough of an impression to land more work; later she appeared in the video of the film's soundtrack "The Shoop Shoop Song". The following year, she starred as the morbidly precocious Wednesday Addams in the film adaptation of The Addams Family. The role would help to establish Ricci as an actress known for playing dark, unconventional characters – she went on to play Wednesday again in the film's 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values, which became another box office draw, and more screen time was provided for Ricci's performance as Wednesday.
Her next project, Casper, received mixed critical reviews, but was a major success at the box office, being the year's seventh highest grossing film. After Casper, she starred in Now and Then, a coming-of-age film about four 12-year-old girls and their friendship during the 1970s to the 1990s. Now and Then was another box office success, and received favorable comparisons to Stand by Me, being called "the female version" of the film. She also starred in a handful of other films with teenage roles such as Golddiggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain and That Darn Cat.

Patricia Heaton

Patricia Helen Heaton (born March 4, 1958) is an American actress and model best known for playing Ray Barone's wife Debra Barone on the CBS television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. In 2007, she made a return to sitcom television opposite Kelsey Grammer in the Fox comedy series Back to You, which was canceled in 2008. She currently stars in the ABC comedy series The Middle.

Personal life
Heaton has been married to British actor David Hunt since 1990; it is her second marriage. Her first marriage (1984–1987) ended in divorce. The couple has four sons: Samuel David (b. September 1993); John Basil (b. May 1995); Joseph Charles (b. June 1997); and Daniel Patrick (b. January 20, 1999). They divide their time between Los Angeles and Buckinghamshire, where they own a house, as well as a house in her hometown of Bay Village. Her memoir, Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine, was published by Villard Books in 2002. Although she and her family attend a Presbyterian Church, Heaton says she is still a Catholic.

Heaton's television movies include Shattered Dreams (1990), Front of the Class (2008)], Miracle in the Woods (1997), A Town Without Christmas (2001), as well as the remake of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl (2004) with Jeff Daniels, and The Engagement Ring (2005), both for TNT.
Heaton also played former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, in the 2006 ABC docudrama The Path to 9/11. Her feature films include Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Beethoven (1992), The New Age (1994), and Space Jam (1996).
Heaton was the producer for the 2005 documentary The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania, which was directed by her husband. She was also one of the producers of the William Wilberforce drama Amazing Grace (2006).

When Stage Three brought one of their productions to Los Angeles, Heaton caught the eye of a casting director for the ABC drama Thirtysomething. She was cast as an oncologist, leading to six appearances on the series from 1989-1991. Other TV guest appearances include: Alien Nation (1989), Matlock (1990), Party of Five (1996), The King of Queens (1999), and Danny Phantom (2004).
Heaton was featured in three short-lived sitcoms — Room for Two (1992) with Linda Lavin, Someone Like Me (1994), and Women of the House (1995) with Delta Burke and Terri Garr — before landing her signature role of beleaguered wife, mother, and in-law Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005) with Ray Romano, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle, Brad Garrett, and Monica Horan. She was nominated in each of the series' last seven seasons for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy, winning the award twice. She has also collected two Viewers for Quality Television awards and a Screen Actors Guild trophy for her work on the series.
Starting September 2007, Heaton began to co-star with Kelsey Grammer in Back to You, a new situation comedy on Fox. The show was canceled in May 2008.
Heaton appeared on the season 7 premiere of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition where she helped build a home for a firefighter and his family. More recently, she has been seen in the ABC comedy The Middle. She starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Front of the Class, based on the real story of a mother, Ellen Cohen, dealing with a son, Brad Cohen, who has Tourette Syndrome, in 2008.

Early life
Patricia Heaton was born in Bay Village, Ohio, the daughter of Pat and Chuck Heaton, who was a well-known Plain Dealer sportswriter. She was raised as a devout Roman Catholic.
Heaton has three sisters, Sharon, Alice, and Frances, and one brother, Michael, who is the "Minister of Culture" columnist for the Plain Dealer and a writer for the paper's Friday Magazine.

While attending the Ohio State University, she became a sister of Delta Gamma Sorority. She later graduated with a B.A. in drama. In 1980, Heaton moved to New York City to study with drama teacher William Esper.

Heaton made her first Broadway appearance in the chorus of Don't Get God Started (1987), after which she and fellow students created Stage Three, an Off-Broadway acting troupe.
In January 2007, Heaton returned to the stage to co-star with Tony Shalhoub in the Off-Broadway play The Scene at Second Stage Theater in New York City. For this performance, Heaton was nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress category for the 22nd Lucille Lortel Awards

Casey Anthony trial: Caylee Marie drowned in family swimming pool, defense says

It's been a day of bombshells during opening statements in Casey Anthony's first-degree murder trial.
First, the prosecution said, for the first time, that duct tape was the murder weapon Casey Anthony used to kill her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie, in the summer of 2008.
Then, it was the defense's turn, and right out of the gate, a revelation:
Caylee was never missing.
On June 16, 2008, she drowned in the family swimming pool on Hopespring Drive, according to defense attorney Jose Baez.
"For a horrible tragedy, a common tragedy, are we all here today," Baez said.
And then the most salacious bombshell: Starting at age eight, Casey's father, George Anthony, "came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately," Baez said.
"These ugly secrets will come out at this trial. And you'll see what makes Casey Anthony act the way she does."
While the prosecution used its opening to outline the lies Casey Anthony told for the 31 days her daughter was missing – and beyond — the defense couched this case as a horrible accident.
"This is not a murder case. This is sad, tragic accident."
Baez, during his opening, continued to verbally nail George Anthony, calling him an abuser who instilled a "dark place" of denial in his daughter with sexual abuse that she was able to access even after her own child was dead.
Defense attorney Jose Baez said Anthony never reported Caylee missing because she was never missing.

"We're not here to talk about how inappropriate Casey acted," Baez said. "We're here to find out exactly how Caylee died. That's the key issue throughout this entire case," reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

Baez said it is not a case of murder or child abuse. He went on to describe alleged sexual abuse Casey Anthony had sustained from her father George Anthony, according to the station.

At the beginning of his statement, Baez also promised to tell jurors exactly what happened, saying it will have a lot to do with the meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's remains, whom he identified as Roy Kronk, reports WKMG.

Opening statements began just after 9 a.m. with the prosecution providing a timeline of Anthony's whereabouts from the last time Caylee was seen till the day her remains were found in the woods near their home in December 2008.

The state attorney concluded her opening statement at 11:40 a.m. stating the Caylee was not kidnapped as Anthony had claimed before, and instead Anthony is guilty of first-degree murder.

UK officials: British airports to be hit by ash

European air traffic controllers said on Tuesday morning that 252 flights had been cancelled as a volcanic ash cloud covered Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Most airlines have cancelled flights today -- 252 flights," said Brian Flynn, head of operations at the Brussels-based Eurocontrol via Twitter. "Parts of ash cloud to cover Scotland and Northern Ireland today."

The eruption of the Grimsvoetn volcano in Iceland forced US President Barack Obama the previous day to revise travel plans for a state visit to Britain and threatens to affect Barcelona's preparations for Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in London.

Flynn warned that the ash cloud "will continue possibly southwards to France and Spain but hard to say now because (weather) forecasts are not precise for the end of the week."

He said that by the end of the day, the cloud "will cover southern parts of Scandinavia, Denmark and northern parts of Germany possibly." This raised the prospect of a major travel disruption across Europe due to Icelandic volcanic eruption for the second time in little over a year.

Ash from the Grimsvotn volcano already forced President Barack Obama to shorten a visit to Ireland, and has raised fears of a repeat of huge travel disruptions in Europe last year when ash from the Eyjafjalljokull volcano stranded millions of passengers.
Flynn said he did not expect Obama's European tour to be further affected and authorities have said they don't expect the kind of massive grounding of flights that followed last year's eruption. They say procedures have been improved since then and the cloud is currently not expected to move over continental Europe.
Nonetheless, the British Civil Aviation Authority said strong winds over Scotland was making it hard to predict the direction in which the ash would move. British Airways suspended all its flights for Tuesday morning between London and Scotland, while Dutch carrier KLM and Easyjet canceled flights to and from Scotland and northern England at the same time. Three domestic airlines also announced flight disruptions.
The Irish Aviaiton Authority meanwhile ordered all flights from Ireland to Scotland to be suspended.
Budget airline Ryanair said it did not believe there was a need to cancel all flights between Ireland and Scotland, and said it would meet with regulators Tuesday morning to discuss the issue.
Norwegian airport operator Avinor said the ash disrupted traffic to and from Stavanger and Karmoey airports and is expected to spread to southern Norway later. Danish authorities say they have closed the airspace under 6 kilometers (4 miles) in northwestern Denmark. There is no airport in that area, but the ash is causing delays and some cancellations at Copenhagen airport.

States Lottery Missouri

Painter wins $1.6 million lottery prize • A painter at Boeing has won $1.6 million in the Missouri Lottery. Kenneth Buckner, 56, of University City, used Quick Pick to match all six numbers drawn in the Lotto drawing Saturday. Buckner tells Missouri Lottery officials that he plans to pay off debts and buy a larger home for him and his wife. He bought his winning ticket at a Schnucks in University City at 6920 Olive Boulevard. The winning numbers were: 11, 13, 20, 29, 40 and 42. Holly Koofer-Thompson, a spokeswoman with the Missouri Lottery, said Buckner has a choice to make. He can either get a one-time lump sum payment of $800,000, before taxes; or he can choose to collect his winnings in payments of $64,000 a year (before taxes) for 25 years. Buckner couldn't be reached for comment Friday, but he told lottery officials that he tries to play Missouri Lotto every day. After he saw that he had all six numbers, Buckner said he told his wife, who didn't believe him at first. After she got her glasses for a closer look, she exclaimed, "You did.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY > Tornado damage cleanup continues • St. Louis County on Thursday completed picking up tree limb debris in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Dellwood, Riverview and a small unincorporated area that was hit by a tornado April 22. But cleanups continue in the bigger and harder-hit cities of Berkeley, Bridgeton and Maryland Heights. In Bridgeton, Tom Haun, administrative assistant, did not give a date when that work would finish. Maryland Heights crews continue to clean up in the damaged area, and officials have indicated that the work may continue through July 1. Berkeley seeks volunteers to help Saturday with its cleanup. They would work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and should report to City Hall at 6140 North Hanley Road, where the city would take them to cleanup sites. David Wrone, a spokesman for the public works department, said the county inspected 2,841 storm-damaged dwelling units. Inspectors condemned 263, declared 499 significantly damaged and decided 2,079 had less damage, he said. Municipalities checked on some dwelling units that are not in the county total, Wrone said.

116 dead from Missouri tornado; more twisters possible

Weather forecasters scrambling to fathom the size of the tornado that hit Joplin on Sunday are warning that more violent weather could hit the region later today.
I do have a lot of concern for Tuesday and Wednesday," National Weather Service forecaster John Kurtz said Monday.
There likely will be a break in stormy weather early today as a stubborn low pressure system moves east, he said.
But another low now in the Rockies will combine with a dry line later today in Oklahoma and Kansas to spawn more storms, Kurtz said.
The oncoming storm system is moving slowly, so it likely won't arrive in southwest Missouri until tonight, he said.
What we're really concerned about is late tomorrow, into the evening hours and overnight," Kurtz said.
The system that is expected to move into the region follows the same pattern of storms that produced the EF-4 tornado that hit Joplin, he said.

It appears now the oncoming storm system might not be as intense, Kurtz said.

Thunderstorms could be strong enough to develop some isolated tornadoes, he said. The storms also will produce large hail and damaging winds. Flooding also will be a concern into Wednesday morning.

We hope that there are people alive. We have a number of apartment buildings, complexes that are almost completely flattened. So we anticipate finding more people, and hopefully we'll get there in time to find them alive," Woolston said.
Hale said Tuesday that she still hasn't slept since Sunday afternoon, when she didn't know whether her family across town had survived.
"I was hysterical. There's no words to describe not knowing if my family was alive," she said. "The only things left standing in their house was their bathtub and the toilet."
Her mother and grandparents did survive -- by huddling in the bathtub.
The tornado chewed through a densely populated area of the city, damaging or destroying 2,000 buildings, eliminated a high school and made a direct hit on one of the two hospitals in the city.
Based on preliminary estimates, the twister carried winds between 190 and 198 mph, National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said.
More than 1,000 law enforcement officers from four states descended on Joplin to help with disaster response, said Collin Stosberg, a spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. More than 250 National Guard members were on the scene
Richard Serino, the second-ranking official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said President Barack Obama has issued a disaster declaration -- expediting the dispersal of federal resources to the area -- while vowing that "we are going to be here for the long haul."
The flood of aid from strangers and volunteers has helped ease the misery in Joplin.
"I've seen good-heartedness the past 24 hours like I've never seen in my life," Hale said. "As much help that has poured out from the nation, we need. We need the help."
Woolston, the mayor, pledged not to let the tornado ruin his city.
"This is just not the type of community that's going to let a little F4 tornado kick our a**. So we will rebuild, and we will recover.

For reeling Mo. city, possible 2nd punch looms

JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says there are tales of survival after a devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo. Nixon says authorities found another 10 people alive in the wreckage. That brings the number of rescued to 17. The storm killed at least 116 people and Nixon says he fears the number will grow higher as search and rescue efforts continue.

WASHINGTON  — House Republicans say participants won't see a decrease in services from a bill that proposes cutting $832 million — or 12 percent — from this year's budget for the federal nutrition program. The program provides food for low-income mothers and children. The bill-writers say the cuts are taken from excess dollars in those accounts.

INDIANAPOLIS  — Federal officials are reviewing a new Indiana law that restricts public funding for Planned Parenthood. The development could cost the state some of its Medicaid funding. The U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services says Medicaid doesn't allow states to stop beneficiaries from getting needed health care, such as cancer screenings, because their provider also offers other services.

Killer tornado ripped through the heart of Joplin, a blue-collar southwest Missouri town of 50,000 people, Sunday night, slamming straight into St. John's Regional Medical Center. The hospital confirmed that five of the dead were patients — all of them in critical condition before the tornado hit. A hospital visitor also was killed.
The tornado destroyed possibly "thousands" of homes, Fire Chief Mitch Randles told AP. It leveled hundreds of businesses, including massive ones such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart.
It was the second major tornado disaster in less than a month. In April, a pack of twisters roared across six Southern states, killing more than 300 people, more than two-thirds of them in Alabama.
In Joplin, much of the town's landscape was changed beyond recognition. House after house was reduced to slabs, cars were crushed like soda cans and shaken residents roamed streets in search of missing family members.
The danger was by no means over. Fires from gas leaks burned across town. The smell of ammonia and propane filled the air in some damaged areas. And the forecast looked grim.
The April tornadoes that devastated the South unspooled over a three-day period starting in the Plains. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said a repeat could be setting up, with a possible large tornado outbreak in the Midwest on Tuesday and bad weather potentially reaching the East Coast by Friday.

Tornado warning could be issued for an entire county while the actual twister may cover only a few miles or less, he said. Plus, people often look outside because "they need some kind of confirmation, they want to see it," Brotzge said, adding that people need to take cover underground.

Joplin residents had about a 20 minute warning, though a powerful rainstorm obscured it from some directions and "they wouldn't have seen it coming," he said. Bluestein added that rain makes it easier to detect by radar, but for spotting, "it's very dangerous because you could be out in front of the storm and not aware of it."

The Southerners had as much as a 24-minute warning, but those storms were too powerful and wide to escape. Entire towns were leveled, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Bristol, Va. It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in the U.S. since April 1974.

"The issue we haven't grappled with is how to warn a major urban area," Brotzge said. "We saw that with (Hurricane) Katrina. We saw that with Tuscaloosa. People were warned very well but still had high fatalities."

There is no practical technology to interfere with twisters. Tornadoes have even been known to hit mountains without dissipating, said Thomas W. Schmidlin, a geography professor at Kent State University who studies twisters.

Political Lovers

Dictionary defines scandal as "loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety." Scandal is not the same as controversy, which implies two differing points of view, or unpopularity.
An action that is, or appears to be, illegal very often results in scandal. Conviction for breaking a law is, by definition, a scandal. The finding of a court with jurisdiction is the sole method used to determine a violation of law. Misunderstandings, breaches of ethics, unproven crimes or cover-ups may or may not result in scandals depending on who is bringing the charges, the amount of publicity garnered, and the seriousness....

Read more at Love easy to me

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 St. Louis tornado

2011 St. Louis tornado, also called the Good Friday Tornado, was a storm that struck the St. Louis metropolitan area on April 22, 2011. The tornado, rated EF4 at its strongest point with winds exceeding 165 mph, was the strongest to hit St. Louis County or City since January 1967. In its 22-mile track across the St. Louis metropolitan area, the tornado damaged about 200 homes; left thousands without power; and damaged the main terminal of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, closing it for nearly 24 hours.

Utility effects
More than 54,000 customers of the utility company, Ameren, were left without power after the storm; more than 47,000 in Missouri and about 7,000 in Illinois.
By 5:40am on April 24, 21,667 customers were still without power in Missouri and 131 in Illinois.
On April 24, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported more than 2,700 buildings severely damaged in St. Louis County, including 900 in Bridgeton, 450 in Berkeley and 1,170 in Maryland Heights.
The tornado may also have hit New Melle in St. Charles County, about 30 miles west of the airport.
The tornado killed no one and injured relatively few.

Tornado strikes the airport
The tornado hit the airport, Missouri's largest, about 8:10 p.m. Three aircraft were on the tarmac with passengers aboard. Numerous passengers and other people were in the airport's terminals.
Lambert Airport released surveillance video showing debris swirling inside the airport. It was reported that an aircraft was moved away from its jetway by the storm, with passengers still on-board.One plane from Southwest Airlines was damaged when the wind pushed a conveyor belt used for loading baggage into it. American Airlines said that four of its planes were damaged, two of them significantly. One was buffeted by 80 MPH crosswinds while taxiing in from a landing when the tornado hit and the other has possible damage to its landing gear. The tornado was rated an EF2 storm when it struck the airport.
The airport was closed by the FAA at 08:54 p.m., and reopened at temporarily reduced capacity on April 23. It was expected to be at 70% capacity on April 24.

St. Louis tornadoes

St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area has a history of tornadoes. The third deadliest tornado, and the costliest in United States history, the 1896 St. Louis – East St. Louis tornado, injured one thousand people and caused 255 fatalities in the City of St. Louis and in East St. Louis. The second costliest tornado also occurred in St. Louis in September 1927. More tornado fatalities have occurred in St. Louis than any other city in the United States. Also noteworthy is that destructive tornadoes occurred in winter and autumn, as well as the typical months of spring. Additionally, damaging tornadoes occurred in the morning and late at night, as well as the more common late afternoon to early evening maximum period.
In April 2011, an EF4 tornado on Good Friday caused widespread damage across a 22-mile track in northern St. Louis metropolitan area; including significant damage to Lambert International Airport, causing a complete shutdown for over 24 hours. Prior to that event, a F4 tornado also struck the northern metro, and killed three in January 1967. Another F4 tornado struck the Granite City and Edwardsville, Illinois area in April 1981.

March 8, 1871 St. Louis - East St. Louis - St. Clair County, Illinois F3 9 fatalities, 60 injuries See: 1871 St. Louis tornado
March 29, 1872 7th Street F1 1 possible fatality, 8 injuries
January 12, 1890 St. Louis - Madison County, Illinois F2 4 fatalities, 15 injuries
May 27, 1896 St. Louis - East St. Louis - St. Clair County F4 255 fatalities, 1000 injuries Costliest and third deadliest tornado in U.S. history (see: St. Louis-East St. Louis tornado)
August 19, 1904 St. Louis - Madison County F2 3 fatalities, 10 injuries
September 29, 1927 Webster Groves - St. Louis F4 79 fatalities, 550 injuries 2nd costliest and at least 24th deadliest tornado in U.S. history
September 16, 1958 St. Louis F1 0
February 10, 1959 Ellisville - St. Louis - Madison County F4 21 fatalities, 345 injuries Very similar path to 1871, 1896, 1927 tornadoes; 66th deadliest in U.S. history
May 1, 1983 St. Louis - Madison County F2 3 injuries
March 31, 2007 St. Louis EF0 5 injuries Late-March 2007 tornado outbreak
December 31, 2010 St. Louis EF1 0 2010 New Year's Eve tornado outbreak
April 22, 2011 Riverview, St. Louis EF4 0 fatalities, some injuries 2011 St. Louis tornado 

Joplin, Missouri, tornado: Warnings pale in season of violent twisters

JOPLIN, Missouri. — More than 450 people are combing through the ruins of Joplin neighborhoods today, looking for victims of Sunday’s killer tornado that cut an almost one-mile-wide swath of destruction across the south side of the city.

“Rescue efforts are being effective,” Lynn Onstott, the city’s public information director, said shortly before noon. “We are finding people and helping them as we find them.”

The searchers, which included National Guardsmen, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and volunteers, were working a grid pattern in the tornado-stricken zone, Onstott said.

“We’re trying to identify what homes we’ve already been into in an efficient manner and just go from there,” she said.

The city’s confirmed death count remained at 89, she said, although a higher number is expected to be announced at a 3 p.m. news conference.

More than 1,000 people were injured by the tornado. Hundreds of injured continued to be taken to area hospitals. One of Joplin’s two hospitals, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, was knocked out of commission by the storm and its patients moved to Freeman Hospital West, to a makeshift medical center in Joplin’s Memorial Hall or to other area hospitals.

Onstott said she did not yet have a list of the other hospitals where St. John’s patients were being transferred but was able to confirm that the most critical had been moved to Freeman.

But the tornado warning system – and how it's applied by states and municipalities – may also be playing a role in affecting those attitudes. Smith calls it the "crying wolf" phenomenon. On Sunday, for example, tornado sirens went off in Lawrence, Kan., even though the area was outside the National Weather Service's tornado warning report. About three-fourths of all tornado sirens are false alarms, according to a National Weather Service study.

"It's important that we cut down the false alarm rate," Smith says. "We are inadvertently training people to not react when the sirens go off."

As happened in Joplin on Sunday, forecasters are now able to give people a 20-minute warning of a tornado strike. Researchers believe that the 20-minute mark is the "flattening-out point" for a warning's effectiveness, because longer lead times don't appear to have an appreciable impact on casualty tolls.

Still, a new generation of weather radars – being tested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. – offers the possibility of forecasting a tornado strike perhaps an hour ahead.

Such a breakthrough is already sparking debate about the possibility of ordering limited evacuations ahead of a tornado. Especially in populated areas like the places hit in Alabama and Missouri, such evacuations could probably save lives. But ordering people out of their homes to try to outrun an unpredictable tornado raises a whole array of questions about liability and safety trade-offs.

Medical personnel had to decide on the best places to send hospital patients after the tornado hit. They were in the hospital for all sorts of different conditions before the storm struck.

"We had to determine the best course of action for everyone," Scott said. "We had to get them to facilities that could handle different medical conditions."

Right now, hospital personnel are reporting to the field hospital for work, she said.

"We can redeploy them where they are needed, and we are deploying additional staff as well, including hospital-owned ambulances," said Scott.

Scott also said there are plenty of medical supplies on hand in Springfield, and the entire health system is working together to make sure all the hospitals get what they need quickly.

So far, at least 90 people are reported dead. The number of injured has not yet been reliably estimated.