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Issue Home August 11, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Another Bail Out

Guess what? Nancy Pelosi is going to recall the House of Representatives from their summer recess in order to vote (and pass, of course) a $28 billion bailout of many state Medicaid programs and teacher and municipal employees. The states are awash in red ink to the point of insolvency and the teachers and municipal employees face layoffs. Golly, wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of us could avoid being unemployed by the simple measure of voting to dun our grandchildren for another bailout? So what’s another $28 billion here or there? We borrow 41% of what we (the US) spend, leaving that amount to our prodigy to deal with. I’m saying again - how can we justify this behavior?

We are in the clutches of our collective decision of November 2008. We are in the hands of the Progressives, they having co-opted the Democratic Party. I believe that I have already told you that I have left the Republican Party and am now an Independent. The Republicans are presently Progressive Light (see: Sen. Lindsey Graham) as they attempt to out pander the Dems. It has served to make them irrelevant. My hope is that the principals of the Tea Party can be imbued into the Republican Party wherein they can be relied upon to respect and nurture the principles of our Founders. If you don’t know what that entails, read an original version of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution (I told you where to get a copy for a couple of dollars in a letter some months ago). The Progressives mean to change our government into Socialism, to the extent that they haven’t already succeeded. You are learning quickly what they mean - ignore the stupid people, cram their agenda down your throat, redistribute your wealth, control every breath you take and make you more and more dependent upon the government. This latest bailout is nothing more than using your money to buy themselves more votes and continuance in office.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA

A No-Breathing Zone

Thousands are sick and dying along the Gulf coast. Hospitals in the five-state region are crammed with people complaining of flu-like symptoms: dizziness, nausea, nosebleeds, vomiting, headaches, and difficulty breathing. However, blood tests reveal that the symptoms are only masquerading as a respiratory infection. The actual causes of the maladies are petroleum-based poisons.

No, it's not the Gulf coast today, it's tomorrow; like skipping all the chapters in a book and jumping ahead to the last chapter to see how it will end. That last chapter, and maybe the Gulf's future, is a replay of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska - only 20 times bigger.

“Almost all the cleanup workers are dead,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of the R.F.K. Center for Justice and Human Rights. She continued, “The average age of death [of the cleanup workers] was 51.” Unfortunately, Kennedy did not cite documentation for her claim. But it is beyond dispute that thousands were sickened by contact with Exxon crude or by breathing its vapors.

Merle Savage was one of those cleanup workers. Her book, Silence in the Sound, details her experiences. “After working for three days on the oily beaches, I developed bronchitis, headaches, sore throat, upset stomach, and fatigue.” Savage was subsequently bedridden.

“Of the workers that I supervised, 80 percent had the same medical problems,” she wrote.

Twenty-one years later her health has improved, but “everything is not back to normal. It's still difficult to breathe.”

Neither is the Sound “back to normal.” Despite prodigious restoration efforts, “less than 10 percent of the oil was recovered,” according to Wikipedia. Crude dissipates at a rate of 4 percent a year. Today, after two decades, 4 million gallons of the original 10.8 million gallons remain on the seafloor and under and on the beaches.

Dr. Riki Ott, a marine biologist and toxicologist, is seeing the same symptoms in the Gulf as she saw in the infamous Exxon spill. Ott claims that in the Alaskan spill, 6,722 workers experienced chemically induced poisoning (view youtube.com/oil Gulf air unsafe).

If that is what occurred in the Exxon spill after three years, what can the future hold for a workforce four times bigger in the BP spill after a similar three-year period?

From late April to mid-July - less than 60 days - BP reported 1,328 workers sought help from its medical facilities for job related illnesses and injuries. This number does not include private visits to hospitals, clinics, and physicians. These figures have yet to be compiled.

Crude oil and the dispersant Corexit 9500, used in both the Sound and the Gulf, are both extremely toxic. The EPA advises all workers who may come in contact with these substances to wear a half-face filter mask or an air-supplied breathing apparatus, PVC gloves, coverall, boots, and chemical splash goggles. And, if possible, to avoid coming into contact with these chemicals.

But for many of the unemployed, avoidance is not possible. BP is a green card for a paycheck, but it comes with a price. Thus far 20 percent of offshore cleanup workers and 15 percent of near-shore cleanup workers have twice the allowable limit of Corexit in their blood as specified by the CDC.

“People [were] getting sick all the time. [T]hey were medevacing people left and right,” said Jarred Bourgeois who ferried workers in and out of the spill area.

Planes flying in the Gulf area become coated with an oily slick. The fouled air is carried far afield by wind currents. Residents as much as 300 miles inland complain of rain burning their skin, unexplained rashes and blisters, a nauseating odor in the air, and the signature problem, breathing difficulty (view youtube.com/breathing toxic oil vapors).

If, in the coming weeks (months?), BP is successful in permanently sealing the well, the coastal residents will hail it as the beginning of the end. But if Prince William Sound is the shadow of the Gulf's future, it may not signal the beginning of the end, but the beginning of the beginning.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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