Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb has responded to claims from his ex-teammate, Shawn Andrews, that he was a locker room bully. McNabb denied ever bullying Andrews.McNabb spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the former offensive lineman’s allegations.“That is ridiculous. I don’t know what comments you expect to get from me, but that is news to me and completely false. For me to bully anybody, that sounds unbelievable,” he said.Earlier in the month, Andrews told an Arkansas magazine that his life was “a living hell” while playing with the Eagles because of McNabb.“He was a big part of it — he was a big part of my issues there,” Andrews said. “Bully is a strong word, but he was degrading to me and spread rumors. It’s bothered me that I haven’t really spoken about it.”Andrews played six seasons with Philadelphia and seven in the NFL. He retired at age 28 after battling injuries and depression. He also made the Pro-Bowl three-times.
The Citizens will host Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, and Pep has spoken of “El Mago’s” skillsOne day before the Manchester City-Shakhtar Donetsk match in the UEFA Champions League, Pep Guardiola has taken his time to praise David Silva.The Spanish midfielder was key to the 2-1 win over German Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, scoring the winning goal.And he has scored twice in the last three UCL matches.Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“[David Silva] was always a problem to play against,” Pep told the press as reported by the club’s own website.“He is one of the most incredible players playing in the pocket, which the space in between players. He moves in those spaces.”“Few players can do it, and he is a master at that. He is enjoying it a lot. The fact he has played for so long in Premier League says everything,” he added.“I love being alongside him every day.”
County opens new crime lab, investigation and evidence building Sasha Foo, Sasha Foo Posted: June 20, 2018 June 20, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSan Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore and County Supervisors marked the formal opening of the county’s new crime lab in Kearny Mesa.The 176,000 square foot facility is part of the county’s main operations campus. Built at a cost of $107 million, the five story structure is state of the art and much bigger than the current crime lab that is housed in an old hospital.The building will be the home of the county crime lab, the Sheriff Department’s Major Crimes division and the property and evidence unit. Gathering these services and resources in one location may enhance the efficiency of investigators who are assigned to cases such as homicide, sexual assault, child and elder abuse. “We can do everything we need to pretty much here in the building,” said San Diego Captain Mike McClain.McClain who heads the Major Crimes Division said the DNA tests used for homicide and sexual assault cases and the chemical tests to detect drugs can be conducted in the same building where detectives are working. “So rather than driving around town to various locations, everything can be done within this facility now,” said McClain. About 15,000 exams are performed at the crime lab each year for cases from 30 law enforcement agencies in San Diego County.Sheriff’s investigators with the Major Crimes division will be the first to move in, possibly as early as next week. Employees from the crime lab will follow in multiple phases, with the property and evidence unit being the last group to move in. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter
Sasha Foo, Posted: December 4, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – With all the new development at Liberty Station, you might not notice the North Chapel. Built in 1942, one year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it was a vestige of the old Naval Training Center and a memorial to the men and women of the “Greatest Generation” who went to war.However, a recent change in the lease has raised fears that the chapel’s historic character could be altered or destroyed. In the last few weeks the McMillan Company, which holds the master lease at Liberty Station, sold the lease for the chapel to a Michigan company called Seligman and Associates.Arlene Paraiso, who is fighting to preserve the chapel’s historic characteristics, said Seligman is using an operator for the property that has moved into other historic sites and ripped everything out. “This company, 828 Venues, they look for historical buildings to revive, and if you look at every single one of them, they’re all gutted to the studs. And when I say gutted, I mean everything is taken out; you see bricks and you see studs and it’s just barren,” Paraiso said.The North Chapel, with its stained glass windows and hand carved wooden pews, is still used for occasional weddings and serves as a regular house of worship for two congregations every Sunday. The church members have been told they won’t be able to use the chapel after December 31.In a statement from the Mayor’s office, press secretary Christina Chadwick said the chapel will be used for a range of events, including but not limited to weddings and religious gatherings. “It will now be up to the operator to work out specific agreements for those interested in using the North Chapel for an event,” Chadwick said.In a letter addressed to the new leaseholder, Mayor Kevin Faulconer wrote that he opposes any plan that affects the historic nature of the North Chapel. “I am writing to confirm my serious concern about any alterations to the chapel’s historically protected characteristics,” the Mayor stated.Two thousand people have signed an online petition to save the old NTC landmark.Several city council members have said they want more information on the new leaseholder’s deal. December 4, 2018 Updated: 5:40 PM Lease change raises fears about future of NTC Chapel Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Sasha Foo
Editor’s note: Ted Bahr, president and publisher of BZ Media, a Long Island, New York-basedsoftware-development industry publisher, gave a keynote at the thirdannual Niche Magazine Conference, an event for small companies, held in Denver this week. Here, taken from Bahr’s keynote, are 12 tips for operating a niche media business:• Keep infrastructure costs low—spend only on products and people, and no excesses.• Check facts and contentions versus “trust.”• Drive sales. If you are not a former salesperson you may feel you have no right. You have the right. Do it.• Go on sales calls. There is a tendency among publishers to sit and preach from the tower. It’s the only way to really know what is happening.• Use drill-down research as an excuse to meet with potential advertisers—become a market resource.• Always know that initiatives start at the top.• Figure out the special numbers—say, the number of spreads—that clue you in to how the business is running.• Get a sounding board/partner, or have outside sources of advice.• Maintain insurance. You owe it to your family.• Have excellent personal credit. It keeps you in business.• Bill early and bill often.• Watch cash flow short term, and long term, as well as the P&L.
WILMINGTON, MA — Here are the obituaries published on Wilmington Apple during the week of June 10, 2018:Lived In Wilmington At Time Of Passing:Grace Welch Bovitz, 94Domenic R. Danieli, Sr., 98Previously Lived In Wilmington:NoneWorked In/Volunteered In/Connected To Wilmington:Mary A. (Barry) Woodworth, 79Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington OBITUARIES (Week of July 14, 2019)In “Obituaries”Wilmington OBITUARIES (Week of August 18, 2019)In “Obituaries”Wilmington OBITUARIES (Week of June 30, 2019)In “Obituaries”
HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) $59 at eBay Best Buy The Cheapskate Tags DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Angela Lang/CNET $60 at Best Buy Read Google Home Hub review 7 Turo Chris Monroe/CNET Sprint Apple iPhone XS Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Sarah Tew/CNET Sarah Tew/CNET Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. $999 Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Tags DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) See at Amazon What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Mobile Tech Industry Mobile Apps Phones Internet Services Comments An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Instagram is letting users simultaneously post the same thing to different accounts they manage. Getty Images Life may have just gotten easier for Instagram users who often post the same photo or video to different accounts. Instagram has reportedly been rolling out a feature that allows users with multiple accounts to post the same content on all of their feeds simultaneously. The feature is available for iOS users only so far, according to TechCrunch, which wrote about the change Wednesday. Some CNET employees have also noticed the new feature in recent days. Instagram didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Users have previously had to post content through different accounts one by one manually or through a third-party app. This streamlines the process for anyone managing multiple accounts, presuming they want to post the same content.Instagram has been developing new features and tools over the past few months. In October, the Facebook-owned photo sharing network brought out a machine-learning tool that detects bullying in photos and captions. In December, a report said Instagram is testing creator accounts for high-profile users. The platform plans to develop tools to give influencers insights about their daily and weekly audience data and follower numbers. Turo: Save $30 on any car rental $155 at Google Express $210 at Best Buy Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express 0 Read the Rylo camera preview See it Share your voice See It Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Instagram,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. $299 at Amazon Sarah Tew/CNET JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Read the AirPods review See It Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays $999 $6 at Tidal $999 Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. See It $999 $520 at HP Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Read DJI Osmo Action preview Share your voice Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. See at Turo Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Boost Mobile Sarah Tew/CNET Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Post a comment Rylo Amazon
Presenting the Union Budget for 2012-2013 in the Lok Sabha Friday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced that service tax rate would be marginally raised from 10 percent to 12 percent.Mukherjee said that the service tax would be raised with consequential changes in rates from services that have individual tax rates in order to maintain a healthy fiscal situation. This is expected to yield additional revenue of Rs 18,600 crore.Meanwhile, the health sector has got major boost in the 2012- 2013 budget since six life-saving drugs have been exempted from excise duty.Pranab has proposed to extend concessional basic customs duty of 5 percent with full exemption from excise duty to six specified life-saving drugs in this year’s budget.He also proposed to reduce basic customs duty on soya protein concentrate and isolated soya protein to 10 percent from the present 30 percent or 15 percent respectively.Basic customs duty and excise duty reduced on iodine from 6 percent to 2.5 percent. In the case of probiotics, the basic customs duty is reduced to 5 percent from 10 percent.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seal is pictured on a gate outside the RBI headquarters in Mumbai, India, February 2, 2016.Reuters fileState-owned lender IDBI Bank on Tuesday evening said that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has initiated a “prompt corrective action” (PCA) in view of its high non-performing assets (NPAs) and negative return on assets (RoAs).”RBI, vide their letter dated May 05, 2017, has initiated PCA for IDBI Bank in view of high NPA and negative RoA,” IDBI Bank in a regulatory filing to the BSE.”This action will not have any material impact on the performance of the bank and will contribute to improving the internal controls of the bank and improvement in its activity.”The development follows April 13, 2017 revision of the PCA guidelines by RBI.Last month, RBI said that capital, asset quality and profitability would be the basis of the PCA framework on which the banks would be monitored and has defined three kinds of risk thresholds.In a notification issued by RBI that time, the mandatory action that would be taken when a bank breaches the risk threshold includes restriction on dividend payment/remittance of profits, restriction on branch expansion, higher provisions, restriction on management compensation and director’s fees.”The PCA framework would apply without exception to all banks operating in India including small banks and foreign banks operating through branches or subsidiaries based on breach of risk thresholds of identified indicators,” the RBI had said.With regard to credit risk related action, the RBI can ask the banks to prepare a time bound plan and commitment for reduction of NPAs; restrict or reduce credit expansion for borrowers below certain rating grades or unrated borrowers/unsecured exposures/loan/concentration of loans in identified sectors or borrowers.The bank had posted a net loss of Rs 2,254.96 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2016, as compared to net loss of Rs 2,183.68 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015.
The two photos of the toddler uploaded by PM Modi has taken social media by storm.IANSPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday treated his Instagram followers with pictures of him playing with a toddler in his arms. The picture went viral in seconds and received as many as 13 lakh likes and over 16,000 comments.Modi uploaded two photos of the toddler — the first showing Modi looking like a doting grand-dad as the baby played in his arms, while in the other the “mystery” kid was sitting on his lap and peering into papers kept on the Prime Minister’s desk.”A very special friend came to meet me in Parliament today,” was the caption on the images on the official Instagram account of the Prime Minister. There was a pack of crayons and a large bar of chocolate on the table that the infant seemed to be drooling over.Later in the evening, the baby was identified as Rudrakshi – the grand-daughter of BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former Union Minister Satyanarayan Jatiya.
File Photo Elon MuskElectric carmaker Tesla will remain a publicly traded company, CEO Elon Musk said, barely weeks after he floated the idea of going private.”Our investors are extremely important to me. Almost all have stuck with us from the time we went public in 2010, when we had no cars in production and only a vision of what we wanted to be.”Given the feedback I’ve received, it’s apparent that most of Tesla’s existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company,” Musk wrote in a blog post late on Friday.This comes after Musk had discussions with existing shareholders and financial advisors and learned that there is little appetite for such a move.”I knew the process of going private would be challenging, but it’s clear that it would be even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated. This is a problem because we absolutely must stay focused on ramping Model 3 and becoming profitable,” Musk added.In a Twitter post dated August 7, Musk said he was planning to take Tesla private at $420 and had “funding secured”.His tweet gave way to frenzied trading as the carmaker’s stock price shot up and the Nasdaq stock exchange halted the stock altogether while investors cooled off, the Vox reported.
Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /01:00 X Houston Public Media/News 88.7 Education Reporter Laura Isensee kicks off her trip to Pakistan as a visiting journalist.As she learns about the country’s culture, customs and laws, Laura will share her experiences by sending dispatches in her own words and sharing photos of what she sees. Day 1 finds Laura traveling from Houston to Washington, D.C. It’s the first stop where she will be introduced to her fellow journalist travelers. It’s all part of a cultural exchange mission between the United States and Pakistan.We invite you to listen to the first entry of her notebook above. And to follow along in her journey on Twitter and Facebook.Aurora LosadaNews 88.7’s reporter Laura Isensee is ready to start her Pakistan adventure, beginning with a stop in Washington D.C. Share
Share APOpposition lawmaker Henry Ramos Allup speaks from the podium during a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. The opposition-controlled National Assembly vowed to continue meeting at the stately legislative palace – a short walk across a plaza from where the all-powerful Constitutional Assembly is expected to hold its next meeting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)The latest on Venezuela’s political confrontation (all times local): 5:15 p.m. Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature is refusing to recognize any of the decrees issued by a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly convened by embattled President Nicolas Maduro. In a vote Monday, the legislature opted unanimously in favor of disavowing the super-body’s decisions to replace the nation’s outspoken chief prosecutor with a government loyalist and create a “truth commission” that will wield unusual power to prosecute and levy punishments. Maduro says the new commission should hold opposition leaders accountable for the current wave of political unrest. Opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano says the purpose of the truth commission is to “persecute those who think differently.” The pro-government constitutional assembly is ruling with virtually unlimited authority and is expected to meet again Tuesday. ___ 4:50 p.m. Venezuelan authorities are continuing to search for 10 men who participated in an attack on a military base and escaped with a cache of weapons. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said Monday that special units are being activated to assist in the search. Authorities say a total of 20 men attacked the Paracamay barracks in central Venezuela early Sunday in hopes of sparking an uprising. According to the government, two of the intruders were killed and eight were captured, but the others got away. Former National Guard Capt. Juan Carlos Caguaripano is among those the military is searching for. He appeared in a video released on the day of the attack encouraging other military units to join his rebellion. Authorities have been searching for Caguaripano since 2014 after he was accused of plotting to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro ___ 12:15 p.m. A high-profile Venezuelan opposition leader says a violent attack on an army barracks that left two dead is worrying. Freddy Guevara told lawmakers at the opposition-controlled National Assembly Monday that the attack is “a path that worries us all.” He says people can be tempted to violence when they feel their electoral and constitutional options are closed — a situation the opposition says is developing in Venezuela. The opposition has repeatedly called for non-violent electoral change in the country. Soldiers battled Sunday against a group of 20 men who made their way to a military base’s weapons cache. Ten escaped, seven were captured, two died and one was injured. President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to use a new and all-powerful constitutional assembly to arrest Guevara. ___ 9 a.m. The European Union is criticizing the removal of Venezuela’s public prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with nearly unlimited authority to govern. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s office said Monday that the assembly’s actions and removal of Luisa Ortega Diaz “have further weakened the prospects for a peaceful return to the democratic order.” A statement said that these actions have “increased the polarization of an already divided society.” The EU is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to free all political prisoners and ensure the respect of human rights and the rule of law. Ortega Diaz is a longtime government loyalist turned critic of Maduro. She has refused to recognize the assembly’s vote Saturday to remove her from office.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinIn this Sept. 6, 2017, photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, right, arrives for a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington. The tortured relationship between President Donald Trump and Ryan has gone cool again, with the Republican president making clear he has no qualms about bucking the GOP leader to cut deals with his Democratic foes. 00:00 /00:50 Some $15.25 billion in Harvey relief will soon be heading for Texas and Louisiana. The House of Representatives passed the Senate’s version of the aid bill 316 to 90, with the bulk of the Texas delegation voted in favor.Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions kicked off the debate. He said the nation is “fighting in a desperate plight…with Mother Nature,” but, “the United States Congress is nimble enough and able enough to see the need of the people of the United States and to respond appropriately.”The bill also suspends the federal debt ceiling until December. Rep. Randy Weber of Galveston gave one of the most impassioned speeches in support. “It is time for us to step up,” said Weber. “It is time for us to set politics aside. It is time for us to focus on the tragedy that is now called Harvey and maybe soon to be called Irma.”Only four of the 36 Texas members voted against the bill: Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Plano), Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas), Joe Barton (R-Arlington), and Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon). They represent districts in north Texas, well outside the disaster area.———The House voted overwhelmingly on Friday to send a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump, overcoming conservative objections to linking the emergency legislation to a temporary increase in America’s borrowing authority. The legislation also keeps the government funded into December. The 316-90 vote would refill depleted emergency accounts as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma this weekend and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of the Harvey storm. It’s just the first installment of a federal aid package that could rival or exceed the $110 billion federal response after Hurricane Katrina, though future installments are likely to be more difficult to pass. It also kicks budget decisions into December and forces another politically difficult debt limit vote next year. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former tea party congressman from South Carolina who took a hard line against debt increases during his years in the House, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pitched the measure to House Republicans at a closed-door meeting held just before the vote. They were given a hard time from some Republicans upset with being forced to choose between voting for disaster aid and the debt limit increase. Mnuchin elicited hisses when he told a closed-door meeting of House Republicans “vote for the debt ceiling for me,” said Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., described a surreal scene with Mnuchin, a former Democratic donor, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mulvaney, who opposed clean debt ceiling hike’s as a congressman, pressing Republicans to rally around the disaster aid package. “It’s kind of like ‘Where am I? What’s going on here?’” Costello said, “if it wasn’t so serious it kind of would have been funny.” Trump stunned Republicans by cutting a deal with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi to increase the debt limit for three months, rather than the long-term approach preferred by the GOP leaders that would have gotten the issue fixed through next year’s midterms. Conservatives disliked both options. Voting on the debt limit is politically toxic for Republicans, and the deal will make the GOP vote twice ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Fiscal conservatives have clamored for deep cuts in spending in exchange for any increase in the government’s borrowing authority. The storm relief measure had widespread support, but the linkage with the debt ceiling left many Republicans frustrated. “It’s like the Washington that Trump campaigned against,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. “So, as much as I want to help Texas, I can’t vote for something that just is a blank check on the debt.” But most in the GOP said they weren’t upset with Trump himself. Democratic votes are invariably needed to increase the debt limit — and avert a potential market-quaking default on government obligations — and Schumer and Pelosi successfully pressed to waive the debt limit through Dec. 8. As a practical measure, since the arcane debt-limit suspension replenishes Treasury’s ability to tap other accounts to maintain cash flows, the actual date of a potential default wouldn’t come before February or March. That’s according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation by Shai Akabas, who tracks the issue for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank. Late Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., added $7.4 billion in rebuilding funding to Trump’s $7.9 billion request to deal with the immediate emergency in Texas and parts of Louisiana. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen X Share
The early hours of Aug. 31He has never been able to describe the smell exactly.The Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation from his department, is reminded of it when he smells diesel fuel. Sometimes the headache even comes back. But it wasn’t quite diesel.When his unit was dispatched for a 12-hour shift outside the Arkema plant on the evening of Aug. 30, they were told the degrading chemicals would soon explode, he said. Working the perimeter of the 1.5-mile evacuation zone in the dark, he couldn’t see the hundred-foot high plume of black smoke that would soon be shown in the pages of newspapers across the state. But he could smell it.He said he heard an explosion that sounded like a series of pops. Then came that unnamable smell. Then the headache — it came on “like a lightswitch,” he said. “Not just a nagging headache — a headache,” he said. It would stay with him for months, he said.First responders briefly left the area, then were directed back to it, “grumbling,” he recalled. They gathered at the intersection of Lindstrom Road and Highway 90, about two miles from the site.The first responders’ lawsuit paints a grim picture of that moment: Law enforcement officers “doubled over vomiting, unable to breathe.” Medical personnel called to the scene to help them soon “became overwhelmed and they too began to vomit and gasp for air.”In the midst of those symptoms, the officer remembers the confusion.“What just happened? What did we just get into? We’re wanting answers, we’re wanting information, what is this?” he said. “‘Organic peroxide,’ That’s all we know. And [the EMTs] are … Googling it on the side of the road.”Mo Aziz, a lawyer representing more than 100 plaintiffs in several lawsuits tied to the Arkema case, sees many parallels between Arkema and the litigation he worked on after a 2013 fertilizer plant explosion that leveled a whole section of the town of West and killed 15 — most of them first responders. The most striking link between the two cases, Aziz said, “is first responders not getting enough information about what they were being sent to do.”Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneLawyer Mo Aziz at his Houston office on March 20, 2018.Companies like Arkema have to file certain hazard documents with local emergency planning committees, though it’s not clear how that information is then disseminated to first responders. And those documents, lawyers and advocates say, don’t offer enough information to adequately plan for an event like this type of chemical plant disaster.Arkema didn’t lay out plans for the Aug. 31 scenario because it wasn’t required to. Even internal documents gave employees minimal instruction — just one paragraph — for handling major floods, and there were no plans for floods exceeding three feet, the Houston Chronicle reported.Though they are public records under state law, plants’ chemical hazard documents are difficult to access, and became more so after then-Attorney General Greg Abbott threw up a roadblock in 2014. Citing the need to keep sensitive information hidden because of “ongoing terroristic activity,” Abbott ruled that the state no longer had to release plants’ chemical inventories, saying the companies themselves would. But not all companies do, and it’s not clear that any state agency forces them to. Federally-mandated risk management plans can be viewed by appointment only in one of the state’s handful of federal reading rooms.And even if neighbors can track them down, the records contain relatively little practical information, lawyers and advocates said.Arkema held emergency preparedness training sessions for its site with local responders, though neither the company nor the Crosby Volunteer Fire Department nor the Harris County Sheriff’s Office would say how often those took place or what they included. The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, which was involved in emergency response that night, deferred questions to Rock Owens, a Harris County environmental attorney representing the county against Arkema.In the hours before they were sent to the site, first responders were briefed by the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, Owens said. But the deputy said he was not told what to expect, just told to guard the perimeter of the 1.5-mile evacuation zone.The briefing did not include specific details like chemical names, Owens said, but first responders were advised to stay out of the 1.5-mile zone and avoid the smoke cloud. That advice, the sheriff’s deputy said, was insufficient.“We were told a mile and a half was safe, but obviously it wasn’t,” he said. Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneThe Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, where a pressure release after a power failure during Hurricane Harvey caused an evacuation.Most of the houses along Crosby Eastgate Road and its neighboring streets are one-story outfits on sprawling green lots. In their driveways are spare trucks, old armchairs or small motorboats; grazing their grass are horses and cows. Some houses are raised on stilts; others look abandoned.And many of them belong to plaintiffs suing their neighbor on Crosby Eastgate: an Arkema Inc. chemical manufacturing plant.It’s hard, on a sunny March morning seven months removed from the storm that devastated this community, to picture the floods. On dry days, the brown water in the roadside drainage ditches sits relatively low. But in August, when Hurricane Harvey dropped 50 inches of rain on the Houston area, it surged up into the street, nearly swamping the head-high wire fence lining the road.On the east side of that fence, the floods submerged much of the chemical manufacturing plant. It was seven feet of that water, swampy and brown and by some accounts carrying an oily chemical sheen, that caused the plant’s refrigerated containers to fail; it was the resulting high temperature that caused the chemicals to degrade; and it was those hot chemicals that ruptured their containers and caused a series of chemical fires over most of the following week.Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneHomes in view of the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas.Those chemicals, the Crosby plaintiffs say in their lawsuits, contaminated the surrounding community’s air and water, causing the respiratory problems, pneumonia, headaches, nausea and dizziness that still plague some neighbors and first responders. And that, plaintiffs say, was because the plant had failed to take proper precautions for a severe storm — and because industry regulators let them get away with it.Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and Arkema assured residents at the time that the air and water were not dangerous. The EPA said in early September that the samples it collected did not exceed Texas limits.Nevertheless, the sick plaintiffs blame Arkema, and are seeking millions in damages. Neighbors are suing for personal injury; homeowners are suing over contamination in their neighborhood; two counties, Harris and Liberty, are suing as well. Some of the first responders who were dispatched to the site when the chemicals began to burn have also signed onto lawsuits.Still, some environmental advocates argue that what should truly be on trial is the state’s — and nation’s — lax chemical regulations.Arkema “absolutely, absolutely” needed to plan better, said Ilan Levin, associate director of the Environmental Integrity Project, a national watchdog group. But “you can’t point the finger at just one party.”“This is an EPA failure and a state of Texas failure,” Levin said. “The watchdogs and the regulators are empowered to make sure that companies follow the rules… But because the regulators have really paid little attention to the [risk management] program, they’ve just made it easy for industry to comply.” It would have been difficult for any briefing that did take place to address the particular scenario that played out, because it wasn’t one Arkema had planned for in public documents. Local officials at the time didn’t know what was in the air, and no Arkema employees were on site during the fires to tell them.Even though Arkema didn’t have a plan for a Harvey-level flood, it did have a boat on site that some employees used to evacuate. An Arkema spokeswoman said employees were required to evacuate.“A reasonable thing”Months later, dozens of plaintiffs are still receiving medical treatment and their doctors are still trying to determine what they inhaled that night, Aziz said.“The experts we hired are going to have to piece this together,” Aziz said. “Nobody from Arkema has said, ‘Hey, man, this was the mix that got your guy, or hurt him or her.’ Nobody’s saying, ‘This is what you should be treating them for.’”Part of the problem is that chemical safety reporting requirements are flawed, environmental advocates said. One of the documents that companies like Arkema must submit, a federally-mandated risk management plan, must include worst-case scenarios, but only those that would result from a certain list of toxic chemicals. Industry lobbyists, advocates said, work to keep other dangerous materials off that list.Arkema’s risk management plan, as required, laid out worst-case scenarios that could have resulted from the isobutylene and sulfur dioxide stored on site. But it didn’t mention a scenario like the one that happened in the early hours of Aug. 31, when the plant’s organic peroxides degraded and ruptured their holding containers. Those chemicals — which are not on the risk management plan list — all combined, Aziz said, and Arkema never planned for that mixture.Chemical Safety BoardDebris resulting from a series of chemical fires at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas.The mix was a “novel exposure,” said Kevin Thompson, a West Virginia-based attorney representing about 660 residents in a lawsuit against Arkema. “What you ended up with was a mix unknown to man.”EPA doesn’t require that companies lay out the potential mixes that could result from chemicals that aren’t on the limited risk management plan list. But the lawyers suing Arkema, as well as environmental advocates, say the company should have prepared for that eventuality.That would be “a reasonable thing,” Owens, the Harris County lawyer, said. “That’s what they should’ve done.”In guidance last updated in 2004, the EPA advises companies writing their risk management plans to “ask yourself how much of the regulated substance could be released if the worst happens.” The agency gives examples of what the worst might look like: “a major fire, an explosion, a natural disaster.” Plaintiffs described all three, but the chemicals that burned weren’t “regulated substances.”Environmental advocates said dangerous chemical releases in Texas are largely a failure of enforcement.“No one’s reviewing the risk management plans for adequacy,” said Elena Craft, senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. (The EPA did not return several requests for comment). It’s “nonsense,” she said, that Arkema’s plant identifies flooding as a concern, but doesn’t take sufficient steps to prepare for it.“The only way, in my mind, that that type of thing can be corrected is with some sort of oversight coming in and saying, ‘Does this pass the due diligence test? Does this make sense as a plan?’ If it doesn’t, then they need to correct it,” Craft said.Arkema has argued that the situation wasn’t foreseeable. Hurricane Harvey, company officials said at the time, brought an “unprecedented” amount of water.For many who live in the area, that argument is unconvincing. The Arkema plant sits in a floodplain.“It’s absurd not to consider these types of events that every Houstonian knows are a fact of life,” said Levin, an environmental advocate. “Industry should prepare for these.”Obama’s ruleThe Chemical Disaster Rule, as it has come to be known, was finalized in the waning weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, and published just days before he left office.Largely a response to the West explosion, the rule aimed to improve chemical safety practices and prevent similar tragedies.Perhaps most relevant to the Arkema disaster, it would have made it easier for the public to access hazard-planning documents. And it would have required increased coordination with first responders, including by requiring companies to provide increased emergency planning information to local officials and to hold more frequent meetings and trainings.The rule was set to take effect March 14, 2017 — less than six months before Harvey struck Texas — although companies would have had at least a year to comply with the major changes. Then Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA administrator, delayed it on March 13, first for just a few weeks, and then, in June, for almost two years.The rule had long faced opposition, including from Arkema and the state of Texas. Industry groups argued it would add new costs and jeopardize safety.“We have significant concerns with providing security-sensitive information where disclosure of such information could create a risk to our sites and to the communities surrounding them,” Arkema told the EPA in May 2016.Texas, along with 10 other states, said the rule would have required “unprecedented public disclosure of facility information that will threaten local communities and homeland security.” The EPA said at the time that delaying the new rule had “no effect” on the major safety requirements in place when Harvey struck. But Mathy Stanislaus, a former EPA assistant administrator who worked on the rule during the Obama administration, said last year that while the new rule would likely not have prevented the incident, it could have greatly reduced the risk to first responders. Environmental advocates said that though compliance dates were long in the future, the new rule would have forced chemical plants to at least begin planning for the tightened regulations.The American Chemistry Council — an industry group of which Arkema is a member — wrote that many of the new rules “will impose significant new regulatory requirements that will not result in a reduction of the risk of accidental releases, and could, in some cases, actually increase the risk.”“When correctly implemented and enforced, the current RMP regulations are highly effective in minimizing the risk of accidental chemical releases,” the ACC said.But the current EPA regulations hadn’t prevented a long list of other issues at the Arkema plant.In 1994, a five-year-old girl was severely burned during a sulfuric acid release at the plant, the Chronicle reported. A 1999 explosion at the plant was attributed to organic peroxides, the same group of chemicals that burned in 2017. In 2006, the facility was cited for a fire resulting from improperly stored organic peroxides. In 2011, it failed to maintain proper temperatures of its thermal oxidizer, a machine generally used to break down volatile compounds. As recently as 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Crosby plant for several safety violations; Arkema paid nearly $92,000 to settle up.The recent lawsuits against Arkema are all likely to take years. The only one of Aziz’s cases that has been set for trial is scheduled for January 2020. As they wait, the plaintiffs are left to wonder how exactly they’ve been damaged.“I don’t know what was out there. I know whatever it was hit me quick,” said Shane Doby, a 40-year-old plaintiff who lives outside the 1.5 mile zone around the Arkema plant.Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneShane Doby, a Crosby resident suing the Arkema chemical plant.Sitting at his lawyer’s long conference room table, Doby explained that he was exposed to the chemical smell while driving to work at a different chemical plant one morning on a route that kept him well outside the evacuation zone.“I’m the only provider in my household,” said Doby, who said he inhaled black smoke through his open car window. His symptoms — mostly respiratory problems; he was treated for pneumonia — have largely abated, though he’s still receiving treatment. He worries that they’ll come back. “If it’s something that’s chronic, that’s going to come on later in life, I want my children taken care of.”Hurricane season is over, and the skies above the Arkema plant have cleared. An undamaged tank on the plant’s north side that reads “safety in action,” covered in murky water during the storm, is now exposed to the sun. The facility hasn’t been operational since before Harvey hit, and its electric power returned just this month.A company spokeswoman says Arkema expects to begin business again later this year after “identifying and mitigating against foreseeable risks.”Michael Stravato for The Texas TribuneA tank at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. Share