I hope you are as blessed as I have been. I am very thankful.
J’espère que vous êtes pendant que béni pendant que je suis.
I hope you are as blessed as I have been. I am very thankful.
J’espère que vous êtes pendant que béni pendant que je suis.
1. Dan Rocco — April 1, 2002 — ChoicePoint VP — plane crash
He died on April 1, 2002, in a plane crash in Gainesville, Georgia. He was an executive vice president at ChoicePoint, the firm that gained infamy with their faulty “felons” list supplied to Katherine Harris during the 2000 election in Florida. As a result of this list, over 90,000 voters (mostly African-American voters) were wrongly identified as felons and purged from the rolls.
2. Wesley Vance — April 26, 2003 — Diebold VP — plane crash
Pilot Killed In Plane Crash Was Top Exec At Diebold
April 28, 2003
(Jackson-AP) — The pilot of a single-engine airplane that crashed in southern Ohio over the weekend was the chief operating officer of Canton-based Diebold Incorporated.
The company says 45-year-old Wesley Vance of Canton was flying a private plane that crashed Saturday near the Jackson County Airport. …The company says Vance joined Diebold in October, 2000, as president of its North America business unit. He was named chief operating officer in 2001. Chief Executive Walden O’Dell will assume the company’s daily operational responsibilities until a successor is found for Vance. An airport spokesman says Vance was practicing takeoffs and landings in a six-seat Beachcraft A-36 when it crashed near the airport.
[Note - On September 21, 2005, Diebold announces that its current COO will leave his post and the board. Stock drops 16% intraday. O'Dell will temporarily assume the post.]
Vance was an Eagle Scout, elected to Boys State, and a church-going Mormon, married, father of five. He earned a degree from Brigham Young University. He was described as a confident person who people liked to be around. His senior class in high school voted him “favorite boy”. He had been a pilot for over twenty years. He was named to Diebold’s No. 2 position as COO in 2001, managing the company’s global operations.
3. Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. — July 4, 2003 — Diebold consultant — cause of death not confirmed
Anthony Celebrezze Dies
Former Ohio Attorney General Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr., 61, died yesterday in an Urbana hospital. Champaign County Coroner Joshua Richards confirmed that Celebrezze died about 9 p.m. yesterday, but would not confirm a cause of death.
Celebrezze, a Democrat of Columbus, was a stalwart in Cleveland and Ohio politics…. He was 38 when he was elected secretary of state in 1978.
He was Ohio attorney general from 1983 to 1991, and Ohio secretary of state from 1979 to 1983. Celebrezze ran against George Voinovich for governor in 1990 but lost.
Wayne Hill, Celebrezze’s longtime communications director during the 1978 campaign for secretary of state and then attorney general, was in shock at Celebrezze’s death yesterday.
Hill said Celebrezze, who enjoyed racing cars, was at Shady Bowl Speedway in De Graff for a Fourth of July race when he felt ill. De Graff is west of Columbus.
“It’s beyond a shock. Tony had a passion for racing,” said Hill in a telephone interview. “It’s unbelievable. It’s not right.”
…After his loss to Voinovich, Celebrezze joined the law firm of Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, and recently was a consultant for Diebold Inc., promoting electronic voting machines.
4. Athan Gibbs, Jr. — March 12, 2004 — invented the TruVote system — car crash – collided w/ 18-wheeler
Was planning to present his new voting machine, and its paper verification features, to the Georgia legislature within a week of the crash.
“Death of a Patriot: No More ‘Blind Faith Voting,’” by Bob Fitrakis http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0318-02.htm
“Black Voting Machine Inventor Dies,” by Hazel Trice Edney, The Call,
March 26, 2004 http://www.kccall.com/News/2004/0326/Community/081.html
5. Andy Stephenson — July 7, 2005 — nationally known election activist — pancreatic cancer
Andy had worked for Black Box Voting and barnstormed around the country investigating and speaking. It was Andy who uncovered (among other things) much of the story of Jeffrey Dean, the VP at Diebold who did software programming, who was a convicted felon whose crime had been embezzlement using computers. Andy went to many of the nation’s election hotspots, including Florida and Ohio.
In January 2005, Andy noticed he didn’t feel well. In April, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was eventually treated at Johns Hopkins, after the national election community raised $50,000 in eleven days for his treatment. He died of post-surgery complications and a series of strokes. He was 43. His surgery had been postponed for two weeks due to the efforts of people who tried to monkeywrench Paypal and Johns Hopkins, and who spread nasty rumors that Andy wasn’t really sick, and that this was all a scam. Someone managed to shut down his Medicaid after the surgery, once again slowing things down. One of his supporters in Baltimore had her car vandalized.
He had said a year earlier: “I’ve been threatened by these people [makers of voting machines]. I’ve been followed from my home to work. The president of Diebold told me to back off or I would get a visit. My phone’s been tapped. I’ve been ridiculed. I’ve been called a conspiracy theorist. You bet I’m going to demonize them. It’s wrong. We’re privatizing our elections. It’s something that should remain in the hands of the people…We need to take it back. It’s We the People.” “If they take our right to vote away, we’re nothing but slaves. I’m sorry. I’m not willing to be a slave. I’m not willing to go quietly into the night.” –Andy Stephenson, July 13, 2004 in an interview following a press conference next to the Austin State Capitol Rotunda.
6. Rev. Bill Moss — August 2, 2005 — lead plaintiff in Moss v. Bush — stroke
Columbus, Ohio resident Bill Moss was highly visible in the efforts to rectify the many wrongs of the November 2004 election in Ohio. Elected five times to the Columbus Board of Education, Rev. Moss was an eloquent speaker. He was considered a possible national spokesperson for the election reform movement, in an informal meeting held in Houston on June 30, 2005 after the Election Assessment Hearing. Like Athan Gibbs, Moss was African-American.
7. Mike Connell — December 19, 2008 — national GOP computer guru — solo plane crash
“Pilot killed as plane crashes in Lake Twp.”
By Jewell Cardwell, John Higgins and David Knox
Akron Beacon Journal staff writers
11:30 p.m. EST, Dec 19, 2008
*Hopefully, karma will be a bitch.*
HARRIMAN, Tenn. — Millions of yards of ashy sludge broke through a dike at TVA’s Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation and putting environmentalists on edge about toxic chemicals that may be seeping into the ground and flowing downriver.
One neighboring family said the disaster was no surprise because they have watched the 1960s-era ash pond’s mini-blowouts off and on for years.
About 2.6 million cubic yards of slurry — enough to fill 798 Olympic-size swimming pools — rolled out of the pond Monday, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Cleanup will take at least several weeks, or, in a worst-case scenario, years.
The ash slide, which began just before 1 a.m., covered as many as 400 acres as deep as 6 feet. The wave of ash and mud toppled power lines, covered Swan Pond Road and ruptured a gas line. It damaged 12 homes, and one person had to be rescued, though no one was seriously hurt.
Much remains to be determined, including why this happened, said Tom Kilgore, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
“I fully suspect that the amount of rain we’ve had in the last eight to 10 days, plus the freezing weather … might have had something to do with this,” he said in a news conference Monday on the site.
The area received almost 5 inches of rain this month, compared with the usual 2.8 inches. Freeze and thaw cycles may have undermined the sides of the pond. The last formal report on the condition of the 40-acre pond — an unlined, earthen structure — was issued in January and was unavailable Monday, officials said.
Neighbors Don and Jil Smith, who have lived near the pond for eight years, said that nearly every year TVA has cleaned up what they termed “baby blowouts.”
Ashen liquid similar to that seen on a much larger scale in Monday’s disaster came from the dike, they said.
“It would start gushing this gray ooze,” said Don Smith, whose home escaped harm. “They’d work on it for weeks and weeks.
“They can say this is a one-time thing, but I don’t think people are going to believe them.”
The U.S. Coast Guard, EPA, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation were among agencies that responded to the emergency.
Toxic irritants possible
Coal is burned to produce electricity at the Kingston Fossil Plant, notable for its tall towers seen along Interstate 40 near the Harriman exit in Roane County.
Water is added to the ash, which is the consistency of face powder, for pumping it to the pond. The ash is settled out in that pond before the sludge is moved to other, drier ponds, Kilgore said.
Coal ash can carry toxic substances that include mercury, arsenic and lead, according to a federal study. The amount of poisons in TVA’s ashy wastes that could irritate skin, trigger allergies and even cause cancer or neurological problems could not be determined Monday, officials said.
Viewed from above, the scene looked like the aftermath of a tsunami, with swirls of dirtied water stretching for hundreds of acres on the land, and muddied water in the Emory River.
The Emory leads to the Clinch, which flows into the Tennessee.
Workers sampled river water Monday, with results expected back today, but didn’t sample the dunelike drifts of muddy ash.
That could begin today, officials said, and the potential magnitude of the problem could make this a federally declared Superfund site. That would mean close monitoring and a deep, costly cleanup requiring years of work.
“We’ll be sampling for metals in the ground to see what kind of impact that had,” said Laura Niles, a spokeswoman for the EPA in Atlanta.
“Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as creating a Superfund site, but it depends on what is found.”
Stephen Smith, with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in Knoxville, said those concerned about water and air quality have tried for years to press for tighter regulation of the ash.
The heavy metals in coal — including mercury and other toxic substances — concentrate in the ash when burned, he said.
“You know where that is now,” he said. “It’s in that stuff that’s all over those people’s houses now.”
Chemicals and metals from coal ash have contaminated drinking water in several states, made people and animals sick in New Mexico, and tainted fish in Texas and elsewhere, according to Lisa Evans, an attorney with Earthjustice, a nonprofit national environmental law firm that follows the issue.
“It’s discouraging because this is an easy problem to fix,” she said.
Ash could be recycled by using it to make concrete and at the very least should be placed in lined, state-of-the-art landfills, she said.
Plant is still operating
TVA’s Kilgore said that chemicals in the ash are of concern, but that the situation is probably safe. The power plant is still operating, sending the ash to a larger pond on the site.
“There are levels of chemicals in there that we are concerned about,” Kilgore said. “We don’t think there’s anything immediate of danger because most of that’s contained, but that’s why we have sampling folks out.”
Officials were monitoring a water intake that serves Kingston City and is only a few miles downstream from the Kingston plant, but said no problem had been noted there as of Monday afternoon.
The power producer, which oversees the Tennessee River system, had slowed river flow in the area, releasing less water from key dams, so the pollution might be better contained for possible cleanup.
TVA has insurance for an event like this, spokeswoman Barbara Martucci said, but what the cleanup cost is and how much insurance will pay remains to be determined.
Otherwise, ratepayers in Tennessee could bear much of the costs. TVA provides virtually all the electricity in the state, along with parts of six others.
Recessions can be notoriously uneven. They can wreak havoc with the livelihood of factory workers but not that of bank tellers or nurses. Whole industries can see jobs washed away forever, while others hum along and even grow.
This time, however, the pain is more widespread, economists say, affecting the investment banker, the auto worker, the warehouse manager and the toy store clerk.
So far this year, companies have announced layoffs that affect more than 1 million jobs, according to job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Bank of America, the Dow Chemical Co., Anheuser-Busch InBev, General Motors and Circuit City are among the growing number of companies that are letting people go.
Another key difference with past recessions has been the downturn’s “serial nature,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist with the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
In other words, the recession has not affected industries and regions at once, but has rolled out in spurts.
Industries with some of the steepest job losses include construction, financial services, retail and manufacturing. The regional differences in job losses reflect how large a role those industries play in a given area’s economy.
In California, for example, a major site of the housing bubble, the construction business began shedding jobs in 2006. The unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Residential-building-related job losses in California had actually begun to slow down this fall, said Nickelsburg. Because of the drop in consumer spending, three-quarters of the jobs California lost in November were tied to the retail sector, he said.
The state government is the latest casualty of the recession. Smaller tax receipts and tighter credit have left California strapped for cash, and last week the governor announced mass layoffs and furloughs.
Perhaps the only region hurting more is the industrial Midwest. Michigan, home of the Big Three automakers, for example, leads the nation in unemployment with a rate of 9.6 percent, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. The national average is 6.7 percent. The U.S. economy has lost 604,000 manufacturing jobs over the past year, BLS said.
The states that are having a better time weathering the storm benefited from record prices for energy and agricultural commodities earlier this year.
Texas, for example, is likely to end the year with about 1.5 percent job growth, said Keith Phillips, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. High prices for natural gas over the summer is one reason. Another is that Texas didn’t experience the large swings in home values that some other states did.
But Texas is not immune to the downturn. Natural gas prices have come down and the state is expected to lose jobs at a rate of 1.5 percent next year, Phillips said.
That’s still good relative to other parts of the country. Wachovia analyst John Silvia, who tracks the Texas economy, said a drop in energy prices is not likely to trigger mass layoffs on the scale of the auto or construction industries because of the nature of the business.
“Given that it takes so long to produce energy, especially oil, you’re not going to lay off workers for a short-term weakness in the economy,” he said.
Many of those who have been or are about to be laid off will have to find a new line of work, several economists said, because they won’t be able to go back to their old one.
The construction industry has shed 780,000 jobs since September 2006 according to the BLS, and it isn’t likely to go back to bubble-like levels any time soon, experts said. Further, an anticipated decline in the construction of office buildings, apartments and shopping centers is likely to spur more layoffs in 2009.
Rebecca Blank, an economist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said she expects manufacturing jobs to keep vanishing steadily from the U.S. economy, including in the auto industry. “It’s been a downward trend since the late 1970s,” she said. “They are not coming back by and large.”
What is less clear is what will happen in the financial services sector, which since September has experienced the demise of venerated firms such as Lehman Brothers, a wave of consolidation and in some cases wholesale government takeover.
More than 250,000 layoffs have been announced by financial services companies this year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Some of those layoffs will be spread out over several years.
Some firms have already gone through multiple rounds. Citigroup, which employs more than 300,000 worldwide, announced in April 2007 it would cut about 17,000 jobs. In January, it said it would shed 4,200 additional jobs. In March, Citigroup said it would lay off 2,000 investment bankers and traders. Another round of layoffs began in June.
Experts said the bloodletting in financial services is far from over. Many banks still have bad home mortgage and commercial real estate-related debt on their books that has yet to be written off. “There’s a lot more bad news to come,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.
When the economy rebounds, hiring in financial services will inevitably pick up, but how many of those jobs there will be and what they entail may be different, said John Challenger, Challenger Gray’s chief executive.
“There is a fundamental change in the number of financial institutions and how big they can get,” he said. “It’s not that [the number of jobs] will never come back to those levels, but I do think a percentage of the employment was because the wheels were turning so fast in a way they won’t be allowed to turn under different regulations.”