Monday, June 29, 2009


Exxon to pay interest on Valdez oil spill damages

By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. has decided not to appeal hundreds of millions of dollars in interest on punitive damages resulting from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The Irving, Texas-based company will pay about $470 million in interest on more than $507.5 million in punitive damages following the 11 million gallon spill of crude in Prince William Sound, company spokesman Tony Cudmore said Monday.

The company expects to make payment on the interest in the next few days, said plaintiffs' lawyer David Oesting. Exxon's decision was first reported Monday by the Anchorage Daily News.

The decision is a turnaround for the company. Exxon Mobil since the mid-1990s has appealed court rulings on punitive damages.

"I think they recognized they weren't going any further from a legal standpoint," Oesting said.

Earlier this month, Exxon Mobil was ordered to pay interest on the punitive damages. The ruling issued by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco nearly doubles the average payout of about $15,000 to 33,000 Alaska Natives, fishermen, business owners and others.

Numerous studies have found the region has not fully recovered from the disaster that fouled 1,200 miles of coastline in the nation's worst crude oil spill.

In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court set punitive damages at $507.5 million. But two months later, the high court declined to decide whether Exxon Mobil must pay interest on the punitive damages and instead sent it back to the appeals court.

Cudmore said he couldn't elaborate on why Exxon Mobil decided to pay interest, except to say the company felt it should adhere to the appeals court decision.

Exxon argued unsuccessfully that if interest had to be paid, it should be calculated from the date the punitive damages were set last by the Supreme Court. But the appeals court said interest on the $507.5 million judgment should run from 1996, when the original settlement was entered into court records, at a rate of 5.9 percent.

Legal battles over the Exxon Valdez spill have lasted years but now appear to be ending. The only remaining sum in dispute is $70 million in court fees, Cudmore said.

An Anchorage jury in 1994 awarded plaintiffs $5 billion. That was cut in half by the 9th Circuit. The Supreme Court in a split decision reduced the total to $507.5 million.

Oesting said the plaintiffs' have "clearly prevailed" in the case, even if the original $5 billion judgment was drastically reduced.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Give Me A Break

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The country's smallest state has the longest official name: "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

A push to drop "Providence Plantations" from that name advanced farther than ever on Thursday when House lawmakers voted 70-3 to let residents decide whether their home should simply be called the "State of Rhode Island." It's an encouraging sign for those who believe the formal name conjures up images of slavery, while opponents argue it's an unnecessary rewriting of history that ignores Rhode Island's tradition of religious liberty and tolerance.

The bill permitting a statewide referendum on the issue next year now heads to the state Senate.

"It's high time for us to recognize that slavery happened on plantations in Rhode Island and decide that we don't want that chapter of our history to be a proud part of our name," said Rep. Joseph Almeida, an African-American lawmaker who sponsored the bill.

Rhode Island's unwieldy name reflects its turbulent colonial history, a state that consisted of multiple and sometimes rival settlements populated by dissidents.

Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his unorthodox religious views, minister Roger Williams set out in 1636 and settled at the northern tip of Narragansett Bay, which he called Providence Plantations. Williams founded the first Baptist church in America and became famous for embracing the separation of church and state, a legal principle enshrined in the Bill of Rights a century later.

Other settlers made their homes in modern-day Portsmouth and Newport on Aquidneck Island, then known as the Isle of Rhodes.

In 1663, English King Charles II granted a royal charter joining all the settlements into a single colony called "The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." The name stuck. Rhode Island used that royal charter as its governing document until 1843.

Opponents of the name charge argue that "plantations" was used at the time to describe any farming settlements, regardless of slavery.

Rhode Island merchants did, however, make their fortunes off the slave trade. Slaves helped construct Brown University in Providence, and a prominent slave trader paid half the cost of its first library.

Still, Stanley Lemons, a professor emeritus of history at Rhode Island College, said changing the state's name ignores the accomplishments of Williams, whose government passed laws trying to prevent the permanent servitude of whites, blacks and American Indians.

"There are different meanings for this word," Lemons said. "To try to impose their experience on everyone else wipes out Roger Williams."

By RAY HENRY, Associated Press Writer Ray Henry, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jun 25, 2009

Morphing Of Michael

Then: Later:


I'm already tired of the love fest over Michael Jackson. There are probably others out there who feel as I do - good riddance to a totally screwed up pedophile.
Yeah, Thriller was a good album. Yeah, MJ had some moves. Doesn't make up for the total mental illness, emotional illness and eff-ed up way he led his life.
I feel bad for his kids - but I've felt bad for them all along.
I can only imagine that we're going to be Anna Nicole'd to death with this death. I gotta figure out how to escape it.
At least we might be hearing less about Jon and Kate. We can hope anyway.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Two years ago today, my buddy Dawn married her Joe. I've written about it in the past (one of my best posts, in my humble opinion) but I never had a photo to post until I stole this one from her Facebook photo album. Didn't she look absolutely beautiful? Joe looked very handsome that day as well. What a cute couple, eh? So in the two years since the wedding, guess what they've been doing, er, look what they made...

This is their daughter Haley (I stole this photo from Dawn's Facebook page as well) and she looks to be one sweet, happy and gorgeous little girl.
I could not be happier for all three of them! Happy Anniversary Dawn and Joe. May you have many, many more happy years ahead.
Drive Safely
My own personal little anniversary today is that 15 years ago I picked up my brand new spanking clean and shiny Volvo at Auto Show. A mere 15 years later, that Volvo has seen better days, but I love it as much today as I did 15 years ago.
I haven't had a car payment in 11 years, which may be why I love it so much. Still gets me from point A to point B without too much worry.

Orbiting The Moon

As of just a few minutes ago, NASA successfully has a spacecraft orbiting the moon!! I don't know about anyone else, but I am extremely excited and interested in this.

While orbiting the moon, this craft will be mapping out the topography of the moon, which will ultimately help to get man (and women) back on the moon.

I guess I'm kind of a geek when it comes to space and our universe, as I love to watch NASA TV. Could be from growing up in the 50's and 60's and following the space program from it's infancy: the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury programs.

As a kid, I always thought the moon was there for me and was mine! Don't ask me why I thought this, but it may be that I never felt that others around me watched the moon as much as I did. Maybe they didn't. I know that most people don't look up at the stars nearly as much as I do nowadays.

Over the next few weeks, we will be able to watch the pictures sent back from this little moon orbiting craft. YOU can watch too, here's the link:

How amazing is it that we can watch space missions on our computers??!! I love it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day


I'm not even sure I know why I'm posting today. I think it may be because just last night I came across a quote written by Anne Sexton:

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

I don't have a relationship with my father and I'm okay with that. I saw him at a funeral several years ago. It was very strange to see him, and I remember thinking how nice his complexion was - go figure. Surprising, it was very unemotional for me.

At times, he could be the best father. But, mostly he wasn't.

I guess the best word to describe how I remember him would be disappointing.

And, I also wonder, just when do parents fall out of love with their kids? I've seen it repeatedly where a child is born and the parents are head over heels in love with their little bundle of joy.

Then the years pass and before you know it there's no longer respect for this child. They find it okay to spank (or worse) this little person. They use sarcastic tones when speaking to this little person. They forbid, with no explanation as to why.

Over time, the actions of the parent start to chip away at a child's confidence.

Parents should love their children more than anything else in the world. Anything and everything.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Tim Russert

It was one year ago that Tim Russert of NBC news died. One of his favorite sayings was "What A Country" and what a year this country has had. I still feel sad after a year because of the impact he had on me. His demeanor, sense of humor and integrity was something I much admired and I miss. There's a lot of press on how the mainstream media has a 'love affair' with President Obama - if Tim were still here, and I so wish he were - he would be the one journalist who would treat our President the same as he treated everyone else, with respect. Tim's wife and son have shown remarkable composure in this past year and I admire them for that.

Julia Langello

This past Thursday, the 11th, was my birthday. As I do every morning, I was looking through the obituaries at and I saw a name that I knew I would be seeing before long. Many years ago, I met Julia Langello while I was working for ADT. My job was to place a 'I've fallen and I can't get up' type unit at her home. She was 91 years old at that time and was one of the nicest, sweetest women I had ever met. She lived with her daughter who worked full time and was concerned about her mother.
When I got to their house, Julia was waiting by the door for me. I knew the moment I saw her that there was something special about her, (really, look at her picture and tell me she isn't one of the cutest grandmother type women you've ever seen) and I was so very right (for once!)
Even though she was elderly, and had lost her right eye at some time, she was a spirited woman whose mind was as sharp as a tack. She wanted the unit placed in her bedroom because she spent much of her time in there. As we sat on her bed, we chatted a bit while I set the unit up.
She told me about her family, her late husband who had died quite some time ago, and her life as it was at that time. I explained the unit to her as I plugged it in and tested it. Unlike many other seniors, she understood how it worked right away and that left some time for us to visit before I had to leave.
She called me a couple of months later and I went back to her house and swapped out the unit because it was acting up. So, we had time for another visit while I was there. A few weeks later she called me as she was trying to reach her grandaughter Melissa, who worked for ADT in Florida. I tracked Melissa down and asked her to call her grandmother. And so it went. Julia and I spoke on the phone several times over the last few years and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Whether I was helping her or just chatting with her, she was just the sweetest woman. So, I was sad to see her obituary on Thursday. Last night I deleted her number from my cell phone. She was 96 years old. I'm sure her family will miss her dreadfully. I know I do.
Ann Grady
My first real boyfriend was Eddie Grady. I met him through my best friend Beverly Sardelli's then boyfriend, Bob something. This was 1972. Eddie had long wavy hair and boy did we like to make out. No matter where we were, we were always trying to get somewhere so we could kiss. One of our favorite places was under a big shrub on the grounds of the Aldrich mansion. We loved it there because no one ever knew we were there.

I don't recall why we stopped seeing each other, but we remained friends. We saw each other in school and for years after, he would come to our house each Christmas day for a visit. He wanted to be a fireman back then and today he is Deputy Chief of the Cranston Fire Dept..

In today's obituaries was the notice of his mother's passing. I had met her a few times and, of course, as a 15-16 year old, I was scared of her. She was a single mother as Eddie's father had died when he was younger and with two daughters as well as Eddie, she had her hands full.

I have a really clear memory of going to his house one day and we were up in his room. The walls were covered with posters and he had the black-light on, the windows were covered with aluminum foil (no idea why, but it seemed to make sense back then.) We were kissing, as usual, and his mother threw open the bedroom door making us both jump and his front tooth hit my front tooth which chipped. To this day, I often think of him when I run my tongue over my tooth chip.

Shortly after 9/11/01 I won at auction, a bid on two firefighter rememberance artwork in frames. I gave one to the EG fire department and the other I delivered to Eddie's (he's called Ed now) office in Cranston. He wasn't in, but I left it for him. I'm so very sorry for their loss.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Boy Hit By Meteorite

A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar.

"When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road," Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports.

Most meteors vaporize in the atmosphere, creating "shooting stars," and never reach the ground. The few that do are typically made mostly of metals. Stony space rocks, even if they are big as a car, will usually break apart or explode as they crash through the atmosphere.

There are a handful of reports of homes and cars being struck by meteorites, and many cases of space rocks streaking to the surface and being found later.

But human strikes are rare. There are no known instances of humans being killed by space rocks.

According to a article on the topic a few years, back:

On November 30, 1954, Alabama housewife Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch when she was awakened by a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor that crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off a piece of furniture and struck her in the hip, causing a large bruise.

On October 9, 1992, a large fireball was seen streaking over the eastern United States, finally exploding into many pieces. In Peekskill, New York, one of the pieces struck a Chevrolet automobile owned by Michelle Knapp. Knapp was not in the car at the time.

On June 21, 1994, Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and ended up in the back seat.

In 2004, a 2,000-pound space rock bigger than a refrigerator exploded in the late-night sky over Chicago, producing a large flash and a sound resembling a detonation that woke people up. Fragments rained down on that wild Chicago night, and many were collected by residents in a northern suburb.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Making History

How about that President of ours?

What a great job he did giving the speech in Egypt. No one else could have given that speech - could you imagine the Idiot Bush? The crowd would have been throwing more than shoes at him.

We are so lucky to have him as our President. And while I'm not happy with everything he has done, he's been pretty much on task, considering that much of what he is dealing with was not what he campaigned for. He certainly has my support and appreciation for all of his hard work.

NBC news did a 'Behind the scenes of the Obama White House' special this week which was fascinating to watch. It boggles the mind to think of everything they have going on there and Obama, man, he is the coolest guy.

I'm very impressed with him. And grateful too.