April 2007


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Replacing ramp may take months…

Oakland prepares for hectic evening commuteEmergency declaration hastens fundsMayor warns ‘difficult days lie ahead’Freeway shutdown creates new mazeAccident sparks worries about copycat attacksAccident exposes freeways fragilityApr 29:

Closed freewaysFerries may get wave of commuters — againReplacing the collapsed MacArthur Maze freeway ramp and replacing or repairing the ramp below could take several months or several weeks, but until the debris of Sunday’s predawn gasoline tanker truck disaster is cleared, it’s anybody’s guess.

Only a few hours after the fire that buckled the steel holding up a section of the viaduct connecting eastbound Interstate 80 with eastbound Interstate 580, Caltrans had already picked a contractor for demolition as soon as accident investigators finished their work, Caltrans Director Will Kempton said.

“At this time, we have no estimate of the time it will take to complete that work,” he said of the repair project, which he predicted would cost “tens of millions of dollars.”

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But he offered a ray of hope for commuters who regularly come off the Bay Bridge heading for the Oakland hills, Walnut Creek or other areas served by I-580 and state Highway 24.

Caltrans has done some rush repairs in the past, such as the 30-day repair of the Bay Bridge after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, or the three-month reconstruction of multiple sections of the Santa Monica Freeway in the Los Angeles area after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Caltrans engineers, along with Kempton himself, were already onsite Sunday morning evaluating the extent of the damage and plotting a repair strategy.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has already signed an emergency order that would waive some of the state’s contracting requirements to get the ramp repaired…to get the project started as quickly as possible.

In the next day or two, Federal Highway Administration inspectors will visit the site to determine the need for a federal emergency declaration, which will clear red tape for providing some federal funding and the necessary regulatory approvals for the reconstruction project.

“At the end of the day, I believe the public will be pleased with the work that’s been done,” Kempton told reporters at the Bay Bridge toll plaza Sunday afternoon.

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The heat of the fire from the 3:40 a.m. gasoline tanker truck crash weakened steel girders supporting the viaduct section and melted bolts that held it onto the concrete pier keeping it aloft, Kempton said.

The viaduct section, estimated to be 80 feet long, slid off the pier and snapped cables intended to support it if an earthquake shifts the pier from underneath. The section of roadway that will need to be repaired, including the diagonally hanging deck, is about 250 yards, Kempton said.

The big unanswered question that could have a major effect on the speed of the repairs is what is hidden below the debris of the upper deck.

The lower deck, which connects westbound I-80 with southbound I-880, was where the tanker crashed, exploded into flames and super-heated the upper deck. Caltrans officials said the lower deck, too, might need to be replaced.v “Once we clear the debris off the lower ramp, we’ll be able to do a better assessment on the damage to that structure and whether or not we can shore that structure up to allow traffic to use that as we complete permanent repairs,” Kempton said.

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Initial evaluations Sunday showed that the lower ramp was “severely damaged and it will need some work,” he added. Although it was too early Sunday for Caltrans officials to estimate the length of the project, Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a civil engineering professor at UC Berkeley, estimated that the job would cost as much as $20 million and could be done as quickly as the 1989 Bay Bridge earthquake patch-up — if the lower deck is salvageable. “In one month, Caltrans should be able to put the steel girders in place and get this thing done,” said Astaneh-Asl, who has studied the MacArthur Maze’s collection of overpasses.

“The lower deck, because of the impact, might have a lot of damage,” which, if it needs replacement, “might take two months,” he said.

The key to doing the job quickly is building with steel girders, rather than concrete, similar to the old structure. Viaducts held up with reinforced concrete could take as long as 28 days to cure, and preliminary work would add two weeks to that.

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“They need to modernize it and redesign it, but it can be done in a matter of days. They need to use new connections now because these are 1950s bridges,” Astaneh-Asl said.

Another factor that would help speed the project is that Caltrans owns the right-of-way on all sides, easing access for construction equipment. In a few days, he predicted, demolition of the collapsed bridge decks should be completed.

“By next Sunday, steel is being fabricated, concrete foundations, if necessary, have been started and the piers are being constructed,” if all goes well, Astaneh-Asl said. After that, the steel girders will be fabricated and in a few more weeks, motorists will be back in business.
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Thank you Eric Nelson at the Oakland Tribune at 510-208-6410 or enelson@angnewspapers.com.
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Baby Boomers, I am glad that I am not there to sit in the grid traffic…When I lived in Houston…that was bad enough!
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Former “American Idol” finalist Jessica Sierra was arrested early Sunday on felony battery charges for allegedly hitting a man on the head with a heavy glass at a cafe, police said.

Jessica Sierra, 21, was booked in the Hillsborough County Jail on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. She was also charged with possession of cocaine and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility after officers found a small amount of the drug while searching her, police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said.

Jessica Sierra was released Sunday afternoon on $11,500 bail. There was no immediate indication if Jessica Sierra had hired a lawyer.

The victim suffered a cut over his eye, but the spokeswoman gave no further information.

Jessica Sierra, of Tampa, Florida, was one of the hit show’s top 10 contestants in 2005.

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Thank you the Associated Press.
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Doesn’t matter if you area an AMerican Idol or not…COCAINE IS BAD JuJu!
And when you act badly…you get tossed in a cell.

~The Baby Bommer Queen~

Word to the Wise: Parlance

“Parlance” (PAR-luns) – from the French – is a particular manner of speaking.

Example (as I used it today): “In traditional direct-marketing parlance, an offer consists of five things.”

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BACKGROUND OF ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ ISSUE / Comfort station originated in govt-regulated ‘civilian prostitution’

Controversy over the so-called comfort women has been inflamed again. The U.S. House of Representatives has been deliberating a draft resolution calling for the Japanese government to apologize over the matter by spurning the practice as slavery and human trafficking. Why has such a biased view of the issue prevailed? The Yomiuri Shimbun carried in-depth reports on the issue Tuesday. The writers are Masanobu Takagi, Hiroaki Matsunaga and Emi Yamada of the political news department. Starting today, The Daily Yomiuri will carry the stories in three installments.

To discuss the comfort women issue, it is indispensable to understand the social background of the time when prostitution was authorized and regulated by the government in Japan. Prostitution was tacitly permitted in limited areas up until 1957, when the law to prevent prostitution was enforced.

Comfort women received remuneration in return for sexual services at so-called comfort stations for military officers and soldiers. According to an investigation report publicized by the government on Aug. 4, 1993, on the issue of comfort women recruited into sexual service for the Japanese military, there is a record mentioning the establishment of such a brothel in Shanghai around 1932, and additional similar facilities were established in other parts of China occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Some of them were under the direct supervision of the military authorities, but many of the brothels catering to soldiers were privately operated.

Modern historian Ikuhiko Hata, a former professor at Nihon University, says the comfort women system should be defined as the “battleground version of civilian prostitution.”

Comfort women were not treated as “paramilitary personnel,” unlike jugun kangofu (military nurses) and jugun kisha (military correspondents). During the war, comfort women were not called “jugun ianfu” (prostitutes for troops). Use of such generic terminology spread after the war. The latter description is said to have been used by writer Kako Senda (1924-2000) in his book titled “Jugun Ianfu” published in 1973. Thereafter, the usage of jugun ianfu prevailed.

In addition to Japanese women, women from the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan, both then under Japanese colonial rule, and China, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries invaded by the Imperial Japanese Army were recruited as comfort women.

Hata estimates that 40 percent of the wartime comfort women were Japanese, 30 percent Chinese and other nationalities and 20 percent Korean.

The total number of comfort women has yet to be determined exactly.

According to a report compiled by Radhika Coomaraswany of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 1996, there were 200,000 comfort women from the Korean Peninsula alone. The figure in the report was based on information Coomaraswany had obtained in North Korea. But this report contained many factual errors, and its quoted sources lacked impartiality. Foreign Minister Taro Aso rejected the figure of 200,000 as “lacking objective evidence.”

The reasons cited for the need for comfort women and wartime brothels are as follows:

— To prevent military officers and soldiers from raping women and committing other sex crimes in occupied areas.

— To prevent venereal disease from spreading through troops who would otherwise contact local prostitutes who did not receive periodic medical checks.

— To prevent military secrets from being leaked by limiting the women who provided sexual services to officers and soldiers to recruited comfort women.

Such a system and the use of wartime brothels generally are not limited only to the Imperial Japanese military.

The U.S. troops that occupied Japan after the war used brothels provided by the Japanese side. There was a case in which U.S. military officials asked the Japanese authorities to provide women for sexual services. During the Vietnam War, brothels similar to those established for the former Japanese military were available to U.S. troops, a U.S. woman journalist has pointed out.

Hata said: “There were wartime brothels also for the German troops during World War II. Some women were forced into sexual slavery. South Korean troops had brothels during the Korean War, according to a finding by a South Korean researcher.”
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Thank you for this side of the story, Yomiuri Shimbun.
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However…Baby Boomers, I believe that it happened and the Japanese are responsible…there are no excuses for w2hat they did to these young womwn.

And if you dont believe that the Japanese are capible of doing thiss act…see what they did at NanKing…I do have a post about it.

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In Oakland Califorina, a heavily traveled section of freeway that funnels traffic off the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed early Sunday after a gasoline tanker truck overturned and erupted into flames, authorities said.

Flames shot 200 feet in the air and the heat was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck’s driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns.

No other injuries were reported. (Watch I-Reporter Paul Kochli explain his video of the aftermath of the fiery truck crash )

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Officer Trent Cross of the California Highway Patrol said of the crumpled interchange.

“I’m looking at this thinking, ‘Wow, no one died — that’s amazing. It’s just very fortunate.”

Authorities said the damage could take months to repair, and that it would cause the worst disruption for Bay Area commuters since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged a section of the Bay Bridge itself.

Nearly 75,000 vehicles use the portion of the road every day. But because the accident occured where three highways converge, authorities said it could cause commuting problems for hundreds of thousands of people.

Transportation officials said they already had added trains to the Bay Area Rapid Transit light rail system that takes commuters across San Francisco Bay, and were urging people to telecommute if possible.

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State officials said motorists who try to take alternate routes Monday instead of relying on public transportation would face nightmarish commutes.

The tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline ignited around 3:45 a.m. after crashing into a pylon on the interchange, which connects westbound lanes of Interstate 80 to southbound I-880, on the edge of downtown Oakland about half a mile from the Bay Bridge’s toll plaza.

A preliminary investigation indicated he may have been speeding on the curving road, Cross said.

The fire melted a second interchange from eastbound I-80 to eastbound I-580 located above the first interchange, causing a 250-yard section of the roadway to collapse onto the roadway below, according to the highway patrol.

Witnesses reported flames from the blaze reached up to 200 feet high.

Late Sunday morning, the charred section of collapsed freeway was draped at a sharp angle onto the highway beneath, exposing a web of twisted metal beneath the concrete.

The Bay Bridge consists of two heavily traveled, double-decked bridges about two miles long straddling San Francisco Bay.

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said the accident showed how fragile the Bay area’s transportation network is, whether to an earthquake or terrorist attack, and has the potential to have a major economic effect on the city.

“It’s another giant wakeup call,” Newsom told reporters at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Thank you AP News…
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REMEMBER BABY BOOMERS, NO GAS ON MONDAY!!
HIT THESE GAS COMPANIES WHERE IT HURTS…THE WALLET!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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Sahara Desert

A man is lost in the Sahara desert. He used up the last of his water three days ago and he’s lying, gasping, on the sand, when in the distance he suddenly hears a voice calling, “Mush! Mush!”

Not trusting his ears he turns his head and there it is again, closer this time — “Mush! Mush!” Propping himself up on one elbow he squints against the sun and sees, of all things, an Eskimo bundled up in furs driving a sled with a team of huskies across the dunes.

Thinking that it’s a hallucination, he blinks and shakes his head, but it’s for real! He painfully lifts one arm and in a cracked voice calls, “He-elp!”

The Eskimo pulls the sled up by him, the huskies panting in the heat, and he says to the Eskimo, “I don’t know what you’re doing here, or why, but thank God you are! I’ve been wandering around this desert for days, my water’s all gone and I’m completely lost!”

The perspiring Eskimo looks down at him and says, “YOU think you’re lost?!?!?!?!?!?”

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Indoor antennas about 20 miles from a broadcast tower can grab local HDTV signals. Outdoor antennas can receive signals from up to 70 miles away — as long as no mountains are in the way, an industry expert said.

But some consumers are spending thousands of dollars on LCD or plasma TVs and hooking them up to $50 antennas that don’t look much different from what grandpa had on top of his black-and-white picture tube.

They’re not doing it for the nostalgia.

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Many tech geeks say that the local channels available from over-the-air HD signals are superior to what cable and satellite companies can offer because some compress the signal, which may degrade picture quality.

And the best part? Over-the-air HD is free.

“Eighty-year-old technology is being redesigned and rejiggered to deliver the best picture quality,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “It’s an interesting irony.”

Schneider started an assembly line in his garage and sold antennas out of the trunk of his car a few years ago. Now his Eureka, Mo.-based company has seven employees and did $1.4 million in sales last year. He expects sales to double this year.

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“People thought I was nuts. They were laughing at me when I told them I was starting an antenna company,” Schneider said.

Before cable and satellite existed, people relied on antennas to receive analog signals from local TV stations’ broadcasting towers. Stations still send out analog signals, but most now transmit HD digital signals as well.
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Consumers who can get a digital signal from an antenna will get an excellent picture, said Steve Wilson, principal analyst for consumer electronics at ABI Research, which provides companies with research on technology markets. But getting the signal depends on an antenna’s distance from the broadcasting towers.

Schneider recommends indoor antennas only for customers within 25 miles of a station’s broadcast tower. An outdoor antenna will grab a signal from up to 70 miles away as long as no mountains are in the way, he said.

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The Consumer Electronics Association, a trade association of companies from Microsoft to LG, has a Web site http://www.antennaweb.org/ that tells how far an address is from broadcasting towers and will recommend what type of antenna to use.

Megan Pollock, spokeswoman for the group, said over-the-air HD signals provide a clear, crisp picture.

“When you’re using an antenna to get an HD signal you will be able to receive true broadcast quality HD,” Pollock said. “Some of the cable and satellite companies may choose to compress the HD signal.”

Compression means that the companies remove some of the data from the digital signal, which reduces picture quality. This is done so that they can still have enough room to send hundreds of other channels through the same cable line or satellite transmission.

The difference is subjective, said Robert Mercer, spokesman for satellite company DirecTV, Inc.

“We believe the DirecTV HD signal is superior to any source, whether it’s over-the-air or from your friendly neighborhood cable company,” Mercer said.

Many people aren’t aware that they can get HD over the airwaves, Wilson said. He estimates there are 10 million households with HDTVs and that less than 2 million of them use antennas. Overall, out of the 110 million households in the United States, 15 million use antennas.

Antenna prices range from $20 to $150 for indoor and outdoor versions. The many models of available indoor antennas look more like a fleet of spaceships than the rabbit ears of old.

One major difference with a digital over-the-air signal is it doesn’t get snowy and fuzzy like the old analog signal. Instead, the picture will turn into tiny blocks and go black.

“You either get it or you don’t,” said Dale Cripps, founder and co-publisher of HDTV Magazine. “Some people can receive it with rabbit ears, it depends where you are.”

Besides reception issues, the obvious downside of an antenna is that only local channels are available, meaning no ESPN, TNT or Discovery Channel.

That’s why some consumers partner an antenna with cable or satellite.

Self-described TV fanatic Kevin Holtz, of suburban Cleveland, chose an antenna because he didn’t want to pay his satellite provider extra for local broadcast channels.

Holtz, 30, can’t get the signal from one local network or a public broadcasting station but said the rest of the stations come in clearer than they would through satellite.

“Over-the-air everything is perfect,” Holtz said.

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He lives with his brother and they use the $60 antenna for a 40-inch Sony LCD, which retails for about $3,000.

Those really interested in saving a buck and who have a little MacGyver in them could make their own antenna. Steve Mezick of Portland, Ore., created one out of cardboard and tinfoil.

“I decided to build it because the design looked exceedingly simple. I scrounged up stuff around the house and put one together,” said Mezick, a bowling alley mechanic who repairs pin spotters.

The 30-year-old has since upgraded his original design using a wire baking sheet, clothes hanger and wood. He mounted it to the side of his house and gets all of his local stations.

“It works brilliantly,” he said.
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Thanks AP NEws and AOL… for this post.
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How many Baby Boomers hate to pay for TV???
This seems very basis and if I had a TV I am sure that I would get on of these gozmos! I give grave reveiws to this product.
Cudos to you inventors!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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