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Tuesday round-up ... Watch for scammers in wake of Woodward tornado

Kirk Demarais
Rusty Reddirt has the folks in Woodward in his thoughts and prayers.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – After days of lousy, overcast, and at times, violent springtime weather, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on the hundreds of walkers, runners and one guy on stilts, participating in the 30th annual Red Bud Classic.

Your Red Dirt Reporter – sporting our classy RDR T-shirt and matching hat, on sale now! – met some great people along the two-mile walk route that wound around some pretty neighborhoods in Nichols Hills. Others pressed on with the 5 and 10k runs. We had planned on the 10-mile bike tour the day before but the weather threatened.

At the end of the run/walk people got cups of Powerade or bottles of water and even some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Watch those carbs! And also we enjoyed the cover tunes by the New Shoes Band, performing classics including the old Stephen Stills hippie anthem “Love the One You’re With” and the Hollies’ “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.” These guys, made up of members of the OKC bands Legacy and the Couch Doctors. Good stuff.

And over at the Oklahoma City Zoo, Malee, the baby elephant, celebrated her first birthday, according to this story at The Oklahoman. We went by the zoo on Monday to see Malee for ourselves and the 1,170-pound birthday girl appears to be doing very well. Oklahoma City is very fortunate in having such a nice zoo and that Elephant Pavilion area is top-notch.

One thing we absolute despise here at RDR headquarters are these predatory scammers who flock to places struck by disaster and try to scam people out of money while they are trying to recover. The Woodward News’ star reporter, Rowynn Ricks, has an informative story in today’s edition headlined “Officials warn of scams in wake of Woodward tornado.” They’re out there folks, usually in trucks with out-of-state plates, trying to sweet talk you into a deal that will leave you with nothing but grief. Be on the lookout, gang.

At the top of Drudge and talked about both on Glenn Beck and Alex Jones' radio shows today was this startling incident involving black military helicopters swooping through downtown Chicago last night. It alarmed people, yet most folks go about their business probably thinking as they fly by: "Oh, black helicopters? Those don't exist, right?" It reminds me of the late conspiracy writer Jim Keith (died after an appearance at the neo-pagan Burning Man festival in Nevada back in '99) whose 1997 book Black Helicopters II: The Endgame Strategy (there's that term "endgame" again, after my interview with the Megadeth drummer the other day) notes how a piece on "black helicopters" on NBC in 1997 featured a "slice-and-dice job worthy of Freddy Krueger, condemning everyone who believes I, or has had an encounter with the black choppers, as being a lunatic, a conspiracy freak, and if it had only had happened a couple of weeks earlier, probably a member of the Heaven's Gate suicide club."

Times have changed. People are far more informed than they were in the latter days of the Clinton years.

In fact, your Red Dirt Reporter, writing for The Waxahachie Daily Light paper in Texas back in the spring of '99, wrote the following article (still available online, incredibly) headlined: "Hill Country reporter stumbles across a chopper mystery." My story was about "a report of a black helicopter spotted flying over Burnet (Texas) and releasing an unknown white powder on residents below." It was a bizarre story and one my editor was none-too-pleased about. Still, the unmarked, black helicopters were menacing citizens and the media, for the most part turned the other way. Glad to see this Chicago black chopper incident getting some attention. Jim Keith would be proud.

And on to an issue of planetary importance – and we don’t say that lightly – is the ongoing crisis involving the wrecked and insanely dangerous Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities in Japan.

We give huge amounts of credit to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, for actually going into the hellish maw of the Fukushima plant as part of a fact-finding Congressional delegation, according to a press release from Wyden’s office.

Donning a radiation suit, Wyden went there on April 6th and met with workers and managers from the inept and crazed Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to lear that “the facilities designed to house spent nuclear fuel and the reactors themselves were still in a state of disrepair and located in areas that would make them susceptible to further damage from future seismic events.”

Wyden wrote letters to the Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and bumbling NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko basically telling them that the scope of the problem is bigger than Japan can handle and we need to put our heads together.

In Wyden’s letter to Amb. Fujisaki, he says: “Seeing the extent of the disaster first hand during my visit conveyed the magnitude of this tragedy and the continuing risks and challenges in a way that news accounts cannot.” Wyden's tone is definitely one of grave concern, now that he has seen just how serious the situation is.

So, Sen. Wyden is telling the world – and what news outlets other than Reuters and The Wall Street Journal are bothering to keep us informed? – that things are pretty damn bad. Where is the urgency in Japan? Canada? Here in the U.S.? This article gives readers a sense of the seriousness of a disaster that has now surpassed the '86 Chernobyl disaster. Those spent-fuel pools are in bad, bad shape and the pictures linked here give an overview of how bad it is.

The Pacific Ocean has been severely tainted with radioactivity since the March '11 disaster in Japan and we suspect that Wyden, also a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is concerned about the long-term effects the tainted Pacific will have on the coast of Oregon and beyond. Say what you will about the environmental activists in Greenpeace, but they are on top of this serious issue of "silence and contamination."

While our governmnet (and the Japanese government) tries to downplay the seriousness of the situation, our hats our off to Sen. Wyden for following through and visiting the stricken plant and giving Americans a better understanding what is going on (and what isn't going on) at the site.

Copyright 2012 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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