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Wed, 22 Mar 2023
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Crumbling levees threaten U.S. with new Katrina

© Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP
Across the US, hundreds of federal flood control systems are at risk of failing, endangering millions of people and property across 37 states.

When Hurricane Katrina passed over New Orleans in 2005, more than 50 deficient levees were breaches, killing 1,464 people who were in close proximity to the flood control systems. Another natural disaster could subject hundreds, thousands or even millions more Americans to the same fate if the government doesn't address the issue.

Inspectors discovered 326 deficient levees across the US, whose likely failures could leave millions of people dead. A breach could demolish homes and cost local governments millions of dollars. By failing to repair the defective structures, the US is choosing to risk the lives of its citizens who are walking on eggshells with their proximity to the flood zones. In its first ever inventory of the nation's flood control systems, inspectors raised the overdue alarm that hundreds of levees may be unable to regulate water levels and prove useless in face of heavy rains. Such populated cities as Washington DC, Sacramento, Dallas, Cleveland and many others might be flooded at any moment.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has only issued ratings for 58 percent of the 2,487 flood control systems, which means inspectors could still discover hundreds more deficient levees. Many of the earthen levees are crumbling under the effect of trees, shrubs and animal holes. Decaying pipes and pumping stations could also cause the flood control systems downfall, while some of the levees are dangerously close to houses or even have houses built on top of them.


U.S. lawmakers 'unjustifiably focus' on illicit drugs rather than alcohol

Lawmakers around the world "unjustifiably" treat illicit drugs as if they were a greater public health concern than alcohol, according to a report published online Wednesday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Alcohol is at least as harmful as illicit drugs, according to Jan van Amsterdam of the Laboratory for Health Protection Research in the Netherlands and psychiatrist Wim van den Brink at the University of Amsterdam. In their report, van Amsterdam and van den Brink call for a "more balanced drug policy" that focuses on harm reduction and doesn't neglect alcohol abuse.

All things considered, excessive alcohol consumption is more harmful to public health than illicit drug use, the two researchers said. However, this is due to "the high absolute number of problem drinkers," van Amsterdam told Raw Story in an email. "One should realize that if people would use marijuana or ecstasy as much as they drink alcohol, we would also have a significant problem."


California lawmaker: Guns are 'essential to living the way God intended'

A Republican lawmaker in California who disagrees with President Barack Obama's effort to prevent mass shootings says that guns are an "absolutely essential" part of God's plan.

"Guns are used an average of 3 million times a year according to the Clinton Justice Department," Assemblyman Tim Donnelly told the Christian talk radio show The Bottom Line on Wednesday. "That's like 6,900 times a day. That's the high end of the statistics, other people say it's only 200 times a day."

"Whatever that number is, they are used to defend human life," he explained. "They are used to defend our property and our families and our faith and our freedom, and they are absolutely essential to living the way God intended for us to live."


4-year-old's mysterious death in Amityville is extra creepy considering town's paranormal history

© Joel Cairo
Suffolk County Police investigate the homicide of a child on Ketcham Ave. in Amityville.
A 4-year-old boy was found dead and alone in the Amityville apartment he shared with his 6-year-old sister and two adults who were not their parents. Cops received a 911 call on Wednesday, and when they showed up to the home, the boy was there on the living room couch with visible wounds. The autopsy is being performed tomorrow, but police say he had noticeable signs of trauma. No adults were home when first responders arrived at the rundown complex in Long Island, New York, and police aren't saying who allegedly called 911 since it's an integral part of their investigation.

If you're wondering why "Amityville" sounds so familiar, it was in this town 36 years ago where the Lutz family experienced terrifying paranormal activity in the home they purchased that was previously occupied by Ronald DeFeo, Jr., who shot and killed six members of his family in the same Dutch Colonial.

Those events inspired a series of novels and two films, one in 1979 and one in 2011, and has been the stuff nightmares have been made of ever since.


Man run over, killed, when dog jumps into car, pushes accelerator

© Shutterstock
A man has died after a dog jumped into a van, stepped on the accelerator and struck him as he opened a gate outside a Florida Panhandle home, according to officials.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Iris Fortner, 56, and James Campbell, 68, were backing into their driveway at their home in Cantonment on Monday when Campbell got out of the passenger side of the vehicle to open the metal gates.


PTSD is an epidemic for military vets and their families

© Photos by Brady Fontenot
Katie, Caleb, and Brannan Vines
Brannan Vines has never been to war. But she's got a warrior's skills: hyperawareness, hypervigilance, adrenaline-sharp quick-scanning for danger, for triggers. Super stimuli-sensitive. Skills on the battlefield, crazy-person behavior in a drug store, where she was recently standing behind a sweet old lady counting out change when she suddenly became so furious her ears literally started ringing. Being too cognizant of every sound - every coin dropping an echo - she explodes inwardly, fury flash-incinerating any normal tolerance for a fellow patron with a couple of dollars in quarters and dimes. Her nose starts running she's so pissed, and there she is standing in a CVS, snotty and deaf with rage, like some kind of maniac, because a tiny elderly woman needs an extra minute to pay for her dish soap or whatever.

Brannan Vines has never been to war, but her husband, Caleb, was sent to Iraq twice, where he served in the infantry as a designated marksman. He's one of 103,200, or 228,875, or 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD, depending on whom you ask, and one of 115,000 to 456,000 with traumatic brain injury. It's hard to say, with the lack of definitive tests for the former, undertesting for the latter, underreporting, under or over-misdiagnosing of both. And as slippery as all that is, even less understood is the collateral damage, to families, to schools, to society - emotional and fiscal costs borne long after the war is over.

Arrow Down

Surgeons left 16 different items in German patient's body during routine procedure

© Medical Daily
The family of an elderly patient who died in Germany after surgeons left 16 different items in his body during a routine operation is now suing hospital authorities for over $120,000.

Dirk Schroeder was said to have suffered "appalling agony" after the routine surgery for prostate cancer in 2009. Doctors had told him that he could expect to live another six years at least.

However, the procedure failed to relieve his pain, and within three months the 74-year-old was back in hospital after a nurse on a home visit in Hanover, Germany discovered a huge gauze pad protruding from his wound, according to Ninemsn.com.

Later, after two subsequent operations, surgeons managed to remove 16 different items from Schroeder's body, including a needle, a six-inch toll of bandage, a six-inch long compress and several swabs and a piece of surgical mask.

Arrow Up

Four-year-old girl, Savannah White, goes to the dentist and her mother gets the shock of her life!

Dentist Visit
© B2C
Savannah White is probably going to hate the dentist forever.

Alecia White decided to take her daughter to the dentist for some routine dental work. The dentist told the mom that her four-year-old daughter, Savannah White, had four cavities. Of course, the mom made the decision to have the cavities filled. During the process, Alecia White decided to wait in the waiting room while her child was being sedated and worked on by the dentist.

Alecia White took her daughter, Savanna White, home while she was still filling groggy from the sedation. Shortly after, Alecia White was in for the shock of her life.

Alecia White looked into her daughter's mouth and that's when she found out that every single one of the child's teeth was capped with silver crowns. Picture the villain from James Bond films known as "Jaws." Yes, I'm being serious. The child's whole mouth was silver.


Science teacher accused of offering oral sex to police officer after DUI arrest

© Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office / January 14, 2013
Mary P. Maloney, 53, of Lake Worth, is charged with DUI, hit-and-run, and attempting to bribe a police officer after she was arrested on Jan. 13, 2013.
A Palm Beach County school teacher who was charged with DUI after a hit-and-run collision offered oral sex to a police officer and invited him to grope her in exchange for letting her go, police said.

Mary Patricia Maloney, a 7th grade science teacher at Palm Springs Middle School, was arrested Sunday by Greenacres police after a report of a hit-and-run at South Jog Road and Purdy Lane.

"How much do I need to pay you to just let me go?" Maloney, 53, allegedly said to an officer driving her to the police station, according to the arrest report. "Don't you understand I am a school teacher?"

Maloney of Lake Worth, then allegedly offered to provide oral sex to the officer. She also invited the officer to grope her breasts, according to the arrest report.

Maloney has a prior DUI conviction from 2009, according to the arrest report. Police said she was driving while knowing her license was under suspension.

Red Flag

Police: Michigan couple grew 206 marijuana plants 'across the street from city hall'

A couple in Coloma, Michigan was arrested Wednesday and charged in connection to a marijuana growing operation authorities claim they found in the rear of their computer repair business, located directly across the street from the town's city hall.

In all, police said they pulled 206 marijuana plants out of the building. Area residents also told Michigan's ABC 57 News that they "smelled weed constantly" in the area around city hall for weeks leading up to the bust.