By Anti-Media Team | AntiMedia | Sept. 14, 2018

FEMA isn’t exactly known for its competence or efficiency, but as Hurricane Florence looms over the Carolinas and southern Virginia, an unlikely ally is providing support and guidance.

The popular restaurant chain Waffle House has a reputation for staying open all hours of the day, every day, even during hurricanes. In fact, a common reference point for how bad a hurricane has gotten comes in the form of whether the Waffle Houses in the area are open. “When Waffle House surrenders to a hurricane, you know it’s bad,” read one Miami Herald headline in 2016.

If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work,” a FEMA employee told the outlet.

Even in harsh hurricane conditions, Waffle House will offer a limited menu with items that don’t require power, water, and gas to prepare. The restaurant usually won’t shut down unless it’s physically destroyed.




This tenacity led FEMA to create an index to gauge the severity of hurricanes and their damages using Waffle House as a barometer. In 2004, amid Hurricane Charley, then-FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate, Florida state meteorologist Ben Nelson, and member of the National Guard were assessing the damage and attempting to find a place to eat.

As FiveThirtyEight detailed in 2016:

“‘They went to a Waffle House and noticed they had a limited menu, with nonperishable items,’ Alexa Lopez, FEMA’s press secretary, told me. ‘The next day, they were driving around and they went to a different Waffle House, and the same thing happened, a limited menu.’“So, she said, the group was inspired first to rank Waffle Houses in the same way: green for fully operational, yellow for a limited menu and red for closed. ‘Which is pretty bad, because Waffle House is always open,’ Lopez added. And, second, to use those observations as a proxy for how much a disaster disrupts a community.”

The so-called Waffle House Index also serves as an “indicator of how complex and long supply chains are — for food, for fuel, for power — and of what it takes to plan around infrastructure that can be fragile in unexpected ways.”

Though it’s not an official index, Waffle House does inform FEMA of its closures and shares wind speeds, power outages, and other measures.

Waffle House also has a “Storm Center,” where they monitor the development and impact of hurricanes.

They are currently monitoring Hurricane Florence, which has already prompted evacuation advisories for over a million residents and caused thousands of power outages, Though the storm was previously designated a Category 4, it is currently classified as a Category 2.

(editor’s note: storm conditions have changed since this article was originally published on Anti-Media.)


Originally published by Anti-Media.com


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By Carey Wedler | AntiMedia | August 22, 2018

Musician Sinead O’Connor tried to warn the world of abuses within the Catholic church during an appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, but no one listened.

https://youtu.be/bCOIQOGXOg0

In a now-iconic gesture, the singer tore up a picture of then-Pope John Paul II while singing Bob Marley’s “War” and switching out lyrics about African apartheid to reference “’child abuse, yeah,’ repeated twice with spine-stiffening venom,” the Atlantic noted in a 2012 article acknowledging she was right. During that protest, she also said: “Fight the real enemy.”

That article noted that the media failed to make “use of the traditional tools of journalism: interviews, research, and textual analysis. Instead, most commentators seem to have consulted their own imaginations.

From a Rolling Stone article at the time:

“[I]s O’Connor’s aim to educate people about her point of view or to alienate them and insult their beliefs—as she did when she ripped up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live, ensuring that they will never take her seriously?”

In an interview with Time, she explicitly laid out her grievances with the Catholic church, clarifying her decision to rip up the pope’s picture:

“It’s not the man, obviously—it’s the office and the symbol of the organization that he represents… In Ireland we see our people are manifesting the highest incidence in Europe of child abuse. This is a direct result of the fact that they’re not in contact with their history as Irish people and the fact that in the schools, the priests have been beating the shit out of the children for years and sexually abusing them. This is the example that’s been set for the people of Ireland. They have been controlled by the church, the very people who authorized what was done to them, who gave permission for what was done to them.”

She described the abuse she experienced:

“Sexual and physical. Psychological. Spiritual. Emotional. Verbal. I went to school every day covered in bruises, boils, sties and face welts, you name it. Nobody ever said a bloody word or did a thing.”

But as the Atlantic noted, “[t]he interviewer remained skeptical of O’Connor’s characterization of Irish schools as playgrounds and training grounds for child abusers, and the interview moved on to different topics.”

Sinead O’Connor’s condemnation of the Church helped torpedo her career.

Twenty-six years later, countless priests and church officials have been exposed for committing and covering up abuse against children. In the most recent case, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report detailing the abuse of over 1,000 children by over 300 church officials spanning. Some are also accused of producing child pornography in churches that included the use of whips and other violence.

As Irish Central observed this week:

“O’Connor had the bravery to point out the reality of the pedophile scandal that would engulf the church. She tore up the pope’s picture drawing massive protest down on herself.”

She did so even when most shunned her candidness:

“A week later as Saturday Night Live’s host, Joe Pesci, displayed the same torn photo during his monologue, saying he had taped it back together. He received huge applause.”

As the 1990s wore on, awareness of the abuses started to grow (and O’Connor continued to speak about abuses against her and others). By the early 2000s, it was a widely publicized global issue, and in 2018, incidents continue to be exposed.


Contributed by Carey Wedler of AntiMedia.com

Carey is the editor-in-chief of Anti-Media. Shortly after graduating from UCLA with a degree in History, she got her start making Youtube videos, which led her to Anti-Media. Besides editing, she also covers foreign policy, the war on drugs, and solution-oriented developments. Her work has been published in Newsweek, Ron Paul’s Liberty Report, and the Foundation for Economic Education. Contact Carey via email: carey.wedler@theantimedia.org. Support her on Patreon: patreon.com/CareyWedler


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By Carey Wedler | AntiMedia | August 16, 2018

A nuclear power plant in Southern California that was shut down in 2012 continues to leak radioactive material and poses a threat to nearby communities.

The aging San Onofre, located in San Clemente, CA, was shut down in 2012 amid a leak that occurred due to malpractice. According to a report released in 2016, the plant “operated the reactor outside the allowable limits for pressure and temperature, causing the radiation leak that shut down the facility for good,” the San Diego Tribune noted. The shutdown also launched extensive investigations that implicated both the power company and state regulators.

Though the plant is out of operation, it still stores 3.6 million pounds of lethal radioactive waste, and according to a worker who blew the whistle on the plant just last week, a near catastrophe just occurred. As local outlet the Dana Pointer reported, plant worker David Fritch explained what happened at a public meeting:

“On 3 August 2018, a 100-ton canister filled with highly radioactive nuclear waste was being ‘downloaded’ into a temporary transport carrier to be moved a few hundred yards from inside the plant to a storage silo buried near the world-famous San Onofre beach. As the thin-walled canister was being lowered into the transport cask, it snagged on a guide ledge four feet from the top. Crane operators were unaware that the canister had stopped descending and the rigging went completely slack, leaving the full weight of the heavy canister perched on that ledge by about a quarter-inch.

“Had the ledge not held for the hour or more it took workers to realize and address the error, the thin-walled canister of highly toxic nuclear waste would have fallen 18 feet to the ground below.”

Each canister reportedly has as much radiation as was released during the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Fritch says the staff is too small — and also undertrained. According to an article published in the Los Angeles Times this week by Steve Chapple, an author, journalist, and fellow at the Samuel Lawrence Foundation:

“The idea is to bury the spent fuel on site, about 100 feet from the ocean and just a few feet above the water table. Edison has already begun transferring the waste from cooling pools into specially designed steel canisters. The containers are prone to corrosion and cracking, and cannot be monitored or repaired. Work crews even discovered a loose bolt inside one of the canisters earlier this year.”

As ocean levels keep rising, Chappelle says, seawater will come closer and closer to the cannisters. Further, “if hairline cracks or pinholes in the containers were to let in even a little bit of air, it could make the waste explosive.”

Further, San Onofre is located directly on an earthquake fault line in an area with a record of tsunamis.

San Juan Capistrano Councilwoman Pam Patterson told President Trump at a roundtable discussion in May that San Onofre is a “Fukushima waiting to happen.” She also expressed concern that the facility, which is a no-fly zone but secured mainly by armed guards, could be a target of a terror attack, noting that terrorists targeted nuclear power plants in addition to the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Any time of disaster would have far-reaching effects. Shortly after the plant shut down, former prime minister of Japan, Naoto Kan testified in San Diego, noting that during the Fukushima meltdown, he was prepared to evacuate not just Tokyo, but regions as far as 160 miles from the plant. Downtown Los Angeles is only 62 miles away from San Onofre and 50 miles from San Diego. Worse, there are no state or federal evacuation plans in the event of a catastrophe.

Chappelle says that while solutions include moving the waste to a location 80 feet higher than the current plant, which is by the beach, or “maintain a cooling pool on site for emergency transfer efforts in the event of a cracked canister or terrorist attack,” these are all short-term solutions. As of last year, Edison was working on a plan to bury the nuclear waste, but Chapple believes the only way to truly resolve the problem is for Edison to develop storage technology that is not prone to severe leaks.

Though Edison has started that process, earlier this year San Onofre officials found a defect in the design created by Holtec, a contractor whose workers were responsible for the accident earlier this month.


Contributed by Carey Wedler of AntiMedia.com

Carey is the editor-in-chief of Anti-Media. Shortly after graduating from UCLA with a degree in History, she got her start making Youtube videos, which led her to Anti-Media. Besides editing, she also covers foreign policy, the war on drugs, and solution-oriented developments. Her work has been published in Newsweek, Ron Paul’s Liberty Report, and the Foundation for Economic Education. Contact Carey via email: carey.wedler@theantimedia.org. Support her on Patreon: patreon.com/CareyWedler


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