Amtrak Train Derails in DuPont, Washington; Atlanta Airport Hit by Power Outage, Deaf Man Shares Experience; Puerto Rico Governor Rossello Orders Recount of Hurricane-Related Deaths; Republican Lawmakers’ Busy Week: Tax Bill and Budget Deal; Pentagon Had Secret Program to Investigate UFOs, Possible Sighting Captured on Tape; Woman Mauled By Her Two Dogs While Hiking; Rally in Oklahoma City for Magdiel Sanchez
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, December 18. Ready for news?
This morning in DuPont, Washington (near Seattle) — a high-speed Amtrak train with 78 passengers and 5 crew on it derailed off a bridge and into I-5, striking several cars and causing a massive traffic jam. The train was going around 80 mph at the time.
Reports said there were at least 6 people dead with at least 77 injured transported to hospitals, four of them seriously. But the number of deaths has not been officially confirmed as of now, I’ll update in the transcript when the final number is announced.
At least 7 train cars were derailed with train cars spilling off both sides of the bridge. There was an image of one train car upside-down on the interstate, with twisted metal and scratches. One image showed rail wheels lying on the road by itself, ripped off the train. In the woods, there were more upside down train cars.
You could see wrecked vehicles on the road as well. There was a massive police and emergency response.
A person on the train told news that as the train went around a curve, he felt the train rocking and creaking, then felt like they were going down a hill. Then people were slammed into the front of their seats with broken windows and water gushing. People were screaming and the emergency doors were broken, so people had to kick out the windows to exit.
This was a new route for the Amtrak train — today was its first day of service between Seattle and Portland as a part of a new $180 million project to speed up passenger train service in the state.
I read an article from two weeks ago in which the mayor of Lakewood (near DuPont) stated concerns about the high-speed trains and showing frustration for not having enough safety measures placed — he even predicted an accident.
So there will be many questions in the coming days about how this happened.
A NTSB National Transportation Safety Board team will depart Washington D.C. to the derailment site to investigate.
President Trump used this situation on Twitter to rally support for an upcoming infrastructure plan. He then tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were with those in DuPont.
UPDATES: There were 7 crew on the train, not 5 as earlier reported. Also, 13 out of 14 train cars derailed.
Yesterday there was a massive power outage at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the U.S..
It was caused by a fire at a Georgia Power underground facility that damaged two substations that were for the airport, the main and the back-up ones.
It caused planes to be stuck on the tarmac, incoming flights to be rerouted, and darkness inside of the terminal for several hours.
A Deaf person who lives in Atlanta, James Carter, was there and stuck for five hours. He shared his experience.
[Video by James]
James, in plane: I’ve been waiting for two hours.
James, at home: Hello! My name is James Carter. I had a bad experience — I was flying from Houston to Atlanta, I left at 10:55 in the morning. I arrived at 1:30 and it was good, I was excited to be home safe. But there was an incident — they told us to stay in the plane and wait. I didn’t understand, there was no communication on what happened. I sat there for one or two hours, then was told that the power was out. I had to text my parents and family to let them know what was going on.
I waited for another hour and two, it was around two hours and a half, I finally got off the plane. But I had to go down an set of stairs — there was no electronic gate that pulled up to the plane. I then got into a van type of vehicle to go in the terminal. There, in the terminal, the power was out and restaurants and stores were closed.
[Video of inside of terminal with people standing around and power out]
The shuttle inside of the plane (the basement) was not working, so I had to wait and walk down a long array of tunnels to get to the baggage area. There were a lot of people, it was chaos. I couldn’t get my bag, I had to wait until tomorrow. My phone was out so I couldn’t text or call for a ride home, but I managed to get on a train and catch a cab, and finally got home safe.
Alex: Wow, thank you for sharing, James.
The airport finally got some electricity back around midnight today, and power is back on, but it will take a week for it to be 100% normal, with cascading effects for airlines across the country.
Georgia Power tweeted an image of electricity workers repairing the area.
Puerto Rico’s Governor Rosselló has ordered a recount of every death on the island since Hurricane Maria, due to lingering suspicion that there were many more deaths caused by the hurricane than the “official” count of 64.
There have been several media investigations and firsthand accounts from people who have been on the island, including my interview with Deaf woman Angela Maria Nardillio, that say there were people who died from the hurricane that weren’t counted. Some say the total could be more than a thousand.
To “die” from the hurricane doesn’t have to mean the storm itself killed the person, it can be from the aftermath of the storm — for example, power outages causing a person to lose medical support equipment, a person not being able to go to the hospital due to blocked roads, or an accident while cleaning up debris.
Government officials will check death records that list “natural causes” since the hurricane and see if it is related to the storm.
Puerto Rico’s electric grid recovery is behind schedule — they are now at 64% power generation. The island had hoped to be at 95% by now. Government officials say it’s a challenge to coordinate supplies, personnel, and work in the mountainous terrain.
This week will be a very busy one for Congress, specifically Republican lawmakers, as they seek to pass their tax bill and get a budget deal done with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.
The tax bill seems like it will pass, as there are enough Republican Senators who say they will vote for it.
Sen. John McCain is now at home in Arizona for his medical treatment for his brain tumor and will not be voting, but there appears to be enough support for the $1.5 trillion tax bill.
Independent tax analysts say most of the tax benefits will go to wealthy people and to corporations, as shown by tax reductions for top-earning Americans and doubling the threshold for the estate tax (death/inheritance tax).
Republicans say this will help the economy, because when businesses save money, they will increase employees’ wages.
But critics say this won’t happen, pointing out that there is a record amount of cash reserves that businesses are sitting on.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Florida) pushed for a doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000 per dependent child under 17, with $1,400 refundable.
But parents might not see much money, because the tax bill will remove personal exemptions (currently you can claim a $4,050 deduction for each dependent, but the new tax bill removes that and replaces it with a doubled standard deduction of $24,000, which is less than if you deducted each child or dependent).
Analysts say because of this and other tax rules, the average family would just get an additional $75 in tax refunds.
The individual mandate for Obamacare would be eliminated in this tax bill, starting in 2019. This is predicted to cause Obamacare rates to go significantly up with around 13 million more uninsured in 10 years.
Income for pass-through corporations that is also personal income for business owners would have a 20% tax deduction.
The national debt is predicted to increase by more than $1 trillion because of the loss in tax revenue, but Republicans say those cuts will lead to economic growth that will offset the losses.
The stock market had big gains today, as investors show optimism for this tax bill and its many benefits for corporations.
Sen. Warren (D, Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.) wrote an op-ed article in the New York Times saying this bill was a “giveaway to the wealthy.”
They shifted their focus to the upcoming spending bill, wanting it to support Dreamers, renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), protect workers’ pensions and Social Security, support people with student loan debt, and access to health care. They said this week will show if Washington works for all of us or for those at the top.
Are UFOs real? Maybe.
The New York Times released a report that there was a secret program within the Pentagon that investigated sightings of UFOs — unidentified flying objects. This program started in 2007 and stopped in 2012.
Former Sen. Harry Reid (D, Nevada) — who was the Majority Leader at the time — was key to approving and funding the program with just over $20 million.
They showed a video clip from 2004 of a Navy pilot who was flying a F-18 spotting a strange, 40-foot long round object and following it in Southern California.
At that time, Navy ships reported that there were several “UFOs” that dropped straight from the sky, from 80,000 feet, and was able to go straight back up.
As the F-18 looked for it, it saw that it was “on the water” — and that there were waves breaking over it, with white foam around. Then the object went up, flying left, right, back, at fast speeds, without any rotor wash (helicopter) or jet wash. As the F-18 went closer, the “UFO” climbed up into the sky and disappeared.
Other pilots said they saw “UFO”s that also made sudden, amazing movements. The pilots said in recent interviews that they don’t know if it was aliens or anything, but they couldn’t explain what it was.
It is possible the UFOs were research aircraft by other countries, such as China or Russia.
Former Sen. Reid tweeted about this — saying, “the truth is out there” — using a popular X-Files quote. He then tweeted that we don’t know the answers, but we have plenty of evidence that supports asking the questions — that it is about science and national security. He said if America doesn’t take the lead in answering those questions, others will.
So… are aliens real? That’s still not known. But are there UFOs? Maybe.
UFO Video: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/17/571446881/secret-pentagon-program-spent-millions-to-research-ufos
On Thursday morning a 22-year old woman died when she took her two pet dogs for a hike into the woods in Goochland, Virginia. Police said the dogs, two pit bull type dogs, attacked and killed her.
At that time, the woman, Bethany Lynn Stephens, was visiting her father at his home. Her father called police in the evening saying he did not see Bethany for more than a day and that when he went on the trail, he saw what he thought might be a dead animal and the two dogs guarding it.
When police searched for her on the trail in the woods, they found the woman dead on the ground with her two dogs guarding her. Police said it took them an hour to catch the dogs and when they approached the body, they saw various clothing torn to pieces with the woman having severe injuries that matched with a mauling by the dogs.
The sheriff said it was a grisly scene, that he’s never seen a scene like it in his 40 years of police work. He said the woman was petite — 5’1, 125 pounds and that she had injuries to her throat, face, arms, and hands, and that it appears she was trying to defend herself from the dogs before she lost consciousness and was mauled.
But a friend of Bethany said she doubts that the dogs killed her (although she hasn’t seen the scene) — because she raised the dogs from when they were puppies and were very sweet.
But police said it was not a homicide and that the woman’s injuries and death was consistent with a dog mauling — that there was no strangulation marks and the woman having puncture wounds in her skull. Deputies collected more than 60 pieces of evidence strewn in the area for 8 hours.
The dogs are being held at the county’s animal control, with the sheriff saying they want the dogs to be euthanized.
This news has increased more controversy over pit bulls — with many saying they are sweet animals and that there must have been “something else” that happened, such as coyotes or something else, that caused this. But others say this is yet another incident of a pit bull type dog attacking a person.
There was a rally yesterday (Sunday) in Oklahoma City by those in the Deaf community working alongside Indian/Native American groups to call for justice for Magdiel Sanchez, the deaf and developmentally disabled man shot and killed by police — who was not charged.
It was covered by several local news stations, which said people marched from City Hall to the Oklahoma City Police Department. People shouted, “What do we want? Justice!” and “Say his name! Magdiel Sanchez!”
On Deaf Grassroots Movement Oklahoma’s Facebook page, you can see various images of people holding signs and marching around.
Local news interviewed with DGM Oklahoma’s leader Donna Fine and leaders of the “Brown Berets.” Donna repeated concerns about police ignoring the fact that Magdiel was deaf, while the Brown Berets said they were still very, very angry that the DA said the shooting was justified.
Deaf man Chris Haulmark, who is running for Congress in Kansas, went to the rally and filmed it LIVE. It showed presentations by both hearing and deaf people, with interpreters. You can see the video at the link below.
Chris Haulmark Video: https://www.facebook.com/haulmarkforcongress/videos/1372156229561078/
That is all for today! See you tomorrow and stay with the light!