Again we have no Saints to honor, although today is a Friday in Lent, and a day of Abstinence from Meat. On this date in 1972 Impoundment Dam 3 on the Buffalo Creek in West Virginia failed, causing the fatal Buffalo Creek Flood. And Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election on March 5th.
Four days after having been declared ‘satisfactory’ by a federal mine inspector, Impoundment Dam 3, constructed of coarse mining refuse dumped into the Middle Fork of Buffalo Creek starting in 1968, failed following heavy rains. The resulting flood unleashed approximately 132,000,000 gallons of black waste water, cresting over 30 ft high, upon the residents of sixteen coal mining hamlets in Buffalo Creek Hollow. Out of a population of 5,000 people, 125 were killed, 1,121 were injured, and over 4,000 were left homeless; 507 houses were destroyed, in addition to forty-four mobile homes and 30 businesses. The disaster also destroyed or damaged homes in Lundale, Saunders, Amherstdale, Crites, Latrobe and Larado. Kerry Albright became known as the “miracle baby” of the disaster. Running from the leading edge of the water, his mother threw him just above the flood level moments before she drowned. He survived with few ill effects, and was raised by his father. His survival gave hope and inspiration to other survivors. In its legal filings, Pittston Coal referred to the accident as “an Act of God.” Gerald M. Stern, an attorney with Arnold & Porter, wrote a book entitled The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the survivors of one of the worst disasters in coal-mining history brought suit against the coal company–and won in 1977 about representing the victims of the flood. It includes descriptions of his experiences dealing with the political and legal environment of West Virginia, where the influence of large coal mining corporations was intensely significant to the local culture and communities. Sociologist Kai T. Erikson, son of distinguished psychologist and sociologist Erik Erikson, was called as an expert witness in the investigations of the flood and published a study on the effects of the disaster entitled Everything In Its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood (1978). Erikson’s book later won the Sorokin Award, granted by the American Sociological Association for an “outstanding contribution to the progress of sociology.” Simpson-Housley and De Man (1989) found that, seventeen years later, the residents of Buffalo Creek scored higher on a measure of trait anxiety in comparison to the residents of Kopperston, a nearby mining town that did not experience the flood. And Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election on March 5th.
On Thursday night I finished reading The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O’Brian. Our New Orleans Pelicans beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by the score of 123 to 119. And our LSU Women’s Basketball lost their last regular season home game to Florida by the score of 56 to 82; our Lady Tigers will next play an away game with #3 ranked South Carolina on February 28th.
I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work we got gas for the truck and I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in, Richard was on Pai Gow (he also broke the second Mississippi Stud table twice, as the Relief dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, who was supposed to break that table, did not deal it), and I was on Mini Baccarat.
When we clocked out I picked up my prescription and an over the counter medication at the Pharmacy. On our way home I read the April 2016 issue of Consumer Reports, and Richard stopped at Super 1 Foods for some groceries. Once home I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad. I then did my Book Review for this weblog and for my GoodReads and Facebook accounts for The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O’Brian. I then took a nap for the rest of the day, and thus did not do my Daily Update. And our LSU Baseball best Sacramento State in the first game of their three-time home series by the score of 6 to 0.
Tomorrow is another Saintless Saturday. Also, tomorrow is Anosmia Awareness Day, a cause dear to my heart. (Anosmia is the condition of not having a sense of smell, either by birth or accident or illness; I am a congenital anosmiac, not ever having had a sense of smell, so if this weblog stinks, I will be about the last person to know about it.) And Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election on March 5th, with tomorrow being the last day to do so. My earliest call-in drops off the calendar (my next one will drop off on August 8th), and tomorrow is Heavy Business Volume Day for the Leap Cash Giveaway. We will work our eight hours, and on my breaks I will do my Daily Update for Friday, February 26th via WordPress for Android. After we get home from work, Richard will pay bills, then go to the grocery while I go to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. Our LSU Baseball team will play Sacramento State in the afternoon in the second game of their three-time home series. In the evening our New Orleans Pelicans will play a home game with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and our LSU Men’s Basketball will be playing a home game with Florida; I will post the scores of those games on my Sunday Daily Update.
Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Theodore Hesburgh, American priest and college president. Born in 1917 in Syracuse, New York, he had wished to become a priest since early childhood. He enrolled at Notre Dame in 1934, but after three years he was relocated to Rome and in 1939 he earned a bachelor of philosophy degree from the Gregorian University. Because he was sent to Rome, Hesburgh never finished his Notre Dame degree. He studied in Rome until he was forced to leave due to the outbreak of World War II. In 1943 he was ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross at Sacred Heart Church, later renamed the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, at Notre Dame. He graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1945, having earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology and taught Religion at Notre Dame, In 1948 he was named head of the Department of Theology. In 1949 Notre Dame president Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C. appointed him executive vice-president and served in that position for three years. Hesburgh served as Notre Dame’s President for 35 years (1952–1987), the longest tenure to date. He supervised dramatic growth, as well as a transition to coeducation in 1972. During his term, the annual operating budget rose by a factor of 18 from $9.7 million to $176.6 million, the endowment rose by a factor of 40 from $9 million to $350 million, and research funding rose by a factor of 20 from $735,000 to $15 million. Enrollment nearly doubled from 4,979 to 9,600, faculty more than doubled 389 to 950, and degrees awarded annually doubled from 1,212 to 2,500. In 1953 he created the Distinguished Professors Program to attract top scholars to Notre Dame. He also served in a number of other posts on government commissions, non-profit organization boards, and Vatican missions. In 1954 he was appointed by President Eisenhower to the National Science Board. From 1956 until 1970 he served as the permanent Vatican representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Hesburgh served as a member of the United States Civil Rights Commission from 1957 (appointed by president Eisenhower), and Chairman from 1969, until his dismissal by President Richard Nixon in 1972 due to his frequent opposition to Nixon policies. He was a contributor to the 1958 analysis of the U.S. education system, The Pursuit of Excellence, commissioned by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as part of its Special Studies Project. In 1964 he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor, by President Johnson. The same year he joined hands with Martin Luther King Jr. in support for civil rights during a rally in Chicago. In 1967 he turned governance of the University over to a two-tiered, mixed board of lay and religious trustees and fellows. That same year he led an academic movement which issued the so-called Land O’Lakes statement which insisted upon “true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical”. Hesburgh was a key figure in anti-Vietnam War student activism. After discovering a student plot to burn the Notre Dame campus ROTC building in 1969, Hesburgh issued a letter to the student body outlining the University’s stance. The letter was later reprinted by the New York Times and Washington Post. At the request of President Richard Nixon, Hesburgh advised Vice President Spiro Agnew regarding controlling violence on college campuses. However, Hesburgh generally disagreed with American policy in Vietnam and favored accelerated withdrawal of the troops. In 1968 he was appointed by Pope Paul VI as head of the Vatican representatives attending the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ human rights declaration in Tehran, Iran. According to Rick Perlstein in Nixonland, Hesburgh was at one time considered by George McGovern as his running mate in the 1972 presidential election. In 1972 he organized the establishment of the Tantur Institute for Ecumenical Studies in Jerusalem, at the request of Pope Paul VI. In 1974 Paul VI appointed him as a member of the Holy See’s U.N. delegation. From 1977 to 1982 Hesburgh was chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. President Jimmy Carter appointed him to a blue-ribbon immigration reform commission in 1979; the commission’s finding (that any national immigration reform proposals can succeed only if the American national border is properly secured beforehand) was cited by various opponents of illegal immigration to the United States, especially those who were Catholic or sympathetic to Catholic views. In 1983 he was appointed to the Pontifical Council for Culture by Pope John Paul II. Notre Dame awarded him an honorary degree in 1984. In 1994 he was elected to chair the Harvard Board of Overseers, the first priest to do so. He was one of the founders of People for the American Way. Hesburgh served on the Knight Commission that overhauled college sports from 1990 to 1996. In 2000 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the first person from higher education to receive the honor. In 2004 he was named the first recipient of the NCAA’s Gerald R. Ford Award for leadership in intercollegiate athletics. In 2009 he supported the invitation for Barack Obama to speak at Notre Dame, which was controversial because of Obama’s strong endorsement of pro-choice legislation. His career included sixteen presidential appointments involving most major social issues of his time, including civil rights, peaceful uses of atomic energy, campus unrest, Third World development, and immigration reform. Hesburgh attained many accomplishments, honors, and awards in his public career and he was the recipient of over 150 honorary degrees, the most ever awarded to one person (died 2015): “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
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