Corn dog crash in Louisiana closes Interstate Highway

Crews in Louisiana are still working to clean up the mess that was left when an 18-wheeler carrying corn dogs bound for California overturned on the section of I-220 that connects to LA 3132.

During the crash outside Shreveport, more than half of the 76,800 corn dogs on the truck ended up on the side of the road.

According to police, the crash happened around 3:40 a.m. Tuesday when the driver flipped the 18-wheeler and hit a guard rail.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Luckily the only injuries were those sustained by the Foster Farms corn dogs.

It’s unclear if the driver was carrying Mini Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs, Jumbo Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs, Chili Cheese Corn Dogs or Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs.

Fortunately, there’s little need to repackage the corn dogs potentially injured or abused by contact with the highway. The typical consumer of this uniquely American treat wouldn’t notice any difference in flavor, texture or bouquet.

Oops! of the Day

Daylife/AP PHoto used by permission

In this photo provided by Minnesota State Patrol, a semi truck is submerged in an icy pond in Monticello, Minn. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012. The Minnesota State Patrol says the driver was taken to a local hospital, treated and released. Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske says the driver was pulling a Target trailer, left eastbound I-94, crossed over lanes of oncoming traffic and skidded onto the pond. Roeske says the semi skidded 100 to 200 yards across the ice before breaking through.

Looking at videos of the accident, the ice appears thick enough that the driver almost – that’s almost – made it across the pond.

Bull semen spill closes Tennessee highway

A spill of frozen bull semen bound for a breeder in the state of Texas triggered a scare on Tuesday that temporarily shut down a U.S. interstate highway during the morning rush hour.

The incident began when the driver of a Greyhound bus carrying the freight alerted the fire department he had lost a part of his load while negotiating the ramp on a highway near Nashville. “We didn’t know what it was, but we were told (the canisters) were non-toxic,” said Maggie Lawrence, a fire department spokeswoman.

When firefighters arrived on the ramp, they saw “four small propane-sized canisters (that) began to emit a light vapor,” Lawrence said. In addition to the vapor, the canisters also let off an unpleasant odor and the ramp was closed while emergency personnel tried to determine what was in the containers.

The bus driver turned around to retrieve the canisters. Once emergency personnel learned the smoking canisters were nothing hazardous and that they simply contained frozen bull semen that had been stored on dry ice, Tennessee Department of Transportation and fire department workers cleared the ramp.

There’s apparently no truth to the rumor the shipment was for Rick Perry’s weekly inoculation against brains and learnin’.

Video shows lorry pushing trapped car along motorway

A haulage firm began an investigation after a video emerged that appears to show a lorry driver speeding along a motorway unaware that a car was trapped under its bumper.

The mobile phone footage shows an Arclid Transport lorry travelling in the fast lane on the A1(M) near Wetherby, West Yorkshire, with a blue Renault Clio trapped sideways under its bumper.

The footage, believed to have been filmed in January by passengers in a vehicle on the same road, showed the driver of the Clio – who has not so far been identified – appearing to try to release the car by pressing the brakes…

It is believed the car driver emerged without any serious injuries once both vehicles had come to a stop. The footage was later posted on YouTube.

A spokesman for Cheshire-based Arclid Transport, which specialises in transporting bulk powders and granular products throughout the UK, said an investigation had begun…

A West Yorkshire police spokesman said: “On 13 January at around 8.30am, we attended a road traffic collision on the southbound A1 near Wetherby, to a report that a blue Renault Clio had been in collision with an HGV…

“At the time of our attendance, there were no injuries and both vehicles were on the hard shoulder of the motorway.

“As a result, at the time, the incident was treated as a damage-only collision. However, in light of the new evidence, we are re-investigating the collision and the matter has been passed to our major collision inquiry team. Inquiries are ongoing.”

I can understand why the truck driver wouldn’t bring up any discussion of how the accident proceeded. Why did the Renault driver keep quiet, eh?

UPDATE: The driver of the Renault was Rona Williams. She was on her mobile begging for help about the time this video was shot.

Stimulus projects under budget, ahead of schedule

U.S. President Barack Obama says that thousands of major infrastructure projects being undertaken as part of his economic stimulus plan were ahead of schedule and under budget.

Obama…says 2,000 new projects to rebuild U.S. highways and bridges already had been approved under the $787 billion stimulus plan that became law in February. That plan provided $48 billion to the Transportation Department for infrastructure improvements, including $28 billion for road projects.

“By the end of next year our investment in highway projects alone will create or save 150,000 jobs, most of them in the private sector,” Obama said during an appearance at the Transportation Department to plug his plan. “What is most remarkable about this effort … isn’t just the size of our investment or the number of projects we’re investing in. It is how quickly, efficiently and responsibly those investments have been made…”

Obama said fierce competition for the projects had led to bids coming in under budget in many states around the country. The White House said bids have been 15 to 20 percent lower than expected on average.

“Because these projects are proceeding so efficiently, we now have more recovery dollars to go around, and that means we can fund more projects, revitalize more of our infrastructure, put more people back to work,” he said.

It was a local project that prompted me to Google around for what’s going on in the infrastructure portion of the stimulus. There’s a major interstate interchange down in Albuquerque that was ready to be bonded and bid out for about $350 million. The original construction design was a piece of crap and the execution wasn’t much better. The usual state of affairs here in New Mexico.

I happened to see a TV news spot that said stimulus funds were awarded for rebuilding the interchange – and that it was going to be done for $300 million. We seem to have gotten the under-budget part OK.

How’s this for P.R.? Smiley masks for Thai police.

It is the latest version of the famous Thai smile – motorcycle policemen with a bright red goofy grin painted onto their white anti-pollution masks.

For the first week of the year – and longer if people seem to be smiling back – highway policemen in Thailand will wear the masks “to lift the mood of motorists,” according to police officials.

“For our highway policemen, we have the policy that the police must be friendly and smiling all the time, but the problem is, when we’re tired, it’s hard to keep smiling,” said Colonel Somyos Promnim, the Highway Police commander…

Starting out his new administration, the already embattled prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva – the fourth prime minister this year – made a promise to his people this month: “I will prove that once again Thailand can be the land of the free, the land of opportunities, and the land of smiles.”

The highway police seem to be as good a place to start as any.

I’ll pass this along to our local sheriff – as a suggestion. Har!

The biggest danger driving behind a truckload of chickens?


Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found evidence of a novel pathway for potential human exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria from intensively raised poultry—driving behind the trucks transporting broiler chickens from farm to slaughterhouse…

Typically, broiler chickens are transported in open crates on the back of flatbed trucks with no effective barrier to prevent release of pathogens into the environment. Previous studies have reported that these crates become contaminated with feces and bacteria.

The new study was conducted on the Delmarva Peninsula—a coastal region shared by Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, which has one of the highest densities of broiler chickens per acre in the United States. Researchers…collected air and surface samples from cars driving two to three car lengths behind the poultry trucks for a distance of 17 miles. The cars were driven with both air conditioners and fans turned off and with the windows fully opened. Air samples collected inside the cars, showed increased concentrations of bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant strains) that could be inhaled. The same bacteria were also found deposited on a soda can inside the car and on the outside door handle, where they could potentially be touched…

The strains of bacteria collected were found to be resistant to three antimicrobial drugs widely used to treat bacterial infections in people. [Of course]…these drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as feed additives for broiler poultry.

Ain’t the first time I’ve said it: the FDA is the FEMA of public health.

Road to recovery has turned into a highway of terror!

Asadullah and his fellow 55 passengers are taking a ride along the 483-km highway that many believe is the most dangerous stretch of road on the planet. Linking Kandahar and Kabul – Afghanistan’s two largest and most economically vital cities – and completed almost five years ago, the road was meant to open a gateway to economic development and improve the quality of life for Afghans.

The US state department touted the $190 million project as “the most visible sign of America’s post-war reconstruction” in Afghanistan. But today the road is a symbol of instability across the country, the failure of government and international security forces to maintain law and order, and the increasing presence of the Taliban.

Government and military officials say insurgents and bandits regularly pull travellers from their vehicles, murdering or kidnapping them for ransoms. Corrupt government security forces seek bribes and collaborate with insurgents and robbers. Roadside bombs frequently target Afghan police and military patrols, along with Nato convoys. No one in an official capacity can even quantify the violence…

Afghans unable to afford the $100 one-way airfare between Kabul and Kandahar pay an average of $6 for the bus ride. They hope the bus will be safer than travelling in private vehicles, which are favoured targets of the Taliban and highwaymen.

The police beg for another 320 able bodies. The Afghan Army begs for modern weapons. The United States – you may remember that we devised and led the invasion of this nation – spends billions on a temple to American greed in Baghdad’s Green Zone and the soldiers needed to protect it. We send the Afghan people little lectures on morality.

American conservatives and professional patriots see no contradictions whatsoever.

Scenic highway – Afghanistan version

SAYDABAD, Afghanistan: Not far from here, just off the highway that was once the showpiece of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, three U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter were ambushed and killed six weeks ago.

The soldiers died as their vehicles were hit by mines and rocket-propelled grenades. At least one was dragged off and chopped to pieces, according to Afghan and Western officials, the body so badly mutilated that at first the military announced it had found the remains of two men, not one, in a field.

The attack on June 26 was notable not only for its brutality, but because it came amid a series of spectacular insurgent attacks along the road, which have highlighted the precariousness of the international effort to secure Afghanistan six years after the United States intervened to drive off the Taliban government…
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