May 28th, 2010
07:54 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Rep. Charlie Melancon

The Louisiana Democrat lost his composure Thursday during a Capitol Hill hearing about the Gulf oil spill.

"Our culture is threatened. Our coastal economy is threatened. And everything that I know and love is at risk," Melancon, who represents many of the affected Louisiana shoreline areas, told his Capitol Hill colleagues.

Unable to finish reading his prepared statement, Melancon, who was born and raised in the area threatened by the spill, submitted his statement for the congressional record and then walked out of the hearing room as other lawmakers sought to comfort him.

Melancon is scheduled to join President Obama on Friday for a briefing led by U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen on the efforts to stop the BP leak and prevent the oil from reaching Louisiana's coastal marshes.

CNN Political Ticker: Louisiana Democrat gets emotional over spill's impact

CNN: Obama to visit Gulf, vows to take action on growing oil spill

Doug Inkley

The certified wildlife biologist and senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation says that the impact of oil spills can last a long time. Inkley has spent the past week surveying the Gulf area, specifically in Louisiana at the Mississippi River Delta.

He told USA Today, "The complete toll on fish and wildlife will never be fully known. I discovered a bottom-dwelling eel floating dead on the surface of the oil slick, but who knows how many more will die and never surface."

On the federation's website, Inkley wrote about another disaster on the minds of many people today.

"More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, oil can still be found on the beaches of Prince William Sound. Many species have still not completely recovered. Herring, an important link in the food chain and previously supporting a commercial fishing industry in the area, have shown little recovery. Wildlife still not recovered to pre-oil spill populations include goldeneyes, black oystercatchers, harlequin ducks, killer whales, sea otters, clams and mussels."

USA Today: Wildlife expert answers questions on spill's impact

National Wildlife Federation: How you can help wildlife impacted by spill

Al Snyder

The father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a soldier from Maryland who died in combat in Iraq in 2006 at age 20, wants the nation's courts to establish the right of military families to a peaceful private funeral.

According to its website, the Snyder family filed a civil lawsuit against the Rev. Fred Phelps and some members of his Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, "to bring an end to the reign of terror and abuse that they inflicted upon their family and ... approximately 50 other grieving families of U.S. service members killed in defense of our nation."

Matthew Snyder's funeral was marred by vocal protests from the Westboro Baptist Church, which stages anti-gay picketing at funerals and public events - demonstrations protected by the First Amendment.

Al Snyder is scheduled to appear with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, for a Friday news conference in Washington on the rights of military families.

CNN: 'Most-hated,' anti-gay preacher once fought for civil rights

Bobbi Ann Finley

Police are hunting for the American woman who may have married as many as 11 servicemen and then allegedly took their money.

London's Daily Mail newspaper reports that for some 20 years, Finley has been finding lonely men at U.S. military bases and claiming that her father, supposedly a Marine Corps general, owes her a substantial inheritance - which she can claim only if she is married. Once they wed and the groom leaves for deployment, Finley allegedly begins to spend through his bank account, the paper reports.

According to the newspaper, there are warrants for Finley's arrest in Washington, Nebraska and Texas, and the U.S. Army has hired a special investigator to locate her.

One serviceman, Shane Cheeseman, told reporters he met Finley while at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1998.

He said, "I got married on a Monday, and that following weekend she was gone."

Daily Mail: Hunt for woman who married servicemen and went on the run

Mary Roach

The author and investigative reporter from Oakland, California, proved that science writers can be as funny as comedians.

At a Book Expo America panel in New York on Thursday moderated by "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, Roach stole the show from not only Stewart but also from fellow authors John Grisham and Condoleezza Rice.

She made quips about her comparative anonymity ("BEA Authors Panel featuring Stewart, Rice, Grisham and more"); dandruff in space ("a virtual snow globe"); the science behind intergalactic bowel movements ("no drop, no plop"); and sex in space ("It is easier to get a man on the moon than it is to get the NASA press office to respond to an e-mail titled Zero-Gravity Intercourse").

Roach is the author of the upcoming book "Packing for Mars," which comes out in August. Her previous best-sellers are "Bonk," about the scientific study of human-sex practices, and "Stiff," about the use of cadavers in research.

Mary Roach's website

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. mike m.

    Just to put things into perspective, the commercial fishing fleets in this country, like the oil companies, make their livings off of a public resource. Currently 70% of the world’s fisheries are over-exploited, and the world’s fishing fleets are 250% larger than necessary. And as far as the shrimp trawling industry is concerned, for every pound of shrimp they bring to market they destroy an average of five pounds of bycatch. Bycatch being any fish, crustacean, sea turtle or other aquatic species unlucky enough to be caught in their nets. To add insult to injury, shrimp can be farmed very efficiently and environmentally responsibly, something the trawl industry has lobbied against for decades.
    Certainly everyone has a right to make a living, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for people who, like the oil companies, have been exploiting our natural resources for decades with little or no accountability. I do, however, empathize with the sport-fishing charter captains, who understand that their livelihood depends on the health of the resource and strive daily to conserve the fisheries and the natural environment on which it depends.

    May 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Roman Von Hapsburg

    I was thinking of how it could be possible to blame Obama for my wife's crappy cooking skills but I came up with nothing. I need to call Rush to see how he could twist reality to make him the culprit of my wife's culinary skills. This enviromental s–t show is the result of lax regulation and the scope of this disaster is such that there is NOTHING that we can throw at it to make it better. The US government has no magic bullet to make this stop and blaming its Chief Executive for an appropriate response to the impossible is as logical to me as any attempt to blame this hapless man for my wife's burnt pork chops.
    Hatred and fear makes people crazy and this country will suffer if do not stop blaming each other and try to meet in the middle

    May 28, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jake

    Liberals believe
    emotions rule over logic.
    Conservatives believe
    logic rules over emotions.
    Liberalism is a matriarchy.
    Conservatism is a patriarchy.

    Jon Stewart is going to turn into an old woman.
    In the meantime,
    feel free
    to enjoy his
    brand of humor.
    He makes his mommy

    May 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      If conservatives believed in logic over emotion, then they would not believe in a non existent sky fairy. You FAIL.

      May 28, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • RVH

      The emotion in your post is very evident. When making arguments for the logic in your stance, please make sure that LOGIC is employed to prove your point, not emotion. Logic implies the use of data to make decisions. The ridiculous concept of Conservatism as Patriarchy is not something you can prove any more than you can prove that The Teletubbies are gay.

      May 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Voice of GOD

    Stewart is nothing more than a comedic mouthpiece for the liberals. Only a progressive traitor would post about him as though he were a journalist with real "news".

    May 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      If you are the voice of GOD, why are there words spewing forth from your keyboard (since you do not exist)?

      May 28, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      You say "progressive" like it's a bad thing. In fact, Progressivism was one of the most important eras in the twentieth century, a time when the government began to regulate industries that were out of control. This included anti-trust and child labor laws. Presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson passed progressivist legislation.

      May 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CATom

    Wasn't that john stewart in that pot movie?

    May 28, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Maggie

      Half Baked? Yes, he was an enhancement smoker. And had one of the best lines of all time. "You ever see the back of a $20 bill...on weed?"

      May 28, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Moxie

    So, where is the Yoo interview? I clicked on the link from the home page. Are they referring to the January Interview, or is there a new one?

    May 28, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rickalus

    Thank you Rep. Melancon for showing the true "face" of this disaster here in coastal Louisiana. As everyone else around the country points fingers and uses this event to further their own political agendas and rants (including everyone who missed the point of this Intriguing People post on Rep. Melancon), we remain here devastated and in shock as "real" people with "real" emotions as it relates to our birthplace and years of memories provided by these areas. I wish their were more sincere officials like you. God bless you and the State of Louisiana.

    May 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sam lovelace

    why is everybody worried about tv shows? there is something really bad goin on in the ocean and nobody acts like it even matters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 30, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
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