It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there. But Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012. Compared with Illinois, which has the nation’s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs….
It is impossible to know whether tougher regulations would have prevented the disaster near West, especially since investigators remain unsure what sparked the fire that caused the fertilizer to explode. McLennan is among the counties without a fire code.
But federal officials and fire safety experts contend that fire codes and other requirements would probably have made a difference. A fire code would have required frequent inspections by fire marshals who might have prohibited the plant’s owner from storing the fertilizer just hundreds of feet from a school, a hospital, a railroad and other public buildings, they say. A fire code also would probably have mandated sprinklers and forbidden the storage of ammonium nitrate near combustible materials. (Investigators say the fertilizer was stored in a largely wooden building near piles of seed, one possible factor in the fire.)
“It’s tough to overstate the importance fire codes would have made,” said Scott Harris, a former emergency management coordinator in Texas for the Environmental Protection Agency, who is now with UL Workplace Health and Safety, a safety science company. “Texas just hasn’t wrapped its brain around this fact yet.”"
Poll: voters trust Hillary over GOP on Benghazi.
Republicans’ fixation on Benghazi isn’t doing them any good — and may actually be backfiring.
Public Policy Polling: PPP’s newest national poll finds that Republicans aren’t getting much traction with their focus on Benghazi over the last week. Voters trust Hillary Clinton over Congressional Republicans on the issue of Benghazi by a 49/39 margin and Clinton’s +8 net favorability rating at 52/44 is identical to what it was on our last national poll in late March. Meanwhile Congressional Republicans remain very unpopular with a 36/57 favorability rating.
Voters think Congress should be more focused on other major issues right now rather than Benghazi. By a 56/38 margin they say passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill is more important than continuing to focus on Benghazi, and by a 52/43 spread they think passing a bill requiring background checks for all gun sales should be a higher priority.
So Republicans think they’ve moved on from gun violence and can now dick around trying to gin up outrage over Benghazi, only to have the public ask, “Why are you screwing around with this Benghazi stuff? Where are our background checks?”
Bonus hilarity; behold Republican voters’ complete lack of any sense of proportion:
While voters overall may think Congress’ focus should be elsewhere there’s no doubt about how mad Republicans are about Benghazi. 41% say they consider this to be the biggest political scandal in American history to only 43% who disagree with that sentiment. Only 10% of Democrats and 20% of independents share that feeling. Republicans think by a 74/19 margin than Benghazi is a worse political scandal than Watergate, by a 74/12 margin that it’s worse than Teapot Dome, and by a 70/20 margin that it’s worse than Iran Contra.
I often use the hyperbolic statement to poke fun at conservative overreaction and make a point, but a significant percentage of Republicans literally believe that Benghazi is the worst thing ever!
How out of touch are these people? For Republicans, this is the worst scandal in American history. For everyone else it’s a typical Washington timewaster.
[photo via Wikimedia Commons]
La Cosecha / The Harvest (2011)
“Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat. Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. The Harvest / La Cosecha profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida’s tomato fields to follow the harvest and provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12 – 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America.”
just goes to show you that not consuming animals does not mean you are supporting a system that is cruelty free
"For example, one study found that approximately three in ten American college students reported using marijuana in the past year (Mohler-Kuo et al., 2003). The study also found that the prevalence of marijuana use was highest for White college students, followed by Hispanic, Asian, and African American students."
This happens in the United States: modern day slaver/guilty judge sentenced to 28 years in prison for “selling” kids to private prisons in 2011
Accused of perpetrating a “profound evil,” former Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for illegally accepting money from a juvenile-prison developer while he spent years incarcerating thousands of young people.
Prosecutors said Ciavarella sent juveniles to jail as part of a “kids for cash” scheme involving Robert Mericle, builder of the PA and Western PA Child Care juvenile detention centers. The ex-judge was convicted in February of 12 counts that included racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion.
In addition to his prison sentence, Ciavarella was ordered to pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution.
At his sentencing, Ciavarella acknowledged his illegal acceptance of money from Mericle. But he denied ever jailing a juvenile in exchange for money.
Once the case against Ciavarella surfaced, special investigative panels began reviewing cases he handled from 2003 to 2008. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that he denied about 5,000 juveniles, some as young as ten, their constitutional rights, leading to the vacating of their convictions.
Among the young people exploited by Ciavarella were 15-year-old Hillary Transue, who was sentenced to three months at a juvenile detention center for mocking an assistant principal on a MySpace page; and 13-year-old Shane Bly, who was sent to a boot camp for two weekends after being accused of trespassing in a vacant building.
Another judge, Michael T. Conahan, used his position to shut down the county-run juvenile detention center and redirect juvenile detainees to the private prisons. He pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.