Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chupacabra Report

I enjoy “Intelligence Squared,” the Oxford-style debate show on NPR and this week I heard a doozy.

The line-up this week was unusual; all Republicans. They were:

Laura Ingraham, a conservative talk show host who makes a nice living scaring old people on Fox News and selling books smearing President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Mickey Edwards, an eight-term congressman from Oklahoma who was primaried out of his seat in 1993 after the House Banking Scandal.

David Brooks, an establishment weather vane for the New York Times.

And finally Ralph Reed, the former “right hand of God,” who escaped prosecution for his part as a bible-thumping shill for Jack Abramoff’s Indian casino shakedown and then got whipped in his campaign to be elected Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.

The motion for debate was “The GOP Must Seize the Center or Die.”

Before the debate each audience is polled on the motion. They are again polled after the debate and the side that makes the most headway wins. This audience initially supported the motion 65% to 14% against.

Next, the four panelists argued over who were the real conservatives, and whether Ronald Reagan was a saint or merely a hero. Quite entertaining if one likes that sort of thing.

Afterwards, 65% of the audience again favored the motion, but now 28% were opposed. So Reed and Ingraham, the ‘opposed’ side, won the debate, and no doubt went home that night happy that they had proven their point, that the ‘Party of God’ ought to go on its merry way, pushing for a heavily-armed theocratic plutocracy that bashes gays and immigrants.

Some win. I think this shows the future of the GOP; a hell-bound snowball. With such ideologically pure leadership, this party that just a decade ago plotted a ‘permanent majority’ will end up in the wilderness on the strength such pyrrhic victories. Demographics aside, as a great Republican once said; “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

West, Texas

“Oversight of the plant has been sporadic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees workplace safety, last inspected the plant in 1985. Throughout the past 25 years, various local and state agencies responded to complaints of foul odors and improper storage. Resolutions sometimes took months to occur, but the plant did document the necessary changes, including better labeling on storage tanks and adoption of an emergency plan.

“"If there's a better way to do this, we want to know about it," Perry said last week.”

“Gov. Rick Perry on Monday defended the state's inspections process regarding the West fertilizer plant where a fire and explosion last week killed 14 people and devastated the small Central Texas town while officials began offering theories on a cause.” –Houston Chronicle

“Somebody has to tell the E.P.A. that we don’t need you monkeying around and fiddling around and getting in our business with every kind of regulation you can dream up,” he said. “You’re doing nothing more than killing jobs. It’s a cemetery for jobs at the E.P.A.” - Governor Rick Perry
“The EPA is a runaway federal agency that must be reined in.” -Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
“In the city of Houston, sexually oriented businesses are forbidden to be within 1,500 feet of a school. Say what you want about strip clubs, they are generally not prone to exploding. From a safety perspective, it’s no contest.” –Charles Kuffner

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chupacabra Report

News that Gets My Goat

From today’s Chronicle:

“The Texas attorney general would be able to settle environmental lawsuits filed by cities and counties without input or approval from local officials, under a bill backed by business interests that is scheduled for a hearing in Austin on Tuesday.

“A second bill would bar cities and counties from hiring outside lawyers if they are to be paid from winnings to help fight costly environmental cases aimed at extracting penalties from polluters.

“Together the bills, to be heard before the House Environmental Regulations Committee, effectively would limit local governments' ability to pursue environmental claims against deep-pocketed companies accused of causing significant environmental damage requiring expensive cleanups, according to county and municipal attorneys across the state. The bills are being carried by state Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Garland.”

And this:

“Environmental groups are questioning the Texas environmental agency's proposal to remove from its pollutant watch list a chemical that figured prominently in a massive release that led to more than 48,000 claims for damaged health.

“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is considering removing benzene and hydrogen sulfide from its air pollutant watch list for Texas City, saying monitoring stations in 2009 and 2010 recorded significant drops in emissions.

“During 40 days in 2010, however, the former BP refinery, now owned by Marathon, belched more than 538,000 pounds of gases into the air. The release included at least 17,371 pounds of benzene, the third largest release of that chemical in Texas from 2009-11. Environmentalists say this makes the decision to remove benzene from the watch list questionable.”

-Well, as Rick Perry is fond of saying, “the State of Texas is open for business.” These foxes really resent anything getting in the way of their running the henhouse. Texas cities have had to take polluters to court because the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is an unabashed flackcatcher for industry. Now industry would have relief from even that feeble channel for monitoring and regulation. And benzene! A toxicological revue prepared by the Harvard School of Public Health in 1948 for the American Petroleum Institute (!) states that "it is generally considered that the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero."