Go, West!

What the West report tells us is that 33(83% of the total) facilities in Texas that store fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate still are located within a quarter mile of homes. Apart from weakening the reporting and classification requirements, the only substantive thing Governor Abbott has done is to remove your right to find out if you live near a storage location.

Today also marks the day that the Chemical Safety Board reported back on the West disaster, another recent shadow over Texas.

There is no surprise that the report findings include damning conclusions on the disaster; a massive explosion at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility fatally injured twelve volunteer firefighters, two members of the public and caused hundreds of injuries. . The preliminary findings are here.

In the months following the disaster, I for one was appalled at the actions of then Texas Attorney General, now Texas Governor, Greg Abbotts actions. I wrote first about this in a June 2015 post called “The Texas Freedom Illusion“. In that, I remarked

The good news is Texas isn’t much worse than many others, at least we still have the ultimate freedom, to leave.

Which, coincidentally what I’ve done, leave. I also discussed West in the guise of the restrictions of information, when discussing the 1947 Texas City Disaster.

What the West report tells us is that 33(83% of the total) facilities in Texas that store fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate still are located within a quarter mile of homes. Apart from weakening the reporting and classification requirements, the only substantive thing Governor Abbott has done is to remove your right to find out if you live near a storage location.

Remember, you too have the freedom to leave.

China, still not big or bad enough

The primary difference being, as the updated NY Times article on Tianjin chemical storage shows, there were public records about chemical storage in China, not so much Texas. Freedom is an illusion.

china chemicals

Back on August 14th, the Austin American Statesman carried an article from the NY TImes about the dangers of Chemical storage on it’s front page. It did so without even a footnote highlighting the fact there is little in Texas that, in 2015, prevents the same thing happening. You can read an updated NY Times article here, or the one highlighted above here.

Of course, we had the total disaster in West, Texas in April 2013. Since then there has been little to prevent the same thing happening. When he was Texas Attorney General, Governor Abbott restricted any information about Chemical Storage held by the State, as posted over a year ago.. He said at the time, you can always show up and ask what chemicals are stored on a site near you. A fine example of what the Tianjin residents would call “shuǎzuǐpí“.

Of course, as we are always being told, “everything is bigger in Texas“,  and when it comes to chemical explosions, China has a long way to go to match Texas. Consider the pictures below, pretty similar.

Chemical Explosion

The pair on the left are from the 1947 Texas City Disaster, where 581 were killed, and over 5,000 injured, with more than 500 homes destroyed. Believed to be the USA largest ever and most destructive industrial accident. It ranks among the worlds largest man-made disasters. The pictures on the right are from the Tianjin explosions which killed 147 people.

The primary difference being, as the updated NY Times article on Tianjin chemical storage shows, there were public records about chemical storage in China, not so much Texas. Freedom is an illusion.

News of the Weird

The news of the weird column in the weekly Austin Chronicle is an interesting thing. Published by Chuck Shepard, it’s is mostly extracted, printed, and syndicated verbatim from http://www.newsoftheweird.com/syndicate.html. It’s a mix of quirky, surreal articles, many of which you would’t share with your mother or your children.

The case of Richard Rosario though deserves to be on other pages, it’s news of the bizarre. If true as reported, it’s one of those things that shows, you are only one unlucky break from having your life totally disrupted and bellies the truth behind the American system of fare just for all. You can hear the details of the story here.

2015-01-14 11.17.33

Bye bye American Pie

down

It’s illegal to unlock your own cellphone from Saturday, reports Mashable.

In many progressive countries where “illegal” monopolies don’t rule the people, selling phones locked to a network is illegal. Here in the increasingly reressive USA, locked, cooked phones that even when unlocked don’t work at full network speed is common place. From Saturday its even illegal to unlock your own phone. It’s hard to know what to say, even harder to prosecute. My t-mobile Samsung Galaxy S3 is unlocked, I did it myself, but how would the “cops” know when, and how would they prove it?

I went down to the sacred store, Where I’d heard the music years before, But the man there said the music wouldn’t play…