Monday, April 22, 2013

UPDATE: Daily Kos: Boston, West, Newtown: For Whom the Bells Toll, For Whom the Alarms Ring

Daily Kos: Boston, West, Newtown: For Whom the Bells Toll, For Whom the Alarms Ring:

West, Texas plant could have fueled terrorism

In this story from Reuters we learn that
The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Why is that important?  Well, let's start with this:
Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren't shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.
The bomb that took down the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, as Wikipedianotes,
The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6,[1] and injured 

Boston, West, Newtown: For Whom the Bells Toll, For Whom the Alarms Ring

is the title of this piece in the Atlantic by Richard Kim.   Simply put, it is brilliant, it is to the point, and absolutely you should read it.
Try his first paragraph, and you should see what I mean:
Ask yourself this: Do you know the name of any one of the victims killed in the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company disaster? Do you know how many of them there were? Their ages, aspirations, what they looked like, whether they left behind children or what messages they last posted on Facebook? Do you know if there is an explanation yet for what caused the explosion? Or if investigators are still searching for one?
And here's his conclusion:
Last night, a Fox news anchor cited a poll that claimed that just 4 percent of Americans think gun control is the “the most important problem facing the country today.” Implicit in his commentary is the idea that because gun violence isn’t seen as the singularly most urgent issue, it isn’t an issue at all, that like workplace fatalities are to a modern economy, so gun violence is to the Second 

Paul Krugman writes powerfully

on The Jobless Trap, his column for Monday's New York Times, which begins
F.D.R. told us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. But when future historians look back at our monstrously failed response to economic depression, they probably won’t blame fear, per se. Instead, they’ll castigate our leaders for fearing the wrong things.
By now, anyone who has been paying attention knows that Krugman has been sounding a clarion call that austerity is the wrong path and we must focus on the creation of jobs.  He goes through the arguments of the "austerians" such as the supposed - but false - idea that when the debt hits 90% of GDP there is some irreversible tipping point.  He reminds us that we aren't Greece, we control our own currency, and despite years of dire warning the government can still borrow at very low rates.  And then there is this:
But while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed.
If I have your attention and you hereby commit to go read his column, you can stop with this.   Otherwise, please