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I’ma get a little ranty on this subject. In the hullabaloo of the major news story of last week: the Boston Marathon Bombing and the shooting of Peace Officers and other Bombings a few days later, an inordinate amount of public support has poured in for the people of Boston. Even Elizabeth Warren sent out an email about “The People of Boston” and the “Strength of Boston”.
Boston, I tip my hat to you. You did put up with extraordinary circumstances and, what must have been a completely surreal and difficult week.
However, almost no one is covering a story of equal importance that occurred in West, Texas. Almost no one is discussing the deregulations and loss of government oversight that potentially allowed for such a massive explosion to claim 15 lives (to date) and injure over 200 others as well as causing a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
Many of those lives losts were first responders, too, including 10 Volunteer Firefighters, who by all accounts had training in hazardous materials in their community, but instead of being paid to be professional firefighters, did it out a sense of duty to their community, often times taking time off from their “real jobs” to take week-long trainings to obtain Texas state certifications.
I believe thetart wrote up a quick blog that I happened to catch last week in which she said there was almost no mention of West, Texas on MSNBC, by the heavy weights in the prime time slots. It was her opinion that because we’re in Texas, we don’t matter on the national level to the proverbial Liberal Left. I kind of think she may have a point.
Here is a great story that details what government deregulation can do, what harm it can be to the citizens. Here is a state that traditionally frowns on “government” overreaching into “private business”, and in fact, uses that as a selling point to other companies. Why do you think Texas is the bastion of Oil & Gas Conglomerates?
Sure, we fear psychopaths that willingly bomb innocent people. The problem is, we don’t seem to use that same amount of revileness towards companies that actually make a point of operating in the very gray area of ethical standards.
That this explosion in West, Texas occurred 1 day before the 50th anniversary of another explosion at the same plant is extremely telling. It can and will happen again, but instead of calling for tighter regulations, all of my representatives, from the U.S. Senate to the House of Representatives to the State Legislature are strangely silent. Now, where my Senators and Representatives are concerned, I completely understand. All of them are to the right of Atila the Hun and some of them nearly as crazy. (I’m looking at you, Ted Cruz. You too, Cornyn, since you seem to be trying to one-up Cruz in the crazy department to stay in favour with the Texas Tea Party. My Congressman, Ted Poe isn’t far from the crazy train led by our Texas Senators, either.)
The point is, I do feel sorry for Boston. I really, really do. And when evil things happen, they should give us pause and frighten us.
But, when explosions happen out of the blue, where they happened before and almost no one talks about it, that scares me, even more, Texas or no Texas.
…and if nothing else, where is THIS story:
And the story that Governor Rick Perry is refusing to fund Obamacare in this state, one of the states with the worst health care reputation?
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WILLIE NELSON ON WEST, TEXAS EXPLOSION
“West is just a few miles from my hometown of Abbott. I was born and raised here and it was my backyard growing up. This is my community. These friends and neighbors have always been and are still a part of my life. My heart is praying for the community that we call home.” - Willie Nelson
Proceeds from Willie Nelson’s previously scheduled performance at The Backyard in Austin, TX on April 28th will now benefit the West Volunteer Fire Department. Please go to WillieNelson.com for updates on how you can help through donations of goods and funds, including making blood donations to the Red Cross for West, Texas.
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Two days and counting until we launch our latest exhibit – To The Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis! We’re adding a few finishing touches, but here’s a sneak peek: the chairs used by President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in their 1961 Vienna meeting. The iconic photo of their meeting can be seen in the background.
To The Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis opens April 12 at the JFK Library. Watch here to learn more about the exhibit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO9YrVKc7Tc&feature=youtu.be
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- 16people injured in a stabbing spree this morning at Lone Star College’s CyFair campus, northwest of Houston, Texas. Two of those wounded are currently in critical condition. This is the second violent, grisly attack to take place at a Lone Star College campus in the last few months — the North Harris campus in Houston fell pray to a shooting last January. source
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HB 2093 took up the bulk of the House elections committee’s morning session today, but, in the end, it may be for naught - with the bill’s author State Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring) suggesting that she might pull the bill and propose it instead as the subject of a post-session legislative study.
During the committee hearing, True the Vote, the Association of Republican County Chairmen, and the Harris County clerk testified for the bill, citing the difficulty of hiring election workers for a two-week early voting period and suggesting that having more early voting locations (but a shorter period) might be a better administrative answer.
The bulk of the testimony, however, was against the bill.
Several county election administrators testified that the bill, in fact, might increase costs if they were to try to have more early voting locations in response to a reduction in the number of days of early voting. They explained, that’s because they would need buy additional equipment and hire more staff for the additional locations. If funds for additional equipment were not available, one administrator said it likely would mean moving early voting to larger sites since in many counties nearly half the early vote comes in the week that the bill would lop off. She and other administrators suggested that was not as easy as it sounds as a practical matter.
A number of other witnesses testified about a negative impact on voting in Texas and pointed out that the issue cut across party lines - noting that Mitt Romney received 65% of his total vote and Ted Cruz 66% of his in early voting (a higher percentage than Democratic candidates received).
Glen Maxey of the Texas Democratic Party, in fact, went so far as to call HB 2093 “a voter suppression bill for Republicans.”
This is another reason to #FireStan (Stan Stanart, Harris County Clerk) who testified in support of this bill, when many Harris County early voting locations observed long waiting lines during the election in 2012.
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