Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
Jon Stewart rocks!
It will be nothing but fun to watch the Birthers who ran all their Trumped-up blather over a non-white Democrat born in Hawaii running for president. Even worse – winning.
Now, they get to flip-flop when the same silly questions on presidential eligibility are asked of their favorite white Republican Kool Aid Party Kandidate – born in Calgary.
Despite being located within a short walk of a nursing home, school and residential buildings, West Fertilizer Co in central Texas had no blast walls and had filed no contingency plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a major explosion or fire at the site.
It remains unclear what safety measures, if any, were required of the company or whether West Fertilizer failed to comply. But on Wednesday night, the company’s fertilizer complex in West, Texas – population, 2,600 – exploded with such force that 60 to 80 homes were flattened, the school and nursing home took heavy damage and at least 14 people were killed, authorities said.
In a 2011 filing with the EPA, the operators of West Fertilizer told regulators that a typical emergency scenario at the facility that holds anhydrous ammonia could result in a 10-minute release of the substance in gas form. That chemical, used as a fertilizer, is toxic to inhale but is not considered highly flammable or explosive, and the safety plan did not envisage any blast scenario.
In a separate filing earlier this year to the Texas Department of State Health Services, West Fertilizer disclosed that, as of the end of 2012, the company was also storing more volatile chemical compounds at the same address, including 270 tons of ammonium nitrate…
In a filing with the EPA in 2011, West Fertilizer outlined safety measures to deal with an incident involving only the less flammable liquid gas, anhydrous ammonia. The filing, obtained by the left-leaning Center for Effective Government, did not envisage an emergency scenario that would cause a fire or explosion.
West Fertilizer is subject to EPA regulation because the quantity of ammonia it stores on site is more than 10,000 pounds.
In December 2006, it received a 10-year permit from Texas regulators that allowed for the operation of two 12,000-gallon storage tanks for anhydrous ammonia. The permit required West Fertilizer to carry out daily visual, auditory and olfactory inspections. It was not clear whether the firm required, or obtained, additional permits for operations involving more volatile compounds…
Thousands of sites across rural America store potentially explosive materials and blend fertilizer for farmers, similar to West Fertilizer. In EPA reports, about 10,000 facilities say they store anhydrous ammonia.
Keep on rocking in the Free World.
The answer to the headline questions are stuck into “Free World” ideology. Profit-centered politicians whose priorities include neither public safety nor forward-looking regulation of any industry.
Once again, an uninformed public is left with people in charge who are perfectly willing to wait for death and destruction to motivate politics. And only begrudgingly.
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, approximately 250,000 cars are damaged by hail every year in the U.S. alone. The average cost of repair comes in at just over US$3,100, so what’s a person to do to protect their vehicle when rain takes the form of ice sculpted golf balls? The obvious solution – airbag the car.
Shifting the airbag from a car’s interior to its exterior was the idea of the folks at Texas-based Hail Storm Products. The company’s patented Hail Protection System is essentially a puffy car cover/airbag in one that is designed to protect from hail damage…
The cover itself is made up of two layers, the first of which straps to the wheels and under the car, with the second forming the outer protection. The cover inflates via four blowers that are powered by a small compressor that sits idle until the owner engages the defense system using a small remote.
With the ability to inflate in less than five minutes, the manufacturer claims the system can protect vehicles from hail up to the size of a softball. Once the storm has passed, the system then goes on standby and returns to its role as the Clark Kent of car covers.
In addition to hail defense, the cover also offers the usual UV protection, water resistance and breathability when not in armor mode. Installation is also car cover simple, with a few minor steps added for the strapping down and power connections.
Back in the day, I was visiting clients in Denver and looked out the window and saw a black cloud approaching – flat, ferocious and big enough to scare the average dragon. It said only one thing to me. Here comes a monster hail storm.
My client had his own car parked inside the single-car garage at his business and it didn’t look like there were any other choices in the neighborhood. I jumped in my car and headed for the nearest freeway entrance. Got on, got rolling away from the storm as fast as I could – and turned back off at the first exit I came to that obviously connected to an underpass back beneath the freeway.
Dived down the ramp and just got parked under the freeway when the storm hit. Denver suffered tens of millions of dollars of damage that day. Glass-fronted buildings had their whole facade ripped away, smashed and demolished.
My car was just fine.
But, if I lived someplace in West Texas – where there isn’t an abundance of bridges – I would buy one of these critters.
The only American politicians who consider this a high priority
Germany’s upper house of Parliament, the Bundesrat, voted Friday to criminalize for the first time “using an animal for personal sexual activities” and to punish offenders with fines of as much as $34,000. It was the final legislative hurdle for a bill the lower house passed in December.
The vote follows months of debate that pitted zoophiles against animal rights and protection advocates. Sexual mores seemed not to play a paramount role.
The ban, which carries only a misdemeanor charge, is an amendment to the country’s animal protection law, multifaceted legislation that, among other things, regulates animal testing and the sale of animals and prohibits animal abuse, including “using an animal for personal sexual activities or making them available to third parties for sexual activities and thereby forcing them to behave in ways that are inappropriate to their species.”
Zoophiles argue that their relationships with their pets, or “partners” as they prefer, are entirely mutual. Michael Kiok, a director of the advocacy group Zoophilic Engagement for Tolerance and Enlightenment, who now finds himself the de facto face of zoophilia in Germany, says animals are perfectly capable of expressing whether or not they desire sex.
Animal-rights groups have criticized men like Mr. Kiok, saying they put defenseless creatures in harm’s way.
The assorted and sundry tweaks of human sexuality never cease to amaze. Many of them are mirrored in other chordate species – and I doubt they get as excited, worried, philosophical or otherwise emotionally upset over discussion – or the acts themselves as do humans.
If something painful or too uncomfortable happens – well, you might get bit, I imagine.
Of course, outside of Texas sheepherders, I can’t imagine the question coming up in American politics. It’s that sophistication thingie, again.
A new library to be opened in Bexar County, Texas, will provide visitors with a bank of e-Readers for borrowing e-books … but books of the traditional paper variety will be glaringly absent. The project marks the first public library to be built as an all-digital service and just to make sure library-goers are in no doubt that it’s the 21st century, the interior will feature a design influenced by Apple retail stores.
The library, known as the BiblioTech, was announced by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and is set to open later this year. If the scheme proves successful, then similar facilities will be opened across Bexar County.
And the library’s design? “If you want an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store,” Wolff says. The designers might have a bit of a task on their hands however, with the new library being built in a remodeled structure that currently houses the offices for Tax Assessor, Justice of the Peace and Constable. Suffice to say, its not likely to be quite up there with Apple’s Fifth Avenue store, but the artist’s impression of the interior does bear a number of the Apple Store hallmarks.
Library goers won’t have to provide their own devices to take advantage of the BiblioTech’s digital catalog, with an initial stock of one hundred unspecified e-Readers available for lending. Visitors can borrow the devices for up to two weeks, and while the system might seem rather open to abuse, Wolff is confident that theft won’t be a widespread problem. “We do have your name, we do have your address,” he says. “You check it out for two weeks, just like a library book. In two weeks, your e-book goes dead, so you won’t have anything worth keeping.”
Hopefully, no one will tell the Tea Party Republicans in the Texas Legislature about this. First, they consider almost anything with an on-off switch to be a dangerous device. Pickup trucks exempt of course,
Second, they will have to discuss the change for months while they determine the best way to censor the eBooks. After all, the eBooks might discuss subversive topics like civil rights, evolution and reproductive rights decided by women. There ain’t nothing scares a Texan more than an uppity woman.
Third, this really ain’t difficult. I ran a paperless sales office 10 years ago – while pundits blathered about how everyone talked about paperless offices and did nothing about it. A paperless library is just as easy. People who “need” physical books will still get ‘em. People who don’t, won’t. The latter will continue to outnumber the former. They already have in purchases at Amazon.
A Texas man told a federal court his daughter should be exempted from carrying a high-tech school ID card because it amounted to submission to the Antichrist.
Andrea Hernandez, 15, and her father, Steven Hernandez, are challenging the ID requirement because they saw the Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, tracking chip in the ID badge as a “mark of the beast” that would jeopardize her salvation in the event of the biblical end of the world.
The San Antonio Express-News said Steven Hernandez teared up while reading from the Bible on the witness stand. He added supporting the RFID project “would compromise our salvation for NISD (Northside Independent School District) to make some money.”
District officials said they implemented the RFID system as a way to more efficiently monitor attendance and even locate specific students on campus. Superintendent Brian Woods said in court federal funding for school districts is based on daily attendance, which makes accurate head counts important.
The district said it had offered to remove the RFID chip from Andrea’s badge and ordered her transferred from John Jay High School to her neighborhood high school when she declined the offer. Andrea testified she wanted to remain at Jay because it offered specific classes that would help her with her aspirations for a career in Web design.
Look forward to the designs this young lass will come up with – if she sticks to the path ordained by her father’s religion? Like Twitter-based sites balancing the sum of sins and verities in an equation deciding if you fit through the Pearly Gates. Perhaps, the proper use of an RFID chip – located appropriately to let your father know if you’ve slid into the depths of non-virginity.
A Texas man told authorities he carved a pentagram into the back of his 6-year-old son “because it is a holy day” in reference to the numerical date of 12-12-12…
Brent Troy Bartel, of the Fort Worth suburb of Richland Hills, is in jail…on a $500,000 bond, charged with aggravated assault of a family member with a deadly weapon.
Police officers responded to an emergency dispatch call shortly after midnight from a man who said, “I shed some innocent blood,” according to an audio recording of the emergency 911 call, released by police.
When questioned by the dispatcher, the man said, “I inscribed a pentagram on my son.”
When the dispatcher asked why, the man responded, “because it is a holy day,” according to the recording. He then hung up.
Moments later, police received a call from the boy’s mother at a neighbor’s house, said Officer Sheena Parsons, Richland Hills police spokeswoman. The mother could be heard on that recording crying and asking for help.
Police arrived at the Bartel home and found the boy shirtless and shivering, with a large pentagram carved on his back. Officers also found a box cutter at the house, which is believed to have been used in the attack…
Why must dimwits decide enforcing their particular superstition on others is so important, so critical to some level of salvation or other – that violence and harm is always justified.
Lewis Hamilton wins first F1 race in U.S. since 2007
A bold passing maneuver at the end of a long straightway slipped Lewis Hamilton past Sebastian Vettel, and the McLaren driver went on to win the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday in the first Formula One race on American soil since 2007.
The drivers’ championship will be settled next week in Sao Paolo, Brazil, after Red Bull’s Vettel finished second and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third.
“Wicked!” said Hamilton, who pumped his fists, waved to the crowd and danced a jig on the nose of his car after his fourth win of the season. “This is one of the best, if not the best Grand Prix, we’ve had all year.”
Vettel started the race in the pole position and led the first 41 laps before Hamilton caught him, sneaking past Vettel just before they reached the tight corner on turn No. 12 at the Circuit of the Americas. Hamilton started in the No. 2 position and pushed Vettel at every opportunity.
“It was a close fight with Lewis. He had one chance and took it. There wasn’t much between us,” Vettel said.
Vettel, the defending two-time Formula One champion, remains slightly ahead of Ferrari’s Alonso in the drivers’ championship, meaning the title will come down to the final race of the season.
Hamilton, who won the last U.S. Grand Prix, talked all week about how much he loves the United States and how badly he wanted to win in his return.
With the stars and stripes of the American flag painted on top of his helmet, Hamilton pulled off the daring move of the race with his pass. Vettel had been dominant in practice and qualifying on the new $400 million track that none of the teams had driven before this week, but couldn’t hold off the former world champion Sunday.
Kudos to Lewis Hamilton and McLaren – and special cheers for Austin, Texas which did a fabulous job not only with the technical side of the race – they made lots of friends for the world’s number one motorsport and the city of Austin with their friendliness, helpful attitude.
I watched the race on SpeedTV and just about every spectator and journalist interviewed couldn’t say enough about how well they were treated.
George Rodriguez – and Annise Parker, apologizing for the wrong committed in the name of Houston
Houston — Tears flowed freely at City Hall on Friday as an innocent man who spent years behind bars for a crime he did not commit settled his grudge with the city.
“I just want to get on with my life, go on living, you know,” said George Rodriguez. “Try to do whatever I can for my family.”
There is no question George Rodriguez was wrongly put behind bars for a rape and kidnapping, now with 17 years of his life gone. On Friday he and the city came to an agreement on how to right a wrong that was made so long ago.
Surrounded by his family, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other officials, Rodriguez tentatively stepped into the spotlight and spoke from his heart.
“It’s kind of hard, really, you know, because I’ve been through a whole lot. Seventeen years,” he said…
Rodriguez spent 17 and a half years behind bars for a rape and kidnapping he didn’t commit. He was convicted in 1987, because of faulty evidence at HPD’s then troubled crime lab. On Friday Rodriguez reached a $3 million settlement with the city and received an apology…
The Rodriguez case was just one example of the many problems that plagued the crime lab for years. Changes in the past few years have greatly improved the lab and the city is developing an independent lab so what happened to Rodriguez won’t happen to others.
Rodriguez is also due some compensation from the state of Texas. His attorney says he plans to apply for that soon.
If Rick Perry. the compassionate conservative governor of Texas had half the conscience he says he has – he’d be sitting on George Rodriguez’ doorstep with a check in his hand.
Instead – like the beancounter lawyers in charge of sorting the case for the city of Houston – he’ll probably work hardest at negotiating the price of compensation down.
Poisonally, in addition to the cash penalty for wrongful imprisonment, I’d like to see the officials responsible for this injustice serve equivalent time in the same wonderful Texas prison system.