New Mexico’s most dangerous border – is with Texas


“Is there a time to call it? A time to say, ‘They won,’ and we just leave?”
Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle

❝ CARLSBAD, N.M. — Texas’ most dangerous and unchecked border doesn’t lie to the south along the Rio Grande, but rather to the west, where the Permian Basin oil boom is expanding along narrow and deadly roads into rural New Mexico, driving breakneck growth with little oversight and not nearly enough highways, housing, health care and environmental air monitoring.

❝ The Midland-Odessa area in West Texas remains the hub for the prolific oil field with about 350,000 people and some of the fastest economic growth in the country, but even greater change is occurring 150 miles away in this boomtown, where the population has nearly doubled to 75,000 people from 40,000 just a few years ago. Even as lackluster oil prices slow drilling and lower rig counts in Texas by 20 percent over the past year, New Mexico drillers have never been busier, increasing the number of operating rigs in the state by nearly 15 percent to 113…

❝ John Waters, Carlsbad’s executive director of economic development, admits the rapid growth has strained the region’s capacity to accommodate it. The roads have become more dangerous, scary even, and housing is in short supply and far from getting built fast enough to keep up with the influx of people…

The whole caption for the photo up top

❝ “Is there a time to call it? A time to say, ‘They won,’ and we just leave?” asked Dee George in Carlsbad, as a well was being drilled directly across the street from his home. George is a special education teacher in Carlsbad, and he said his family has owned the land his trailer sits on since he was 9 years old. He described birds dying in his yard after flying over another nearby well, and he said he has smelled gas in his house multiple times.

RTFA. Great piece of journalism – describing profit at any human and environmental cost – the heart and soul of the oil industry. Nothing new, except where.

I’ve told the story before – of going to a Friday night high school football game in Odessa, Texas. Players took the field after the bands played, cheerleaders paraded, the big lights came on to light everything up. And not a single insect appeared to cluster around the lights. And if they had, there weren’t any birds to feed on them.

I asked the guy who brought me to see his local team, “what’s that smell?”

He said, “We call that the smell of money around here.”

Ethics-challenged judges added to opioid deaths…and more


Click to enlarge

❝ For years, they sealed evidence about the risks as the body count mounted. And as a Reuters analysis found, it’s only one of many big product-liability cases in which judges have countenanced a lethal and often unlawful secrecy.

❝ In an unprecedented analysis, Reuters found that over the past 20 years, judges sealed evidence relevant to public health and safety in about half of the 115 biggest defective-product cases consolidated before federal judges in so-called multidistrict litigation, or MDLs. Those cases comprised nearly 250,000 individual death and injury lawsuits, involving dozens of products used by millions of consumers: drugs, cars, medical devices and other products. And the numbers don’t convey the full extent of information locked away because they don’t include thousands of product-liability cases heard in state courts.

Frankly, they need to be indicted and tried in something more than the court of public opinion. However, I doubt there is any appropriate body in American jurisprudence or politics with sufficient courage – or dedication to the common good – to do so.

Family believed son possessed by a demon — so they killed him

❝ A jury has been selected in the trial of a family accused of killing a vulnerable young man, believing he was ‘possessed by a demon’.

❝ Parents Josephine, 55, and Kenneth Ife, 64, and their five sons are accused of the manslaughter of 26-year-old Kennedy Ife.

Kennedy died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the family home in Lancaster Avenue, Barnet, north London, where he was allegedly restrained in 2016.

❝ Judge Anthony Leonard QC told potential jurors…‘The defendants are all members of one family. The parents and children of the person who died was either their son or their brother…‘The issue in this case is that the 26-year-old man who died fell ill and the family did not seek medical help for him because through their religious beliefs they thought he was possessed by a demon.

‘He was restrained and no medical help was given to him.

It would be a laughing matter – if it was a laughing matter.

Check out how people kill themselves – while taking selfies!


Say cheese—and watch out for that jagged cliff behind you!

❝ A group of health researchers in India have tried to tally the death toll from selfie taking, counting 259 deaths worldwide from October 2011 to November 2017. In doing so, they also caught a blurry glimpse of the leading ways in which people perish during dicey photo ops. The top three were drowning, transportation related (mostly being hit by trains), and falling off of things, such as cliff edges…

The resulting grim picture shows a developing public health threat, the researchers argue. Yet, the numbers are likely “just the tip of iceberg,” they add. Selfies are never recorded as an official cause of death, media reports don’t report every death, and the search was limited to English-language news reports…

❝ Still, the researchers were able to catch a reasonable peek into the perilous photo trends…Risk-taking men accounted for 72.5 percent of the fatalities with gender data. Of those with age data, the mean age was about 23 years old. The majority of deaths were of those aged 10 to 29.

Har. Death by misadventure would be the usual cause listed, I imagine.