IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Wildfire season turns tragic - 19 firefighters killed in AZ and the climate connection; Record SW heat wave "one of the greatest in American history"; L.A. bets on solar; Billionaire Koch Bros. sneaky 'No Climate Tax' pledge ... PLUS: Obama keeps up climate change pressure ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The Bike Boom: more Americans now choosing bicycles to get around; A new normal for Arctic sea ice; MIT: new solar cell could be 1,000x more powerful; Chemical, oil companies say EPA rule will expose trade secrets; Sunday news shows ignored Obama's historic climate speech; GOP silent as DOE launches billions in fossil fuel loan guarantees; Maine lobstermen now support climate action; CO2 has big consequences for ocean food chain ... PLUS: The Coal Lobby's Fight for Survival ... and much, MUCH more! ...
And somehow we managed to fit in a few phone calls and a thought or two on Wendy Davis' stand in TX late last night and the state Republicans attempt to fraudulently pass a radical anti-abortion bill anyway. We got all of that into an incredibly fast moving single show, which follows for you below. Enjoy!
Extraordinary. Texas Republican legislators are now, officially, the champions of vote fraud.
After Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis' nearly 13 hour standing filibuster of SB5, a draconian abortion restriction bill supported by the state's Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Republicans decided to throw the rule of law out the window, and hold a roll call vote on the bill after midnight, when the special session was officially over, according to state law.
Nonetheless, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst fraudulently announced that the bill, which had supposedly passed at 12:01am, had actually passed at 11:59pm the night before, when the state Senate would still have been legally in session. Making matters even worse, the Republicans then went back and changed the official TX Senate web page to reflect their blatant fraud.
Here's a screenshot from the TX Senate webpage BEFORE the fraud...
...And here's a screenshot AFTER the Republicans' attempt to defraud the people of Texas...
According to some quick research by James Carter IV, however, it looks as though TX legislators may be playing with a felony according to the state penal code in their apparent attempt to "knowingly make a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record".
It's hardly the first time there's been massive vote fraud inside the Texas Statehouse, even as the Republicans there have been attempting, for years, to enact draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions for everyone else, under the fraudulent guise of combating "voter fraud". Take a look at the video below, which we originally ran in 2007, showing blatant voter fraud by members of the TX legislature...
In a remarkable display of judicial overreach, activism and legislating from the bench, the five Republican-appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justices, in a narrow 5-4 ruling today [PDF] have, in the words of dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, "demolished" the center-piece of the nation's beloved 48-year old Voting Rights Act, ignored the court's own repeated rulings, overridden a repeated and unambiguous mandate by the U.S. Congress (most recently, as led by two Republican chambers and signed by a Republican President), and made an absolute joke of the no-uncertain-terms directive of the U.S. Constitution's 15th Amendment.
In short, the nature of today's SCOTUS ruling, effectively gutting the central provision of what is arguably the most important Constitutionally-mandated and successful civil rights legislation in the nation's history, encompasses everything that the Republican Party has, in recent years, pretended to abhor when it comes to the judiciary --- everything, that is, but the partisan politics of its historic reach...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: CO wildfire now most destructive in state history; Another chemical plant explodes, this time in LA; Supreme Court rules on TX v. OK water war; New oil spills in Brazil and Canada; PLUS: Mayor Bloomberg's $20B Sandy recovery and climate change plan for NYC ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Methane leaks could negate climate benefits of nat gas boom; Too hot to live: grim long-term prediction; Will coastal cities follow NYC's climate lead?; 1970s pollution led to African drought; Tea Party takes on utility over lack of solar energy; 'Understory' fires burning in drier Amazon rainforest; White House delays environmental, energy rules... PLUS: NASA Finds ‘Amazing’ Levels Of Arctic Methane And CO2, Asks ‘Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic?’ ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: As the nation mourns the horrific West Fertilizer explosion in TX, the chemical industry pushes for more fertilizer plants and less regulation; Yet another fossil fuel explosion on the Gulf Coast; California now has more solar workers than actors; PLUS: East London's Chief Flusher is turning fat into electricity ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): New fossil fuel frontiers pose 'catastrophic' threat to global recovery; A master class on the state of clean-energy investment (video); State of the Air 2013: where does your city rank?; SF votes to divest from fossil fuels; Shale mining controversy under Great Barrier Reef; Fox News concocts conspiracy for the phrase 'climate change'; UN climate chief hopeful on climate treaty; US military faulted for 'burn pits' in Afghanistan... PLUS: VIDEO: Fox "News" concocts conspiracy for the phrase "Climate Change" ... and much, MUCH more! ...
To date, 15 have been killed by the blast, including 12 first responders, with nearly 200 others injured. The explosion covered some 37 blocks and left a crater nearly 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep at the plant itself. Galindo offers the latest on how the tiny town of 2,600 is holding up, how they are dealing with concerns about governmental oversight of the plant (or lack thereof), and the continuing investigation into the mystery of what may have caused the disaster.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: As we slam into Earth Day weekend... Deadly fertilizer explosion slams Central Texas town; Flooding, sinkholes, extreme weather slam Chicago; PLUS: Nebraskans unite to slam the Keystone 'Export' pipeline ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Report: alarming levels of of resistant bacteria on grocery meat & poultry; Chevron defies CA on emissions, undercuts biofuels; Chevron ignored regulators warnings in refinery explosion; Scientists question NOAA report on climate, drought; New study shows once again how "Climategate" emails were distorted; Utility industry can survive - and lead - clean energy transition; Obama inks Arctic international fishing accord, GOP complains; Innovating 'dumb' LEDs; Why can't we quit fossil fuels? ... PLUS: Think those chemicals have been tested? Think again ... and much, MUCH more! ...
UPDATE 4/18/2013, 5:41pm PT:AP reports West, TX mayor says "around 35 people, including 10 first responders" were killed in the explosion. "He said not all the bodies have been recovered. Muska told the LA Times the number might be as high as 40 dead and said he got that number because all other residents and first-responders were identified."
UPDATE 4/18/13 3:23am PT:Waco's KWTX has revised their earlier report of "as many as 60 or 70" dead, which was sourced to the town's EMS Director Dr. George Smith. They now report a death toll of "five to fifteen people", as of 4:45am local time, sourced to "officials". AP confirms the report of "between five and 15 people" killed, a number which is expected to rise, according to Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton. They add that "more than 160 others" are injured. Among the dead are believed to be "A group of volunteer firefighters and a single law enforcement officer who responded to a fire call at the West Fertilizer Co. about an hour before the blast. They remained unaccounted for early Thursday morning."
The fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night in West, Texas, reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and local public safety officials that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, documents show.
West Fertilizer Co. reported having as much as 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on hand in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals.
But the report, reviewed Wednesday night by The Dallas Morning News, stated “no” under fire or explosive risks. The worst possible scenario, the report said, would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.
The second worst possibility projected was a leak from a broken hose used to transfer the product, again causing no injuries.
Loftis adds via Twitter: "OSHA online records show no federal inspections of #West Fertilizer Co. in the past 5 yrs."
UPDATE 10:10pm PT: Texas Dept. of Public Safety spokesperson holds short press conference: "Tremendous amount of injuries...There are confirmed fatalities. Number not confirmed yet ... Devastation like Iraq or Oklahoma City ... 50-75 houses and apartments destroyed... Nursing home w/ 130 residents was in path of fire ... Wish I could tell you more." A reporter asks for a death toll number, asks the spokesman to "confirm 60-70" number. He says he "cannot confirm that number."
UPDATE 8:59pm PT:Really hoping local media has it wrong... Waco's KWTX is now reporting: "West EMS Director Dr. George Smith says as many as 60 or 70 people died and hundreds were injured Wednesday night in a fertilizer plant explosion in West."
Like we needed more news today...fake or otherwise. Unfortunately (see photos and seismograph chart below), this one is not fake. From Reuters tonight...
WACO (April 17, 2013)—Emergency crews from throughout Central Texas responded Wednesday night after a major explosion at a burning fertilizer plant in West north of Waco.
West firefighters were dispatched to the plant earlier in the evening after an earlier fire rekindled.
Numerous injuries were reported and multiple ambulances were requested.
Several buildings were reported destroyed and a nearby nursing home was damaged.
There were reports that people were trapped in the nursing home and in an apartment building.
Scanner traffic indicated that some residents of both the nursing home and apartment building were severely injured.
Children are among the victims, according to reports from the scene.
Fire crews from virtually every community in the area headed to the scene.
A woman who was passing through West on Interstate 35 at the time of the explosion said she and her boyfriend saw a fireball 100-feet wide shoot into the air.
Gulf war veteran Paul L. Manigrasso felt the blast in Waxahachie.
“Based on my Naval experience...we knew immediately what it was, but cannot believe it occurred 40 miles away,” he said.
The photos tweeted below are pretty amazing. [ALSO UPDATES NOW ADDED]...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Here we go again: another "historic" storm... but it's not enough to end our historic drought; BP finally goes to trial for the oil disaster in the Gulf; China and Estonia move forward on renewable energy innovation; PLUS: CA Gov. Jerry Brown says fighting climate change is a boon, not a bust, for the economy... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Study: how Arctic sea ice loss impacts weather extremes; Horsemeat scandal 'an object lesson in food politics'; Drought closing U.S. feedlots, meatpackers; Dog food recall underscores toxic danger in drought; AEP agrees to close 3 coal plants; Heart-pounding ride on Navy's Great Green Fleet; DoD attacks climate change; Media and myth on doomsday messages on climate change; Cryosat-2 confirms stunning Arctic ice loss; UK farming, flood crisis ... PLUS: Tanks leaking radioactive waste in Washington State ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar steps down; Crop Killer: freeze hits CA citrus; 2012 tenth hottest year globally; EPA squashes fracking drinking water study; TX sues for OK's water; PLUS: No, it's not your imagination --- Spring is springing earlier than ever ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Coal exports to Asia: new battle against global warming; Court finds Bush EPA weakened soot regulations; Exploring environmental links to autism; Coal-ash dump leaking into WV neighborhood; Killer bat disease spreads to KY ... PLUS: Why the 'Idle No More' Movement Is Our Best Chance for Clean Land and Water ... and much, MUCH more! ...
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Water Wars: Midwest drought threatens Mississippi & Colorado Rivers, winter wheat crop; Fracking industry goes after Matt Damon; Climate change denial industry steps on cartoon rake [clonk!] again!; PLUS: Some good news for a change --- a new light powered by gravity ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA tightens soot rules by 20%; Japan: nuclear operator TEPCO admits 'collusion' with regulators; Chevron to pay $1.8m in UT settlement; Study links pesticides to long-term brain damage; Sharp lessons from Deepwater Horizon report; Florida's rivers 'sicker' than ever; Mercury in seafood: Where does it come from? ... PLUS: VIDEO: A city-sized iceberg breaking off from a glacier will blow your mind ... and much, MUCH more! ...
"Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind."
- Bob Dylan, Blowin' in the Wind
In "High Cost of Willfully Misinterpreting the 2nd Amendment" we touched upon the price the American people have paid in lives, injuries and grief, as measured against the extraordinary profits of U.S. small arms manufacturers whose domestic sales of increasingly sophisticated weapons, including the AR-15 and AK-47 styled assault rifles, similar to the one used in the mass shooting in Newton, CT last Friday, climbed to 14 million guns in 2009 alone --- greater than the total number possessed by 21 of the world's standing armies combined.
As the nation reels in the wake of the latest horror at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, it seems a worthwhile task to take a quick look at a partial history of mass shooting events in the U.S., starting with the 1966 University of Texas massacre so that we can take stock of what our nation's strange fascination with guns and ammo has truly wrought --- with increasing frequency since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004...
And, by the way, for those GOP dupes who point to that infamous --- and extremely misleading --- Red/Blue map of states as evidence of...anything, really, here's a much more helpful map of what the U.S. actually looks like right now, such as where there are actually people and stuff, courtesy of TPM:
As this year’s election comes to a close, True the Vote, a Texas Tea Party group, has begun attacking the NAACP Houston Branch and our volunteer poll monitors for handing out water to voters at Early Vote locations and for assisting Disabled and Elderly voters by standing in line for them or asking younger people in line to let the elderly and disabled go ahead of them in the line to vote.
Carroll G. Robinson, Chairman of the NAACP Houston Branch Political Affairs Committee said, “It is a shame that the NAACP Houston Branch and its volunteers are being attacked by a right wing extremist group for being “Good Samaritans”. The NAACP will continue to help elderly and disabled voters, as well as all other voters, exercise their right to vote.”
Chairman Robinson further stated, “The NAACP is not afraid of being attacked by an extremist Tea Party group for doing our job – helping to protect the right to vote and ensuring that when people show up at the polls, they get to vote.”