Category Archives: Climate Change

Freedom Industries! and why I ♥ Regulations

It’s the mantra that makes me want to grab the TV remote, smack the person who held it, and change the channel ASAP away from FOX News.

THERE’S TOO MUCH REGULATION!

Me?  I  Regulations.  I dote on them.  I support them.

I understand them and why they are there.  I even lecture about them (and not just here on Word Press – people actually pay me money to do so).*  Regulations, I always tell folks, are the IKEA instructions that accompany the bookcase.  They are the “how-tos.”

Laws are enacted in response to our understanding that a problem exists, and we need to change what we do as a country to prevent it from happening again.  At the same time, we hopefully have enough vision to see some of the related problems that might occur and try to prevent them from occurring.  A few examples:

Our current Food and Drug laws, the Food and Drug Act of 1936 and the Food and Drug Act Amendments (commonly known as the Kefauver-Harris Amendments).  The FDCA was first enacted after a manufacturer added antifreeze (without testing its effects on people, animals or using their brains very much at all) to a cough remedy to make it more palatable to the kiddies.  The then-current law didn’t actually say that they couldn’t add antifreeze.  Guess what happened!  105 people died.

Another disaster involving a drug that was tested and tried, thalidomide, was found to cause serious birth defects in the babies born to pregnant women.  It wasn’t ever approved in the US thanks to Dr. Frances Kelsey

Dr. Frances Kelsey.   (Photo from Wikipedia article you should have already linked to and read.)

Dr. Frances Kelsey.
(Photo from Wikipedia article you should have already linked to and read.  What are you waiting for?)

Laws designed to safeguard our waters and land came about mostly in the 1970s after two hundred years of treating our country’s land and water like a sewer.  Diseases were springing up in neighborhoods where chemical companies had dumped chemicals.

Love Canal, where Hooker Chemical buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste! (Google Image)

Love Canal, where Hooker Chemical buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste!
(Google Image)

Our rivers were polluted.  If you fell into the Potomac River when I first moved here in 1979, you had to get a typhoid shot.  The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burned.

Cuyahoga River Burns (June 22, 1969) (Google Image)

Cuyahoga River Burns (June 22, 1969)
(Google Image)

And so our then-FUNCTIONAL Congress (made up of folks who understood why they were elected and who believed in compromise and who believed in the need for government) passed laws to protect us and our land and our water and our air.  Now, our hazardous materials and hazardous waste are to be carefully monitored under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.  Under the Clean Water Act.  The Clean Air Act.  And a bunch of others designed to keep you and me safe and keep industry behaving itself.

But laws only say:

 We’re Gonna Fix This Problem

Regulations give us step by step instructions on

How to Fix This Problem

Regulations are very specific.  In order to comply, you must do A,B and C, according to specific instructions.  When regulations are promulgated the agency asks the regulated industry to comment on them, how to make them more manageable, workable, less expensive to follow.  But the regulations cover testing, manufacturing techniques, storage, monitoring, record-keeping, transportation, the works.  Regulations have the force of law.  If a company doesn’t follow them, they are liable for penalties and/or imprisonment.

Regulations

Regulations protect me.  They protect you.  They protect the United States of America from bad manufacturers.  They penalize the bad ones so that they don’t get away with messing up our planet.  They must be strong enough so that manufacturers fear them and therefore follow them.  Slaps on the wrist are ignored when there is money to be made by ignoring regulations. They must be strong.  (Because remember, there are idiots who would add antifreeze to cough syrup for a buck.)

Regulations are the rules that society agrees to adhere to often in spite of the fact that they are a serious pain in the ass.

Regulations, I say to those still awake in my lectures, are like the IKEA instructions.  The furniture is no good without them.  But they need to be followed.

Take this week’s Freedom Industries leak of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or Crude MCHM, a heavy-duty chemical used in processing coal.  Current estimates are that this leak — from a facility brilliantly located upriver from a water purification plant — contaminated the drinking water of more than 100,000 residents of West Virginia.

Thirsty? (Photo from CNN)

Thirsty?
(Photo from CNN)

Freedom Industries has said don’t know when the spill started.  They don’t know how much spilled.  They don’t know whether the stuff that has made the entire area smell like licorice is, in fact, terribly toxic to people or if so, how toxic it is to human health.

They are supposed to know or they didn’t comply with the regulations.

They are supposed to measure the amount in the tanks.  Frequently.

They are supposed to record the amount they add or remove from the tanks.  Every single time they do this.

They are supposed to test.  Frequently.

They are supposed to monitor for leaks.  Frequently.

They are supposed to comply with the regulations.  It seems as if they did not.

They are supposed to make sure that they don’t fucking contaminate the fucking water for a hundred thousand people and possibly, probably more.

And if they didn’t they should go to jail.

I’m betting that they didn’t — that they didn’t follow the regulations.  Time will tell.

Freedom Industries  (Washington Post Image)

Freedom Industries
(Washington Post Image)

Just imagine what the rest of our country, our land, our rivers, our air, would be like if there were no regulations.  And you know, don’t you, that the Republican party is oh-so-determined to cut regulations.  To protect industry.  Not you.  Not me.  Industry.  Like Freedom Industries.

Do me a favor.  Think of Freedom Industries whenever you hear someone bitch about the loss of freedom from regulations.

Think of what we’d lose without regulation.

*   *   *

* From 1980-1989, I analyzed environmental regulations and drafted memos to folks on the steps they needed to comply with the regulations that are designed to keep our land, water and air cleaner.

For the past 10 years, I’ve examined a zillion company documents that show how they comply with their IKEA instructions.

*     *     *

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t be around much.  But sometimes I just can’t shut up.

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Filed under Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, GOP, Health and Medicine, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Science, Stupidity, Technology, Voting

Left vs. Right — You Choose

In the left corner, representing us, we have a true statesperson:  Senator Elizabeth Warner:

When was the last time the anarchy gang called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children’s toys? Or for inspectors to stop checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria? Or for the FDA to ignore whether morning sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in our babies?

When? Never. In fact, whenever the anarchists make any headway in their quest and cause damage to our government, the opposite happens.

    …

Why do they do this? Because the boogeyman government in the alternate universe of their fiery political speeches isn’t real. It doesn’t exist.

 Government is real, and it has three basic functions:
1.    Provide for the national defense.
2.    Put rules in place rules, like traffic lights and bank regulations, that are fair and transparent.
3.    Build the things together that none of us can build alone – roads, schools, power grids – the things that give everyone a chance to succeed.

    …

 We are alive, we are healthier, we are stronger because of government.

And in the other corner, we have John Boehner and the Tea Party Tizziers:

Elections Matter!

*     *     *

My thanks to the Stephen D at the Daily Kos for the video link to Senator Warren (my hero).

And my thanks to one of my favorite blogging buddies, Frank of A Frank Angle for Groucho.

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Climate Change, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, Global Warming, Gun control, Health and Medicine, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Mental Health, Politics, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Voting, Wild Beasts

Need a New Job? I Got One For You!

Need a new job?  A new career path?

Are you stuck in a dead end job?  No future?  No expansion?  No ability to grow, to expand?

Well there is a whole new field that is just opening up.  And the possibilities for advancement are endless.  It’s a growth area, especially here in the Washington, DC area.

Best of all, you can do it from home.  Even while you keep your current job.

You can do it anywhere.

Yes, you too can become a “Disgustologist!”

Dr. Valerie Curtis is an anthropologist who studies yucky stuff:  poo, vomit, maggots, rotting flesh.  You know, the stuff that smells bad, hurts us or causes disease.  Stuff that we avoid.  This avoidance helps keep us healthy – and keeping away from disease-ridden filth is always a plus.

So in reading this article about Dr. Curtis, I saw a potential growth opportunity festering right there in front of me.

You and me will use the science of “Disgustology” to lead American voters back into voting for sensible politicians.  And into voting out the disgusting ones.

Now, I know many of you are saying,

“But Elyse, American voters have proven since they re-elected George W Bush that they are disgusting!”

And you do have a point.

“But Elyse, American voters have voted in members of the Tea Party!”

And you have another point.

“But Elyse, American voters have voted for people who are destroying our humanity.”

OK, you have lots of points.

That’s where we Disgustologists come in.  Plus that’s why Disgustology is such a growth industry.  Because we are going to reinsert the “That’s Disgusting!” reflex back into the American voter.   With pictures!

Now it’s hard to know where to start these days, isn’t it.  So I started randomly, with my faint recollection that we Americans have hearts and a collective heart.

You know how we Americans like to stick together.  How we’re always the first to help each other in times of tragedy.  How we pull together and support each other during natural disasters?  We pride ourselves on that.

So — Disgustologists – Get your feet wet with this bit of hypocrisy:

Four GOP Congressmen voted FOR Colorado Flood Relief AFTER voting AGAINST Hurricane Sandy Relief!

Here they are:

Rep Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Rep Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Rep Mike Coffman (R-CO)

Rep Mike Coffman (R-CO)

Rep Scott Tipton

Rep Scott Tipton (R-CO)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Now don’t get me wrong — I think we as Americans SHOULD take care of the flood victims in Colorado.  And New Jersey.  And victims of hurricanes.  Oh and fires.  We can’t forget the victims of fires.  In fact, we can’t — we shouldn’t — deny aid to folks that are harmed by natural disasters.  Of course we shouldn’t.  We are America.  The richest country in the world.  We take care of our own.  Right?  Right?  You there — am I right?

But you know, there are some folks that we just need to take care of more than others.  Take that good Christian, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN).

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)

Fincher was a proponent of separating the Farm Subsidies bill from the Food Stamp bill.  He believes that the Food Stamp program “steals other people’s money.”   He backs up his stand with the bible, natch:

“He who will not work shall not eat”

Those vile children, expecting food, an education and a future.  Stone them, I say, stone them!

But guess what!  Some of YOUR money is going to Congressman Fincher!  Yeah, really!  But, being a good, moral Christian, I’m sure he deserves it.  Look at this:

Mr. Fisher is the second most heavily subsidized “farmer” in Congress under the Farm Subsidies Bill!  Yahoo!  I love it when my money goes to keep hypocrites in business.

USDA data collected in EWG’s 2013 farm subsidy database update — going live tomorrow –shows that Fincher collected a staggering $3.48 million in “our” money from 1999 to 2012. In 2012 alone, the congressman was cut a government check for a $70,000 direct payment. Direct payments are issued automatically, regardless of need, and go predominantly to the largest, most profitable farm operations in the country.

Fincher’s $70,000 farm subsidy haul in 2012 dwarfs the average 2012 SNAP benefit in Tennessee of $1,586.40, and it is nearly double of Tennessee’s median household income. After voting to cut SNAP by more than $20 billion, Fincher joined his colleagues to support a proposal to expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion over the next 10 years.

Soon we can give Stevie some more!  I don’t know about you, but I’m DISGUSTED.

And then there’s the new kid on the block.  Ted.  And not the Ted of the TED Talks, either.

Senator Ted Cruz You'd think he was a Disgustologist instead of the nasty thing on the shoe

Senator Ted Cruz
You’d think he was a Disgustologist instead of the nasty thing on the shoe

This guy is one of the leaders of the movement to shut down the government rather than fund The Affordable Care Act.  “Obamacare,” a law that was passed by the United States Congress (of which he is now a member), signed by the President of the United States, and upheld by the United States Supreme Court.  Last I heard those were the only three branches of the U.S. government under the Constitution the GOP loves to wave in everyone’s face (but apparently have not read).

Of course, it isn’t only that Teddy is against it because he clearly doesn’t understand the U.S. government.  Nope, I’m guessing that Ted Cruz lives in some sort of vortex, because he doesn’t understand that the folks that voted him into office are the ones who need the Afordable Care Act.

Look-y here – folks in Ted Cruz’s state of Texas need Obamacare more than most.

Poverty in the US

Poverty in the US

rics

Diabetes map

I'm beginning to see a disgusting pattern here

I’m beginning to see a disgusting pattern here

And the folks who have the most to gain from Obamacare:

In America?  Disgusting!

In America? Disgusting!

Senator Ted Cruz is just disgusting.  Disgustologists?  Let’s show the world.

*     *     *

See what I mean when I say that Disgustology is a Growth Field?  Sign up today!  Opportunities are everywhere.

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Filed under Campaigning, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Mysteries, Politics, Sandy, Taking Care of Each Other

WHOAH!!!! What happened?!?!

I admit, I’ve been doing a whole lot of this lately

 

Google Image, I'm sure

Google Image, I’m sure

 

But I was surprised how in two months during which I did almost no political posts whatsoever, that the world could have possibly gotten its knickers in a such twist.  Gone end-over-end.  Topsy Turvey.  All akimbo.

Two months ago, my company got two projects that would take us four months each to complete.  Both were due in two months.  Both got done.  I’ve been busy.

And I haven’t been paying attention.  I promise not to let that happen again.

Boy did I miss a whole lot.  I heard that they Congressman Issa cleared up that whole Benghazi thing!  And that Russia kept us out of war in Syria!  Somebody let me know if they admitted we’re doomed because of global climate change, ‘kay?

But the thing that has me most confused?

Apparently the country went from one where the GOP, the Republicans were interested in sticking things into women’s vaginas,

 

Yea, they like to do that.
(Google image)

 

Into one where it’s the proponents of the Affordable Healthcare Act

aka Obamacare — that want to do that!

Really!  Just look’ee here:

 

 

Only this time, they’re not just targeting the womenfolk.  They’re going after all the straight men, too.

 

 

Next, they’ll want to force all employees to wash their hands after using the restroom!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (Google)

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (Google)

 

*     *     *

 

What sort of people campaign against people getting checkups?  What sort of people promote such ignorance?  What sort of stupid questions am I asking?  Because we all know the answer:

 

The Morally Bankrupt GOP (Google Image)

The Morally Bankrupt GOP
(Google Image)

 

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Filed under Campaigning, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Elections, Gizmos, Global Warming, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Science, Stupidity

Changing The Name Game

A perfect weapon.  Because, after all, what’s in a name?

 

My thanks for this video, and for being the first person to encourage me to start a blog, goes to my friend and colleague Bao.

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Filed under Campaigning, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Elections, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Pets, Sandy, Stupidity