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China World Trade Centre Tower III (C), one of the tallest buildings in the city at 330m (1083ft), is pictured amid heavy haze in Beijing's central business district, December 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

         If you know me at all you know I dearly love Texas, and I utterly loathe the GOP who are ruining it as fast as they can for the quick money. Those of you who remember the Gulf Watchers will know that the threat spreads beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. Historically the South has a love-hate relationship with the environment, and a hate-hate relationship with minorities and poor people. The GOP has found a way to exploit that, at even greater cost to the poor, while raking in foreign money.

         Now, on an industrial scale a lot of moneymaker enterprises in Texas are bad for the environment -- CAFOs, concrete plants, smelters, traffic -- yeah, even the newfangled low-emission cars, in big enough numbers, create smog; and in places like Dallas and Fort Worth and El Paso, not everybody can afford one of those new low-emissions cars, not to mention your "coal-rolling" megajerks. So yes, sometimes it's not even an industry; it's a "culture." Or a fad. Or, you know, a fertilizer factory or storage facility, like the one that used to be in West.
       We have a lot of predators in Texas, when it comes to the environment. Not just oil and gas, but they're a big part of the problem, especially when we're talking about environmental destruction on an industrial scale.
         If you've been paying attention to the Chinese industrial revolution (didn't start with Nixon, but the GOP loves to use its "boom" as a pattern for US development) you know that unregulated corporations have made the air unbreathable and the water undrinkable across Chinese territory. What the GOP won't talk about is the consequences for people who can't afford to move out of the Bhopal-lite environs they're creating right here in the good old USA, especially on/around the ports that serve the oil and gas industries.
         What you may not know is the Chinese press (and to some degree the government) is trying to stop the worst of the corruption ... so the Chinese are exporting dangerous methanol fuel production.
            To the US. Flammability, toxins, wasteful use of grains that could feed people, and all. For the benefit of Chinese corporations: not a gallon of the methanol processed in these sprawling plants, owned at least in part by notoriously corrupt Chinese industrialists, will be sold in the US. But the tax breaks and lax enforcement? That's right here, right now.
            Texas and Louisiana, more specifically. Where "jobs" will be promised, and hazards will be further entrenched, in neighborhoods that are NOT places where you'll find Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry or Greg Abbott raising their children.
            Where GOP "elected" celebrities like (hop over the gas flare with me)

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As if the nation hasn't suffered enough from the BS "leadership" of the Bush clan, George P got himself elected Land Commissioner  in Texas, often one of the first steps toward the Governorship. (He's one of "the little brown ones" Bush1 claimed as grandkids, all those years ago. He's also the son of !JEB!.)

Damn near the first thing this GOP "rising star" did? Seize the Alamo and the library therein.

What's his office going to do, as the State of Texas "manager" of the Alamo?
Outsource it, of course.

The management of the Alamo will transition to the state's General Land Office over the next four months. During that time, the Land Office will solicit proposals for the development of a strategic plan for the Alamo grounds and search the nation for a new management company.
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Wed Apr 01, 2015 at 02:56 PM PDT

Offshore Oil Rig Explosion Kills 4

by BlackSheep1

It sounds eerily familiar if you were one of the Gulf Watchers.

Pemex lost a rig today; at least four people died. The fire is still being fought.

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    This came to my attention today.

     Once I got over the "Wow, what is that?" reaction I had to the photo, (Thank you, Major Kong, for the aircraft ID!) found in a Twitter stream, I read the accompanying 140-character reference.

     Which brings me to sharing that airplane picture with you above, and then telling you why I think you should care. That's not just a hurricane hunter.

Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction, and the associated equipment has become a familiar sight on any cross-country road trip or flight.  But while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.  The scientists are using a suite of state-of-the-art chemical instruments aboard a research aircraft this spring in the NOAA-led Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, to study the atmospheric effects of energy production in the western U.S.
  That airplane is, as the kids today say,
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Sun Mar 15, 2015 at 06:55 PM PDT

Inexcusable Arrogance

by BlackSheep1

Ted Cruz, who thinks he's God's own gift to the universe, used his rhetorical powers of overblown fearmongering to scare a child into tears earlier today during a speech in

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A pilot has been killed in a plane crash in East Lubbock that also destroyed a local TV station's broadcast tower. The affected station is KCBD TV; it is located near US 84 and Avenue A in Lubbock, Texas. Its 815-foot tower fell after the crash, causing power interruptions -- some persisting now -- across about a third of the city.

KCBD NewsChannel 11
41 mins ·
We have received this statement from the FAA:
A single-engine Piper PA-46 crashed while on approach to Lubbock's Preston Smith International Airport. The aircraft dropped off radar screens about 7:30 p.m. local time.
The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed a crash site inside the city limits of Lubbock.
FAA investigators are on their way to the site. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.
We'll continue to update on Facebook and the web as we learn more.

A small airplane hit the 815-foot-tall broadcast tower of KCBD-TV, Channel 11, the NBC affiliate at about 7:30 p.m. According to the FAA, who have investigators en route, the plane sheared off the tower during approach to Preston Smith International Airport. One person has been confirmed dead as a result of the crash.

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Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 03:03 PM PDT

What Texas Democrats Believe

by BlackSheep1

I'll be in and out today, but I found this and put it in the comments a few nights back, and somebody asked me to put it into a diary. So it's over the orange whangdoodle we go ...

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I make no secret of my loathing for the running open sewer that is Facebook. But here is another reason I feel this way:

But soon after the sentencing - the boys avoided jail because of their age - a family friend of one of the boys wrote on Facebook that the young victim 'asked for it'.
A stream of abuse then followed, with one troller accusing the girl of crying rape when she had consented, and another saying it was her fault.
The girl's mother went to police but they told her they weren't able to help, and told her to talk to Facebook, who told her the comments didn't breach their 'community standards'.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The running open sewer that is Facebook should be shut down as a public service because
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Can be seen in a single image on today's Twitter:
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I'll start this with the obligatory source quote. Note that the bolding's all mine.

Several lawmakers at an initial meeting of House and Senate negotiators said the estimate improperly assumed that about 8 million eligible veterans not yet enrolled in the system would seek VA care, nearly doubling its patient population.

"Is the CBO product that they've produced reflective of anything sane?" asked Senator Richard Burr, the top Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

"This is ludicrous. This is impossible for us even to start an intelligent discussion on what we put in legislation when we've got numbers that are just so grossly out of line," he said.

So who is Senator Richard Burr, the whining-loudest-today Republican of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee?

Wikipedia says: "Richard Mauze Burr (born November 30, 1955) is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina and has served since 2005. A member of the Republican Party, Burr previously represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2005."

Not that John Edwards was a peach, you understand, but at least Edwards was a Democrat.

 Burr's a preacher's kid and a lawn equipment salesman -- a Kappa Sigma member, as anti-choice and pro-gun as it gets. He's joined by Alabama's Jeff Sessions in his fiscal-responsibility objections to expanding VA care to meet demand across the nation.

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If you're eight or nine years old and you're raped and your rapist puts the photos on the internet, the United States Supreme Court says, it's wrong to seek compensatory damages from people who share those images even if a FEDERAL APPEALS COURT awards them to you.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices struck a compromise in the case of "Amy," whose images — taken by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old — have become some of the most popular on the Internet for traffickers in child pornography.
It's potentially arguable that Sonia Sotomayor's dissenting opinion, say the majority today in their unconscionable decision denying full compensation to a rape victim
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Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 06:50 PM PDT

COSMOS -- Don't miss the

by BlackSheep1

premiere episode of the new version, encoring soon on National Geographic. A better Introduction than I can imagine is this one:

The full episode is also on

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