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That is because the EPA and OSHA only regulate anhydrous ammonia as a hazardous substance under the Risk Management Program (RMP) and Process Safety Management (PSM) respectively. West Fertilzer Co. made the proper submittals for anhydrous ammonia. To my knowledge, these agencies do not regulate ammonium nitrate. These are the only two Federal agencies that regulate onsite safety of hazardous chemicals.  DHS regulates ammonium nitrate, but that agency is only concerned about site security in case of terrorism. DHS would not be reviewing safe handling and storage of ammonium nitrate onsite. I will not be surprised if the West Fertilizer Co. issues a press release at some point indicating that it was in full compliance with all applicable health, safety, and environmental rules. Unfortunately, that statement may not be as incorrect as many of us would like to believe.

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I was curious about the 'Interim' label for Oakland Police Chief Harold Jordan so I looked back at some articles explaining what happened to the previous Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts.  It becomes very obvious from the articles that Mayor Quan is a micromanager of the Oakland Police Department.  This is in sharp contrast to the statement she made yesterday.

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Giles Goat Boy has posted a few diaries showing peaceful members of the public being forcefully removed from the Wisconsin Assembly for wearing excerpts of the State Statute on their clothing and using video cameras.  I am not an attorney but I work with attorneys and regulations every day.  I won't bother delving into violations of the First Amendment for the sign wearing, but I want to document for everyone following these excellent diaries just why the actions of the Republican members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Capitol Police are illegal under Wisconsin Law.  It is not as cut and dry as reading one section of the Wisconsin Statute.

The Wisconsin Open Meetings Law dates back to 1977 and is contained in the Wisconsin Statute § 19.90:

Whenever a governmental body holds a meeting in open session, the body shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate any person desiring to record, film or photograph the meeting. This section does not permit recording, filming or photographing such a meeting in a manner that interferes with the conduct of the meeting or the rights of the participants.

This Open Meetings Law applies to the Wisconsin Assembly according to § 19.87 (Note that Subchapter V includes § 19.81 through 19.98):

This subchapter shall apply to all meetings of the senate and assembly and the committees, subcommittees and other subunits thereof...

Under § 19.87(2) the Assembly is allowed to promulgate rules that limit the Open Meetings Law for the Assembly:

No provision of this subchapter which conflicts with a rule of the senate or assembly or joint rule of the legislature shall apply to a meeting conducted in compliance with such rule.

However, the Assembly Rule being cited by Republicans on the floor does not prohibit the use of cameras by the public.  It prohibits the use of a microphone DESIGNED to pick up a conversation more than 10 feet away, in accordance with Assembly Rule 26(7):

(7) A person, other than a person specified in rule 25 (3), may not possess or use in the assembly chamber a microphone designed to pick up conversation more than 10 feet away from the microphone.

In order to be thorough, Assembly Rule 25(3) reads:

(3) Representatives of news media that regularly publish or broadcast reports available to the general public who are actively engaged in reporting the proceedings of the assembly, except that during the sessions of the assembly the privilege extends only to the designated press area.

So the rule does not prohibit filming the Assembly in session, only microphones that are designed to pick up noise more than 10 feet away unless the microphone is used by a representative of the news media.  I believe the intent of the rule is to prohibit people from picking up sidebar conversations within the Assembly, not the person speaking into a microphone on the Assembly Floor.  Even if the microphone picks up a conversation 10 feet away, if it is not designed for that purpose it is not prohibited by the rule.

Given the language of the Statute and Assembly Rule it would seem that the Capitol Police would have to determine that the video camera microphone is designed to pick up conversations more than 10 feet away (outside of the person speaking into the microphone on the floor of the Assembly).  Observing the video of the incidents posted online it is obvious that neither the Capitol Police or the Republican Assembly members are making any distinction and have mischaracterized the Assembly Rule to apply to all recording devices being used by the public.  
If the rule is not being violated than the Open Meetings Law is still in effect and the Republican Assembly members and the Capitol Police are violating Wisconsin Law, specifically Wisconsin Statute § 19.90, which by law applies to the Assembly.


Short diary, I hope no one else has posted this yet.  CNN has posted a story providing more detail about News Corp.'s anti-competitive practices.  Floorgraphics is the basis for the U.S. investigation of News Corp.'s subsidiary News America Marketing Group.  As you probably already know, this case involves computer hacking and anticompetitive behavior.  

CNN has obtained the video deposition of Floorgraphics founder George Rebh.  He details a meeting that he and co-founder Richard Rebh had with News America CEO Paul Carlucci and President Dominick Porco.  It turned out that Carlucci thought the point of the meeting was for George and Richard Rebh to sell their company to News America, below is part of the deposition after Carlucci found out that was not the point of the meeting:

Rebh said Carlucci's response was that "I have always liked floor advertising, so from this point on, consider us your competitor. And he said again, words to the effect, and you should know that I work for a man who wants it all and doesn't understand anyone telling him he can't have it all. And know this, if you ever get into any of our business, I/we will destroy you."

After a few seconds, Rebh said, according to his deposition, "So let me see if I understand this. You can get into our business and compete with us, but if we were to get into yours, you will destroy us. And he said, that's right. ... At that point, the meeting came to a rather abrupt and quick end, where I think everyone realized what had been said and the gauntlet that had been put down."

There is more good stuff in the article and I don’t want to quote too much.  For instance, it delves into the information accessed from the computer hacking.  
We can all rest assured that Gov. Chris Christie was on the case and reviewed all the pertinent evidence in this case:

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was then U.S. attorney, said in a statement to CNN, "The U.S. Attorney's Office receives (and received then) thousands of referrals each year from parties seeking criminal investigations. Any decision to prosecute or not prosecute is based strictly on the strength of evidence or lack thereof, and allegations with critical weaknesses simply do not go further. Prosecutors are ethically obliged not to bring cases that have defenses that are judged insurmountable."

Does this mean his excuse for not investigating is that he was overworked and there wasn’t sufficient evidence?


Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 10:26 AM PDT

Another Tale of Corporate Corruption

by Disrupter

All the brave people participating in OWS and taking the protests to the homes of CEOs have inspired me to come forward and publish my first diary about my personal knowledge of corruption in Corporate America.  The following story illustrates that including any CEO in a job-creation panel is bad for the economy and the environment.

I begin at the end, a little reported settlement between Honeywell and EPA/DOJ.  Conveniently for Honeywell, it hit the news on the same day that the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.  This settlement resulted in Honeywell pleading guilty to a felony in federal district court and paying an $11.8 million fine.  

The unreported part of this settlement is that it was the result of a whistleblower contacting EPA Region V four and a half years ago.  How do I know that?  Because I am that whistleblower.  It has changed my life for the better, but it was not always that way.

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