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View Diary: How Regulation came to be: The Hotel Fires of 1946 Pt I (74 comments)

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  •  The Triangle fire did not lead to (5+ / 0-)

    any safety regulations? I thought it did.
    1913, IIRC

    •  It's complicated. (8+ / 0-)

      Fire regulation tends to be local, so while a big event like the Triangle will get everyone's attention, actually getting regulations passed everywhere is a difficult task.

      I plan to do a diary on the Triangle eventually, and to be frank I'm not yet up on all the regulations that resulted from it, but I know there were many.  But while there might have been regulations instituted in New York, Chicago might not have instituted them, or instituted exactly the same regulations.

      Plus, different industries are subject to different regulations, so a factory will be subject to a different set of fire code regulations than theater or a hotel or a school.

      One of the issues we'll get into in next week's diary is the question of whether a governing body has the authority to enforce a newer code on a building constructed when an older code was in effect.  It was a hot topic for years, and one that the Cocoanut Grove and the hotel fires of '46 helped settle.

      And of course, as soon as you implement a regulation, the business interests will be there whining that you have to repeal it because **whinve** it costs too much, and **whinve** it's an impediment to commerce **whinve**, or it's **whinve** unconstitutional or **whinve** it's just too **whinve** HA-A-A-ARD!!!  And if you don't sooperate, they'll vote your sorry ass out and put their own puppet in office and HE'LL repeal them!

      We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

      by dsteffen on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:42:36 PM PDT

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      •  Thanks. The issue of different industries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dsteffen

        did occur to me. The Triangle fire probably didn't result in regulations on hotels.

        •  And it's odd how some are classified. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yaque

          One of the things that came about as a result of the Cocoanut Grove fire was that nightclubs came to be classified as "places of public assembly", which placed them under a stricter fire code.  And the questions that immediately pops into your mind is, "They weren't classified that way already?  Isn't that a no-brainer???"

          We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

          by dsteffen on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:56:15 PM PDT

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      •  Do you know the example of crib regulations? (3+ / 0-)
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        dsteffen, HylasBrook, yaque

        Crib dimensions have to meet certain standards, otherwise a baby's head can get caught and the baby killed. The requirement is not onerous, and it is clearly necessary, but industry continually fights against this "unnecessary regulation".

        •  This reminds me.. do you know how long (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dsteffen, HylasBrook, yaque

          it's been known that asbestos is a lethal toxin?
          The answer is truly shocking.

          •  The answer is: (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dsteffen, HylasBrook, yaque

            since ancient times.. for 2000 years, give or take a little. Certainly it was known by the owners of mines in the modern world as a fact in the early part of the 20th century.

          •  Absolutely. (5+ / 0-)
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            BoringDem, G2geek, HylasBrook, mawazo, yaque

            I know a lady who works for a lawyer who's spent his career litigating mesothelioma claims.  The principal weapon in his arsenal is a collection of internal memos he's collected over the years where the company executives are telling each other how dangerous the stuff is and how vital it is that the employees don't find out.

            We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

            by dsteffen on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 05:10:04 PM PDT

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            •  Pshaw.. that's "frivolous asbestos (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dsteffen, yaque

              litigation"!
              Ever wonder what serious asbestos litigation is? Well, that would be a fight over a corporate takeover, for instance---something important to the stockholders.

              •  "Serious lawsuits"... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BoringDem, HylasBrook, yaque

                ...are lawsuits where the COMPANY sues someone who didn't pay for their asbestos.

                Or alternatively, sues another company who infringed on their asbestos patent / trademark or otherwise violated some contractual agreement.

                Or sues some employee who disclosed that asbestos actually isn't all that good for you.

                We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

                by dsteffen on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 05:21:38 PM PDT

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            •  that's where we need a corporate death penalty. (4+ / 0-)
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              dsteffen, Hard to Port, bluebrain, yaque

              The penalty for that sort of thing ought to be that a corporation is disbanded, all of its assets are forfeited, and the persons who participated in the making of the policies (etc.) get prison sentences on appropriate charges such as murder.  

              •  I have said that (1+ / 0-)
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                dsteffen

                If personal responsibility is all important, when we catch a ceo who has basically said to hide something so they don't get sued and it results in someones death, isn't that murder (or at least manslaughter?).  If the death penalty really works to deter crime like they all insist it does, shouldn't it also work on CEOs?  Send a few to the gas chamber and maybe they'll quit selling defective products and sending workers into deadly situations.

        •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
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          HylasBrook, yaque

          When I was in college, the first attempts to establish standards for children's toys were beginning taking place.

          It's been a long time -- late sixties, early seventies -- so my memory's a little hazy (to match the environment, both micro and macro, at the time), but as i recall it started with a private organization putting out lists of dangerous toys around the holiday shopping seasons and trying to shame manufacturers into putting some little bit of consideration into what a child might actually do with these toys, what might happen if an inadequately-secured piece pops off and gets lodged in a child's throat, how toxic the materials they're making them out of actually are, etc..

          It took a while before the government picked up that this might be something that would be in the public's interest for them to do.

          We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

          by dsteffen on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 05:05:22 PM PDT

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          •  Issues like this are a great basis for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dsteffen, yaque

            hatred of Libertarians, btw.

          •  though, this gets taken to ridiculous extremes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            yaque

            When I was a kid we had, for example, Tonka toys made of steel that you could use to dig up the back yard if you liked.  

            Yes, you could also use one of these as a weapon and whack another kid with it, causing injuries.  Same as with a baseball bat.

            Last time I was in a toy store I noticed something:  no more metal, everything is made of soft plastic, with rounded edges; and computerized sound & light modules have replaced working features.  That was a few years ago; I wonder if it's gotten worse by now?  Maybe in a few years more, there'll be nothing to play with except nondescript lumps of brightly-colored plastic that do exactly nothing.  

            When I was in highschool we had real chem and bio labs, and did experiments hands-on: including hazardous chemicals, bunsen burners, and tools that could have been used for torture.  A few years ago I found out that highschools today dispense with all that stuff and show the kids videos of other people doing those experiments.   No more doing, it's all about watching.  

            With the result that we are breeding a nation of imbeciles.  

            Why bother with toys at all, when you can have videos?   And why bother with science experiments at all, you might get sued by creationists?

            Why not enclose kids in plastic bubbles so they can't possibly get hurt no matter how stupid they get from having no interaction with the physical world?  

            Keyword search:   "Free range kids."

            •  I think the move to plastic had more to (1+ / 0-)
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              dsteffen

              do with how cheap plastic is compared to metal or wood.  The manufacturers COULD be concerned about children's safety, but the cost savings of plastic were probably the real reason.

              The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

              by HylasBrook on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 04:40:04 AM PDT

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          •  There was also the problem of flammable (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dsteffen

            children's pajamas back in the '70's. Industry fought that too.

            The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

            by HylasBrook on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 04:38:17 AM PDT

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    •  I think that was limited to New York State (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoringDem, dsteffen

      Under the initiative of Assembly Speaker and soon to be Governor, and eventually presidential candidate, Al Smith.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:51:43 PM PDT

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