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Mother Jones:
In 1790, a freed slave named Jim Moss found a place to settle down on a bend in the Houston River in the bayous of southwest Louisiana. Although never formally incorporated, the village of Mossville became one of the first settlements of free blacks in the South, predating the formal establishment of Calcasieu Parish by 50 years. But over the last half century, Mossville was surrounded. More than a dozen industrial plants now encircle the community of 500 residents, making it quite possibly the most polluted corner of the most polluted region in one of the most polluted states in the country. Now, a proposal to build the largest chemical plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere would all but wipe Mossville off the map. [...]

There are 14 industrial facilities around Mossville, a community that's just five square miles in area. A 1998 EPA study found chemical toxins in the hamlet's air 100 times higher than the national standard. Another study found that 84 percent of residents had some sort of central nervous system disorder. Its residents at one point appealed to an international court, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, on the grounds that the continued pollution of the neighborhood constituted environmental racism. (That appeal is ongoing.) The community was also featured in a 2002 documentary, Blue Vinyl, on the toxic consequences of manufacturing building materials. [...]

The twilight of Mossville is only the latest in a history of southern Louisiana communities being erased by the march of industry. In 2002, Shell bought out residents of the community of Diamond, on the Mississippi River south of New Orleans, after decades of health defects and industrial accidents. African American residents of Morrisonville, Sunrise, and Revilletown all met similar fates. More than 100 residents of Bayou Corne have taken buyouts from solution-mining company Texas Brine since Jindal issued a mandatory evacuation order in August 2012. Grand Bayou, next door to Bayou Corne, ceased to exist after a broken cylinder in an underground storage cavern filled the community with poisonous gases. It is now memorialized by concrete slabs and a solitary road sign.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009Afghanistanization: But Still No Exit Plan:

After 60 days of comprehensive reviews and leaks about differences over those reviews within the administration, no surprises have emerged in the new strategy for the "good war" in Afghanistan that President Obama announced today. Not even the slightest hint about when the U.S. troop commitment might end. And not a word about the 550 or more prisoners in the infamous Bagram prison, many of them previously tortured and still held without recourse to legal or humanitarian intervention.

Thousands of additional troops and hundreds of civilians with expertise in agriculture and civil projects will be deployed with a major focus on counterterrorism. The objective will be to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda," the President said in a speech which reminded the world of the loss of nearly 3000 on September 11, 2001, and thousands killed – many of them Muslims – by al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere since then.
Tactics will apparently come from General David Petraeus’s field manual on counterinsurgency. That is, hunt down Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, protect the Afghan population, and heighten reconstruction efforts. Or better said, construction, since Afghanistan is no Iraq. It has neither a modern infrastructure throughout most of the country, where the population is 75% rural, nor accountable civil institutions at the national, provincial or local levels. Illiteracy and semi-literacy predominates.

Those (re)construction projects, Obama said, will be governed more carefully than in the past, and be monitored by inspector generals assigned to the State Department. At the same time, he said, there will be an increased effort to stomp out corruption in the Afghan government.


Tweet of the Day:

Reid: Washington Redskins Owner Getting Tax Break From Aid To Native Americans #changethename
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@_RuthHopkins



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin tells us why getting the metrics wonks (and reporters) want on ACA signups isn't so easy. Seems Krugman and Silver are fighting. Here's "what you need to know." Christie exonerates himself as the 2016 Republican field jockeys for position and 2014 red state Senate Dems stake out positions on ACA fixes. Chit-chat alert: fancy NY hotel now offers "social media concierge service" for your wedding. What exactly is "economic inequality," anyway? Well, for starters, it's about how it screws the poor on welfare (and you, too, since this is taxpayer money), as well as the poor who think they're signing up to become "makers."


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