Category Archives: Freedom Industries

Hot Air

The Big Knife

Last full week before the doctors slice me open and install an electric generator in my chest. They’ll run leads right into my heart so that if said organ decides to go on a drunken bender, the generator’ll shock me with 800 volts and get the ticker back in line, 4/4 beat and all.

Here’s the device:

MG 20140427

I hope it works. Or, better yet, I hope it never has to. We’ll see.

Taking The Blame

So, the S. Korean prime minister handed in his resignation over the capsized ferry that sent some 300 kids and adults to their watery graves.

Imagine that. There exist in this world some nations and societies wherein big shots take the heat for the bad things that happen on their watch.

I realize this is hard for Americans to believe, but in some faraway lands, heads of companies whose fuel depots blow up or whose toxic sludge seeps into the nation’s Capri Sun juice reserves often get sacked or even prosecuted for their misdeeds.

In other words, certain races of humans on this Earth entertain the quaint notion that somebody’s responsible when shit happens.

How odd, no? Here in this holy land, of course, we understand that when a coal company dumps poison into the water supply, well, by golly, that’s merely one of the costs of a free society. Imagine if we blessed Murricans played so fast and loose with the concept of accountability.

Why, our nation’s prisons would be filled to the bursting point with the likes of the CEOs of BP, Transocean and Halliburton, the managers of Freedom Industries, the former decision makers at General Motors, the bosses at West Fertilizer Company, and many other wealthy white folks. Why, in our Murrican lord’s name, would we force the pillars of our society to bunk with, ugh, common criminals?

BP CEO Tony Hayward

What? I didn’t do nuthin’.

Remember back in December, 1984, when Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal, India, accidentally released methyl isocyanate gas into the air? Oops! The death toll estimates ranged from 3787 (the official number) to upwards of 16,000. And a half million people were injured, including partial, severe, and permanently disabling physical trauma. I mean, why get hung up on numbers; none of those affected were job creators — and very, very few of them white.

Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson immediately flew into Bhopal to show how deeply he cared for the suffering of all those brown people. But those wacky Indians — the moment he stepped off the plane, they slapped the bracelets on him and charged him with manslaughter. Oh, the look on his face! His mug read: Don’t you know I’m the CEO of a very important Fortune 500 company?

So what did Anderson do? He promptly posted bail and then fled the country. India still has a warrant out for his arrest, nearly 30 years later. Our federal gov’t, for its part, refuses to extradite him because, well, what’s the big deal?


Quaint Indian Women

Like I said, quaint. Americans are decidedly not quaint. Many of us know precisely whom to blame whenever anything bad happens, be it an industrial disaster, a snowstorm, or an asteroid hitting Yankee Stadium.

Barack Obama!

Warm Air

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry

I only had time to type out a couple of pontifications this morning. So there aren’t any pix or other images. If I have time later, I’ll plug them in. If not, you’ll live.


Just wondering: Now that merely drinking a glass of water in the city of Charleston, West Virginia, might make a thirsty soul sick as a dog, is there anybody out there in this holy land who still thinks the EPA is an undue federal gov’t intrusion on our freedoms?

See, coal is king in W.Va. And as such, that state’s legislatures, executive mansion, and regulatory agencies are in thrall to the coal tsars. So, say, if some 30-year-old Charleston woman with a couple of kids needs someone to guarantee that coal operations won’t dump poisons into her family’s drinking water, can she really, honestly trust her state’s watchmen and -women?


The Environmental Protection Agency was created to try to prevent the machinery of our modern society from, well, killing us. Air, water, and soil pollution were threatening to become intractable back in the late 1960s. Big city stone skyscrapers looked black after years of being shrouded in smog. Lake Erie was virtually dead. Strip mining, soil erosion, and clear cutting were radically transforming the nation’s topography.

Now, I’m under no illusion that the four decades since the birth of the EPA have brought us a fresh, sparkly Garden of Eden. Nor do I believe federal officers from the agency itself are immune to the pressures and lures of big business, for whom dumping poisons is nothing more than a nasty necessity in the pursuit of dollars. And, clearly, too many — far too many — US Senators and Representatives are in the pockets of big biz.

Still, the mere existence of the EPA is another needed weapon in our battle against the desecration of our corner of the planet. Lake Erie is no longer dead. The nation’s big cities all have significantly cleaner air. We, using the power of the EPA, have cleaned things up a bit.

West Virginians are being told to keep their taps shut for the time being. They’re also being told to watch for signs of skin irritations, nausea, vomiting, and wheezing. The people around Charleston all drank, bathed, and brushed their teeth in water tainted by something called 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), 7500 gallons of which spilled from a storage tank near that city’s water treatment plant.

Might a more active federal overseer have denied the placement of a poison storage tank so close to a water filtration plant? Maybe. Maybe not. But the odds would be much better than counting on W.Va. regulators to do so, considering that this MCHM stuff is a key component in the production of coal.

BTW: the company that owns the poison storage tank that began leaking Thursday? It’s called Freedom Industries.

Freedom, my ass.

How To Win While Losing

I’ve made myself clear regarding my feelings about the Olympics.

I hate them.

They’ve long ago outlived their usefulness. Each Olympic sport stages its own world championship every year, except for the Olympiads. So athletes on an annual basis can brag that they’re the tops in their fields. It’s not as though nobody knows who the fastest miler when the Olympics aren’t being staged.

Add to that the seemingly irresistible lure each Olympics offers to those who are convinced the quickest, most efficient way to improve this world is to blow up a bunch of innocent folks.

The amount of money spent on building venues and Olympics villages is astronomical. And few can argue that host cities get an equitable dollar return on their investments. I know that my beloved hometown was prepared to parlay a combined municipal, state, and private bankroll totaling billions to entice the International Olympic Committee to stage the 2016 games in Chi.

Money, BTW, that the Chicago Public Schools might have used to keep some neighborhood schools open. Or that the city itself might have directed toward warding off its looming bankruptcy.

Back to the sports themselves, too many of them don’t at all lend themselves to real competition, you know, where objective goals like scoring more goals than the other team or jumping higher, running faster, or lifting more weight than one’s competitors makes you the champion.

When a sport depends on the athlete’s choice of music for her or his solo performance, or, worse, how many spangles and bangles her or his costume dangles, it’s closer to a beauty contest than a physical trial.

Again, not that figure skaters, for instance, aren’t athletes. They are. Only how does one choose the best figure skater in the world?

We know know how one chooses the best miler in the world. She’s the runner who crosses the finish line first.

The US this weekend held its competition to determine the best figure skater here. Usually, the medal winners in that contest go on to the Olympics for that year. Makes sense, as much as anything having to do with judging figure skaters can make sense.

Anyway, the big favorite to go to Sochi this year was Ashley Wagner. She once ranked fourth in a world competition and, apparently, is a popular skater who’s expected to draw tons of viewers to NBC’s coverage of the Sochi Games. Only she had to skate the weekend in Boston to earn her spot on the team.

She went out on the ice — and promptly fell down twice.

In case you didn’t know, falling is frowned upon in the figure skating world.

It’s the equivalent of the clean-up hitter striking out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. It’s like a running back fumbling at the goal line. In short, it’s bad news.

Accordingly, three other skaters finished ahead of Wagner when the judges votes were tallied. Again, normally, those three would go to the Olympics. Sadly, one of them won’t.

That’s because to USOC tabbed Wagner to go anyway. Mirai Nagasu, who finished third, wept openly on the medal stand yesterday, having already learned she won’t go to Russia.

I suppose Ashely Wagner is prettier than Nagasu. More TV camera-friendly. A bigger draw, meaning bigger ad revenues for NBC.

The Olympics. Silly.

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