Thursday Reads


Good Morning!!

Unfortunately there is quite a bit of bad news breaking right now.

I’ll start with the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh.

From the Independent UK: Rescuers battle on as toll rises to 175 at collapsed Dhaka factory block that supplied Primark

Rescuers in Bangladesh are battling to save those trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building that contained garment factories as the death toll soared to at least 175. Many more hundreds of people were injured.

Hundreds of members of rescue teams, assisted by members of the military, frantically tried to clear rubble and debris amid fears that the death toll could rise yet higher.

The eight-storey building containing the factories which produced garments for several Western brands including Primark and Walmart, had been inspected on Tuesday and was found to have cracks.

But officials said the owners of the building assured the 2,000-odd employees that there was no danger and told them to carry on with their work….

The cracks were discovered on Tuesday and were so big that the local television news channel made a report about them. Staff from a bank that is housed in the same building were evacuated. However, the garment factories kept their staff working

Bangladesh factory collapse

Bangladesh factory collapse

CTV News: Collapsed Bangladesh factories ignored evacuation, officials say

With deep cracks visible in the walls, police had ordered a Bangladesh garment building evacuated the day before its deadly collapse, but the factories flouted the order and kept more than 2,000 people working, officials said Thursday. More than 200 people died when a huge section of the eight-story building splintered into a pile of concrete.

The disaster in the Dhaka suburb of Savar came less than five months after a blaze killed 112 people in a garment factory and underscored the unsafe conditions faced by Bangladesh’s garment workers, who produce clothes for brands worn around the world. Some of the companies in the building that fell say their customers include retail giants such as Wal-Mart.

Hundreds of rescuers, some crawling through the maze of rubble in search of survivors and corpses, worked through the night and into Thursday amid the cries of the trapped and the wails of workers’ relatives gathered outside the building, called Rana Plaza, which housed numerous garment factories and a handful of other companies.

An AP photographer ventured into the rubble and talked to one man who was

pinned face down in the darkness between concrete slabs and next to two corpses. Mohammad Altab pleaded for help, but they were unable to free him.

“Save us, brother. I beg you, brother. I want to live,” moaned Altab, a garment worker. “It’s so painful here … I have two little children.”

Another survivor, whose voice could be heard from deep in the rubble, wept as he called for help.
“We want to live brother; it’s hard to remain alive here. It would have been better to die than enduring such pain to live on. We want to live. Please save us,” the man cried.

I linked to this Matthew Yglesias post in a comment last night, but I’m going to include it here again because it is just so disgusting: Different Places Have Different Safety Rules and That’s OK

It’s very plausible that one reason American workplaces have gotten safer over the decades is that we now tend to outsource a lot of factory-explosion-risk to places like Bangladesh where 87 people just died in a building collapse.* This kind of consideration leads Erik Loomis to the conclusion that we need a unified global standard for safety, by which he does not mean that Bangladeshi levels of workplace safety should be implemented in the United States.

I think that’s wrong. Bangladesh may or may not need tougher workplace safety rules, but it’s entirely appropriate for Bangladesh to have different—and, indeed, lower—workplace safety standards than the United States.

The reason is that while having a safe job is good, money is also good. Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that’s primarily fishing, logging, and trucking—pay a premium over other working-class occupations precisely because people are reluctant to risk death or maiming at work. And in a free society it’s good that different people are able to make different choices on the risk–reward spectrum.

Um . . . No, it’s not okay. Read more at the link if you can stomach it.

Back in the USA, there have now been seven explosions on fuel barges in Alabama.

barges ala

From Fox News:

A seventh blast has rocked the scene of a large fire that began with explosions aboard two fuel barges in Mobile, Ala.

The latest explosion occurred around 2 a.m. local time on Thursday. The situation is so unstable that officials are letting the fire burn into the night.
Authorities responded after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday to a pair of explosions involving the gas barges in an area of the Mobile River east of downtown.

In an email, Mobile Fire and Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman wrote that as they were responding, a third explosion occurred around 9:30 p.m. Additional explosions followed over the next few hours.
Authorities say three people were transported to University of South Alabama Medical Center after suffering burn-related injuries. Huffman identified them as workers with Oil Recovery Co.

According to this article, the three people were critically injured.

This story is still developing. Here’s one more link posted early this morning: Fuel barges explode, causing huge fires in Alabama

The cause of the fire was under investigation, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega said shortly before dawn Thursday.

Firefighters from Mobile and Coast Guard officials responded after 8:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday to a pair of explosions involving the gas barges in an area of the Mobile River east of downtown, authorities said. Additional explosions followed over the next few hours….

Across the river, the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico last February before it was towed to Mobile’s port, was evacuated, said Alan Waugh, who lives at the Fort Conde Inn in downtown Mobile, across the river from the scene of the explosions. Waugh saw the blasts and said throngs of Carnival employees and others were clustered on streets leading toward the river as authorities evacuated the shipyard.

“It literally sounded like bombs going off around. The sky just lit up in orange and red,” he said, “We could smell something in the air, we didn’t know if it was gas or smoke.” Waugh said he could feel the heat from the explosion and when he came back inside, his partner noticed he had what appeared to be black soot on his face.

Video from WALA-TV ( showed flames engulfing a large section of the barge, and a video that a bystander sent to ( showed the fiery explosions and billowing smoke over the river.

George W. Bush’s presidential library will be dedicated today; consequently, some Republicans have spent this past week trying to rehabilitate the former president. Here’s Politico’s take on the library itself: George W. Bush library: More 9/11, less Cheney and Rove

George W. Bush was a wartime president, and his new museum won’t let you forget it.
High ceilings mean visitors can hear the wail of sirens on Sept. 11 across adjoining rooms, as Bush bellows resolutely: “Today our nation saw evil.”

The 14,000-square-foot museum is part of a 23-acre Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University, just north of Dallas. All the living former presidents, plus Barack Obama, will be here Thursday for the dedication.

Politics is downplayed; the 2004 reelection campaign goes unmentioned. And essentially invisible are Karl Rove, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, who the president became somewhat estranged from in his second term.

Bush wants to be remembered as a statesman, not a hawk. An oversize painting of him with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair hangs at the entrance of a theater.
Social issues, from his steadfast opposition to abortion to his push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, are ignored, too.

bush bunny

For the attempted rehabilitation, Ron Fourier wrote a truly ridiculous piece at the National Journal titled Go Ahead, Admit It: George W. Bush Is a Good Man. Fournier’s arguments are based on very odd criteria:

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer walked into the media cabin of Air Force One on May 24, 2002, and dropped identical envelopes in the laps of two reporters, myself and Steve Holland of Reuters. Inside each was a manila card – marked by a small presidential seal and, in a simple font, “THE PRESIDENT.”

Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”

What had we done? Not much, really. An hour earlier, at a rare outdoor news conference in Germany, Steve and I decided to abide by the U.S. media tradition of rising from our seats when the president entered our presence. The snickering German press corps remained seated. “What a contrast!” Bush wrote. “What class.”

Fournier doesn’t actually claim that polite gestures like this should erase the memories of how Bush ignored hundreds of warnings before 9/11, his lying us into a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people and helped crash our economy, the torture and rendition, or his catastrophic non-response to Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of the NOLA levees. But he (Fournier) does kinda sorta imply that we should just let all that go.

Bush’s note, a simple gesture, spoke volumes about his respect for the office of the presidency. He did not thank us for respecting him. He knew it wasn’t about George W. Bush. He was touched instead by the small measure of respect we showed “for our country.”

The same sense of dignity compelled Bush to forbid his staff to wear blue jeans in the White House. Male aides were required to wear jackets and ties in the Oval Office.

He was a stickler for punctuality. Long-time adviser Karen Hughes asked him years ago why he was always early for appointments. “Late is rude,” Bush replied. He thought that if people were going to take the time to see him, he shouldn’t keep them waiting.

He remembered names of the spouses and children of his staff, and insisted that hard work at the White House not be an excuse to let family life suffer. One steamy summer day in 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush called me with an exclusive interview and interrupted my first question. “What’s all that noise in the background, Fournier?” he asked.
“I’m at the pool with my kids, governor.”

Bush replied, “Then what the hell are you doing answering your phone?”

I don’t even know how to respond, but I found this from someone who contrasted Fornier’s hollow words with photos. Please check it out.

Naturally Jennifer Rubin had to chime in: Bush is back.

It took less than 4 1/2 years of the Obama presidency for President George W. Bush to mount his comeback. While doing absolutely nothing on his own behalf (he’s been the most silent ex-president in my lifetime), his approval is up to 47 percent according to The Post/ABC poll. That’s up 14 points from his final poll in office. For comparison’s sake President Obama’s RCP average is a tad over 49 percent.

Why the shift? Aside from the “memories fade” point, many of his supposed failures are mild compared to the current president (e.g. spending, debt). Unlike Obama’s tenure, there was no successful attack on the homeland after 9/11. People do remember the big stuff — rallying the country after the Twin Towers attack, 7 1/2 years of job growth and prosperity, millions of people saved from AIDS in Africa, a good faith try for immigration reform, education reform and a clear moral compass.

And, it turned out that the triumvirate of Iraq-Iran-North Korea really was the Axis of Evil. Unlike the current president, who’s played politics with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, President Bush took huge political risks to back the surge in Iraq, which worked. He is responsible for one of the most popular and fiscally sober entitlement plans, Medicare Part D. He did not foist a grandiose unpopular and exorbitant program like Obamacare on the public. And then there were his tax cuts, 99 percent of which were approved by the most liberal president in history. Even the TARP program, reviled by conservatives, can be credited with helping to calm the markets and stabilize financial institutions.

And so on . . . bla bla bla . . .

I’m running out of space, but I’ll add a few more links in the comment thread and I hope you will too. What are you reading and hearing today? Nothing is OT!

54 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    David Dayen: Banking Regulation: Closed for Business

    Satisfied with the meager reforms of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill, the Treasury is standing in the way of further efforts to rein in mega-banks.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    If nothing else, “revisionist history” has taught us that anyone, no matter how egregious, can look forward to a political comeback with a sanitized version of events with just the right “spin” aimed at the forgiving hearts of the public.

    Take Anthony Wiener as one example. This fool is running again for office only a few short years of having been discovered as just another pervert sending out pictures of his “weenie” as a badge of his manhood.

    Mark Sanford can abandon family and office and trek off to another country to be with his “soulmate” but wins a primary election in one of the most conservative states in the union which could propel him back to DC in triumph.

    And along comes George W. Bush, one of the dumbest and least intellectually suited for the office of President, about to bask in the “glory” of those horrid 8 years of governance as Obama stands in attendance as if nothing had happened.

    There is no longer any sense of shame involved. You can ruin the economy, wage war in countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 out of a personal sense of spite, release as much pent up hate within the Arab nations for this folly, destroy the infrastructure of Iraq for decades to come, torture without accountability, lie to the American public while sending them on a trajectory of ruin, and build yourself a monument for your efforts.

    You can be a pervert, an adulterer, a cheat, a liar, a fraud, and a mass murderer for all the public cares. Just as long as there are those willing to overlook and excuse your behavior none of this will stick to your boots for very long.

    It is a surreal world when the miscreants are rewarded when they should be cast aside out of a sheer sense of well deserved outrage.

    We seem to have misplaced our moral compass along the way.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    David Corn has gotten hold of another secret tape: Top GOP Consultant Luntz Calls Limbaugh “Problematic”

    At one point, Luntz was asked about political polarization. He replied that he had something important to say on this matter but was apprehensive about speaking openly; doing so, he explained, could land him in trouble. Members of the audience groaned; some called out for Luntz to continue off the record. Luntz asked if anyone was recording the event, and Eric Kaplan, a reporter from the college paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, indicated that he was. Luntz requested that he turn off his recording device. Kaplan did so and agreed that this part of Luntz’s talk would remain off the record. But one of the students present, Aakash Abbi, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics, and economics, started to record Luntz on his iPhone (without letting Luntz know), and Abbi has provided that recording to Mother Jones.

    Believing he was speaking privately to the dozens of students present, Luntz proceeded to gripe about conservative talk radio and its impact on political polarization:

    And they get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it’s really problematic. And this is not on the Democratic side. It’s only on the Republican side…[inaudible]. [Democrats have] got every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what’s driving it. If you take—Marco Rubio’s getting his ass kicked. Who’s my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He’s getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He’s trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn’t the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That’s what’s causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy.

    • roofingbird says:

      Another piece of the puzzle in mentality may be that he was home baby sitting, while his wife worked. A lot men (and women) still can’t handle that.

    • RalphB says:

      Yes you did! Good for you BB!!!

      • bostonboomer says:

        I still think they were car thieves too.

      • bostonboomer says:

        According to this Globe article, the younger brother was the one selling marijuana.

        The story mentions the mysterious damaged car business too.

        Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, always seemed to have money for food and other everyday expenses. “He lived a good life, I guess,” said Jason Rowe, his former roommate at UMass Dartmouth….

        Several fellow students reported he earned at least some cash selling marijuana — at least the portion he didn’t smoke himself. “There was a permanent stench of marijuana in his room,” said one person who asked not to be named.

        He also had a mysterious side enterprise involving repairing damaged cars.

        Dzhokhar Tsarnaev regularly brought cars to Junior’s Auto Body, a well-worn shop on the Cambridge-Somerville line, on a road lined with scrap metal and auto repair garages.

        Why a 19-year-old college student was bringing cars in for work for people he said were friends remains unclear, though his father had worked as a garage mechanic before he returned to the family’s native Russia. The shop owner, Gilberto Junior, said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sometimes accompanied friends to the shop, riding in the passenger’s seat. Often, the friends told Junior they were students at MIT, he said.

      • RalphB says:

        Seem like wannabe gangsters to me.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Me too.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    CNet: U.S. gives big, secret push to Internet surveillance

    Justice Department agreed to issue “2511 letters” immunizing AT&T and other companies participating in a cybersecurity program from criminal prosecution under the Wiretap Act, according to new documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    We’re getting an unbelievable number of hits from all over the world because of the “too handsome man” post. We have almost 3,000 page views already and it’s only 9:30AM blog time!

  6. boogieman7167 says:

    The Texas fertilizer plant explosion took more lives the most city of west Texas , was blown off map 11 people died.and there seems to almost no coverage of it. I don’t know if it the Muslim-phobia that the media seems to be addicted to seems or what . . I feel for the people of Boston .
    but _ I’m sick about hearing about really getting sick of it . I think you girls have had more coverage of the t Texas fertilizer plant explosion than CNN has.

  7. janicen says:

    The religioso’s keepin’ it classy. U of Arizona Religious Studies student holding “You deserve rape” sign.

  8. Fannie says:

    “So, I do not have my right to question Our Government? You know, you make a great case for resigning…what would I do without the $100 a year we all get paid?
    Is it not wonderful to have the lst Amerndment? I will repeat what I have stated to my other e-mails (both pros and cons) I seek to know honest truth and FACTS about the Fort Hood Massacre (workplace incident where Nadal Hassan shouted ALLAH AKHBAR) and killed 13, wounded others, FAST and FURIOUS (supplying guns to the drug cartel), the released of black panther intimidators at a voting poll station in Philadelphia, BENGAZI (murder of 4 navy seals who could have had help, but all were asked to STAND DOWN!), all with the excuse that we can not discuss or invetigate due to the “classified” information. PLEASE…I am not the only one who DEMANDS accountablity and truth from our Federal And State Governments. If you will swallow everything that is dished out ot you, then you DO NOT deserve freedom or liberty.
    I do appreciate you taking the time to write. We all need to be involved in demanding our Governments (State and Federal) for accountablity, honesty, truthfulness.”

    Does anybody know who this crazy person is?

    • Fannie says:

      Stella Tremblay – Rep. from New Hampshire. She accuses the President for the Boston Marathon Terroist Attack, saying it was a “Black Ops, top down, bottom up.” Note that she avoids using “Boston” in her email to me. She is a discipline of Alex Jones and Glenn Beck.

      This isn’t about spin, this is about her outright lying about “Black Ops”. She must not be aware of the first amendment, the part that says “you can’t scream fire in a theater”. She should be prosecuted for this.

      Blah, blah, blah. The problem is the republicans couldn’t even beat Obama during a crappy economy, and she doesn’t have one word about the economy. She and all her buds do nothing but spread hate and fear. It’s not working.

      She is totally delusional, and as you know, you can’t talk to this kind of person. She’s one crazee whacked out woman. Kelly Ayotte should lose her seat in US Senate………game on.

  9. janicen says:

    The Bangladesh story is heartbreaking.

  10. dakinikat says:

    You cannot trust an organization whose only motivation and raison d’etre is profit maximization.