Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, February 18, 2023



By Peter Baldi, fellow Melrosian:

Incase you've been under a rock, a train derailed in Ohio. And then the comedy ensued.
Norfolk Southern Railway owns the rails and the train.
Norfolk Southern spent $6 million to overturn the Obama administration's requirement that individual rail cars carrying toxic chemicals be equipped with emergency brakes.
The trump administration overturned the rule requiring the brakes.
A train carrying toxic chemicals derails.
The liquid in the tanks leaked into a nearby waterway killing thousands of fish.
Norfolk Southern, fearing the derailed cars may explode, decides to vent the cars and burn off the contents; without notifying any governmental or law enforcement entity.
The resulting gas is phosgene; a poisonous gas used in WWI.
Governor Mike DeWine states that he sees no need for Federal help, and that the local people should drink bottled water.
Senator J.D. Vance tells the local residents that he is working closely with FEMA, but there is no FEMA because FEMA can only respond once the Governor declares a State of Emergency: which he hasn't.
J.D. Vance blames Biden for the crash because none of the funds from the infrastructure bill were spent on that railway. Which is privately owned.
Only 623 miles of railway are owned by the Federal government. None of which is in Ohio.
Governor DeWine complains that the Transportation Secretary, a federal employee which he says he doesn't need, hasn't visited the crash site. Which is privately owned.
DeWine tells the residents to drink bottled water.
A second Norfolk Southern train derailed today.
Here's the humor. Mike DeWine is a republican. J.D. Vance is a republican. The politicians who voted to eliminate the rule requiring brakes on toxic tanker cars were republicans. The people of Ohio voted republican. So my advice is to, breathe deep and drink bottled water.
Late Thursday update: multiple GOP senators call for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to resign, with senator Marco Rubio releasing the following statement regarding Buttigieg:
“Even after acknowledging the tragedy, he continues to deflect any accountability for the safety of our nation’s rail system. The circumstances leading up to the derailment point to a clear lack of oversight and demand engagement by our nation’s top transportation official.”
Someone should tell Marco that our nation’s rail system is privately owned, and the federal government is barred by law from its oversight. It can’t even require toxic chemical train cars to have brakes.
More humor from the party whose official policy is unfettered business, and whose hero famously said, “The 9 most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.


 NYTimes: "The precise cause of the Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine is still under investigation. But we know it occurred in an industry that tolerates too many preventable derailments and fights too many safety regulations. During the Obama and Trump administrations, the rail industry successfully lobbied against stricter rules for trains carrying flammable chemicals, and against more advanced brakes that experts and the rail industry itself have said could lessen the severity of derailments."


skudrunner said...

Well we can put who is to blame for a derailment to bed. I put all my faith in the NYT because they are so trustworthy and it is all the republicans fault except "Under the rules weakened by both the Obama and Trump administration’s decisions, that train was not being regulated as a “high-hazard flammable train.”

Joey b and his transportation expert mayor pete have done nothing to improve this situation. In the aftermath of a fiery Ohio train derailment, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s department has no plans to reinstate an Obama-era rail safety rule aimed at expanding the use of better braking technology.

Guess we will continue to have the best politicians money can buy.

Grey One talks sass said...

I said it before - every rule, every law has a reason for being on the books. Some of the reasons are pure crap I admit, but for the most part, the rules are there to prevent the Robber Barons from riding roughshod over us regular citizens.

We are witnessing in real time what happens when the Robber Barons win. Also said before - it should be equally painful to rescind a rule as it is to put it in place. No more Robber Baron eras, thank you very much.

Honestly I used to be "Tax the Rich". Now? Yeah, I've been brushing up on my French Revolution history lessons. I believe there might be some solutions I previously overlooked.

If I was the Queen of All Things USA I'd be calling for a country wide audit. I want an inventory taken, how many paperclips, bullets, and tongue depressors. I want to know how money is spent, where it goes, and what can be done better. I'm not sure such an endeavor has ever been undertaken. There is the yearly thing but nope.... count each item. Verify inventory matches invoice numbers. And military? You've never successfully passed any kind of audit. You'd be first on my list of Things To Do. I want to know how many buttons y'all have, where they are located and what each one does (both buttons for pushing and fastening ones clothes).


Les Carpenter said...

Profit over safety and animal or human life. Greed over compassion. Ignorance over insight. The reality of what happened.

And the red team and Norfolk Southern close their eyrs and minds to the truth and actual reality.

Disgraceful. But that's business and th gop.

skudrunner said...

Grey, The robber barons are in many cases the government you support.They pass bills that have so much pork not associated with the name on the bill it just adds billions to the spending of the government. We could actually balance the budget if we could eliminate wasteful spending a cut pork. The problem is how would politicians payback favors and political contributions. How many bills passed by congress spend money on what the bill is intended and how much is spent to rename a hiking trail. Give billions to chip makers so china can build in the US on our dime.

The military spending is way out of control but the republicans justify it for national security and they don't want bases to close in their districts and the majority of bases are in republican areas.

Leslie, I will assume the red team you are referring to is the current incompetence and corruption coming from DC who is much better at diverting responsibility than on doing something.

Les Carpenter said...

You should know what assume accomplishes. But, maybe not.

Les Carpenter said...

I assume, opps, suspect you enjoy being clueless.

Grey One talks sass said...

oh skud, you just can't help yourself, can you?

No, the government I support is in and of itself a tool and like any tool the positive or negative results are based on who is doing the wielding. Not sure how you miss this point.

The reason robber barons are in charge is due to a pesky loophole wherein industry leaders, lobbyists, and politicians for hire were allowed to change jobs without oversite. It seems rational to prevent an industry leader from becoming a member of the body regulating that same industry but here we are.

I get it skud, you hate Biden. Your Biden Derangement Syndrome is well known. That said, just because you despise the man and all he stands for doesn't mean the legislation passed under his watch is horrible. Per the OMB the bills passed will not only pay for themselves but generate revenue for the future. Can you say the same about the previous admin?

Your dig about "balance the budget" is a red herring skud. The only comment you made about the tax cut legislation passed by the former admin was it brought down your taxes. If I remember correctly there were several commentators here who asked you specifically about how these cuts would be paid for and you either didn't answer or didn't care as you continued to sip your cup 'o liberal tears. Spare me your histrionics now.

Only children (in attitude not chronological terms) believe the USA exists in an economical or environmental vacuum. Binary black and white thinking no longer works in todays connected world. In reality, the here/now is totally grey.

The breath my neighbor exhales is surely inhaled by myself: Just as my exhale is taken in by another: We are all connected.

Les Carpenter said...


skudrunner said...

Grey, Very big difference between us is I am convinced our entire government is corrupt and self serving and you think it is only the republicans. I don't hate biden I just believe he is a puppet who doesn't have a say in what is happening. I do wonder if he can win from his basement again against a candidate other than trump. Why do we even allow lobbyists to influence our elected elite. Quit congress and you will make millions more selling your influence which is not a good plan to keep people honest.

I personally have not seen anything from the "tax cuts" and I have never experienced my FIT being cut in well over 60 years of working and paying them. It is like the states who have no income tax. The taxes are paid just labeled under a different name. Texas has no state income tax but sizeable property tax. I do support reducing corporate taxes and go to a fair tax system for individuals which will cost the wealthy more but it will never happen because taxes are political fodder.

If you believe the give away's will be paid for you are joking and I think you are smarter than that.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Brian Krassenstein

I'm sick of people attacking Biden for not being in Ohio but instead traveling to Ukraine & Poland to meet Zelensky and stand up to Putin.

- There are 7 Federal Agencies now operating in East Palestine

- Not a single life and NO property has been damaged or destroyed in East Palestine

- Yes, East Palestine should be taken seriously, but Biden's presence would not help anything, and likely would hurt by adding to the chaos

- Biden's presence in Ukraine and now Poland shows Putin and the World that we stand with democracy

- Biden's presence means the rest of NATO has the confidence to continue supporting Ukraine and democracy

- Biden's presence shows Putin and the world that we are not backing away

While Trump coddled Putin at the expense of democracy, Biden stands with Zelensky, NATO and democracy.

skudrunner said...

I agree that joey b does not need to go to palestine but I do think mayor pete should because he is in charge of transportation and a train is transportation. He needs to see what is going on even if he doesn't understand any of it. Any president who goes to a disaster is more about them than about the disaster. Why hasn't joey b or cruella visited the border. Because there is nothing to be gained for them. They don't have any answers that won't upset the leftist so why expose them to ridicule from their base.

Is joey b going to do anything in Poland, no but it makes people feel good that he showed up.

I know it is all about trump but you do realize that russia, china, NKO, iran were all quiet until joey b because president. That does say more about joey b than trump.

Les Carpenter said...

It says skud, that tRump the coward groveled before authoritarian tyrants. If course they were quiet.

tRump... I asked President Putin if it was Russia. He assured me it was not. I don't see why it would be.

Putin and his adoring fat orange puppy had a great bromance while Putin played him.

Grey One talks sass said...

Taking a moment skud to address some of the disinformation you keep spreading (for me disinformation is a lie spoken by a voice of authority and repeated by the voices followers). Now that you've been informed I will call out what was disinformation as it truly is now - a lie.

A. Secretary Pete's job isn't being on site, their job is to coordinate the assistance needed to ensure the safety of the citizens in the area and to ensure such an event is not repeated. His physical presence would be a hinderance rather than a help.

B. I've done my research skud, perhaps this will be the last time you copy off my paper, okay? Secretary Pete has been busy challenging those who repeat what you say skud, that he doesn't know what he's doing. Based on what I've found you owe the man an apology. Twitter has been fluttering over this topic. Very informative that many people believe as you do skud that if a person is part of the LGBTQA community they don't have a brain in their head. So misguided. So very very wrong.

C. The first story yesterday at 5 AM on a blog I follow was about Secretary Pete urging Congress to to make significant changes in how they view rail safety. Many of the regulations in place here/now were developed at the infancy of railroads, a situation favorable to the robber barons seeking to move toxic materials across country without fanfare. I believe Secretary Pete has been working behind the curtain of the press since the crash to Get Things Done. He is military trained. It's what they do.

D. Also happening, the EPA is pressuring Norfolk Southern to conduct and pay for the clean up of the mess they made.

E. On Monday Secretary Pete spoke on the record about Norfolk Southern being held accountable for the damages caused by their shirking the laws in place.

F - Z. Secretary Pete networks with his compatriots to change the rules to ensure what is in place isn't based on centuries old technology and to ensure those who've made the mess aren't just hit with a fine that is "just the cost of business" but rather a real deterrent for billion dollar businesses to tread gently on the planet (my words, not any others).

Seems like the man is busier than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but to you skud, that is doing nothing. Your bias and bigotry are already noted. Please try not to lie in the future. It makes you look like an awful human.

skudrunner said...

Grey, Where did I say anything about mayor pete being part of LGBTQA community. You do have a habit of placing me in your hate everything bubble.

I said that if he goes to the site he will not do anything but having him there is good for his optics which is all that matters.

Why do you feel comfortable having a secretary of any department having zero experience.
Yellen has experience in finance, austin has military experience, buttigage has experience of running a small town and no transportation experience we could have done better.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skud please save us your complaints about US Cabinet secretaries having no experience.

You kept your mouth tightly shut about that when Betsy de Vos was Education SecY.

Betsy DeVos had no relevant experience as an educator; she did not attend or send her children to public school. She was not a teacher and has no degrees in Education.

We never heard a word from you about Ben Carson:

Trump made Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development with no experience in housing policy. NO EXPERIENCE! Brain surgery doesn't make a person skilled in housing policy.

And then there was Linda McMahon, a wrestling exec, who Trump put in charge of the Small Business Administration.

Speaking of "good optics." The leader of the MAGAts is on his way there in his stupidly named plane "Trump Force One," to make a gigantic fool of himself once again. His people claim this will be a rally for him.

Trump will take a tragedy and make it a political rally to benefit himself.

This is the guy the current GQP admires and wants as POTUS again.

We are a sorry country.

skudrunner said...

Ms. Shaw, You didn't disappoint, all about trump and nothing about the current king. I will assume you are not supportive of Nikki even though she has both legislative and international experience. She is a women with a lot of experience but she did talk to trump so that takes her out of the running. I don't think she will last long but as a VP for DeSantis is very exciting don't you think.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Wrong, skud,

I pointed out your double standard of complaining about Secy. Buttigieg's lack of experience, but never a peep out of you when Trump's Cabinet appointees had none.

That's what's known as a MAGA double standard.

You assume correctly about Haley. She has qualifications for the presidency -- more than Trump ever did, and she was correct when she lowered the Confederate flag that flew over her statehouse. She was also correct when she stated in early 2015 that Trump was "everything we teach kindergarten children NOT to be." Then, in a complete reversal, she kissed Trump's ass and even stooped so low as to say that Trump doesn't lie.

She's just another MAGA pol pandering to Trump's MAGA base. Nothing different, except she's the first female of Indian heritage to run for the presidency. Too bad she doesn't have the courage to appeal to normal Republicans and Independents and distance herself from Trump and his Qanon cult.

DeSantis? He appeals to everyone who is in thrall to authoritarians, y'know, like Viktor Orban of Hungary, the guy who shut down all news outlets opposed to him. DeSantis has shown that he's really, really excited about doing things like that.

It's amusing to see the MAGAs exchange a not so smart dictator wannabe (Trump) for a shrewd one (DeSantis).

Anonymous said...

skudrunner needs to understand this:

Governor DeWine did everything possible to delay the Federal Government’s help because he thought he could handle it on his own. Also, Secretary Pete has little to nothing to do with this. It’s NTSB which is independent of DOT.