I find it funny that Texas government officials are falling all over themselves to let the residents of West, Texas know that they are large and in charge. I know that many in Texas and around the country believe with all of their hearts that the government is useless. The scariest thing is that old Ronald Reagan line, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Well, now, the good folks of West need help. They need someone to check the air quality and make sure that it is safe. Who’s going to do that? They need low-interest long- and short-term loans so that they can rebuild. Who’s going to do that? The town will need grants to rebuild infrastructure. This is where the government needs to step up and do their jobs.
Now, I don’t know what caused the explosion in West, Texas. I do know that for the most part plants do not spontaneously combust. Ammonium nitrate is the compound that was made at the West plant. This product is made by a simple chemical reaction. The chemical reaction gives off an enormous amount of heat.
Texas should be very aware of the dangers of ammonium nitrate. A vessel carrying tons of the material exploded in the Texas City harbor in 1947. 581 people died. This disaster resulted in one of the first class action lawsuits.
By now, everyone in the United States should know that at least two and possibly three bombs went off yesterday towards the end of the Boston Marathon. I’m not going to spend any time today talking about the bombs, who made the bombs and what could possibly be the motivations of the sick individuals. Instead, as a trauma surgeon, I would like to congratulate the first responders, the doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel who quickly responded to this tragedy. In the coming days and months we will hear more about the individuals who acted quickly in order to help save a fellow human being. These are the true heroes in this tragedy.
My heart goes out to the great city of Boston. My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of the three people who died. My prayers go out to the more than 130 who were injured. My hope is that they have a speedy recovery, both physically and mentally.
This is a wonderful TED talk.
There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.
Lawrence Lessig has already transformed intellectual-property law with his Creative Commons innovation. Now he’s focused on an even bigger problem: The US’ broken political system.