Voluntary efforts to protect chemical plants from terrorist attacks are inadequate, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has concluded, and Congress should adopt federal standards to do so.
The call for legislation is to be presented at separate House and Senate hearings on Wednesday by Robert Stephan, a top deputy to Mr. Chertoff. It gives greater momentum to an effort already under way in the Senate to impose minimum security requirements on thousands of chemical facilities across the country.
The above is from Eric Lipton's "Administration to Seek Antiterror Rules for Chemical Plants."
What does that remind us of? Erika and Cedric both e-mail to note Anne-Marie Cusac's "Fire Hazard" from The Progressive:
On June 16, the commission charged with investigating the events of September 11 announced that Al Qaeda's early attack plans had included "unidentified nuclear power plants." You might think the Bush Administration would respond by doing all it could to prevent a terrorist-triggered disaster at these plants.
The Bush Administration is actually relaxing the fire safeguards there.
Instead of insisting that the plants have heat-protected mechanical systems in place that will shut down reactors automatically in case of fire, which is the current standard, the Bush Administration would actually let the power companies rely on workers to run through the plants and try to turn off the reactors by hand while parts of the facilities are engulfed in flames.
"The result could be catastrophic," says a March 3 letter from Representative Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Representative John Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, to Nils J. Diaz, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). "This would assign reactor personnel the duty of rushing directly to the shutdown equipment located throughout the reactor complex to shut down the reactors manually, and would potentially take place in station areas affected by smoke, fire, and radiation and possibly under attack by terrorists."
In this morning's New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Senate Leader Vows to Hold Another Vote on Bolton This Week" tells you that Bill Frist will be pushing for a vote on John Bolton " if only to embarrass Democrats by putting a spotlight on their decision to block his confirmation" which Richard W. Stevenson's "Bush Denounces Democrats as Focusing on Obstruction" indicates is the talking point of the week as the Bully Boy continues to press his attacks on Social Security.
In the ONLY IN THE NEW YORK TIMES DEPT (aka "World of Crap" or "Laugh for the Day")
you can note Lawrence K. Altman's "Studies Rebut Earlier Report on Pledges of Virginity" which informs us that studies from the Department of Health and Human Services that found the pledges were this decade's D.A.R.E. (lot of money wasted for no tangible results) have been refuted by the "Science? We don't need no stinking science" Heritage Foundation. Bringing up the rear for the New Christy Virgins, the Heritage Foundation once again engages in their notion of research and the Times swallows gladly. Can we get a pledge for the press?
From the insane to the offensive, note Andrew C. Revkin's "Former Bush Aide Who Edited Reports Is Hired by Exxon:"
Philip A. Cooney, the former White House staff member who repeatedly revised government scientific reports on global warming, will go to work for Exxon Mobil this fall, the oil company said yesterday.
To update Bob Dylan's "Sweetheart Like You," lie a little and they throw you in jail, lie a lot and they hire you at Exxon.
Correction from the Times today:
The excerpt from remarks by Marian Wright Edelman included an erroneous figure, from Colgate University's text, for the number of black males in American prisons. In 2002, it was 580,000, not 58,000.
Correction will be added to Sunday's entry this evening.
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