Thursday, April 18, 2013

  • "Devastation Beyond Description": Dozens Feared Dead in Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast, 100+ Wounded


    An unknown number of people have been killed, and well over 100 injured, in a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The incident began with a smaller fire that ignited chemical tanks, causing an explosion that shot flames high into the air and leveled surrounding buildings for blocks in each direction. A police official estimated five to 15 people have died, but the casualty count is expected to rise as day breaks. One initial estimate put the death toll at between 60 to 70 people. Local officials say around a half dozen volunteer firefighters who first arrived on the scene are now missing. Toxic fumes rising from the rubble of the plant have raised health concerns, and about half the town has been evacuated, including a nursing home. We go to Texas to speak with reporter Jay Hicks of the Waco television station KWTX, and Tony Dudik, a local resident who volunteered aid at a triage center three miles from the blast. "It was devastation beyond description," Dudik says. [includes rush transcript]

  • No OSHA Inspections at Texas Plant in 5 Years: Are We Doing Enough to Protect Workplace Safety?


    In the wake of the deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, reporter Mike Elk of In These Times magazine joins us to discuss the plant’s safety record and the troubling regulatory environment for workplaces in Texas and nationwide. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not inspected West Fertilizer Co. in five years, and the EPA fined the plant in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan. Elk says OSHA is understaffed and underfunded nationwide, across all industries. [includes rush transcript]

  • A Rush to Misjudgment: CNN Faulted for Racially Charged, Erroneous Reports on Boston Marathon Case


    CNN is coming under criticism after it falsely reported authorities had arrested a Boston Marathon bombing suspect, whom it had earlier described as a "dark-skinned male." Both claims turned out to be wrong. Earlier in the week the New York Post claimed a Saudi man was in custody for the blasts, only to later see authorities later say the man was a victim of the marathon attack. We discuss the corporate media’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing with two guests: Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Peter Hart, activism director at the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. [includes rush transcript]

  • Filmmaker Robert Greenwald on "War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State"


    A new film directed by Robert Greenwald looks at four whistleblowers who had their lives practically destroyed after they went to the press with evidence of government wrongdoing. They are Michael DeKort, Thomas Drake, Franz Gayl and Thomas Tamm. Whistleblowers have come under unprecedented attack by the Obama administration. Evoking the Espionage Act of 1917, the administration has pressed criminal charges against no fewer than six government employees, more than all previous presidential administrations combined. In the film, Greenwald also interviews government oversight experts and investigative journalists who warn about the chilling effect prosecutions may have on potential whistleblowers and the journalists who help them. Click to watch Part 2 of the interview. [includes rush transcript]

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