Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Note from Roman Buhler  
The Madison Coalition

Are you coming to CPAC this weekend in at the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor near Washington DC?

Would you like to help us talk to people about how the Regulation Freedom Amendment could help curb the. President's abuse of power?

Now that 8 state legislative chambers have passed Resolutions urging Congress to propose the Amendment, and more than 400 state legislators, 2 Governors, the American Farm Bureau, the General Counsel of the RNC and the past Chair of the NRA have endorsed it, people are going to be very interested.

Let me know if you would like to help.

We can get you some handouts to give to people you talk to, but the key is to gather names, emails, and phone numbers of people who would like to hear more.

All you have to do is ask:

"Have you heard about the Regulation Freedom Amendment, endorsed by 2 Governors, 400 state legislators, the General Counsel of the RNC and the past President of the NRA to curb the President's abuse of power? Do you have 1 minute?

Eight legislative Chambers have already passed Resolutions urging Congress to propose it.

The Regulation Freedom Amendment
would require that Congress approve major new federal regulations and just like states forced Congress to propose the Bill of Rights, 2/3 of the states could force Congress to propose it.

Even the threat of states forcing Congress to act would deter regulators and give us a great issue for 2016:

Should regulators keep their power to dictate from Washington or should they be more accountable to elected officials?

If you'd like to hear more give us your email and phone.

(If you'd like to endorse it right now, we can show you the exact language and add you to our list)"
TEXT: "Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation."

HOW YOU CAN HELP: We're looking for people to 1) Ask your friends to endorse the Amendment 2) Call a state legislator and ask him/her to endorse it-we can give you someone to call. 3) Tell us you want to help so we can get you more involved.

Let me know if you would like to help and we can set up a time to meet.

I am planning to meet interested people at 8 am on Friday at the Hotel Gaylord registration desk but we could meet at another time as well.

My phone is 202 255 5000.  Or reply to this email.


Roman Buhler
The Madison Coalition

P.S. If we don't act to curb abusive federal regulators, who will?

Monday, February 23, 2015

We're All Zombies


Night of the Living Dead (1968) - Directed by George Romero
"I have always liked the 'monster within' idea. I like to think of zombies as being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters." - George Romero
The most heinous thing a human can do is eat another human.  Fear of cannibalism along with the other two great taboos, incest and inter-family violence, are the bedrocks of human culture.  Without these taboos there is no human civilization, yet zombie cannibals are everywhere, from the most popular TV shows in the US and Europe to the most played PC games.   Everywhere we look there is a zombie dragging his feet looking for human prey.  The ubiquitous nature of this meme of semi-human creatures that survive only by breaking the most fundamental of human taboos is a clear indicator of a collective cultural pathology.
Humans must not only kill and eat plants and animals to survive, we must make sure they keep coming back so they can be killed and eaten again and again.  Life needs death;  we must kill to live, and eventually we all wind up food for someone else.  This paradox lies at the core of the world’s religions and mythologies and the fear/repulsion of eating other humans is the keystone of our culture, without it we turn on ourselves and self-annihilation ensues.  The zombie meme is a modern myth pointing to a deep fear of self-destruction.
The great psychologist and mystic Carl Jung was asked if a myth could be equated to a collective dream and he answered this way, “A myth…is the product of an unconscious process in a particular social group, at a particular time, at a particular place. This unconscious process can naturally be equated with a dream. Hence anyone who ‘mythologizes,’ that is, tells myths, is speaking out of this dream.”
If a person had a recurring nightmare that she was eating her family it would be a clear symptom of a profound psychological disturbance.  Cultures don’t dream, but they do tell stories and those stories can tell us much about the state of the collective psyche.
Many of the themes in our popular culture are conscious story telling devices with the definite purpose of social engineering/control, but others seem to just emerge from the collective unconscious like the stuff of dreams.  The zombie meme is clearly of the latter variety.   It's pointing to a fear that something has broken in our culture and what awaits us is a collective psychotic break of apocalyptic proportions.
In the 1950’s there were widespread fears of a communist takeover that expressed themselves through films like The Village of the Damned or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  But the zombie meme exposes something much darker in our collective psyche.  The fundamental taboo around cannibalism is a pillar of human culture, yet the zombies are obsessive cannibals and we can’t seem to get enough of them.
What does this new archetype of a cannibalistic apocalypse reveal about out culture?  By nature archetypes point to transcendent themes that evade definition.  They are not symbols that have a clear equivalent, they can only point in the general direction which in the case of the zombie meme is the inverting of some of our most sacred myths and the embracing of our most horrid taboos.
The Walking Dead - The most watched TV show
 in the 18 to 49 year old demographic in the United States.
The zombie meme emerged onto the American consciousnesses with George Romero’s 1968 cult classic, The Night of the Living Dead.  The archetype was invigorated with Danny Boyles’s  2002 film, 28 Days Later  which introduced an important new element: the apocalypse.
The meme reached maturity in 2010 when AMC launched The Walking Dead, now the number #1 show on US television for viewers between the ages of 18 and 49.  The Walking Dead was created by Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption, and is based on a comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.  The key to the success of The Walking Dead is the dystopian zombie apocalypse in which the story unravels, allowing it to outperform even the ultimate social opiate, Sunday Night Football.
This is not simply an American phenomenon. In France the series The Returned (French: Les Revenants) has been very popular with both viewers and critics.  The Returned puts a fascinating twist on the return of the dead-  they just start walking home after having been dead for many years as if nothing had happened.  The BBC’s  In the Flesh  focuses on reintegrating zombies, victims of PDS (Partially Dead Syndrome).  World Z  had Brad Pitt save the world from fast moving zombies on the big screen, and Mel Brook’s son Max even wrote a book titled The Zombie Survival Guide.

The Inverted Christian Mythos

In one episode of The Walking Dead the zombies are scene shuffling under the arch of an episcopal church inscribed with a passage from the gospel of John,  “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”.  Over a billion Catholics in the world regularly transform bread and wine into what they believe is the actual flesh and blood of their savior, Jesus of Nazareth, and eat him.  Catholics believe this sacramental right gives them eternal life.  In the zombie meme, the infected humans die and are born again but not unto salvation but into a hell of insatiable appetites and mindless meandering.
The Christian myth is agricultural; Christ is killed, buried, and comes to life three days later as the seed emerging from the ground,  just as the moon hides for three days behind the sun each month, only to be born again.  Christ’s body is the ‘sacred’ meal, the sacrificial food of the gods, his blood is their elixir.  The Catholic acts as the god receiving the sacred meal and by doing so gains the eternal qualities of the gods by breaking the most embedded of human taboos – the eating of human flesh.   It’s certainly a curios paradox that the sins of man are forgiven by committing cannibalism, as Catholic doctrine clearly states that Jesus was both man and God and the transubstantiation of the Catholic mass physically changes the bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Jesus.
As the Christian myth begins its third millennium, is the zombie meme telling us that this religious story is no longer viable ?  Are billions of ‘zombies’ eating flesh and drinking blood but finding no nourishment?  The vast majority of Western people  have a profound belief in science and science tells us that the story of Jesus is not to be taken literally, yet our churches insist that the ‘myth’ of Jesus is historical.  The Christian software no longer works as the science ‘virus’ has rendered it useless.
Myths are other people’s religions and for Westerners in need of spiritual ‘food’ the Eastern systems of yoga and Buddhism, which don’t depend on dogma that contradicts science, seem to be more palatable to their scientific worldviews.  Unfortunately, those ‘programs’ where written for a machine other than modern Western man.
Joseph Campbell described believing in a literal, historical God as someone eating a menu believing that they were really eating the food.   One clear component of the zombie meme is the spiritual starvation we are experiencing in the West.  We are eating the menus so the speak- old, meaningless books written by foreign peoples from far off places thousands of years ago, and they give us no nourishment.

The Hunger

Dawn of the Dead (1978) George Romero
Another essential quality of the zombie is it’s unquenchable hunger.  No amount of flesh and blood seems able to quench the longing to consume live human flesh.  Modern man has a similar problem-  no amount of money, sex, gadgets, job titles, drugs, entertainment, pornography, art, religion or gurus seem able to quench our thirst.  We live in constant hunger.
If we equate the zombie ‘hunger’ for flesh to the human desire for money, the comparison becomes almost uncanny.   Most adult humans spend most of their day either making money or spending it while being constantly bombarded with propaganda/advertising to keep them hungry.
From the most humble street vendor to the billionaires on CNBC, no one seems to ever have enough money.   Zombies need to eat live human flesh and money is at its core, human labor.  Our craving for money is really the craving for the work of others, for the sweat and blood of millions to furnish us with unlimited amounts of food and consumer goods.
The vast majority of Westerners have ceased to create anything tangible.  Only one in five Americans actually produce anything.   Eating what one produces on a farm or trading manufactured goods for food connects us to life.   But when people spend ten hours hours a day in an office looking at a computer screen and two hours in traffic, somehow eating, and living, become abstract.  What are we actually doing to create the food , heat, and the shelter we need?
Our hunger for food and things far outstrips our practical needs and has become the cause of our ever more obese, angry, unsatisfied society while our spiritual hunger leaves us addicted, chasing empty consumer thrills.  There is no end to what can be consumed and there is never enough for even those with billions; we always need more.

Zombies Don’t Surf 

Halloween surf contest in Santa Monica - Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Zombies don’t think, they simply move in big herds looking for their next meal, reminiscent of the herds piling up behind the doors of malls on Black Friday.  Curiously, the only way to kill them is to shoot them in their least vulnerable point, their brains.
Modern man is almost entirely without out any practical skills.  He doesn't know how to grow food, hunt animals or build a house.  He uses all sorts of electronic tools whose core technologies he doesn't really understand and which he doesn't have the slightest idea how to fix.
This set of circumstances is a recent development in human history, beginning in the 18th century and growing exponentially in the last 30 years during the information revolution.  We are helpless slaves to technologies we don’t understand and to media that programs us to believe all sorts of propaganda designed to keep us from actually thinking critically.

The Zombie Apocalypse

Dawn of the Dead - 2004 Re-make
At least since the time of Christ, western man has been waiting for one apocalypse or another.  Be it the return of Christ, the turn of the millennium, nuclear war, killer meteorites or UFO’s, apocalyptic fears are nothing new to us.  Yet it’s no coincidence that just as the zombie took over prime time with The Walking Dead, the term 'preppers' began to appear.  Apocalyptic thinking is nothing new, but it’s intensity has noticeably increased in the last years as shows like Doomsday Preppers is the most watched program in the history of the National Geographic Channel.
The latest wave of apocalyptic furor to take over the US is not based on fears of nuclear war or the return of Jesus, but on the collapse of the financial system which gave us a shot over the bow in 2008.  We are so far removed from any practical and productive activities that if the extremely complex financial and logistical infrastructure of the world gave way, how would we survive?  If our stores were suddenly empty how many people in the West would be able to produce food, fuel and shelter?  The vast majority of us are so far removed from the practical necessities of life that we are in a very real sense, mindless, insatiable, endlessly consuming zombies.
Not only do we not understand the technologies we use, we seem to trust that the complex systems that maintain us will continue working seamlessly even as doubts grow over the people who brought us the sub-prime debacle, the Iraq War and quantitative easing (QE).  What would happen to the world supply chain if the confidence in the dollar as a reserve currency were lost?  Is the ever increasing gap between rich and poor about to explode into all out class/race war?  A key element of the zombie meme is the underlying fear of societal collapse.

The Myth is Dead

Sometime after Galileo but before Newton, science lost the need for meaning.  For Galileo the universe, including the earth, was alive but by the time of Newton it was a dead machine.  The importance of this shift cannot be overestimated.  Galileo was describing something that was alive, that had a soul, a soul humans participated in, but by the time of Newton and the Enlightenment we were existing in a cold universe.  The world went from breathing like a mother to ticking like a clock.
From the earliest known cave paintings made over 40,000 years ago to the mystery schools of pre-Aryan Europe through to medieval Christian Europe, the West has been guided by profound mythical stories.
Science can give us answers to almost all our questions, yet in the end its meaninglessness is disquieting.  Science gives us technologies and deep understandings of the mechanics of the universe, but it's unwilling to the breach the topic of meaning.  We are asked to live for cliches, consumerism, hedonism or fundamentalism.  Rejecting science is absurd but embracing it is deadening.
If we were able to understand our own religions in the same spirit that we decipher the religions of others (myths) while embracing science (with its limitations), than maybe we could find our way to a new myth that would shed meaning on our cold world.  But myths emerge, they are not consciously created, and for the moment we wade in the void of knowing how but not why.  We consume but are never filled, we seek but we do not find.
We are all zombies.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shell Shocked: Now That He's Losing, Big Oil Boss Calls for 'Balanced' Discussion on Climate

From:  BradBlog

By D.R. Tucker on 2/13/2015, 7:35am PT 

Oh, so now they want civility?

Ben van Beurden, the head of Royal Dutch Shell, is apparently a little perturbed by those of us who have marched, called, written and worked for strong action to reduce the carbon pollution that is cooking our planet. Now he's asking for a time-out in the discussion over human-caused climate change, and wants (his version of) sane and reasoned voices --- i.e., the voices of his Big Oil brethren --- to weigh in.

The head of Shell has launched a stinging attack on increasingly vocal critics who are calling for fossil fuels to be left in the ground, accusing them of peddling naive and impractical solutions to climate change. Ben van Beurden urged fellow industry leaders meeting in London to be "more assertive" in debates over the future of energy. But Shell's chief executive admitted that the oil sector had its own credibility problem, enhanced by the fact that too many energy industrialists had been slow to acknowledge global warming.
Of course, van Beurden downplays what really happened...

As Brad Friedman, Desi Doyen and writers Ross Gelbspan and Naomi Oreskes (among others) have chronicled, in the late-1980s the fossil fuel industry began a highly-financed, ruthlessly aggressive effort to convince the most gullible members of the public that human-caused climate change was a radical-left hoax. They employed similar --- and, at times, identical --- tactics as Big Tobacco once had to con the world about the dangers of their product.  MORE

The Fifth Mode of Transportation: The Hyperloop High-Speed Train

From:  HeroX

Artist's concept of the Hyperloop high-speed train. Credit: Tesla Motors

Back in 2012, Testla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk made news when he announced his idea for a "fifth form of transportation", one that would supplement the existing methods of travel by boat, rail, plane and automobile. Known as the Hyperloop, the concept called for the creation of a high-speed train that would use a low-pressure steel tube and a series of aluminum pod cars to whisk passengers back and forth between San Francisco and LA.

A year later, he released an alpha paper describing the concept in detail. In it, Musk claimed that the pods would be supported by a soft air cushion and propelled forward via magnetic induction and electromagnetic pulses, thus avoiding the issues of air resistance and friction. As a result, this transit system would theoretically be able to achieve supersonic speeds of up to 1280 km/h (800 mph), and make the trip from San Fransisco to LA in just 35 minutes.

Musk explained that he had conceived of the idea after hearing about the sad state of California's $70 billion high-speed rail initiative. In Musk's view, what was needed in Silicon Valley, and anywhere else in the world for that matter, was a mass-transit system that could not only outperform other means of transportation, but also cost less per mile without major subsidies.  MORE

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Regulation Freedom Amendment Conversation

People are getting angrier and angrier about what's going on in Washington!
Many want to DO something.

With 7 state legislative chambers and 350 state legislators already urging Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment to require that Congress approve major federal regulations, there IS something people can do...urge friends and state legislators to endorse the Regulation Freedom Amendment.

Here is an outline of a  sample conversation you can have with people you know, or with anyone who is angry about the abuse of power in Washington:


Have you heard about the new national effort to curb the President's abuse of regulatory power?

It's backed by the American Farm Bureau, 2 Governors, 350 state legislators, and the General Counsel of the RNC.

It's called the "Regulation Freedom Amendment" and it would require that Congress approve major new federal regulations before they could take effect.

Every voting Republican U.S. House Member supported what is know as the "REINS" act in 2013, for the same purpose, but even if we could get 60 votes to pass it in the Senate,  the President would never sign it, (and a law  could be challenged in Court.)

On the other hand, just as states originally persuaded Congress to propose the Bill of Rights, 2/3 of the states could potentially persuade Congress to propose this Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, (WITHOUT the need to hold  a Convention.)

Even the threat of states forcing Congress to act would deter regulators and give us a great issue for 2015 and 2016.

Candidates and elected officials can be asked: "Should regulators be able to dictate from Washington, or should regulations, just like laws, have the consent of the governed?"

Or, "Should regulators be accountable to elected officials?"

Polls show that by a 2-1 margin voters
support the Regulation Freedom Amendment.

We can get majorities in the 34 states we need to force Congress to act with the 31 states that now have Republican majorities in the legislature, plus with a few moderate Democrats in just 3 of the 7 swing states where Republicans control one Chamber of the state legislature.

7 legislative Chambers have ALREADY passed Resolutions urging Congress to propose the Amendment (IN House and Senate, SD House and Senate, GA Senate, WY House, and ID House.)

Our next goal is the endorsement of 500 and eventually the endorsement of  4000 state legislators along with a  national network of business and grassroots political leaders who support the Amendment.  Would you consider being one of them?

Can I send you some information about this effort so you can consider an endorsement and perhaps other ways to help?

1. Here are answers to some questions we are frequently asked.

The 2 Governors are Mike Pence of IN and Phil Bryant of MS)

2. Here is the text of the Amendment:

"Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation."

3. Here are a few of the state legislative leaders who support the Amendment:

(Including top leaders of all 3 National Association of State Legislators)
TN Senate Maj. Leader and current CSG National Chair Mark Norris
UT NCSL President-Elect and Former Senate Maj. Leader Curt Bramble
TX Rep. Phil King, ALEC National Chair.

TN Lt Gov/Senate President Ron Ramsey
UT Senate President Wayne Niederhauser
IN Senate President David Long
IN House Speaker Brian Bosma
MO Senate President Tom Dempsey
MI Senate President Pro-Tem Tonya Shuitmaker
GA Senate President David Schafer
ID House Speaker Scott Bedke
ND Senate President Rich Ward
WY Senate Majority Leader Eli Bebout

4. Here of some national conservative leaders who have endorsed the Amendment.

David Keene, Former President NRA
American for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist
Federalist Society Co-Founder David McIntosh
Former National Federation of Women Chair Sue Lynch
Former RNC Chair and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson
Former Ohio Secretary of
State, Ken Blackwell
Former U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Chair, Bob Livingston.
McCain 2008 Chair, Charlie Black
Mark Braden, Former General Counsel RNC
Tom Sansonetti, Former General Counsel, RNC
David Norcross, Former General Counsel, RNC

4. We have not yet begun to build a big list of Washington politicians who support the Amendment.  We want this to come first from states and the grassroots.

5. The language of the Amendment would NOT change the process for the  the REPEAL of an existing regulation. Such a repeal would not be a "proposed new regulation" that would require the approval of Congress.

6. How could states force Congress to propose an Amendment?

Three times in American history, states have forced Congress to propose an Amendment states want: The Bill of Rights, the 17th Amendment for Direct Election of U.S. Senators and the 22nd Amendment for Presidential term limits.

State can pass laws that even more dramatically increase their power to force Congress to propose the Amendment states want.

If a majority of states with a majority of the population states pass a "faithful delegate law like those already passed in 5 states that allows states to control and if necessary replace their delegates to a Convention if there ever was one, states could force Congress to act.

With those laws in place states would have the power to limit a hypothetical convention states might threaten to an up or down vote on the exact text of the Amendment states want.

Congress is terrified of even the possibility of a Convention that would be more powerful than Congress.

Even the idea that states might have the power to threaten a Convention limited to an up or down vote on one Amendment would almost certainly be enough to force Congress to propose the Amendment states want without ever holding a Convention.

And if 2/3 of the states demonstrate they can force Congress to propose an Amendment they want, there will be a new balance of state and federal power.

7. What can I do to help?

Endorse the Amendment. Tell your friends.  Call a state legislator. Help us make calls to other grassroots and business leaders. Tell us how YOU think you could help!  Consider donating to support our effort. Send us an email or call and we can discuss ideas.

We can provide answers to other questions you have or that you are asked.  The key is to get people interested enough to hear more.

I and other people on our national team  can talk to people you find who are really interested.

We can send a sample email you can resend to others.

Thanks for your interest.  Together we can make a difference.

Roman Buhler
The Madison Coalition
202 255 5000

ND House passes "Faithful. Delegate" legislation 61-31

These laws, already enacted in 5 states strengthen the power of states to force Congress to propose an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that 2/3 of the states have agreed on, in much the same way as states forced Congress to propose the Bill of Rights.
We are making progress all over the country.  7 state legislative chambers have already passed Resolutions urging Congress to propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment to require that Congress approve major new federal regulations.

Let me know if you would like more information on our progress.

Roman Buhler
The Madison Coalition
202 255 5000

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

BP says CO2 emissions unsustainable, warns on global warming

By , Commodities editor
In its Energy Outlook 2035, BP predicts that CO2 emissions will exceed levels which scientists says pose a threat to climate change unless coordinated action is taken 

Carbon emissions reach new high
Carbon emissions are not sustainable, BP has said Photo: ALAMY
BP has warned that carbon dioxide emission levels from burning fossil fuels are unsustainable unless the international community unilaterally introduces tougher binding regulations on atmospheric pollution. 
The stark warning from the UK’s second-largest oil company came with the publication on Tuesday of its closely-watched long-term outlook for global energy markets, which predicts that CO2 emissions will increase by 1pc per year, or 25pc in total, through to 2035. 
This rise in pollution would be worse than the current rate, which scientists have said would have a negative effect on climate change. The United Nations is seeking to limit the increase of the average global surface temperature to no more than 2C, compared with pre-industrial levels, to avoid "dangerous" climate change, and will hold a major conference in Paris in December to agree on a firm system for restricting emissions.MORE

Another oil train explodes in West Virginia. Here's why this keeps happening.

From:  Vox

Oil containers sit at a train depot on July 26, 2013 outside Williston, North Dakota. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

It's one of the darker, violent aspects of the North American oil boom. We've been shipping a lot more crude oil by rail in recent years. And, on occasion, those trains can derail and explode — with horrific results.

West Virginia is now the latest casualty. On Monday, a CSX-owned freight train traveling through Fayette County went off the rails and burst into flame. Two nearby towns had to evacuate, and a water-treatment plant shut down after concern that oil seeped into the Kanawha River. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency for the county.

It's still unclear what caused the derailment. Early reports suggest 9 or 10 tank cars caught fire, and one person was being treated for smoke inhalation.(CSX said the tank cars were a newer model, not a widely used older version known to be especially prone to puncture.) The AP got video of the fireball:  MORE

Monday, February 16, 2015

West Virginia train derailment sends oil tanker into river

From:  AP

Flames and smoke rise in West Virginia, after a CSX train hauling crude oil derailed, Monday. Authorities say at least two cars were set ablaze and two nearby towns were evacuated, after a house caught fire because of the accident. One or two train cars plunged into the Kanawha River, around 33 miles southeast of Charleston.

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. (AP) - A train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in southern West Virginia on Monday, sending at least one into the Kanawha River, igniting at least 14 tankers and sparking a house fire, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. Nearby residents were told to evacuate as a state emergency response and environmental officials headed to the scene about 30 miles southeast of Charleston.

The state was under a winter storm warning and getting heavy snowfall at times, with as much as 5 inches in some places. It's not clear if the weather had anything to do with the derailment, which occurred about 1:20 EST along a flat stretch of rail.  MORE

Train derailment sends crude oil cars into Kanawha River; explosions erupt

From:  MetroNews

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. — Multiple tanker rail cars carrying crude oil derailed Monday afternoon in Fayette County, triggering explosions and a 100-yard-high flames as several cars rolled through a residential subdivision and into the Kanawha River.  CSX officials say “at least one rail car appears to have ruptured and caught fire.” 

At least one house was destroyed, but police have found no evidence of fatalities. CSX said one person was treated for potential inhalation (of fumes).  

In a statement Monday evening CSX said its teams “are working with first responders to address the fire, to determine how many rail cars derailed and to deploy environmental protective and monitoring measures on land, air and in the nearby Kanawha River.  MORE
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Freight train carrying crude oil derails, catches fire in northern Ontario

TIMMINS, Ont. -- A clean-up operation is underway after a CN Rail freight train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire in a remote area of northern Ontario over the weekend.

A CN spokesman says the incident took place just before midnight on Saturday, about 80 kilometres south of Timmins, Ont., in a remote wooded area.

Patrick Waldron says no one was injured as a result of the incident.
Waldron says 29 railway cars in the 100-car train derailed, with seven catching fire.  MORE

Twin Cities hospitals are front line in treating Bakken burn victims

From:  Star Tribune

Kyle, 27, recovers at Regions Hospital after a fire on an oil site where he was working in the Bakken badly burned his legs.
Kyle, 27, recovers at Regions Hospital after a fire on an oil site where he was working in the Bakken badly burned his legs. — Maya Rao, Dml - Dml - 
There are no specialty centers near Bakken fields.

Flames seared the pants off Kyle’s legs as he raced across a bed of ruddy red rocks, screaming for help.
A pipe on a machine processing oil at high heat had burst, soaking him in methanol and sparking a fire.
“You could just feel it cooking my legs,” he said. “It almost sounded like chicken frying in an oiler.”

Hours later, Kyle woke up at Regions Hospital in St. Paul last month, after a 600-mile plane ride from the oil fields of North Dakota. His legs were burned so deeply that the bottom layer of skin would never grow back. It was the worst pain he’d ever felt.

Burn injuries among North Dakota workers have surged to more than 3,100 over the past five years, as the once nearly barren prairies have become the epicenter of a massive oil-drilling boom. Despite the flammability of Bakken crude and the danger of oil-rig work, North Dakota has no burn centers. The Twin Cities is the closest place to go for patients like Kyle, 27, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition that his last name not be used.  MORE


How Science Died at the World Trade Center

Science has been misused for political purposes many times in history. However, the most glaring example of politically motivated pseudoscience—that employed by U.S. government scientists to explain the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC)—continues to be ignored by many scientists. As we pass the 10th anniversary of the introduction of that account, it is useful to review historic examples of fake science used for political purposes and the pattern that defines that abuse.

An early example of pseudoscience used to promote a political agenda was the concerted Soviet effort to contradict evolutionary theory and Mendelian inheritance. For nearly 45 years, the Soviet government used propaganda to foster unproven theories of agriculture promoted by its minister of agriculture, Trofim Lysenko. Scientists seeking favor with the Soviet hierarchy produced fake experimental data in support of Lysenko’s false claims. Scientific evidence from the fields of biology and genetics was banned in favor of educational programs that taught only Lysenkoism and many biologists and geneticists were executed or sent to labor camps. This propaganda-fueled program of anti-science continued for over forty years, until 1964, and spread to other countries including China.

In the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway describe several other examples of the misuse of science, spanning from the 1950s to the present. They show how widely respected scientists participated in clearly non-scientific efforts to promote the agendas of big business and big government. Examples include the tobacco industry’s misuse of science to obfuscate the links between smoking and cancer, the military industrial complex’s use of scientists to support the scientifically indefensible Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and several abuses of environmental science.  MORE

Locals safe after toxic orange gas cloud dissipates over northern Spain

From:  Inhabitat

by Colin Payne

Imagine looking out the window over your morning cup of coffee and seeing a giant orange cloud rising up from your hometown. Pretty terrifying, right? Residents of two towns in northeastern Spain were ordered indoors due to a massive cloud of toxic gas in the air but they are now breathing a bit easier. According to the Associated Press, nearly 40,000 people in the Spanish province of Catalonia were told go indoors and close their windows after an explosion at a warehouse sent an orange cloud of chemical gas into the air over the region. Now, officials in the region have given a “partial all clear for people to leave their homes,” after the cloud dissipated.  MORE

Obama aide John Podesta says ‘biggest failure’ was not securing the disclosure of UFO files

Obama counselor John Podesta. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Outgoing Obama counselor John Podesta remains a devoted fan of things extraterrestrial. When Podesta, who was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, returned to White House duty in late 2013, we wrote that his arrival meant “the Obama presidential library will be inundated — just as the Clinton library in Little Rock has been — with Freedom of Information Act requests, such as this one: for ‘e-mails to and from John Podesta, containing the words either, X-Files or Area 51.’”

Podesta was a major fan of the “X-Files” television show. Our colleague Karen Tumulty asked him in 2007 about the FOIA jam at the library, and Podesta, through a spokesman, replied: “The truth is out there.” That’s the show’s tag­ line.

And, just to make sure the FOIA requesters don’t forget, Podesta tweeted Thursday: MORE

With These Hires, Congress Becomes Even More Like a Corporation

From:  The Nation 

by Lee Fang 

Several former lobbyists and executives are working crucial staff positions in the new Congress.


Until a few weeks ago, Joel Leftwich was a senior lobbyist for the largest food and beverage company in the United States. During his tenure at PepsiCo—maker of Cheetos, Lay’s potato chips and, of course, Pepsi-Cola—the company had played a leading role in efforts to beat back local soda taxes and ensure that junk food remained available in schools. But PepsiCo also faced new challenges at the federal level. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, championed by Michelle Obama, had placed new nutrition standards on school lunches. PepsiCo sent teams of lobbyists to Capitol Hill, deluged political candidates with donations, and fired off letters to regulators asking them to weaken the new rules. One such PepsiCo letter requested the redefinition of a “school day” so the company could continue to sell its sugary sports drinks at “early morning sports practices.” Leftwich, a former congressional liaison for the Department of Agriculture, was well positioned to help PepsiCo shore up its allies in the House and Senate.

Last April, Leftwich paid a visit to one such friend, Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, then chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to thank her for opposing nutrition guidelines for food stamp purchases.

Now Leftwich will have far more access to such friends. As the newly appointed staff director of the Senate Agriculture Committee, now under GOP control, Leftwich will have wide sway over the law that funds school lunches, which is up for reauthorization this year. PepsiCo can rest easier, confident that the guidelines already in place are unlikely to be strengthened—and may be weakened instead. Leftwich’s new boss, Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, who took over the Agriculture Committee gavel in January, has set his sights on dialing back school lunch nutrition requirements, which he has called “Big Brother government that’s out of control.”  MORE

Friday, February 13, 2015

Action Update - Regulation Freedom Amendment

Seven state legislative chambers, the 6 million member American Farm Bureau, two Governors, more than 350 state legislators including 15 House Speakers and Senate Leaders, the General Counsel of the RNC, and 3 former RNC General Counsels now support the Regulation Freedom Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require that Congress approve major new federal regulations.

Every voting Republican Member of the U.S. House and some Democrats have supported the REINS Act, also to require that Congress approve major new federal regulations, but the President would almost certainly veto such a measure and it could be challenged in Court.

However, just as states originally helped force Congress to propose the Bill of Rights, 2/3 of the states who agreed on a specific Amendment could potentially force Congress to propose the Amendment, because Congress will do almost anything to avoid a Convention.

Even the credible threat of states forcing Congress to propose an Amendment could deter regulators and create a powerful issue for 2015 and 2016:

"Should federal regulators keep their power to dictate from Washington or should they more accountable to elected officials?"

Polls show 2-1 voter support for the Regulation Freedom Amendment.

The first step in our strategy is the passage of Resolutions in key states urging that Congress propose the Regulation Freedom Amendment.

Here is a progress update in the 35 states where we are most active:

1. Seven Legislative Chambers in 5 states have so far passed Resolutions urging Congress to propose the Amendment: The Indiana House and Senate, the South Dakota House and Senate, the Wyoming House, the Idaho House, and the Georgia Senate.

2. Legislative Committees in 2 more states, in the North Dakota House and the Arizona Senate have approved a Regulation Freedom Amendment Resolution which is now awaiting floor consideration.

3. Regulation Freedom Amendment Resolutions are awaiting Committee consideration in 5 more states: Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Montana, and Utah.

4. We have identified a legislative sponsor for a Resolution in 8 more states: Pennsylvania, West Virginia Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, and Kansas.

5. And we are working with friendly legislators in the state to identify a sponsor for the Resolution in 14 more states: Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nevada, California and Alaska.

6. And in 1 state, VA, where informal rules prevent consideration of Resolutions urging Congress to act, we have identified legislators willing to circulate a letter for legislators' signatures in support of the Regulation Freedom Amendment.

The 31 states with Republican majorities plus 7 more swing states with a Republican majority in one chamber of the legislature a Democratic majority in the other, especially the energy states of KY, NM, and the farm state of IA offer the realistic possibility of winning bipartisan legislative majorities in 34, 2/3 of the states.

The second state legislative step in our effort is also underway:  The passage of laws, similar to those recently adopted in 5 states, that allow states to replace disobedient delegates to an Article V Convention, if one were ever held.

These laws, if enacted in a majority of states with a majority of the population, would allow those states to control a majority of delegates at any Convention, and thus to limit the scope of a Convention states could potentially threaten to just an up or down vote on the exact text of the Amendment that states wanted.

Faced with such a threat, Congress would almost certainly propose the Amendment states wanted rather than risk the possibility of a Convention that would be more powerful than Congress.

These "faithful delegate" laws have already been enacted in Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Utah. Bills have been introduced in New Hampshire, West Virginia, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Idaho, and Arizona.

We are building a coalition of national legislative, business and grassroots leaders to help advance this effort.

For more information on this effort and how you and people you know can help, please contact:

Roman Buhler
Director of the Madison Coalition
202 255 5000
Here is the text of the Regulation Freedom Amendment:

"Whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation."

Here, if you have not already seen it,  is a WSJ piece about the effort:



State legislators in two thirds of the states could force Congress to propose a "Regulation Freedom" amendment to the U.S. Constitution just as states forced Congress to propose the original Bill of Rights.

May 4, 2014 6:28 p.m. ET

As your April 30 editorial "The EPA Unchained" points out, the courts have given federal regulators enormous power with little accountability.

The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, passed in the House with bipartisan support requiring that Congress approve major federal regulations, is unlikely to get 60 Senate votes or a presidential signature, even though polls show voters like the idea.

But state legislators in two-thirds of the states could force Congress to propose a similar "Regulation Freedom" amendment to the U.S. Constitution just as the states forced Congress to propose the original Bill of Rights.

Congress will do almost anything to avoid a convention that would be more powerful than Congress. Two-thirds of the states working together would also have the power to safely limit their delegates to an up-or-down vote on just the amendment states wanted.

Perhaps it is time for state leaders to do what the authors of our Constitution intended them to do—rein in the abuse of power in Washington.

Roman Buhler

The Madison Coalition
McLean, Va.

Letters, May 5, 2014