11 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

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09 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

. . . then do the forensics.

North Carolina’s environmental agency said Sunday it wrongly declared all test results for the arsenic levels in the Dan River as safe for people after a massive coal ash spill.

A water sample taken Monday, two days after the spill was discovered, was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

“We made an honest mistake while interpreting the results,” state Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder said in a statement.

Damned regulations. If we did away with them, we wouldn’t have to hear about this stuff. Corporations could just kill us quietly in our creeks.

The Rude One has a picture. More about the honest mistake at the link.

Addendum, the Next Morning:

Not only do they have trouble with chemical analysis, the North Carolina’s laughingly called “environmental agency” has actively resisted efforts to get its ash in gear.

Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied — by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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06 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Bayer’s slogan is “Science for a Better Life.”

By the way, you can’t blame this one on American corporate culture. Bayer is a German outfit.

Blame corporate culture as a whole.

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06 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Koch donor list slips out. And the donors are just the sort of folks you’d expect.

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05 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Duke Energy joins the party. Some of its party favors (emphasis in the original):

Date on which a break in a stormwater pipe beneath a coal ash disposal pit at a shuttered Duke Energy power plant near Eden, N.C. contaminated the Dan River with toxic coal ash: 2/2/2014

Estimated tons of coal ash — which contains toxins including arsenic, lead, mercury, and radioactive elements — that were released to the river: 50,000 to 82,000

(snip)

Number of rail cars the toxic pollution could fill: 413 to 677

Rank of the spill among the largest coal ash spills in U.S. history: 3

No one noticed because Stupor Bowl!

Duke it out with more fun facts at the link.

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03 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

It’s an inconvenient truth that economic help for the poor helps the economy, because the poor put that money right back in circulation.

Case in point: Walmart misses itself them food stamps.

Charles M. Holley Jr., the company’s chief financial officer, said that despite a fairly decent holiday season, the impact from reductions to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food-stamps program, was “greater than we expected,” the Times reports.

Billions of dollars were cut from the program last year, which left food-stamp recipients who shop at Wal-Mart with less money to spend at the world’s largest retailer, the report says.

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03 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

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03 February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Geek Stuff, Titans of Industry

This could get interesting.

A New Castle-based credit union (New Castle, Pennsylvania–ed.), seeking to represent more than 100 other such institutions, has filed a lawsuit against Target Corp. in federal court in Pittsburgh, seeking compensation for costs related to the massive security breach of the retailer’s computer system.

(snip)

According to the complaint, that left First Choice, and other similar financial institutions, with “significant costs associated with, among other things, notifying its members of issues related to the Target Data Breach, closing out and opening new customer accounts, reissuing members’ cards, and/or refunding members’ losses resulting from the unauthorized use of their accounts.”

I’m torn.

There is an emotional appeal to the thought that companies should be held accountable for such massive screw-ups. Yet, we don’t know that Target was directly responsible. Target’s point-of-sale devices contained malware; my reading tells me that many outfits contract out their point-of-sale technology to vendors.

Is Target a legitimate target, is its vendor, or do we get a circular firing squad? May we as customers sue our banks when they get penetrated (after all, they penetrate us all the tim–never mind).

If the suit encourages American card companies to adopt the chip-and-PIN technology used in Europe, which they have resisted because it’s “inconvenient” (yet massive data breaches are somehow “convenient”) (Edit: and the change would cost money), it might be all to the good.

For a good discussion of the Target breach by computer security experts, listen to the latest NetSec podcast.

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28 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

IF the water supply for 300,000 persons had been poisoned by terrorists . . . but it wasn't.  It was poisoned by capitalists.

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28 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Industrialists looking at spill from

I was at a gathering recently with someone who considers himself a “Libertarian.” He was a nice guy, but, for some reason, not receptive to my position that “Libertarianism is a sophisticated rationale for amoral selfishness that refuses to recognize the sociological reality of original sin” (that is, the innate capacity and willingness of humans to do bad things because they can get away with them). (I was slightly more tactful than that, but not much.)

Discourse with ideologues is difficult. No mind is more closed than that of a true believer.

I did not pull out my “A Libertarian is a Republican who is ashamed to admit it” argument. I am saving that for a future encounter . . . .

Image via Bartcop.

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25 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

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24 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Wait for it.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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15 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Warning: Language.

Via C&L.

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15 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

If fracking is okay for the environment, why did the industry hire the same advertising agency that told you tobacco doesn't cause cancer?

Via BartCop.

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08 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

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07 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

. . . but tell no one.

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01 January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

Oily spill leads to oil slick lawyers.

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18 December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

They sell you out and then sell you souvenirs.

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14 December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

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06 December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Titans of Industry

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