We look as well as Third Way corporate pols continue the practice of handing public money and assets to private contractors under the guise of public private partnerships. The article below shows how the Maryland Assembly voted to end one protection meant to keep an extremely fraudulent and corrupt process a little cleaner. THEY DON'T WANT ANY BLOCKS TO THEIR ABILITY TO PAY TO PLAY!
You will see as well that Exelon is making fists full of money as profits soar.....remember, in Chicago and Baltimore it is the ratepayer and the public paying for much the corporate operational and infrastructure costs!!! How could profits not soar. KNOW WHO HAS A GREAT NUMBER OF THESE STOCKS? THAT'S RIGHT.....YOUR ELECTED THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRAT!!
What is the difference between a politician who gets rich through fraud.....like Ben Cardin......and a drug dealer? Cardin had a choice!!!!!
Meanwhile these pols are slicing and dicing all public services and assets to pay for these corporate give-a- ways!!
Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Kills 5 to 15 People, Sends 180 to Hospitals, Levels Homes
By MICHAEL S. JAMES, MATT GUTMAN, STEVE OSUNSAMI and JOHN SANTUCCI | Good Morning America – 6 hours ago
The blast Wednesday evening at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas, killed an estimated five to 15 people, said Sgt. William Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department, who was relaying information to the media.
"I know that's a rough estimate," Swanton told reporters, "but that's the best that I can give you."
PHOTOS: Explosion Rips Through Texas Fertilizer Plant
West EMS Director Dr. George Smith, himself injured and bloody, said that though he had not personally seen bodies to confirm deaths, he believed the blast killed at least two emergency responders to a fire at the plant before the initial explosion and a person at a nearby apartment complex that suffered serious damage.
In addition, some responders to the fire before the explosion were believed unaccounted for, according to Smith, Swanton and West Mayor Tommy Muska.
Officials early this morning still were going door-to-door searching for survivors in the blast zone.
They were treating the site of the explosion as a crime scene.
"We are not indicating that it is a crime but we don't know," Swanton said. "What that means to us is that until we know that it is an industrial accident we will work it as a crime scene. ATF [the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] is conducting the main investigation."
Concerns about potentially dangerous ammonia fumes emanating from the plant were subsiding this morning as fires died down, Swanton said before 6 a.m. ET, despite a forecast of shifting winds that could have spread fumes in new directions today.
Witnesses reported heavy fire or concussive damage to a middle school, homes and an apartment complex near the plant, as well as to a nursing home, where more than 130 residents were evacuated, according to Muska.
Buildings in a radius of about five blocks around the plant -- including perhaps 75 or more homes -- were heavily damaged by the blast, officials said.
"It was almost tornadic in effect," Swanton said. "It looked like to me one home would be fine and next to it there would be extreme devastation."
State Trooper D.L. Wilson of the Texas Department of Public Safety described the initial fertilizer plant blast as "massive -- just like Iraq, just like the Murray Building in Oklahoma City. The same kind of hydrous [ammonia] exploded, so you can imagine what kind of damage we're looking at."
The blast even registered as a 2.1 magnitude seismic event, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It was felt 20 to 30 miles away, witnesses said, and near the plant burned buildings, knocked down people, blew out windows and, according to Wilson, left the damaged apartment complex looking like "just a skeleton standing up."
"It's total chaos," West City Councilwoman Cheryl Marak said soon after the blast, according to ABC News Radio. "There's ambulances and fire trucks and police cars from everywhere."
Marak told ABC News that the explosion killed her pet dog and destroyed her house approximately 2 1/2 blocks from the plant, as well as houses around it.
"With the explosions, the whole street lifted up," she told ABC News. "It was like a massive bomb went off. It demolished both my houses -- my mother's and mine."
"I think everything around us is pretty much just gone," she added, according to ABC News Radio.
Keith Williams, a local resident, said his house also was destroyed.
"All the ceilings are out," Williams said, according to ABC News Radio. "The windows are out. The brick's knocked off the house. My big garage out back is half blowed in."
He also saw "people with all their houses tore up across the street from me, on each side of me."
By 5:45 a.m. ET, hospitals near the blast site reported treating 180 people. At least 16 patients at the hospitals were in critical condition and 3 in serious condition.
Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, Texas, saw more than 100 of the wounded, officials there said. Patients from the blast also were confirmed early Thursday at Providence Healthcare Network in Waco, Parkland Hospital in Dallas, and Scott & White Memorial in Temple, Texas.
The fertilizer plant exploded around 7:50 p.m. local time Wednesday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Emergency response audio told the story of the chaos among firefighters and others at the scene.
"We need every ambulance we can get this way," said one snippet. "A bomb just went off. It's pretty bad."
"Firefighters down," said another. "There has been an explosion."
"The rest home has been seriously damaged. We have many people down. Please respond."
There were subsequent explosions around 10 p.m., ABC News affiliate WFAA reported. The cause of the explosions was unconfirmed, but a dispatcher was heard warning crews to move away from chemicals in unexploded tanks.
Though most fires were contained early Thursday, officials said, they continued to burn.
"It was smoldering still and it still is active," Wilson said around 1 a.m. ET. "You know other ingredients [are] at the facility, so we don't want that to explode again. So right now we can't get firefighters in there. We're worried about people right now, not property.
"We're gonna go back in and do another house-to-house search and see if anybody else, victims, are in the houses," Wilson said. "That's going to be going on all night."
The town of West has a population of about 2,800.
ABC News' Leezel Tanglao, Clayton Sandell and Elizabeth Stuart contributed to this report.
What Maryland is doing is setting the stage for corporate welfare.....where private business sheds all operational costs and infrastructure costs to the public with the result of huge profit gains. That is all this is about. The Massachusetts Big Dig a few decades ago was the first to use these public private partnerships and the amount of fraud and corruption....mismanagement and lack of public oversight was tremendous. The public lost billions of dollars to malfeasance.
Maryland already has the process of fraud and corruption down pat and Anthony Brown and other candidates running for governor supporting O'Malley in this are saying to the citizens of Maryland.....WE DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK....WE ARE GOING TO SEND ALL THE PUBLIC MONEY POSSIBLE TO THE SAME FEW CORPORATE ENTITIES FOR WHOM WE WORK!!
This is not a democratic policy.....Texas is ground zero for this policy. It is simply a movement by the rich to capture both political parties so that policies like this move all money to them. Since the republican party has always been the party of the rich and corporations they are doing what they always have. The difference comes with the democratic pols who are running campaigns that say one thing and then tossing their constituents aside. We have to take back the democratic party so that labor and justice fight for public interest.
JUST RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE AGAINST THESE THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS TO TAKE BACK THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!
New public-private partnership bill for infrastructure projects signed into law
- April 10, 2013 at 7:02 am
By Becca Heller
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, left, with Gov. Martin O’Malley
A House bill refining guidelines for public-private partnerships (P3s) was signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley Tuesday after finally passing the House and Senate in the closing days of the session.
The idea is to leverage private financing and construction contracting to build infrastructure projects the state wants more efficiently without adding to bond debt.
The law, HB560, tweaks the current public-private partnership process. It gives the Board of Public Works a more prominent role and seeks to encourage innovation by providing room for businesses to pitch ideas for projects without following the usual procurement procedure.
Bill drew criticism
HB 560 drew criticism from legislators who feared that the new bill stripped protections from the process that would allow more room for favoritism in government procurements.
“In the past we’ve made great strides…to develop fairness and integrity in the procurement process,” said Del. Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery, during a debate on the House floor. “What’s wrong with the P3 bill is that it eliminates all of these protections.”
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who led the O’Malley administration’s effort to pass the bill, dismissed these criticisms. He told reporters Monday that the new process is focused on expanding accountability and improving the relationships between the private sector and the Board of Public Works, the three-member board that includes the governor, the comptroller and the treasurer.
“If you can have a process that is transparent and accountable, then you’re going to reduce litigation,” Brown said. He was referring to a lawsuit that derailed a major project in Baltimore called State Center that had private developers replacing aging state office buildings in exchange for mixed-use buildings on state-owned land.
Brown explained that the new bill will bring the Board of Public Works to the forefront, allowing more communication and a clear delineation of what projects are best for the public.
“We now have the Board of Public Works right there up front taking a part in the decisions as to who will be designated as a P3,” said Brown, who occasionally chairs the board when O’Malley can’t. “We think that that’s going to instill a lot more confidence — both in terms of the legislature and the private sector.”
The Greater Baltimore Committee made the bill a top priority. In its legislative wrap-up, the GBC said “the law is expected to be a key option for the state to leverage private-sector funding for transportation assets and other infrastructure projects.”
“Under P3 agreements,” GBC explained, “a private entity performs functions normally undertaken by the government, but the state agency remains ultimately accountable for the public infrastructure asset and its public function.”
- When you have policies that send all the money to corporate profit you lose first world quality of life. So, as with the reoccurring loss of public life and individual poverty levels soaring.....all those tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud are the problem. Below you see that public education is under attack and that needs to be where people take the stand!
- Here in Baltimore we have a teachers union head.....English.....who is silent on issues that have sparked the nation. We have her showing support of Alonzo and BEC which is the Johns Hopkins private non-profit pushing privatizing of public education. WE NEED BALTIMORE CITY TEACHERS UNION TO SHOUT OUR AGAINST THE PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION....WE KNOW YOU KNOW!!!
- With mass school closures across the nation, educational opportunities for students are being diminished. It's not a new problem, but it is an escalating one, and one that is being resisted.
- Public Education Fights for Its Life Wednesday, 17 April 2013 16:46 By Max Eternity, The Eternity Group | News Analysis
- Parents and teachers protest planned school closures during a public Philadelphia school board meeting at Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia, Dec. 19, 2012. The Philadelphia school district has proposed a plan to close 37 schools by June, citing deep financial troubles and a growing budget deficit. (Photo: Mark Makela / The New York Times)
Austerity measures are eroding America’s public school system. With massive increases in school closures and class cancellations, advocates say educational opportunities for students of all ages are increasingly being diminished.
This is not a new problem, per se. It is, however, an escalating one, and one that is being resisted.
Currently in Chicago—under the auspices of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, the former chief of staff for President Obama—it was announced in March that 54 public schools will be closed, with 61 schools scheduled to be closed before the 2013–2014 school year begins. Emmanuel says that the closings are a “done deal.” Not everyone agrees with Emmanuel, and countering his assertion Karen Lewis says ‘it’s pretty much indicative that he [Emmanuel] has no respect for the law.” Lewis is president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and says that there are supposed to be hearings for each school, and that Emmanuel’s unilateral actions show “the depth of his contempt for people” in the community, especially those who are not “wealthy” and well-connected.
Right now in California, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is on the verge of losing its accreditation as a direct consequence of a $53 million dollar loss in state funding. Because of this, many classes are no longer being offered. Additionally, the cost of [in-state] tuition at CCSF has risen 25% in the last 2 years, and to boot, student enrollment is way down.
KQED reports that California’s community colleges have dropped to a 20-year enrollment low, and in a video report at the Real News Network, Alisa Messer, President of CCSF Faculty Union, says that “what happened in California in the last several years is that we’ve pushed a half million students out of the community college system.” And though the faculty had agreed last year to a voluntary 2.8% pay cut towards assisting in alleviating budget woes, the district cut faculty wages by nearly 9%.
Elsewhere, like in Michigan, for instance, the Public Schools Emergency Manager, Roy Roberts, announced last year that “underperforming” schools will be targeted for closure, with 130 schools having been closed there since 2005.
In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg is attempting to close 17 schools, which are said to be low-performing. However, the Urban Youth Collaborative and the Coalition for Educational Justice have filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging the city’s school closures disproportionately affect “students of color and students with disabilities.”
Author and activist, Tolu Orlorunda, shared his findings on how race factors in on public school closings in an article entitled “Journey for Justice: Mass School Closings and the Death of Communities,” stating that:
From 2003-2012, in New York City, 117 schools were closed. Twenty-five more closings are scheduled for 2013. Sixty-three percent of the students affected are black.
Since 2001, in Chicago, 72 schools have been closed or phased out. Ninety percent of the students affected are black.
In 2008, 23 schools were closed in Washington, DC. Ninety-nine percent of the students affected were black or brown.
Since 2005, in Detroit, 130 schools have been closed. Ninety-three percent of the students affected are black.
Curiously, while public schools are rapidly closing, charter schools—using public funding for privately-operated schools—have sprouted and expanded to take their share of budget dollars.
Many find this educational shift troubling, including a public school teacher of 30 years, Stan Karp, who is director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jersey’s Education Law Center, and the editor to Rethinking Schools. Karp wrote in a March 8th commentary about charter schools, saying “nearly every teacher dreams of starting a school…[b]ut the current push for deregulated charters and privatization is doing nothing to reduce the concentrations of 70, 80, and 90 percent poverty that remain the central problem in our urban schools.” He says a more “equitable” approach to school reform can be seen in Raleigh, North Carolina, where efforts “were made to improve theme-based and magnet programs at all schools, and the concentration of free/reduced lunch students at any one school was limited to 40 percent or less.” That simple plan, Karp says, resulted in “some of the nation’s best progress on closing gaps in achievement and opportunity.”
Further making his case in the article, Karp says:
- Significant evidence suggests that charters are part of a market-driven plan to create a less stable, less secure and less expensive teaching staff…working to privatize everything from curriculum to professional development to the making of education policy.
- [C]harter school teachers are, on average, less experienced, less unionized and less likely to hold state certification than teachers in traditional public schools.
- As many as one in four charter school teachers leave every year, about double the turnover rate in traditional public schools.
- Charter schools typically pay less for longer hours. But charter school administrators often earn more than their school-district counterparts.
HERE WE HAVE THE PEOPLE MAKING THIS CORPORATION EVER MORE RICH AND OUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLS ARE HANDING US TO THEM ON A SILVER PLATTER!!!
Governor Martin O'Malley just sold our local energy company BGE to this mega-corporation against everyone's wishes. NO ONE WANTED TO BE TIED TO A NATIONAL ENERGY CORPORATION. He needed the connection this company gave as headquartered in Obama's Chicago and for future campaign funds. At the time O'Malley told the citizens of Maryland there would be no rate increase with this merger and then a few months after the merger he told us we would get a substantial rate increase to pay for Exelon's past operational costs and future infrastructure. Exelon then received business tax credits for a building it already intended to occupy. It is a billion dollar a year corporation taking the public to the cleaners!
Exelon, Entergy Rise to Highest in 5 Months on Gas Price By Julie Johnsson - Apr 18, 2013 1:32 PM ET
Exelon Corp. (EXC) and Entergy Corp. (ETR), the two largest U.S. nuclear power operators, rose to their highest in five months as increasing natural gas prices boost wholesale electricity rates.
Exelon, based in Chicago, climbed 0.8 percent to $36.37 at 12:51 p.m. in New York, the highest price since Nov. 1. New Orleans-based Entergy gained 1.5 percent to $70.23, the highest since Nov. 2. Both power producers have risen 9 percent in the past month, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Utilities Index, which has increased 5.7 percent since March 18.
Exelon and Entergy have benefited from “a sharp recovery” in gas, which is helping drive power prices higher in the eastern U.S. where their nuclear plants are concentrated, Travis Miller, director for utilities research at Chicago-based Morningstar Inc., said in a phone interview today.
“We continue to think there’s upside for these eastern power producers, especially the low-cost ones like Exelon and Entergy,” Miller said. The companies will benefit as more coal plants retire because of federal restrictions on mercury and other airborne pollutants that take effect in 2015, he said.
Exelon had no immediate comment on the share gain and Entergy declined to comment.
Entergy today reported preliminary first-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Higher prices for nuclear energy resulted in per-share profit excluding one-time items of 93 cents a share, beating the 73-cent average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Futures Rise Natural gas futures reached a 20-month high in New York today, making it the largest gainer on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities. The price fell to a 10-year low last April.
Spot wholesale power prices at PJM Interconnection’s benchmark western hub have averaged $41.61 a megawatt-hour since Jan. 1, 22 percent more than a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“When gas prices go up, the coal and nuclear guys who’ve gotten crushed over the past year start to make margins again,” Samuel Brothwell, senior utilities analyst with Bloomberg Industries, said in a phone interview.
- THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE DO NOT WANT! TO CRONY POLS IN OFFICE FOREVER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS BATTLING FOR MORE TIME IN OFFICE!!!!
- WAKE UP FOLKS.......RUN FOR OFFICE AT EVERY LEVEL!!!!
- Early birds are first to file for 2014; Nathan-Pulliam to challenge Jones-Rodwell for Senate
- April 09, 2013 at 11:02 pm
Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam
Tuesday was the first day candidates could file for the 2014 election, and 11 candidates took the plunge, including four Montgomery County legislators filing as a team for reelection.
The juiciest tidbit from the filings posted daily by the State Board of Elections was Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, a 20-year veteran Democrat currently representing Baltimore County District 10, filing to run for state Senate in the redrawn District 44 currently represented by Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell.
The new district, allegedly designed to preserve a Senate seat for the city, crosses the city line and is actually dominated by a two-member delegate district in Baltimore County. That is an area Nathan-Pulliam has long represented as part of the old District 10 and where she has been the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary. See district maps below.
Nathan-Pulliam could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
UPDATE: But the delegate did call on Wednesday, noting that there are about 80,000 residents of District 44B, compared to 40,000 city residents in 44A. “That’s a very positive piece for me,” Nathan-Pulliam said.
“I’m no stranger to Baltimore City,” she said, noting that when she was first elected to the legislature she lived in the city. “I own two businesses in the city.”
Nathan-Pulliam, a nurse, owns an adult medical day care center in Baltimore and a personal care center.
She said she will be running on a ticket with Del. Emmet Burns and Rainier Harvey, who also filed yesterday.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: Other candidates who filed for election include all the incumbent Democrats in Montgomery Count’s District 14: Sen. Karen Montgomery, Dels. Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker. New candidates filing for delegate were: Don Engel, D-District 11, Baltimore County; Jordan Cooper, D-District 16, Rockville; Maria Triandos, D-District 30A, Annapolis; Baltimore attorney Chris West, R-District 42B, Baltimore County; and Rainier Harvey, D-District 44B, Baltimore County..
Dawit H. Gebreyesus of Potomac filed for Congress in the 4th Congressional District.
Monday night as part of a campaign finance reform bill, the legislature reset the filing deadline for the June 24, 2014 primary. It will now be Feb/ 25 next year, replacing April 9, 2014.
Hat tip to Matt Proud for the heads up on Facebook about the Board of Elections filings.