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Thursday, August 11, 2005


From Mike Thompson.

The cartoon refers to this:

A hazardous waste processing plant in nearby Romulus, Michigan caught fire and had a series of explosions Tuesday night, and the fire isn't out yet:
The inferno that tore apart a Romulus chemical plant kept burning throughout Wednesday night, prolonging a public health scare and evacuation order that forced thousands to seek shelter at motels, a school, and with friends and relatives.

Potentially toxic soot was strewn across neighborhoods surrounding the plant, and dangerous chemicals stewed in the hot rubble left by a series of explosions that jolted EQ Resource Recovery Inc. Tuesday night.
More than 24 hours after the industrial meltdown, local and federal officials still could not provide answers to anxious residents about potential health risks, or offer explanations as to the cause.

The stubborn fire prevented investigators from starting a full probe. In the meantime, they began testing the fallout. They urged residents to avoid contact with the grit and soot, but to be cautious if they did begin cleaning homes and cars. There is no certainty that today will bring concrete answers to questions about the potential for toxic hazards in neighborhoods near the plant.

That's not much help for residents like Angie Loop, 38, who planned to hose the dark sand-like residue off her driveway in Wayne. Returning to check on her cats and a hamster Wednesday afternoon, she surveyed the scene and wondered how careful she should be.

It "seemed like hail" when the charcoal-colored bits rained down in the dark Wednesday, said Loop. "The kids were freaking."

She'd already made sure not to track any fallout inside, and said she was awaiting word from authorities on whether the grit was toxic.
My suspicions haven't been raised too high in this case, since as far as I know no public official ran out to claim that it wasn't terrorism. All the reports I've seen say that investigators will have to wait until the fire is out before they can try to determine a cause. But Mike Thompson's cartoon is right on target--the materials most threatening to Americans are here in America, not in Iraq, North Korea, or Iran. The first WTC bombers and the Oklahoma City bombers both purchased the bomb materials in this country and used rented vehicles to deliver them. The planes on 9/11 were made in the US, and flown by domestic airlines from domestic airports. The 2001 anthrax attacks used anthrax from US military labs. There are huge stockpiles of deadly chemicals, nuclear waste, chemical and nuclear weapons, and lots of other dangerous things all over this country. Of all the lies told supporting the Iraq war, the idea that Saddam Hussein would give WMD's he didn't have to terrorists he didn't like was the most ridiculous. Even if he'd had WMD's and he wanted to give them to terrorists, it would have been much easier for those terrorists to just use what is already here.

Free Press caption: "The stuff in this container is what fell from the sky Tuesday night. Sandy Dotson, 45, of Wayne collected it."

[Update] I just saw this article on CNN:
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- A tractor-trailer carrying 35,500 pounds of explosives overturned and exploded Wednesday, injuring four people and leaving a huge crater in a Utah highway.