From Weasel Zippers...
TEXAS CITY — The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday rejected the air quality permits for 122 industrial facilities in Texas, including the BP and Valero refineries in Texas City.
The pulling of the flexible air permits that are issued by the state under EPA’s authority means the facilities do not have legal operating permits.
EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz said none of the facilities will be required to shut down but all will be required to obtain new permits under stricter guidelines.
Earlier this year, the agency pulled more than 200 permits, citing what it said were deficiencies in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s flexible air permitting process.
Adopted in 1995, the flex air permit process in Texas allows industrial sites greater latitude in controlling air emissions. The process issued permits based on a facility’s overall emissions and not a unit by unit measure that the EPA prefers.
That would allow one portion of a chemical plant or refinery to pollute more than federal standards as long as overall emissions at the facility did not violate federal air quality standards. Armendariz argued the process allowed companies to avoid federal air quality requirements by lumping emissions from multiple units under a single cap.
“Today’s action improves our ability to provide the citizens of Texas with the same healthy-air protections that are provided for citizens in all other states under the Clean Air Act,” Armendariz said. “EPA will continue working closely with Texas, industry, environmental organizations and community leaders to assure an effective and legal air permitting system.”
The EPA warned the state environmental agency it was considering pulling air quality permits if the state did not change its flex permit process. In mid-June, TCEQ commissioners revised the process — but defended it at the same time.
“We are defending our flexible air permitting program because it works,” Bryan Shaw, chairman of the state agency, said. “EPA is not able to demonstrate how our program is less protective of the environment than the bureaucratic federal approach. EPA’s philosophy of more bureaucracy by federalizing state permits will not lead to cleaner air but will drive up energy costs and kill job creation at a time when people can least afford it.”
Valero spokesman Bill Day said the company was disappointed and expressed the frustration about a change in the rules that had appeared to be acceptable for the past 16 years.
“When the flex permit program was rolled out in 1994, EPA and environmental groups applauded it, and EPA approval seemed implicit,” Day said. “Now, 16 years later, EPA is reversing course, and our facilities are caught in the middle, creating significant uncertainty at a time when our economy can least afford it.”
In addition to its Texas City facility, Valero had its air quality permits pulled at five other facilities.
BP spokesman Michael Marr declined to comment on the EPA’s decision.
Valero and BP said the decision had not had an impact on operations of the Texas City refineries.
Jimmy Hayley, president of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce, said the EPA’s actions were ill-timed and could erode the economies of industrial communities.
“While I am confident Valero and BP will meet all the requirements, it puts fear out there and gives employees (of industrial facilities) a mixed message,” Hayley said. “That hurts the economy if people are worried about their jobs.”
He said smaller businesses that depend on the industrial sites are already worried given the global economic downturn and incidents such as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Environmental groups applauded the EPA’s actions.
“Texans deserve the same clean air protection as citizens of every other state, and TCEQ’s flexible permitting program has been denying all of us that right for nearly 20 years,” Luke Metzger, of Environment Texas, said. “The Clean Air Act is the same law that polluters in all other 49 states have to follow, and it’s time that polluters in Texas follow it, too.”
Radar - I lived in Texas at one time and the italicized part reminds me of another thing there is plenty of in Texas - Bull shit!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Well the DOJ filed charges and the New Black Panthers were found guilty by default, but suddenly the DOJ dropped the charges. Why? J. Christian Adams, DOJ lawyer until very recently has come out with some interesting allegations.....
"Most disturbing, the dismissal is part of a creeping lawlessness infusing our government institutions. Citizens would be shocked to learn about the open and pervasive hostility within the Justice Department to bringing civil rights cases against nonwhite defendants on behalf of white victims. Equal enforcement of justice is not a priority of this administration. Open contempt is voiced for these types of cases. Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it "payback time." Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section. Refusing to enforce the law equally means some citizens are protected by the law while others are left to be victimized, depending on their race."Not acceptable. Not acceptable. Not Acceptable. Eric Holder should be fired. Post racial my ass.
Considering that large chunks of the world are sliding into the Islamic camp, it may be time to take off the gloves. We don’t have the luxury any longer of living by pre-9/11 niceties such as “we must respect religious differences”—a formula which has come to mean that we mustn’t even look into them. On the contrary, you respect differences by taking them seriously. And if the Koran is the motive force behind Islam’s militancy then the Koran deserves serious examination, not perfunctory gestures of esteem.
“Why bring religion into it?” you may ask. Well, because religion is what it’s all about. Sincere Muslims believe that God wants the whole world to be subject to Islam. They’re free to believe that, of course, but it would be very much in the interest of non-Muslims if they stopped believing it. If an unbeliever refuses to submit to Islam, Allah requires that his head be separated from his body. In light of this, it seems only reasonable that unbelievers should start thinking of ways to separate Muslims from their faith. We have a—shall we say, vital—interest in encouraging Muslims to reflect critically upon the facts of their faith. We can help them to do this, not by telling them we have deep respect for their religion, but by telling them we have deep misgivings about it.
So, the argument that the Koran is of divine origin, and therefore deserving of unquestioning obedience, ought to be challenged. And it ought to be challenged frequently and persuasively with the intention of forcing Muslims to at least entertain some doubts that God had anything to do with the composition of the Koran.
Let’s pass over the awkward fact that there were no witnesses to the revelation except Muhammad himself, and go on to look at what Muslim apologists say in defense of the Koran. The traditional belief is that the Koran, which was given to Muhammad in installments, is a perfect replica of a mother book which has existed eternally in heaven. According to apologists, the proof that God composed it is that it is a work of perfection, a literary masterpiece written in an inimitatable style. Thus, doubters are challenged to produce even one sura comparable to it (10:38). In a nutshell, only God could have said it so well.
Well, let’s see. Here is sura 81:20:
I swear by the turning planets, and by the stars that rise and set; by the night, when it descends, and the first breath of morning: this is the word of a gracious and mighty messenger…That’s pretty good. So is sura 51:1:
By the dust-scattering winds and the heavily-laden clouds; by the swiftly-gliding ships and by the angels who deal out blessings to mankind; that which you are promised shall be fulfilled…If the whole Koran were written to this level you might have the makings of a case for its divine authorship. But for the most part—at least for the Western reader—it falls short of other great literature. Much of it is tedious, repetitive, and didactic. While it’s true that a lot is lost in translation, how much could have been lost from: “Prophet, we have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom God has given you as booty: the daughters of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage.” (sura 33:50). No matter how skillfully translated there is not much literary punch in such passages.
Of course, many readers also find parts of the Bible to be tedious, repetitive, and didactic. But this is less of a problem for Christians since they don’t claim that the Bible is a word-for-word dictation from God. For Christians, the literary merit of scripture is not a crucial issue. Still, the Bible does have considerable literary merit. Many passages in the Old Testament soar above the Koran—the Psalms, the scene of the dry bones come to life described in Ezekiel (Eze. 37), the Lord answering Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38), the temptation scene in the Garden of Eden, the vivid prophecies of Isaiah. And there is nothing in the Koran to compare with the moving scenes in the Gospels. So, if you hold to the God-dictated-it school of Koran defense, you have a problem. To put it bluntly, why can’t God write as well as human authors such as David, Solomon, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?—not to mention Homer, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy.
Muslim apologists do have an answer to such quibbles. They say that you can only appreciate the true beauty of the Koran by reading it in Arabic. Okay, then, maybe when you read, “We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers” (2: 226) in the original Arabic it sounds like something out of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyan.” But there is another problem which goes beyond the sound and sense of words. Whether or not the Koran is lacking in stylistic perfection, it is certainly lacking in coherence. And you don’t have to speak high Arabic to notice it.
When God wrote the “mother of a book,” He apparently forgot to outline. As a result, there is no beginning, middle, or end to the Koran. As N.J. Dawood, one of its translators, admits, “scholars are agreed that a strictly chronological arrangement is impossible…” Instead, the Koran is arbitrarily arranged according to the length of its chapters with the longest coming first and the shortest, last. Accordingly, the Koran skips back and forth between accounts of Jesus, Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and Noah as though all these figures lived in some kind of time proximity instead of being separated by hundreds, even thousands of years. Besides the strange juxtapositions of the stories and persons, you can add in the fact that, with a few exceptions, none of the stories are fully developed. They are more like story fragments. And the logical transitions between episodes are often missing. As the great Koran scholar Theodor Noldeke pointed out, the extended narratives of the Koran are lacking in “indispensable links, both in expression and in the sequence of events…and nowhere do we find a steady advance in the narration.” One is reminded of Mark Twain’s joke that Fenimore Cooper broke all the rules of literary art, including Rule One, “That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere,” and Rule Two, “that the episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it.”
In response, Muslim apologists say you should think of the Koran more like a body of sermons than as an organized book. But even on this level the Koran lacks coherence. When you listen to a sermon you expect that the end of it will usually have something to do with the beginning of it. This is quite often not the case with the Koran. If you think there ought to be some logical connection between paragraph one and paragraph two or between paragraph two and paragraph three, you are obviously stuck in the linear mode of thought, and you’re not ready for the Koran. Better practice on some James Joyce first.
If you are the Lord of the Universe, apparently you are under no obligation to connect your thoughts. Thus the Koran often seems like a giant game of “Mad Libs” in which unrelated parts are arbitrarily dropped into the narrative. Or, if you prefer a more elegant explanation, here’s Professor Malcolm Clark, author of Islam for Dummies: “The Qur’an is like a montage of different images or a kaleidoscope in which different elements recur but in different arrangements.” That’s one way of putting it. Another way is this: “a confused jumble, crude, incondite; endless iterations, long-windedness, entanglement; most crude, incondite, insupportable stupidity in short.” That’s historian Thomas Carlyle’s description of the Koran—and he was fairly sympathetic to Islam.
However you try to explain it, you would think that God could make a better effort. If you believe that the Koran is dictated by God you have to account for the fact that the Author of Creation seems to lack the literary touch—that is, the knack for storytelling, sequence, composition, and drama that we expect in accomplished human authors. Yes, there are beautiful passages in the Koran, but as an exercise in composition it would not pass muster in most freshmen writing courses. Muslims rankle at perceived insults to Allah, but isn’t it a major insult to Allah to attribute to him such a “confused jumble” of a book?
Did God write the Koran? Considering what’s at stake, this is not a time to shy away from the question. The truth concerning the circumstances of the Koran’s birth is much more consequential for the world’s fate than any revelations about the circumstances surrounding the birth of President Obama. Is it provocative to ask the question? Yes, but then, nowadays, anything and everything short of a complete submission to Islam is considered provocative by many Muslims. Besides, contrary to the sensitivity watchdogs, tough questions aren’t usually asked simply for the purpose of provoking anger. Believe it or not, tough questions are often intended to provoke thought.
It’s not just Muslims who need to rethink the Koran, but all those non-Muslims who, without knowing anything about it, still believe the Koran ought to be accorded great respect. The Southern Command guidelines for military personnel not only mandate wearing clean gloves when touching the Koran, they also require that the Koran be handled in a “manner signaling respect and reverence.” “Handle the Koran,” state the guidelines, “as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art.” “Fragile?” Yes. Maybe the Southern Command brass have it right, after all. Handle with care. And don’t drop it. It’s brittle.
William Kilpatrick’s articles have appeared in FrontPage Magazine, First Things, Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Jihad Watch, World, and Investor’s Business Daily.
Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com
URL to article:
DID YOU KNOW that nominee Kagan is okay with book-banning, forcing the state to pay for transsexual surgery and....
Well, read on...
"Is this the kind of person we want serving on the Supreme Court?
During her time in the Clinton White House Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan worked to undermine opposition to the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion. She was able to get a contact at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to insert a few lines in a report that was later used as the basis for legal challenges to a state ban on the practice. National Review has the full story. It’s sort of a similar and equally dishonest tactic as that used by Obama officials at the Dept. of Interior who added language supporting a moratorium on oil drilling to a statement by scientists. A statement to which the scientists strongly object.
The memo which Kagan wrote has her handwriting on the document.During the confirmation hearings, Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) asked her a simple question: “Did you write that memo.” What followed was some of the most blatant evasion I have ever heard a public official make; let alone a nominee for the high court."
Hmm, it depends on what the meaning of "is" is? Do we really need a professional liar and progressive dogmatist with no desire to defend the Constitution on the Supreme Court?
Jan Brewer does a better job of defending the Constitution than Barack Obama and she is willing to do something about it...
poll up, and the results there are more than clear.
Golly, almost 2 million responses so far. That’s almost half a percent of the entire population, and about 1000 times bigger than the polling samples our beloved MFM uses to steer the election cycles. Guess old Obama and his lawsuit against AZ aren’t reflecting the will of the people AT ALL ! I’d like to see a real poll at one of these popular but left leaning news sites. “Do you think Arizona’s new illegal immigration law goes far enough?” I’ll bet you half a boiled egg that 80%+ say HELL NO.
I tend to use less &^%$#(! in my language than some other bloggers, but I can understand the anger. From the same website as above:
Oh, oh where is the Hope for some Change???
Weekly Jobless Claims Rise 13,000 to 472,000
WASHINGTON—Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose for the second time in three weeks last week, signaling that layoffs are rising.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for jobless benefits jumped by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000. Analysts expected a small drop, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
Greater layoffs by construction firms contributed to the increase, a Labor Department analyst said, as home sales and construction slumped in May after the expiration of a popular homebuyer tax credit. Summer layoffs in many school districts also added to the total, he said
The four-week average, which smooths fluctuations, rose by 3,250 to 466,500, its highest level since March.
The rise in layoffs comes as Congress remains at an impasse over extending federal unemployment benefits to those who exhaust their state benefits. More than a million have already been cut off. Millions more stand to lose their benefits later this month if lawmakers don’t pass an extension.
Claims have remained stuck above 450,000 since the beginning of the year. That has heightened concerns among economists that jobs remain scarce even as the economy has begun to recover from the worst recession since the 1930s.
The figures come a day before the Labor Department is scheduled to release the June jobs report. That is expected to show a modest rebound in private-sector hiring. Overall, employers are expected to cut a net total of 110,000 positions, but that includes the loss of about 240,000 temporary census jobs. Private employers are projected to add 112,000 jobs, according to a survey of economists by Thomson Reuters.
That would be an improvement from May, when businesses added only 41,000 workers. But the economy needs to generate at least 100,000 net new jobs per month to keep up with population growth, and probably twice that number to bring down the jobless rate.
The unemployment rate is expected to edge up to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent in May.