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East Palestine Pete & The DEI Chernobyl

While nation's railway system declines, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg worries about the REAL threat: white construction workers taking POC jobs
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The train derailment in Ohio -- called "America's Chernobyl" by some -- is apparently even worse than we thought:

The train, which derailed along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border Feb. 3, was carrying a broader array of toxic chemicals than was first publicly detailed, the Environmental Protection Agency has disclosed, though the agency has said it is not detecting any hazardous levels of toxins in the area.

The disclosure has further elevated concern among residents of East Palestine, many of whom are still seeking answers about the amount of potential exposure to toxic fumes — both immediately after the crash and now — and whether it is safe for evacuated residents to return to their homes. Even some who weren’t ordered to evacuate are wondering whether they should consider leaving the area.

“We should have been evacuated. It stunk for 48 hours,” said Jackie Moore, 34, of Darlington, Pa., roughly eight miles away. From her home, the flames smelled like nail polish, she said.

The odor is still present in East Palestine, and it’s unnerving residents. After more than a week of questions about what the train was carrying, the EPA on Sunday published a list from Norfolk Southern that confirmed which chemicals had spilled and showed which rail cars had been breached. There were 20 train cars carrying hazardous materials, 10 of which derailed, the National Transportation Safety Board reported Tuesday.

It is unclear whether chemicals continue to be released from the site of the derailment. In addition to still smelling odors, nearby residents have experienced headaches, burning eyes and other symptoms.

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More, from the NYPost:

“My video camera footage shows my chickens were perfectly fine before they started this burn, and as soon as they started the burn, my chickens slowed down and they died,” said Amanda Breshears of North Lima. “If it can do this to chickens in one night, imagine what it’s going to do to us in 20 years.”

This is new today:

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Is this a matter of railway corporations cutting costs and overburdening workers? This pro-union guy thinks so. I would very much like to know.

I saw that our Transportation Department head, Pete Buttigieg, had a public event last week at which some expected him to address this catastrophe. Instead, he dwelled on the real threat to America: white construction workers taking POC jobs:

"We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color, that finally sees the project come to them, but everyone in the hard hats on that project, doing the good paying jobs, don't look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood," Buttigieg said. 

You know, I would not be surprised if there were non-white people whose families were in danger of breathing in toxic chemicals around that derailment.

Look, there's zero reason to blame the train derailment on the Transportation Department being focused on DEI goals. But the Secretary, faced with this utter transportation catastrophe putting real lives at risk, choosing instead to lean into the usual DEI rhetoric, symbolizes what the true priorities of bureaucrats in the Age of Wokeness are. I hope one day we can have a government, and a leadership class in this country, that cares about competence more than it does about how many Sacred Minorities can dance on the thread of a chest binder. Where do people who think like Buttigieg come from? Our universities and professional schools, who are destroying the basis for skills and knowledge for the sake of Woke Lysenkoism. For example:

You can study HIV in gay males—but your research sample must include females who have anal sex. You can study health outcomes in new fathers—but only if you agree that some fathers gestated and birthed their offspring. You also can study sexual violence inside of women’s prisons—but you must include those who currently, formerly, or occasionally “identify” as a woman.

Each of these examples reflects actual guidance for researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine, one of Canada’s top medical schools. The document in which they’re contained, Gender & Sex in Methods & Measurement: Research Equity Toolkit, offers a case study in the process by which ideologically-driven pedagogical mandates associated with DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion—are metastasizing throughout STEM.

We have to go to war with this crap -- a real war, not a rhetorical one -- or it will take us down as a civilization. This is a version of what the Soviet Union went through. If you haven't seen it, watch the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. It's one of the best TV shows ever made. It dramatizes what happens in the real world when people work for a system that does not reward competence, but loyalty to the ideology on which the system is built.

UPDATE: Just started reading Peter Zeihan's book The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning, in which the geopolitical strategist forecasts the collapse of globalization. He writes:

I find it galling that issues such as "safe spaces" in colleges devoid of divergent viewpoints, transgender bathroom policy, and vaccine benefits have even crossed into the proverbial town square, much less all but crowded-out issues such as nuclear proliferation or America's place in the world. Sometimes it feels as though American policy is pasted together from the random thoughts of the four-year-old product of a biker rally tryst between Bernie Sanders and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Yes, exactly! It's like the brain-dead Church of England General Synod perseverating on whether or not to marry same-sex couples when the church's decline is so rapid that it will cease to exist in 2060. It's like Pope Francis convening the Synod on Synodality when Catholicism is in full collapse in Europe, the continent where Christendom first came into being. We are not led by serious people.

UPDATE.2: A reader emails links to a policy statement by the Association of American Railroads, a trade association/business lobby. See its "About Us" page here. It has been pushing the government to allow single-person crews. A quote from the AAR statement:

"Efforts to require at least two-person crews, including via regulation, lack a safety justification; ignore the decades of safe and successful use of single-person crews [emphasis the reader's -- RD] at some U.S. freight railroads and in passenger and freight rail systems throughout the world; upend meaningful collective bargaining, and undermine the rail industry’s ability to compete against less climate-friendly forms of transportation.”

Reader adds:

I know a local — a lifelong CSX engineer who, last time I talked to him, was about to quit after his crew was reduced from two to one. He said that it was insane. Insane? Yes, but definitely cheaper. 

Anecdotal, yes. But I want to know more. There should be Congressional hearings.

A decade ago, I knew a family friend who was eager to retire from the major Louisiana petrochemical plant where he worked. He was in the safety division. He said that despite what the plant management said about their rock-solid commitment to safety, it simply wasn't true. In conversation, he gave me details of the kinds of things he saw routinely, and reported up the chain of command ... and nothing was done about them. He said a catastrophe was inevitable. Eventually he retired, and he and his wife left the state. Nothing bad has happened at that plant ... yet. This guy was a hardcore conservative, too, but his pro-free market beliefs were not as important to him as basic safety, and competent management of these complex and highly dangerous chemical manufacturing and processing facilities.