It's a Horned Frog World

Friday, April 01, 2005

Another Smokey Joe eruption

My two TCU classes now know all about my run-in with my congressman Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis. We talked about it this week. Now comes a new chapter. While The Dallas Morning News is apparently no longer allowed, even on its opinion page, to refer to him as "Smokey Joe," the representative of the "Cement Capital of Texas" keeps proving the description is indeed a fair and balanced one.

Today's evidence: the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Scott Streater (Page 7B). If foot-dragging were an Olympic sport, Smokey Joe could be a gold medalist -- at least when the public health of the air we breathe is contested on the field of life. Outsiders will be incredulous when they read Streater's article in which it said the congressman is pushing legislation to give Dallas-Fort Worth, facing a 2010 deadline, even more time to meet clean air standards. That is no misprint. Five years down the road yet, and Smokey Joe is already asking for an extension. Meeting deadlines is something I teach in class. It's on the syllabus. Maybe we should save a seat for Joe. The media business takes daily deadlines seriously. We have to. But polluters and their fellow travelers?

Perhaps he should ask those DFW citizens suffering from emphysema, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases if they'd agree to an extension on the smog that is shortening their breath, and maybe their lives. Maybe Joe thinks they should just lay back and enjoy a string of dangerous ozone seasons. For me, this foot-dragging violates my "culture of life." I guess I'll just have to agree to disagree with Joe Barton and those who every two years reward him with re-election.

Jim Frisinger


  • Sounds like Joe "Kill 'em all" Barton and Tom "Save Everybody but my Paw" DeLay are going to have to meet and duke it out to decide the path of true righteousness.

    Probably not. After all, both would agree that excess pollution in defense of campaign contributions is no vice.

    No one ever lost an election in Texas by under estimating the electorate.

    By Blogger Tom in Dallas, at 1:59 PM  

  • HE'S BACK!

    greetings from:

    Congressman Delay -- no no no -- not Tom DeLay -- the OTHER Congressman Delay, also known as SMOKEY JOE Barton, wants to delay cleaning up pollution in our region yet again. The Dallas Morning News may be too afraid to call him Smokey Joe, but I'm not. Watch this:


    And neither is former editorial board member Dallas Morning News Jim Frisinger, who, by the way, coined the phrase Smokey Joe. Seems Mr. Frisinger is teaching students how to be real journalists in a media class at TCU. He's set up a blog for his class, and I have been patiently waiting, hoping, wishing, that maybe, somehow, someday, Jim would once again write about my ebfbs Congressman (ebfbs is a semi-private joke from Jim's final days on the DMN Daily blog, sorry, can't explain -- you had to be there).

    And then today, April Fools Day, no less, I peeked in on his blog, and found Another Smokey Joe eruption.

    Before I saw those uplifting words, I was going to post about what appears to be a typical Texas industry side-stepping of the law and possible cover-up down in Houston with the recent plant explosion in Texas City. It sounds like police and other authorities are leaving it up to BP industrial officials to be in control of the scene of the fatalities and, up until today, of the investigation of what went wrong. Police are afraid to go into the site because, as one police officer said:

    "My God, there's things in those plants that can kill you."

    No kidding.

    But in several other states, police control the site of a major accident investigating it first as a possible crime scene before leaving the investigation to federal agencies or the plant owner. In neighboring Louisiana, the Louisiana State Police has a hazardous materials unit that takes over investigations of refinery explosions.

    "We'd be in there from the first hours. We're in charge, not the plant owners," said Lt. Chris Viator, of the Louisiana State Police emergency services and hazardous materials unit.

    Yes, well, this isn't Louisiana, Mr. Police-emergency-services-hazardous-materials man.. This is Texas. Who needs the police, when we have plant owners perfectly willing to be in charge of their own accidents and investigations and fatalities and such?

    Herr Frisinger, could you please explain to me WHAT EXACTLY IS WRONG WITH EVERYBODY IN TEXAS? And hey, while you’re at it, could you also please explain to me how to get a really cool-looking website like yours? People have complained about the -- ahem – quality – of my computer skills and computer software.

    Welcome back!

    By Blogger Julie, at 2:45 PM  

  • I guess it is easier to stoke our children's bodies with steroids and inhalers than to take industrial pollution to task and rein them in with legislative sidebars that will be good for us. What the heck. Smokey Joe, probably does not care. He probably flies out of state to clear his little lungs every few months.
    As far as DMN, the whole thing has become so darn lackluster that our family is now only receiving the week-end addition and that, may soon go by the wayside.
    If we can get DMN to update J Floyds picture with "truth in advertising" we may take them back. That gal is not twenty five you know. You are not reading a recent college grad, as the picture would have you think. Heck, she is at least as old as me. But I like to think I have more class! smile


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:56 PM  

  • Tammyswofford has it exactly right -- it's more profitable for politicians to pass on health care costs to families than to rein in polluters like the one's in Barton's district. And it is costing families dearly. The free market comes with a price.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:39 PM  

  • I suggest that everyone from the metroplex take a deep breath and relax. Wait a minute...perhaps taking a deep breath is not that good of an idea. OK..try this...everyone get a SCUBA tank and take a deeep breath. Relax. The politicians know what is best for you. Those naysayers like Jim Frisinger have no clue what they are talking about. We are within legal limits ***cough, cough, gag*** and you will be provided for appropriately! God Bless Us Every One!

    From the clear skies of Sulphur Springs

    By Blogger Dr. Jeff Cunningham, at 8:31 AM  

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