Seattle Repeals Gravity

From Powerline. Well, not quite, but nearly that silly.

You know how liberals like to attach taxes on cigarettes so we’ll buy fewer of them, and on alcohol so we’ll drink less, etc? Funny, though, how the basic lesson of supply and demand and price sensitivity falls by the wayside when it comes to the minimum wage.

The Washington Post reports today on the results of the mandated minimum wage hikes in Seattle:

A ‘very credible’ new study on Seattle’s $15 minimum wage has bad news for liberals

By Max Ehrenfreunde

When Seattle officials voted three years ago to incrementally boost the city’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour, they’d hoped to improve the lives of low-income workers. Yet according to a major new study that could force economists to reassess past research on the issue, the hike has had the opposite effect.

The city is gradually increasing the hourly minimum to $15 over several years. Already, though, some employers have not been able to afford the increased minimums. They’ve cut their payrolls, putting off new hiring, reducing hours or letting their workers go, the study found.

The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one, according to the study, conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city. The study, published as a working paper Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer reviewed.

On the whole, the study estimates, the average low-wage worker in the city lost $125 a month because of the hike in the minimum.

Congratulations Seattle—you’ve managed to lower wages by $1,500 a year for the people who can least afford it. But I’m sure you feel good about how you’re fighting again inequality.

About that subtle little dig about peer review (which is mostly nonsense of a different color these days).

“This strikes me as a study that is likely to influence people,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the research. He called the work “very credible” and “sufficiently compelling in its design and statistical power that it can change minds.”

David Autor is one of the leading figures in America in this field. Good enough for me, particularly since NBER itslef is the gold standard in the field. Besided we all said this before it happened.

If I was a retail merchant in the Emerald City, well, I’d be Sleepless in Seattle and not in the good way.


In other related news, Andrew Bolt writes that:

Here in Australia, the Greens Party keep claiming coal is dead, just like they predicted runaway warming, permanent drought and draining dams.

The Greens said coal mining was dead:

The world is moving away from coal. A report released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis finds that the global market for Australian thermal coal has entered “structural decline”, with prices falling 70% since 2009.

Wrong. Coal is roaring ahead:

The world’s biggest coal users — China, the United States and India — have boosted coal mining in 2017, in an abrupt departure from last year’s record global decline for the heavily polluting fuel and a setback to efforts to rein in climate change emissions.

Mining data reviewed by The Associated Press show that production through May is up by at least 121 million tons, or 6 percent, for the three countries compared to the same period last year. The change is most dramatic in the U.S., where coal mining rose 19 percent in the first five months of the year, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.

Coal’s fortunes had appeared to hit a new low less than two weeks ago, when British energy company BP reported that tonnage mined worldwide fell 6.5 percent in 2016, the largest drop on record. China and the U.S. accounted for almost all the decline, while India showed a slight increase.

The reasons for this year’s turnaround include policy shifts in China, changes in U.S. energy markets and India’s continued push to provide electricity to more of its poor, industry experts said.

The Greens would support providing electricity to the poor, wouldn’t they?

Reader Mark M rounds up the latest evidence for the climate catastrophe we were warned would affect even food supplies:

South Africa: Silos ready for record maize harvest

As farmers in SA get down to harvesting a record maize crop, operators of grain storage facilities say there is enough space to accommodate the bumper haul.

Maize is, of course, to us Americans, corn. Good on them although I must say if we ever had a corn harvest where we had enough space to store it – well, it would be a very poor year, indeed. We’re lucky if we have enough to store the food grade corn. Also:

Australia: “Australian farmers’ record breaking season confirmed at $62.8 billion: ABARES

ABARES said even with the dip, the figure is still 9 per cent higher than the five-year average to 2015-16.

USA: California sets cherry record; big Washington crop rolling

Exactly where is this catastrophe the Greens keep seeing?

Not a lot of point in adding much to any of these, people that read around here tend to be common sense types, who understand that if one (especially one’s government) gets out of the way, amazing things will happen. And so they are.

Sweden National Police Chief: “HELP US, HELP US!”

Photo: Sweden’s National police chief, Dan Eliasson

Then there is this.

Sweden is being torn to pieces by Muslim immigrants and refugees. Law enforcement is crying out for help, and it is only a question of time before the country will need military intervention from abroad in order to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

A leaked report concludes that the number of lawless areas (commonly referred to as “no-go zones”) in Sweden now totals 61. That is up from 55 in just one year’s time. This increase includes not only the total number, but also the geographical size of these areas.

Sweden’s National Police Commissioner, Dan Eliasson, spoke on national television and pleaded for assistance: “Help us, help us!,” he said, while warning that Swedish police forces no longer can uphold the law and therefore must ask all good powers in the country to support them.

A research expert regarding destabilized countries and 2011 recipient of Sweden’s Order of the Seraphim medal, Johan Patrik Engellau, has been working with organizations such as the UN and others that operate in crisis areas. He warns:

“I’m afraid it is the end for the well-organized, decent and egalitarian Sweden we have known up to now. Personally, I would not be surprised if a form of civil war occurs. In some places, the civil war has probably already begun.”

10News recently reported how the Swedish state has lost large areas to armed, religious groups best described as Islamist militias. Police chief Lars Alversjø says that, “There is lawlessness in parts of Stockholm (Sweden’s capital) now.” He also observed how, “The legal system, which is a pillar in every democratic society, is collapsing in Sweden.” Per Magnus Ranstorp, a researcher into terrorism and radicalization at the Swedish National Defense College, notes: “In the worst areas, extremists have taken over. The whole sense of justice and peace are threatened by the fact that the police is breaking down and it’s only getting worse. Sweden is in a disastrous situation.”

The Swedish Security Service (Säkerhetspolisen – abbreviated as Säpo), recently warned that the country is crawling with “thousands of Islamists sharing Islamic State’s ideology. In many places, public servants (i.e., non-Islamic authorities) require police escort or protection.

In related news: Sweden Changing: 150,000 Women Undergo FGM, Authorities Admit Large Areas UNDER ISLAMIST RULE

From: Sweden on the Brink of CIVIL WAR, National Police Chief: “HELP US, HELP US!”

Yeah, Well, No. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Mostly because I don’t see why anybody would. The last time Sweden was involved really in Europe was when Gustavus Adolphus was king, and I don’t think he made too many friends.

And the other thing is, they’ve been asking for it, even more than the rest of Europe. They long since sold their souls (and I mean that very literally) for their multicultural beliefs. Even part of Europe, let alone the United States looked on rather bemusedly as they undermined every tenet of their former Christian beliefs.

There are lots of good Swedes, of course, and this will be a calamity for them. And that’s sad. But if you won’t fight for yourself and your culture…Well, really, why should anybody else?

Most of Europe is only a little better, and Great Britain is tending that way as well. And to be honest, in America, we’ve got our hands full with our own idiots. Certainly too much so to be wasting blood and treasure on those who will not fight. I suppose they could ask Russia, Vlad seems to have it pretty much under control. Or maybe they should take the Saudi’s advice:

The governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, understand the threat presented by Islamic extremism and how illegal immigration is tied into that threat. Saudi Arabia experienced multiple attacks during 2003 to 2005 which brought the country to its knees economically and resulted in 100’s of deaths. Companies and government agencies were begging expatriate workers to stay, but could not halt the exodus of expertise until they hit back at the extremists, and hit back hard.

Part of that war on extremism was a recognition and subsequent action against people who were in the nation illegally. This became a real priority for them after the Arab Spring. The country had an estimate 2.5 million illegals and the Saudi authorities recognised these people as a significant threat to their culture, sovereignty and security. As a result, between 2012 and 2014, the Saudi Government rounded up approximately 1.5 to 2 million illegals and shipped them home. There was no fuss and no outcry. The police and security services arrested them as part of vehicle stops and sweeps of known areas. They were taken to holding areas where they were fingerprinted. Well over 90% of these illegals did not have any identification or passports. That was not an issue to the Saudis as they simply asked them their home country and put them on a plane to that country. The illegals knew that there was no point lying as it would only cause them more issues once they landed at the destination airport.

The Saudis also recognise the powerful roles Imams have in radicalisation. EVERY mosque in the country is monitored by the Ministry of the Interior. Every mosque has a member of the security forces, secret police, police or an informant monitoring what is preached. If an Imam is preaching a message which is against Saudi policy there is two possible results. If the Imam is not Saudi, they and their family are on a plane to their home country with their paperwork marked “never to return”. This process takes 12 to 24 hours. There is no courts, not AAT, not extensive detention whist various groups spend millions on lawyers. The Saudis recognise that these people have breached the conditions of entry to the country, cancel their visa and escort them to the airport. If the offenders don’t pay for an airline ticket, they are put in jail until the Saudi Government organises a ticket and then they are escorted to the airport for deportation.

If the Imam is Saudi, he is taken for “re-education”. This is a 6 month process and is a source of great shame to the Imams family. If the re-education does not work, they are jailed and their right to travel outside the country is revoked. The more offences, the longer the jail terms. We are talking years and decades here – not 2 months.

Today, Saudi Arabia still has an issue with extremism but in a far more controlled way. They have no issues with deporting or jailing people who are a threat to the community. Their government and population look at places like Europe and Australia and are amazed that we would allow the attacks which have happened.

That seems like pretty sound advice to me. Yes, it violates some of our laws, and so might have to be modified a bit, but in essence, it is what must be done.

Will Sweden, or Europe for that matter, do it? I doubt it, and if they don’t do that or something similar, they are simply doomed.

Is there anything much more despicable than a man who won’t fight for his own family? Not that I can think of.

Saturday Wrap up.

Welp, we made it to Saturday, again. Only two days left till we can try Monday all over again. Been a busy week, though. Mostly from Powerline.

Also from Powerline, this week’s Ammo Grrrll shouldn’t be missed.

[…]

They do all start with “R,” and that is close enough for the brain-dead, lazy, chickens**t losers who have to believe themselves to be part of something important and worthy. Instead of what they actually are: just cowardly, blackshirted criminals wearing little bandana masks like they wore when they were six, playing “Cowboys and Indians.” (Or Boys of Cow and Indigenous Peoples in pc language. Don’t bother learning the correct language – the game is virtually illegal now on playgrounds anyway, along with Tag, Monkey Bars, Dodgeball, and chewing your bologna into the shape of a gun.) […]

Resistance is risking torture and death in World War II Occupied France by helping to hide Jews or downed Allied pilots from the Nazis. If captured, trust me, Literally Hitler saw to it that the worst thing that happened to them was not to lose their New Year’s Eve hosting gig.

Resistance is women risking torture and death in Central American dictatorships by wearing white and making a fuss about the “disappeared,” who number in the thousands.

Resistance is trying to become some sort of law enforcement agent in Mexican cartel territory. Or being Coptic Christians in a Muslim country.

Resistance was smuggling matzoh into Communist Russia, or God forbid, trying to leave Russia, especially for Israel. Do you think those caught lost just their endorsement for the Squatty Potty? No. They lost everything – housing, jobs, families. “Wintering” in Siberia. Or lifelong confinement in a “mental hospital.”

And Resistance was the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King marching for the most elemental human rights and dignity and risking beatings, jail and death threats that were eventually carried out. The pusillanimous morons protesting white women selling burritos or demanding that all white professors exile themselves from a campus are not only NOT part of his legacy; they are simply crude and ugly racists themselves.

Noisy ill-bred louts that they are, they often remind me of something the Duke of Wellington (no not that one, although scum fits them far better than it ever did British soldiers) when he was Prime Minister, something about a “whiff of grapeshot”. Be interesting to see how fast they can run.

This is a stray comment from somewhere (I forget where, sorry)

I was having lunch with some Europeans recently (all obsessed with Trump) and they wanted to know if I thought Trump could change. I answered that Trump being himself has allowed him to become: (1) a billionaire; (2) President of the US; (3) married to a European underwear model. You think he believes he needs to change? One English lady laughed and said “I see your point.”

And, of course,

Happy Saturday.

Continuing the Mission

One year ago today, the day of the Brexit election, my post started with a quote from Thomas Paine, this one

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

It was true in the winter of 1776, and it was true last year, and it is still true. But the British, being the steadfast friends of freedom they have always been voted to leave the EU regardless. They’ve had a tough year. They will stay the course, I think. We’ll talk about that later, but just for comparison what happened in the year after we Americans declared independence? A quick overview from BritishBattles. com.

  • Battle of Long Island:The disastrous defeat of the Americans on 27th August 1776 leading to the loss of New York and the retreat to the Delaware River.
  • Battle of Harlem Heights:The skirmish on 16th September 1776 in northern New York island that restored the confidence of the American troops.
  • Battle of White Plains:The battle on 28th October 1776, leading to the American withdrawal to the Delaware River and the capture of Fort Washington by the British.
  • Battle of Fort Washington:The battle on 16th November 1776 that saw the American army forced off Manhattan Island and compelled to retreat to the Delaware River.
  • Battle of Trenton:George Washington’s iconic victory on 26th December 1776 over Colonel Rahl’s Hessian troops after crossing the frozen Delaware River; the battle that re-invigorated the American Revolution.
  • Battle of Princeton:The sequel on 3rd January 1777 to the successful Battle of Trenton: the two battles began the resurgence of the fortunes of the American Colonists in the Revolutionary War.
  • Battle of Ticonderoga 1777:The humiliating American abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga on 6th July 1777 to General Burgoyne’s British army.
  • Battle of Hubbardton:The hard-fought battle on 7th July 1777 in the forest south-east of Fort Ticonderoga.

The next winter will see the naked Continental Army starving at Valley Forge. We didn’t win our independence until 1783. I think the cousins will have a somewhat easier time, but their perils are also different. But amongst other things, they have us. As they started this trend, we picked it up last fall, not a little encouraged ourselves by Brexit.

Dan Hannan recapped the status the other day for us.

An unexpected defeat is always unsettling. I suspect many ConservativeHome readers were disoriented when two in five people voted for Jeremy Corbyn. We wondered how we had so misunderstood our own country; and that was following a vote that we had won.

In the days following the referendum, three false assertions became widespread. First, that Leave had won dishonestly. Second, that the country had become more racist. Third, that the 52 per cent had wrecked the economy.

The “liars” complaint is levelled the losers of every vote. Political campaigners are not trying to behave like neutral academics: they are trying to win. Both sides make good and bad arguments; both sides get to rebut each other’s claims.

Remain told us that a Leave vote would trigger a recession in 2016, cost every family more than £4000, cause Scotland to leave the UK and transplant the Calais refugee camp to Kent. In fact, Britain boomed after the vote, support for Scottish separatism plummeted and the Calais jungle was dismantled. […]

What of the idea that the referendum somehow unleashed xenophobia? The notion that the Leave vote had been “all about immigration” was endlessly repeated in Remain circles and on the BBC. In fact, every opinion poll showed that sovereignty had been the main motivator. Lord Ashcroft, for example, carried out a massive survey on the day, interviewing more than 12,000 people, and found that democratic control was by miles the biggest issue for Leavers (49 per cent of them named it as their main reason for backing Brexit), with immigration a distant second (which was cited by 33 per cent). But opinion polls, for many Remainers, were no match for anecdotes: “Well, one Leaver I spoke to said…” […]

Saddest of all, though, was the determination to believe that Britain would become poorer. To be fair, several experts thought there would be an instant crash. A week after the poll, 71 per cent of City economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a recession in 2016; in fact, Britain grew faster in the six months after the vote than in the six months before it. Another survey, by Reuters, found that the consensus among economists was that unemployment would rise by 9,000 a month in the second half of last year; in fact, it fell by almost exactly that amount.

Well, almost none of that happened. In fact, Britain is booming.

From Euro-Guido:

UK manufacturers’ order books are at their highest level since August 1988. A CBI survey of 464 firms found a “broad-based improvement” in 13 out of 17 manufacturing sub-sectors, with food, drink and tobacco and chemicals leading the British-made boom. Meanwhile, export orders rocketed to a 22-year high. CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said:

“Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for “Made in Britain” goods rise with the temperature. Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust.”

Outstanding!

Britain’s got some serious problems, many of them caused by uncontrolled immigration, and by a Conservative Party which seems to have lost its mooring in history. Not to mention a press that is at least as biased as the American one. So it ain’t all beer and skittles. But remember what Paine wrote, and hopefully they will get themselves back on track one way or another. Along that line, I was thinking the other day that Tom Jefferson and George Washington were miles prouder to be British (until arbitrary government forced them out) than Jeremy Corbyn ever dreamed of being. Sad for a prominent politician to owe his allegiance to something outside his country, mostly for his own aggrandizement. Right General Arnold? Was Peggy Shippen worth it?

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

Otto Warbler, Rest in Peace, and Now…

Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo ATTENTION EDITORS – FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. 

May he and his family find peace

 

And may those that did this rot in hell.

Was it perhaps a bit foolhardy to go on a tour to North Korea? Yeah, probably it was. But you know what, Otto was damned well an American, and Americans, especially young Americans are like that. He was, I was, and I’ll bet you were too. It’s part of who we are. Nobody else is like this, maybe the old Romans were, and for a while, the Brits came close, but that supreme self-confidence is bred into us like it is no other. And it’s why we have accomplished so much.

And you know, I’m getting awfully tired of these clowns here, and all over the world that think Americans are going to quit being Americans and simply become docile European transplants. It ain’t going to happen this week, ain’t going to happen next year, and it probably ain’t going to happen this century either. P.J. O’Rourke nailed it for me and many others when he wrote:

I was having dinner…in London…when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “Your country’s never been invaded.” And so I said, “let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD. We’re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying ‘Cheerio.’� Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.”

Of course, this guy should have punched me. But this was EUrope. He just smiled his shabby, superior European smile. (God, don’t these people have dentists?)

He’s right, you know, try it. If you can get past the strongest military the world ever saw, then you get to take on the people, with 300,000,000 arms and trillions of rounds of ammunition of our own. Americans left, right, and center are pretty much all like that. You mess with us, at your peril, it don’t matter much if you’re a Mexican drug lord or Vladimir Putin. America, in large part, whatever our deluded elites say, remains America, and America damned well intends to remain free.

Now this poor kid, Otto, supposedly he took a propaganda poster (there are reputable stories out there saying that is bullshit, but whatever). A Nina Bookout over at Victory Girls said

Many people are going to want to blame somebody…ANYBODY…for Otto’s death. But the plain truth of it is, the North Korean government is the one to blame. They didn’t have to make an example of that young man the way that they did. They could’ve and should’ve just made him leave the country. Instead they chose to thumb their noses at the United States and ‘make an example’ out of this young man.

What did the Obama Administration do? Nothing. And they ALSO told the Warmbier family to keep their mouths shut because doing otherwise would make the Norks mad.

Well, guess what? That didn’t stop the Norks from torturing and killing Otto. And that especially didn’t stop them from sending this young man home in a heinous, in-your-face kind of way to all Americans.

What can President Trump do in retaliation? What should he do? The country is already starving. So economic sanctions probably won’t work. Their missile program on the other hand, needs to be shut down and shut down BIGLY. The North Koreans’ cyber warfare capabilities are increasingly problematic as well. Shut them DOWN!

Do I want President Trump to do something just so we can all feel better? NO. But a hostile nation state held an American citizen captive all because of an incredibly stupid poster! That same hostile nation state, by far the worst dictatorship regime in the world, tortured an American citizen. Otto’s death is completely due to the evil that is North Korea. In my opinion, President Trump should make North Korea understand the grave consequences of their actions. Otherwise, they will decide to inflict worse on other American citizens without impunity. The Trump Administration has a great deal to consider over the coming days in that regard.

 

I agree. A bit over a hundred years ago, an American citizen (actually, he had renounced his citizenship to save his property in the Confederacy, but nobody noticed) was held captive in Morroco, not even by the state. An American President had the entire Atlantic Flotilla off the coast of Morroco, including seven battleships. This is how a confident America acts. It doesn’t kowtow to a tinpot despot, who tortures Americans until they are in a coma and then send them home, so all the world can see what they’ve done.

That other President was Theodore Roosevelt, of course, and the Secretary of State, John Hay, who had been Abraham Lincoln’s private Secretary sent this cable.

This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.

Perhaps we should learn from history instead of living through it again as farce.

 

Grenfell Tower

So let’s try to unpack this horror a bit, shall we? I happened to watch it almost in real time (on Sky) and I was appalled as it went up. As I said yesterday, it reminded me of the WTC more than anything – essentially all the heroism in the world from the emergency services (and they were, as always) of very little utility, the effects were more like the actions of a particularly malevolent god than anything else.

The best general write up I’ve read as to underlying causes was, not surprisingly on The Conservative Woman. In the immense comment stream, it degenerates a bit into partisan backbiting. Well, what doesn’t these days?

But here’s what I think I know.

  • It’s a high rise (24 stories) with one staircase and two elevators. Not uncommon, there or here, but one must always remember that once you get past roughly 10 floors the fire department is restricted to internal access. 150 feet is about all mobile equipment can reach.
  • Supposedly it was constructed to contain fire, reinforced concrete construction, fire doors and such. Normal stuff, not all that expensive, usually effective. Failed here.
  • A cladding was applied to the building, for appearance and insulation. Some reports say it was not fire resistant. It’s possible it wasn’t, but apply enough heat and almost anything will burn. What appeared to happen here is that fire got behind the cladding and into the insulation. I’ve heard that insulation described as Celotex (may or may not be true), but almost all insulation will either burn or melt, and if it does behind the cladding, it will form a flue (much like a chimney) and heat will rise very quickly feeding the flames. That is what the fire looked like on TV.
  • No sprinklers. May or may not have mattered in the public spaces. Which is all that is usually required. If they had been installed in the apartments may well have contained it, and most also have an automatic alarm, both local and fire department, which would help. Apparently, this building grandfathered the requirement, but best practice would have seen them installed.
  • No (or inaudible) local fire alarm. Inexcusable, in my mind at least.
  • Open windows. England has little air conditioning, and none here, so windows were open, increasing draft for the fire. Well, not really a lot you can do about that.
  • Lots of immigrants in the building. Not a big deal, maybe, but cultural practices do matter. May have been lots of flammable artifacts about, prayer rugs, this, that, and the other. I have also seen immigrants here cooking over open flames (improvised firepits and such) very dangerous in a multi-story building. Don’t know, but might be worth looking at. Also were firedoors kept shut? Canada, for instance, requires that the door to a connected garage have an self-closing mechanism.
  • One that will surprise Americans. There are reports of an exploding refrigerator. That’s something that just doesn’t happen here. Why? Because we use CFCs for refrigerants. If they leak and burn, they can cause phosgene poisoning, but the systems are sealed and pretty much bulletproof. Never, not once, in the last 50 years have I heard of a problem. Europe is different. They use Isobutane, essentially what we call LP gas. Yeah, the same stuff that we use in our barbecue grills, and sometimes stoves and furnaces where natural gas is not available. I won’t have it in my house for any reason, not least because, unlike natural gas, it is heavier than air and will accumulate, and a very small spark (static electricity from a woolen rug, say) can set it off. The other thing is, it’s a small molecule (unlike CFCs) and much harder to seal permanently. LP is every bit as flammable as acetylene that is used for welding, in fact, Oxy-propane is very often used for cutting torches because it burns hotter. Now get a leak in your refrigerator, and a spark in the thermostat, and you have an explosion, and not a small one. Why do they do this? Because the EU has banned CFCs for environmental reasons (we’ve changed our formulations too. The new ones aren’t as effective, but less damaging to the ozone layer).¹

Overall, this was a systemic failure, old Murphy was working overtime. The problems just piled one on the other, and as a result, likely more than a hundred people are dead and died horribly. If I understand the building was council owned (rather like an overpowered city council combined with the zoning board) and managed by a (no doubt connected) non-profit. Strikes me as plenty of room for corruption to sneak in as well, although I have no proof of anything like that. But the one thing we know about bureaucrats is that they can almost never be forced to take responsibility for anything. I doubt anything different than that here.

And yes, the pseudo pious virtue signaling, blame passing, and all those games have already started. Not to mention the wingeing about how we don’t have enough money.

¹ ISOBUTANE

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