Wednesday night, the small town of West, Texas was rocked by a massive explosion at the local fertilizer plant owned by West Fertilizer Co. where more than 160 people were wounded by the blast, and as many as 15 may have been killed. The explosion may have also released dangerous levels of anhydrous ammonia, which can cause severe burns and even death, into the surrounding area. read more
1. The Boston Marathon bombings might have suspended your faith in humanity. This anecdote will bring it back: A group of soldiers dressed in full combat uniforms -who had already completed the Boston Marathon earlier in the day- ran right into the action, aiding victims, pulling off debris, assisting medics and saving lives. Read about this heroic act at Mother Jones and the New York Times.
2. Twitter fan Schuyler Hill alerted us to "Run For Boston," an active spreadsheet encouraging solidarity with the effected Boston Marathoners through simple act of running. read more
Wednesday is the third day in the ongoing investigation into uncovering who is behind the Boston Marathon bombings. We know that 62 people still remain in the hospital, 12 of those in critical condition. Right now, contrary to earlier reports, federal law enforcement authorities say they do not know the identity of the person or persons involved in the attack, which killed three people. On Wednesday night, host Chris Hayes asks the question: What happens when someone is apprehended? Will the identity of the bomber(s) impact the way we describe and govern the incident? read more
The immigration reform package introduced on Wednesday by the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Eight has received a positive but hedged welcome from pro-reform activist groups. While immigrant justice organizations and labor unions have applauded the Gang of Eight for proposing a path to full citizenship, many voiced concerns over a provision that would make citizenship contingent on increased border security. read more
A report released Tuesday finds that many of the interrogation techniques United States forces used on detainees during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama constitute torture. read more
Economists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are calling one of the most influential examples of the empirical research behind the push for austerity as a way to bring down the debt into question. On Monday, UM-Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute came out a report finding "serious errors" in a study cited by both Republicans and Democrats alike to justify aggressive debt-reduction programs. read more
In a 2006 PBS interview, Charlie Rose asked Rupert Murdoch about his relationship with former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose funeral is being held today. Rose questioned the timely dilution of labor's power under Thatcher's tenure, which coincided with the expansion of Murdoch's hold in Britain's news businesses. read more
In the aftermath of Monday's attack on the Boston Marathon, anxious citizens in towns and cities across the country have called in reports of suspicious packages to their local police departments.
Thus far, it does not appear that any of the identified packages in fact posed any immediate danger to people in the surrounding area. Suspicious packages have been reported in New York, N.Y.; Cambridge, Mass.; Cincinnati, Oh.; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles County, Calif.; Newark, N.J.; Seattle, Wash.; and Allentown, Penn., among other localities. read more