CNN Breaking News

At least three people are confirmed dead after a bridge collapses into the Mississippi River in Minnesota, state officials say.

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33 Responses to “CNN Breaking News”

  1. Brendan Loy says:

    Way to be on top of the story, CNN breaking-news desk.

  2. David K. says:

    heh, and i posted it later than i saw it on the news (ironically CNN) cause i was finishing up something at work

  3. Brendan Loy says:

    You scooped me by about 8 minutes. I had a brief post all ready to go, at like 8:15, when I saw yours. So I just updated yours instead.

  4. Wobbly H says:

    Allright, you two

  5. Joe Mama says:

    Took my daily wade through the DailyKos sewer this morning and saw this thread. You would think it hard to rationalize this tragedy as somehow being Bush’s fault. And you would be wrong.

  6. Brenda says:

    I live in Victoria, MN. about 20 minutes from this bridge. I am still in shock and cant believe this happend. I am very interested to learn what the cause was. As far as the star trib registration thing, if you refresh the page it lets you back in without registering. There are four confirmed dead now, and they think about 50 cars were in the water so it will be days before an accurate count. If everyone could just send good thoughts and prayers to the people involved, rescue team and hospital staff it would be appreciated

  7. Angrier and Angrier says:

    The truth is that in general terms our infrastructure is falling apart and the war in Iraq is a diversion of funding that could help deal with the problem. However, in this specific instance there doesn’t seem to be any evidence (yet, anyway) that this bridge was deemed to be one of those that was “falling apart.” In addition, it sounds to me like the responsibility for fixing this was MN DOT’s and not necessarily that of the Feds. So, while I am only too happy to blame Bush for the f-ups that he makes, this doesn’t appear to be one of those instances.

  8. Joe Mama says:

    From Powerline (they’re in Minneapolis):

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports this morning that the Highway 35 bridge that collapsed last night was rated “structurally deficient” and possibly in need of replacement when it was inspected in 2005.

    This will no doubt attract a lot of interest, and it certainly could prove to be important. But apparently many bridges receive the same evaluation, and inspections in 2006 and 2007 evidently didn’t reveal any cause for alarm. A 2001 report, which you can access off the page linked to above, concluded that the bridge did not require replacement because of fatigue cracking. The repair work that was underway at the time of the collapse was not structural in nature; it was limited to resurfacing, installing lighting, etc. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to jump to any conclusions at this point.

  9. V says:

    All those poor people. Can you imagine the terror of a bridge giving away from under you? My thoughts and prayers go out to them.
    And Mad Max is right: some engineering firm is sh***ing themselves right now. Brendan, will you now begin nerdy law debate about who can be sued?

  10. dcl says:

    Joe, what is that quote supposed to prove? That we have a lot of other infrastructure failing also? For all the wild powers Bush is calming he seems to ignore that as chief executive he does have certain fiduciary duties to the country.

    But that’s neither here nor there. I have developed a very simple formula for determining weather or not a massive disaster is the Bush administrations fault or not. If at any time Bush or one of his spokes people comes out and says something to the effect of, “Now is not the time to point fingers and assign blame, but instead to come together and [yada yada yada]” Then you know they f**ed up and it’s likely their fault. If on the other hand they immediately start calling for investigations into what happened [unlike their reaction to 9/11 which was to finally given in and ask for an investigation when it became clear that it was totally impossible not to have one] then likely they are of the opinion that it wasn’t them that f**ed up (You will notice, this has never actually happened during this administration).

    As we can tell from the general pattern of this administration. Most of the time it is them that f**ed up… but we shall have to wait for the official statement to know for sure in this case.

  11. Joe Mama says:

    dcl,

    Easy there. That quote was meant merely to provide some more info that would seem to validate A&A’s observation that this bridge was not deemed to be one of those that was “falling apart.”

    But I agree with you that your formula for determining whether something is the Bush administration’s fault is “very simple” indeed.

  12. Angrier and Angrier says:

    From what I have heard, the structural deficiencies were in reference to the fact the bridge was designed without adequate redundancies should there be a failure. In other words, most newer bridges can have one or two structural failures without it being catastrophic. This bridge, designed in the 1960s, only needed one failure for it to be catastrophic. Which leads to the question, how many more bridges built in the 1960s, 70s, etc, are waiting to do what this bridge did?

  13. dcl says:

    Well, from Bush’s speech we can deduce he does not thing they screwed up on this one. On the other hand we can also tell that he is a flaming hypocrite. Given A) that the man has taken more vacation than any other is complaining that the Congress is taking a traditional recess. And B) that he is lamenting that the Democrats have not passed any of the 12 spending bills yet during his previous 6 years as president the congress never managed to pass the 12 spending bills on time–when congress was, you know, run by his own party.

  14. Joe Mama says:

    Reductio ad Bushum

  15. Peter Evans says:

    As much as I dislike Bush (and actively hate Cheney) I can’t blame them on this one. And can we avoid turning this thread into another political slanging match? Y’know, for once.

    I think it says a lot for the quality of engineering in the world that this doesn’t happen more often, however. (Touches wood) Still amazed that the toll is as low as four, I only hope they don’t find many bodies underwater. Minnesota has long been one of my fave ‘admire from afar’ American states for its high quality yet largely unknown music and writers. Same for Oregon. It’s front page news here in the UK, anyway.

  16. JD says:

    And can we avoid turning this thread into another political slanging match?

    I’m afraid you’re out of luck. In the various discussion threads I have seen, Bush has been blamed at some point in all of them. It is a sign of today’s toxic political culture that we cannot have a catastrophe like this without partisan shots being taken.

  17. David K. says:

    I’m afraid you’re out of luck. In the various discussion threads I have seen, Bush has been blamed at some point in all of them.

    Well if he would quit causing all of the problems in the world then we wouldn’t have to blame him for anything anymore ;-)

  18. dcl says:

    Apologies, I was mostly being tongue in cheek on the issue picking up from Joe early on in RE: the Kos thing. I believe that Joe was thinking along similar lines, though I obviously can’t say for certain. Although both of us were being a touch cutting in our remarks I don’t think either of us was being out and out completely serious on the matter of Bush’s responsibility. I’m not entirely certain wither of us take ourselves quite that seriously. Now, if Alisdar started shouting Bush Derangement.

  19. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Let the political blame game begin…

    “White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 120 for structural stability.

    “This doesn’t mean there was a risk of failure, but if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions,” he said. The bridge was 40 years old.”

    …Not even waiting for the last of the bodies to be dragged out of the river. Good job, Dubya.

  20. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Actually, Tony Snow is full of shit. The bulk of funding to repair bridges on the Interstate System comes from the Feds using formulas…

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/safetealu/factsheets/im.htm

    …Snow can blame past policy or bureaucracy, but he has some fucking balls to blame Minnesota.

    Snow just did Bush a huge disservice by pointing the finger so quickly. I hope this blows up on Snow and forces that prick out.

  21. Brendan Loy says:

    Even if Snow were right on the facts, he’s still have, as you aptly put it, “fucking balls” to fault anyone else for failing to maintain crucial infrastructure, in light of the fact that more than 1,000 people died in New Orleans due to the federal government’s blatant and documented failure to maintain the levees there.

    The federal government lecturing the states on infrastructure failures is like Paris Hilton lecturing young girls on the importance of maintaining their chastity.

  22. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Snow’s timing is impeccably poor. He should apologize, resign or both.

  23. Andrew says:

    Brendan, your calling out of Snow and your citation of New Orleans as an example of federal failure misses the whole point. Transportation and infrastructure is and always has been the domain of state and local governments. Unfortunately, ever since the Eisenhower-era interstate highway bill, states have gradually become more and more addicted to federal funds for local needs. Combine that with congressmen and senators always trying to ensure they dish out the most pork for their district/state, and the growing temptation by states to divert their focus from the basics (schools, transportation infrastructure) to liberal pipedreams like welfare and medicaid programs means we end up with shitty schools and crumbling transportation infrastructure. But the concept of federalism clearly argues for things like bridges and levees to be local responsibilities — not national ones.

    In the case of New Orleans, congressional representatives from Louisiana (predominantly Democrats) made sure dollars flowed to their crony friends. The Huey Long-style of sleazy politics and kickbacks is so entrenched in Louisiana and New Orleans especially, is why inflated, wasteful contracts were handed out to sham engineering firms that did a piss-poor job of maintaining the New Orleans infrastructure system. Meanwhile, the flawed design of the levee and canal system by the Army Corps of Engineers shows that even when the federal government is involved, it often falls flat on its face.

    As for the Minneapolis bridge in question, you hardly know enough facts to know who was responsible for keeping the bridge maintained, and where the dollars originated. Snow is dead-on accurate that the Minnesota state and local governments are responsible for upkeep of their own damn infrastructure.

    You have a habit of insisting that the buck stops at the federal desk when it comes to failures like this, but it’s precisely that liberal mentality of expecting the federal government to step in and run and control everything that leads to these kinds of disasters in the first place. A bloated, $2 trillion federal government cannot possibly be efficient and effective enough to fund and manage tens of thousands of bridges, millions of roads, and thousands of other types of critical local infrastructure. The more this liberal mentality pervades of sucking on the federal teat and expecting government to come and save the day (or prevent the day, as it were), the more likely we are to continue having disasters like this.

  24. Mad Max, Esquire says:

    “Transportation and infrastructure is and always has been the domain of state and local governments.”

    I call massive bullshit on Andrew…

    Railroads – Railroads were made possible by the Federal Government. Yes, private companies built the railroads in the 1800s, but the Federal Government gave them HUGE tracts on land along the tracks. The idea was to let railroads sell that land to private developers, which they did, for huge amounts of money. Most railroads ended up profiting much more from the land grants than from actual passenger service.

    Interstates – Ever wonder why we have a Federal Interstate System? Ever hear of the Lincoln Highway? The Lincoln Highway was a private-sector initiative to build a highway from one end of the U.S. to the other. IT FAILED! It sucked. People trying to drive it took WEEKS to get across the U.S. Whole sections consisted of mud roads and fields. It wasn’t until the Feds stepped in that you actually had a national highway system worth a damn.

    Airlines – You need to thank the U.S. Postal Service for your airlines. If it weren’t for the Federal government contracting with start-up airlines in the 1940s and 50s to deliver airmail, passenger service would have taken years, if not decades, to get off the ground. The Federal government, through the U.S. Postal Service, subsidized air transportation for years.

    Even today, many infrastructure programs are heavily subsidized by the Feds. The INTERNET would not be possible without the initial investment of the Feds.

    As someone whose career depends of Federal Contracts, you would think Andrew would understand the role of the Feds in making things possible.

  25. Andrew says:

    Railroads were made possible by the Federal Government.

    Are you on crack? The only thing the government did was make land available. The entire economy is predicated on ownership and free enterprise, very little of which is available if 99% of the land stays under ownership of the federal government. The only thing the federal government did to help the rail industry was get out of the damn way!

    Interstates – Ever wonder why we have a Federal Interstate System?

    Can you read? I said, “Ever since the Eisenhower-era interstate highway bill, states have gradually become more and more addicted to federal funds for local needs.” Perhaps you should retake some SAT-prep reading comprehension classes. Quite clearly I was indicating that A. I am well aware of federal funding for transportation projects and the interstate system’s origins, and B. overall the reliance of federal funds for local transporation needs has been a bad thing. As an example, California built a damn fine freeway system all on its own in the 1950s and 1960s and a state-of-the-art water distribution system, and as the percentage of federal funds devoted to local infrastructure increased, state spending as a percent of the budget plummeted, and our entire infrastructure is now creaking and falling apart.

    The Federal government, through the U.S. Postal Service, subsidized air transportation for years.

    The federal government as a key investor in emerging technologies and modes of transportation cannot be disputed. But the air travel industry stalled and went nowhere until the famous deregulation initiative passed during the Carter era. Airlines (and consumers!) prospered when — get this — government got out of the way! Heck, even the EU is now finally catching on (although they are rapidly jeopardizing economic progress in the European air industry by considering a mandatory carbon cap trading scheme). The federal government has a role in mandating airlines meet safety regulations, but relying on the federal government to keep our airports modern and safe is a poison pill. Local principalities should be in control of that.

    As someone whose career depends of Federal Contracts, you would think Andrew would understand the role of the Feds in making things possible.

    My career depends on federal contracts about as much as Brendan’s career depends on Tennessee’s judicial system. Regardless, as I said above, federal dollars are great at advancing emerging technologies, but the federal government is piss-poor about being responsible with everyday government duties that should be left for the states and local governments. I mean, do you honestly think our education and healthcare system would be less bureaucratic and wasteful if it was completely run by the federal government? If so, you surely must be insane.

  26. dcl says:

    Andrew, short sighted as always…

  27. Andrew says:

    Actually, just near-sighted :-P

  28. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Andrew is just upset because he’s been caught talking out of his ass again. The military industry complex is the biggest form of welfare in this country and it is paying Andrew’s rent check. He shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds him.

  29. dcl says:

    Right Andrew… Because just giving them land and saying you also get the land 20 miles to either side of the track… Not a massive subsidy in anyway… Ever wonder why railroad tracks take the random little swings towards areas with massive natural resources–when the tracks went in before any commercial operations started there… Something to do with railroad guys scouting ahead for resource rich areas and making detours so they could own as much of it as possible. Nope not a subsidy at all… Kind of like giving away massive swaths of the radio spectrum to TV, Radio, &c. which works out as a nice little license to print money.

    While we are on the topic, no airline, ever, has been consistently profitable. Say what you will about regulation, at least it meant the airlines wouldn’t screw you over and you could eat the food… Oh wait, they don’t have food anymore.

    While on the topic of health care, are you a moron? The single most efficient health care system on the planet is… Medicare… Very very little of the budget for which goes to any bureaucracy. Contrast to a health insurance company who’s sole motive and goal is to make money–which would mean the explicit goal of these companies is to put as much money into things that are not health care as possible. The result? Bad health care, and near criminal dereliction of duty. I use to be for health care reform that would insure every American but still make use of the private insurance companies to provide service. But I realized I was wrong. The reality is private insurance is unnecessary and simply wastes a lot of money. But since you are so fond of the whole free markets thing. I figure a good way to deal with the problem is basically just extend Medicare (with a prescription drug program that actually works, negotiates prices and isn’t run through the blasted health insurance companies) probably with some adjustments. Make it free to go to the doctor, make it free to get whatever you need taken care of taken care of, no denials for pre-existing conditions. And then we’ll just let the health insurance companies compete with it. You can say on your taxes that you don’t want the program. You’d get a 2000 dollar tax credit and you can go find some private insurance–but you don’t get any public services. No ambulances, unless your insurance company will pay for them, no emergency rooms unless your insurer will pay for it–or you plan to. I mean seriously this just dumb that private health insurance works better. The whole concept that public health care is bad is brought to you by rich selfish ass holes. It’s not this matter we have good doctors and such… Yeah fine great. But who cares if you can’t get access to them? Who cares how good they are if they are constantly worried about how many procedures the approve–because the bureaucrats at the insurance company will get pissed off at them about spending too much money. See, you dumb ass, right now we have the problem you lot fear monger constantly. Right now we have the problem of bureaucrats denying life saving medical procedures to people that need them and in the process causing their death. So right now we have all the evils you warn against with socialized medicine And we can’t insure everyone And we spend more money on this seriously broken system than any other country. I mean seriously, if your house was burning down, would you expect to get a bill from the fire department? How about if your house is broken into, a bill from the police to come by? Or a bill for investigating the murder of your loved one? Bill from the FBI to look into your kids kidnapping? Of course not. So why is it that you should end up going bankrupt because you got sick? It’s just stupid Andrew. It’s just plane stupid.

  30. Andrew says:

    A&A, say what you want about the military-industrial complex, but national defense actually is a legitimate focus of the federal government.

    dcl, again, where in the world did I say that the railroad lands weren’t a massive giveaway? Yeah, sure, maybe the government could’ve done a little better job at turning a profit on the change of title, but the underlying reality is the American economy gained far more from those lands being in private hands than as government lands. Or are you more of a fan of the Soviet system where government owns all property and means of production?

    And dude, please please try to know a few facts about airline deregulation before you go and diss. I mean, the situation was so bad, it was the Carter administration that sponsored the initiative. There are a lot of reasons the heritage airlines have had trouble turning a consistent profit, but airline deregulation is not one of them.

    As for Medicare and healthcare, first let me stop and encourage you to learn about the concept of breaking up paragraphs to, you know, actually make them readable. Second, if Medicare is so wonderful and efficient, why the hell are doctors increasingly not accepting Medicare patients because of low reimburement rates, even as Medicare speeds towards bankrupting our country’s finances?

    Beyond that, even if a case can be made for universal healthcare, that has no bearing on the concept that transportation infrastructure is best handled by local governments and not the feds.

  31. Andrew says:

    Hmmm, and the Wall Street Journal makes my point for me beautifully.

  32. Andrew says:

    Hmmm, and the Wall Street Journal makes my point for me beautifully.