Last Sunday, OceanGate, the private company that offers expensive deep sea tours for wealthy patrons, lost contact with its Titan submersible on an expedition to see the wreck of The Titanic, a ship once deemed "unsinkable."
The Titan, which was uncertified as a deep sea vehicle that ran off of an XBox controller, was constructed with carbon fiber unsuitable for its purposes. Predictably, it imploded, killing all five individuals onboard including the company's CEO, Stockton Rush.
A prolific Republican donor, Rush had previously shrugged off safety concerns raised to him about his vessel. The Princeton graduate reportedly always dreamed of being an astronaut or explorer and was determined not to let anything so silly as safety concerns get in the way of his goals. In a 2018 email exchange with deep sea exploration specialist Rob McCallum, he reportedly wrote, that OceanGate's "engineering focused, innovative approach...flies in the face of the submersible orthodoxy, but that is the nature of innovation." Last year, Rush told a reporter, "I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed. Don’t get in your car. Don’t do anything.”
Additionally, 2018 court filings show a former OceanGate employee claimed to have been fired after expressing concerns about Titan's ability to sustain in the ocean's extreme depths. In filings from April, the company claimed the submersible was more than capable of diving the 2 miles to visit Titanic.
For more about Rush's history of giving to GOP candidates, check out this piece from NEW REPUBLIC:
The story perfectly encapsulates the arrogance of free market idealism. Too often, those who frame themselves as Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla are Stockton Rush, cavalierly gambling with human lives. The whole affair highlights the need for stronger regulation on tech, aerospace, and other industries to save people from the ambitions of single-minded men.
For more on the implosion of the Titan and the arrogance of wealth, check out this piece by JACOBIN:
Meanwhile, COUNTERPUNCH published an important analysis of the lopsided efforts to rescue wealthy tourists when innumerable migrants have been dying at sea, escaping hardship. As the article noted, "Just this week, more than 30 migrants were feared dead after a small boat headed for Spain’s Canary Islands sank Wednesday."
With that, please enjoy this week's selection of top stories from our OptOut participating outlets.
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The Color Of America
A new federal program to improve rural maternity care has no coverage in the southeast, the region in the U.S. with the "largest concentration of predominantly Black rural communities." MINNESOTA REFORMER had the story via Kaiser Family Foundation Health News.
The REFORMER had another story last week worth reading. For the first time ever, the Department of Justice has found that a police department discriminates not just against Black people, but Native Americans as well.
Black communities across Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas are struggling with a lack access to clean water. Last week, GRIST had a critical and revealing report on the ongoing crisis.
A new report from Johns Hopkins University’s 21st Century Cities Initiative and the National Bankers Association has found that banks tend to establish branches in communities that demographically look like the ownership of those institutions. So called minority-depository institutions (MDIs), which the report notes are "federally-insured banks whose ownership or leadership is at least 51% one or more racial minorities," are distributed unevenly across the country and are too few in number.
From the story:
“'The biggest issue in lending is making sure you know the character of the borrower,' James says. 'Especially if it’s a new business or new venture, the question is do you believe this person is going to do everything they can to pay you back? It’s important to have someone who can relate to you to give you the benefit of the doubt.'"
Last week, Twitter's erratic, conspiracy theorist billionaire owner, Elon Musk, announced that the word "cis" to indicate cisgender individuals would be considered a slur on his platform. THE NATION published a commentary on the implications.
A federal judge in Florida dismantled a number of common anti-trans arguments in a decision halting the state's ban on trans-affirming care for minors. FAIR covered the development.
Senate Democrats are examining the need to extend federal protections to transgender Americans amid an onslaught by Republican-led states against them. STATES NEWSROOM had the story.
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