August 31, 2017 Last Updated 12:41 pm

Charlie Hebdo cover has U.S. conservatives howling; Texas media plays catch-up with local chemical plant dangers

The latest issue cover of the French satirical magazine depicts Houston residents drowning with the headline ‘God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas’

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is at it again, pissing off religious conservatives (and others) through its own brand of biting satire. To say that their brand of satire is not to everyone’s tastes is understatement.

Just last week the magazine drew both praise and scorn for their cover with the headline “Islam, religion de paix… eternelle!” which satirized Islam once again following the terrorist attack in Barcelona.

Today, the magazine goes after America’s religious right with a cover reflecting the floods in Texas with the headline “Dieu existe! Il a noyé tous les néo-nazis du Texas” (God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo-Nazis of Texas).

If the purpose of the cover was to draw out conservatives who applauded the previous cover, but now can’t tolerate the new one… it worked, to a degree.

“So the idiots at Charlie Hebdo are cheering the #Houston #Harvey disaster b/c they claim it drowned neo-Nazis. WTF?! #gop #MAGA,” wrote conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel.

“An evil, despicable cover. Also, the losers at Charlie Hebdo have a God-given right to publish it, & no one has the right to shoot them,” wrote Tiana Lowe of the National Review.

(Later this morning, the ex-US House member Joe Walsh wrote today on Twitter: “French rag Charlie Hebdo mocks Harvey victims as Neo Nazis. Charlie Hebdo makes fun of everyone but Muslims. Cowards.” Walsh, who no one accused of being even moderately intelligent, lost his seat to Tammy Duckworth when his Illinois district was redrawn.)

Lost in the reactions was the point of the satire, a response to religious conservatives in the US who always seem to see the hand of God in any natural disaster.

In this case, the cover is actually satirizing a Florida professor who said last week that “I dont believe in instant karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas. Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them,” Kenneth Storey, a visiting assistant professor of sociology at the University of Tampa, wrote on his Facebook page.

The university reacted by firing Storey.

It is, apparently, OK for the religious right to see the hand of God in every disaster, but not for liberals to see the same when a red state is hit. That, one believes, was the point of the magazine cover.

But like I said above, Charlie Hebdo‘s brand of satire is not to everyone’s tastes.

NY Post, Max Jaeger:

Charlie Hebdo cover casts Harvey victims as neo-Nazis

Critics were quick to blast the mag for poking fun at the mega-disaster, which claimed at least 37 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people…

“Hey Charlie Hebdo F— You Scumbag! Those were all God Loving Americans that Grandfathers saved FRANCE from NAZI’s,” tweeted user @USMC_Michaels.

The weekly magazine, which trades in controversy, captured international attention when it depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad — a taboo for adherents.

That issue prompted a deadly terror attack by two French-born gunman who stormed the publication’s office.

The Daily Mail, Ariel Zilber:

French magazine Charlie Hebdo prints controversial cover depicting Harvey victims as white supremacists

Presumably, the magazine intended to emphasize the fact that Texas voted for Donald Trump in the recent election. Trump, of course, came under fire for not unequivocally denouncing neo-Nazis and white nationalists at a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.

Yet the floods caused by Tropical Storm Harvey have decimated Houston, a city with a Democratic mayor which voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. The surrounding areas of Harris County, which also voted in favor of Clinton, have also been hard-hit by the catastrophic flooding.

Spiked, Naomi Firsht:

Charlie Hebdo: still standing up for freedom

Since the murderous Islamist attack on its offices in 2015, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has – perhaps understandably – held back on its criticism of Islam. But last week it once again made headlines for daring to question Islam with its cover in response to the Barcelona attacks. ‘Islam, religion of peace… eternal!’, the headline said, next to a cartoon showing two bloodied bodies with a van speeding off into the distance.

Fans of Charlie have heralded it a return to form. But others, predictably, have attacked the magazine, claiming it is tarring all Muslims with the terrorist brush and fuelling Islamophobia…

…Had any of those outraged by the satire of this satirical journal actually bothered to read the accompanying editorial by Charlie editor Laurent Sourisseau (or Riss), they would have discovered that the cover is actually a comment on Western reaction to Islamist attacks. Charlie chose this provocative cover to express its frustration at politicians and the media over their refusal to talk about the part religion plays in terror attacks.

Yesterday, several news outlets reported on the risk of fire and explosions at Houston area chemical plants because of the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Late last night, police reported smoke and explosions at a plant owned by Arkema Inc. plant in Crosby, Texas. That plant is at the center of the media’s attention because its owners would not reveal what chemicals are actually at the plant, other than in the most vague terms. The problem is that the state of Texas is on the side of the business, having repealed regulations that might have forced the owner to reveal exactly what is in the plant.

Today the media is catching up.

Houston Chronicle, Keri Blakinger, Matt Dempsey, Andrew Kragie, and Margaret Kadifa:

Explosions reported at flooded Crosby chemical plant

A fire broke out at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby early Thursday, following chemical explosions that sent plumes of black smoke into the air. Arkema said Harris County officials notified the company about the explosions around 2 a.m. Thursday, adding that residents may hear additional explosions because the product is stored in the plant, which is 25 miles northeast of downtown Houston.

Nearby residents should stay inside, turn off their air conditioning and close their windows and doors.

“You shouldn’t be here, but if you haven’t left, shelter in place,” Arkema spokesman Jeff Carr said. “That’s our advice.”

HuffPost, Ryan Grenoble, Alana Horowitz Satlin:

Fire Rages At Texas Chemical Factory

Arkema North America on Wednesday had warned that a fire or explosion in the next few days at a flooded chemical plant on the outskirts of Houston was virtually inevitable.

The factory lost power early Sunday, which it needs to refrigerate volatile chemicals. Those chemicals ignite if they get too warm, said the company’s CEO, Richard Rowe.

“Materials could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire,” Rowe said. “The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it.”

“We’re really blocked from taking meaningful action,” he added.

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