March 29, 2011 archive

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Special live blogging of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Workers losing race to save reactor.…

“Workers at Japan’s earthquake hit nuclear plant lost ground in the battle to save the plant from meltdown after the radioactive core of one reactor appeared to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel.”

This can’t be good.  Maybe not Chernoble, but very bad indeed.

Bullshit from “Beltway Bill” Borchardt at the NRC

From Bloomberg…

Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant “continues to further stabilize,” said Bill Borchardt, the executive director for operations at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


Meanwhile, back in reality…

“The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell,” said Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima. “I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards.”

Core through the floor!

That’s a guy from GE talking, and isn’t it weird when corporate whores like “Beltway Bill” Borchardt who run “regulatory” commissions are even more corrupt than corporate whores who are openly employed by corporations?  

The Corporations Are About To Win – Praise Jesus!

We learn that the South Carolina legislature has postponed debate on new tax cuts. One of the measures being debated “…encourage wealthy people to invest in start-up South Carolina companies, and to encourage companies to locate or expand headquarters here.” Corporations simply need more tax cuts. And really, who cares if GE paid no taxes on their profits or if Boeing gets hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives from SC? Who? We can always say it’s the union’s fault, cut social programs and further destroy the public education system. Praise Jesus!

Our Crumbling Infrastructure – “The Fix We’re In For”

And this is just about the bridges

The wealthy, failed wall street capitalism, need these fixes as much or more then the rest of us in the masses, just to maintain that hoarded wealth, as they certainly aren’t paying for now, neither here nor overseas as they hide that capital all over!

This while little investment from the street as well as the wealthy is coming in to build the needed green economy and as the residential, commercial and industrial construction industry sits idled, from laborers to tradesman, like myself, right on up that ladder and into the office personal and professions!

It’ll cost many times over the longer we wait and do little or nothing and that’s been way to long already, way too long!

An Act concerning Discrimination: Action Needed Now

Tomorrow, the Connecticut Judiciary Committee will vote on HB 6599:  An Act Concerning Discrimination.  The act adds the words “gender identity or expression” to this list of traits which cannot be the legal basis of discrimination:  race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, mental retardation, mental disability or physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness.  “Gender identity or expression” would come right after “sex”.

If you live in Connecticut and have a legislator on the Judiciary Committee, now is the time to call.

Are we still in America?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Why Governor LePage Can’t Erase History, and Why We Need a Fighter in the White House

Robert Reich

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maine Governor Paul LePage has ordered state workers to remove from the state labor department a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history. Among other things the mural illustrates the 1937 shoe mill strike in Auburn and Lewiston. It also features the iconic “Rosie the Riveter,” who in real life worked at the Bath Iron Works. One panel shows my predecessor at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins, who was buried in Newcastle, Maine.

Frances Perkins was the first woman cabinet member in American history. She was also one of the most accomplished cabinet members in history.

She and her boss, Franklin D. Roosevelt, came to office at a time when average working people needed help – and Perkins and Roosevelt were determined to give it to them. Together, they created Social Security, unemployment insurance, the right of workers to unionize, the minimum wage, and the forty-hour workweek.

The Governor’s spokesman explains that the mural and the conference-room names were “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.”

Big business and Wall Street thought Perkins and Roosevelt were not in keeping with pro-business goals. So they and their Republican puppets in Congress and in the states retaliated with a political assault on the New Deal.

Roosevelt did not flinch. In a speech in October 1936 he condemned “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt October 31, 1936

On the eve of a national election, it is well for us to stop for a moment and analyze calmly and without prejudice the effect on our Nation of a victory by either of the major political parties.

The problem of the electorate is far deeper, far more vital than the continuance in the Presidency of any individual. For the greater issue goes beyond units of humanity–it goes to humanity itself.

In 1932 the issue was the restoration of American democracy; and the American people were in a mood to win. They did win. In 1936 the issue is the preservation of their victory. Again they are in a mood to win. Again they will win.

More than four years ago in accepting the Democratic nomination in Chicago, I said: “Give me your help not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people.”

The banners of that crusade still fly in the van of a Nation that is on the march.

We have not come this far without a struggle and I assure you we cannot go further without a struggle.

For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

Unfortunately we can’t say that today.  In 2006, 2008, and 2010 the American people voted against a corrupt Washington establishment and continual War.

And in 2012 we’ll vote the same way again.

How many politicians do we have to fire before they get this simple message?

Six In The Morning

Rebels hope tribal rifts will speed their march to Gaddafi’s birthplace

Loyalists offer little resistance ahead of battle for Sirte. Kim Sengupta joins the advancing forces.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The scale and nature of resistance from the regime’s soldiers indicated how much their firepower had been devastated by Western air strikes. There was little of the heavy shelling that had made the revolutionary forces flee in the past. This was replaced instead by sporadic rockets and small-arms clashes on the ground.

The rebel commanders, nonetheless, remain worried after reports that the male population of Sirte had been armed and what remains of the regime’s armour and artillery on the eastern front has been deployed to protect the city. Renewed bombing of the military positions in the city by international coalition warplanes are said to have caused some damage, but the city remains well guarded.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

Do others, I wondered, “see things as I do? I do not think so, for if they did they would not still be alive.” And, life-threatening though my vision seemed, I would not repudiate it: “Sometimes I think I shall die from being different even as I cling to the difference fiercely.”

–Nancy Mairs


Late Night Karaoke


(h/t edger)

Stunningly beautiful time-lapse footage of the Aurora Borealis

The Aurora
from Terje Sorgjerd.

Federal Medical Marijuana Policy Needs Clarity

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Shortly after taking office, the Barack Obama’s Attorney General announced new Department of Justice guidelines for medical marijuana in states that had laws permitting its dispensing.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday that the Justice Department has no plans to prosecute pot dispensaries that are operating legally under state laws in California and a dozen other states — a development that medical marijuana advocates and civil libertarians hailed as a sweeping change in federal drug policy

Well, apparently the word didn’t get out to the field and in the last two weeks there have been 28 raids on medical marijuana clinics in Montana where 26 raids took place:

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Federal agencies conducted 26 raids on medical marijuana facilities in 13 Montana cities this week, as agents seized thousands of marijuana plants and froze about $4 million in bank funds.

The raids stunned medical marijuana advocates, many of whom believed the Obama administration’s policy was to leave states with medical marijuana laws alone.

That belief stemmed from Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement in October 2009 that the pursuit of “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance” with existing state medical marijuana laws would be the lowest priority of U.S. law enforcement.

and California:

Federal drug enforcement agents Tuesday raided two West Hollywood medical marijuana stores in the first such action in the city since the Obama administration decided two years ago to take a hands-off approach to dispensaries that abide by state laws.

The dispensaries — Alternative Herbal Health Services and Zen Healing on Santa Monica Boulevard — are among four that the city has authorized to operate. West Hollywood was one of the first California cities to regulate medical marijuana sales and is often cited as a model.

In the tradition of the previous administration, the DOJ and the IRS began the raids after new memo (pdf) was issued that is up front about the new policy. The memo issued on February 1st by US Attorney Melinda Haag (who, ironically, represents Northern California) directly contradicts Holder’s edict. She declares that ANYONE engaging in the buying or selling of marijuana, regardless of their protection under state laws, will be punished by the federal government.

As the Department has stated on many occasions, Congress has determined that marijuana is a controlled substance. Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and, as such, growing, distributing, and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities.

The prosecution of individuals and organizations involved in the trade of any illegal drugs and the disruption of drug trafficking organizations is a core priority of the Department. This core priority includes prosecution of business enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana. Accordingly, while the Department does not focus its limited resources on seriously ill individuals who use marijuana as part of a medically recommended treatment regimen in compliance with state law as stated in the October 2009 Ogden Memorandum, we will enforce the CSA vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful

manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law. The Department’s investigative and prosecutorial resources will continue to be directed toward these objectives.

Schedule I drugs are determined to have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” and carry the harshest penalties resulting in a prison population in which 1 in 8 prisoners in the U.S. is locked up for a marijuana-related offense. However, recently a federal agency has determined that marijuana does have a medicinal purpose. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the National Institute of Health, which is itself one of the 11 component agencies that make up the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, added to its treatment database a summary of marijuana’s medicinal benefits, including an acknowledgment that oncologists may recommend it to patients for medicinal use:

The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that medical use of marijuana cannot be considered in any federal court deliberating on a marijuana possession or distribution case. While a solution to this would be to reschedule marijuana and put it under the regulation of the FDA but the possibility of this Congress acting on this anytime soon is nil to zero.

That leads to the question of the administrations policies which are conflicting to say the least and appear to have some political motivation to molify the criticism of the hard right wing that is now dominating the conversation. It begs to question whether Holder is being dishonest and hypocritical? Or does he simply lack strong leadership among US Attorneys General? Either way, this isn’t the way this administration is winning any support.

The Just Say Now campaign at FDL has a petition telling Holder to enforce his memo and stop raiding marijuana clinics.

Tell Attorney General Holder: Stop Raiding Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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