May 9, 2011 archive

Deadly Silence on Fukushima

I received the following email a few days ago from a Russian nuclear physicist friend who is an expert on the kinds of gases being released at Fukushima. Here is what he wrote:

“About Japan: the problem is that the reactor uses “dirty” fuel. It is a combination of plutonium and uranium (MOX).

I suspect that the old fuel rods have bean spread out due to the explosion and the surrounding area is contaminated with plutonium which means you can never return to this place again.

It is like a new Tchernobyl. Personally, I am not surprised that the authority has not informed people about this”.

I have been following the Fukushima story very closely since the earthquake and devastating tsunami. I have asked scientists I know, nuclear physicists and others about where they find real information. I have also watched as the news has virtually disappeared. There is something extremely disturbing going on and having lived through the media blackout in France back in April and early May 1986, and speaking to doctors who are deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in cancers appearing at very young ages, it is obvious that information is being held back. We are still told not to eat mushrooms and truffles from parts of Europe, not wild boar and reindeer from Germany and Finland 25 years later.

Vivian NorrisPhd, Based in Paris-Globalization Studies, via huffpo

Read the rest at:…

Hopefully, this gets posted a bunch of places…

Make it in America Act – S02E12

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With Republicans in the House failing to produce any jobs bills, Democrats in the minority have decided to propose their own initiatives. This week’s episode, season 2 episode 12, focuses on one of those proposals, H.R. 613, the¬†Airports, Highways, High-Speed Rail, Trains, and Transit:¬†Make it in America Act, sponsored by Representative John Garamendi.

What this proposal does, is ensure that projects being funded by tax dollars are purchasing materials made in the US. After their passage of H.R. 3, Republicans in the House are going to have to explain why they find it morally acceptable to spend tax dollars on foreign-made products while so many Americans are out of work and our manufacturing jobs are steadily moving overseas.

Six In The Morning

US says it wants access to bin Laden widows

The women could answer questions about how much Pakistan knew

NBC, and news services

The United States wants access to Osama bin Laden’s three widows and any intelligence material its commandos left behind at the al-Qaida leader’s compound, a top American official said in comments broadcast Sunday that could add a fresh sticking point in already frayed ties with Pakistan.

Information from the women, who remained in the house after the commandos killed bin Laden, might answer questions about whether Pakistan harbored the al-Qaida chief as many American officials are speculating. It could also reveal details about the day-to-day life of bin Laden, his actions since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the inner workings of al-Qaida.

The women, along with several children also picked up from the house, are believed to be in Pakistani army custody. A Pakistani army official declined to comment Sunday on the request, U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.


Forward March Hare


Thanks to TheMomCat I’ve discovered the trick to embedding Olbermann videos from Friends of Keith.

He has a store of readings from James Thurber and since I’m a huge fan of Thurber (Keith too) I thought I’d share some with you.

The Casebook of James Thurber

As read by Keith.

The Shrill One Speaks

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Unwisdom of Elites

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: May 8, 2011

(W)hat we’re experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. The policies that got us into this mess weren’t responses to public demand. They were, with few exceptions, policies championed by small groups of influential people – in many cases, the same people now lecturing the rest of us on the need to get serious. And by trying to shift the blame to the general populace, elites are ducking some much-needed reflection on their own catastrophic mistakes.

(I)t was the bad judgment of the elite, not the greediness of the common man, that caused America’s deficit. And much the same is true of the European crisis.

Why should we be concerned about the effort to shift the blame for bad policies onto the general public?

One answer is simple accountability. People who advocated budget-busting policies during the Bush years shouldn’t be allowed to pass themselves off as deficit hawks; people who praised Ireland as a role model shouldn’t be giving lectures on responsible government.

But the larger answer, I’d argue, is that by making up stories about our current predicament that absolve the people who put us here there, we cut off any chance to learn from the crisis. We need to place the blame where it belongs, to chasten our policy elites. Otherwise, they’ll do even more damage in the years ahead.

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.

turning into another person

we have the look

of living

of beginning again

in a new latitude

we have the look

of being complete.

–Joyce Carol Oates

Connecting the Dots 9

Late Night Karaoke

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the Bush Administration

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

Pique the Geek 20110508: Nitrogen, Common and Essential

Everyone is exposed to elemental nitrogen every day.  Since it makes up about 78% of the atmosphere, it is impossible to avoid.  It is nontoxic, so being impossible to avoid is not in this case a problem.

Actually, it is good thing that nitrogen comprises that much of the atmosphere.  If the atmosphere were much richer in oxygen than it is (around 21%, the rest carbon dioxide and a few others), it would be impossible to fight fires.  More on that later.

In addition to being an inert diluent to oxygen in the atmosphere, nitrogen is also essential for life for many reasons, and we shall examine some of them in a bit.  It is also an essential building block for many important industrial materials and for fertilizers for plants.  Come with us after the fold and we shall examine this important element.

Sunday Train: States Rights to Living Transport

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Cap’n Transit Rides Again wrote about “Getting People Out of their Cars by Not Subsidizing Roads], which perplexed Yonah Freemark at The Transport Politic, which draw a response from Cap’n Transit asking whether we want to be serious, or right.

Boiling them down well beyond the point of oversimplification, Yonah argues that transit advocates must go along to get along, and Cap’n Transit argues that if you aint anti-car, you aint doing it right.

The same debate we get anytime the maximum that is politically possible is less than the minimum our society needs for survival. How do we break on through to the other side, where the minimum we must do lies within the maximum that we can do?

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