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Fallout

We’re shocked, right?

TOKYO—The first comprehensive soil survey from areas around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant showed extensive ground contamination and another report warned of the continued threat to Japan’s food chain, underscoring the major challenges the country still faces in its radioactive cleanup efforts.

Separately, the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, said Tuesday that a worker involved with the cleanup died of acute leukemia, though officials said medical tests concluded the death was unlikely related to his work at the plant.

Tying people down with debt

Pelosi: “Imagine. Imagine that they are protecting tax cuts for the top 2%, but it’s really more, higher than that, lower than that, I mean, a higher percentage of people excluded from who they are looking out for, and it’s a stunning thing, because it’s a few people amassing money that doesn’t really make a difference in their quality of life. I decided what it was about them is this, this is my theory, what more do they want? They have a number of homes, the bigger the yacht, da da da da da, the taller the mast, the whole thing, they have museum quality art, and I decided, if in fact they are advocating for this, which I’m not sure they are, I think Republicans just like to have that position. They want immortality. They want so much money that their names are all, for prestige they could never get any other way, they could buy with endless money. Because what else could you possibly want? That you would say ‘I want this at the expense of the middle class, of our democracy, of fairness, of clean air, clean water, food safety, public education and the rest of it, clean air, clean water, food safety, reform on Wall Street, protection for citizens, you name it, forget about it. They are de-funding every initiative in that regard, you wonder, do their children breathe air, do they drink water, why do they not care? But they don’t. But they don’t.

[…] When we won the election in 06′, and we came in, the first day, in the first 100 hours we raised the minimum wage. It was the first time the minimum wage was raised in eleven years. I bring that up for this reason, it wasn’t kept down because people just, you know, small businesses said ‘I can’t afford”, it was kept down for a purpose, it was kept down for the purpose that people would not be able to live on that, they’d have to borrow, against home equity loans, against their mortgages, there this and that, they’d have to live on credit cards, and what are they doing when they do that, their paying fees to the banks, their paying fees to them, so it’s a contrived dependence on private credit for millions, tens of millions of working people in our country, and who they are is who they bring to that table, protect the tax breaks for the wealthiest people in our country, do not allow wages to rise with productivity, keep people dependent on paying fees to banks for the use of their own money, for the use of their own money. So this is as progressive a fight as we have ever been in.”

Pumped up kicks

Foster the People:

Hell and high water

Black Stone Cherry:

Wall Street

A new musician friend (okay, he’s not a musician, he’s a drummer) sent me this. But I liked it. Battles:

Irene isn’t over, by the way.

There are places where things are still happening. From the BBC;

Soldiers have been airlifting storm-relief supplies to Vermont towns which remain cut off after the trail of destruction left by Irene.

More than 200 roads are blocked or washed away in Vermont, hampering rescue efforts to 13 towns.

Irene killed 44 people in 13 US states, according to the Associated Press, and caused billions of dollars’ damage.

About half of the 6.7 million utility customers on the east coast who lost power still have no electricity.

Vermont is reeling from its worst floods since 1927, and officials warned some rivers and creeks there had yet to crest.

Summer’s over

This is a great summer song. Jonathan Coulton:

Have a little faith in me

John Hiatt:

Income inequality.

Timothy Noah;

Why don’t Americans pay more attention to growing income disparity? One reason may be our enduring belief in social mobility. Economic inequality is less troubling if you live in a country where any child, no matter how humble his or her origins, can grow up to be president. In a survey of 27 nations conducted from 1998 to 2001, the country where the highest proportion agreed with the statement “people are rewarded for intelligence and skill” was, of course, the United States. (69 percent). But when it comes to real as opposed to imagined social mobility, surveys find less in the United States than in much of (what we consider) the class-bound Old World. France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Spain—not to mention some newer nations like Canada and Australia—are all places where your chances of rising from the bottom are better than they are in the land of Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick.

We’re going to be friends

I know it’s become cool to hate Jack White, but I love him. White Stripes:

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