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Hmm

So that explains why I glow in the dark!

Fukushima

Arnold Gundersen is chief engineer of energy consulting company Fairewinds Associates and a former nuclear power industry executive, and his take on Fukushima isn’t very encouraging:

Untitled from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

Boycott Florida. No, really.

As if you couldn’t guess, the money saved from CUTTING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS during this horrible recession will go to (you guessed it) cutting business taxes. I really think it’s time to boycott Florida vacations, just as many of us did with Arizona. Your kids/grandkids won’t die if they never see Disney World, and we need to show the extremist politicians such inhumanity will not be rewarded:

In the last few months, conservatives in several states have moved to limit unemployment benefits, even with the national unemployment rate at 9 percent and more than 40 percent of the unemployed having been out of work for six months or more. Conservative lawmakers in Utah falsely claimed that cutting jobless benefits would be “motivation for people to get back to work,” while Michigan gutted its unemployment insurance systemdespite having one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.Florida Republicans this weekend also succeeded in reducing their state’s unemployment benefits, sending a bill to Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) for his signature:

A bill that would establish some of the deepest and most far-reaching cuts in unemployment benefits in the nation is heading for the desk of Gov. Rick Scott…The legislation would cut maximum state benefits to 23 weeks from 26 when the jobless rate is 10.5 percent or higher. If lower, the maximum would decline on a sliding scale until bottoming at 12 weeks if the jobless rate was 5 percent or less.

As the National Employment Law Project pointed out, with this bill, Florida will “go further than any other state in dismantling its unemployment insurance system.”

The Republican sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Nancy Detert (R), relied on the same false assumption as the lawmakers in Utah, saying that cutting benefits “encourages people to get back into the job market.” Research by the San Francisco Federal Reserve has found that workers who qualify for unemployment benefits stay unemployed just 1.6 weeks longer than those who do not qualify for such benefits.

Even before this legislation, Florida’s benefits were amongst the stingiest in the nation. Once it becomes law, Floridians will not receive the national standard of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits unless the state’s unemployment rate, currently at 11.1 percent, tops 12 percent.

As the Miami Herald pointed out, the bill also makes it “easier for companies to keep former workers from collecting benefits.”

Clearing the field

In what I suppose is an attempt to clean up their professional reputation, Fox News is pushing out any of the wingnut talking heads who are running for the Republican presidential nomination. Looks like Newt’s in!

Do you want fries with that?


Naomi Klein in 2000, talking about attempts to organize McDonald’s workers.

I know a lot of media people read blogs, so I wonder why they seem so oblivious to the ongoing economic pain suffered by so many through this recession. Do they know how clueless they sound? The middle class is being systematically hollowed out of our country, pushing people to the margins and leaving nothing but the economic extremes. From Andy Kroll at TomDispatch:

Think of it as a parable for these grim economic times. On April 19th, McDonald’s launched its first-ever national hiring day, signing up 62,000 new workers at stores throughout the country. For some context, that’s more jobs created by one company in a single day than the net job creation of the entire U.S. economy in 2009. And if that boggles the mind, consider how many workers applied to local McDonald’s franchises that day and left empty-handed: 938,000 of them. With a 6.2% acceptance rate in its spring hiring blitz, McDonald’s was more selective than the Princeton, Stanford, or Yale University admission offices.

It shouldn’t be surprising that a million souls flocked to McDonald’s hoping for a steady paycheck, when nearly 14 million Americans are out of work and nearly a million more are too discouraged even to look for a job. At this point, it apparently made no difference to them that the fast-food industry pays some of the lowest wages around: on average, $8.89 an hour, or barely half the $15.95 hourly average across all American industries.

On an annual basis, the average fast-food worker takes home $20,800, less than half the national average of $43,400. McDonald’s appears to pay even worse, at least with its newest hires. In the press release for its national hiring day, the multi-billion-dollar company said it would spend $518 million on the newest round of hires, or $8,354 a head. Hence the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “McJob” as “a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.”
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Poop power

I really hope this works, because God knows, just the crap spewed out by politicians is probably enough to power the whole country:

Orlando officials think they’ve perfected a technology that has flummoxed scientists for decades — one they hope will be used worldwide to turn sewage into electricity and earn the city tens of millions of dollars in royalties.

If city officials and their private-industry partners are right, it could be the biggest thing in sewage treatment since the flush toilet.

“We call it poop to power in five minutes,” said project consultant Roy Pelletier.

While the five-year, $8.5 million project has drawn little attention locally, a small, experimental test plant off busy Alafaya Trail near the University of Central Florida has drawn visitors from Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Europe and elsewhere in recent weeks.

They have traveled here because they’ve heard there may be an answer to an intriguing question that has dogged scientists for years: What if you could take sewage and get rid of it cleanly and quickly, without dumping it in rivers or landfills — and generate pollution-free electricity at the same time?

“The technology has the potential to revolutionize how wastewater is processed — the destruction of all organics, the generation of electricity, a completely green footprint,” said Don Morgan, CEO of SuperWater Solutions, a Wellington company working with Orlando.

Treated sewage used to be dumped into waterways, but technological advances and tougher regulations ended that practice decades ago.

Orlando treats more than 35 million gallons of sewage a day, essentially by feeding the outflow from the city’s toilets and sinks to bacteria. The process produces reclaimed water that’s clean enough to be piped to some neighborhoods, golf courses and road medians to irrigate flowers and grass.

But there’s another byproduct of the treatment process that’s harder to deal with. The bacteria that gobble up the sewage reproduce as they eat, so as the sewage goes away, it’s replaced with smelly, mud-like piles of microorganisms. That’s sludge, and there’s a lot of it.
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This too shall pass

Danny Schmidt:

No sex noises

These is one of the crazier stories involving fundies and their strange ways, but this one’s even worse, because it’s also about government officials targeting a woman because she’s an atheist activist fighting prayers at public meetings.

Superwoman

To all the moms out there today. Alicia Keys:

Virtually Speaking

BlogTalkRadio: Sunday May 8 thru Friday May 15

Political strategist Cliff Schecter and FDL News guy David Dayen together on Virtually Speaking Sundays. What did the Sunday morning talking heads cover, distort or ignore? Think gun control, think bin Laden. Consider us a counterpoint. Listen here beginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Sunday, May 8.

Virtually Speaking Susie with Susie Madrak. Guest Dave Johnson will discuss the myths about swing voters. Listen here beginning 6pm pacific|9pm eastern, Tuesday, May 10.

• Stuart Zechman, Jay Ackroyd on VS A-Z: This week in liberalism. | Listen here Thursday May 12 @ 5pm pacific | 8pm eastern. Beginning 8pm eastern,  Listen here Beginning midnight May 13, archived here.

• Stirling Newberry on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. Conflicts in the Republican caucus; international concern – or its lack – regarding US debt service. Listen here beginning Thursday, May 12 @ 9pm eastern/6pm pacific.

Coming to VS in future weeks: Dahlia Lithwick, Dan Ellsberg and Glenn Greenwald.

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