SEATTLE — Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska’s Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals’ fur coats.
Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor.
“We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,” said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Via Think Progress, it’s nice to hear the occasional congress critter who’s still speaking sense. And in this case, Chris Van Hollen couldn’t be more right. The Republicans will throw up any smokescreen they can to obscure the fact that they haven’t done a damn thing about “jobs, jobs, jobs!”:
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) rebuked House Republicans yesterday for suggesting the government require drug tests of individuals seeking unemployment insurance, calling such proposals “insulting” and a “red herring” in the unemployment crisis:
VAN HOLLEN: I think the drug testing thing is a red herring. The reality is that people are not out of work because they have substance abuse problems, people are out of work because there are four people looking for every job that’s available in America.
We’re willing to look at reforms, but the Republican rhetoric has been insulting to a whole lot of working Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own… I have to say, this Republican effort to kind of blame people who lost jobs through no fault of their own shows a total insensitivity to the stories that we’re hearing from districts around the country. Frankly I think the American people are hearing that tone and they’re not very appreciative, because they know that everybody, but for the grace of God, could also be in that position.