Tar sands blockade

The real “eco-terrorists” are the oil companies.

Loud construction noises fill Daniel’s forest as we walk through it earlier this month. Daniel leads me to a pond that had been so clean when I visited during the summer that he drank from it in front of me.


“Not going to happen today,” he says. “It’s cloudy, murky, milky, nasty. Wouldn’t drink out of it. Wouldn’t let my dog drink out of it.”


We get to a clearing in his forest the size of a four-lane highway. Earth movers are digging trenches. A green pipe three feet in diameter stretches as far as we can see. Daniel points out two big stacks of enormous tree trunks — what’s left of this swath of his forest.


Daniel winces. “I don’t think anybody would like to see the destruction of their home. That’s what it is,” he says.


But Jaffe, the UC Davis energy expert, says the efforts were not as futile as they may seem. Because of high profile protests against tar sands, companies in Canada are working on technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint.


“The young woman who went up in the trees should feel happy,” Jaffe says. “She might not have been able to stop the pipeline, but she certainly sent the message to Alberta producers.”

U.S. sailors sue TEPCO

How awful; I can’t begin to imagine how many other unwitting rescue workers were exposed to dangerous levels. It seemed clear from the start that TEPCO was not telling the truth about the radiation levels:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), owner of the power plant which had the world’s biggest nuclear disaster since 1986, was sued by eight U.S. sailors claiming they were exposed to radiation and the utility lied about the dangers.


The sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear-powered aircraft carrier were involved in disaster relief operations following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan that caused the meltdown, according to the complaint filed in U.S. federal court in San Diego on Dec. 21.


Tepco, as the Japanese utility is known, and the Japanese government conspired to create the false impression radiation leaking from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant didn’t pose a threat to the sailors, according to the complaint. As a result the plaintiffs rushed into areas that were unsafe and too close to the power plant, exposing them to radiation, the sailors’ lawyers said.


The Japanese government was “lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdown” as it reassured the crew of USS Reagan that “everything is under control,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in the complaint. “The plaintiffs must now endure a lifetime of radiation poisoning and suffering.”


The sailors each sought $10 million in damages, $30 million in punitive damages and a judgment requiring the creation of a $100 million fund to pay for their medical monitoring and treatments.

R.I.P.

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, 78:

WASHINGTON — Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

Hmm

So I invested in a $7 multi-directional TV digital antenna, to see if I can cut the cable cord. It doesn’t look likely, since I couldn’t pull in two of the local stations. But I gotta say, the HD picture was so much better than it is with the cable! Anyone else ever notice this?

I was gonna say this

But Atrios got there first.

“We can do better by replacing the archaic system we have now with ones that offer better incentives to work. We have too many distinct programs (unemployment insurance, food stamps, housing vouchers) that penalize earnings, collectively creating a huge implicit tax that discourages work among the poor.

Assholes.

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