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Not guilty

Of anything, really. But that will never be enough for the wingnuts!

Isn’t it funny that they only pay attention to this stuff when they have to?

WASHINGTON — Almost all American nuclear power plants have backup batteries that would last only half as long as those at Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant did after a tsunami knocked out power there, an expert testified Tuesday at a Senate committee briefing on nuclear safety.

An industry official, addressing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, conceded that battery life was “one of the obvious places” that nuclear operators would examine for potential improvements.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which generally takes a critical tone toward nuclear reactors, said that just 11 of the nation’s 104 plants had eight-hour batteries, and 93 had four-hour batteries. The batteries are not powerful enough to run pumps that direct cooling water, but they can operate valves and can power instruments that give readings of water levels, flow and temperatures.

In the meantime, Japanese officials are considering stem cell transplants for workers at the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor.

You say you want a revolution

First of all, to say I’m not keen on military intervention is a huge understatement. The only instance in which I felt we had the high ground was when we took part in the 1995 NATO attacks on Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing and mass rapes. (And even about that, I have some doubts.) And it’s always a red flag when human rights rhetoric is used to justify military intervention.

So when I got invited to the White House blogger call on Libya today, I asked a pretty obvious question.

“We sell massive amounts of arms to repressive regimes in the Middle East, and now in Libya, we’re using our arms to stop them from using their arms against their own people,” I said. “Wouldn’t it make more sense not to sell arms to repressive regimes in the first place?”

Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor, hemmed and hawed a bit.

He said that the Libyan government had a relationship with the United States until the uprising, and that the situation had changed. He also said it was an “interesting case” with the Mubarak government, that the U.S.’s “longstanding relationship with the Egyptian military allowed us to pay a positive role in some respects.”

“We need to take a step back and assess the strategy of arming different regimes, look at it regionally and country by country, understanding the change that’s being made and balance that with our interests.”

Rhodes responded to a question from Spencer Ackerman about whether the U.S. was planning to expand its mission in Libya to include ground troops.
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I’m a loser

Steve Benen really nails it. Go read the rest:

At face value, congressional Republicans went into budget talks playing a strikingly weak hand. They’re an unpopular party, pushing unpopular spending cuts, going up against a more popular president. Of the three main players — the House, the Senate, and the White House — the GOP controls about one-half of one-third of the relevant institutions.

And yet, who seems to be calling the shots here?

The New York Times had an interesting summary of the lay of the land, emphasizing the fact that Democrats seem to realize they let this debate slip away from them.

Both parties remain uncertain about which of them would bear the brunt of public anger if Congress cannot agree on financing federal operations for the final half of this fiscal year and government agencies shut down or drastically scale back the services they can provide.

Even many Democrats believe that House Republicans have gotten the better of the antispending, antigovernment argument. But Democrats insist that is because much of the public does not appreciate the impact the Republicans’ $61 billion in proposed reductions would have on spending for popular social programs if those cuts were to become law with just half of the current fiscal year remaining.

Democrats are right; most of the country has no idea the extent to which the GOP’s proposed cuts would be devastating to key domestic priorities. These are cuts that, if put to a poll, the vast majority of the American mainstream would reject out of hand.

But here’s another thought: maybe most of the country has no idea how brutal these cuts are because Dems haven’t told them.

You can’t do that

They just never give up, do they? They need an enemy to define themselves:

A free enterprise think tank in Michigan — backed by some of the biggest names in national conservative donor circles — has made a broad public records request to at least three in-state universities with departments that specialize in the study of labor relations, seeking all their emails regarding the union battle in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, TPM has learned.

According to professors subject to the request, filed under Michigan’s version of the Freedom Of Information Act, the request is extremely rare in academic circles. An employee at the think tank requesting the emails tells TPM they’re part of an investigation into what labor studies professors at state schools in Michigan are saying about the situation in Madison, Wisc., the epicenter of the clashes between unions and Republican-run state governments across the Midwest.

One professor subject to the FOIA described it as anti-union advocates “going after folks they don’t agree with.”
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I’m a loser

I’ll believe it when I see it, but wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?

BP (NYSE: BP) is having a rough year. After claiming responsibility for one the worst oil spills in U.S. history, and accepting costly penalties for the disaster, BP managers may now face manslaughter charges.

Prosecutors are considering whether the decisions managers made prior to the explosion leaving 11 workers dead are grounds for manslaughter charges.

BP closed at $46.04 Monday and is now at $45.12 in pre-market trading. Coupled with the manslaughter report, BP must also contend with a downgrade from “hold” to “sell,” by Collins Stewart.

Due to the oil well explosion in 2010, BP’s share price lost half its value from April to late June. It has since begun to slowly recover to some extent, but the challenges BP faces in the wake of the oil spill are clearly plentiful.

The contrarian investor may consider now as a reasonable buying opportunity. BP has clearly been beaten down in the last year and performed significantly worse than competitors Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX). As the fine for the oil spill has yet to be levied, it is possible that it will drive the price down further. BP has also paid businesses that purportedly lost revenue due to the effects of the spill.

When the aftereffects of the oil spill disaster are behind us, BP has the opportunity to grow immensely from the lows at which it is currently trading. Can BP recover from a blow like this? BP will have to pay out many billions in fines and other costs related to the spill in the coming months and years. If the investor takes a long position in BP, it may be quite some time before he or she reaps a profit from the investment.

What goes on

Even though I just love dishes and pottery of all kinds, I won’t use anything for food that wasn’t made in the U.S. of A. (It’s not a guarantee, but the odds are better.)

So this doesn’t affect me personally. Hell, just about all of the Asian restaurants have switched to plastic anyway, so I’m not even getting it in the restaurants. But God only knows how many people are being exposed to lead from this stuff.

I should have known better

At first, I was so … pissed off? No, more like sad that the infamous Robert Stacy McCain, wingnutter and racist twit, attacked my friend Joe Bageant. Because of course, he’d gotten it all wrong. I know, a wingnut getting it wrong! Who ever heard of such a thing?

Joe was nothing like how he tried to paint him, and more’s the pity that this knucklehead won’t ever know him. (Didn’t even bother to read the book he attacked. That’s wingnuts for ya.)

But then my friend Molly Ivors linked to my piece over at Atrios’ place, and I realized something important when I looked at my stats: 352 from Eschaton, 8 from The Other McCain.

Nice to know the market for racist pseudo-Christian misogyny grows ever smaller.

Do you want to know a secret

Fox executive admits lying about, well, just about everything.

Fitzwalkerstan

No more First Amendment nonsense except in designated areas!

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