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Radiated

If only the plant operators hadn’t covered up the cracks in the emergency generators to save money! We see how well that worked out:

Three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been exposed to high levels of radiation after reportedly stepping into contaminated water as they battled to make the stricken No 3 reactor safe.

Two of the workers were taken to a special radiation unit at a hospital in Chiba city, east of Tokyo, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said.

The workers, who are all in their 20s and 30s, were exposed to between 170 millisieverts (mSv) and 180 mSv of radiation.

This is above the usual legal limit of 100 mSv per year for nuclear power workers in Japan, but below a new limit of 250 mSv, introduced last week to enable them to spend more time inside the crippled facility.

The men were affected while laying cable in the turbine building of the No 3 reactor, said Fumio Matsuda, an agency spokesman, adding that two had exposed skin on their feet to radioactive elements.

Their accident cast doubt on the wisdom of raising the threshold for radiation exposure for the hundreds of technicians, firefighters and soldiers taking part in the Fukushima operation.

Transitional hair

Cut all mine off today. Ready to rock and roll! (Okay, not all of it. Maybe about eight or nine inches. But still.)

Lifelong Republicans leaving their party

Thom Hartmann:

Scrooge McDucks

Swimming in money!

Politically correct


Panels 7-9 of “The History of Labor in the State of Maine,” by Maine artist Judy Taylor.

Democrats are the ones who are always taunted by the Republicans for being “politically correct,” but when was the last time you heard of a Democrat doing something so stupid, silly and just plain mean as this? Teabag Gov. LePage is so incredibly tone deaf to the mainstream, I’ll be surprised if he makes it through an entire term without a recall movement:

Once again, Republicans are trying to erase the history of America’s working people. In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history from the Department of Labor. The11-panel piece in part depicts a 1986 paper mill strike and “Rosie the Riveter” at Bath Iron Works. Judy Taylor, an artist based on Mount Desert, won a 2007 competition to create the mural to depict the “History of Labor in the State of Maine.”

Further, the names of conference rooms are being changed to make them more “business friendly.” One is called the “Perkins Room,” for Frances Perkins, the first female Secretary of Labor and promoter of New Deal policies that improved workers’ rights on the job. Perkins championed labor reforms after the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire that resulted in the deaths of 146 garment workers in New York City. This Friday is the 100th anniversary of that tragedy.

In a March 22 e-mail to staff, Maine’s acting commissioner of Labor Laura Boyett wrote:

We have received feedback that the administration building is not perceived as equally receptive to both businesses and workers – primarily because of the nature of the mural in the lobby and the names of our conference rooms.

From the Maine Sun Journal:

According to LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt, the administration felt the mural and the conference room monikers showed “one-sided decor” not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.

“The message from state agencies needs to be balanced,” said Demeritt, adding that the mural had sparked complaints from “some business owners” who complained it was hostile to business.

I suppose the next thing is, they’ll want to change the name from Department of Labor to Department of Management?

The governor “wants to pick a battle with working people,” says Maine AFL-CIO Presiden Don Berry.

Paul LePage cannot erase our history, and he will not silence the voice of the working class in Maine.

In 2009, Republicans on the Texas School Board successfully pushed to remove mentionof farmworker leader Cesar Chavez and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. And when Republicans took over the House in 1995, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich relegated to the bowels of the Capitol a depiction of the 1912 Bread and Roses strike by artist Ralph Fasanella that had graced the Capitol.

Members of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Dept. then purchased it for our building in Washington, D.C.

Why metered internet usage is a ripoff

You really need to see this. It’s from Canada, but it’s the same as here:

Oh Jesus Christ

Just buy your kids a full suit of armor and be done with it!

You get what you pay for

And when Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union, he also eviscerated the worker protections that prevent things like this from happening:

WASHINGTON – Air traffic safety is under increased scrutiny by federal authorities following an incident in which two passenger jets landed without controller assistance at Reagan National Airport because no one could be reached in the airport tower.

An aviation official said that an air traffic supervisor — the lone controller on duty around midnight on Tuesday when the incident occurred — had fallen asleep. The official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity because an investigation is ensuing, said the incident has led the Federal Aviation Administration to launch a nationwide inquiry into airport tower staffing issues.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that the pilots of the two planes were in contact with controllers at a regional Federal Aviation Administration facility about 40 miles away in Warrenton, Va.

He said that after pilots were unable to raise the airport tower at Reagan by radio, they asked controllers in Warrenton to call the tower. Repeated calls from the regional facility to the tower went unanswered, Knudson added.

Responding to the incident, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement that he has directed FAA to put two air traffic controllers on the midnight shift at Reagan National.

“It is not acceptable to have just one controller in the tower managing air traffic in this critical air space,” LaHood said.

Reagan National is located in Northern Virginia just across the Potomac River from Washington. LaHood also said he has directed FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt to study tower staffing at other airports around the country.

Good thing this happened in D.C., where Very Important People care about their planes landing safely. Maybe even the rest of us will benefit from this cost-cutting clusterfuck.

Consumers win in NJ

And no one even noticed!

The Gulf

The gulf between pro-environmental rhetoric and, you know, action. We’re killing the Gulf of Mexico and no one in power seems to care.

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