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Always happy to see nuclear industry shills uncovered. Of course, the simplest way is to understand that anyone who tells you everything is fine is a liar…


Jazz great Joe Morello, 82, drummer with Dave Brubeck Quartet.

On marriage

I’ve been saying for years that not only is feminism hot, it’s romantic. Read this, tell me if you agree.

On the occasion of his 31st anniversary, PZ Myers from Pharyngula compares his family values to Newt’s, and the dirty hippies come out on top:

Gingrich was cheating on his wife, but it’s OK — because he also tells us that it was wrong and inexcusable, and then he wraps it all up in God and country to make excuses for it. Hypocrisy is acceptable as long as the right words are said to reinforce the public face of propriety.

Now look at those dirty rotten hippies, like me. We say the ties between a couple should be made with respect and affection, not the strictures of law and precedent; letting gays marry, for instance, strengthens the public approval of our kinds of bond, while weakening the authoritarian bonds. Our ideal is a community of equals, while theirs is a hierarchy of power, a relic of Old Testament values in which marrying a woman was like buying a camel, a certification of ownership, and nothing must compromise the Big Man’s possession of properties.

If we strip marriage of the asymmetry of power, as we must if we allow men to marry men and women to marry women, then we also strip away the man and wife, dominant and submissive, owner and owned, master and servant relationship that characterizes the conservative view of marriage. This is what they want to preserve, and this is what they are talking about when people like Gingrich echo those tired phrases about “Judeo-Christian values” and complain that their “civilization is under attack”. And it is, when we challenge their right to treat one partner, so-called, as chattel.

And once you look at it that way, you see no abuse of their values when Gingrich goes tomcatting around—he’s simply asserting his traditional privilege as the Man.
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NRC chief: No water left in reactor pool

This is very, very bad news for the people of Japan and those living in areas where radiation may be carried:

The United States expressed increasing alarm Wednesday about the the threat posed by Japan’s nuclear crisis, with its top nuclear energy chief suggesting that one crippled reactor was in danger of a complete meltdown.

The U.S. urged Americans to evacuate a wider area around the plant. Other governments advised their citizens to leave the country altogether.

Amid the controversy, Japan’s military dropped water from two helicopters onto another crippled reactor.

Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, painted a much bleaker picture of the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant than Japanese officials. He told a congressional hearing in Washington that all the water was gone from the spent fuel pools at Unit 4, one of six reactors at the complex.

“There is no water in the spent fuel pool and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures,” he said.

Japanese officials denied that all the cooling water was gone. Hajime Motojuku, spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said the “condition is stable” at Unit 4.

If Jaczko is correct, it would mean there’s nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. The outer shells of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area.

Jaczko did not say how the information was obtained, but the NRC and U.S. Department of Energy both have experts at the Fukushima complex along Japan’s northeastern coast, which was ravaged by last week’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

They’ll never keep us down

Hazel Dickens:

I saw the light

Todd and Daryl:

The bottom-line chickens come home to roost

It’s not just the nuclear power industry. Virtually anything of significance to our national safety (or anyone else’s) gets fucked up once you add in the profit motive. It’s just that the nuclear power lobby has the capacity to harm so many more people than the average crooked contractor.

I caught some of the news this morning, and they were following a nuclear power lobbyist on his Capitol Hill rounds as he “reassured” members that “we have all kinds of safety procedures” in place, and it “couldn’t happen here.”


Look: Nothing is safe when there’s a buck to be made. And while I’d rather be someone who doesn’t see the worst-case scenario all the time, it would help if I wasn’t right so often. (As my therapist points out, pessimism tends to bleed into the rest of my life. I’d much rather be serene, but oh well.)

There were more than 200 safety violations covered up at this plant. Two years ago, the plant owners were informed they couldn’t handle anything more than a 7.0 earthquake; it would cost $1 billion to protect it.

Guess what happened.

Now tell me why it won’t happen here.

People have such touching faith in order, and logic. “We put all these rules in place, and they inspect it regularly.” “No one would ever put everything at risk by cutting corners.” Uh huh. Right. Worked for the banks, right?

The one good thing I can say about this is the international moneyed community, the ones who cared so little about what they’ve done to soil their nests here, who assumed they could always move somewhere else, might finally be getting at least a glimmer of understanding about this very basic truth: Once you’ve destroyed the social contract, you have no place left to hide.

And so, to the bankers who hired private jets and left Japan last night like rats deserting a sinking ship, I’d like to remind them that they’re only postponing the inevitable. Because the karma, man, she is a bitch.

Things that sorta cheered me up today

The Japanese are running a very long extension cord to the damaged nuclear plant (hope it helps); a Guardian journalist was released from captivity in Libya; that “reassuring” link about the nuclear power leak turns out to be very shady (it cheers me that my instincts were correct); Sen. Bernie Sanders thinks a progressive should primary Obama; NBA players pay for assistant’s surgery; Jerry Brown speaks out against Republican extremists; and this cool gadget that gives you a government fuel rating sticker if you’re selling your car.

It’s so much worse

Than what they’re telling us:

Do we sense a certain impatience

With the president? Why yes, I think we do:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and a handful of other House Democrats expressed deep frustration with President Barack Obama’s leadership on Wednesday, saying he needs to do more to set the direction for the progressive movement.

Across the aisle, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled to wrangle the various wings of his conference and pass budget measures through the lower chamber. Weiner told a group of journalists and bloggers on Capitol Hill that the Republican leader has a tough job of trying to hold “a coalition of crazies and completely crazies together.”

But Republicans, Weiner said, have nonetheless long done a better job of making their case — “smaller government, smaller deficits, lower taxes” — to the public and each other. The Democratic Party remains unclear as to its core policy principles, Weiner said, and part of the problem is Obama.

“On our side is this weird squishy affirmative sense of what government should do and how we’re opposed to this cut and that cut, rather than saying, ‘Here are the things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, environment and education. We’re not cutting those. Those are off the table. That’s non-negotiable,’” said Weiner, adding, “We haven’t really done that very well. That’s because the president fundamentally — he’s not a values guy. He wants to try to get the best deal for the American people and that’s virtuous in its own right, but it becomes very difficult to make a strategy. There’s been much greater global strategy thinking on [progressive media] outlets, frankly, than at 1600 Pennsylvania.”
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