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Tangled up in blue

Bob Dylan:

GOP motto: Never prepared!

Let’s be clear on something: Republicans firmly believe that nothing is important enough to trump a possible tax cut. That’s why they oppose the adequate funding of the U.S. Weather Service — and not incidentally, its tsunami warning system.

Republicans also don’t believe in funding FEMA. They don’t believe in infrastructure investment or maintenance. They don’t believe Amtrak passengers deserve safe trains, or safe tracks. They don’t believe in updating the nation’s air traffic control system, and they don’t believe in spending money to get clean air and water. They don’t believe in spending on safe workplaces, either.

They’re the main reason why America can’t have nice things. Nobody in their right mind who wants any of these things should ever, ever, ever vote for a Republican. From the Washington Monthly:

Honolulu’s Star-Advertiser ran a report a few weeks ago that has a salience now that it might have lacked when first published.

The union representing National Weather Service workers says budget cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives could jeopardize public safety and increase the severity of disaster losses in Hawaii.

“People could die. … It could be serious,” said Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

Hirshorn said that if a continuing resolution proposed by the U.S. House is enacted — triggering a 28 percent budget cut in the second half of the fiscal year — Weather Service employees as well as those at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center could face furloughs and rolling closures.

“It would impact our ability to issue warnings,” he said.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) said the GOP’s proposed cuts would “drastically” reduce the ability of officials to “alert our communities about imminent, dangerous events.

“The National Weather Service’s union added in a statement, “In the next hurricane, flood, tornado or wildfire, lives will be lost and people will ask what went wrong. Congress’ cuts and the devastation to the well-being of our nation’s citizens are dangerously wrong.”

Fortunately, the proposed cuts haven’t been approved — Democrats oppose the GOP plan — but Republicans are still fighting for them.

Is it wrong and/or exploitative to point this out? I don’t think so. There’s an intense budget fight underway in Washington, and critics of the Republicans’ push for brutal domestic cuts have said the GOP plan would cause serious, real-world consequences. That happens to be true. The fact that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center would face furloughs and rolling closures if Republicans have their way matters, and today’s tragedy helps drive home why it matters.

Put it this way: GOP lawmakers want to deliberately undercut tsunami monitoring, based on the notion that this spending is somehow unnecessary. Republicans thought this two weeks ago, one week ago, yesterday, and today. Chances are, they’ll still support these cuts tomorrow, too.

After the gold rush

Neil Young:

I need love

Sam Phillips from the wonderful “Martinis and Bikinis” album:

Wild women don’t get the blues

Cyndi Lauper with the old blues classic:

State of emergency

This remains my main concern about nuclear power plants. The last time I wrote about them, I was inundated with emails and comments from readers telling me how “safe” they are — yes, they’re relatively safe. Until they’re not, and we all saw that in the aftermath of Japan’s massive earthquake:

TOKYO — Japan declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday’s powerful earthquake. Thousands of residents were evacuated as workers struggled to get the reactors under control to prevent meltdowns.

Operators at the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s Unit 1 scrambled ferociously to tamp down heat and pressure inside the reactor after the 8.9 magnitude quake and the tsunami that followed cut off electricity to the site and disabled emergency generators, knocking out the main cooling system.

Some 3,000 people within two miles (three kilometers) of the plant were urged to leave their homes, but the evacuation zone was more than tripled to 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) after authorities detected eight times the normal radiation levels outside the facility and 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1′s control room.

The government declared a state of emergency at the Daiichi unit — the first at a nuclear plant in Japan’s history. But hours later, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the six-reactor Daiichi site, announced that it had lost cooling ability at a second reactor there and three units at its nearby Fukushima Daini site.

The government quickly declared states of emergency for those units, too, and thousands of residents near Fukushima Daini also were told to leave.

Japan’s nuclear safety agency said the situation was most dire at Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 1, where pressure had risen to twice what is consider the normal level. The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that diesel generators that normally would have kept cooling systems running at Fukushima Daiichi had been disabled by tsunami flooding.

Officials at the Daiichi facility began venting radioactive vapors from the unit to relieve pressure inside the reactor case. The loss of electricity had delayed that effort for several hours.

Plant workers there labored to cool down the reactor core, but there was no prospect for immediate success. They were temporarily cooling the reactor with a secondary system, but it wasn’t working as well as the primary one, according to Yuji Kakizaki, an official at the Japanese nuclear safety agency.

As I say

Republicans only win when they lie and cheat. They don’t actually approve of democracy!

Unbelievable. Turning the state in to a dictatorship wasn’t enough, he had to pull this out of his CorporateBastard bag of tricks. Detroit Free Press:

LANSING — One $100 bill could block voters from a chance to stop more than a billion dollars in higher taxes.

Whether you think it’s a dirty trick or a smart move, a House bill to implement Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to eliminate tax credits and exemptions contains a $100 appropriation — enough to make the plan immune from a voter referendum.

The plan has incensed some Michiganders. On Tuesday, AARP is holding a rally at the Capitol for senior citizens angry about Snyder’s plan to tax pensions and other retirement income while cutting business taxes.

In 2001, the state Supreme Court ruled that legislation with a state expenditure — even just $1 — can’t be repealed by voters.

On Thursday, minority House Democrats assailed the move to block a potential repeal vote. “I think there’s a natural, built-in constituency that would sign that petition” to repeal tax changes, said Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said the $100 appropriation in the 180-page bill is legitimate, and would be increased to cover the


Wisconsin Republican Sen. Randy Hopper, a close ally of Gov. Scott Walker, is dimed out by his wife, who told protesters he was living with his 25-year-old mistress (a right-wing lobbyist whose name has suddenly disappeared from her company’s website) in Madison. Oh, and his maid signed the recall petition!

Bet his dog doesn’t like him, either.

Oh me oh my (I’m a fool for you baby)

Aretha Franklin from “Young, Gifted and Black”:

Stray cat blues

Rolling Stones:

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