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The peaceful atom

Time to bury the nukes:

The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima’s radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americansaccording to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.

Germany and Japan, the world’s third and fourth largest economies, along with numerous others countries, have definitively turned away from the “Peaceful Atom.”

But it hasn’t yet been buried. That’s up to us. And 2012 is the year to do it.

We are already very close. The mythical “Nuclear Renaissance” has been gutted by Fukushima, low gas prices and the escalating Solartopian revolution in green energy. Solar panels, wind turbines, sustainable bio-fuels, geo-thermal, ocean thermal, increased efficiency and much more have simply priced atomic energy out of the market.

There is virtually no private money to build new reactors—except where there are huge government subsidies and guarantees. In 2012 we must make those all go away.

Likewise, there are increasingly powerful grassroots movements focused on shutting reactors that still operate. Germany has shut 7, and the rest will be gone by 2022, if not earlier. In Japan, just 11 of more than 50 reactors now operate. Because local governments can prevent reactors from re-opening once they go down for refueling, Japan could emerge from 2012 without a single nuke on line.

Save the bay

As you already know, I love the Chesapeake Bay. But since they lifted the building moratorium in the watershed about 15 years ago, it’s getting dirtier and dirtier – again. Here’s some encouraging news:

RICHMOND, Va. – A report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation concludes that storm water and sewage plant upgrades intended to help nurse the environmentally-battered bay back to health would create nearly 250,000 jobs.

The report released Tuesday is aimed at countering claims that the multi-state, multi-billion restoration directed by the Environmental Protection Agency will be harmful to the economy and result in job losses, the foundation’s president said.

“That is not borne out by the facts,” William C. Baker said in a statement. “Whether the target is EPA or the bay pollution limits, it is essential that the public understand that environmental regulations will create jobs to reduce pollution, and sustain jobs that depend on clean water.”

The report, called “Debunking the `Job Killer’ Myth,” relies on a variety of industry experts such as engineers, reports and other sources to assess the impact of water pollution projects within the six states and the District of Columbia that comprise the bay’s 64,000-square-mile watershed. It also reviews job-killing threats dating back to 1976 and Henry Ford II claimed that clean air and fuel efficiency standards would “shut down” Ford Motor Co. to illustrate historic claims that environmental efforts are bad for the economy.


I remember waiting for the train and talking to some woman about politics. I told her that the Republican party and the pro-life movement eventually wanted to outlaw birth control, and she told me I was crazy.

I only wish I was.

Montana and Citizens United

Go read Charlie Pierce. But here’s the money quote from Justice James Nelson:

Corporations are artificial creatures of law. As such, they should enjoy only those powers—not constitutional rights, but legislatively-conferred powers—that are concomitant with their legitimate function, that being limited liability investment vehicles for business. Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people—human beings—to share fundamental natural rights with soulless creations of government. Worse still, while corporations and human beings share many of the same rights under the law, they clearly are not bound equally to the same codes of good conduct, decency, and morality, and they are not held equally accountable for their sins. Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons.


To Aretha Franklin, who just got engaged.

John Roberts

Defends SCOTUS and their self-inflicted ethical wounds.


So when I called to doublecheck the appointment tomorrow with the GI doctor (the one that was postponed from early December), I was told I had no appointment. And when I raised a little hell, I was given another appointment – for next Friday.

On the bright side, I’m meeting with a surgeon tomorrow afternoon. Light, end of tunnel, etc.

Hoarder Barbie

Trashes her Dreamhouse! In miniature, of course.

Occupy Philly

Highlights from 2011:

Fracking earthquakes

Oh, what’s a few earth tremors when it comes to sucking gas out of the earth? These anti-fracking types just need to count their blessings:

CLEVELAND (AP) – A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday.

Research is continuing on the now-shuttered injection well at Youngstown and seismic activity, but it might take a year for the wastewater-related rumblings in the earth to dissipate, said John Armbruster of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y.

Brine wastewater dumped in wells comes from drilling operations, including the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale that has been a source of concern among environmental groups and some property owners. Injection wells have also been suspected in quakes in Astabula in far northeast Ohio, and in Arkansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, Armbruster said.

Thousands of gallons of brine were injected daily into the Youngstown well that opened in 2010 until its owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC, agreed Friday to stop injecting the waste into the earth as a precaution while authorities assessed any potential links to the quakes.

After the latest and largest quake Saturday at 4.0 magnitude, state officials announced their beliefs that injecting wastewater near a fault line had created enough pressure to cause seismic activity. They said four inactive wells within a five-mile radius of the Youngstown well would remain closed. But they also stressed that injection wells are different from drilling wells that employ fracking.

Armbruster said Monday he expects more quakes will occur despite the shutdown of the Youngstown well.
“The earthquakes will trickle on as a kind of a cascading process once you’ve caused them to occur,” he said. “This one year of pumping is a pulse that has been pushed into the ground, and it’s going to be spreading out for at least a year.”

The quakes began last March with the most recent on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve each occurring within 100 meters of the injection well. The Saturday quake in McDonald, outside of Youngstown, caused no serious injuries or property damage.

Youngstown Democrat Rep. Robert Hagan on Monday renewed his call for a moratorium on fracking and well injection disposal to allow a review of safety issues.

“If it’s safe, I want to do it,” he said in a telephone interview. “If it’s not, I don’t want to be part and parcel to destruction of the environment and the fake promise of jobs.”

He said a moratorium “really is what we should be doing, mostly toward the injection wells, but we should be asking questions on drilling itself.”

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