Visual source: Newseum
Domnic Lawson makes a persuasive case for the media to show the "body bags," especially when a government doesn't want them shown.
With the United States poised to expand nuclear power after decades of stagnation, it will be important to reassess safety standards. Some 30 American reactors have designs similar to the crippled reactors in Japan. Various reactors in this country are situated near geologic faults, in coastal areas reachable by tsunamis or in areas potentially vulnerable to flooding. Regulators will need to evaluate how well operators would cope if they lost both primary power and backup diesel generators for an extended period.
Japan’s nuclear power stations were designed with the same care and precision as everything else in the country. More to the point, as the only country in the world to have experienced true nuclear catastrophe, Japan had an incentive to build well, as well as the capability, laws and regulations to do so. Which leads to an unavoidable question: If the competent and technologically brilliant Japanese can’t build a completely safe reactor, who can?
The failure of emergency systems at Japan's nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.
Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called "SQ" or "Seismic Qualification." That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from al-Qaeda.
The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time.
Cal Thomas, who still pretends he was once an objective journalist, takes on National Public Radio.
Mike Littwin susses out a sliver of silver lining in Wisconsin:
this time the reviled teachers unions won. And the lazy/parasitic — your choice — state employees unions also won.
OK, they didn't technically win. In fact, if you want to be technical about it, the bill that passed in Wisconsin means the unions lost in every conceivable way. They lost on bargaining rights. They lost on automatic collection of dues. They lost so badly they now have to recertify yearly.
And yet, they still win, which tells you everything about the state of unions these days.
They won because when they lost, people actually cared that they lost.
Mona Charen says Mike Lux should have a look at Sacramento before he celebrates about Madison:
"Republicans have done organized labor a great favor by putting the movement back in (the) labor movement, creating a level of passion and activism for workers' rights that hasn't been seen in generations," crowed Democratic strategist Mike Lux.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was as radical as Scott Walker. In 1937, he said, "All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management." Former AFL-CIO president George Meany agreed, saying, "It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government." …
In a column titled "Continuing Stubborn Ignorance," Walter E. Williams explores what one can only hope are the outer limits of his continuing blockheadedness:
I have a one-time fix to give us some breathing room to make reforms. The federal government has huge quantities of wasting assets—assets that are not producing anything, 650 million acres of land—almost 30 percent of the land area of the United States. It owns 80 percent of the land in Nevada, 70 percent in Alaska, 60 percent in Idaho and 50 percent in California and Oregon. I would be willing, and I suspect many others, to make a deal with Congress whereby I forsake all Social Security and Medicare benefits for, say, 50 acres of land in Alaska.
Debra J. Saunders still thinks "drill, baby, drill" equals a smart energy policy:
On Friday, Obamaland pushed back against the perception that its anti-drilling policies—implemented in the wake of the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon blowout—have contributed to high prices at the pump. The cost of filling one's gas tank has risen uncomfortably close to $4 per gallon in the Bay Area. …
There always has been a corner of Obamaland that doesn't appreciate the job-creating properties of cheap fuel. Now Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the Wall Street Journal, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Chu said that in September 2008 - and still Obama picked him for the slot.
Katrina vanden Heuvel says the concerted, lying right-wing attacks on Elizabeth Warren are designed to lay the groundwork for limiting the funding and independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Leonard Pitts Jr. writes that "nobody knows the trouble they's seen":
Indeed, one need not travel far these days to encounter signs of acute anxiety emanating from the nation's white majority, a visceral sense of dislocation and lost privilege.
You see it in the hysterical (in both senses of the word) reaction to the election of the first black president. You see it in the spike in the number of hate groups. You see it in the screeching that passes for debate on illegal immigration and in the clangor that seems to confront any Muslim who seeks to build a mosque anywhere. You see it in the apocalyptic rantings of Glenn Beck and in the peevish mutterings of Rush Limbaugh.
You see it also in a 2010 survey by the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute, which found that 44 percent of us believe bigotry against whites is a significant problem.
"Psychic numbing" makes comprehension of gigantic disasters like Japan's difficult for people to comprehend, writes Aditya Chakrabortty.