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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.

The New York Times:

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.

Anne Applebaum:

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?

Greg Palast:

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ameri-duhhhhhhhh. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bakenjuddy, ZedMont


    by OleHippieChick on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:40:51 AM PDT

  •  oops (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lineatus, jnhobbs

    sorry i was late.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:41:28 AM PDT

  •  Found this last night... (0+ / 0-)

    Seeing her tonight!

    When people show you who they are, believe them: Maya Angelou

    by bakenjuddy on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:43:54 AM PDT

  •  On this 'white anxiety' thing (6+ / 0-)

    Hi. White male southerner here.

    I read that Pitts blurb and shouted out loud "Oh, my God! Who ***king CARES?"

    My scorn is for people who are beside themselves about a black President. Jesus. H. Spaghetti Monster. Go sew sheets or something if you're so freaked. Oh, that's right - you outsourced the textiles mills so you can't even do that.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
    "body bags,"

    What purpose would showing body bags of the dead from Japan have?  Just reporting facts is enough.  People don't need to see a horror movie when they turn on the news.  It's a tragedy, that's played out in various countries.  Why do people not involved need to see dead people everywhere?  IMHO, it doesn't help anything and just creates panic/outrage at something that man cannot control (yes, man can mitigate it to an extent, but this was literally once in over 500+ - more like 1000+ - year event) nor predict (at least definately at this point).

    Which leads to an unavoidable question: If the competent and technologically brilliant Japanese can’t build a completely safe reactor, who can?

    No one can.  It's stupid to think anyone can build anything that is COMPLETELY safe.  The question to ask, are designs within acceptable standards for the amount of risk people are willing to accept?    People take risks every day of their life in everything they do.  That goes for your cars, planes, house, and yes, nuclear reactors.

    The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time.

    His proof for this?  Doesn't exist.  Post comes from a dedicated anti-nuclear organization.  That's like taking something from BP at face value.  Now show me something from the IAEA or the DoE showing this and I'll believe it.

    "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

    by erush1345 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:51:00 AM PDT

    •  Yes, there is no free lunch, but .... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, esquimaux, foresterbob

      Uranium miners (as well as coal miners) pay a pretty high price for us to have our energy.  Maybe we should not show body bags, but we should actually have to face the human cost of our luxury-  so many Navajo Uranium miners, so many West Virginia coal miners per so many units of electricity.  Instead of what we do- sweep any such costs under the bed.

      Note:  I am not saying that we can drop electric power and go back to the stone age - only that we recognize the true cost - and the risks - and try to minimize them.  It is always easier to accept sloppiness and mismanagement (see:  coal mine disasters, BP spill, danger from CO2 emissions, danger of nuclear plant meltdown, etc.)  if we don't think about what really is occurring.  We are all hypocrites in regard to this, but the companies involved are quite often liars as well as being hypocrites.  

    •  The Lawson piece focuses 90% on body bags... (0+ / 0-)

      ...of people killed in Libya.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:46:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        My mistake then, it appeared to me just reading the beginning of it that it was about Japan, which kind of horrified me that someone was calling to see the body bags of those dead in Japan.  Perhaps I'm just a bit jaded at times with our culture here in America.

        "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

        by erush1345 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:57:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Palast (5+ / 0-)

    Yes, and what does experience tell us about whether we should trust companies to not put profit over safety, and whether regulators will actually enforce regulations?

    America is so not like her hype.

    by OLinda on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:53:20 AM PDT

  •  Newseum (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for that source link, MB. I've been wondering where the pictures came from. Don't think anyone mentioned it before, or I sure missed it.

    America is so not like her hype.

    by OLinda on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:54:46 AM PDT

  •  what happen to the WI recall Poll? (0+ / 0-)
  •  just copied from BBC site: (0+ / 0-)

    :1134Rick Martin tweets:

    Docs from Natl Institute of Radiological Sciences released today, translated just now by awesome volunteers in Gdocs

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [ know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

    by greenbird on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:01:01 AM PDT

  •  Dear American Renters, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You are only leasing your land from Native Americans.  Please return it in the state you found it, unspoiled by petroleum, nuclear and coal pollution.


    Your Native American Landlords

  •  regulators? safety standards? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Egalitare, esquimaux, foresterbob

    The New York Times is so yesterday.  Do they not realize that government regulation is BAD.  That we cannot afford to burden business with archaic, and costly, notions such as safety standards?  Let the magic of the markets prevail.  People are an overvalued commodity anyway.

    Or am I being too cynical?

    •  well... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, sodalis

      check out links above.


      One last item -- over the weekend, I added the point that Japan's experience shows the need for government regulation and involvement (and investment) in preparation for disasters. Things would have been even worse without Japan's drills and plans for an earthquake and tsunami, though the preparations were not, in the end, completely satisfactory. But this is not time to try to save a penny on government oversight in crucial areas like nuclear power in hopes of reducing size of government or balancing the budget. That would be penny wise and pound foolish.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:07:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Fermi II Nuclear Power Plant (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, DRo, Egalitare, stewarjt

    Fermi II which is the exact same make and model reactor as the one in Fukushima is about 34 miles from the Greater SE Michigan Detroit and Suburban area.  As the crow flies.  Or the cloud drifts.

    Have a good day!


    I'm not afraid of guns! I'm afraid of the people that obsess over owning them.

    by Detroit Mark on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:06:03 AM PDT

  •  Mona Charen Continues the Falsehood (4+ / 0-)

    that Wisconsin public employees were not willing to share in the sacrifice.  The confrontation in WI has been about breaking the Unions, not breaking the budget.  Walker broke the budget with corporate tax reductions.  

  •  I like the addition of the front pages to this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    feature.  Just wanted to mention...

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:29:49 AM PDT

  •   Nuclear power a bargain with the devil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Eugene Robinson:  Nuclear power a bargain with the devil

    Robinson has an important column today which I urge you to read.

    In this diary I explore his column & add thoughts of my own.

    I invite you to read.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:25:41 AM PDT

  •  So you want to trade your benefits for land? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Meteor Blades

    Wasn't that the solution proposed for the slaves after the Civil War? 20 acres and a mule? Or something like that.

    Did they ever get their land and their mules? No. Williams is still asking for the same kind of treatment that worked out so well the last time? This time he is proposing it for every single one of us in Social Security.

    S.S was always designed to have younger workers paying for the retiring workers: if he's so amazed at the ignorance of people who don't know that Congress taxes, not the President, why is he such a dope about who pays for S.S. benefits?

    •  How stunningly stupid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades

      is Walter Williams, describing undeveloped lands as "wasting assets."  Some of that land that is "not producing anything" is actually growing trees at a pace found in only a few places on earth.

      And even the most desolate-looking acre is part of an ecosystem that makes life possible for everyone, even those who do not know or care about it.

      Still, I would be willing to let Mr. Williams have his 50 acres, as long as I get to choose where it is.  Perhaps a razor-sharp ridge of rock and ice, halfway up some inaccessible mountain range in Alaska, would suit him very well.

  •  I was looking at a Japanese flag this morning, and (0+ / 0-)

    something insignificant in reality, but ironic in symbolism occurred to me.  Isn't it ironic that Japan, the only country ever to be attacked with nuclear weapons, and a country dotted with nuclear power plants, should have as its national symbol a
    giant ball of radioactive material?

    The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:08:44 AM PDT

  •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, foresterbob
    With the United States poised to expand nuclear power after decades of stagnation, it will be important to reassess safety standards. -NY Times

    Ya think?  The NY Times demonstrates its reassuring grasp of the obvious.

    The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:27:18 AM PDT

  •  saunders (0+ / 0-)

    For those not regularly exposed to her, Debra J. Saunders is perhaps the stupidest person writing a regular column in a print newspaper. I sometimes think the Chron keeps her on as an adjunct to the comics page.

  •  I don't think the safety standards were bad (0+ / 0-)

    when the Fukushima reactors were built.
    I do think they'd have used a different design, or sited them elsewhere, if they'd had more information on the geology of the area.

    Remember these were designed and built in the 1960s, and they didn't know about subduction zones, and they couldn't model tsunamis and earthquakes on computers then ... or not with the degree of accuracy they can now.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:39:29 PM PDT

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