Visual source: Newseum
Workers’ desperate struggle to plug a gush of highly contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, using sawdust, shredded newspaper and an absorbent powder, appeared to be failing early Monday as the radiation threat from the crippled plant continued to spread.
The fear and danger is beyond comprehension for most people, and in particular the political leaders who must order men in to danger. But interestingly, it is not unfamiliar to former American president Jimmy Carter. Nearly half a century ago, as a young naval officer, he led a 23-man team to dismantle a reactor that, like Fukushima, had partially melted down...On the public reaction to TEPCO:
People close to Mr Carter credit his Chalk River experience for his decision not to develop a neutron bomb and to restrict plutonium enrichment to prevent nuclear proliferation. And it is considered one of the principal reasons he took quick, precautionary actions during the Three Mile Island reactor crisis, which occurred two years into his presidency. As for the Chalk River disaster itself, some of today's reactor safety features came out of the incident, such as a system for independent, fast shutdowns that is separate from the regular reactor controls.
Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, a professor of social psychology at Kyushu University, said, "Because the grounds for social anxiety clearly comes from the 'nuclear accident,' the outlet for the anger is focusing on TEPCO. Although there are employees doing their best, a psychology kicks in that lumps them all together as a target for attack. Such trends can become especially radical over the Internet. Global media has praised how the Japanese have been so calm and well-mannered in dealing with the disasters. Such acts only serve to negate such praise."WaPo:
Toshiaki Kamei, a professor emeritus at Kansai University who heads the Japan Risk Management Society, said TEPCO bore much of the blame.
"The bad response by TEPCO only intensified the concerns among the public," Kamei said. "The public did not initially know what was occurring in the nuclear plant and that led to doubts that, 'They are likely hiding something.' There is a need to release information as it is obtained and explain what is going on."
When the boss of Tokyo Electric Power Co. checked into a Tokyo hospital last week with high blood pressure, he didn’t get any sympathy from Tomishige Maruzoi.
“High blood pressure? We’ve all got high blood pressure,” said Maruzoi, a 57-year-old construction worker who now sleeps on a piece of cardboard in a gymnasium. “I feel nothing but anger.”
You can follow the Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs here.
How will the public react if the federal government shuts down next week?
Public polling around the two partial shutdowns between November 1995 and January 1996 provides a sense of what to expect, although reactions then may have been unique to that era's circumstances and outsized personalities.
The first partial shutdown occurred on November 14, 1995, after President Clinton and Republican leaders failed to reach an agreement to keep the government running. More than 800,000 "non-essential" federal workers were furloughed.
That night, Gallup conducted a national survey for CNN and USA Today that showed nearly twice as many Americans blaming Republican leaders in Congress for the shutdown (49 percent) rather than Clinton (26 percent) or both equally (19 percent).
[Donald] Trump and the press have a symbiotic relationship, not unlike bees and flowers,” said William Grueskin, dean of academic affairs for the Columbia Journalism School. “At least in the natural world, you get honey out of it. Out of this campaign coverage, all you get are a lot of empty media moments about someone who is unlikely to run, more unlikely to be nominated, and utterly unlikely to win.”About the only time we mention him is to point out that he's a publicity-seeking asshole. The "press", whatever that is, should do the same. Of course, it's perfectly legit to point out that any mention of Trump and President in the same story is proof of weakness of the GOP field.
No doubt the list of candidates will lengthen. But Republicans shouldn’t feel too confident about the “impressive” part. When it comes to challenging Barack Obama for the presidency, the Party of Lincoln looks increasingly like a party of Mario Cuomos. Its biggest names and brightest lights are mainly competing to offer excuses for why they won’t be running in 2012.When even Douthat gets it, it must be painfully obvious.
Mr. Ryan isn't alone in attempting to move the budget debate beyond the 2011 fight and Mr. Obama's 2012 blueprint. A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) and known as the "Gang of Six" is working on a proposal to cut $4 trillion from the projected federal deficit, building from recommendations of President Obama's deficit commission.There is pressure to look at the budget. Unfortunately, tea party Republicans are not suitable partners to discuss reality.
Mr. Warner said he is concerned that Mr. Ryan's plan will rely too heavily on cutting social programs, and not take aim at defense spending or "look at major tax reform that would actually raise revenues."
Ms. Rivlin said in an interview Sunday she would have preferred a plan that phased in more quickly and left a traditional Medicare program as a default option for seniors. But overall she supported Mr. Ryan's idea. "What Democrats have to realize is we have to do something," Ms. Rivlin said. "Current policy on Medicare is not sustainable. You can worry about how you structure a premium support program, but I think it's a good way to think about the future of Medicare."