Fukushima Daiichi Update

Fukushima Workers

I squeezed some of this topic into a recent podcast on My Podcasts on YouTube. It’s important to know that the Fukushima reactor is still not fully scrapped and that while radiation levels are low they are also not decreasing by any significant measure in all recent online published studies.

Resources and Blogs:

IAEA Updates

The Guardian Reporting On Worker Death In Decommission Process; accidental death by all reports and not a direct failure of TEPCO to safeguard their employees health and well-being in this specific case.

Fukushima Update Blog (LA Times Reporters)

Fukushima Diary (Iori Mochizuki)

Radiation Warning

My YouTube Podcasting Has Erupted

This is the first of the podcasts I’ve been cutting over the past few days.

It’s a lot of fun to switch gears as a broadcaster into new mediums.

Though it’s become clear to me that the fun part of doing the recordings is getting addictive versus the boring part of doing the editing.

These are going to get a bit … wild … in coming updates.

If you’re catching me here then consider linking up with me over on the YT as well.

One Year After The BP Spill


April 20th, 2011, marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

I mark the BP Spill as a point in time which it became even more clear to me that the United States government is invested in protecting corporations and industry over protecting its citizens from harm.

The reckless disregard for both human life and the environment of BP and Transocean has not met with any criminal prosecution. Serving as an example that a company is free to cause death and mayhem without any consequences but an individual who caused the death of eleven workers and poisoned the Gulf for decades to come would receive no such special treatment.

America continues to be a cowardly nation when it comes to holding the people responsible for the industrial homicide that took place one year ago.

Add atop all this that the government lied to the public regarding the location and magnitude of the spill on multiple occasions and approved a toxic dispersant that has been banned in the U.K. to be sprayed into the environment in quantities previously unheard of for use in an oil spill clean up.

Considering all this I don’t trust the EPA or the federal government when they proclaim the seafood as safe as the Gulf as non-toxic. The health and safety of the public is secondary to promoting the needs of the private sector industry forces, so if the feds and the EPA have to lie and cause a few people to get sick as a direct result then that is exactly what they will do.


As a single solitary citizen there is not much I can do to bring the inhuman monsters responsible for this to justice nor can I hope to see those in the EPA and the federal government who would lie to public be fired and replaced with people who would actually do their jobs rather than bend knee to the oil industry. Beyond voicing myself on a blog the only avenue I have to act upon is this: boycott BP forever.

A corrupt government we can change, though I don’t see it as an easy road it is entirely possible if people only stand together in a common cause. But changing a multinational corporation is much more difficult than changing a government and in all reality corporations are beyond all laws and beyond taking responsibility for the death and destruction they bring about in their narrow, greedy quest for ever-increasing profits. When faced with such a power the only recourse of a ordinary person is to not contribute to the empire of death with everyday purchases like gas or food.

When every former BP station has rebranded itself and the company is treated like the pariah they are in the United States then I might consider reviewing their corporate policies and considering putting an end to the calls for  boycott, but not a moment before.

If consumers continue to reward corporations guilty of industrial homicide with business then there shall never be any hope of a private sector that doesn’t cause these horrific disasters in the first place.

Government Shutdown Narrowly Averted

(Monsivais/AP)

Just before the midnight deadline Congress has passed a temporary budget deal that will prevent the furlough of thousands of workers and ensure that U.S. combat troops do not go unpaid. Reportedly this budget contains $39 billion in cuts and the numerous policy riders proposed by Republicans (regarding Planned Parenthood and EPA funding along with taking school lunches away from kids) have been removed.

I place the majority of the blame for the possible shutdown on the shoulders of House Speaker John Boehner. His inability to control his caucus led to these abortion and environment policy riders to be attached to a budget bill in the first place, which in turn created the deadlock. (You can find a comprehensive list of all the policy riders here.) To have presented such a poison pill laden budget to the Senate represented a huge lack of leadership from Boehner, and put this matter of a government shutdown on the political map as a reality instead of a mere talking point for conservative broadcasters.

Make no mistake, the GOP/Tea Party almost just furloughed thousands of Americans and put a question mark above combat troop pay all in the name of federal funding for abortion which is already covered by the Hyde Amendment and the unconstitutional attempt to strip previously passed legislation regarding not only the EPA but also the Consumer Protections Bureau, Medicare and legislation dating as far back as FDR’s school lunch program.

Some Early Mid-Term Election Results

U.S. Governor's Races

In California Jerry Brown has defeated Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina has lost to Barbara Boxer but refuses to concede at this time.

 

U.S. Senate Races

In Nevada Harry Reid has defeated Sharron Angle and the Democratic Party has retained control of the Senate but lost the House.

They’re Not Cleaning It Up, They’re Covering It Up

Kindra Arnesen is not the only one appalled at this sham of a clean-up effort and the corporate whitewash media-blackout over the level of sheer disaster currently ravaging America at the hands of BP and Transocean.

Arnesen does not even touch on the toxic and hazardous dispersant (Corexit) that does nothing but add a poison that makes the oil harder to clean-up (and videotape / photograph) into the mix of all the other health hazards and environmental hazards already in play.

ProPublica.org:

The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K.

As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.

Reuters.com:

Oil-dispersing chemicals used to clean up the vast BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico carry their own environmental risks, making a toxic soup that could endanger marine creatures even as it keeps the slick from reaching the vulnerable coast, wildlife watchdogs say.

The use of dispersants could be a trade-off between potential short-term harm to offshore wildlife and possible long-term damage to coastal wildlife habitat if the oil slick were to reach land.

“Write About What You Know”

Write about what you know.

I’m sure we have all heard this saying.

Well one thing I know is that multi-tabbed browsing has forever turned my accessing of the Internet to constant self-inflicted information-overload.

You have your Facebook, you know:

Boycott BP

You have your solutions from science, you know:

6 ways mushrooms can save the world

And you have Jeanette DeMain and the best damn collection of hard facts on the Deepwater oil disaster, you know:

‘The Environmentalists’ and Deepwater Drilling

Now we all know.

***

I have a love-hate relationship with this quote. It is vital to focus yourself in your writing, this is true. But a speculation, if properly declared as such, has value. People should be allowed to openly question and openly pursue that which they are uncertain about. Though it is important to state that single ancedotal accounts don’t amount to facts, and there is never any lack of those who wish to write (or speak) out of ignorance and not out of a desire to inform and educate themselves.

Shep Smith Cuts Loose On The BP Fanclub At Fox

Judge Andrew Napolitano joined hands with Rep. Joe Barton in a heartfelt defense of the oil industry. Specifically BP by trying to place all blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the government.

HuffingtonPost.com:

Appearing on Smith’s “Studio B,” Napolitano argued that because BP relied on inaccurate government models to draw up its contingency plans, the government is at fault, and not the oil company.

“The oil companies have no choice, Shep, but to rely on what the government tells them,” Napolitano — a libertarian who recently launched a tea party show on Fox Business Network — said.

“So on the basis of this erroneous information, the government says: ‘Don’t dig at 500 feet, where Gov. Jindal says you can dig, where you want to dig, where we know you can easily control a spill, dig at 5,000 feet where our environmentalist folks think you should dig.”

“I’m getting kinda grossed out, Judge,” Smith shot back. “You’re blaming the government for this?’

“I’m blaming the government for this,” Napolitano affirmed.

I think this was kiddy-gloves language from Shep for such a vile misrepresentation of the facts surrounding the greatest environmental disaster in American History. But then again he is workin’ at The Fix… Kudos to Shep, I say! Good man!

SB1070 For Dummies & Hayward Hung By The Toes

This YouTube video from 4409 “Wake Up America” Productions is what people really need to understand about ‘that law’ that everyone is talking about when not picturing BP exec Tony Hayward in some contraption from one of the Saw movies.
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“Please don’t kill me, America! I promise another ad campaign and more toxic dispersant!”
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This is not about immigration. This is about encroaching on civil liberties first with racial profiling and then moving forward from there to effect all groups.
At least five lawsuits have been filed thus far to fight against the Arizona law coming on behalf of the ACLU and others.
AZCentral.com:

A group of 14 civil and immigrant-rights organizations and 10 individuals on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s new immigration law. It is the fifth legal challenge of the law, which goes into effect July 29 and makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

All the lawsuits seek to prevent the law from going into effect. However, this latest case names Arizona’s county officials as defendants, while previous suits were filed against state officials.

Participants in this case include the American Civil Liberties Union, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Since I put “for dummies” in my headline I’ll move forward slowly about the why on this show-me-your-papers law signed by Jan Brewer is unconstitutional. Instead slamming a bunch of legalese at you it’s much better to simply look closely at the Section B paragraph of AZ SB 1070:
“For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official …”
This just means anything at all that might be contact with the police. If they flag you down on the street when you are walking, that is a “lawful stop.” It has very little to do with vehicles and everything to do with the security of your person from harassment from the police. Even when a police officer who has mistaken your identity, let’s say, it is still a committing a “lawful stop” to detain you and discover your true identity. In short, this opening clause of the law is both sweeping and overreaching in terms of the authority it grants. In this language alone that law has isolated undocumented workers from seeking police services should they be attacked or threatened in their safety for even requesting police services: a 911 call is nothing more an invitation to legal harassment and then deportation.
“… where reasonable suspicion exists that a person is alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made … to determine immigration status of the person”
Many advocates for this draconian law claim it mirrors the existing federal immigration law, but this is completely false. No standing U.S. law fails to define what exactly “reasonable suspicion” is to be recognized as in regards to infraction in question. You may have heard the phrase: “What does an illegal look like?” This is what these people are referring to. There is no standard set within any part of this law as to what exactly is the definition of “reasonable suspicion” of being here under undocumented (“alien”) status. This failure to define what the terms of “reasonable suspicion” entail creates a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable search and seizure” which requires “probable cause” be clearly established prior to such “reasonable attempt”s of the Arizona law to toss you in a cell or search your person in any manner. Furthermore, the Fifth Amendment also protects any person, be they citizen or not, from incriminating themselves so this very act of having state authorities asking a person to identify their status with the federal immigration bureau is a “reasonable attempt” to force the affected party to admit to a minor misdemeanor. Which still ultimately amounts to a form of self incrimination. Another way to understand this is know that if a undocumented worker knew their rights at the time of a “lawful stop” taking place they would be within their rights to claim the Fifth Amendment protections while being asked by a state official their federal immigration status.
“… may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of the subsection …”
This clause was added after the initial drafting of the law and fails to clarify just exactly how an officer is to determine immigration status without the use of “race, color and national origin” as the primary factor is raising the question. Had the misguided authors of this law inserted their media commentary that “clothing” was a factor to be decided upon it would have held more weight than this rather self defeating clause. As I stated above, without the method of attaining “reasonable suspicion” of being here under undocumented status outlined in the this law it remains the only standard in which to enforce such a law would be racial profiling. This clause turned a simply unconstitutional law into a literally unenforceable law.
The greatest layer of the unconstitutionality of AZ SB 1070 is the very top layer:
It is not the business of state authority to tread upon the direct charge of federal agencies. Even when they have a false charge of “inaction” on behalf of the federal government, the state laws never supersede federal authority on existing issues. Before any of the other elements of unconstitutionality would be considered this first brazen disregard for the Constitution will get this anti-civil liberties and pro-racial profiling law thrown out of court.
My point from the beginning is it is disgusting and un-American of all involved with this law to even have to drag this veiled racism mixed with an unconstitutional power-grab into our courts in the first place. Striking down this law effectively and immediately is the only course of action that will save both money and freedom in one swift movement.
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Colbert knows what to do with those Tony Hayward types…
What I myself find especially funny lately is this strange group of people out there, I guess we’ll call them the “Blame No One Party” because that seems to be their game here. They are trying to convince us that blaming someone for the catastrophe that they oversaw and helped create is some act of mad lunacy. That we all should be looking forward. To what exactly I’m not too clear. The next environmental disaster that Big Oil will bless us with? I’ll be over here with my burning Tony Hayward effigy and “Boycott BP” signs, thank you very much.
Don’t forget this is the “worst oil spill in U.S. history” and has turned the Gulf of Mexico “into a dead zone.”
I’m for cutting all our government contracts with BP, and cutting their jet fuel arrangement with the Pentagon as well. A company like BP has no place working under federal auspices of any sort. They have effectively destroyed America. Were this deliberate and not rampant greed and arrogance it could easily be classified as some form of terrorist or economic attack on all of America.
It seems when extremists blow people up: it’s a crime and everybody is mobilized to catch the criminals. But when careless suits at BP blow people up: it’s something to be ignored and just accepted as part of modern life.
UPDATE:
IPC has backed my statements here in their Q&A Guide.

WSJ: Drilling Process Attracts Scrutiny in Rig Explosion

Gerald Herbert / The Associated Press

Russel Gold & Ben Casselman of The Wall Street Journal:

An oil-drilling procedure called cementing is coming under scrutiny as a possible cause of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that has led to one of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history, drilling experts said Thursday.

The process is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor. Cement, pumped down the well from the drilling rig, is also used to plug wells after they have been abandoned or when drilling has finished but production hasn’t begun.

In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement; it isn’t known whether they had completed the plugging process before the blast.

Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force. When cement develops cracks or doesn’t set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased by BP PLC, the British oil giant.

Concerns about the cementing process—and about whether rigs have enough safeguards to prevent blowouts—raise questions about whether the industry can safely drill in deep water and whether regulators are up to the task of monitoring them.

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface.

Federal officials declined to comment on their investigation, and Halliburton didn’t respond to questions from The Wall Street Journal.

There are serious questions to be asked of Halliburton Co. and their unwillingness to talk to a source as reputable as the Wall Street Journal begs the question if indeed they do hold some serious level of responsibility in this recent oil drilling disaster.

Texas Joins In On The Science-Denial Trend

The state of Texas has jumped on the science-denial bandwagon currently gripping the right-wing. Texas has challenged the EPA findings that greenhouse gas emissions are classified as “dangerous,” claiming that the findings are based on flawed science. This is of course a false and absurd claim coming from the leading greenhouse gas emitter of the U.S.

Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional director over Texas, said the agency is confident the finding will withstand any legal action. He also said the move isn’t surprising considering Texas’ pattern of opposition to the EPA.

“Texas, which contributes up to 35 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by industrial sources in the United States, should be leading the way in this effort,” he said. “Instead, Texas officials are attempting to slow progress with unnecessary litigation.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said it’s the first legal challenge by a state, though industry groups have also challenged it.

Texas says the EPA’s research should be discounted because it was conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 for its work on climate change but has since been embarrassed by errors and irregularities in its reports.

(Nobody ever successfully connected the so-called “Climategate” hacking incident, which I assume are the “errors & irregularities” mentioned, and the matter of the Greenhouse Gas Effect or the Climate Science findings as a whole in any way except political partisans with obvious Big Energy funding and absolutely no facts to back up the case they make.)

The guys and gals of The Great State of Denial, good ol’ Texas, seem to hold different standards of The Scientific Method and Comparative Analysis. Maybe those words are just too big for Texas.

I see this as just a symptom of a much larger problem breeding under the surface: the praise of ignorance over knowledge; the willful destruction of critical thinking.

The “debate” over climate change can be settled in moments by the most simple process of comparing the credibility of the sources and the amount of raw data on both ends. There is not a debate going on in the scientific community, there is a consensus with a few skeptic holdouts that have almost all published debunked papers at some point or another, but within the political community and the business community they would like very much for this issue to be up for debate. But it’s not, an overwhelming body of evidence exists in favor of Climate Science and skeptics fail to bring any new data (“Climategate” was the biggest joke on conservatives and their complete inability to rationally review data ever) so it’s simply “denial” and nothing more from these Big Money influenced talking heads. The Deniers and the Consensus; Texas just put itself on the side of the Deniers.

What lies under the surface here is the desire to squelch all rational discussion and replace it with bumper-sticker sound bytes. If anyone dares speak out against these ridiculous claims circulating and tries to use facts instead of rhetoric, then you can bet they will start up the personal attacks and just making even more broad claims about more unproven garbage. If you are even perceived as “smart” then you must be a “elitist liberal” who will only “lie to confuse you.” They are teaching people to hate intelligence and love stupidity in the once great state of Texas, all in the name of keeping their rich friends happy and scoring cheap political points while they are at it too.

“Snow Crash” and “Reefer Madness”

I have two reading suggestions for you today:


Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

I have but scratched the surface of this science fiction novel that has been recommended to me many times over. I am fast seeing this book as one that sits in the all-time-favorite pile for me, as well as just being a lot of fun.

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market” by Eric Schlosser

I have also only just begun to read this book but it is obviously a highly informative, if somewhat outdated (2003), observation of the American Black Market. This is the “unspoken” piece of the economy as a whole.

There are strange parallels between these two books that I am only just being to piece together.