Thursday ReadsPosted: March 17, 2011
Good Morning! Well, at least we are alive and not living next to a nuclear plant that is melting down–for now anyway–so I guess you could say it’s a good morning.
I’m pretty overwhelmed with trying to summarize the news. There is so much happening that I hardly know where to begin. I’m going to begin with a link or two about some of the big stories happening right now. You can supplement my links in the comments.
Japan nuclear disaster: US Officials Alarmed by Japanese Handling of Nuclear Crisis
“It would be hard to describe how alarming this is right now,” one U.S. official told ABC News….
“We are all-out urging the Japanese to get more people back in there to do emergency operation there, that the next 24 to 48 hours are critical,” the official said. “Urgent efforts are needed on the part of the Japanese to restore emergency operations to cool” down the reactors’ rods before they trigger a meltdown.
“They need to stop pulling out people—and step up with getting them back in the reactor to cool it. There is a recognition this is a suicide mission,” the official said….
The U.S. official says experts believe there is a rupture in two, maybe three of the six reactors at the Fukushima power plant, but as worrisome is the fact that spent fuel rods are now exposed to the air, which means that substances like cesium, which have a long half-life, could become airborne.
“That could be deadly for decades,” the official said….
“There is talk of an apocalypse and I think the word is particularly well chosen,” European Union’s energy commissioner Günther Oettinger said today, according to various reports. “Practically everything is out of control. I cannot exclude the worst in the hours and days to come.”
It doesn’t get much more serious that that. The US has also contradicted Japan on the evacuation zone, saying that if this happened in the US, the recommendation would be to evacuate everyone in a 50 square mile radius of the plant–not the 12 miles that Japan has recommended.
Government forces captured Ajdabiyah, 150 km (90 miles) south of Benghazi on the Gulf of Sirte, on Tuesday after most of its rebel defenders retreated from a heavy artillery barrage.
One rebel officer said on Wednesday the town had been lost and the fighters who remained had handed over their weapons. But some apparently refused to surrender or flee.
By Wednesday evening, residents said the rebels held the centre of town while forces loyal to Gaddafi were mostly on its eastern outskirts.
It’s just about over for the opposition forces. I’m writing this late at night, by the time you read this, there could have been a real bloodbath. It’s so sad. I’ll update in the morning.
A tent city in the heart of Bahrain’s capital was wiped away Wednesday morning in a cloud of tear gas and a hail of rubber bullets after the government dispatched troops against pro-democracy demonstrators in defiance of U.S. warnings.
Trails of acrid black smoke floated over Manama as dumpsters and tires were set alight across the city. By late afternoon, the military had announced a 12-hour curfew for most of the downtown area, including Pearl Square, which has been the hub of the demonstrations.
The early-morning sweep came despite U.S. insistence that dialogue, not violence, was the only way to end the crisis that has convulsed Bahrain for more than a month. It drew an unusually sharp rebuke from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is visiting the Middle East.
“They are on the wrong track,” she told reporters in Cairo. “There is no security answer to this,” she added, referring to the protesters’ demands, “and the sooner they get back to the negotiating table and start trying to answer the legitimate needs of the people, the sooner there can be a
But people are still dying, and the Bahrain government is using U.S.-provided weapons and teargas. Last night I fell asleep listening to BBC World News on the radio. Once I awoke to hear a heart-rending call from a doctor at a Bahrain hospital. She was frantic, telling the horrified radio talkers that government troops (and Saudi forces) were shooting people on the streets and refusing to let the doctors treat the injured. Here’s the horrifying video.
Yemen: The Yemen government is also viciously attacking its own people–and with U.S. weapons and backing. I have to wonder if our own “leader’s” refusal to get involved in the Libyan situation has given other dictators carte blanche to follow Gaddafi’s lead and massacre protesters in order to stay in power.
The torture of Bradley Manning: Glenn Greenwald’s latest post is essential. Greenwald provides links to U.S. and international coverage of the Manning case and suggests that we may have finally hit a tipping point–the disgust at what the Obama administration is doing to this young man is palpable.
And please don’t miss this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow (via Greenwald).
Finally, also via Greenwald, please read this amazing rant. (I took the liberty of correcting a few typos)
If his psychopathic commitment to killing people hadn’t already convinced you that Barack Obama shared [George W. Bush’s] particular quality of being a vacant, blood-driven monster whose outward appearance as one of our own kind is no more than an act of ingenious fakery, then you may wish to consider his response to the torture of Bradley Manning, which he treats with the blithe indifference of a busy manager signing off on some subordinate’s expense report. Yeah, he assured me everything was copasetic. It’s all good.
Here is a fine opportunity to engage in a little free and painless magnanimity, to make vague noises about according decent treatment even to one’s enemies, to blather a bit about America’s commitment to the humane treatment of all God’s precious children, to give the poor kid some boxer shorts and a couple of books to read, and to throw that paltry bone to his supporters in the Democratic faction, who would immediately beatify him as better-than-Cheney, and he passed on it. He said, no, we’re going to go right on torturing this person, who has not been convicted of any crime, lest he commit suicide before we are able to consign him for the rest of his life to the tortures we are already visiting upon him….
What this episode reveals is that the most salient aspect of Barack Obama’s character is that he is an asshole of the worst order. He does not delight in cruelty like his predecessor, but is grossly indifferent to it. The Ts have all been crossed. Proper procedures followed? Yes. Fine. Let’s move on. I have been assured.
I cannot disagree. So….what are you reading and blogging about today? Lay it on me.