Thursday Reads

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.

Libya: Rebels fight to stall Gaddafi’s army in east

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.

Bahrain: Bahrain unleashes assault against protesters’ camp in capital

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.


29 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Glenn McGahee says:

    For some more sampling of The Obama’s Administration’s ineptness, take a gander at this response. I know the Obama’s are busy packing for Rio, but there is the Nation’s business to attend to. They don’t even pretend to care:
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/4fj7pw6

  2. Glenn McGahee says:

    Here is the actual article:
    http://tinyurl.com/4fj7pw6

  3. Seriously says:

    Nice roundup. Latest from AJE is Gaddafi’s attacking the airport 10 km outside Benghazi with aerial bombardment. What do you think of Rice’s draft resolution–legit or a stunt to make it appear as if we’re engaged knowing it will come to nothing?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Seriously,

      I don’t know. I just heard Hillary on NPR, and she said again that the UN security council will consider many possible actions, including a no-fly zone.

      It seems these actions will all be too late after Gaddafi crushes the rebels in Benghazi. I don’t know what to think.

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    Great reads BB, I know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed with writing the morning post….I had that feeling yesterday. 😉

    Well, the US is sending military planes to get citizens out of Japan!

    Japan rushes against time to avert nuclear plant meltdown | Reuters

    Japan said the United States would fly a high-altitude drone over the stricken complex to gauge the situation, and had offered to send nuclear experts.

    A State Department official said flights would be laid on for Americans to leave, and family of embassy staff had been authorized to leave if they wanted.

    The water cannons that were brought in yesterday do not seem to be working. They have suspended these:
    Water cannon withdrawn from Japan nuclear plant: report | Reuters

    More on that here:

    NHK WORLD English

    Police failed to spray water to cool No.3 reactor

    Japanese police have failed in their attempt to use water canon to cool the No.3 reactor at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

    The high-pressure water did not reach the reactor and the police squad has now evacuated to a safety zone.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      One more link…and check out the spin at the end of the article.

      NHK WORLD English

      Higher radiation levels continue around Fukushima

      Radiation levels at municipalities around the quake-damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture continue to be higher than normal. But authorities say the detected levels pose no harm to human health.

      As of 9 AM Thursday, at Fukushima City, 65 kilometers northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, radiation level was 13.9 microsieverts per hour. This is more than 340 times the usual background level.

      At Koriyama City located west of the plant, the reading was 2.71 microseiverts, 45 times the normal level.

      South of the plant, in Iwaki City, radiation levels were as high as 20 times the usual level at 1.25 microseiverts.

      At the Onagawa nuclear power plant 120 kilometers northeast of the Fukushima plant, radiation levels measured 3.2 microseiverts, 32 times the usual amount.

      In Kitaibaraki City south of the Fukushima plant, radiation found to be 1.19 microseiverts, 23 times the normal figure.

      But health authorities say one-hour of exposure to radiation at any of the observed levels would range between one 500th to one 40th of the amount of radiation the body would receive in a single stomach X-ray.

      Thursday, March 17, 2011 13:57 +0900 (JST)

      • bostonboomer says:

        This morning someone on NPR talked about parts of Japan being uninhabitable!

        They are trying to spin this, but at this point no one can spin this to be a minor thing–or even like Three Mile Island.

        Have you seen the photos of the plant? It looks like a junkyard!

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I know, and the people of Japan are finally getting angry about the way the Gov is handling this….as far as getting the information out to the public.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    Radiation Plume Course Charted by U.N. Agency – NYTimes.com

    A United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese reactors shows it churning across the Pacific, and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.

    Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in 10 days, its levels measurable but minuscule.

  6. bluelady says:

    Re the nuclear disaster in Japan:
    Dropping water from a helicopter or shooting it from a water cannon have to be last-ditch efforts; how can you place the water with any accuracy from these devices?
    Labeling this as a suicide mission is apt- and looking for volunteers from the older people is sad but I see the point.
    The US shouldn’t delude itself in thinking we’d be doing this better- I really doubt that we would if it played out like that here-

    • paper doll says:

      The US shouldn’t delude itself in thinking we’d be doing this better- I really doubt that we would if it played out like that here-

      up…it’s said we are telling Japan they should be evacuating people 50 miles, not 12 …if this was here, we’d be saying 12 miles too.

      Great round up BB! And Thanks to all the front pagers dealing with the news!

    • dakinikat says:

      New Mexico is looking good. No reactors and a lot of solar homes.

  7. boogieman7167 says:

    i think the Japan nuclear disaster its much worse than they are reporting . maybe they don’t want to create a mass panic . but anytime some says just stay inside your homes
    like that radiation cant go inside . then they impose a no fly zone someones bull**ting

    • boogieman7167 says:

      as far as imposeing a no-fly zone over Libya
      i don’t see that happening never really did The US dose not want to get tied down don’t a 3 wars.
      that my take on it anyway .

  8. janicen says:

    Thanks for the roundup, BB. I hadn’t read the piece by Greenwald. I hope he, and journalists like him, can keep pressure on the administration and stop the torture of one of our fellow citizens.

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    It is just too depressing to read the news.

    The only good thing for me is opening day at Fenway is fast approaching and the Sox look pretty good in pre season!

    At least I can bury my head in the sand for a few hours and not be reminded that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

    Facile I know but not much else to look forward to.

    • bostonboomer says:

      We have to do whatever gets us through and keeps us sane. I plan to watch some of the March Madness games and I’m also looking forward to Red Sox season.

    • dakinikat says:

      Just saw that on Suburban Guerrilla. The Daily is one of Murdoch’s rags. I’d believe that there must be a grain of truth in it because her husband already came out supporting the no fly zone and they have similar ideals. I’d say some of it might be a leak of convenience. However, it’s possible a disgruntled Crowly could be dropping hints places.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Shocking: Obama is supposed to give a press conference sometime today about the Nuclear Catastrophe over at the Fukushima plant. I will post a live thread when the president speaks, along with updates to the situation in Japan.

  11. foxyladi14 says:

    more speechifing.like that,s going to help anything 👿