Sunday Reads: Robot and Munster

WPA poster

Hello!

Wow, what a busy 24 hours it has been. I don’t know about you all, but my PAD (Political Affected Disorder) has been kicked into high gear. I mean, in a Ryan world, that WPA poster would say, Lack of Funds…Fuck off…you’re on your own, no need for medical care, just die already!

The thought of a Romney/Ryan presidency scares the bejebees out of me! It is frightening though, all that talk of Obama, the Socialist Kenyan Fascist Dictator, bringing on the end of the world…and this is what these nuts are pushing on us? A lying unlikable jerk robot and his Munster asshole “intellectual” cough…cough…

Well, since we don’t know what taxes Romney has paid the last few years…plus, according to Roll Call, Paul Ryan’s Tax Plan Would Slash Mitt Romney’s Tax Rate to 1 Percent : Roll Call Politics

The tax plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate, would have slashed Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate to about 1 percent in 2010, based on Romney’s tax return that year, according to a Roll Call analysis.

The Ryan tax cut, which would shave about 90 percent off of Romney’s tax bill, would result from the Wisconsin Republican’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” proposal to eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest. Since about 95 percent of Romney’s $21.6 million income came from those sources in 2010, he would pay no taxes on the vast majority of his earnings. It’s not certain exactly how low Romney’s tax bill would go, but his income from other sources amounts to about $1 million, and Ryan’s plan would set a new top rate of 25 percent. Romney’s total tax bill would have dropped from the $3 million that he paid to a few hundred thousand dollars if Ryan’s plan had been in effect.

Ryan also proposes eliminating the estate tax, which would benefit Romney’s heirs by tens of millions of dollars.

Ryan’s “Roadmap” plan on his website says eliminating taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends would promote savings.

And speaking of Ryan Budget, take a few minutes to check out Nuns on the Bus…because I am sure they are going to be one of the groups to watch now that the coward, who refused to meet with these Nuns on a Mission, has been picked as Romney’s VP.

I still can’t stand Obama, and I still feel he intends to mess with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid: Obama’s Second Term Agenda: Cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid « naked capitalism

This is probably the least important Presidential election since the 1950s. As an experienced political hand told me, the two candidates are speaking not to the voters, but to the big money. They hold the same views, pursue the same policies, and are backed by similar interests. Mitt Romney implemented Obamacare in Massachusetts, or Obama implemented Romneycare nationally. Both are pro-choice or anti-choice as political needs change, both tend to be hawkish on foreign policy, both favor tax cuts for businesses, and both believe deeply in a corrupt technocratic establishment.

So while the election lumbers on like the death rattles of the wounded animal known American democracy, no one on either side is asking what the plan is for the next term. For Obama, his team is going into rooms of donors and shouting “Supreme Court”, while mumbling something about bipartisanship and $4 trillion, or Simpson-Bowles. What this means is that term two of the Obama White House will be organized around cutting entitlements.

The White House already tried cutting all three main entitlement programs, last year (cuts to Medicaid are actually cuts to Obamacare, for what it’s worth, since an expansion of Medicaid was a key plank of the new health care law).

Read the rest…it is quite upsetting.

In fact, I am going to move away from Romney and Obama, and bring you some stories you may have missed during all the hubbub.

Did you all see this crap: The Goldman Sachs Department of Justice™ Would Like to Apologize to Mr. Blankfein for the Inconvenience | emptywheel

It is beyond ridiculous, and this next link shows just how f’d up this DOJ decision is: AZ Woman Imprisoned — After Producing Her Birth Certificate | Crooks and Liars

Guilt has nothing to do with punishment — that is, as long as you’re not a Wall Street banker. In Arizona, if you “look” foreign, that’s enough to put you in jail indefinitely, without bail – even after you produce your birth certificate:

Recently, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office alleged Briseira Torres, a shy, 31-year-old single mom from Glendale, was here illegally and that Briseira Torres was not her real name.

She was accused of three counts of forgery, in part because her driver’s license had her real name on it, which the MCAO thought was bogus. Following her arrest, she was held without bond in Estrella Jail for 4 1/2 months.

Torres lost her home and car because she couldn’t make the payments as she endured Estrella’s harsh conditions, lousy food, and detention officers.

Bold emphasis is Susie Madrak’s not mine,

In the pile of paperwork they provided to the court, to the prosecutor, and to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was a silver bullet: a sworn statement from Arizona’s Office of Vital Records attesting to the legitimacy of documents on file for Torres.

Among these docs is Torres’ birth certificate, showing she was born August 14, 1981, in Avondale.

Salvatierra asked the court to remand the case back to the grand jury.

Judge Carolyn Passamonte did just this, noting in her minute entry that Torres’ long-form birth certificate was “clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented to the grand jury.”

The judge remarked that the documents on file with Vital Records had been “available to the state,” and in oral arguments, the prosecutor had to admit that he’d never bothered to pull the file and inspect it.

Can you believe this crap? As Susie says,

…her legal birth certificate was right there, the whole time of her incarceration. A cop with a bug up his butt decided to act as if it didn’t exist. If only her name was Goldman Sachs!

Now that your blood pressure is up, check this out: Mississippi county accused of running ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ | The Raw Story

The U.S. Department of Justice has accused officials in Lauderdale County, Mississippi of running ‘a school-to-prison’ pipeline that jails juveniles for even minor school disciplinary problems.

A letter sent by the civil rights division on Friday charges that the Lauderdale County Youth Court, the Meridian Police Department, and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services have been violating the constitutional rights of children in Lauderdale County and the City of Meridian.

According to the letter, an investigation launched last December revealed that “the agencies have helped to operate a school-to-prison pipeline whereby children arrested in local schools become entangled in a cycle of incarceration without substantive and procedural protections required by the U.S. Constitution. The department’s findings show that children in Lauderdale County have been routinely and repeatedly incarcerated for allegedly committing school disciplinary infractions and are punished disproportionately, without constitutionally required procedural safeguards. Children have also been arrested at school for offenses as minor as defiance.”

“Furthermore,” it continues, “children on probation are routinely arrested and incarcerated for allegedly violating their probation by committing minor school infractions, such as dress code violations, which result in suspensions. The department’s investigation showed that students most affected by this system are African-American children and children with disabilities.”

Meridian is known for the murders of three civil rights workers, back in 1964, aka “the Mississippi Burning” case.

In 2009 the Southern Poverty Law Center brought a class-action lawsuit against the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Facility, accusing it of keeping youths “crammed into small, filthy cells and tormented with the arbitrary use of Mace as a punishment for even the most minor infractions — such as ‘talking too much’ or failing to sit in the ‘back of their cells.’”

An agreement was reached at that time to reform the jail system and consider alternative methods of handling school disciplinary issues, but problems have continued in what an SPLC representative now calls “a broken system.”

The Justice Department letter cites a pattern of unconstitutional conduct that includes both failure to assess probable cause before arresting school children and failure to provide proper due process with regard to alleged probation violations.

A few weeks after the Justice Department investigation began last winter, Lauderdale County took steps to shut down its juvenile detention center and send youthful offenders instead to a neighboring county. That action was apparently considered inadequate, and officials are now being told they must enter into “meaningful negotiations” to end the violations within sixty days or face a federal lawsuit.

That is disturbing, I know, and I don’t want to end on a bad note, I mean it is Sunday…and since we started out mentioning the Nuns on the Bus, let’s end with a story about another activist nun.

Behind Nuclear Breach, a Nun’s Bold Fervor – NYTimes.com

Shawn Poynter for The New York Times

Sister Megan Rice, 82, is one of three people arrested in a break-in at a nuclear complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

She has been arrested 40 or 50 times for acts of civil disobedience and once served six months in prison. In the Nevada desert, she and other peace activists knelt down to block a truck rumbling across the government’s nuclear test site, prompting the authorities to take her into custody.

She gained so much attention that the Energy Department, which maintains the nation’s nuclear arsenal, helped pay for an oral history in which she described her upbringing and the development of her antinuclear views.

Now, Sister Megan Rice, 82, a Roman Catholic nun of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, and two male accomplices have carried out what nuclear experts call the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex, making their way to the inner sanctum of the site where the United States keeps crucial nuclear bomb parts and fuel.

“Deadly force is authorized,” signs there read. “Halt!” Images of skulls emphasize the lethal danger.

I’ll tell you one thing…I see an Michael Bay action film in this story.

With flashlights and bolt cutters, the three pacifists defied barbed wire as well as armed guards, video cameras and motion sensors at the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation in Tennessee early on July 28, a Saturday. They splashed blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility — a new windowless, half-billion-dollar plant encircled by enormous guard towers — and hung banners outside its walls.

“Swords into plowshares,” read one, quoting the Book of Isaiah. “Spears into pruning hooks.” The plant holds the nation’s main supply of highly enriched uranium, enough for thousands of nuclear weapons.

The actions of Sister Rice, a New York native who grew up on a prosperous block in Morningside Heights, and her companions, ages 57 and 63, are a huge embarrassment for President Obama. Since 2010, he has led a campaign to eliminate or lock down nuclear materials as a way to fight atomic terrorism. Now, the three — two of whom, including Sister Rice, are free and are awaiting trial in October — have made nuclear theft seem only a little more challenging than a romp in the Tennessee woods.

In interviews this week, Sister Rice discussed her life — somewhat reluctantly at times — and kept emphasizing what she called “the issue.”

You need to read the rest of the story…but isn’t she wonderful?

Can you imagine who would play Sister Rice and her two male accomplices? I see Diana Rigg as Sister Rice, of course with her Avengers background, it will be a spectacular performance. As for the men, one of them has to be Bruce Willis and the other must be Samuel L Jackson.  I can just hear the catch phrase as it trickles off of Jackson’s tongue, “Bless this, muthafukkaz…”

Have a wonderful day and please share what are you all reading about this fine Sunday morning?


Sunday Reads: Isn’t it pretty to think so?

Happy Father’s Day to all you baby daddies everywhere! Just a few links for you today, let’s get to it…

New figures of radiation are being released in Japan, there is a real good post about this at naked capitalism, called Global Nuclear Update.

Science Magazine reports that Japanese scientists have become so concerned about the health of their children that they have initiated their own radiation monitoring program and made their own maps. The results are shocking.

***

It shows one wide belt of radiation reaching 225 kilometers south from the stricken reactors to Tokyo and another extending to the southwest. Within those belts are localized hot spots, including an oval that encloses northeast Tokyo and Kashiwa and neighboring cities in Chiba Prefecture.

***

A map of citizen measured radiation levels shows radioactivity is distributed in a complex pattern reflecting the mountainous terrain and the shifting winds across a broad area of Japan north of Tokyo which is in the center of the of bottom of the map.

That article has info on many other Nuclear sites throughout the world.  Take some time to read it.

Why is it when any distressing news comes out of Africa, it always seems to involves such large numbers?  Half a million displaced as Khartoum moves to crush Sudan’s Nuba people | World news | The Observer

A Sudanese man waves the regional flag

New fighting has increased the chances that a north-south war will reignite, ending hopes of peaceful partition Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Fierce new fighting along Sudan‘s volatile north-south divide is raising deep concern for the safety of the Nuba people, the forgotten victims of the country’s long-running civil war who are once again under attack by government forces and militias.

The fighting has significantly increased the chances that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war six years ago will collapse, reigniting a north-south war and ending all hopes of peaceful partition when oil-rich South Sudan formally declares itself independent on 9 July.

[…]

On 5 June, as the Sudanese government army prepared to “control” – disarm – Nuba fighters, fighting erupted in South Kordofan’s capital, Kadugli, and spread quickly across most of the region. The battle for Kadugli became a street-by-street war of attrition: Khartoum piled in brigades of regulars and irregulars, and the SPLA relentlessly mortared the army’s divisional headquarters.

The UN has issued a report stating that human right offenses are becoming more frequent, and a humanitarian crises is being to build.

On Thursday the Nuba leader, Abdelaziz Adam al-Hilu, told African Union (AU) mediators frantically crafting a ceasefire agreement that more than 3,000 people have disappeared – either killed or their whereabouts unknown – “because they are Nuba or belong to the SPLA”. He said 400,000-500,000 have been displaced, in a population of approximately 2.5 million, and more than 50 towns had been bombed.

Food, he said, was being used as a weapon, with no flow of goods to rural areas since May. Kadugli airport has been closed to humanitarian flights. Relief coming by road has been turned away.

The deadline for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) staff to leave Khartoum has been set for July 9th,  but the situation has become so violent they are afraid to leave the compound.

Justice Clarence Thomas is again in the news, and this time,  the “friends” he keeps are bringing about serious questions regarding ethics and the Supreme Court.  Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics – NYTimes.com

The seafood cannery that Justice Thomas mother once worked is now becoming a large museum in Pin Point, GA, just outside of Savannah, GA is a new pet project of Thomas.  According to the NYT, Thomas became interested in the property when he met the owner Algernon Varn, while visiting his birthplace in coastal GA.

Varn told Mike McIntire of the NYT:

“And Clarence said, ‘Well, I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with,’ ” Mr. Varn recalled, adding that he was later told by others not to identify the friend.

The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point…

The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.

Many remember the last time Thomas was in the news because of his questionable ethics practices.

In January, the liberal advocacy organization Common Cause asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have recused themselves from last year’s Citizens United campaign finance case because they had attended a political retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers, who support groups that stood to benefit from the court’s decision.

A month later, more than 100 law professors asked Congress to extend to Supreme Court justices the ethics code that applies to other federal judges, and a bill addressing the issue was introduced.

It is not unusual for justices to accept gifts or take part in outside activities, some with political overtones.

The article mentions a few examples of Judges who participate in events that are connected to outside interest.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participated in a symposium sponsored by the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, and a philanthropic foundation once tried to give her a $100,000 achievement award. She instructed that the money be given to charity.

Unlike Federal Judges that have a code they must follow, the Supreme court is not bound by a code of conduct. However, they claim to “adhere” to it.

Beyond the admonition against fund-raising, the code generally discourages judges from partaking in any off-the-bench behavior that could create even the perception of partiality. It acknowledges the value in judges’ being engaged with their communities, lecturing on the law and doing charitable work, but draws a line where those activities might cause a reasonable person to worry that a judge is indebted to or influenced by someone.

“The code of conduct is quite clear that judges are not supposed to be soliciting money for their pet projects or charities, period,” said Arn Pearson, a lawyer with Common Cause. “If any other federal judge was doing it, he could face disciplinary action.”

Which brings us to the questions this new Museum raises or more importantly, the relationship between Thomas and Crow.  Clarence Thomas is no stranger to ethical investigations.

Justice Thomas’s gift acceptances drew attention in 2004, when The Los Angeles Times reported that he had accumulated gifts totaling $42,200 in the previous six years — far more than any of the other justices.

Since 2004, Justice Thomas has never reported another gift.

The article is really interesting to read.  I just picked out some good points, but go ahead and read the entire thing.

Since I am a history major, certain stories seem to attract my attention more than others. This next link is to a Wall Street Journal interview with David McCullough.  (Who I think has one of the best voices for narrating documentaries or reading audio books.)

The Weekend Interview With David McCullough: Don’t Know Much About History – WSJ.com

‘We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” David McCullough tells me on a recent afternoon in a quiet meeting room at the Boston Public Library. Having lectured at more than 100 colleges and universities over the past 25 years, he says, “I know how much these young people—even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning—don’t know.” Slowly, he shakes his head in dismay. “It’s shocking.”


He’s right. This week, the Department of Education released the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which found that only 12% of high-school seniors have a firm grasp of our nation’s history. And consider: Just 2% of those students understand the significance of Brown v. Board of Education.


Mr. McCullough began worrying about the history gap some 20 years ago, when a college sophomore approached him after an appearance at “a very good university in the Midwest.” She thanked him for coming and admitted, “Until I heard your talk this morning, I never realized the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast.” Remembering the incident, Mr. McCullough’s snow-white eyebrows curl in pain. “I thought, ‘What have we been doing so wrong that this obviously bright young woman could get this far and not know that?'”


Answer: We’ve been teaching history poorly. And Mr. McCullough wants us to amend our ways.

No kidding, if I am not mistaken, History is one of the subjects that is receiving cuts in funding at many public schools and universities, like in Michigan and Colorado.  So what do you expect?

Also, the attention span and interest levels of the average American these days is pretty pathetic.  I guess if Snookie was giving a lecture on American History, more people would be interested in it.

New anti-abortion billboards have popped up recently, only the group being targeted this time is the Latinas.  Billboards Targeting Latinas Exposes Cynical Motives of Conservative Funders | RH Reality Check

In February, billboards in New York City warned that “The most dangerous place for African Americans is in the womb.” Now Latinos in Los Angeles learn that “El lugar más peligroso para un Latino es el vientre de su madre.” (“The most dangerous place for a Latino in in his mother’s womb.”) So what’s going on in the wombs of minority women in the United States? According to Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, which launched the Latina version last week in Los Angeles, Latina women are under attack from Planned Parenthood. Aguilar claims Planned Parenthood is systematically entering Latino neighborhoods to promote what amount to eugenic abortions.

What minority group is next on the list?

From Minx’s Missing Link File: Being a “full figured” gal myself, I found this article from last week refreshing.    Full Figured Fashion Week Hits New York City

full figured fashion week hits new york city

Today kicks off the start to New York City’s third annual Full Figured Fashion Week (FFFWeek). Over the next three days, buyers, models, sponsors, and bloggers will enjoy an array of events that celebrate plus-size fashion.

[…]

It’s no surprise that plus-size models and fashion are largely absent in runway shows, magazine advertisements, and clothing stores. FFFWeek is a great opportunity to begin bridging this gap and give full figured women access to beautiful and fashionable clothing like anyone else.

Wow, FFFWeek lasted three days…facinating huh?

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  My son and daughter are named Jake and Brett after the book The Sun Also Rises.  So this travel piece about Madrid caught my eye.  A Tour of Hemingway’s Madrid – NYTimes.com

El Sobrino de Botín, open since 1725 on a tiny street behind Plaza Mayor, claims to be the oldest restaurant in the world. Jake and Brett turned up here — like Hemingway himself often did — to dine on the house specialty, roasted suckling pig, and drink several bottles of Rioja Alta. Botín isn’t above playing up the association: the front window displays an image of the writer and a quote from “The Sun Also Rises” that mentions the restaurant. (Until recently, the owners of a nearby restaurant, presumably trying to differentiate themselves from Botín, hung a large sign above its door reading: “HEMINGWAY NEVER ATE HERE.”)

…I asked for a table upstairs, the place where Hemingway put Jake and Brett and where he preferred sitting as well. And like our fictional counterparts, we dined on juicy roast suckling pig, though we stopped at just one bottle of Rioja. Afterward, I introduced myself to Antonio and Carlos Gonzáles, the third generation of their family (along with José) to run Botín. The brothers hadn’t been born when Hemingway was a regular guest at their restaurant, but they’ve heard plenty of stories.

“Don Ernesto once wanted to make paella,” Carlos said. “And so our grandfather allowed him to go into the kitchen to make it.”

Was it any good?

“Apparently not,” he said, laughing. “It was the last time they let him cook anything.”

So, I will leave you with the last few sentences in one of Hemingway’s masterpieces.  Be sure to leave some comments below, and let us know what you have read today.  Happy Father’s Day…

Ernest Hemingway (with the mustache) with Lady Duff Twysden (wearing a hat), Hadley, and three men at a café in Pamplona, Spain, July 1925.

Quote from The Sun Also Rises:

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”


Sunday Reads: Tyrants and Tsunamis

Good Morning or for you later birds…Good Afternoon! Lately the news has been so bad that we usually end with something “light” but today I want to start with something funny to sort of get you all in a laughing mood, at least for a moment until the reality hits… so here is a video from The Tonight Show, featuring Hillary Clinton and Nicolas Sarkozy:

Hillary Clinton knows how to work the French. Watch her in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Okay…on with the show. The world seems to be going to hell lately. Don’t you agree? How can you argue with that assessment when you hear something like this on the news:

Physicist Michio Kaku joined Studio B to talk about the efforts underway to cool the nuclear reactors in Japan.

The part to listen for is around 1:33, where Dr. Kaku says, “Look, we’re gonna lose a good chunk of Northern Japan…” Imagine, an entire half of a country like Japan….completely inhabitable. What are these poor people going to do? What are they thinking about? The emotional despair is truly incomprehensible. Maybe he is on to something…perhaps dumping sand and cement over the entire plant is the right thing to do. (I know that some of you may have seen this link already, but I just thought it illustrated the whole “going to hell” pretty accurately.)

There have been other news reports which reveals TEPCO wanted to pull all their operators out of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant three days after the Earthquake struck. TEPCO was willing to let the Japanese Self-Defense Force and US Military sort things out. This was met with an obvious “hell no” from Japan’s Prime Minster Kan.

TEPCO wanted to withdraw all nuclear plant workers 3 days after quake – The Mainichi Daily News

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) told the government on March 14 that it wanted to withdraw all of its workers from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it has been learned.

TEPCO’s suggestion came two days after a cooling system failure caused by the March 11 quake and tsunami triggered a hydrogen blast at the plant’s No. 1 reactor. Though Prime Minister Naoto Kan rejected the proposal, the finding suggests that the power company was aware from an early stage that damage at the plant could develop into a nuclear disaster exposing workers to high levels of radiation. It is believed that TEPCO was prepared to let Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military handle the situation.

Out of Fukushima, into new uncertainty – CNN.com

Tears suddenly welled up in his eyes as the middle-aged Japanese man recalled the longest drive home in his life a little over a week ago.

“Daiichi … my house … six hours,” he said in broken English.

Through an interpreter, he explained that, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Japan on March 11, he lost all contact with his family and it took him six hours on damaged roads to reach home, located 50 kilometers (30 miles) away from his workplace inside Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Extending his arms as if to hug someone, he relived the moment of relief and excitement when he finally saw his wife and children after fearing the worst.

[…]

The Japanese government has evacuated more than 200,000 residents within a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius of the Daiichi plant and advised people living between the 20- and 30-kilometer zones to stay indoors.

He decided not to take chances and brought his family to Kashiwazaki, where local authorities have turned community centers into temporary shelters for several hundred Fukushima residents — including employees of the power plant.

“They all say on TV that they give us all the facts, but I have my doubts,” he said of officials from Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of the stricken Daiichi plant. “I want things to get better but I don’t think it’s going to be easy.”

It does look like there is some stabilization over at the Fukushima plant as electricity is partially restored:  Workers see some success at nuclear plant as cooling efforts continue – CNN.com

Workers began to see some success in their battle to cool down reactors at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Sunday, but Japanese officials said they may need to release additional radioactive gas into the air.

The plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said electricity was being supplied to reactor No. 2 , Kyodo News reported. But officials said they were monitoring reactor No. 3 to determine whether to release gas to reduce mounting pressure in the containment vessel — the steel and concrete shell that insulates radioactive material inside.

Pressure Stabilizes at Japanese Nuclear Reactor, Operator Says – NYTimes.com

At an afternoon news conference, officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company said venting from Reactor No. 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station would not be needed.

For the latest info on Japan remember these websites:

Kyodo News

Reuters

NHK World News

NHK Live News Stream

On to Libya. Operation “Odyssey Dawn” is in full swing, and as Boston Boomer observed yesterday…why do they always come up with such cheesy names for any military action? Personally this one sounds like a stripper name…in line with “Misty Delta Dream” and “Sugar Velvet.”  (Sorry, my defense mechanisms have been switched on…and I have to joke about all these horrible events to be able to comprehend the real violence and tragedy we are witnessing this week.)
Read the rest of this entry »


Update Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant: Obama Speaks…Breaking News Libya and Bahrain

Friday fall-out: A graphic showing the path of the nuclear plume as predicted by the UN

This is a live blog thread to update our readers on the situation in Japan, Obama is set to give a statement shortly, and we will have a live blog on his press conference in the comment section below.  CNN is reporting that Obama will not take any questions during this statement…no surprise there right?  Anyway…Here are some links to live updates and latest news regarding the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan.

Kyodo News

Reuters

NHK World News

NHK Live News Stream

Recent articles of note:

Then we get this news from the UN Nuclear Agency:

I think these conflicting reports make the situation worse in the eyes of those in Japan.  The main thing to take away from all this is that those of us on the West Coast of the US are safe, in that the radiation in the plume  cloud will be greatly reduced by the time it gets to our shores…even in Hawaii. However, the real concern is in Japan. That is where the focus of worry should be. There are huge populations in and around the area of this nuclear power plant. These people are the ones whom we should concentrate our thoughts…prayers and hopes toward.  It is heartbreaking to see the desperation and emotional toll this is placing on the Japanese citizens and the local government officials that are directly affected by the Nuclear Crisis.

Obama made a “surprise” visit today to the Japanese Embassy in DC, to sign a condolence book. Why do I get the vision of his message looking like something out of a High School Yearbook…

To Japan: Best Wishes! Your BFF Barack Obama 🙂

Okay, that may be a bit harsh, and not to trivialize the situation of the disaster in Japan, but after all the partying and March Madness Picks…I really have a hard time comprehending any “real” message being sent from this president.

On a side note, I do not know if many of you watch the Little League World Series, but teams from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia  and Japan were actually in the semi and final rounds of this past years Series.  Just to put the news in perspective…and to give it some context in relation to a simple game of baseball, and the connection between our countries kids and the kids in these countries devastated by conflict and natural disasters.

News on Libya, Bahrain and MENA:

I want to also take some time to update you on Libya and Bahrain.

Video: Libya – Rebels Claim To Drive Back Pro-Gaddafi Forces Around Eastern Town Of Ajdabiyah | World News | Sky News

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to retake the main rebel stronghold of Benghazi and warned there would be no mercy for those who do not put down their weapons.

In a radio address, the Libyan leader told residents that unarmed people have nothing to fear from the army, but every home will be searched.

Col Gaddafi promised to pardon rebels in Benghazi who surrender, saying his forces would not pursue those who drop their weapons and flee.

But he said “for those who resist there will be no mercy or compassion”.

It comes as his forces reportedly carried out air strikes on the outskirts of the country’s second city, which is home to a million people.

Look here for other articles on the no-fly zone and journalist that are missing in Libya:

Bahrain police round up opposition leaders and take over hospital – Telegraph

Bahrain’s police rounded up opposition leaders at gunpoint and took over a major hospital as it continued a violent crackdown on a protest movement despite international calls for restraint.

Of course for recent updates on all situations:
AJE – Al Jazeera English

Look for more updates below in the comment section, feel free to post anything y’all find…


Fukushima Nuclear Plant Updates: More Evacuations

Updates: More Evacuations…another 28,000 are evacuating from area around Fukushima. Japan using helicopters to douse reactors, fire engines are on there way as well.

Plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel rods are placed in a storage pool at the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, in this picture taken August 21, 2010. Operators of the earthquake-crippled nuclear plant in Japan again deployed military helicopters on March 17, 2011, in a bid to douse overheating reactors, as U.S. officials warned of the rising risk of a catastrophic radiation leak from spent fuel rods. REUTERS/Kyodo

Live stream of Japan State TV:

NHK WORLD TV on USTREAM: Official NHK WORLD TV live on USTREAM. NHK WORLD TV is an English language 24-hour international news and information channel. New…

NHK WORLD English

More people evacuating to avoid radiation

An additional 28,000 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes to other areas to avoid possible radiation from a nuclear power in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. Friday’s earthquake and tsunami crippled the nuclear plant.

NHK has learned that as of Wednesday, 31municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture accepted at least 28,152 evacuees, in addition to those who had already taken shelter in those municipalities.

But many temporary shelters set up in the prefecture were already too crowded to accept the newcomers.

NHK WORLD English

SDF begins efforts to cool down nuclear plant

Two helicopters from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are dropping water on the Number Three building at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The helicopters began dousing the damaged reactor-housing building at 9:48 AM on Thursday.

The SDF has dispatched two CH-47 helicopters equipped with a device for dropping 7.5 tons of water.

They’re being accompanied by another helicopter that is measuring radiation levels above the plant. The first water-dropping operation was completed at around 10:15 AM.

Fears of radiation leaks are rising for the plant’s two reactors, where water in the pool for spent nuclear fuel is believed to be vaporizing due to the failure of the cooling system.

This could expose the fuel rods, possibly causing them to melt and discharge radioactive material into the air. The government’s emergency task force has asked the SDF and the police to cool down the reactor buildings by refilling the pool.

Kyodo News:

Latest News

*

11:05 17 March

NEWS ADVISORY: Power supply to nuke plant may partially resume in afternoon: agency

 

Still seems that we are not getting all of the picture. I honestly think those 50 hero operators went back because they knew their radiation exposure was over the limit already.  Can you imagine what they must be going through?

This is an open thread, look for updates below.


Wednesday Reads

Good Morning! Minx here with the morning roundup. Last night my daughter was very worried about the radiation from Japan. She kept on asking me if it was coming our way.   My thoughts went back to when I was a nine years old and SkyLab was falling out of the sky.  My mom let me stay home from school…I was so worried that it would fall right on top of our house.  It made me laugh. I told her to relax, don’t worry about it…then I saw what hit the fan late last night.

 

The situation in Japan is constantly changing so I will just post some updates below. For the latest news be sure to check:

Kyodo News

Status of quake-stricken reactors at Fukushima nuclear power plants | Kyodo News

Status of quake-stricken reactors at Fukushima nuclear power plants

TOKYO, March 16, Kyodo

The following is the known status as of Wednesday evening of each of the six reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and the four reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant, both in Fukushima Prefecture, which were crippled by Friday’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.

Fukushima No. 1 plant

— Reactor No. 1 – Suspended after quake, cooling failure, partial melting of core, vapor vented, building damaged Saturday by hydrogen explosion, seawater being pumped in.

— Reactor No. 2 – Suspended after quake, cooling failure, seawater being pumped in, fuel rods fully exposed temporarily, vapor vented, building housing reactor damaged Monday by blast at reactor No. 3, damage to containment vessel on Tuesday, potential meltdown feared.

— Reactor No. 3 – Suspended after quake, cooling failure, partial melting of core feared, vapor vented, seawater being pumped in, building housing reactor damaged Monday by hydrogen explosion, high-level radiation measured nearby on Tuesday, plume of smoke observed Wednesday, damage to containment vessel likely.

— Reactor No. 4 – Under maintenance when quake struck, fire Tuesday possibly caused by hydrogen explosion at pool holding spent fuel rods, abnormal temperature rise in spent-fuel storage pool but water level not observed, fire observed Wednesday at building housing reactor, no water poured in to cool pool, spraying of boric acid being considered.

— Reactors No. 5, No. 6 – Under maintenance when quake struck, temperatures slightly rising in spent-fuel storage pools.

Fukushima No. 2 plant

— Reactors No. 1, No. 2, No. 4 – Suspended after quake, cooling failure, then cold shutdown.

— Reactor No. 3 – Suspended after quake, cold shutdown.

==Kyodo

Japan quake live blog: Radiation found in water 50 miles from nuke plant – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs

[6:48 a.m. ET Wednesday, 7:48 p.m. in Tokyo] Tests revealed traces of radiation in tap water in Fukushima city, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Daiichi nuclear plant, the local government said Wednesday. The Fukushima prefecture’s nuclear department said amounts of radioactive cesium and iodine that are not harmful to the human body were found in water samples taken at 8 a.m. Wednesday (7 p.m. ET Tuesday). Government officials said the traces found are connected with the nuclear plant. A measurement of the tap water supply taken later in the day found no traces of iodine or cesium.

Looks like the meeting in Paris did not got so well for the Libyan Rebels. From NBC:

First Read – Clinton: No U.S. support for Libya no-fly zone

We wrote this morning that lawmakers – and the public – are split about whether the United States should implement a no-fly zone in Libya to assist rebels against Moammar Gaddafi.

Now, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports from Cairo that there is “no U.S. support” from the State Department for a no-fly zone over Libya, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instead saying that the proposal must go to the United Nations, where it is expected to face opposition from Russia and China.

Meeting with Clinton last night in Paris, Libyan rebels asked the Secretary to launch airstrikes against three airfields, to offer military aid, and to implement a no fly-zone, Mitchell reports.

But the United States is not going to meet those demands, according to an off-camera read out after that meeting — the highest-level contact to date between the administration and the Libyan rebels.

NATO is expected to discuss options for intervention today.

Qaddafi Forces Near Benghazi as Rebel Says World ‘Failed Us’ – Bloomberg

Muammar Qaddafi set his sights on Benghazi as his forces moved into the gateway city of Ajdabiya, 100 miles from the rebel capital, and prospects faded for a NATO-led no-fly zone to hinder their advance.

The embattled Libyan dictator, appearing with small group of supporters on state-run television, vowed to fight rebel “rats” and said “we are going to destroy them.” In Benghazi, hundreds of his opponents, watching the broadcast projected on the side of a building, jeered and threw shoes in disrespect, according to a live video feed shown by al-Jazeera.

The Libyan army is “coming to secure Benghazi,” state-run television said. Pro-Qaddafi forces attacked on two sides of Ajdabiya using airstrikes and artillery, forcing out-gunned rebels and civilians to flee ahead of troops in tanks and personnel carriers, the Associated Press reported. There were conflicting reports on who controlled the city after nightfall.

Business Line : Industry & Economy / Economy : Clinton calls for restraint in Bahrain

Washington, March 16:

Concerned over increasing acts of sectarian violence by all groups in Bahrain, the US Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, has called for calm and restraint by all sides in the country.

“The use of force and violence from any source will only worsen the situation and create a much more difficult environment in which to arrive at a political solution,” Ms Clinton said at a news conference in Cairo.

America’s advice to all sides, she said, is that they must take steps now to negotiate towards a political resolution.

America’s advice? Who to pick in March Madness…

This video is amazing, be sure to watch it:  Clinton visits anti-government rallying site from Egyptian revolution – CNN.com

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a short tour of Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital on Wednesday.

During the anti-government demonstrations that eventually led to the ouster of long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the square was a rallying spot for protesters who transformed it from a bustling urban center into a fortified campground.

The walking tour lasted about 10 to 12 minutes, with crowds of people stopping her to shake her hand. She later met with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

“To see where this revolution happened and all that it has meant to the world is extraordinary for me,” Clinton said. “It’s just a great reminder of the power of the human spirit and universial desire for human rights and democracy. It’s just thrilling to see where this happened.”

She is walking in Tahrir Square, and to see the people coming up to her and hugging her, especially the women…it gives me some hope that things are moving forward in Egypt.

When I first read the headline below, I actually thought…perhaps there will be some sort of justice. But then I read past the title.

Ex-Chief Of Freddie May Face Civil Action – NYTimes.com

The former chief executive of Freddie Mac may face a civil action as the government ramps up an investigation of disclosure practices at the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, people briefed on the investigation said.

[…]

Mr. Syron, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, is the latest executive mentioned in the government’s sweeping examination of the two government-controlled companies. Three others have already been sent Wells notices, and at least two others are thought to have received them, the people briefed on the investigation said. Last week, Daniel H. Mudd, the former chief executive of Fannie Mae, received a Wells notice, and another former Fannie executive is expected to receive one as well, these people said.

The article goes on to say the SEC does not “have” to file suit for anyone who gets a Wells notice, and it is apparent that so many of these executives have gotten away with bringing down the US Economy…I personally doubt anything will come of this.

In Illinois, women are just cattle…livestock…and no, I ain’t kidding:  Abortion bill passes state legislative panel — the Agriculture Committee – Chicago Sun-Times

SPRINGFIELD — The House Agriculture Committee might seem like a proper venue to debate the state’s approach toward crossbow-hunting, soybean rust or farmers markets, but it became a battleground Tuesday over abortion.

By a 13-0 vote, before a standing-room-only room of angry abortion-rights supporters clad in “Women are not livestock” T-shirts and buttons emblazoned with a cow, the panel advanced legislation putting new financial burdens on abortion clinics.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville), would require abortion clinics to be retrofitted to resemble outpatient surgery centers, meaning equipment such as defibrillators and ventilators would be required for the first time while hallway and parking-lot dimensions would have to change.

“Surgical outpatient centers are built for surgery. That means if something goes wrong, they are equipped to deal with it,” Senger said. “I’m just trying to make parity here for the safety for everyone.”

The House Agriculture Committee, stocked mainly by socially conservative Democrats and Republicans from Downstate, has been the conduit to get guns-rights and anti-abortion legislation to the House floor for years — a fact critics of Senger’s bill zeroed in on.

“We ought to be calling ‘shame, shame, shame’ on Rep. Senger and the members of the Agriculture Committee, who may have expertise in regulating muskrats and fertilizer and heifers and roadkill. But women, I respectfully submit, are not livestock,” Colleen Connell told the panel. Connell is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

So I will just end it here, what are you reading this morning? Be sure to check below for updates on the situation in Japan.


Japan Nuclear Site: New Fire and Workers told to Evacuate

Click for AJE Live Blog

This is a breaking news open thread!

It appears that there is a new fire at the Fukushima Plant, and the workers have suspended operations.

See updates below:

The situation in Japan is constantly changing so I will just post some updates below. For the latest news be sure to check:

Kyodo News

Japan suspends work at stricken nuclear plant – Yahoo! News

Japan suspended operations to keep its stricken nuclear plant from melting down Wednesday after surging radiation made it too dangerous to stay.

 

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the workers dousing the reactors in a frantic effort to cool them needed to withdraw.

 

“The workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now,” Edano said. “Because of the radiation risk we are on standby.”

Radiation prompts Japan plant evacuation – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

Japan has suspended operations to prevent quake-affected Fukushima nuclear plant from melting down after a surge in radiation made it too dangerous for workers to remain at the facility.

Yukio Edano, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said on Wednesday work on dousing reactors with water was disrupted by the need to withdraw.

The level of radiation at the plant surged to 1,000 millisieverts early on Wednesday before coming down to 800-600 millisieverts. Still, that was far more than the average. “So the workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now,” Edano said.

For the latest Latest News via Kyodo News click here:

Latest News
  • 11:30 16 March BREAKING NEWS: Containment vessels of No.1, No.3 reactors may be damaged: EdanoNote
  • 11:27 16 March
  • NEWS ADVISORY: No plans to expand evacuation area near troubled nuke plant: EdanoNote
  • 11:27 16 March
    BREAKING NEWS: Fukushima No. 3 reactor’s container feared partially damaged: EdanoNote
  • 11:26 16 March
    NEWS ADVISORY: No reports of explosion after smoke came out of nuke plant: EdanoNote
  • 11:26 16 March
    NEWS ADVISORY: No reports of explosion from No. 3 reactor: EdanoNote
  • 11:25 16 March
    NEWS ADVISORY: Edano calls on people to save gas and other fuelNote
  • 11:25 16 March
  • 11:24 16 March
    BREAKING NEWS: Radiation level briefly tops 2 milisievert at Fukushima plant: TEPCONote
  • 11:23 16 March
    BREAKING NEWS: Radiation levels at Fukushima plant rose after 10 a.m.: EdanoNote
  • 11:16 16 March
    NEWS ADVISORY: TEPCO can’t check smoke at Fukushima plant as radiation is too highNote
  • 11:02 16 March
  • NEWS ADVISORY: TEPCO unable to confirm temperature at No.3 reactor’s spent fuel poolNote
  • 11:00 16 March
    NEWS ADVISORY: Pool stores 514 spent fuel rods at Fukushima No.3 reactor: TEPCONote
  • 10:53 16 March
  • NEWS ADVISORY: Smoke may be coming from No. 3 reactor’s fuel pool: TEPCONote

For the Latest news via New York Times:

11:13 P.M. |Core Group of Workers Remain at Plant

The Times’s Hiroko Tabuchi reports that a small group of workers remains at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, contrary to what an English translation of the chief cabinet secretary’s remarks had implied.

10:22 P.M. |Chief Cabinet Secretary’s News Conference

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, is holding a news conference that is being broadcast live on Japanese television. Mr. Edano said radiation readings started rising rapidly Wednesday morning outside the front gate of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. “All the workers there have suspended their operations. We have urged them to evacuate, and they have,” he said, according to a translation by NHK television.

Japan safety agency: roof cracked at Fukushima No 4 reactor | Reuters

Two workers are missing after Tuesday’s explosion at one of the reactors at a crippled Japanese nuclear plant, the country’s nuclear safety agency said.

The agency did not identify the missing workers, but said they were in the turbine area of the No.4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was damaged by last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami.

Agency official also told a news conference there was a crack in the roof of the reactor building.

Latest nuclear plant explosion in Japan raises radiation fears – The Washington Post

Satellite photos show steam rising from the facility. The amount of radioactivity carried by the plume is unknown, but small increases in radiation — not enough to affect human health — were reported in Tokyo, about 150 miles to the southwest of the facility, and in other parts of Japan.

In response, NHK television reported that the Japanese government had ordered the country’s 47 prefectures to publicly report recorded radiation levels twice a day.

Updates on this breaking news will be posted below in the Comment Section.

For an time lapse video of the quakes in Japan, see the video below: