Archive for June 27th, 2011

by jhwygirl

Seems everyone is getting on the bandwagon of revenue increases these days – you’ll recall the Senate recently voted to kill ethanol subsidies (we’ll see where the tough-talking House goes with that one…), then GOP leaders in the Senate started talking publicly of revenue increases.

Is that pure BS talk? Certainly some say so (as has been exhaustively argued on these pages)…but there are observers suggesting that Grover Norquist and his “no revenue increase” mantra may be becoming insignificant.

Absent of Republicans, in general, looking at more revenue increasing proposals, we have President Narayana Kocherlakota of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis – at a weekend bankers conference held here in Montana – calling on Congress to reduce the amount of mortgage interest and debt payments that households and corporations can deduct to trim incentives for leverage.

Now – is that something I can go along with? Capping the mortgage interest deduction? Debt interest? Obama’s been calling for it since he got elected. A bi-partisan White House deficit-reduction commission picked these two things out as something that should be considered.

Anyway – those are my thoughts. Do we have a perfect storm brewing? Are old-school Republicans calling out the Tea Party? If Republicans (the Tea Party, more aptly) continue to ignore any-and-all revenue increasing ideas, they’re going to find themselves on the wrong end of the voting poll. That’s just plain numbers, folks. If all they have left is to attack Social Security and Medicare, then they aren’t honestly looking at the situation.

If they aren’t honestly looking at the situation, they’re saboteurs.

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by lizard

When greed is the number one driving force, everything else takes a back seat, including, it would appear, preparing for cataclysmic disasters like floods and tsunamis when you’re running a nuclear power plant. Here’s Joseph Giambrone from an article put up at Counterpunch today.

When I wrote last week about the Nebraska reactor surrounded by floodwaters I, like most, still considered it a highly remote possibility of cataclysm.

Upon further investigation, it seems much more likely now. The New York Times has exposed some major criminal negligence and game playing with the safety of the nation by the plant’s operator. Peter Behr’s June 24th report examines what we’ve been told vs. what’s there on the ground at Fort Calhoun’s nuclear power station. This is truly frightening with water levels approaching the 1007 ft. above sea level mark.

The article goes on, closely examining language used in news reports, then interpreting the possible meaning. The article is worth reading, and incredibly disturbing, like this part:

The NRC gave the operator OPPD a wristslap last October 6 to try and force some improvements of “substatntal importance” to the facility. The OPPD predictably stalled and tried to fight spending any money on improvements up through this year.

The plot thickened back in the 1990s, where a series of floods threatened the area. The Army Corps of Engineers warned the plant operator to increase its defenses by at least 3 feet, back in 2003. The plant however did not “properly act” on the “deficiencies.” No surprises there.

When a senior nuclear investigator for NRC was asked how these situations can go on so long with no meaningful action taken to protect the public from disaster, Gerond George answered, “We only sample certain parts of their design basis…” This admission reveals gaping holes at the NRC.

No surprise indeed, but still totally fucking crazy. This, folks, is the consequence of a long, concerted attack on the government’s role in regulating an industry that has the collective real world potential of destroying virtually all life on earth. And with the planet experiencing increasingly volatile weather from the changing climate, we continue to entrust our safety to law makers and regulators who are absolutely incapable of doing their jobs.

Obama did a fantastic job of minimizing the negative impact on BP and gulf drilling after the gusher in the gulf. Now, with a nuclear disaster still unfolding in Japan, and two possible situations in Nebraska (the other facility, the Cooper Nuclear Station, is STILL operating) I wonder how he’ll tap dance for the Nuclear industry.

Don’t worry, though. Just listen to this douche quoted in the NYT:

Though the plants have declared “unusual events,” the lowest level in the emergency taxonomy used by federal nuclear regulators, both were designed to withstand this level of flooding, and neither is viewed as being at risk for a disaster, said a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“We think they’ve taken all the necessary precautions and made the appropriate arrangements to deal with the flooding conditions,” said the spokesman, Victor Dricks.

After reading that, I did some quick price checking for geiger counters, and it looks like they run anywhere from a couple hundred bucks, to over a thousand. Maybe it’s time to cash in my growler savings account full of quarters.




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