Archive for August 22nd, 2013

by lizard

Going on vacation is important. It’s important to disrupt routine, interrupt habits, and put yourself outside your comfort zone. Of course, the benefit of paid leave is one of those socialist luxuries Americans don’t seem to understand they should be demanding. For a mainstream framing, CNN explored a few years ago why we are a “No-Vacation Nation”.

I also took a forced vacation from my ubiquitous smart phone, which was really nice. Removing hand-held access to the dings of twitter and wordpress let me see how pervasively it seeps in, and it’s not a good thing.

Now, vacation is over, and so is summer. Students are repopulating their haunts. I assume at some point those congressional critters will scurry back from their home-state nut-gathering events to “work” at solving those big problems facing our United States.

For returning students, the news is grim whatever you want it to be, depending on which manipulative wind bags you get your news from. Sure, you can read that alternative stuff like the hyperbolic rantings of Michael Whitney, claiming Obama is destroying the Middle Class, but why bother. It certainly can’t be that bad.

Here is a grossly reductive way of describing Obama’s economic policies from the article:

The reason the economy isn’t growing is because the people in charge don’t want it to grow. It’s that simple. I mean, how hard is it to boost GDP: You spend a little money, you run up the budget deficits and “Viola”, the economy grows! It ain’t rocket science. What Obama and his paymasters want, is a subtler form of “structural adjustment”. (Subtler than the Euro-model, that is.) This is typical of the Democrats; they’re always trying to prove they can implement the same hard-right policies with more finesse than their blundering counterparts. But it all amounts to the same thing, doesn’t it? Everyone knows that the middle class is getting clobbered while all the gravy is flowing to the parasites on top.

Do I spy Larry Summers sitting on the bench, still begging for the ball?

If only the botched economic policies from this administration could somehow threaten football in America, then we might see some changes.

Because you better believe by September kick-off that this CBS blackout on Time Warner will get resolved.

Because screwing with football is ill advised.

Here’s Forbes describing the NFL referee contract dispute when it sparked with that hilarious Green Bay/Seattle debacle—hilarious because the proportion of the freak out was crazy, considering all the actual serious shit going down:

Last night, NFL fans saw something new. The Monday Night Football game ended with an end zone pass to Seattle receiver Golden Tate. The play was ruled a completed pass by replacement refs despite the fact that the ball appeared to be firmly in the possession of an intercepting Green Bay defender. The ruling determined the outcome of the game, giving victory to the Seattle Seahawks over the Green Bay Packers. The overwhelming reaction to replays of the controversial play was that it was a blown call by the NFL replacement officials. (The Seattle Seahawks and the refs at the game may feel differently of course.) This single play has put an exclamation mark on weeks of frustration and mounting anger over the replacement ref situation from players, coaches and now the fans.

It’s impossible to guess exactly what the NFL was thinking when they locked out their referees after failing to agree to a new contract. Certainly they were trying to minimize some costs and change the pension rules for the refs who are paid $160,000 – well under half of the league minimum of $390,000 for a rookie player who may never make it onto the field for a league game. It is certainly understandable that management thought this lockout would end quickly. After all, as NFL VP Ray Anderson said “You’ve never paid for an NFL ticket to watch someone officiate a game.”

It was amazing, at the time, to observe how the usual demonization of labor strikes was temporarily suspended. Because football.

Right now, we don’t need the distraction of football, because the news cycle has literally exploded, at least locally, with wild fires, the Rick’s Auto Body accident that killed one worker, and some dude questioned for possibly being in possession of bomb making materials.

On the bigger stage, there was the dramatic rescue of Hannah Anderson and the even more dramatic 911 tape of Antoinette Tuff deescalating a mentally ill young man who could have done serious damage.

With so much going on—with summer over and families getting ready for school (I can’t believe my oldest starts kindergarten on Monday)—I doubt the news item that has me freaked out tonight will get much traction, again.

“Tepco Has Lost Control” —What Is Really Happening In Fukushima In Four Charts.

That link is to a Zerohedge post interpreting a Wall Street Journal article that finally reports honestly on the long-supressed reality of the worst nuclear disaster in history. And here is the most disturbing part from the WSJ article:

Tepco said it doesn’t think that water has flowed into the sea but can’t say for sure. Some of the flooded reactor basements are similarly too hot to approach, and it is still not clear where the melted fuel cores are, or in what state.

That’s not just my emphasis added.

There has been a media blackout about the extent of this disaster for years. On March 12th, 2011, I knew enough to ask in the title of this post if this was a 21st century Chernobyl.

The answer, clearly, is yes.

While the latest accusations of Syrian war crimes involving chemical weapons make the media rounds, and Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley) is sentenced to 35 years for disclosing evidence of war crimes (and so much more), there are literally millions of Japanese citizens who could die in the coming years as Tepco’s failed attempt to contain this disaster becomes harder to ignore.

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