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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The "Primary" Budget...

March 31st, 2011
 
Again, the last voices of reason in economics seem to be at the the CBPP. Robert Greenstein wrote last week:
 
"The nation is on an unsustainable fiscal course, and policymakers need to make major changes in policy. As a number of bipartisan panels have recommended over the past year, policymakers should aim to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy (the Gross Domestic Product) so the debt does not rise relentlessly as a share of the economy. That would put the nation on what economists define as a sustainable budget path.
 
To achieve this goal, policymakers should aim to balance the primarybudget — the budget other than interest payments on the debt. As these panels have explained, stabilizing the debt — and avoiding the specter of a debt explosion in future decades — is the key, not balancing the totalbudget (i.e., the budget including interest payments). As a rough rule of thumb, if the budget excluding interest payments is in balance, then the debt will not grow faster than the economy. That means running total budget deficits of no more than about 3 percent of GDP. [1] In short, balancing the total budget isn't necessary to put us on a sustainable course and reassure financial markets. Stabilizing the debt is."
 
Please read the entire piece. Our future actually does depend upon it.
 

What Happens When I Engage The "Right"

March 31st, 2011

This is what happens when you attempt to have a rational dialogue with one of Andy's writers about wage deflation and corporate tax code manipulation. To be fair, Kurt isn't a bad writer and he did serve our country honorably. He just lives in what I call an "angry bubble." Yes, I do have earrings. Film at 11.

FOX News Math

March 31st, 2011
Some great FOX News fails from Funny Or Die. These 2 really do matter, though.

Worth revisiting. Outside of FOX, we've never seen an OVER 100% sampling make it to broadcast before.
Even better, this sampling seems to represent a 193% total. Good times.

Quote Of The Day

March 31st, 2011

"To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. Nothing is often a good thing to say, and always a clever thing to say." -- Will Durant

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shutdown?

March 30th, 2011

A lot of fellow progressives have been telling me they hope for a shutdown. The liklihood increases just about hourly at this point heading towards next week's budget deadline. To be fair, I too have opined of late that we should let it happen. This is not amongst my more prudent recommendations. It is an emotional response to very real frustrations. Although I do remember the Gingrich-led clusterfuck of the mid-nineties generally benefitting the Democratic party, we sure didn't get much in the way of financial reform afterward that would have helped stave off the current crisis. It really only helped secure Clinton's power.

Ezra Klein notes:

"Evidence from the states suggests budget chaos can help the executive even as it harms legislators from both parties, reports Ezra Klein: Political scientists Asger Lau Andersen, David Dreyer Lassen and Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen tallied up 167 instances since 1988 alone. But then they went a step further and tried to isolate the fiscal mismanagement they had on the next election. They succeeded. Voters respond to budgetary chaos, and they do so angrily and predictably. The big takeaway is that blame is not shared equally: “Governors are subjected to an electoral penalty only under unified government, while legislatures are always held accountable.”...]W]hen Congress fails to pass a budget on time, voters turn on Congress, not just the minority or majority party. The researchers calculate that a budgetary breakdown under divided government reduces the chances that incumbent legislators from either party will get reelected, though it helps the governor’s party in the gubernatorial elections. That’d suggest that a shutdown would be bad for everyone serving in Congress, but good for Obama."

Quote Of The Day - Reaganomic Endgame Edition

March 30th, 2011

"Conservatism cannot be defined as whatever is the most extreme right-wing narrative of the moment. Time matters. Conservatism needs to be flexible enough a governing philosophy to be able to correct for conservative ideology itself. When such an ideology threatens fiscal balance, a prudent foreign policy, and a thriving middle class, it has become the enemy of real conservatism, not its friend." -- Andrew Sullivan


Gasbag Hits New Low

March 30th, 2011

Limbaugh has indeed descended to a previously unimagined depth. Did you know the regime change in Iraq took "a couple of days?" Yup. That's all. Suffering through Rush failing to understand why the President is not committing ground troops to Libya is one thing. But listening to this talentless liar dismiss the toll in blood and treasure that has accompanied the last 10 years of permawar is beyond the pale.

Quote Of The Day

March 30th, 2011
 
"Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction." -- Erich Fromm

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have They "Lost The Race" At Fukushima?

March 29th, 2011 BREAKING 11:58am CST
Please donate to Japan Relief by clicking HERE

The situation is increasingly disturbing at Fukushima. It seems likely that the entire Fukushima Dai-Ichi complex is a write off. From the reports of the last 30 minutes, it appears that the real question now is how bad the larger release of radioactivity is going to be when it eventually occurs.

From The Guardian:
 
"The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.
 
The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.
 
Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.
 
Workers have been pumping water into three reactors at the stricken plant in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down, but the fuel is at least partially exposed in all the reactors.
 
At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel "lower head" of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.
 
"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."
 
The major concern when molten fuel breaches a containment vessel is that it reacts with the concrete floor of the drywell underneath, releasing radioactive gases into the surrounding area. At Fukushima, the drywell has been flooded with seawater, which will cool any molten fuel that escapes from the reactor and reduce the amount of radioactive gas released.
 
Lahey said: "It won't come out as one big glob; it'll come out like lava, and that is good because it's easier to cool."
 
The drywell is surrounded by a secondary steel-and-concrete structure designed to keep radioactive material from escaping into the environment. But an earlier hydrogen explosion at the reactor may have damaged this.
 
"The reason we are concerned is that they are detecting water outside the containment area that is highly radioactive and it can only have come from the reactor core," Lahey added. "It's not going to be anything like Chernobyl, where it went up with a big fire and steam explosion, but it's not going to be good news for the environment."
 
The radiation level at a pool of water in the turbine room of reactor two was measured recently at 1,000 millisieverts per hour. At that level, workers could remain in the area for just 15 minutes, under current exposure guidelines."

Jon Stewart Takes On The Zero Taxed Corporations

March 29th, 2011

Jon Stewart: "I know the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people. But I didn't realize those people were assholes."


Bill Sammon Thinks Propaganda is Funny

March 29th, 2011

It's one thing that we know from internal Murdoch Device memos that FOX News Washington editor Bill Sammon is a liar and a propagandist. Newly released audio received by Media Matters reveals that Mr. Sammon not only admitted 

to his smears in front of a friendly audience in 2009... he also think it's funny.

"I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched."
 
 
Lies fed into the news stream to try and cripple political enemies are not simply "mischief." It's not a coincidence that Tea Party types are supporting efforts by corporations who literally pay no taxes at all to gut worker rights and compensation. The poor corporations can't stay "competitive" if they don't. FOX said so. Any attempt to make corporations pay what they should is "socialism." FOX said so. And they are "fair." And "balanced."
 
FOX said so.

Quote Of The Day 2

March 29th, 2011
 
"It is the inability to see the effects of chronic,
 low level toxicities on human health that has been,
 and remains, our greatest failing as intelligent beings." -- Dr. Boyd Haley

Chernobyl Comparisons Increasing

March 29th, 2011 10:30am CST
Please donate to Japan Relief by clicking HERE or texting the numbers at the bottom of the post
 
Fallout Rivals Chernobyl. From The New Scientist:
 
"Radioactive caesium and iodine has been deposited in northern Japan far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, at levels that were considered highly contaminated after Chernobyl.
 
The readings were taken by the Japanese science ministry MEXT and reveal high levels of caesium-137 outside the 30-kilometre evacuation zone, mostly to the north-north-west.
 
Iodine-131, with a half-life of eight days, should disappear in a matter of weeks. The bigger worry concerns caesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years and could pose a health threat for far longer. Just how serious that will be depends on where it lands, and whether remediation measures are possible.
 
The US Department of Energy has been surveying the area with an airborne gamma radiation detector. It reports that most of the "elevated readings" are within 40 kilometres of the plant, but that "an area of greater radiation extending north-west… may be of interest to public safety officials."
 
NHK World tells us that the amounts of plutonium found outside the rector are "not dangerous to human health."
 
It's worth viewing this interview with Paul Gunter from Beyond Nuclear. Particularly in light of such great scientific minds as Speaker Boehner touting the French and their nuclear program as a model for our own future development.

The Prime Minister of Japan has described the country as being on "maximum alert."

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Quote Of The Day

March 29th, 2011

"Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, March 28, 2011

Scott Walker Violates The Law

March 28th, 2011
Please support the efforts to recall Wisconsin's anti worker corporatists HERE, HERE and HERE
Remember when the Republicans were the "Law & Order" party? When the law was sacrosanct? When it was typical for liberals and progressives to be tarred as "having no respect for the law?"

My how things have changed. From TPM:
 
"The administration of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) has begun implementing its controversial new law curtailing public employee unions, following a move on Friday declaring it be in effect, and despite a judge's ruling that enjoined said implementation.
 
"It is now my legal responsibility to begin enactment of the law," Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch, a former Republican state Assembly Speaker, told reporters, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel."


Read more...

Sen. Sanders' Ugly List

March 28th, 2011

 Although recent discussions of the fact that 2 out of 3 corporations in the U.S. pay NO taxes at all on the federal level have focused primarily on GE, they only rate 3rd on a list compiled by Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) of the 

"10 worst corporate income tax avoiders."
"1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
 
2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
 
3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.
 
4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.
 
5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
 
6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.
 
7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.
 
8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
 
9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.
 
10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent."

Michio Kaku On Yesterday's Confusion

March 28th, 2011 12:39pm CST
If you can give to support relief efforts in Japan, please do so by clicking HERE

Michio Kaku, writing for Big Thinkdissects yesterday's confusion at the Fukushima complex which we reported HERE and HERE.

"First, workers at Unit 2 were astonished to find that radiation levels in the water were extremely high. This prompted them to evacuate the site immediately. Second, they rushed out so fast that they did not do a second measurement of the water. Third, the first readings were slightly incorrect. The workers got iodine-134 (with a half-life of 53 minutes) confused with iodine-131 (with a half-life of 8 days). Also, cesium-137 was also found in the water (with a half - life of about 30 years). Fourth, by confusing the two, they also go the wrong level of radioactivity. They found more iodine-134 that was actually present in the water. The shorter the half-life, the more radioactive an isotope is - the longer the half-life, the less the radioactivity. So their calibration of iodine-134 was incorrect, yielding thefalse number of 10 million. Fifth, the utility did not send in another crew to check the measurements, so they got their calibration wrong, but they went public with this incorrect number."
The money quote from his piece comes next:

"The main point, however, from the workers perspective, is that radiation levels are 1,000 milliseverts/hour. That does not change at all with this new calibration. This means that workers will come down with radiation sickness with only 15 min. of exposure. Some workers will die after 6 hours of exposure."

Herman Cain Is Not Just A Bigot

March 28th, 2011
Not only is Herman Cain a bigot with a questionable sense of America's heritage as we noted last week. He's also delusionally paranoid.

"How dare a judge come in and go against the will of the people." Well, Mr. Cain, when the majority attempts to impose patently unconstitutional restrictions on the minority, that's exactly when the judiciary steps in. That's called America.

Fukushima Radiation In The States

March 28th, 2011 11:55am CST
If you can give to support relief efforts in Japan, please do so by clicking HERE


Remember, there is absolutely, positively no reason whatsoever to worry at all. Not even a teensy weensy bit. After all, most experts and a wide variety of cartoons agree.



From Reuters:

"Low levels of radioactive iodine believed to be from Japan's disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in the atmosphere in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida, officials said on Monday.
 
"There is no current threat to public safety," said Progress Energy spokesman Drew Elliot.
 
Monitors at Progress Energy's nuclear plants in Hartsville, South Carolina, and Crystal River, Florida, picked up low levels of radioactive iodine-131. So did Duke Energy's monitors at its two nuclear facilities in South Carolina and the plant in Huntersville, North Carolina.
 
"If there were radiation coming from one our own sites, we would be seeing other types of radiation than iodine-131," Elliot said. "Other nuclear stations throughout the East Coast all started picking this up within the last week. It all points to something coming from overseas.
 
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency both say it poses no threat to public safety," he said.
 
Trace amounts of radioactive iodine have also turned up in rainwater samples in Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania and Washington state."

New Video Of The Damaged Reactors

March 28th, 2011 11:25AM CST
If you can give to support relief efforts in Japan, please do so by clicking HERE

This just in from CNN:

"Three types of plutonium have turned up amid the radioactive contamination on the grounds of the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, its owner reported Monday.
 
The plutonium is a byproduct of nuclear reactions that is also part of the fuel mix at the damaged No. 3 reactor.
 
It was found in soil at five different points inside the plant grounds, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said late Monday."


The "Kill Team"

March 28th, 2011

This sums it all up.

"At one point, soldiers in 3rd Platoon talked about throwing candy out of a Stryker vehicle as they drove through a village and shooting the children who came running to pick up the sweets." -- From Rolling Stone

The following is the latest video release from the Army investigation. From Wired:

"Specialist Adam Winfield, one of the five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division charged with murdering Afghan civilians, tells an investigator how he took part in an execution in a Kandahar village."
 

We will not publish any of the Afghanistan "Kill Team" photos. But they should be seen. And this story needs to be heard. These actions were done in our name. That we as a nation have demanded little accountability over the last 10 years of permawar is no small factor in these acts. That abdication of our civilian responsibilities, coupled with so few successful courts-martial for obvious war crimes in that time, created the climate in which the "Kill Team" was possible.

Men like Allen West have actually gained office in part because of their having participated in obscenities. Shameful brutes like Iliano Panatano would have been sentenced to prison or hard labor in previous conflicts. Instead, they now come home and Tea Partiers call them "heroes" specifically because they think anyone who accuses an American of a war crime is a "traitor."

Which led us here.

Fukushima Continues...

March 28th, 2011
If you can give to support relief efforts in Japan, please do so by either clicking HERE or by texting any of the resources below the post.
From Kyodo news comes confirmation that yesterday's reported radiation readings were off by a factor of 100. This does not make us feel any better.

"The plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said early Monday that the concentration of radioactive substances of a pool at the No. 2 reactor was 100,000 times higher than usual for water in a reactor core, correcting its earlier analysis of 10 million times higher.
 
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a press conference that the highly radioactive water found at the basement of the No. 2 reactor's turbine building is ''believed to have temporarily had contact with fuel rods (in the reactor's core) that have partially melted.''
 
The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, a government panel, said Monday in its recommendations to Prime Minister Naoto Kan that highly radioactive water in the No. 2 reactor's containment vessel could have directly leaked, raising concerns that polluted water could spread to the building's underground and to the sea.
 
The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency also said Monday radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration 1,150 times the maximum allowable level was detected Sunday in a seawater sample taken around 1.5 kilometers north of the drainage outlets of the troubled No. 1-4 reactors."
In other news, there has been a dust-up between the Japanese government and Greenpeace over the groups calls for broader evacuations.

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Welcome to Kochistan Part 1 -

March 28th, 2011

by Stephanie Baselice
We encourage you to visit the author's blog, May Day Resistance
 Like many people, I have been increasingly alarmed by the political shifts in my native USA during my adult lifetime. My first vote was against Ronald Reagan in 1984, and by my standards things have been getting steadily scarier ever since. 

The advent of the Tea Party, and their recent entry into the realms of public office has been especially horrifying. Their clear intent of rolling back decades of progress on women's rights, gay rights, the environment, and other areas while simultaneously enhancing the power of already rapacious corporations to influence lawmakers and fleece the public is beyond appalling. Even more appalling is the clear willingness of many of us—especially those who call themselves conservatives--to tolerate human rights abuses and infringements of basic liberties in the name of national security. In that regard I hold with Benjamin Franklin, who once said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety “. So imagine my reaction when I first saw Laurence Britt's 14 points of convergence of fascist societies. Reading down the list I felt a deep and growing dread. We were already hitting all 14 points! According to the article, Laurence Britt is a Political Scientist who analyzed the regimes of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia and discovered these 14 points of convergence. Here are the basic 14 points:

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. A controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
9. Power of corporations protected.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment. 
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.

Quote Of The Day

March 28th, 2011

 "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." -- Douglas Adams

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Media On Libya - First, Flip. Then, Flop

March 27th, 2011

I had been considering the right wing's wild flip-flopping on Libya. As if there needed to be any more parsing of statement's from craven opportunists like Newt Gingrich. Horsey has a great cartoon that sums it all up better.

Crazy Bachmann Watch

March 27th, 2011

Dear Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), please run. Please, please, please run for the Presidency. It will be so much fun.

Her latest example of insane disconnect as reported in The Hill:

"We've been told that we need a truce on social issues and I would highly disagree with that because the truth is social conservatism is fiscal conservatism," Bachmann said.


Interesting. Just last week it was widely reported that a small provision tucked away inside the already vile HR3 would require IRS AUDITS of women's abortions. How spending taxpayer money on this is remotely fiscally "conservative" begs the question as to whether or not these people wholly misunderstand the very definition of conservatism?

"The Grass Is Blue"

March 27th, 2011
 
If you have never curiously clicked some of the links in the right column, our "reader's companion," you are really missing out. 

The excerpt below is from "The Book Of Cletis," a terrific blog that ranges from cultural and political observations to wonderful short fiction on Sundays. A native of Kentucky, the publisher takes some time here to lament the sad state of their senate representation today:
 
No Damn Wonder The Grass Is Blue
Ahhh, March Madness continues. Our beloved Kentucky Wildcats have made it to the Sweet Sixteen and will play Ohio State Friday night. Hopefully, we will prevail and move forward in our quest for a national championship. If, however, we fail, Kentuckians can take solace in the knowledge that no other state can boast two, that's right two, U.S. Senators even close to being as devoutly ignorant and self-serving as ours. Here's a few quotes to bring you up to speed:
 
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." ~Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, (R-Ky.), October 2010
 
"Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers." Mitch McConnell December 2007 commenting on the deaths of Americans fighting in Iraq.
 
"This discussion reminds me, somewhat, of the conversations that were going on after the BP oil spill last year," Mr. McConnell said during an interview on Fox News Sunday. "I don’t think right after a major environmental catastrophe is a very good time to be making American domestic policy." Mitch McConnell March 13, 2011 regarding the catastrophic nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan.
 
"We need to get insurance out of the way and let the consumer interact with their doctor the way they did basically before World War II." Rand Paul in an interview with Kentucky public TV on Dec. 2, 2002.
 
There's more...

Scenes From Japan - Please Donate To Assist Them

March 27th, 2011

If you can give to support relief efforts in Japan, please do so by either clicking HERE or by texting any of the resources below the video:


The American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.
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Volunteers of America Southeast: Text VOA to 27722 to give $10.
World ReliefCorp of National Association of Evangelicals: Text WAVE to 50555 to give $10.

Radiation "10 Million Times Normal" Or was it?

March 27th, 2011 6:41AM CST
Please click HERE and donate to support relief for Japan


It is hard to know what to believe. TEPCO's history of dishonesty and increasingly contradictory releases of information do not help us parse the situation.


UPDATE 8:34AM CST from AP via Yahoo:
 
"Emergency workers struggling to pump contaminated water from Japan's stricken nuclear complex fled from one of the troubled reactors Sunday after reporting a huge increase in radioactivity — a spike that officials later apologetically said was inaccurate.
 
The apology came after employees fled the complex's Unit 2 reactor when a reading showed radiation levels had reached 10 million times higher than normal in the reactor's cooling system. Officials said they were so high that the worker taking the measurements had withdrawn before taking a second reading.
 
On Sunday night, though, plant operators said that while the water was contaminated with radiation, the extremely high reading was a mistake.
 
"The number is not credible," said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita. "We are very sorry."
 
He said officials were taking another sample to get accurate levels, but did not know when the results would be announced."

ORIGINAL POST - As most experts and advocates for "the peaceful atom" continue to assure us that there is no substatntial threat beyond Fukushima, this is being reported by Channel 4:

"Radiation in the water of the Number 2 reactor was measured at more than 1,000 millisieverts an hour, the highest reading since the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11.
 
Officials said there was 10 million times the amount of radioactive iodine than is normal in the reactor at Fukushima, but noted the substance had a half-life of less than an hour, meaning it would disappear within a day.
 
The latest radiation scare is confined to inside the reactor. Radiation levels in the air beyond the evacuation zone and in Tokyo have been in normal ranges.
 
The Japanese government said that, overall, the situation was unchanged at the plant which lies 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, even if there were hitches from time to time.
 
"We did expect to run into unforeseen difficulties, and this accumulation of high radioactivity water is one such example," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news briefing.
 
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned the nuclear emergency could go on for weeks, if not months."
TOKYO (AP) reports: "There's been a huge jump in radioactivity in water at one unit of Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear plant. The water has radiation levels 10 million times the norm and the air in the same unit is hot too -- four times the safety limit. It's a major setback to efforts to control and cool the leaking complex."

Quote Of The Day

March 27th, 2011

As true today as it was then...

"There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle." -- Alexis de Tocqueville

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quote Of The Day

March 25th, 2011

"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it." -- Patrick Henry

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lewis Black Takes On Trump

March 24th, 2011

No one nails a hypocrite as well as Black.


Keith's Worsts For 3/23

March 24th, 2011

Ah. Spring is in the air. And soon, Keith will be back ON the air. Good times. In the meantinme, enjoy his website at FOK NEWS.

Quote Of The Day

March 24th, 2011

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." -- Clarence Darrow

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Herman Cain Is A "Darling" Of The Tea Party?

March 23rd, 2011
Introducing a new friend here at The Hand, David Klopp.
 
Herman Cain sure has raised some excitement on the right. He is the latest darling of the Tea Party. How is he winning their hearts and minds? How has he suddenly thrust himself upon the national stage? What kind of pronouncements are firing up that beleagured TP base? 

Well, things like this: Mr. Cain has essentially alleged that all Muslims in America have a duty to either "convert" or "kill" non-Muslims. But, rest assured xenophobic and fearful patriots... he's pushing back!
 
From The Daily Caller:
"The role of Muslims in America is not to convert the rest of us to the Muslim religion. That I resent,” Cain said in an interview with Christianity Today. “I push back and reject them trying to convert the rest of us. And based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them."
 
What "little knowledge" is right.
 
Our newest contributor, David Klopp fights back with humor:
"I think we should put some statistics to these claims about converting so that we can report them to the proper authorities... and Sean Hannity."
 
"Last month when I was jogging in the park I was beckoned by a darkish complected man to accompany him into a public bathroom near City Hall. I assumed that is where the ceremony would have taken place. I also was boldly approached at home by several seemingly "normal" heavyset women who attempted to lure me into their Islamic snare by referring to their religion as the Jehovah Witness branch of Islam. They feigned confusion about my question regarding the funding of terrorism, and claimed their headquarters were located on Mississippi Avenue, and not in Mecca. They must have deigned that I was on to them because they left rather quickly, though they handed me a Koran described as a bible. I assumed it was a Koran because everyone inside it was smiting or had smote someone in the not too distant past."


"Nuclear Boy" - Explaining Fukushima To Children With "poop"

March 23rd, 2011
Please give to Japanese Relief HEREHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

This is going viral. Frankly, I don't have the words. Watch for yourselves.

The Fukushima Crisis Continues...

March 23rd, 2011 5:05am CST BREAKING
Please give to Japanese Relief HEREHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

The Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility has evacuated again as plumes of black smoke are pouring from the building that houses troubled reactor #3 itself. Radiation has reached Iceland and is expected in France soon. Japanese food products have been banned from export to the U.S. Fear continues to dominate the world’s reaction in spite of expert pronouncements that it's not the level of disaster it could have been.
Image © copyright 2011 WSJ - SOURCE

The number of dead and missing in Japan has now exceeded 24,000

"A Vaccine Against Fear"

March 23rd, 2011

Last night, Rachel Maddow reminded us of the importance of not allowing our fear to overwhelm us.

Conniption In Wisconsin

March 23rd, 2011
Please support the efforts to recall Wisconsin's anti worker corporatists HERE, HERE and HERE

Hey! Are you a disgruntled Wisconsin conservative who feels depressed that the tide of public opinion does not actually support your initiatives? Are you angry that so many of your fellow citizens are trying to use the tools guaranteed them under the law to recall valiant corporatists working against those greedy "workers"?


Do you fear that close to a million dollars in out of state astro-turf propaganda just isn't enough to get "your" message across? Are television ads showing a Wisconsin teacher (stock video of a model/actress pretending to be a teacher who is not actually from Wisconsin) not winning over hearts and minds to "your" fight? Well, one man felt just that way.

From The River Falls Journal:

"River Falls police were asked to track down and find a suspect who had made off with a batch of Sen. Sheila Harsdorf recall petition signatures late Sunday afternoon. The alleged theft occurred on the sidewalk near EconoFoods. The male suspect pretended he wanted to sign the petition to recall Harsdorf but instead swiped the forms with signatures and drove off.

The man drove back in five minutes and tossed the petition toward the group of volunteers. Either it was a poor throw or they couldn’t catch. The paperwork landed on wet pavement.With a vehicular and suspect description, an officer traced the man to his home near the River Falls Area Hospital.

The man seemed indignant that a police officer was at his door and denied being near EconoFoods. Then he said he couldn’t be accused of stealing the petition signatures because he returned them.
When informed of his arrest, he allegedly resisted being handcuffed and began yelling about police brutality. His wife, also home, told her husband to calm down."

Douthat Questions Libyan Intervention

March 23rd, 2011

From the NY Times:

"Libya is (we can hope) a far smaller affair than the invasion of Iraq, and thus a far less dangerous venture. But we seem to be recapitulating the same kind of mistakes: We’re intervening against a regime that should be a second-tier problem for the United States (at best!), and our plan for victory is ambiguous, to put it mildly. Getting hung up on U.N. resolutions and Arab League endorsements seems like a way to evade the more important question, which is not whether this war is multilateral but whether it is wise."

He's Still Out There

March 23rd, 2011
Please support the efforts to recall Wisconsin's anti worker corporatists HEREHERE and HERE
Don't let up. Don't capitulate. Don't give in. Keep pushing back.

Quote Of The Day - Voting Rights Edition

March 23rd, 2011

"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things You Can't Make Up

March 22nd, 2011
Please donate to planned Parenthood by clicking HERE

Some propaganda is just so wildly dense as to leave me mostly speechless. Today, Jezebel shone a light on arguably the most questionable medium for an anti-choice message I have ever seen. A coat hanger. Seriously. The picture says it all.

Ending "Duplicative" Spending?

March 22nd, 2011

Where did all that Republican zeal To End "Duplicitave" Spending Go? Gosh, it was everywhere right up through last week. The "non-partisan" Heritage blog, The Foundry, even ran a piece lionizing Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) under the banner "Lawmakers Form House-Senate Effort To Eliminate Duplicitive Government Programs." Sounds good to me. Seriously. As a progressive I have always argued for better government, not less.

Then came the weekend. Suddenly, there is a lot less chatter around this initiative. I suspect it is because a certain piece of data from the GAO has been picked up more widely. We'll be watching this one closely.

Some Interesting Conservative Thought On Libya

March 22nd, 2011

Since the start of hostilities, there have been some genuinely intriguing observations over at the National Review. Kevin D. Willaimson writes in response to some derision regarding the use of our military dollars:

"With all due respect to Mr. Felzenberg and Mr. Gray, I’m not sure that our Libya campaign shows the folly of cuts in defense spending. One might argue as easily that our $1 trillion or more in defense spending shows the folly of the Libya campaign. We’re lobbing missiles that go for about $750,000 a copy into a country for the entirety of which I would not trade the change behind my sofa cushions, inasmuch as Libya strikes me the very definition of a negative asset, one that we are in the process of taking custodianship over."

"Yes, I wrote $1 trillion. Even though the last DOD budget was only — only! — about $550 billion, supplementary war funding brings the number up to about $663 billion. But lots of military spending takes place outside of DOD: at NASA, at DOE, DHS, Veterans’ Affairs, etc. And NASCAR, for Pete’s sake. Throw in all that, and the interest payments on debt incurred for previous military spending, and you get a number between $1 trillion and $1.4 trillion, depending on how you count it up. I’ll be conservative and call it a cool trillion. That’s a lot of money for a national-security system that has repeatedly, predictably, reliably failed to address our actual security threats."


Although I disagree, at points strenuously, with Williamson's recommendations for change, it is refreshing to see the truth about our defense budgets so plainly stated at NRO.

Goo-Goo Syndrome

March 22nd, 2011
We know what the right is up to. They are following a blueprint handed to them from their modern hero, Paul Weyrich, in 1980. What they are doing is not new. The fierceness and ugliness with which they are doing it is. Divide, disenfranchise and denigrate. Make sure that stupid people are listening to you and that you are fueling the fire of their fears. 

The Right Wing: Having It Both Ways

March 22nd, 2011

"You can't fire both teachers and Tomahawk missiles."

Russell Pearce Advocates Treason

March 22nd, 2011

And you thought Arizona's Russell Pearce had already hit the limits of crazy... Yeah, he disseminated neo-Nazi propaganda. Sure, he "used to be" a close friend of avowed white supremacist JT Ready. This takes the cake, though. In the clip below, he openly and casually endorses that Arizonans make a declaration of treason.

AFA Spokesman Calls President Obama "Boy"

March 22nd, 2011

Amazing. If you had any doubts about the SPLC designating the American Family Association as a "hate group," this ought to dispel them. Their increasingly vile spokesman, Bryan J Fischer, referred to the African American President of the United States as "BOY."

Quote Of The Day 2

March 22nd, 2011

"Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing." -- Edmund Burke