Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Miso Soup And TEPCO's Past Mismanagement, Turkey Winner In Mid East Crisis, James O'Keefe Sends His Regards

Thomas Friedman
Dana Milbank
Michelle Cottle
"We're at war? Again? Don't we already have two? Wars aren't like kids, where you don't have to worry about the youngest one because the other two will take care of it." –Jon Stewart

"And aren’t we out of money? You can’t simultaneously fire teachers and Tomahawk missiles." –Jon Stewart

"Remember when President Obama said we can’t fight two wars and vowed to change our policy? Well, he did. Now we’re fighting three wars." –Jay Leno

"Obama said we will send economic aid to Libya to help the Libyan people reach their dreams. And if that works, they’ll try it here." –Jay Leno

"The Pentagon held a press-conference about the military operation in Libya. They are calling it Odyssey Dawn. I believe it's the first military operation named after a stripper." –David Letterman

Japanese citizens were unhappy with their government, felt that it wasn't being honest with them over the dangers that the damaged nuclear reactors posed. Now, they are getting too much information, and they are complaining about the government drawing grim scenarios for them. One such warning came yesterday, when the Japanese government warned that the escaped radiation had contaminated the water supply and posed a risk for infants in the area.

Back in the 1960's, when the health food industry was in its infancy, I remember reading how a diet containing lots of miso soup was credited for saving people's lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and more recently there have been articles touting the wonders of the fungus drink kombucha. Now would be a good time to put those folk rumors to the test, to see if there is any truth to the wonders of miso fighting the ravishing of radiation, or if they are stories laid out for the gullible hippies seeking to buy enlightenment by the bowlfull...

Another area that may affect jittery Americans, is how the tsunami affected the Japanese sushi market: "SEAFOOD supplies in northern Japan were devastated by the tsunami that destroyed the region’s fishing fleets and aquaculture farms as well as the ports themselves. The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported on Tuesday that fishermen in the area are living in shelters, transportation to the famous Tsukiji market in Tokyo is not possible, and there is no ice to keep fish fresh.

So far, this grim picture is not causing serious shortages in American sushi bars, but how the situation will evolve remains to be seen. “It has definitely affected the market,” said Jack Lamb, an owner of Jewel Bako in the East Village, where most of the fish is imported from Japan. But he said that the restaurant had made adjustments and was now buying fish from Kyushu Island in the south, far from the affected area, and was obtaining mackerel and octopus from sources in the United States.

Tadashi Ono, the chef and a partner at Matsuri in Chelsea, also said he is buying from Kyushu, as well as from Australian and New York waters. “Today fish comes from all over the world, so we’re O.K.,” he said." Whew, dodged a bullet on that one...

Adding to the government's problems have been the lying bastards who are the operators of the nuclear plants, TEPCO. Der Spiegel reports that the utility has had a history of falsifying reports and lack of maintenance and repair of equipment: "In 29 incidents the year before, nuclear power plant maintenance documents had been falsified and Tepco had been forced to take 17 nuclear reactors temporarily offline as a result. Tepco CEO Hiroshi Araki and four other top executives resigned.

In unflinching words, Katsumata took his company to task for its shortcomings and announced no less than a new corporate culture, one with a strict code of ethics and a policy of open and honest communication with the public. Today, though, those words must ring hollow to the people who have received high levels of radiation following the accident at the Fukushima I power plant, and to those who have been evacuated and may never be able to return to their homes located near the plant again.
The tone of Katsumata's speech was clear: The numerous past incidents were in no way isolated mistakes made by individual employees. Instead, they were the result of a corporate culture at Tepco that had allowed hair-raising breaches in safety to occur.

"First, we must admit that we had no clear rules to judge whether equipment was fit for service," Katsumata states in his speech, which is still available on Tepco's website today. He said that there were no rules addressing the fact that machinery and equipment generally wear away or crack with the passage of time, so equipment was used as long as such flaws didn't pose "safety hazards."

And therein lies the problem: When something was unclear, Tepco engineers apparently made arbitrary decisions. "They repeatedly made personal decisions based on their own idea of safety," Katsumata said. But it is clear that those ideas of safety weren't stringent enough. "Nuclear division members tended to regard a stable supply of electricity as the ultimate objective," he said."
"This disaster is 60 percent man-made. They failed in their initial response. It's like Tepco dropped and lost a 100 yen coin while trying to pick up a 10 yen coin."
Begin with unsafe designs for a nuclear plant that should have been banned in 1972, add the mistakes and poor maintenance by the operators, and it's a wonder that these reactors are still standing at all...

Well, France's leadership in the Libyan operation Odyssey Dawn lasted maybe half a day? While NATO forces are bickering over who's not in charge, Germany pulled its naval ships out of the Mediterranean, the slack seems to be picked up by Turkey. Look for Turkey to be a big winner in all of the Middle Eastern conflicts, as sage mentor for Egypt and Tunisia, and major trading partner for a new Libya.

What about the other powerhouse in the region? What has been dominating the newspapers in Saudi Arabia? Pretty much ignoring their soldiers vacationing in neighboring Bahrain, the emphasis has been on how humble the King really is, according to all of the commentators on this story: "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Tuesday urged all Saudis not to describe him as “Malik Al-Qulub” (king of hearts) and “Malik Al-Insaniya” (king of humanity). “I request you all not to use these titles. The real king is Allah the Almighty and we are His slaves,” King Abdullah said," I wonder if there has been a suck-up contest. to see who can come up with the most flattering alternate nickname for the King. After all, calling yourself Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is quite a mouthful. I wonder if the others in his family get their own titles, or do they have to share and call themselves Son of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, or Brother to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Do you always have to spell out the full title, or can you abbreviate for business cards into CTHM King Abdullah? I admit to total ignorance on the etiquette of addressing a royal family, meaning that I have spent my whole life in the company of peasants, but an inquiring mind wants to know... While I,m at it, why do all of these old rulers feel they have to dye the hair on their heads, of their beards, even their eyebrows? I know the tradition is to appear younger and supernaturally vital, but putting shoe polish or some crappy dye job ends up making them look vain and foolish. I notice a lot of folks in Washington DC do the same thing, even some of the younger journalists. In a younger person, dying your hair makes you look unnatural, like some marionette whose strings have recently been cut. Try again, Dave Weigel...

Wow, talk about being a con man, the conservative's merry prankster James O"Keefe, the man who pimped out ACORN and recently embarrassed NPR, has sent his supporters an email asking them to help pay off his debts. TPM reports that James sent out an email, saying: "Up 'til now, my friends and I have financed all of our work on our own -- running up major credit card debt," O'Keefe writes. "We made a lot of sacrifices -- personally and financially -- because we fight for what we believe in."

"But, now we've hit a wall. This has gotten a lot bigger than we ever imagined. The multi-billion dollar major media Goliath is embarrassed by their failure to make a meaningful impact like we have -- that's why they're attacking us," he writes.

"It cost us about $50,000 when all is said and done to produce the NPR video," O'Keefe said. "If you help us raise over $50,000, it will go toward our next video -- after we pay off our credits cards, of course."

"If you help us pass $100,000 -- we can do two new videos..." O'Keefe said. "...And if by some chance, we raise $1,000,000 -- we could expose 20 disturbing cases of government abuse and corruption. But, all I'm worried about is $50,000 right now."

"Give what you can and take the Survey on Media Responsibility and Ethics. America needs The Project Veritas to grow quickly. But, we can't continue, much less grow, unless we receive financial support soon."

The survey implores readers to donate and ask questions like "Do you think the mainstream media will have to embrace the tactics used by James O'Keefe's The Project Veritas to be credible in the future?"

"We're ready and waiting to expose more government corruption. But -- it all comes down to money,"

Poor James. He will spend the rest of his unhappy life trying to get back at the bullies who terrorized him when he was a small child...

RIP Elizabeth Taylor

She was dumber than a stump, but she sure wuz purdy,,,

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