Saturday, June 9, 2012

Japanese Nuclear Plants To Reopen? Racism In Israel

Top 10 Benefits of Nuclear Power

10)  Three Headed Fish.
9)   Atomic energy keeps the Japanese people stoic and panic-free.
8)   Nuclear power provides cheap energy without any risk (aside from meltdowns, radiation poisoning, mutations, and unknown unknowns).
7)   'Nuclear' Power takes precedent over other humanitarian disasters, making easier work for media.
6)   Atomic power is cleaner than coal ... except for the thousands of years of radiation that follows a nuclear meltdown.
5)   Nuclear power gives disaster and rescue crews something else to work on.
4)   Nuclear power forces Iran and North Korea to be fully prepared for calamitous disasters.
3)   All the cleanup and recovery work after a nuclear meltdown is good for the economy.
2)   Nuclear Power provides energy for Charlie Sheen's atomic meltdown.

... and the #1 Benefit of Nuclear Power is:

1)   Nuclear Power made Mr. Burns the wealthiest man in Springfield.

(Reference: Yasha Harari for

Japan has witnessed dueling prime ministers, as the past one, Naoto Kan, gave testimony that it was still too dangerous to start up again the Fukushima nuclear power plant, or any of Japan's 50 nuclear plants that are currently sitting idle. The current prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, pretty much ignored Kan's statements and took to the television, trying to drum up public support for reopening a few plants on a trial basis, from now until September. Unfortunately, there has been no overhaul of the oversight and regulation to the nuclear industry, setting the stage for a repeat of plant operators hiding safety violations, and regulators accepting bribes to ignore it and look the other way. No safety improvements for the nuclear plants have been submitted, and the Fukushima plant remains a danger. To date, I have not seen anyone address the fact that the plans for the Fukushima plant were the cheapest to build and over 30 years old, with nothing proposed to modernize similar plants in Japan.

Here in the US, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia just ruled against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, when the commission decided that it was safe to store spent fuel rods at nuclear plants for the next 100 years or so, because we haven't figured out a way to make it safe or create a national depository for them. Currently, spent fuel rods are stored in pools of water, and are susceptible to earthquakes and other natural disasters, oh, you know, like what happened at Fukushima, Japan... This lack of knowledge and planning is carried out in nuclear plants all over the world. Back in the good-old-days, countries like France and Germany could give the waste contracts to the mafia, who would then put the nuclear waste in 55 gallon drums and dump them in places like  off the coast of Somalia, which ruined their fishing industry... As the NY Times points out, the court said that the nuclear commission had reached its conclusions only by examining past leaks. But that history "tells us very little about the potential for future leaks or the harm such leaks might portend..."

"More than a year into to the Arab Spring, one inconvenient and politically incorrect truth stands out: the Arabs are much better at acquiring and fighting over power than they are at sharing it" - from the Angry Arab
There has been a diaspora happening in Africa, due to wars and drought, with many people fleeing to the Middle East and North Africa. Once upon a time they might have been hired as mercenaries into the armies of Moammar Qaddhafi, but that option is now eliminated. The friendly bedouin tribes that they come across, will handily kidnap, rob, and rape them, then leave them for dead. If they are lucky, they might make it to a city or enlightened country, like Israel.

Unfortunately, the Israeli supreme court just ruled that all Sudanese refugees do not have a dangerous climate to return to, which is paving the way of rounding up all of the black refugees and putting them in tent cities along the border. Think of it, tens of thousands of black refugees acting as a buffer for when the hordes of Arabs swarm across the borders, heading towards Jerusalem... Next week the first contingent of 1500 Ethiopians will be deported.
“Kidnap, robbery, sexual abuse, it’s part of everyday life here,” - Ali Al Jafri
Even more dangerous, is the racist feelings towards all blacks in Israel, who can't tell the difference between a black Muslim or a black Jew. Many years ago a group of black Jews were discovered in Ethiopia, the Falasha. They emigrated to Israel and were immediately discriminated against, treated lower than Jews of North African descent. Now, it's the Sudanese, who are being attacked as they go outside of their homes, often to the cries of "Go away, Arab!" from the Orthodox Jews. An Israeli Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, stated that most of the "Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man..."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Egypt, My Advice To Jonah Goldberg, A Drop Of Native American Blood

"Unemployment is still looking pretty bad. In fact, the White House has a new slogan on job creation: 'Hope and change the subject.'" – Jay Leno
"Mitt Romney has been giving his volunteers a free sweatshirt for making phone calls on his behalf. The sweatshirts are just like Romney, 100 percent reversible." – Jimmy Fallon

"A new survey found that Mitt Romney is ahead of Obama among those who make $36,000-$90,000. Or as Romney put it, 'And they said I can't connect with the poor.'" – Jimmy Fallon

Every time that Pakistan gets mad at us for incursions into their country hunting down "terrorists," the CIA launches more drone attacks, just to thumb their noses at the Pakistani authorities. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the Pakistanis have to realize that we will do what we damn well please, and to stop griping abut it so much. After all, we give them billions in aid that their military and politicians siphon off, it's not like they're not getting paid to look the other way... We also give money to the victim's families and aid after each devastating monsoon. We will soon move our theater of operations to Africa, the propaganda machine is sending out stories of al Qaeda training camps in Mali, and we already have CIA operatives and attending mercenaries in Yemen and Somalia...

Have you ever noticed that there isn't one place in the world that isn't corrupt?

The most interesting conversations still take place in Egypt, as the run-off election pits pro-government forces against pro-Islamic forces, whatever those vague terms mean... They are asking the liberals, which form of oppression do you like the best? The pro-government folks are acting out of the Karl Rove playbook, getting generals and judges to go on television and sound the warning, warning how dangerous it will be if the Muslim Brotherhood both runs the government and has a majority in parliament, while the MB is trying to calm the fears, and proving themselves by nominating a healthy cross-section of people to be on the committee that will come up with the new constitution. All these conversations are good to have, healthier when they are out in the open. The US and Europe have to accept that Egypt will never resemble their countries, and is forging its own path. Democracy is messy, at times it seems like chaos or a civil war, but out of it usually comes a consensus and a solid path to follow, except for Syria...

We are in the middle of a generational war of values, especially in the Republican Party. Which may explain why the older folks are acting so hysterical, and trying to force a lot of legislation through in the states and in Congress. The latest shot was fired by the tea party scion Jonah Goldberg, who suffers from no-brain syndrome, when he said that those under 30 are too dumb and shouldn't be allowed to vote...
"It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth," he said, with feeling. "We're all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young." 
"The fact that young people think socialism is better than capitalism... that's something that conservatives have to work hard to beat out of them,"
Jonah, Jonah, Jonah. You could do with some advice that I used to give obnoxious teenagers when I used to drive a bus. I told them that when they were young they could easily change their behavior and not be such an asshole, because young assholes usually grow up to be old assholes, and nobody likes an old asshole... Crude language, but Jonah, you prove my point, you ugly ugly man...

About a month ago, the Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren got into a brouhaha over her claiming she had Indian blood somewhere back in her ancestry, without any formal proof other than family stories and legends. I understand her desire to do this because my family has done the same thing.

 Supposedly, I have some roots with a Blackfoot tribe and a Ute, but more than that I couldn't tell you. I know my dad spent some summers on a Blackfoot reservation when he was a kid, and my grandmother's face resembled the Indian head on the buffalo nickel when she died. Also, we had a great-uncle that used to take his clothes off and do a war dance on the front lawn whenever he got too drunk, and that's the extent of my personal knowledge. I used to brag about it when I was in first grade, but then I realized how silly it looked for a tow-headed blond kid claiming that he was really part Indian...

But, my sister has kept up the charade, and made sure to have marked the ethnicity forms for her children as Native Americans. They now have children of their own and have stopped the trend, but it always bothered me that she kept up the ruse. Though who knows, maybe there is more than a teeny tiny percentage of Indian lineage running through my veins; I certainly never pursued it or tried to take advantage, other than sharing a couple pleasant stories with my cousins after dinner. And I'm sure that there's a lot of other folks like myself, who think that any kind of racial purity is a myth. I'm supposed to be part German, English, and Welsh, but I also know little about those kind of roots, the only kind of culture I feel close to is from California and Colorado, both ethnic melting pots. I know its worse for my sister's grandkids: their mother was Hispanic and Black, their daddy was White, and now they don't fit in anywhere...

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's Easier To Drag Mubarak Through The Streets of Cairo Tied To A Camel, Than An Iranian Cartoonist Passing Through The Eye Of A Needle

Its been an interesting weekend if you have an interest in the Middle Eastern legal system. The big draw, of course, was the trial of Hosni Mubarak, over the responsibility of ordering the killing of demonstrators in Tahrir Square... The prosecutors could not provide any direct evidence that Mubarak gave such orders, so he was found guilty by association, of letting such actions occur on his watch. The case against him was constructed so that it could easily be appealed, and its likely that Mr Mubarak will spend about a month behind bars... In the meantime, people have taken back to the streets in protest, though some have admitted that they're not sure what they are protesting over, other than they wanted to see Mr Mubarak tied to a camel and dragged through the streets of Cairo... It didn't help that lesser officials, who had more to do with issuing those kind of orders, were acquitted, which still makes people mad...

Some pundits worry that the trial results will polarize Egyptian society even more, especially because the two remaining presidential candidates are merely two sides of the same coin; neither candidate represents a change in the system and young people and women will become locked out of the process of forming a new constitution. Most of the ideals that people marched and camped out in the streets for will only be paid lip service, while the same old corrupt system of cronyism and getting things done through bribery will continue on. The more things change the more they stay the same...

Also, there was a trial in Iran of a newspaper's cartoonist that resulted in 25 lashes of said cartoonist. This was the first time that a prosecution for a cartoon of a non-religious figurehead  went through the court system, and illustrates the vagaries of their judicial system. While their is rigorous schooling and training set up to become an ayatollah, there isn't much comparable training to become a judge. Many rulings seem based more on the whims of the judge than any kind of legal ruling. In this case, while there is a 90 year precedent in favor of newspaper cartoons of local politicians, it didn't matter to the judge, who found the cartoon offensive to Islam and a threat to the security of the nation. Even weirder is the fact that the Iranian judge was the one who sued the cartoonist, saying that he was offended by the cartoon, and he also was the one who passed judgement, and issued the 25 lashes. Said an observer of the mess:
"They don't want to understand what you have been doing; they want you to confess to what they think you have been doing, The Islamist judges in Iran have something they call "judges' knowledge." Whatever you say or whatever the law says, the judge can decide based on his own instinct. [Mortazavi] was the interrogator, the judge, and the prosecutor all in one: Judge Dredd..."
The cartoonist and his lawyer are going to appeal the verdict, but it looks like he'd have a better chance if he was an American back-packer accused of spying...

Tomorrow is the recall election in Wisconsin, and it is being over-hyped as to whatever the results will mean. the main problem for the Democrats is they are running against Governor Scott Walker a candidate who lost to him in the last election. It's doubtful that the citizens will rally behind a loser just to throw a bastard out of office...  Paul Krugman makes a good case in his column today, that we already have been practicing the Republican version of the economy for over the past two years, and it hasn't been doing us much good so far: "What should be done about the economy? Republicans claim to have the answer: slash spending and cut taxes. What they hope voters won’t notice is that that’s precisely the policy we’ve been following the past couple of years. Never mind the Democrat in the White House; for all practical purposes, this is already the economic policy of Republican dreams.

So the Republican electoral strategy is, in effect, a gigantic con game: it depends on convincing voters that the bad economy is the result of big-spending policies that President Obama hasn’t followed (in large part because the G.O.P. wouldn’t let him), and that our woes can be cured by pursuing more of the same policies that have already failed."

Colorado politics may be the savior of the future for the Republican Party, if the bigwigs will sit up and take notice. We already have 4 gay people elected to the legislature, and come November that number may double, giving us the highest percentage of gays to elected office, along with California. We also have a high amount of minorities and women in office and running the local parties. It seems that our women are taking charge while our men partake of the medical marijuana... But our top figureheads are still white men, to keep the image of old-school GOP politics... And we still have our share of right wing extremists, like the woman who began the personhood amendments when she was a seventeen year-old home-schooled girl...

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Meek Are Inheriting This Earth...

"Mitt Romney was attacking Obama about our failing education system. He has a point. We are graduating millions of people in this country who are so lacking in basic analytical skills, they are considering voting for Mitt Romney." – Bill Maher

"As George Bush once said, 'Our kids is not learning.'" – Bill Maher
"Between the obesity and the low test scores, you've got to ask yourselves the question ,'How fat and dumb do our kids have to get before our teachers stop having sex with them?"
–Bill Maher

"A new biography came out that says that in high school Obama was a huge pothead … Mitt Romney had to respond to this and said, ‘It is appalling that Obama spent his teenage years goofing around and smoking pot when he should have been pinning down gay kids and cutting their hair." – Bill Maher

I know its said that the meek shall inherit the earth, but that may not be such a good thing. Who knew that a meek dentist would end up killing half the population of his country and not listen to the reasoning of other world leaders? Who  knew that a family of paranoid losers would create a dynasty and run a country nicknamed the hermit kingdom? Who knew that Mit Romney would be chosen to run for the US presidency, or that we would accept a person with the nickname of Mit?

Who knew that Barack Obama would end up being such a sneaky guy? This morning it was revealed that yes, indeed, the US and Israel did create the Stuxnet virus that caused over 1000 of the 5000 centrifuges to fail in Iran, after two years of denying it, that it began during the Bush administration and given the green light to continue by Obama... That Obama campaigned of closing down the prison at Guantanamo but it has yet to happen. Water-boarding was supposed to have stopped by presidential order, but the lawyer in Obama gave himself some wriggle room, and the art of renditioning and interrogation of prisoners has continued unabated. Perhaps the scariest of all, is the fact that there remains a presidential hit-list, with Barack Obama giving his personal OK whether to go after and kill them. Knowing the predatory nature of using mercenaries to do these jobs, they naturally will go overboard and kill people in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Central America without any presidential approval, they will hunt down and kill people at the slightest nod in their direction, because its their job and its so much fun... Whatever moral excuses Obama gives himself, the fact is he is like a teenage boy playing a bloody shoot-em-up computer game, except he is using real drones and killing real people. I wonder what score he gives himself?

I know that Obama wants to portray himself as another John Wayne tough guy figurehead, never having to apologize to countries like Poland and Pakistan, creating negative campaign ads against his opponents. To be fair, his opponents also create negative attack ads, and they are much more obnoxious that the ones so far created against Romney. And crazier, unless you think that Donald Trump in full-blown birther mode, channeling the ghost of Orly Taitz, is normal behavior for someone in the public eye to be doing...

Mit Romney comes across as meeker than Obama, so I wonder what they will have to do to butch him up? I will vote for Romney if he promises to send in the entire Mormon church to Syria as NATO shock troops, let's see how welcoming people are when they show up with the Book of Mormon in one hand, and an automatic rifle in the other... I say this because its only right that we have a Christian cult go and take on an Islamic minority, claymation style... The pundits are trying to predict who Romney will select as his running mate, trying hard not to make the Palin Mistake, but it looks hard to avoid. Do they go with someone who has more charisma than Romney, or less? The main problem is that the more charismatic route may lead to someone who is more right wing crazy and will make detrimental gaffes in public, like our poor Sarah did. So, look for a safer choice, like Pawlenty, or Portman, or even Paul Ryan, who whines at every criticism made about him or his financial and analytical skills...

The Paris Review just celebrated its 200th issue, which agin brought up the allegations that for many years it was funded by the CIA. One of its founders revealed that he was an employee of the CIA back in 1977, and questions have swirled about the literary magazine ever since. I have been publishing this blog for a few years now, and have yet to make over $10 in revenue from Google. I just want to inform my friends at the CIA that I can be reasonably bought, at prices comparable to a Colombian hooker. Instead of criticizing those mercenaries, I could be praising the flight of the drones, all for a modest monthly stipend. Oh, yes, and having my mortgage paid off...