Monday Night Open Thread

Despite the weighty issues facing Japan, I'm going to watch the season finale of The Bachelor, followed by "After the Final Rose." which is not going to be all that rosey this year. If you want to know what happens, but don't want to watch, check my posts at PopLeft. Here's what you'll see tonight.

There's also a new Harry's Law.

Enjoy your evening, here's an open thread, all topic welcome.

< Japan: New Explosions and Rising Radiation Fears | Donald Trump May Try to Get Richard Hatch Freed Early >
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    Obama speaks: (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:31:14 PM EST
    On offshore driling:

    "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced."

    On nuclear power:

    "There's no reason why, technologically, we can't employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way,"

    Duck and cover.

    Yeah, they generally don't (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Joan in VA on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:39:10 PM EST
    but, boy, when they do that cr*p will kill absolutely every living thing for decades. Wasn't he supposed to be all Green and stuff? Weren't the seas supposed to stop rising and blahblhablah if we elected him? I just read that he wants to change how national forests are managed which will negatively impact wildlife habitat. Yay!

    The majority of our reactors... (none / 0) (#3)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:14:12 PM EST
    ...are 40-50 some years old--built at the height of the cold war.  The fuel of choice at the time was selected for one reason, the by-product of nuclear weapons.  

    Now, I know this the most cynical, pessimistic bunch of sky-is-falling people-ever, but do you really think technology hasn't progressed in 50 years--or there may be alternative fuels out there that have been proven to work but were cast aside in favor of plutonium?  

    Duck and cover or sticking your head in the sand?  You sound just like your typical winger carrying on about solar, wind, tidal energy or any other green energy.  

    It's going to take a combination of a lot of energy sources, nuclear included, if we're ever going to ween ourselves off the addition to oil.

    Aside from throwing up our hands, blaming Obama, refusing to pursue new technologies and return to living in caves--what do you suggest?  


    Cost (none / 0) (#7)
    by waldenpond on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:43:08 PM EST
    The argument against nuclear for me has nothing to do with radiation contamination nor proliferation of weapons... for me it's cost.  It is the most expensive source of energy.  Go wind and solar every where you can.... I understand it's easier to create a monopoly with nuclear and as such politicians will support it as a method to extract wealth but individuals should stop whining and take care of a decent portion of their personal energy needs.

    Nuclear won't be built in our earth quake prone zone.  It is fine with me if someone goes nuclear as long as long as the cost is born by the city/county that will be using it.  No tax dollars ever for set-up or disaster response.


    No argument here. (none / 0) (#14)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:31:07 PM EST
    Especially in place like Colorado that has over 300 sunny days a year and has fairly sustained winds.  

    And as a resident of an arid state that is blessed with abundant natural beauty, I have reservations about the amount of water that nuclear power consumes and the devastating effects of uranium mining and refining.  

    We've got a new uranium mine being planned on the Utah/Colorado border--one of the most fragile and beautiful areas on earth.  Old technology that I'm against, but unfortunately the mining lobby (and the wild West mentality) and economic impact of mining around here is pretty strong.  For instance, they don't even pay a severance tax like the oil and gas companies.    

    A new "energy complex" including a reactor is being proposed for Pueblo.  An interesting concept as to the funding and incorporating solar and wind energy--but it still appears to be same old uranium fueled technology.  

    But in the end, I don't think we can rely solely on solar/wind/geothermal, etc. They're all important pieces to the puzzle--as is nuclear.  I just wish we would at least give some thought to using other fuels like thorium.


    What we need to do, imo, (none / 0) (#22)
    by brodie on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:22:59 PM EST
    is stop repeating the mantra that's been trendy in the political discourse in the past decade, that in the energy mix we must always necessarily have to include nuclear, because the more it's repeated, the more likely that very outcome becomes.

    And this site would seem to fundamentally counter many of the arguments for thorium.

    Most of the answers for the moment should be in greater individual and collective energy savings, smaller lighter and higher mpg cars including hybrids, better regional mass transit in all our large urban areas, more fed funding in alternatives to nuke and coal, such as solar, wind, and maybe geothermal.  Basically we should have an ongoing Apollo Project, or an approximation, which is puts our best and brightest together to come up with revolutionary energy solutions.  Nuclear and similar dangerous ventures should be off the table of alternatives.


    The closest I've ever seen... (none / 0) (#27)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:51:39 PM EST
    ...to anything approaching an energy Apollo project was Gov. Ritter's "New Energy Economy"  Of course, that's being slowly dismantled and discredited due to pure partisan politics.  I honestly don't know how we get over that hurdle.  What will it take?  

    What do we do to bridge the gap between now and the full development of the new technologies to get away from oil, coal and nuclear?  Is there an short-term transition power source?  

    Is nuclear worse for that purpose than coal (it's clean!  ha!) or worse, the oil shale crap that a certain game of chance player around here is always pushing as the answer to all our problems?  Methane (don't get me started on that)?  Natural gas with the fracking chemicals they use in drilling that pollutes the groundwater and has been linked to earthquakes in AR?

    There's no easy answer--but we do need to make a concentrated effort to keep looking.    


    New? (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:44:12 PM EST
    Nuclear reactors are not a new technology.

    Neither is offshore drilling.

    Neither of them are safe.
    I think we have seen some evidence of that recently.

    Wind power has promise.
    Solar power has promise.

    There is even the potential of generating renewable energy from landfills.

    I am blaming Obama for being a salesman for products about which he knows little. He accepts the assurances of representatives of the oil and nuclear industries and pitches them to us. Not much different than McCain or Palin in that respect.

    I'm not throwing up my hands. I am serious about looking for a solution to our needs that is not toxic.

    You are dripping with contempt for that point of view.
    Have a nice day.


    You make some good points, lentinel (3.00 / 3) (#13)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:28:46 PM EST
    BUT, I believe that you undercut them with your own undisguised disdain for President Obama. So many things that I recall from your writing seem to revolve around a main point of saying: "So there...Obama is wrong." Look, we all have people we feel that way about; but, when we overdo it, others discount what is said. As so many say..."just sayin'"

    Oh. ps shoephone (none / 0) (#20)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:03:57 PM EST
    Don't take offense so easily. We all know that when people keep grinding the same axe, its effect lessens. That is what I am saying. You must surely know that as well. For those outside the group of everything-Obama-does-is-wrong, the refrain adds nothing.

    Oh, stop being such a schoolmarm (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by shoephone on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:31:25 PM EST
    I'm not "offended" by your comment. Frankly, I find it a silly cliche by now, one which seems intended to shut down comments that make you uncomfortable in your mission to fend off legitimate criticisms of Obama.

    works both ways (none / 0) (#21)
    by nycstray on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:13:16 PM EST
    people that justify everything Obama does, also add nothing . . .

    and I don't believe shoephone is who you should be addressing?


    shoephone issued the 2 rating (none / 0) (#23)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:24:05 PM EST
    i am not an Obama fan myself but i greatly respect christinep's political outlook even though i don't always agree w/her positions - her comments are always civil not to mention informed by 30 years of real experience working in govt

    christinep is anything but an Obama apologist imo though heaven knows we do have a few of those

    but her comment on making everything about how Obama can do no right is spot on & needed to be made, not exclusively to one person but to a whole group who really do turn virtually everything into an occasion for criticizing Obama

    i'd sure rather hear it from christinep than from squeaky! ;-)


    lol!~ (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by nycstray on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:54:26 PM EST
    and I'm sure you know what brought on that lol  ;)

    Thank you (none / 0) (#25)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:35:29 PM EST
    The Addams Family: My sincere thanks. Your comment means a lot (and future rebukes will be easier for me to receive.)

    My apologies (none / 0) (#29)
    by nycstray on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 11:55:56 PM EST
    I didn't even notice the ratings thing. Not what I look at when reading . . .

    You (none / 0) (#35)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:37:52 AM EST

    All I did was to quote Obama.

    My reference to "duck and cover" had to do with the propaganda that our government was putting out in the 1950's telling us how to survive a nuclear attack. They advised school children to get under their desks, not to look at the flash, and crouch against a wall.

    The government and its representatives have never been a reliable source of information.


    Is that what we thought when we (none / 0) (#36)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:17:33 AM EST
    were grinding that axe against the Bush/Cheney administration and all the terrible things that came out of it?

    Was it Bush and Cheney we "didn't like" or was it the policies and practices and legislation, and the consequences that impacted millions of lives?

    Or were you also chastising people for their constant criticism of the Republicans during that time?  Urging more balance, more acknowledgment of the good things - whatever those were - more understanding of the possibility of incremental progress buried within seemingly regressive packaging?

    Just curious, because when it comes to Democratic policy and action and legislation and whatever else we can attach "Democratic" to, you don't seem to ever be able to bring yourself to be outright critical; everything is tempered, hedged, qualified, comes with caveats and caution.  Is there every anything Democrats can do that is just flat-out, unacceptable, no-excuses wrong for you?  

    I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, sometimes something is just wrong, and there is no "other side."

    I tend to measure what our political leaders and representatives do against what I believe in, what matters to me, because I have this crazy notion that they are there to serve my interests; sometimes, as I read your comments, I feel like you are almost urging people to lower their standards, modify their beliefs, so that what our representatives are doing is more in line with what we expect, but I don't have the vaguest idea what purpose that serves, other than to avoid the kinds of confrontations I happen to think are sorely needed.

    To each his or her own, Christine, but next time you want to lecture people about their axe-grinding against Democrats, you might want to reflect on whether you're not holding them to a different standard than you held them when the GOP was in power.


    I don't lecture.... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by christinep on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 12:37:36 PM EST
    When it feels like a lecture, we could look inward (all of us) to see why we react that way.

    As for the Bush/Cheney matter: Most of the time, I tried to find a Democrat or Democrats to replace them, tried to find an argument against them. Sometimes I would get wild-eyed, other times my attitude was to take them with a grain of salt & plan for the next election. Wringing my hands all the time wasn't going to help...doing/acting on something directed to obtaining different results fit better. E.g., before Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq and after spending 6 or 7 months on a planning committee for a day of discussion in opposition to the upcoming war, the group which we called Voices of Peace met for a day of brainstorming & action-planning about the war about to happen. Sounds small, but the group of about 80 people (teachers, clergy, artists, students, homemakers, Vietvets, etc.) met all day at the Denver AFS to raise awareness; and, given the good coverage in the Denver Post that Sunday, maybe we raised awareness for some. I mention this as an example in response to the any questions about how I or others might/did act in another administration. For me, after expressing my frustrations for awhile, personal action made sense.

    All of this is to say what we already know: Different strokes for different folks...we are all motivated differently. You have noted above that I <appear> "to avoid the kinds of confrontations I happen to think are sorely needed."  Y'see my idea of seeking more from an administration relatively more friendly than Bush/Cheney doesn't lead me to those "confrontations."  Rather, for me, the step by step approach is moving us ever forward in a way that the more societally risky confrontation might not do.


    Disdain (none / 0) (#34)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:33:17 AM EST
    My disdain is not for Obama.

    I don't care about him.

    At the moment, he is in a position of power.
    And he is actively spreading falsehoods about the safety of both offshore drilling and the nuclear power industry.

    McCain would have been no different.
    He and Obama held identical positions during the campaign.
    Or perhaps he would have been more open to reality.
    We'll never know.

    But right now, we have to deal with powerful and irresponsible and dangerous industries and the people who represent their interests.


    Obama (none / 0) (#33)
    by lentinel on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 06:29:04 AM EST
    is not the issue.

    He is but the latest in a line of corporate representatives placed in the oval office.

    The issue is that there is a nuclear industry that could place us back into the stone age.

    The secondary issue is the oil industry, that has the potential of destroying humankind on this planet.

    Obama is an issue to the extent that he is beholden to these industries and mouths their talking points.


    Donald... (none / 0) (#10)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:52:16 PM EST
    I don't think it is representative of a pre-school mentality to express disapproval of sources of energy that have proven to be so destructive.

    I don't know if you're aware of it, but there is a serious potential for hundreds of thousands of deaths due to the disaster unfolding in Japan.

    I don't see a place for contempt aimed at those of us who think that this technology is far too dangerous to pursue.


    You seem to know a bit about this (none / 0) (#37)
    by sj on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:33:44 AM EST
    Definitely more than I do.  And you have mentioned this twice now.  But I'm curious.  In the discussions for new nuclear plants is this even discussed?  Because most of the NIMBY talk and other criticism that I hear relates specifically to the plutonium/byproducts issue.  Having an open (and honest!) discussion on  this could allay alot of fears.

    But if TPTB still want plutonium, then ....


    Delilah got here very very early this (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 02:14:06 PM EST
    morning.  Josh put food out for her and they snuggled on the couch before school.  What a cool dog, it is a baby and it is the picture of composure until it has brief rememberings that it is a puppy, but this isn't my dog.  I will take care of her basic needs when Josh is in school and nothing more,  this isn't my dog.  She smells wonderful and she looks like a curly black fawn, but this isn't my dog.  If she were a German Shepherd puppy she would have done at least 10 dangerous, destructive, and disruptive things before noon.  My dogs are the dogs who think their Christian names are Damn It and Stop That.

    Awwwww!!! (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 03:39:12 PM EST
    So cute.  Poodles love to cuddle.  If you keep their hair trimmed evenly they just look like goofy hounds most of the time.  Keep us updated!!

    (Beagles are my favorite dogs on the planet.  But a friend has a poodle and the dog is just too endearing...combined with the coat, the guard dog aspects, and the intelligence, it makes me wonder if there's not a poodle in my future.  Although there is something about me that finds running after a beagle waving my arms in frustration appealing)  


    This is great news (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Zorba on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 03:54:54 PM EST
    I love standard poodles.  Our first standard was a female- she was huge!  Not fat, but large (I guess she would have been considered a "royal standard"). She weighed 75 pounds, and was tall enough to rest her chin on the dining room table, without stretching her neck up.  But the gentlest, most loving dog (although, based on her reactions to threatening-looking strangers, if I had given her the word, she would have torn them apart), great with the kids.  Really smart and easy to train, too.  Best of luck with Delilah- I'm sure you made a good choice for Josh.  One caveat, though- they take a lot of grooming.  Brushing and clipping.  Josh would probably be able to handle the brushing, but probably not the clipping.  

    hey (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:08:18 PM EST
    our dogs have the same christian names

    Sometimes I forget to read James Wolcott (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:31:38 PM EST
    and I miss great stuff like his take on one remembrance of David Broder. And here on Broder and the DFHs.

    Well said, as usual.

    Well, the DFH pice is a long quote from driftglass (none / 0) (#46)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 04:32:44 PM EST
    whom I shall have to start reading.

    that was (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:14:59 PM EST

    Ah... (none / 0) (#51)
    by sj on Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 10:53:52 AM EST
    ... that was food for the soul

    [I originally meant to type "good for the soul" but "food" works well, too]


    R.I.P. Owsley... (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 05:32:09 PM EST
    Legendary sound engineer and LSD manufacturer Owsley "Bear" Stanley died in a car crash at 76.

    Mind-boggling how many lives this guy touched, how many heads he fed, how much art he helped inspire.  I just wish I coulda been there in his heyday.  Take care Bear.

    A legend... (none / 0) (#50)
    by desertswine on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:09:05 PM EST
    and a symbol of his time. And a believer in quality merchandise.

    Can a man who has no pulse... (none / 0) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:33:35 PM EST
    ...take the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?  Or would anyone really believe him?  

    A Colorado man can sue two Secret Service agents who arrested him after he touched former Vice President Dick Cheney on the arm in 2006 and told him his Iraq War policies were "disgusting," a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

    The ruling means Steven Howards can try to subpoena Cheney to testify about the incident, said David Lane, Howards' attorney.

    "I fully intend on deposing the former vice president," Lane told The Associated Press.

    Could be interesting.

    Fire at 4th reactor (none / 0) (#6)
    by waldenpond on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:38:25 PM EST
    and some radiation released.  There may have been containment damage with the third explosion so that one could be more likely to have a meltdown.

    There's a good post... (none / 0) (#9)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:44:25 PM EST
    ...over at LGM on what's happening over there.  

    Seen it (none / 0) (#12)
    by waldenpond on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:23:59 PM EST
    It's making the rounds with supporters of nuclear.  The first two items on the list are already the victims of hind sight...

    * The plant is safe now and will stay safe.
    (that was after one explosion.  There are now three explosions and a fire)
    * Japan is looking at an INES Level 4 Accident: Nuclear accident with local consequences. (It's already been uprated a minimum 5.  It's the second worst incident since Chernobyl)

    I think supporters need to find an updated resource.  There are plenty of industry supporters that will let people know that no one died at three mile island.  Maybe they can get one of them to speak up.


    One more try to tell how bad it is (none / 0) (#11)
    by Towanda on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:05:23 PM EST
    in Wisconsin, just the first to be hit with the agenda coming to your states soon.  This is the fiat today from the state Senate majority leader re the now-returned Wisconsin 14 whom he held in contempt (no constitutional means exist to do so) for not voting.  Now their votes don't count:

    Email re: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

    Dear Members,

    With the return of the Senate Democrats this weekend, questions have arisen regarding Democrat members' participation in Senate standing committee public hearings and executive sessions.

    Please note that all 14 Democrat senators are still in contempt of the Senate. Therefore, when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats' votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.  Thank you,

    Scott Fitzgerald
    Senate Majority Leader

    Recall petitions (none / 0) (#15)
    by christinep on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:35:13 PM EST
    How is the signature gathering going for the recall effort? I heard that the Democratic/Union drive has almost one-half within two weeks of the 60 allotted days? Assuming the signature levels are reached & certified, what would the timing be for the recall elections?

    There are 8 different recall drives (none / 0) (#16)
    by Towanda on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:39:52 PM EST
    so there can be no blanket statement about all; apparently some are off to a good start, from what I read.

    That is, these are legislator recalls (none / 0) (#17)
    by Towanda on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:42:06 PM EST
    of Republicans (there also are 8 recall drives aimed at Democratic legislators).  

    If you meant a recall drive aimed at Walker, that cannot be done now.  Elected officials have to be  in new terms of office for a year.


    Towanda (none / 0) (#19)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:47:46 PM EST
    what is it that you think should happen now?

    Gawd these people are just (none / 0) (#18)
    by nycstray on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 10:45:59 PM EST
    nasty. Let's just keep on kickin' the people . . .

    Summary for Tues nuke activity (none / 0) (#30)
    by Makarov on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 01:27:40 AM EST
    1. An explosion occurred at Dai-ichi #2 reactor. The Japanese govt indicated there may have been a containment breech. It's unclear if they're referring to the inner reactor vessel, or primary containment vessel surrounding the smaller reactor vessel. Govt officials don't seem to know. They believe the #2 reactor core was fully exposed for hours overnight. Workers were unable to add additional seawater after valves to release steam failed to operate properly.

    2. Indications that TEPCO, the plant operator, isn't being fully transparent with govt officials.

    3. A fire of unspecified origin broke out at Dai-ichi reactor #4. 4 was not in service during the quake/tsunami. Current theory is spent fuel rods, normally stored in a pool of water above the reactor, may have been exposed to air and ignited. Hours later, there were reports the fire was out.

    4. Local radiation levels spiked about the time of the #4 fire. Reports are they reached as high as 400mSv/hour (thats mili, not micro). A NY Times story reports that exposure to this level would induce acute radiation sickness after 75 minutes.

    5. 750 of 800 workers at Dai-ichi were pulled back from the site following the radiation spike.

    6. Govt officials stated that Dai-ichi reactors 1, 2, and 3 may all be in a state of melting down. They warned future releases of radioactive material were likely. People residing between 20 and 30km from the site were warned to stay indoors.

    In my opinion, the Dai-ichi site will never be used for power generation again. I think it increasingly likely some area around the facility will prove uninhabitable until after cleanup, or perhaps a long period of time. Potential containment breech in #2, difficulty in keeping all 3 reactor cores covered with water, and the unexplained fire in reactor 4 are particularly troubling. The operator, TEPCO, appears unable to deal with these problems.

    SITE VIOLATOR n/t (none / 0) (#32)
    by caseyOR on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 02:25:11 AM EST

    I hope someone sends this video (none / 0) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 03:35:39 PM EST
    so (none / 0) (#41)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 03:37:35 PM EST
    You Want to Work in the Video Game Industry

    every one reading this with a child who expresses such a wish should make them watch this.

    Japan Nuc Plant Evac (none / 0) (#49)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:40:43 PM EST
    Workers evacuated from plant... final 50 workers out.  Operations suspended.