Monthly Archives: March 2011

Defenders of the Atom, or, Nuclear Spring

On the first  Monday morning after the Friday, March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan, in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, the alarm clocks undoubtedly went off early.

Completely fake parody ad

But nobody was going to beat William Tucker to the punch. He’d been burning the midnight oil over the weekend so that at midnight Monday, a “nothing to see here” editorial would be ready. Continue reading


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In The Absence of a Paradigm

SOMETHING is happening. (And you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?)

The most astonishing thing that hasn’t happened in the past two months is that the chatterers, the talking heads, the know-it-alls, endlessly filling the airwaves with blither, blather and bluster have steadfastly refused to ask the fundamental question: What the Heck is Happening Here?

The news this morning is dominated by the enormous demonstrations in England. Last night it was the enormous demonstrations in Syria. We have seen the demonstrations in Wisconsin. In Michigan. In Ohio. In Egypt. In Yemen. In Jordan. In Bahrain. In Libya.

Did you even know that the Canadian government just fell apart?

SOMETHING is taking place at an archetypal level, across the world, across class and social lines, across religious and political divides, all characterized by popular uprisings against authoritarian high-handedness across the world.

Continue reading

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Wisconsin GOP Can’t Walk Its Own Talk

The internets tubes are abuzz with the latest from Wisconsin, as the State GOP decides to make a Freedom of Information Act request (a “FOIA attack”) under the Wisconsin open records laws to a college professor who “outed” one of the many arms of the Kochian money machine on March 15.

from Memeorandum @ 4:55 PM ET, March 25, 2011.

I wrote about how certain principals of Ballotpedia and the Wisconsin Club for Growth had launched nationwide “FOIA attacks” in 2006, a couple of weeks ago, so this tactic isn’t unexpected.[ "Wisconsin Money Slush: O'Keefe and Jacob to Kliesmet" 26 Feb 2011.]

What’s interesting quickly, though is how the Wisconsin GOP in its endless quest for transparency decided to register their new website “RECALLINTEGRITYCENTER.COM” through an anonymous proxy, the infamous GOP and Koch organization favorite, “Domains by Proxy” of Scottsdale, Arizona. Continue reading


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222.2027 Years Later

Article III Section 3 of the United States Constitution gives a simple, originalist definition of  the issue at hand:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Under that definition — adopting the Tea Party/ 912 groups’ notion of fundamentalist interpretation of the plain language of the Constitution, and tossing out all interpretations of the Constitution that have transpired since March 4, 1789, when it was actually placed in service, 81,104 days ago, or 222.2027 years ago, today — a whole lot of treason seems to be going on. Continue reading


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A Level of Ignorance that Astonishes

[Note: * Begun on March 22]

It’s taken three days of bloviating*, but slowly, almost imperceptably, the chattering classes have almost gotten all the way to the 1973 War Powers Act.

I remember it well, and debated it collegiately for a year, so it seems astonishing to me that here, in 2011, our “experts” and “legislators” have only now, just, managed to make it to 1973. Wikipedia:

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C.1541–1548) was a United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

For those hoary heads like Dick Lugar and Dennis Kucinich who have raised their grizzled heads to party like it’s 1972, let me note that they might want to save those flair jeans (for their kids) and save the lava lamps. There will come amazing games that you can actually play on your TeeVee and even teleophones that can tap into a World-wide Web of computerized … oh wait. That last might be going a bit too far. They need to make it to the Eighties and MTV — back when “Music Television” played actual music —  first.
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BREAKING: Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79

Taylor several years before demise

How long it will take Fox News to blame President Obama is not yet known.


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DUH! War and Nuclear Plants – a Teachable Moment

Forgive my moment of  “duh!”

I thought for sure that had I not grasped the obvious previously, someone surely had. But, alas, I can’t seem to find it anywhere.  So, perhaps this might be of some interest.

I was looking at the map of US reactors (and you might find the NRC report from which I took this illustration  interesting):

Currently licensed U.S. nuclear power plants

And then I thought of the European nuclear power plants: Continue reading


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Jackass doesn’t rhyme with Hypocrite – but it ought to

Jeff Poor — a surname undoubtedly derived from the moral authority of his soul — suddenly draws himself into high dudgeon over a satirist’s comments this weekend. SHOCK! SHAME! OHMYGOSH!

Jeff Poor / The Daily Caller:
Low-brow: Bill Maher says Sarah Palin is a ‘dumb twat’ — One might think paying for HBO as a premium cable channel would entitle subscribers to high-quality entertainment selections. But for an hour Friday night, viewers were treated to a little misogynistic locker room humor with the channel’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Let’s see how long it takes to find out whether he is against misogyny in general, or only against misogyny directed at those with whom he ‘agrees.’ Continue reading


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Of Leprechauns and Pots of Gold

A reprint of our two St. Patrick’s Day posts from 2008.

Because sometimes we get lucky.

Erin Go Broke?
17 March 2008


It may well be Black St. Patrick’s Day: today may well prove THE most crucial day on Wall Street since 1929. The Fed continues to pursue the same policies they have since September, with little success.

And the world markets are reacting in horror, Continue reading

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Modern America Today, Currently

I was speaking with a friend, a fellow writer, who told me how she kept sending people to a certain class of my articles, but, she said, they complained that there was too much there to read.

Which, I thought, was an apt metaphor for Americans today: they want to know, but if there is a lot of material to tell them what they’d like to know, it’s too daunting, too much work, and so they choose to remain unknowing.

Because knowing what you want to know is too much work.

It’s paradoxical, of course. And I once encountered their Poster Child, their Patron Saint online, who complained in comments that he didn’t know what a specific term meant. Continue reading


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Downwind from Hiroshima

We are all downwind from Hiroshima, now. In the case of the West Coast, we don’t know what the effect of the West winds will be, but perhaps it is poetic.

The first intentionally unfriendly uses of the atom

The atom, plaything of early 20th Century physics, first found its practical application with X-rays, which killed its early pioneers. Its real heyday came with the development of The Three in an old boys’ summer camp in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where I went to high school downwind from. The Three: Trinity, Little Boy, Fat Man. When Trinity went off, Robert Oppenheimer noted presciently and quoted memorably the words of Shiva from the Upanishads: Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

But all remember Hiroshima, as we all remember the Ides of March. Continue reading


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No Nukes is Good Nukes Revisited

Ever since I learned about the ongoing crisis (and explosion in the wee hours of the morning), I can’t shake the feeling that we’re being sandbagged about the situation with the Japanese nuclear reactors.

The implosion demolition of the Trojan nuclear
facility on the Washington-Oregon border in 2006

My first intuition was on hearing the live broadcast of the Japanese Prime Minister immediately following the 8.9 or (as upgraded today by the Japanese agency responsible for such things) 9.0 earthquake off the eastern shore of Northern Japan. When they rebroadcast it, I was even more perplexed. Why?

Because the first words out the PM’s mouth were assurances that the nuclear reactors were OK.

OK: Japan has a deep fear of matters nuclear, being the only nation in the world ever attacked with nuclear weapons. (Thus far.) But in the larger picture of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, it seemed an odd first priority in the obligatory “Leader reassures the People” statement that everybody makes after any large disaster.

The intervening days have clarified that odd statement: we have EVERYTHING to be worried about. Continue reading


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Carpe Diem and your Social Security

Wonder what Howie Rich has been up to?

Howie Rich wants YOU to help him on his Social Security crusade!

from Americans for Limited Government
to American Patriot
date Sat, Mar 12, 2011
subject The looming crisis

Oooh. Hot off the presses! Continue reading


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The Dandelion

I do not talk about myself a lot in these pages. I am as I have always been, an intensely private person. I don’t kiss and tell, and I don’t bray or pad my résumé. Sometimes, like the past week, I don’t say anything at all.

This is not because I have not taken in the titanic events of the past week, but because I felt I had nothing valuable to add to the conversation: The Wisconsin Putsch has quite enough bloggers and commentators and journalists working the story. The Libyan Civil War, or Uprising, or Revolution or Rebellion (title depending on how it shakes out) is well enough covered by those with information and expertise that I do not have  — although, since we’re learning very little, expertise doesn’t seem to hold that much of an advantage over near-total ignorance. And, lord knows how easily that a pushy attitude and total ignorance can translate into those big bucks and adoring fans.

But I suppose that I ought to say something, just in case somebody gets worried that I’ve fallen off the turnip truck. Don’t worry, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. Sadly, as I look out there, there seem to be an awful lot of people who have. Continue reading


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