Japan’s Radiation and Trusting the Experts

Japan’s radiation problem keeps getting worse.  Radioactive Iodine and Cesium and pouring into the Pacific Ocean, and while experts are trying to be reassuring they are going about it in a decidedly worrying fashion.

Take this AP Article for instance:

Very close to the nuclear plant — less than half a mile or so — sea creatures might be in danger of problems like genetic mutations if the dumping goes on a long time, he said. But there shouldn’t be any serious hazard farther away “unless this escalates into something much, much larger than it has so far,” he said.

No fishing is allowed in the vicinity of the complex.

And yet:

He agreed that animals near the plant may be affected. It’s not clear in what way, because the level of radiation isn’t well known, he said. In any case, fish would probably escape such an effect because unlike immobile species such as oysters, they move around and so would not get a continuous exposure, he said.

How can they say the fish nearby will be protected “because they move” and then only prohibit fishing in the area affected?  If the fish are safe, why prohibit fishing at all?  If not, why limit it to the area around the plant (rather than institute radiation testing).  Actually, that is just what they are planning on doing next.  Setting radiation safety levels for seafood:

Experts agree that radiation dissipates quickly in the vast Pacific

And yet:

He added that seawater may be diluting the iodine, which decays quickly, but the leak also contains long-lasting cesium-137, which can build up in fish over time. Both can build up in fish, though iodine’s short half-life means it does not stay there for very long. The long-term effects of cesium, however, will need to be studied, he said.

They really have no idea what the long term effects of this will be.  They don’t know the range of impact either: Fish Migrate.

Meanwhile their plans involve trying desperately to find the leak, and making increasingly desperate and risky decisions:

The government on Monday gave the go-ahead to pump more than 3 million gallons of less-contaminated water into the sea — in addition to what is leaking — to make room at a plant storage facility to contain more highly radioactive water.

What happens when that storage facility fills up again?  Given the constantly shifting truths about just what is leaking, and what its long term impact might be – how do we know what to believe?


Why is Tradition Ever a Defense?

This article exposing the cruel mass murders of dolphin by Japanese fisherman brings a question to mind:

The Japanese government defends the killings for meat as traditional.

Why do we give even a moment’s thought to “tradition” as a defense for such horrific acts?  Many cultures – our own definitely included – have truly evil acts in our traditions.  Ought we allow such evils to continue on the basis of so flimsy a defense as “this happened in our past”?

Quick Hit: EPA and BP

Saw this over at Crooks and Liars (emphasis mine):

And as Laffy noted at The Political Carnival the LA Health Dept. is getting into the act now: La. Health Dep’t. Memo: “We have serious concerns about the lack of information related to the use of dispersants”:

My friend and senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response, Hugh Kaufman (altakocker on Twitter), sent me a link to the above memo.

He reminded me, and I will now remind you, that BP is in charge of poisoning the Gulf with dispersants. The EPA is just along for the ride. However, necessary technical studies were not done before the Big Decision.

The following memo is proof that the necessary studies were not, and have not yet been, done by BP (or the EPA) before BP decided to continue killing our ocean, harming sea life and wild life, and poisoning Amercians with toxic dispersants, with the EPA rubber-stamping the whole thing.

Hmmmm, “the EPA is just along for the ride”.  How is that different from their approach to other tugs of war between the corporate world and the environment?

Turtle is Awful Behind the Camera

A turtle’s horrible camera work has shocked the world.

Clearly the beast has issues, recalling the works of the tortured, now banned Dutch film maker Jurgen Haarbermaaster:

British Petroleum was quick to step up to the plate with a cheeky response.  “Our impromptu thoroughly planned full body turtle reeducation program doesn’t seem so far fetched now, does it?”.  The oil spill has been noted for its robust turtle reeducation efforts.  While BP’s PR team

has been hard at work keeping their proprietary turtle reeducation methods secret, a leaked image from some misguided environmentalists shows a partially educated turtle:

Not to worry.  BP has some solid defenders in the GOP.

Depressing Corporate Shit

Hello Dear Readers.  My my, its been a while since my last post.  How about something thoroughly soul crushing?

Our Supreme Court has gone against the grain and showed us the appointment of Roberts and Alito won’t always lead to pro-corporate rulings by issuing a fucking ridiculous pro-corporate ruling: Exxon needn’t pay up for its oil spill, HAHA ALASKANS YOU DUMB FUCKERS.  Seriously they might as well have individually slapped every Alaskan.  Though Palin would still be shouting “thank you sir, you may drill another!”.

Barack Obama has decided he needs to do more to live up to his campaign promises of promote transparency and delivering change we can believe in by doing the exact fucking opposite.  This shit deserves to be quoted:

only through leaks that we tend to learn of the incompetence and fuckery of the government. When stories surface that show how various government agencies are screwing the pooch, the only correct course of action is to fix the fuckups, not punish those who made the fuckups public.

Prosecuting, nay, persecuting whistleblowers is an anti-freedom, anti-transparency move.

Great move oh Hope inspiring one.

Finally let’s have a look see at the economic writing on the wall.  Will the middle class thrive into the future?  Will we realize that asking the middle class and poor to suffer to support the gambling habits of the ultra rich is not only unsustainable but utterly unjust, and rise up to at least make a fucking peep?  Nope.  Now click the shit out of this link and read the whole article.  Come back when you are done.  I’ll be waiting.

Holy shit, right?

So that’s our glorious new world.  To keep from plunging into utter despair I will leave out the current economic/environmental disaster known as BP, the gaping holes in our government that let the oil spill through, the fact that a larger rig with safety violations galore (operated by BP as well) is being allowed to keep running, the massive displays of racism in Arizona, etc etc.

We live in interesting times.

British Petroleum is Holding Our Coast Hostage

What if I told you there was a way to completely stop the leak now?  There is.

This catastrophic leak, which could cost us Billions of dollars and forever change the gulf coast, and is now poised to threaten the east coast, was caused by one company’s unbridled greed.  Live, livelihoods, and habitats may be lost forever.

Now, simply to save money, BP is holding off on a solution to truly fix the problem.  It isn’t clear why this wasn’t done from day one. The rule should be simple:  If you ignore safety regulations and put the environment and economy in as much danger as BP has, you have lost the right to be in charge of the recovery effort.

Media coverage until recently has made it appear as though a chagrined BP was doing everything it could to stop the leak.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Right now, our government could unilaterally decide to permanently seal the oil.  We have a full scale emergency on hand, there is no time to wait.  The situation isn’t getting any better.

Contact your state and federal representatives (especially if you live in a gulf state).  We need to make some serious noise about this.

Obama Shifts on Change, Says he Might Back Status Quo

SINCERITY BEACH, Fla. — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday he would be willing to support much of the status quo if that’s what it takes to push some of his minor ideas for changes through Congress.

Shifting from his clarion call for change, the Illinois senator told a Florida newspaper he could get behind a compromise with Republicans on just about anything.

Republican rival John McCain, who earlier dropped his last remaining moral, has been criticizing Obama on the stump and in broadcast ads for literally being Britney Spears in disguise. Polls indicate these attacks have helped McCain gain ground on Obama, though at the apparent cost of his waning lucidity.

“My interest is in making sure we balance my call for “Change We Can Believe In” with “Compromise That Gets Part of That Change Enacted”.  We’ve got the kind of bland middle of the road appeal that reaches out to most Americans,” Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

“For example, the right to vote.  If, in order to get legislation passed to address the mockery its become, we have to compromise in terms of losing voter verified voting, or practices that disenfranchise minorities, _ I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done.”

“Plus my opponent is George Bush’s illegitimate time-child.”  Added the Senator.

Asked about Obama’s comment, McCain said, “We need civil rights and we need it now offshore. Our government has consistently opposed it for ordinary Americans. We have opposed citizen empowerment.  Obama has partially opposed these efforts.  What was the question again?  We’re bombing Iran next.” The GOP candidate said Obama doesn’t have a plan equal to the nation’s many challenges.

In Congress, both parties have fought bitterly over national policy for weeks, with Republicans pressing for more infringements on civil rights and Democrats railing publicly and compromising privately. Despite hundreds of hours of House and Senate floor debate, lawmakers will leave Washington for their five-week summer hiatus this week with an empty tank.

Confused and hurt citizens are advised to use this time wisely to rest and take stock of the situation.