discuss, debate, decide ...
First up - our environmentally challenged nuclear plants. As in, "the environment around them is going wild."
Regarding the flooding at and around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station - From ABC News, Nuclear Regulator: No Danger at Flooded Nebraska Plant:
That sounds - and looks - a tad scary. But our top nuclear regulators are on the job, and guess what?
Good news for Nebraska: Top Nuclear Regulator Tours Neb. Nuclear Plant.
I'd keep an eye on this until flood waters recede a bit.
Meanwhile, Wildfire threatens Los Alamos National Lab. Fires and floods. Must be the season of insanity.
In world news, just a brief blurb or two. First, the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Gadhafi and loud explosions were heard in the center of Libya's capital. Sounds like things are heating up.
Finally, French banks have agreed to roll-over their Greek debt holdings for 30 years. The deal could help ease some of the issues surrounding the Greek financial crisis.
And that's the news blurb for Monday, 27 June 2011.
If you have any news you'd like to add, please feel free to do so in comments - remember, this is an Open Thread.
The New York Times has a big scoop today on shale gas exploration and production. Natural gas from the shale formations in the U.S. has been hawked to be the nation's newest form of cheap energy. Concerns with the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas are well known. The Times reveals there are also serious concerns with the economics of shale gas production.
But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.
One of the biggest news topics of the day on the topic of gay rights occurred in New York late yesterday. From Voice of America News:
The U.S. state of New York has approved same-sex marriage, handing American gay rights advocates a major victory in their quest for equality.
After extensive debate, the New York State Senate approved the legislation Friday night by a vote of 33 to 29, as two previously undecided Republican lawmakers cast the deciding votes in favor of it. A short time later, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law.
With the final approval, New York became the sixth U.S. state where gay couples can wed, and by far the largest state. Gay couples can begin marrying in the state in 30 days.
As the right to marry spreads from state to state across the nation, perhaps the adult perspective and realization of shared humanity will help quell further foolish attempts to discriminate against others due to factors like race, gender, religion or sexual identity.
Some people may be unable to evolve and grow up, and thus never accept the growing, expanding realization of common humanity that marks an advancing civilization's mental and ethical state, but as more people through the nation are introduced to the concepts of equality it will be just that much more difficult for isolated bubbles of self-interest and hatred to propagate.
Congratulations, New York.
For our second topic: have you ever been in, or witnessed, poverty in the United States - or anywhere, for that matter? Did you realize that poverty in the United States is on the rise, or the impact that it has on individuals and families? Did you know that it's actually more expensive to be poor than not? This is a topic that gets a bit of a review by teacherken of Daily Kos in a piece called Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul. He draws upon a recent piece by Charles Blow and adds his own heartfelt commentary. Here's a bit of it:
America is increasingly becoming morally corrupt. Those who are wealthy and powerful are not even punished when they are caught - they are allowed to pay a relatively small portion of their ill-gotten gains and somehow keep the rest. Hello, Wall Street, and not just Goldman Sachs.
Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul.
And not just the souls of those we are condemning to remaining in poverty. It strikes at the very soul of the nation, and should strike at the soul of every person who is part of We the People.
That it does not so strike is to my mind a moral condemnation of America.
You should check out the whole piece here. After reading it, please also check out the comments from some of the insightful commenters.
That's it for this Open Thread. If you've got some news to share, or if you'd like to comment on either of the topics listed here, or something else, the comments are open. You know what to do.
A 2010 DVD release called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World just came up on my radar this morning: the clip looks suitably insane to actually suggest a pretty fun experience.
If you've seen it, or at least watched the trailer, let us know what you think in the comments below.
The other day, when I should have been doing something else, I Googled myself. One of the pages I found was on Writing Skills for a site called Paper Due. At first, I was flattered, thinking someone was actually using something I had written to aid others in developing their prose style.
Then I was, well, "horrified" would be too strong a word. "Bemused," perhaps too weak. Anyway, I realized that the site is selling papers on the topic of "writing skills." Potential writing teachers can buy them, using them to satisfy their own teachers that they know a little about what they might, one day, be doing.
Except, of course, they won't.Make the jump»
The Money Party is a very small group of enterprises and individuals who control almost all of the money and power in the United States. They use their money and power to make more money and gain more power. It's not about Republicans versus Democrats. The Money Party is an equal opportunity employer. It has no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. Democrats are as welcome as Republicans to this party. It’s all good when you’re on the take and the take is legal. Economic Populist
Negative job growth for eleven years is the best evidence concerning our economic troubles. There were 135 million jobs in 2000 for a workforce of 144 million. Today, there are 139 million jobs for a workforce of 154 million. That represents negative job growth when you factor in population growth. Make the jump»
A message from My Fellow American:
Muslims are our fellow Americans
They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
Too often, the politics of hate and fearmongering are used without care or consequence to achieve goals that are anything but consistent with our nation's founding principles.
Thank you, to My Fellow American, for sharing this with us and giving us the opportunity to help bring more attention to it.
I received an email from the Barack Obama campaign this morning - specifically addressed as if it was from Vice President Joe Biden - asking if I'd be willing to send in $5 for a chance at a drawing to enable 5 people to have dinner with the President.
I had to decline.
As folks may realize from the two diaries currently on the Rec list by shannika and stonedoubt, jobs are a big issue right now; the economy as a whole, of course, is a huge issue. And if you read a little into stonedoubt's diary, you'll find a comment from me that explains my response to Joe indirectly: I'm closing my business.
Below the fold is the short, simple text of what I sent back. I realize it will never be seen by Vice President Biden, or the President. I know it will likely never be read by anyone in Congress or in a position to pass along my simple response.
Nonetheless, I felt better sending it. No histrionics, no propaganda - just a simple statement and plea.
Make the jump if you'd like to read it, and perhaps add your own comment.
Two Maddow embeds - one below the fold. Both well worth watching and sharing. Today's Republican "leadership" is not what they proclaim themselves to be - and their actions (and inaction) speak louder than their words. And are horrifying to the average American, and to the American dream.
And if you think that's not encouraging...It gets worse. Rachel breaks it down after the jump.
Interesting project & premise. Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2011-06-20 02:09:14 -0400. - GH
Reposted from Dailykos - there are still a number of #NN11 registrations claimable per the detail below for EPM readers.
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Rather than attend NN11 this year (I live in Australia), last Saturday I attended an Australian, what one could describe as a progressive conference, called Gathering 11.
This was a group of about 150 individuals who’d come together to listen to keynote speakers, workshop & brainstorm ideas (an excellent format called World Café ), network & connect with one another around the big issues facing us today. Much like what Netroots Nation is all about. The statement which most resonated with me, as much of the discussion was that our existing way of doing things is not working for a lot of people, was “Ignore the Core, Scale the Edge”.
In other words, if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen.
The question for me however, (& I’m sure many others) was how?
Via the Huffington Post,
NEW YORK -- Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank by assets, "significantly hindered" a federal investigation into the firm's faulty foreclosure practices on potentially billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-backed loans, a federal auditor told an Arizona court.
The bank withheld key documents and data, prevented investigators from interviewing bank employees or asking certain questions, and was slow to provide information, according to a June 1 declaration by William W. Nixon, a fraud examiner and assistant regional inspector general for audit for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general's office.
The Bank of America has been playing a significant role in mortgage foreclosure fraud and obstructing investigations into their role in the whole mess.
They've become too big, and serve as a double-edged example of what happens when deregulation permits "too big to fail" behemoths to drive roughshod over our economic foundations.
Take your business elsewhere, if you can, when you can. Avoid servicing any members of the Thieves Guild, and call for re-regulating Wall Street and the banks.
Let's get our financial house in order by bringing order - and justice, accountability and due diligence - back to the forefront.
Hat-tip to lordrag of Delphi Forums for the heads-up.
I am probably slow, but I did not watch the film, "'V' for Vendetta," until well after its debut in 2006. The film popularized the Guy Fawkes masks increasingly adopted by fans of the collective of online activists known as Anonymous.
Several events of early 2011 finally put Anonymous onto my radar screen after their advocacy of Wikileaks and Julian Assange led Aaron Barr, the former CEO of cybersecurity consultant, HBGary Federal, to plan exposure of their members' identities as a way to publicize the social network-analytic capabilities of his firm. Make the jump»
Did I say "short"?
Maybe I meant "dwarfish." All I could think of, as I watched the seven Republican hopefuls "debate" in New Hampshire, was of Doc (Ron Paul), Grumpy (Newt Gingrich), Happy (Mitt Romney), Sleepy (Tim Pawlenty), Bashful (Rick Santorum), Sneezy (Herman Cain), and Dopey (Michele Bachmann).
Oh yes, and about the format, part of which makes them all so small. The New York Times, in an editorial, calls the mash-up "full of historical error, economic obfuscation, avoidance of hard truths and even outright bigotry." That it was, but that it was meant to be. The ability to delve deeply into a topic, to consider anything of any real size or importance, has long been stripped from televised American presidential debates in favor of the show. We've even reduced it to the level of the "reality" show, trotting out so-called 'average citizens' to ask questions. Make the jump»