Post Nuclear Japan, Pre Disaster United States

Michael Collins

Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2011-03-14 04:37:12 -0400. -- GH

The Japanese disaster at Fukushima I is a human tragedy of striking proportions. As many as ten thousand citizens may be dead in the general catastrophe, with many more at risk for radiation poisoning at levels yet to be determined. The fact that Japan is a highly organized and wealthy nation in no way diminishes the intensity of the losses and pain experienced by the victims. (Image)

Political and economic implications will emerge rapidly. As the whole world watches, the Japanese experience creates windows of opportunity to learn how to avert future meltdowns at nuclear ticking time bombs placed throughout Europe, the United States, India, and China.

Events have overwhelmed the highly professional Japanese bureaucracy. In a late Saturday night report by CNN, the chief cabinet minister said that he presumed that there was a nuclear meltdown in reactors one and two, with three on the way. A nuclear regulatory official hedged by referring to the "possibility" of a meltdown, which he said could not be confirmed since workers couldn't get close enough to see. The same regulatory official told CNN,

"We have some confidence, to some extent, to make the situation to be stable status," he said. "We actually have very good confidence that we will resolve this." March 12

Experts outside the government referred to the situation as desperate given the use of saltwater as a last resort for cooling the nuclear material.

See interactive map at International Nuclear Safety Center


Open Thread - State Healthcare Reform Horse Race

Politico has a short list of "6 states to watch on health reform" as it all moves forward. This policy analysis should be taken with the appropriate grain of salt, IMHO, as politico quotes:

"Rader Wallack who, previously co-chaired Massachusetts’ Cost Containment Committee"

A state that produced similar reform to what we have seen that resulted in this quote:

"less-heartening numbers loom in the background: the state’s health care costs continue to rapidly outpace general economic growth."

Looking back, the Cost Containment Committee may have to patch some gaping holes in Massachusetts. And it remains to be seen if it can be done with arguably circumventable cost controls built into the recent reform out of DC. Just sayin'.

As we mark the passing of the latest phase of health reform laws implemented on January 1st (scroll the comments there and you will see some interesting comments pointing to what I mean about cost controls and other issues, OK?), the six states Politico suggests following are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Wisconsin for various reasons ranging from the most resistant to reform in Alaska, to the intended public option that should be Sustinet in Connecticut, and all the way over to the Single Payer movement in Vermont. I would not count Single Payer as out of the question in California, either, though there is no mention of that large movement behind it.

Before we move on to comments, I'd like to wish ePM's very own Luaptifer a belated and very happy birthday. Here is to everyone's health in the New Year and welcome to 2011's first Open Thread!

Heathens Hold the Line as Californians Reject Corporate Takeover

Michael Collins

The corporate takeover of California is on hold according to the latest polls out of the nation’s largest state. Just nine days before the election, the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California poll shows a nearly impossible uphill battle for the big business ticket of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

Among likely voters in the governor’s race, Brown leads Whitman 50% to 38%. In the race for United States Senator, two term Senator Barbara Boxer maintained an 8% lead. The leads by Democrats come from a brand new constituency, those who "never" go to church. More on that later.

Marriage Equality Clears Another Hurdle In California

Last week, Judge Walker delivered a ruling on Marriage Equality that was deemed a success by the people fighting for this basic human right. But he also delivered a ruling on a temporary stay of implementing the the results of his decision. Today, Judge Walker gave his stay a deadline of July 18th.

A federal judge put gay marriages on hold for at least another six days in California, disappointing dozens of gay couples who lined up outside City Hall hoping to tie the knot Thursday.

Judge Vaughn Walker gave opponents of same-sex weddings until Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. to get a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether gay marriage should resume. Gay marriages could happen at that point or be put off indefinitely depending on how the court rules.

More from the NY Times:

Ray Lutz for Congress Press Release

PRESS RELEASE - July 27, 2010


El Cajon, Calif. –
“Hunter wants to stop the debate, but he knows he can’t pass his gag order -- he’s just playing partisan politics to get in the news,” said Ray Lutz, the Democratic challenger to California’s 52nd Congressional Seat. “I say let the courts chew on Arizona's SB-1070 law and decide once and for all if it is unconstitutional. What's the harm in that?”

This is what motivated healthcare activists look like:

For those of you confused about the lack of motivation from activists in supporting Obama's and Congress' healthcare reform, healthcare activists take to the streets in California demanding REAL Healthcare Reform.

Single Payer.


Too bad the people in charge in Washington, D.C., aren't all that interested in really motivating people like that to vote for them... The little things that can be the difference between winning and losing elections. You can read more on that rally here:

The future of healthcare reform came to Sacramento yesterday

California: A State of Apocalyptic Proportions

California is one of the largest states in our nation, and is also one of the most diverse: it spans several terrestrial ecoregions, contains everything from mountains to deserts with coastlines and even inland saltwater seas, and has a vast and vibrant smattering of cultural influences.

It's also a state of chaos, which could be ascribed (if you squint a little) the title "State of Apocalypse" because it has major fires, vast floods, devastating earthquakes, mudslides, sinkholes, fiscal disaster, a history of severe weather and it is governed by an actor and businessman most famous for his role as the Terminator.

The "State of Apocalypse" nomenclature occurred to me during an idle chat with our webmistress after I'd pointed out this doozy from CNN:


L.A. firefighters escape as truck sinks into hole

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Los Angeles firefighters and city crews worked for several hours Tuesday to rescue one of their own: a 22-ton firetruck that was nearly swallowed by a water-logged sinkhole.

[...story continues at link in title...]

If you click through to the original story, you'll see the firetruck with its nose in the sinkhole, looking eerily reminiscent of a child's Tonka truck abandoned on a playground.

No offense to the folks in CA -- and many of my friends are included over there -- but I think I'll just stay hunkered down in my New England habitat for a much smaller slice of the Disaster Pie.

The state of health reform in California

Sheila Kuehl is an amazing an sensible voice in California politics:

She is a termed-out State Senator who now sits on the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

She was the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature.

She was the first woman in California history to be named Speaker pro Tempore of the State Assembly.

In her fourteen years in the State Legislature, Sen. Kuehl authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, establish the rights contained in Roe vs. Wade in California statute, overhaul California’s child support services system; establish nurse to patient ratios in every hospital; require that housing developments of more than 500 units have identified sources of water; further protect domestic violence victims and their children; prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education; increase the rights of crime victims; safeguard the environment and drinking water; and many, many others.

Open Thread: What's Happening in YOUR State

The latest figures on unemployment have prompted VP Biden to admit that the Administation was rethinking the state of the economy. They would do well to look at the economy of states. With unemployment now officially hovering close to 20% there is a lot to worry about. 

While I ordinarily would not accord the UK's pundit Ambrose Evans-Pritchard much credibility, in a recent piece in the Telegraph, The unemployment timebomb is quietly ticking, he put together some useful statistics.

A serious protest, Oregon sues Oppenheimer

Sick of hearing about Tea Party Protests -- about Taxes going down?

Here's some "Protest News" that is worth knowing about ...

Oregon sues fund company for college savings losses
AP Executive Morning Briefing - April 14, 2009

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — State officials are seeking $36.2 million in damages from OppenheimerFunds Inc., which managed a fund responsible for steep losses in the Oregon College Savings Plan. Officials said in a statement Monday that risky, "hedge-fund like" investments cost the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund 36 percent of its value last year — and 10 percent more so far this year.

(emphasis added)

Cliffhanger in a Sea of Blue: Charlie Brown (D) Refuses to Give up in California's 4th Congressional District

Cliff Hanger in a Sea of Blue

California's 4th Congressional District, Republican since 1992, combines
vast regions, sparsely populated, and growing suburbs and exurbs.

Charlie Brown (D) Refuses to Give up in California's
4th Congressional District

Sending Goods to Iran? Yes we are!

I am always so surprised when I read articles like the following. Why I am so darn surprised...I don't know. Schnoockered comes to mind!!! Can we not stand the truth?

U.S. exports there have risen during the Bush administration