Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It is just like another war: Vietnam

From Reuters:

President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

But still, no need to involve Congress. They’ve kind of busy maneuvering a government shut down into place, since they haven’t been able to pull a federal budget together yet – for the fiscal year that started last October.

They dither as the prospect of the U.S. providing arms to the rebels comes to light, although the President claims no decision has been made; "We are examining all options to support the opposition." 

Well, yes. After announcing your kinetic military action against Qaddafi, you really pretty much have to. Even Sarah Palin has pointed out that if Qaddify somehow manages to stay in power – and it looks like he could at this juncture – he will dedicate his life and his terrorists to coming after us. As he did before.

Still, there are issues with both “covert actions” which might be considered “boots on the ground” to some, and arming the rebels:

Rep. Mike Rogers, head of the House Intelligence Committee, warned the Obama administration against sending arms to the Libyan insurgents.

"It's safe to say what the rebels stand against," Rogers, R-Mich. said. "But we are a long way from an understanding of what they stand for. We don't have to look very far back in history to find examples of the unintended consequences of passing out advanced weapons to a group of fighters we didn't know as well as we should have."

"We need to be very careful before rushing into a decision that could come back to haunt us," Rogers said.

He’s talking, of course, about the Afghan mujahedeen, who we armed and funded in the 1980s in their fight against the Soviets, only to have them morph into the Taliban who are fighting against us today – with our weapons.

At least “some” on Capital Hill are “concerned.”

Some are also leery about arming a disparate rebel army with no clear leadership, no clear agenda, and comprised of fighters potentially driven more by loyalty to tribe than country.

In addition, there (are) allegations that some of the rebel fighters have ties to militant Islamist groups al Qaeda and Hezbollah.

What could go wrong?


Fall of Saigon, 1975

For those to young, or historically challenged, to remember: we originally got into Vietnam to save France’s butt too. And our boots on the ground there were called “advisors.”

I hope someone in this administration knows something about history. I’m sure Bill Ayers does, and he can’t be too happy with this turn of events.

Saving Detroit: It’s going to require more than just saying nice things


As our president goes busily about reshaping the world,  some of our own cities – much nearer and dearer to some of us than Beirut, Tripoli or Cairo -  have already been reshaped in the image and likeness of his progressive leftist policies.

Take Detroit, for example. In his column today,  A Requiem for Detroit  William McGurn equates the scale of Detroit’s destruction to that of Sendai, in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture by this month’s tsunami, and the devastation visited on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. But he points out that those two tragedies happened in the blink of an eye, inflicted by an “act of God” while Detroit’s was a completely “man-caused disaster.”

"Detroit is a classic example of how a culture that was legendary for enterprise and innovation was slowly eroded by toxic politicization from the 1960s on," says the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Michigan-based Acton Institute. "It's been class warfare on steroids, and the inevitable result is that so many Detroiters who had the means—black and white—have fled the city."

The “toxic politicization” of which Father Sirico speaks was specifically caused by Coleman A Young’s grip on Detroit’s power base which he wielded as the city’s first black Mayor  from 1975 – 1994. He came to power shortly after the 1967 “race riots” and capitalized on the racial antipathy they sparked. Until Obama, no man had done more harm to “liberalism,” race relations or economic health. Young was a smart man; even smarter, I dare say, than Obama, by half. But he was also an aggrieved and embittered man who had been unjustly denied scholarships due to his race, and he was fired from Ford for union organizing. He never forgave and he never forgot

He was allegedly a communist, definitely a racist. And he knew how to wield power like a natural born dictator. He ran the city with an iron hand, intimidated business leaders, installed an  administration of cronies whose corruption is legendary and formed a political machine that ran the city, the courts, the public schools, and extorted tribute from everyone still foolish or unfortunate enough to still be doing business in or with the city. His war chest was legion, and it wasn’t because people loved him. Jesse Jackson appropriated Young’s shakedown scam as his own.

So entrenched was his corrupt administration that it couldn’t even be rooted out by Young’s successor. Dennis Archer was a decent man, but ill prepared or equipped to deal with the deep roots of Coleman’s entrenched corrupto-crats. Archer’s successor, Kwame Kilpatrick was one of them, (he’s now serving time in a federal penitentiary for several felonies committed while in office) and Dave Bing – a great and skilled guy – is likewise discovering just how impossible it is to root out such deeply embedded corruption.

As Young’s pack of leaches grew fat and very, very wealthy, the people and the city coffers grew poorer and poorer. Both businesses and middle class residents – black and white – fled the city to escape crime, crappy schools and high taxes. And the city grew more and more segregated as only poor blacks stayed put: racial politics tends to do that.

Young’s extortion didn’t stop at the city limits. He wielded huge power in the Democratic party on the national level due to his ability to deliver the city of Detroit, and hence the state of Michigan, in national elections. The federal money he commandeered from the Carter and Clinton administration was awesome in every sense of the word other than what he did with it. He used it to create more and more patronage jobs (thus creating a huge city bureaucracy) and to create more and bigger give away programs for city residents.  The end result is a city populated now with multi-generational families that know no other way of life other than living on the public dole. Who do you think they’re going to vote for? The people who promise to cut them off, or the people who promise to give them more? Detroit captures, in microcosm, democracy’s built in downfall.

In their own words, this is what they are voting for:

The entitlement mentality in Detroit is so embedded it might as well be part of people’s DNA. Back in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s many black entrepreneurs had caught the fire of Detroit’s “legendary… enterprise and innovation” and started businesses, many of which were thriving at the time of the 1967 riots. By the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, with the help of more and larger “great society” programs that enterprise and innovation had been replaced to a large extent by the gerbil-wheel existence of welfare – in just 30 years.

This lifestyle, being funded almost entirely by entitlements provided through “transfer payments,” i.e., taxes, established the government as an enabling, co-dependent in this addictive behavior pattern. The liberals’ utopian dream turned out to be a seductive death spiral of handouts, non-productivity, poverty, drugs and crime. Pretty thin gruel for utopia.

Someday sociologists will write of the welfare state that “it was  one of the most racist, demeaning and misguided policies in history. Liberals – both black and white –determined for some reason that perfectly intelligent, capable black men and women would fail to thrive unless they were given special  ‘help,’ therein sowing the seeds of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

How ironic that the first significant step towards Detroit’s destruction was it’s designation as one of Lyndon Johnson’s “Model Cities.”  By providing funding for projects that were neither market driven nor market financed, the city embarked on an inevitable path of economic suicide. Young was the procurer and champion of this cycle of federal financing that allowed him to hand it out to his patrons and supporters for every harebrained (e.g. People Mover) project that came along. Meanwhile, the city raised taxes, income and otherwise, on everything that moved and breathed that wasn’t already government subsidized.

No one in the Mayor’s office or on the equally corrupt City Council took note that this destroyed jobs and drove more businesses and citizens out of the city and off the tax rolls. Fewer jobs in the city as car plants closed and relocated meant fewer jobs, more welfare, fewer intact families, more illegitimate births, more poverty, more welfare… well,  that pretty much describes the entire poverty cycle.

And so here we are, 50 years hence. The Great Society has reduced a city that was once synonymous with American industrial strength and pride, and the economic engine of the world to a burned out hull that houses very little industry, few businesses and a population lower than at any time since the turn of the century: the 20th century, that is.  The city is all but bankrupt. The school system is bankrupt, both economically and intellectually,  and still the teachers’ union opposes the establishment of charter schools in the city. The Mayor talks seriously about eliminating city services to vast tracts of city blocks and consolidating the remaining population within the best of the worst areas.

Is it any wonder that people here have given up? The city’s infrastructure has deteriorated citywide, and has been reduced to rubble in some areas. The business environment is antithetical to enterprise (which may explain why there is not one large chain grocery store in the entire city. Detroit defines Michelle Obama’s term “food dessert.”)

And this didn’t happen because heartless conservatives “let it.” We know. Both He-Dewey and I were here and  involved for decades with entities designed to revive Detroit’s pulse through joint business/civic efforts: the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Detroit Economic Club, the Leadership Detroit program and, the grand-daddy of them all, Detroit Renaissance.

Detroit Renaissance was founded in 1970 bymid-century titans of industry, Henry Ford II, Max M. Fisher and A. Alfred Taubman, to develop a strategy to re-develop Detroit. We worked with the organization during the 1980’s and 90’s. Suffice it to say that – PR hype aside – not much of any significance was ever accomplished. Strategic plans were written every 5 years or so, and they usually looked pretty similar to the prior plan. I’m not saying that the Mayor’s office was the only reason the plans failed to launch, but  unlike some other “developers” in the city, Renaissance Detroit did not pay bribes, and crony-capitalism only gets you so far.

In 2009, in either a concession to Detroit’s defeat or an acknowledgement of the even larger fire burning on the state level, Detroit Renaissance was rolled into the statewide Michigan Business Roundtable

The moral of this broken record story is this: once liberal policies/entitlements become entrenched, it is neigh on impossible to root them out. Even catastrophic failure, as evidenced by Detroit’s demise, is not sufficient to shut down the self-serving cash register of government incompetency and corruption.

Things have reached a point where nothing short of draconian measures will put  the tread back on Detroit’s tire.

First, at the state level: Michigan’s governor recently signed a bill giving broad powers to any emergency financial managers appointed by the state to deal with bankrupt school districts. Good start. Anything that keeps our emergency managers working on the problem instead of going to court to defend their right to do the job they were hired to do should save taxpayer dollars. Additionally, the governor and legislature needs to end the MEA’s monopoly on schools and make a school voucher program feasible. While a voucher system may be “desirable” outstate, in Detroit, with its 25% graduation rate, it is mandatory.

The state legislature has to take on the rest of the public sector unions too. This is no time for Governor Snyder to be reticent. We don’t need another RINO in the State capital, we need a head-knocker. Contracts must be revised. This is not a problem that goes away when the economy picks up. Unfortunate and irresponsible fiscal management in the past can’t simply be ignored: it continues to bleed and needs triage. Stat.

Contracts going forward have to be modified – these costs aren’t sustainable. (why are liberals only interested in sustainable resources that don’t involve money?)

Furthermore, Michigan needs to become a right to work state, I realize that’s anathema to the home of the UAW. But raise your hand if you really think business as usual will cut it in this state. If  we expect to keep the businesses we have, let alone attract any new ones, we’ve got to revise laws, regulations and tax structures to become competitive with the states that are drawing new business.

And now the city: Detroit needs to clean house, thoroughly, ruthlessly. Whole departments need to be eliminated. Duplicate, superfluous and unnecessary: all gone. Don’t tell me how hard it will be. Figure out how to do it, because the money is gone. And if you get rid of all of the asinine departments that simply regulate the hell out of every breath a citizen or business owner takes, you might be able to lower the city tax rate at the same time you make it easier for people to do business in the city.

Now let’s talk about crime. Don’t tell me it can’t be controlled.  I would authorize a visit to Columbia to find out how they reversed the urban decline in Medellin, until recently one of the most crime and drug infested cities in the world. Apparently it can be done. They were dealing with one of the most notorious drug lords of all time, Pablo Escobar. It can be done if you stop wasting time on midnight basketball, minority set asides and other grievance programs and focus on eliminating real criminal activity.

Saving Detroit is not rocket science, it’s just damn hard, and people aren’t going to like it. It requires legislators who have steel enforced backbones.  You want to win a popularity contests, audition for American Idol. If you want to help, demand that elected officials do what they are paid to do, and throw them out if they don’t.

Emily Gail,  Max Gail’s (Wojo on Barney Miller)  sister, was a Detroit native and the city’s biggest booster back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. She coined the phrase “Say Nice Things About Detroit” and had a shop in Detroit’s financial district where she sold ice cream and t-shirts.

In 1988 she moved to Kailua Kona, Hawaii and never looked back.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blinded by the Light

As a rule, I wouldn’t post another author’s entire article, but Ann Coulter’s review of junk science in LIBERALS: THEY BLINDED US WITH SCIENCE  is just too funny - in both the “ha ha” and peculiar way –  too true, and too intrusive not to be read in total. It ought to be required reading for graduation from 8th grade to reduce the number of kids matriculating with absolutely no exposure to critical thinking skills.

The impact that the type of “post normal” science that Coulter describes would be considered criminal in a more sane world. Instead, it serves as the basis for misinformed public policy which in turn translates to the legislation of rules, regulation and laws that we all complacently, if not happily, comply with.

Read it and weep. And then demand better science in your school district. Although I don’t know where you’ll find anyone to teach it.


by Ann Coulter

In response to my column last week about hormesis -- the theory that some radiation can be beneficial to humans -- liberals reacted with their usual open-minded examination of the facts.

According to Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters, MSNBC's Ed Schultz devoted an entire segment to denouncing me. He called me toxic, accused me of spreading misinformation and said I didn't care about science.
One thing Schultz did not do, however, was cite a single physicist or scientific study.

I cited three physicists by name as well as four studies supporting hormesis in my column. For the benefit of liberals scared of science, I even cited The New York Times.

It tells you something that the most powerful repudiation of hormesis Schultz could produce was the fact that a series of government agencies have concluded -- I quote -- that "insufficient human data on hormesis exists."

Well, in that case, I take it all ba -– wait, no. That contradicts nothing I said in my column.
Liberals should take up their quarrel with the physicists cited by both me and the Times. I'm sure the Harvard physics department will be fascinated to discover that the left's idea of the scientific method is to cling to their fears while hurling invective at anyone who proposes a novel thesis.

The fact that liberals are so terrified of science that they chronically wet themselves wouldn't be half as annoying if they didn't go around boasting about their deep respect for science, especially compared to conservatives.
Apparently this criticism is based on conservatives' skepticism about global warming -- despite the studies of distinguished research scientists Dr. Alicia Silverstone and Dr. Woody Harrelson. (In my case, it's only because I'm still waiting for liberals' global cooling theory from the '70s to come true.)

The left's idea of "science" is that we should all be riding bicycles and using the Clivus Multrum composting latrines instead of flush toilets. Anyone who dissents, they say -- while adjusting their healing crystals for emphasis -- is "afraid of science."

A review of the record, however, shows that time and again liberals have been willing to corrupt public policy and allow people to die in order to enforce the Luddite views of groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists (original name, "Union of Concerned Activist Lawyers Who Took a Science Course in High School").
As I described in my book "Godless," both the government and the entire mainstream media lied about AIDS in the '80s by scaring Americans into believing that heterosexuals were as much at risk for acquiring AIDS as gays and intravenous drug users. The science had to be lied about so no one's feelings got hurt.

In 1985, Life magazine's cover proclaimed: "NOW, NO ONE IS SAFE FROM AIDS." In 1987, U.S. News & World Report reported that AIDS was "finding fertile growth among heterosexuals." Also in 1987, Dr. Oprah Winfrey said that "research studies" predicted that "one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years."

In 1988, ABC's "20/20" claimed the CDC had discovered a shocking upsurge of heterosexual infections on college campuses. It struck no one as odd that 28 of the 30 infections had occurred in men (with alphabetized spice racks and at least three cats, one named Blanche).
Two years later, CNN broadcast that same 1988 study, proclaiming: "A new report from CDC indicates that AIDS is on the rise on college campuses."

A quarter-century later, and we're still waiting for the big heterosexual AIDS outbreak.

But at least science achieved its primary purpose: AIDS was not stigmatized as a "gay disease." Scientific facts were ignored so that science would be nonjudgmental. That was more important than the truth.

Liberal activists also gave us the alar scare in the late '80S based on the studies of world renowned chemist and national treasure Meryl Streep.
Alar is a perfectly safe substance that had been used on apples since 1968 both to ripen and preserve the fruit. It made fresh fruit more accessible by allowing fruit pickers to make one sweep through the apple grove, producing ripe, fresh fruit to be distributed widely and cheaply.

But after hearing the blood-chilling testimony of Streep, hysterical soccer moms across America hopped in their Volvos, dashed to their children's schools and ripped the apples from the little ones' lunch boxes. "Delicious, McIntosh and Granny Smith" were added to "Hitler, Stalin and Mao" as names that will live in infamy.
The EPA proposed banning alar based on a study that involved pumping tens of thousands times more alar into rats than any human could possibly consume, and observing the results. The rats died -- of poisoning, not tumors – but the EPA banned it anyway. Poor people went back to eating Twinkies instead of healthy fresh fruit.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization advised against an alar ban and Europeans continued to eat fruit with alar in their nice warm houses powered by nuclear energy (halted in the U.S. thanks to the important work of Dr. Jackson Browne and Dr. Bonnie Raitt).

Other scientific theories developed in the laboratories of personal injury lawyers and TV networks included the left's "cancer cluster" claim in the '80s. The Centers for Disease Control investigated 108 alleged "cancer clusters" that had occurred between 1961 to 1983 and found no explanation for them other than coincidence -- and a demonstrable proximity to someone with deep pockets.

As Yale epidemiologist Michael Bracken explained: "Diseases don't fall evenly on every town like snow." Random chance will lead some areas to have higher, sometimes oddly higher, numbers of cancer.

But just to be safe, we all better stop driving cars, eating off of clean dishes and using aerosol sprays.
Some of the other scientific studies and innovations that make liberals cry are: vaccines, IQ studies, breast implants and DDT.

After decades of this nonsense, The New York Times' Paul Krugman has the audacity to brag that liberals believe the "truth should be determined by research, not revelation." Yes -- provided the "research" is conducted by trial lawyers and Hollywood actresses rather than actual scientists.

Beware the Education-Media-Government Complex.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Andrea Hits it out of the Park

Via Townhall: 

Andrea Mitchell steps up to the plate to do the job the Administration won’t do: define the “Obama Doctrine.”

h/t Weasel Zippers

Now maybe she could explain, for our edification, what the meaning of “war” is. Does it mean “kinetic military action,” or is it more like a “mandate” as MOTUS suggested:

Oh wait, here’s the nuance We’ve Been Waiting For:

we’re not invading a country, we’re not acting alone – we’re acting under a mandate issued by the United Nations Security Council in an unprecedented fashion and with unprecedented speed.”

Unprecedented, indeed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Delusion, meet your sister, Hypocrisy

epiphany guns 

Q. Since when does the MSM ignore death threats by pro-union leftists in Wisconsin  towards public office holders?

A. Since they are directed solely at Republicans, whose policies they harbor deep contempt for.

Needless to say, had this been the other way around we would still be subjected to the preachy media magpies spouting off on how the rancorous hate rhetoric of the right had devolved into violence and threats of more violence. And every reference to this distemper of the right would be punctuated by a piece denouncing guns, citing the number of gun deaths and injuries in the country in the past 24/48 hours, and a profile on some crazy person of the conservative (non-progressive) persuasion who still wants to own guns, and protect themselves rather than depending on an underfunded, understaffed and over stretched police force.

However, since the threats are against Republicans in Wisconsin who voted “against the  unions” (as opposed to “in favor of their state’s solvency”) and are clearly coming from members of the left, pro-union side, what have we heard from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Ms.NBC, NY Times, WaPo, PBS, NPR, AP ?

jiminy cricket *crickets*

That’s right. Nothing. Despite their 3 week-long hyper-ventilating over the rancor, threats, incivility, and toxic rhetoric following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford.  But these new threats by progressive types simply don’t fit their template. And they sure as hell don’t help them get their message out. So best to ignore them.

However, perhaps you’ve gone a bridge too far when even HuffPo contributor Stephen Stranahan is disgusted with the press blackout. His post includes one of the actual threats – just as charming as you might imagine, coming from the “let’s tone down the rhetoric and keep it civil” crowd. The threats are currently being investigated by the FBI and Wisconsin police: no news there.

Try to set aside whatever biases or preconceptions you might have for a moment and ask yourself why death threats against politicians aren't considered national news, especially in the wake of the all too fresh shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other bystanders. And there hasn't just been one death threat, but a number of them.


If you read liberal blogs, you might have heard of some of these threats. Indirectly, anyway. Sarah Palin said the rhetoric should be toned down. The threats themselves were ignored and Palin was mocked.
On the other hand, if you read conservative blogs or listen to conservative media, you know all about these threats because people like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and websites like
Newsbusters and BigJournalism have not only been talking about the death threats for days now but they've been talking about the mainstream and liberal media ignoring the threats for days.
Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It's bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

In less developed parts of the world such reporting is known as agitprop.



h/t Claudia @iOTW

Sunday, March 20, 2011

WTF Theatre Episode 5: A Whimsical Notion

It’s been a tense week for Cody and Skyler. They’ve been glued to NPR, waiting for the latest reports out of Japan concerning the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster. They’ve stocked up on potassium iodide pills, as instructed, and were beginning to feel quite confident that the government will keep them safe. Until this came across the wires:

This could be serious, since everyone knows that fish is brain food.

Rio courtesy of Michael Nesmith:

Joe Biden Junction

This just in: trouble at dysfunction junction: Amtrak is renaming the Wilmington, DE station “Joe Biden Station.” Nice.

joebiden station “All told, Delaware got more than $126 million in stimulus funds targeted for Amtrak, or nearly 10 percent of the $1.3 billion Amtrak received from Mr. Obama’s program.”

Although “Squatch,” a commenter, noted: “I hear there’s no handicapped boarding section. That Joe Biden, a real Stand Up guy.”

Do not confuse Joe Biden Station with the next stop along the route: Budget Reconciliation Station.


That’s something altogether different. The Amtrak station named after Joey B is only $5.7 million over budget. The federal budget, at last pulse check, was $1.7 trillion over budget. That’s trillion, with a “t” that rhymes with “c” and that stands for cuts. Make them big ones, please.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One World Government: it's sophisticated

global governanace Take any seat at the table, they’re all alike


Sad Hill has a summary of the Washington Times’ allegation that playing along with the United Nations notion of ruling the world is a dangerous and illegal option for the United States:

The president cannot be seen as a mere instrument of the United Nations, which would relegate the U.S. Constitution to second-class status behind the U.N. Charter. If U.S. troops are going to be put in harm’s way, the authority must come from elected representatives in Washington, not from a bunch of international bureaucrats hanging out in Turtle Bay.

You really should read the whole thing, because it’s not as innocuous as you may think. Plus, there are a whole lotta’ links to other examples of the regime’s move to relinquish our sovereignty and embrace globalization. You know, kind of like the Europeans. They’re really so much more sophisticated than we are.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Update Link



Japan’s NHK broadcasting network reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. confirmed that the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were beyond the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s design standards.
TEPCO believes the tsunami that inundated the Fukushima Daiichi site was 14 meters high, the network said. The design basis tsunami for the site was 5.7 meters, and the reactors and backup power sources were located 10 to 13 meters above sea level. The company reported that the maximum earthquake for which the Fukushima Daiichi plants were designed was magnitude 8. The quake that struck March 11 was magnitude 9.
Smoke seen from Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3 on Monday subsided after about two hours. Water pressure and levels at the reactor were unchanged through the episode, as were radiation levels, the company said.
The site was temporarily cleared of workers after smoke rose from at the secondary containment buildings that house reactors 2 and 3. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the smoke from reactor 2 caused radiation levels downwind to rise for about three and a half hours.
TEPCO continues work to reconnect external power to all six reactors. Connections were made to the distribution line at reactor 1 and 2, and components and circuits at those reactors are being checked. Similar power connections have been made to reactors 5 and 6 and a diesel generator is providing power to a cooling pump for the used fuel pools. Power cable is being laid to reactor 4, and power is expected to be restored to reactors 3 and 4 by Tuesday.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced that Prime Minister Kan has ordered the governors of four prefectures near Fukushima to restrict the shipment of spinach and “kakina,” another leafy vegetable. The shipment of milk from Fukushima prefectures was also restricted. Edano said the order was a precautionary emergency measure.

Fukushima Daiichi
Tokyo Electric Power Co. continued efforts on Monday to restore power to its reactors at Fukushima Daiichi as well as stabilize cooling in the used fuel pools of some reactors. Reactors 1, 2 and 3 are in stable condition and reactors 5 and 6 are stable and being cooled by systems powered by electricity that was restored over the weekend.
The Tokyo Fire Department sprayed cooling water into the reactor 3 used fuel pool for about 4.5 hours, ending early Monday morning. At reactor 4, Japan’s Self-Defense Force sprayed water into the pool for about two hours. Overall, 13 fire engines have been used in the spraying. Efforts to spray water into the used fuel pools at reactors 3 and 4 reactor buildings and used fuel pools was stopped on Monday while TEPCO assessed the effectiveness of these efforts.
Workers were evacuated from the area around reactors 2 and 3 Monday when smoke was observed coming from the secondary containment buildings.
Electricity is expected to be restored to both reactors 3 and 4 by March 23.
Radiation dose rates at monitoring posts are slightly higher than on past days. Rates at the plant site boundary range from 1 to 3 millirem per hour. Radiation dose rates in the area where fire trucks have been located are reported to be 2 to 3 rem per hour, with some isolated areas as high as 30 rem per hour.
Fukushima Daini
All reactors are in cold shutdown and are stable

Fukushima Daiichi
Reactors 5 and 6 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports. This means that the reactors are in a safe mode, with cooling systems stable and under control, and with low temperatures and pressures.
When the quake struck, both reactors had been shut down for inspection and refueling, and had some fuel inside the reactor cores. Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been using a pair of diesel generators at reactor 6 to pump water through the reactors and to their used fuel pools.
An elite firefighting unit sprayed water over the spent fuel pool of reactor 3, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported.
Japan's NISA reported that TEPCO early this morning began pumping sea water into the used fuel pool at reactor 2.
The company is checking individual circuits as it prepares to restore offsite electricity to the reactor's main control room, where it will be able to check and monitor plant systems. To restore power to reactors 3 and 4, TEPCO is considering laying power cables to bypass a radiation contaminated area.
The March 11 earthquake was stronger than the Daiichi plant was designed to withstand, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum reported. Maximum ground acceleration near reactor 3 was 507 centimeters per second squared - more than the plant's design reference values of 449.
Fukushima Daini
All four reactors at Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown with normal cooling.

At a March 19 news conference, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that sea water injection is continuing at reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Preparations were being made to spray water into the used fuel pool at reactor 4, and an unmanned vehicle sprayed more than 1,500 gallons of water over seven hours into the used fuel pool at reactor 3, Edano said. He also said he believed that the situation at the reactor 3 fuel pool is stabilizing.
Some reactor cooling capacity has been restored at reactors 5 and 6 after the installation of generators at those reactors, Edano added.
Edano said that progress had been made on “a fundamental solution” to restore power at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with electricity expected to be restored at reactors 1 and 2 today and reactor 3 as early as Sunday.
Edano said that additional equipment was being transported to the site and that other means of providing cooling water to the pool is be examined.
Radiation dose at the west gate of the Fukushima Daiichi was 83 millirem per hour on March 18 at 7:10 p.m. EDT and dropped to 36 millirem per hour by 8 p.m. EDT, Edano said. Radiation levels have decreased since March 16. Although they are higher than normal, radiation levels near the reactors are within the range that allows workers to continue onsite recovery measures, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
According to the IAEA, radiation dose rates in Tokyo and other areas outside the 30-kilometer zone remain far below levels which would require any protective action by the public.
All reactors at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown (See the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum website).
Radiation levels have increased above the federal government’s level in some food products from the Fukushima Prefecture and nearby areas. These levels were detected in samples of milk in Fukushima Prefecture and six samples of spinach in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. Edano said that if these products are consumed for a year, the total radiation dose would be equivalent to one CT scan.
Additional monitoring of food products is continuing in those regions.

Not “up to the minute” but very informative. From The Captain’s Journal:

"The cores for Units 1, 2 and 3 are already damaged.  They are partially melted, and partially shattered and rubblized, sitting in the lower part of the reactor vessel.  Most of the radiological source term that can be expected to be released from the core to containment
has already been released. It is being held up inside hard
containments and depleted via radioactive decay, plateout, etc.

The work now has to do with mitigation of the radiological source terms, from water injection into the reactor coolant system, water washdown of plant components, and so on. If the semi-volatile fission products and alkali metals are in effluent, they will likely not re-evolve to the atmosphere in large quantitie(s). Most importantly, for now, the Spent Fuel Pools deserve attention, and hopefully the operators will be able to mitigate zirconium fire events in the pools.

The Japanese are performing heroically, and the main stream media will catch up in several days (or weeks). The current efforts are focused on radiological source term and thus dose mitigation, not the prevention of core melt events."

h/t Hershel Smith


Reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are in stable condition, with workers continuing to provide seawater cooling into the reactors. Containment integrity is believed to be intact on reactors 1, 2 and 3, and containment building pressures are elevated but are within design limits.

Site radiation doses have been decreasing since March 16. Radiation dose rates are fluctuating based on some of the relief operations, such as adding cooling water to the used fuel pools. Recent readings at the plant boundary are about 2 millirem per hour. Radiation dose rates at reactor 3 range between 2,500 and 5,000 millirem per hour.

The Japanese Self-Defense Force restarted cooling water spray into the Unit 3 reactor building and spent fuel pool at around 1 a.m. EDT on March 18. Plans are to spray 50 tons of water on the reactor 3 reactor building/spent fuel pool using seven fire-fighting trucks.

A diesel generator is supplying power to reactors 5 and 6. TEPCO is installing high voltage cables from a nearby transmission line to reactors 1 and 2. Once electricity supply is re-established, priority will be given to restoring power to reactor heat removal systems and cooling water pumps. Workers are seeking to install electrical cables to reactors 3 and 4 components in about two days.

Fukushima Daini

All four reactors at Fukushima Daini remain shut down with normal cooling being maintained using residual heat removal systems.

Daiichi Accident Rated 5 on International Event Scale

New International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) ratings have been issued for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Reactor core damage at the Daiichi reactors 2 and 3 caused by a loss of cooling function has resulted in a rating of 5 on the seven-point scale.

The loss of cooling and water supply functions in the spent fuel pool of reactor 4 was rated a 3, or “serious” incident. The loss of cooling functions in the reactors 1, 2 and 4 of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant has led to a rating of 3.

The rating for the Chernobyl accident was 7, or a “major accident” on the INES scale. The Three Mile Island accident was 5, or an “accident with wider consequences.” For more information on INES, see the IAEA’s website and this IAEA leaflet.


This site appears to be the best resource for accurate, timely, non-sensationalist information on the status of TEPCO’s battle to regain control of the crippled nuclear complex. I will post updates as I can, but you can also get the most recent information from this link.


TEPCO continues to install cables, transformers and distribution equipment to restore offsite grid power to Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1 and 2. Reactor 1 has now been included in the power restoration plan.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said in a recent conference that plans are in place to use 30 water cannon trucks and fire engines to spray water into the reactor 3 spent fuel pool, and TEPCO is discussing whether to do the same for the reactor 1 spent fuel pool. The spraying work is to be done in the next few hours, after the cable work is completed.


Status of Fukushima plants

In Japan, engineers have laid a power line that can connect reactor 2 of the Daiichi facility to the off-site power grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported. Workers are working to reconnect the power to reactor 2 after they complete spraying water into the reactor 3 complex to provide additional cooling to the used fuel pool. Reconnecting to the power grid is expected to enhance efforts to prevent further damage at the plant.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported on Thursday that the backup diesel generator for reactor 6 is working and supplying electricity to reactors 5 and 6. TEPCO is preparing to add water to the storage pools that house used nuclear fuel rods at those two reactors.

A Little St. Patrick’s Day Jig for You

Doing an Irish jig on St. Patrick’s Day is a bit of a tradition around here. In Washington they do a jig whenever they deem it appropriate, beneficial, or just because they feel like it.

So here’s a special St. Patrick’s jig, Washington version, performed by 2 current and 1 former corporate welfare queens: George Soros, Jeffrey Immelt and Andy Stern.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Grab a pint and a corned beef sandwich and get down with your bad Irish self.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shut Up and Sing Wednesday: Sean Penn Edition

Frankly, Sean Penn could be the designated pigeon for this feature every single week. But that would be unfair to the rest of the bubble heads of celebrity who think we should care about their idiotic, anti-American, pro-statism causes and ideas too.

Never the less, I’m calling it for Sean this week; for his multiple contributions of late to the world of STFU.

For starters, there’s his life-time achievement award in the “I-heart-Hugo” category.


Most recently, Penn thanked and praised Chavez for supporting his Haitian relief organization (although there was no disclosure of the amount). To be fair, Penn also thanked the US military for their donation to his organization, although he called it “ironic.” Didn’t anyone ever tell this jackal not to look a gift horse in the mouth?

But Penn and others of his ilk (Oliver Stone and Joe Kennedy come immediately to mind) who feel that Hugo is the Robin Hood of South America would do well to heed their mother’s  admonition that people judge you by the company you keep.

So if your buddy (Chavez) is a good buddy to another ruthless dictator, (Qaddafi) that should give you pause. The Ruthless World Dictators Club is relatively small, and not known to be populated by humanitarians.  In light of that, most people would choose not to nurture this relationship. But if you are among the gifted class, the artists who are more sensitive and more insightful than the rest of the us, you see things that we slugs miss.  Where the rest of the world sees the heart of a malevolent tyrant, you see the psyche of a guileless little boy who means well, but is constantly misunderstood by all the dolts wielding the real power.

Which brings me to Sean’s other bad-boy buddy: Charlie Sheen (last week’s recipient – duh!).  In another astute observation, Penn has determined that spending some time with his buddy, and taking him to see some real people in need, is exactly what Charlie needs to be rehabilitated.  As with Chavez, Penn’s keenly sensitive nature allows him to discern what the rest of us just miss:

"When you divorce the moral judgments, which I prefer to do, [ed. of course you do] I see a guy who has a clearer view of the nature of the world around him than is sometimes comfortable to have."

Yes. Cocaine can do that for you. And who would be comfortable with Adonis DNA, tiger blood and being a rock star from Mars? So by all means, Sean, take him to your aid-camp in Haiti. That should get his head straight. And I’m sure all the homeless people there will appreciate being pitied by a rock star. From Mars.

Let’s look at another fellow traveler of Penn’s; Oliver Stone. He recently released an ode to Hugo Chavez in the form of his newest movie  South of the Border.  The film is so fraudulently biased that even the usually reliable progressive press called it propaganda, and, in perhaps the unkindest cut of all, Entertainment Weekly called it “rose-colored agitprop.”  Whew. That’s harsh. If that’s the best you can churn, that’s some weak cheese packed in your crock, my man.

Earlier this week Sean, in a show of Hollywood solidarity for another well meaning film director, Julian Schnabel, showed up at the screening of Miral at the UN. The movie, about the plight of a young Palestinian girl, was denounced by Jewish groups as being anti-Israeli. No. Really? To be clear, they aren’t trying to  to block its release. They just feel that the US premiere being held at the United Nations – a rather unusual venue for any film premiere – is inappropriate, on the grounds that it “portrays Israel in a highly negative light” and was intended as a politically charged referendum. Their request was denied.


Sean-Penn-Julian-Schnabel-and-Josh-Brolin-at-the-UN-premiere-of-Miral_gallery_primary Penn, Schnabel, Josh Brolin at “Miral” screening

Penn, Robert De Niro and Josh Brolin joined their friend Schnabel and his girlfriend,  Rula Jebreal, author of the semi-autobiographical novel on which the film is based, at the UN showing.

Enough good deeds for one week Sean. Now take a break from activism and please go back to acting. Everyone says you’re a pretty good thespian. So please just act, make a lot of money and give it all away to who and whatever you think deserves it. I just don’t want to hear from you any more. Ever. Shut up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do the Math


wisconsin-teacher-protest-sign-1College educated teachers don’t need no stinkin’ “Negotiatins”


Today we examine how flawed logic, in this case the confusion of cause and effect, creates flawed conclusions. Fallacious arguments are always problematic, but when held forth by the President as the basis for national economic policy it’s beyond disturbing.

From Future Capitalism:

"The best economic policy is one that produces more college graduates," President Obama said in a speech today on education. "I'm confident these reforms will help us meet the goal that I set when I took office -– which is, by the end of the decade we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. We'll be number one again. That's my priority. "

Nothing against college graduates — I am one myself — but it seems to have escaped the president's notice that some of the most successful entrepreneurs in modern America, including Microsoft's Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Apple's Steve Jobs, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Enterprise Rent-a-Car's Jack Taylor, Oracle's Larry Ellison, Dell computer's Michael Dell, movie and music producer David Geffen, and Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson — are not college graduates.

It seems to me that president is wrong, and that the best economic policy is not one that "produces more college graduates," but one that produces more entrepreneurs. If producing a high proportion of college graduates were the secret to economic success, Belgium would be the world's economic powerhouse. Making college completion rates a priority does funnel taxpayer money to college professors, a reliable Democratic constituency. But as economic policy, it strikes me as at best questionable

To which Glen Reynolds (originator of the Education Bubble concept) explains how this helpful advice from the President violates his basic rule of  “subsidizing markers” instead of traits:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

In these times we all need to reassess what we spend our money on. The economic value of a college degree? It all depends. Do the math.


 College Graduates? Or just the students of one?


Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation UPDATE II 3-17-11

UPDATE 3-17-11 FROM THE NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE HERE. The news is certainly not good, but it does come from people who actually understand nuclear power reactors. It is remarkably less bombastic than what you’ll get from the MSM. This is to-date the most reliable source I’ve located. I will post updates as I can, but you can get the most recent from the link above.

TEPCO continues to install cables, transformers and distribution equipment to restore offsite grid power to Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1 and 2. Reactor 1 has now been included in the power restoration plan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said in a recent conference that plans are in place to use 30 water cannon trucks and fire engines to spray water into the reactor 3 spent fuel pool, and TEPCO is discussing whether to do the same for the reactor 1 spent fuel pool. The spraying work is to be done in the next few hours, after the cable work is completed.


Status of Fukushima plants
In Japan, engineers have laid a power line that can connect reactor 2 of the Daiichi facility to the off-site power grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported. Workers are working to reconnect the power to reactor 2 after they complete spraying water into the reactor 3 complex to provide additional cooling to the used fuel pool. Reconnecting to the power grid is expected to enhance efforts to prevent further damage at the plant.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported on Thursday that the backup diesel generator for reactor 6 is working and supplying electricity to reactors 5 and 6. TEPCO is preparing to add water to the storage pools that house used nuclear fuel rods at those two reactors.

Radiation readings at the Fukushima Daiichi site boundary were measured today at a lower level, between 2 and 3 millirem per hour

Access problems at the site have delayed connection of a temporary cable to restore off-site electricity.”  Most likely due to figuring out how to install the line without exposing people to dangerous levels of radioactivity. As I said, not pretty, but still, not apocalyptic.


UPDATE: WSJ reports a slightly improved situation. Officials say they’ve regained some control of northeast Japan's troubled nuclear power plant as of Tuesday afternoon, Tokyo time.



If you’re concerned about the situation at the Fukushima nuclear site – and who isn’t, with the type of uninformed coverage it’s getting in the media – here is an excellent and, I believe, accurate information source.

It includes  Dr Josef Oehmen’s, a research scientist at MIT, immanently understandable summary of the situation. It’s long, but easy to follow.

The site also provides updates as they become available. As always, better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Monday, March 14, 2011

At NPR, the Israelis are the Aggressors: Update with Zilla link

Have you heard about the execution of the Fogel family? Unless you dwell in the world of right wing blogs, probably not. A Jewish family was slaughtered by blood-lust Palestinians, and a celebration ensued in the Palestinian settlement. To the degree it has been noted at all, it has been covered as an unfortunate homicide, not an act of genocide committed by sub-human, hate-filled Palestinians.

Allah Pundit asks and answers a basic question: “what kind of people would celebrate this by eating candy in the streets.  Answer: The same kind of people who celebrated the massacre of 3,000 people in the US on 9/11, and the very same people that the US insists should have their own independent state.”

Read the post to see the mealy-mouthed coverage this hellacious act has received in the progressive press.

Because no one else will, it falls to Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the barbarous acts, and to demand the world pay attention. Which of course they won’t.

How do you negotiate peace with people who value land more than they do human life?


Zilla has captured the reason we cannot allow this atrocity to go un-noticed: Don’t Let Them Sweep this Horror under the Rug

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lest We Forget…Taking Zac: UPDATED

Why do we mourn our fallen heroes?

lest we forget

In the words of Harry S. Truman,

Lest We Forget

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid . They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”

A1C Zac Cuddeback was shot in the head by an Islamofascist in Germany last week. Yesterday he made his final return home to O'Fallon, Illinois.  He will be laid to eternal rest today, March 12, 2011. Officiating will be Father Bill Hitpas, who also baptized Zac just 21 years ago at St. Nicholas’s church.

St. Clare parishHe was welcomed home last evening in a procession that made it’s way from nearby Scott Air Force Base to Zac’s uncle’s house in O’Fallon. The processional route was lined with 1000 flags  provided by the VFW and placed by local townspeople.


Also lining the route as Zac came home were his airmen colleagues from the Air Force Base, a local Boy Scout Troop, and hundreds of people who just wanted to turn out to express their condolences and to offer a small thanks to Zac. Instead, to their surprise, Zac’s family thanked them for coming. These are the kind of people you’re likely to find in fly over country.

The somber military procession began  at the Air Force base and rolled slowly through town. It was headed up by fire and emergency trucks from surrounding towns and over 200 Patriot Guard Riders who  have made it their mission to accompany fallen heroes to their final resting place, and to shelter and protect the family from the likes of viral protestors from Westboro Baptist church.


Patriot Guard Riders and first responders

200568_208186385865034_100000210234414_974882_3213560_n     firetrucks

Earlier last week people, churches, businesses and schools all over town honored Zac in any way they could. To some people it might seem a perfunctory gesture and even inconsequential, especially in comparison to the sacrifice made by Zac. But imagine if Zac were your son, brother, grandson, husband, nephew or friend. You would feel otherwise. You would feel the small gesture was quite profound. And you would be grateful.

183622_208184769198529_100000210234414_974837_4534676_n 184826_208184215865251_100000210234414_974822_1301913_n 189602_208083402541999_100000210234414_973879_6212276_n zach2197448_208083829208623_100000210234414_973892_6987990_nBecause you would know that sometimes simply recognizing great sacrifice is all we can do.

Also in advance of yesterday’s funeral cortege, airmen and locals turned out to plant flags along the entire funeral route.

They began in the cornfields outside of town,


continued into town:


and through the suburban style neighborhoods



to the home of Zac’s uncle, where he laid last night.

lining the funeral procession route with 1000 flags 

If you’ve seen Taking Chance, the story of Lt. Col. Michael Strobl’s mission as a military escort accompanying the body of a fallen Marine home to his family in Wyoming, you might better understand the sense of honor and dignity that overwhelms everyone involved in delivering a fallen soldier home.

taking chance

There is nothing inauthentic in this journey. People turn out simply to bow their heads and thank the selfless soldier who gave his own life to protect our values and way of life. You form the natural sort of bond that we do with our guardians. It is not one that can be manufactured of - or from - cheap emotions. Rather, it is an indelible linkage to something in our life that’s good and true.  It is at once simple and profound: a bond that requires no words to explain why we fight, and why we must.

Lest we forget.


New photos filed by “Boots on the Ground” from today’s funeral for American hero A1C Zac Cuddeback. No words required. (and yes, Westboro slugs did show up, but were contained by townspeople and Patriot Guards so as not to disrupt the memorial)



Rest in Peace Brave Airman

Photos via Boots on the Ground

Cross posted on MOTUS: Michelle Obama’s Mirror

Linked By: Larwyn’s Linx on Doug Ross@Journal 

and  Cynical Synapse