empire tears

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan

The US has ‘utterly failed’ to address risk of spent fuel.

A relatively small amount of used-up fuel was sitting in Fukushima’s seven spent-fuel pools when disaster occurred. By contrast, nuclear utilities in the US have over decades accumulated some 71,862 tons of spent fuel in more than 30 states – the vast majority of it sitting today in pools that are mostly full… It’s a huge quantity of highly radioactive material equal to a great many Chernobyls.

were froth be true

Oh yes, our society is worthy of celebration, our policies are thoughtful…

Americans, constituting only 4.6% of the world’s population, have been consuming 80% of the global opioid supply, and 99% of the global hydrocodone supply, as well as two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs. [link]

Don’t reply to your first thought. It’s likely opinionated and wrong. If we had a clue, these statistics wouldn’t reveal our errors. We know too little about this challenge.

invader of brains

In the competition for space in our brains and in the culture, the effective combatants are the messages.

The biosphere: an entity, composed of all the earth’s life-forms, simple and complex, teem­ing with information, replicating and evolving, coding from one level of abstraction to the next.

Ideas!

Memes emerge in brains and travel outward, establishing beachheads on paper and celluloid and silicon and anywhere else information can go.

They are not to be thought of as elementary particles but as organ­isms.

The number three is not a meme; nor is the color blue, nor any simple thought, any more than a single nucleotide can be a gene. Memes are complex units, distinct and memorable — units with staying power.

dowmerica

A new radio spot by the Koch Brothers extols the spirit of cooperation that led unionized workers at Harley-Davidson to take a pay cut for the good of the company.

What it doesn’t mention is the $6.5 million paycheck the company’s CEO handed himself.

Comment snippet:

“Here in Europe we have a word for the things going on in the US right now. We call it fascism. Do you know why we call it fascism? Cause we own dictionaries. Fascism has nothing to do with oligarchy, fascism is when the government and big business cooperate in order to keep the working classes out of power.

“Look it up.”

More comment snippets: “I wish this was a surprise.”

“Good riddance. Harley Davidson is a marketing firm which happens to make motorcycles.

“All the ‘rebels’ in their little pirate costumes who think they’re riding the great freedom machine are simply whores for the HD pimp.”

“HD doesn’t make money from bikes. HD makes money from financing — bikes being the token that’s financed.”

“Employees are assets, then kiss our asses, Koch suckers.”

Devin Martin reports:

A friend of mine who works for Koch Industries recently forwarded me some corporate propaganda from his boss, Charles Koch. First, I have to say that based on what has been forwarded to me over the years, Koch Industries has to be the most blatantly propagandist corporation I’ve ever seen. For anybody who sympathizes with Koch’s Tea Party organization and libertarian views in general, any accusations of left-wing agendas on the part of NPR or any other organization would seem to be simply the pot calling the kettle black.

I can tell you from observation that the Koch empire takes indoctrination to levels I’ve never witnessed in other organizations.

It’s really quite remarkable what tens of thousands of Koch employees put up with on a regular basis. But, then, I guess the old adage about how easy it is to make somebody believe something when his paycheck depends on it still applies.

neural epicenters

For fifty years, we have bombarded our children with commercials disguised as programs and with endless displays of violence and sexual exploitation. We are nearly alone in the democratic world in not providing our candidates with public-service television time. Instead we make them buy it—and so money consumes and corrupts our political discourse.

reasons to not buy a home

James Altucher:

“I want to fill a bathtub with all the dollar bills I would’ve used as a downpayment on a house.

“I want to bathe in that bathtub. I’m going to do that later today in fact.”

Why buy a house?

You’re trapped.

Lets spell out very clearly why the myth of homeownership became religion in the United States. Its because corporations didn’t want their employees to have many job choices. So they encouraged them to own homes. So they can’t move away and get new jobs.

Job salaries is a function of supply and demand. If you can’t move, then your supply of jobs is low. You can’t argue the reverse, since new adults are always competing with you.

the cosmonaut will die

As low-level employees crawl through waves of radiation, the execs and shareholders escape as usual. What would be different if our class system required personal consequences?

They are contract workers getting about 9,000 yen per day [$13.90 per hour]. They move from one nuclear plant to other in medium term contracts. They had probably looked upon assignment to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant as another routine job.

The 180 workers deployed in 2-hour shifts to get control over truant radioactivity in Fukushima’s 6 nuclear reactors have been battling for a week.

Combined with their previous work, they may well have become exposed to high radiation by now. Five have died so far from explosions, two are missing and 22 have been injured.

There are times when radiation soars, as on Tuesday, and the workers retreat into safe zones. Then they are back again.

The story begins around 1967, when Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, decided to stage a spectacular midspace rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.

It would be, Brezhnev hoped, a Soviet triumph on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Brezhnev made it very clear he wanted this to happen.

Senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space.

front-line neurology

Our society has age.

Stats from one embedded non-profit say:

There are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers.

That’s 17 billion hours of unpaid care  valued at $202 billion.

Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $7.9 billion in additional health care costs in 2010.

More than 60 percent of family caregivers report high levels of stress because of the prolonged duration of caregiving and 33 percent report symptoms of depression. Try Caregiver.com

 

the right is winning on wrong

1) Tax cuts would have to generate an unrealistic amount of economic growth to boost revenues enough to fully offset their cost.

2) Tax cuts might produce very little – if any – economic growth and, consequently, little to no additional revenues.

3) Revenues lost due to tax cuts would eventually require spending reductions, which would pull dollars out of the economy, reducing the benefits to the economy from tax cuts. [pdf link]

Full-time Budgeteer Jean Ross also points out:

1) State and local taxes are not key factors in determining where companies do business.

2) All state and local taxes combined represent a tiny share of business costs.

3) Most USA business pay little or no state income tax.

Please linger a moment on Jean’s portrait.  Missouri has its straw, but when is the last time you’ve seen a better askance?

horizonomics

Ah ha, food inflation’s distant cure?

“With proper investment in agriculture, technical innovation and infrastructure for food processing, India could well become the food basket of the world in the next two decades.”

Very strong set of words, no?
Not a statement you will likely see again. Is it true?

reconciling cheese

Glenn Barry:

1) Across the board humanity is at risk of losing the fruits of hard fought battles for human advancement. Over the past 300 years progressive and liberal thought and action have largely ended monarchy, slavery, and achieved equality, human rights and voting rights for much of the world.

2) Globally we are all witnessing political and social implications of collapsing ecosystems, resource scarcity and economic inequities.

3) In the United States some 400 individuals possess more wealth than the 155 million Americans in the bottom half.

the we party

The powers-that-be (in both parties) should see a rainbow force coming together:

…organized workers, business leaders, veterans, students and youth, faith leaders, civil rights fighters, women’s rights champions, immigrant rights defenders, LGBTQ stalwarts, environmentalists, academics, artists, celebrities, community activists, elected officials and more—all standing up for what’s right.

Defending—and Defining—the American Dream

knee-deep in chest-high

Utility bills got you down? Empathize a few moments with these off-grid kids in Alaska:

Last fall we put up several piles of firewood for the winter.

This system worked fairly well when 1) the snow on the trail wasn’t past the truck running boards, 2) we still had birch in the pile, and 3) the piles weren’t buried beneath 4 feet of snow and ice.

…chucking frozen 50 lb logs when it’s below freezing and… they honestly did not burn.

Seriously, we’re talking completely fire retardant wood. Even when we split it down into almost kindling size they never really made flame or produced any heat… leaving us cold and waiting 3+ hours for the kettle to boil

to govern torture and spying

On MetaFilter, users share alarm:

Protestors have found torture devices that confirm the stories of Egyptians tortured by the security services, evidence of massive state surveillance, and even a room full of sex tapes for blackmailing famous people…

Among the secret papers published thus far, there is software and training to hack into Yahoo, GoogleMail and Hotmail mailboxes, record Skype calls, and spy on people through their laptops’ built-in microphone and camera…

standing in the way

The best investment a company can make?
Try lobbying. Returns can exceed 20,000 percent.

Umair Haque:

What’s standing in the way of democracy might just be politics — parties, Congress, lobbyists, the whole glad-handing, schmoozeful K-street shebang, which seems to exist mostly to subvert the will of human people, and replace it with the wishes of corporate ‘people’.

Is prosperity being restricted by sluggish dinosaur institutions?

“It’s a world where yesterday’s tired industrial age assumptions and practices have been thoroughly challenged, and found wanting — and yet they live on, like weeds”

the starting point

Or consider Steve From Virginia at his blog Economic Undertow:

Be ready for the long haul. Times will be tough… then they will get worse.

Ours is a generational challenge, then a human existential challenge.

Nothing is amenable to five-year plans. Start thinking 500 year plans. We won’t escape our tragic limitations until we start making realistic 5,000 year plans.

we always restrain power

The Guardian is admittedly a liberal news organization, but in no way is it to be considered politically radical in its opinions.

It’s front page lede:

Manning ‘forced to sleep naked’

WikiLeaks suspect made to relinquish boxer shorts for about seven hours due to ‘situationally driven’ event’.

It’s comment:

Bradley Manning and the stench of US hypocrisy

The US condemns human rights abuses abroad yet appears to be allowing the psychological torture of Bradley Manning.

I assert that the civilian is an order of magnitude more powerful than the militian but we do not live in a time of these.

our bodies and the world

Oh this Earth do loop:

“A mother’s body is the first environment,” Steingraber said.

As she was leaving her obstetrician’s office after examining a vial of her amniotic fluid, Steingraber recalled being told to “Drink plenty of water.”

“Drink plenty of water. Before it is baby pee, amniotic fluid is water. I drink water, and it becomes blood plasma, which suffuses through the amniotic sac and surrounds the baby – who also drinks it. And what is it before that? Before it is drinking water, amniotic fluid is the creeks and rivers that fill reservoirs. It is the underground water that fills wells. And before it is creeks and rivers and groundwater, amniotic fluid is rain. When I hold in my hands a tube of my own amniotic fluid, I am holding a tube full of raindrops.

“Amniotic fluid is also the juice of oranges that I had for breakfast, and the milk that I poured over my cereal, and the honey I stirred into my tea. It is inside the green cells of spinach leaves and the damp flesh of apples. It is the yolk of an egg. When I look at amniotic fluid, I am looking at rain falling on orange groves. I am looking at melon fields, potatoes in wet earth, frost on pasture grasses. The blood of cows and chickens is in this tube. The nectar gathered by bees and hummingbirds is in this tube. Whatever is inside hummingbird eggs is also inside my womb.

“Whatever is in the world’s water is here in my hands,” Steingraber said.