Monday, October 31, 2011

TMK - Too Much Kardashian

Ryan Seacrest has confirmed the news that TMZ broke a short time ago: Kim Kardashian will file for divorce this morning after 72 days of marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries.

Hmm, now let's see how can this be worked into an $18 million divorce. Pass the bucket, I'm going to be sick. Kim, please.............go do something worthwhile with your life!

Happy Halloween Everyone

"This is Halloween"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

7 BILLION ... and Counting.

On October 31, 2011 the United Nations expects the world population to hit 7 billion. In a way that is a scary thought. Seven billion mouths to feed - fourteen billions feet to be shod and more importantly even more billions and billions of  brain cells to be nourished, educated and challenged.I wonder if we are up to it? I hope so.

Check out the UNFPA site and read 7 billion stories and learn more about the United Nations Population Fund.

World Series Parade today in St. Louis

Carved by my son-in-law, Nick!

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011

Let the victory party continue: Parade to honor Cardinals today

Fans are invited to celebrate the St. Louis Cardinals' 11th World Series championship on Sunday with a 4 p.m. victory parade through downtown St. Louis.

The parade will conclude with an on-field ceremony and fireworks display at Busch Stadium.

The Budweiser Clydesdales will lead the procession of champions in Ford trucks east along Market Street from 18th Street at Union Station to Seventh Street south toward Stan Musial Drive and into Busch Stadium.

And if you can't make the big parade in person you can watch the live link from EarthCam - St. Louis Cam

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Fun Zone - Memories

Balboa Fun Zone - Newport Beach, California
"The Early Years"

I got a letter from my brother, Francis, this past week along with a newspaper clipping from the Los Angeles Times newspaper telling that the Fun Zone is proposed to be transformed into a sprawling $40-million ocean exploration center. He wrote that reading this was a "memory maker" for him and he thought it would be for me as well, if fact he gave me a little 'nudge' to perhaps blog about our shared memories. 
The site back in 1906 was a boat yard in an area on the waterfront of old Balboa. The owner was Fred Lewis and for years he operated this boat yard where he would store and repaint boats. By 1936 the boat yard business dwindled and he leased the land to Al Anderson and the Original Balboa Fun Zone was born.

There were stories that during World War II Anderson would hold secret poker games in his upstairs apartment there on the Fun Zone property. The Ferris wheel which you can see in the distance in the above photo was a used 1918, 45-foot version that Anderson bought from a Seattle company and he also owned the merry-go-round. Harold Hannaford owned and operated the other kiddy rides and the arcade zone games at that time.

In 1948 Al Anderson purchased the property from Fred Lewis and by that time the Balboa Fun Zone had become quite an attraction to kids and families far and wide.

If you were headed to Newport Beach it would be a must stop, certainly a precursor to Disneyland today. And if you lived in the area it would be where you had your summer job. For local kids like myself it was where we would hang out during spring break and the summer months.

In 1972  there was a lawsuit over a diving accident from a platform on the beach and Anderson was forced to sell the Fun Zone property. For several years the property passed from one lending institution to the other. In 1985 Jordan Wank purchased the property and got a permit to bulldoze and rebuild. And in 1985 the 'new' Fun Zone reopened to the delight of kids of all ages.

In 1988 the property was purchased by Doo and Sons, a Japanese investment group who wanted to turn this prime waterfront property into an upscale condominium project. As leases expired Doo and Sons would begin accumulating the empty spaces. Finally when they had enough space they went to the City Council for project approval. There had been such an outcry from the local residents that the condominium project was turned down.

Doo and Sons stopped making payments on the property and it went into receivership. One of the tenants, Balboa Fun Zone Rides, Inc. bought the property in 1994 and continued to run the property as it was.

 In 2005 the property was purchased by the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. The old carousel has been closed and auctioned off, leaving only the old Ferris wheel as a memory of what was know as the Balboa Fun Zone.

An artist's rendering shows an aerial view of the proposed ExplorOcean sea exploration center with the Ferris wheel as the only remaining memory of the fun Fun Zone Days.

Friday, October 28, 2011

World Series - WTG St. Louis Cardinals

Can't believe it's over. Nice win CARDS!!!!!!

One Nation...

We haven't always been 'one nation under God' . When Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 it was quick and to the point: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Through the years this pledge of allegiance has gone through five official changes, finally ending up in 1954 with the version we know today that states we are 'one nation under God'. Much of this change had to do with the Cold War, and the United States wanting to differentiate itself from Communist state atheism, than it had to do with a belief that we were an historical nation founded 'under God'.
The Bellamy Salute c.1941

Even the salute underwent a change from the Bellemy Salute, which was deemed too close to Hitler's Nazi salute in the forties and changed to a more suitable one with the hand placed over the heart.

The Pledge of Allegiance is one of the first things that American school children learn to recite when they begin school.

Since the 1950's change to the pledge there have been many legal challenges which continue on today. One of the first challenges was brought by the Jehovah's Witnesses whose beliefs preclude swearing loyalty to any power other than a God, to today with challenges brought by atheists groups that the pledge is an infringement upon their rights.
It should be noted that various United States Court of Appeals have continued to uphold the words "under God".
Japanese ancestry First Graders

Official versions (changes in bold italics)
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
1892 to 1923
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
1923 to 1924
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
1924 to 1954
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
1954 to Present
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."    

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Trick or Treat Here - Your Voice is Needed

Today I received this email from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.


October 27, 2011

Dear Friends,

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (BRC) was formed by President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu in the wake of the administration's sensible decision to end the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada radioactive waste project.

The BRC was not charged with finding a new site for the nation's high-level radioactive waste; rather, it was charged with examining the potential options for coping with the massive waste problem now on our hands.

Unfortunately, the BRC was stacked with nuclear industry interests and its final draft report, which relies heavily on the long-discredited notion of establishing new "interim" storage sites for radioactive waste, seems much more interested in assuring continued generation of radioactive waste than addressing its fundamental problems. Establishment of new "interim" storage sites, with no permanent solution for radioactive waste storage in site, would simply result in mass waste transportation campaigns that would needlessly endanger millions of Americans--a concept that in the 1990s correctly led to the coining of the phrase "Mobile Chernobyl." In addition, the BRC draft report does not explicitly reject the dangerous and dirty practice of reprocessing nuclear waste, as it should.

 # # #

The time to act is now, let your voices be heard. Nuclear waste is not a joke, it is serious business, we can no longer ignore the negative impact this has, don't let the big nuclear power industry continue to play with a stacked deck. All you need to do is submit your comments, no tent required. What you do today WILL make a difference tomorrow.

Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web:

NIRS on Facebook:

NIRS on Twitter:!/nirsnet

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chinese Whispers - wanna play?

My friend Keith at The Worlds posted this today, it gave me chills to hear it in the context of today's events. I couldn't resist wanting to pass it along...........wanna play the game too?

"Hey, what's that sound?"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Will the United Nations report the truth on Gaddafi's Death?

This story just gets stranger and stranger.

Muammar Gaddafi's blood-streaked body has been put on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping centre.

Libyan authorities have been arguing about what to do with Gaddafi's remains and questions are deepening over official accounts of the dictator's death.

Al Jazeera reports:

Toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will be buried on Tuesday in a secret desert grave, a National Transitional Council official said, ending a wrangle over his rotting corpse.

"He will be buried tomorrow in a simple burial with sheikhs attending the burial. It will be an unknown location in the open desert," the official said, adding that the decomposition of the body had reached the point where the "corpse cannot last any longer".

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bullying in Advertising

On October 20th GLAAD Spirit day was celebrated by wearing purple to show your support to stand up to bullying. Good for to get the nation as a whole to recognize the need to bring an end to bullying.

I have been noticing a trend in television advertising that has been going on for some time now that to me is an example of a form of bullying as well. Verbal bullying involves speaking to a person or about a person in an unkind or hurtful way, example can include sarcasm, teasing and put-downs to just name a few. Below are a few examples of televisions advertising that I think does just that.

If we are concerned about stopping bullying all together, we should take action to let these advertisers know bullying oriented ads are not welcomed. Certainly young minds watching these types of commercials cannot help but think that teasing and put-downs are OK acts of social behavior.

I find it a big amazing as well that in almost all cases it is the male that is being made out to be the fool. Certainly if the roles were reversed there would be an out cry of opposition and screams of sexist advertising. Maybe it is time that you men out there make your voices heard. It bothers me to watch this and if I were a man watching this I would be outraged.

Say NO to AT&T

Say NO to Jack Link's Jerky

Say NO to Jack Link's Jerky

Say NO to Geiko

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We Are The World... Aren't We????

The years move ahead and it seems we always come back to basic premise that "We Are The World", yet what we do on a daily basis seems to belie that premise. There will always be famines and natural disasters that we can't prevent and our hope is that we will come to the aid of our brothers and sisters on this Earth when they are in need.

What a wonderful goal and ideal to make a better world, a better day. It boggles the mind what could be accomplished if this was our goal. If all the efforts of war were turned toward peace instead - yes, that would be a better day.

While we can't control nature's wrath, we can and should control what man does on this Earth. Shoving our nuclear waste off to some dark corner is not the answer. When I saw this news article that told how the United States Department of Energy was working to get foreign countries to take our spent nuclear fuel, it reminded me of the song We Are The World.

The U.S. Department of Energy came up with a proposal that Mongolia collect, store and dispose of spent nuclear fuel from other countries. Since then, the United States and Japan had been negotiating with Mongolia on the project.

Well it seems now that Mongolia has second thoughts about participating in this program.The Mongolian government informed Japan's government officials and others concerned in late September that it had decided to abandon its plans to cooperate with Tokyo and Washington.

You can read the full story that ran in the Mainichi Daily News Mongolia abandons nuclear waste storage.

The United States doesn't want to store its own spent fuel and now it seems others countries are not so keen on taking the stuff as well. The simple answer would be to close down nuclear power plants and stop producing spent fuel. It is going to have to happen some day and the sooner the better. Closing down nuclear power plants is a lot like trying to stop a speeding car, it takes time and distance to come to a complete stop. The brakes need to be applied now before we reach that bend in the road up ahead.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NRC Disclaimer

I found this on the NRC website - stated in a rather matter of fact way, I've added the bold red print, I found it a bit more fitting for the words that are written below.

Since radioactive materials can be dangerous, nuclear power plants have many safety systems to protect workers, the public, and the environment. These safety systems include shutting the reactor down quickly and stopping the fission process, systems to cool the reactor down and carry heat away from it, and barriers to contain the radioactivity and prevent it from escaping into the environment. Radioactive materials, if not used properly, can damage human cells or even cause cancer over long periods of time.

Now here is my problem folks, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has on too many cases chosen not to follow up on reports of safety concerns that have been filed with the commission and in other cases has allowed the operators of the nuclear plants to get away with offenses by noting them as less than serious.
It would be one thing I could rest assured that the NRC is on our side, looking out for the best interests of the American people, but more and more I feel they have just become another department of the nuclear power operators association.
This offers no protection in a world where corporate profits are becoming more and more the master in today's society.
Follow the money folks and then tell me if you are sleeping better these nights.


Indian Point could be a Chernobyl-like disaster

Thanks to Keith for forwarding this article on to me. In the fight against nuclear energy the more eyes and ears out there the better. Artichoke Annie

Experts: Leaks could turn New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant into Chernobyl-like disaster

Tuesday, October 18th 2011, 4:00 AM
The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the banks of the Hudson River in Buchanan, N.Y.
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty
The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the banks of the Hudson River in Buchanan, N.Y.

A Greenpeace activist's meter measures sky-high levels of radiation outside the fourth reactor at the former Chernobyl Nuclear power plant in Belarus this spring.
  Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty
A Greenpeace activist's meter measures sky-high levels of radiation outside the fourth reactor at the former Chernobyl Nuclear power plant in Belarus this spring.

Manhattan and the Bronx would be uninhabitable if the accident-prone Indian Point nuke plant suffered a Chernobyl-like disaster, an environmental group charged Monday.

A massive radiation release similar to the 1986 catastrophe in Ukraine could also contaminate Brooklyn and chunks of Queens and Staten Island, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"The more you learn about Indian Point, the more you know it must close," said Robert Kennedy Jr., a senior attorney at NRDC. "It's too old, it's near too many people, and it's just too vulnerable to fire, earthquake and attack."

"The more you learn about Indian Point, the more you know it must close," said Robert Kennedy Jr., a senior attorney at NRDC. "It's too old, it's near too many people, and it's just too vulnerable to fire, earthquake and attack."

The doomsday scenario comes as political titans clash over the aging plant 24miles north of the city, which sits on an earthquake fault, and has been hit by radiation leaks and at least two fires since 2007.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani debuted a series of TV and print ads last week vouching for its safety and seeking to boost its public image - even as Gov. Cuomo crusades to padlock the plant, saying it poses a threat to public safety.

At issue is whether the feds should grant a 20-year renewal to New Orleans-based Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, which runs two active reactors whose operating licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.

Fueling the debate is the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan - and sparked fears a similar disaster at the Hudson River plant could make parts of New York unlivable.

"An accident at an Indian Point reactor on the scale of the recent catastrophe in Japan could cause a swath of land down to the George Washington Bridge to be uninhabitable for generations due to radiation contamination," NRDC says.

It could also require the sheltering or evacuation of up to 5.6 million New Yorkers, the report says.

Entergy vigorously defends its safety record and says its disaster planning is unparalleled.

The company said an earthquake paired with a tsunami couldn't happen at upriver Indian Point. It also said the primitive graphite reactor at Chernobyl had nothing in common with the multiple safeguards deployed at Indian Point.

"It's not valid to simply cut and paste from events that occurred somewhere else in the world and say they could happen here," said Entergy spokesman James Steets.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Take a Nuclear Reactor to Lunch Day

Today I thought I would feature a much talked about nuclear reactor located in the north-eastern part of the United States and bearing a name near and dear to our hearts, "Pilgrim". Can't you just hear John Wayne speaking these words, "Well hello there, Pilgrim" as he rides into Plymouth on horseback and approaches this sexy looking structure.
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Location: Plymouth, MA (38 miles SE of Boston, MA) in Region I
Operator: Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.
Operating License: Issued - 06/08/1972
License Expires: 06/08/2012
Docket Number: 05000293
Reactor Type: Boiling Water Reactor
Electrical Output: 685 MWe
Reactor Vendor/Type: General Electric Type 3
Containment Type: Wet, Mark I
For more information you can go the the NRC site: Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

It's hard not to fall in love at first sight when you see a nuclear reactor, I mean look at them. They usually are built along side some form of glistening water, be it the Atlantic or Pacific oceans or a beautiful flowing river. They only other thing that is needed as you look deep into her vivid blue spent fuel pools would be the sound of violins playing in the distance...But not to worry the violins are coming, trust me.

Usually age is off-limits when discussing a lady, but I think in this case we can make an exception. Pilgrim will be celebrating the BIG 40 come next June and unlike humans, reactors have to request a license extension to keep on plodding along. So if I can't take my magical fairy wand and in one swish have all the reactors on earth swept away, then I want second best - that being making sure every working reactor is safe and secure. No more lies, no more cover-ups and collusion. The power industry will have to pony up the costs to make sure this is done or close the business down. Period! End of discussion.

Here is a wonderful article that ran in The Plymouth News yesterday, I bring it to your attention here because as usual the mainstream media doesn't see a story here. So I the Mini-Murdoch of the Blogosphere offer it up for your enlightenment.

~ ~ ~

How safe is the Pilgrim Nuclear Station in Plymouth?

Opponents line up to stop the renewal of Pilgrim's operating license

By Gerald Rogovin

With the eyes of the world still focused on the nuclear accident in Fukishima, Japan, last March, residents from Cape Cod to Plymouth are raising questions about the safety of nuclear plants in the U.S., particularly Pilgrim Nuclear Station, close by Plymouth Rock.

Since 1990, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cited four reactor events as "a significant precursor of core damage that could lead to a large-scale release of radiation." They included Three Mile Island in 2002, Catawba Nuclear Station in 1996, the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in 1994 and the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in 1991.

One of every four nuclear reactors in the U.S. -- 27 of 104 -- has leaked tritium, a cancer-causing radioactive form of hydrogen, into ground water.

Sound scary?

One of every four nuclear reactors in the U.S. -- 27 of 104 -- has leaked tritium, a cancer-causing radioactive form of hydrogen, into ground water.
It ought to. Those four events were in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kansas. But right here In Plymouth and as far as  Cape Cod, we share a similar exposure.

And Pilgrim, which has operated for more than 39 years, is seeking an extension of its license for another 20 years starting in 2012, when its current license expires.

For years, activist organizations have been trying to shut down nuclear plants in New England. Currently, they operate in Plymouth, Vernon, Vt., and Seabrook, N.H, none much further than 80 miles from Cape Cod Canal. All of them have joined the effort to deny Pilgrim's license renewal.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick pleaded with the NRC to slow down the renewal process. But state action will have no impact on a decision. The state's Attorney-General petitioned the agency, opposing renewal.  Denied, AG Martha Coakley appealed in federal court in 2006 against the NRC. Her challenge cited the risk of severe accidents in the spent fuel pool of the plant in the event of a terrorist attack, a national disaster, human error or equipment malfunction. The suit is still pending.

One change that may have come of the state's action: if the license renewal is approved, Pilgrim will be required to use dry cask storage of its spent rod fuel.

In their efforts to close down operating nuclear plants in New England and New York State, public interest groups have had some success. Their principal argument is that the plants were designed for use for no more than 40 years,  for safety reasons, and they are still operating.

But regulating the plants has been solely up to the NRC, which took away states' authority in 1990, when deregulation took hold. Cities and towns in the vicinity of the plants are at the mercy of the plant managements.

Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee and the Fukishima Daiichi plants were all built within a year of each other, nearly 40 years ago. General Electric Mark I boiling water reactors were installed. The design was by Bechtel, the company that built the Big Dig highway complex in Boston.

The Plymouth plant, which employs 650 people, is part of Entergy Nuclear Corp., a provider of electricity to eight states.

All three plants have limited capacities for pools of radioactive spent fuel. Pilgrim is currently at 85 percent of capacity, according to the Citizens Awareness Network (CAN) in Shelburne Falls, Mass., a 20-year-old activist group. It reports that Yankee Vermont, near Brattleboro on the Vermont-Massachusetts line, has four times its capacity stored on the site.

"It was really not the tsunami or the earthquake that created the radiation problem in Fukishima," she said. "Fukishima failed 
because the venting systems in all three reactors failed." 
~ Deb Katz, CAN Director
CAN succeeded in closing the Yankee Rowe nuclear plant in 1992, working with the Union of Concerned Scientists, according to CAN's director, Deb Katz. "It was really not the tsunami or the earthquake that created the radiation problem in Fukishima," she said. "Fukishima failed because the venting systems in all three reactors failed."

Destruction of the Japanese plant led the government there to close 49 of the country's 54 nuclear plants, a huge blow to a nation that depends heavily on nuclear power, and has made little investment in renewable energy, The New York Times reported last month.

Radioactivity levels in rice crops, milk, beef, spinach and tea leaves were still at elevated levels on September 25, six months after the accident in a city 35 miles from the Fukishima plant. This forced the Japanese government to order more testing, particularly of rice, a staple of the Japanese diet, according to The Times.

Governor Patrick, continuing to oppose Pilgrim's license renewal, has been under growing pressure from activist groups to take an even stronger stand. MASSPIRG, an environmental group, wants the plant to close. "Even if safety concerns were not great, and they are, the economics of Pilgrim's continued operation are questionable," said Janet Domenitz, executive director of the organization.

"These old reactors are a huge risk, a fact brought home to us by Fukishima, which was designed and built exactly like Pilgrim," she added. John Rosenthal, a prominent Boston developer and a nuclear foe going back 30 years, when he was among the leaders of protests against the Seabrook, N.H. plant, concurs with Domenitz. "Regrettably, although the governor and the AG have weighed in because of the high risk, there has been push back. There are 645 jobs at Pilgrim. In these times, can we afford to lose that many?  And Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray, in whose district the plant is located, has been very careful in her public comments about Pilgrim.  She barely won re-election in her last campaign," said Rosenthal.

Pilgrim representatives have acknowledged that the pools holding the spent fuel rods were not designed for long-term storage. Spokesman David Tarantino told WBUR Radio they were built to hold the fuel rods for about five years, but have been used for 39 years and are nearly full. He cited frequent inspections by the NRC, which he said had determined the spent fuel storage is safe.

Charles Forsberg, who heads the nuclear fuel study group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, agrees with Tarantino. He told WBUR, "in the short term, you store the spent fuel rods in pools, and in the long term, you put them in dry cask storage. If you store the spent fuel in those containers, nothing is going to happen."

But Pilgrim doesn't have dry cask storage. All of its spent fuel rods are in pools.
"Dry cask storage appears to be a workable response to the problems of storing nuclear waste. But the operators of these plants -- Entergy owns and operates Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee -- prefer not to undertake the expense." - Deb Katz, CAN Director
"Dry cask storage appears to be a workable response to the problems of storing nuclear waste," Katz said. But the operators of these plants -- Entergy owns and operates Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee -- prefer not to undertake the expense."

The earthquake that shook the Northeast in August caused relatively little damage, according to western Massachusetts newspapers. But The Boston Globe, in an editorial comment, said, "It underscored how inadequately prepared the region's nuclear power plants all are."

Measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, the quake produced tremors strong enough to exceed the "design basis" of a nuclear reactor in Virginia, closed since for safety inspections.

That has never happened before in an American nuclear plant, The Globe reported. It went on to note that the Virginia plant was not designed to withstand a quake of any size. The nuclear industry has insisted for years that it has anticipated every worst-case scenario. Altogether, 27 reactors in the eastern part of the U.S. may face seismic risks they were not built for, according to an NRC study conducted before the August quake.

George Harvey of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution in Brattleboro, told,'s sister site, "You folks on Cape Cod are in the same bind as we. Pilgrim Nuclear, like Vermont Yankee, is inherently unsafe. It happened at Fukishima. It can happen here: a meltdown could spread radiation from nuclear waste on prevailing winds to the Cape. Boston and Providence and everywhere in between would have to be evacuated.

"These plants have leaky pipes and faulty electrical cables. Fragments of the fuel are present. The spent fuel rods aren't designed for immersion in water. It's all an indication of NRC's lax attitude. It's frightening," Harvey said.