Monday, July 30, 2012

In the Aftermath of ...

I think our nation is sinking lower in the muck and mire, afraid to really look at where the problems lies. With each day that passes we become a more violence accepting society. Oh, we will rise up and scream about the horrors, like the recent Colorado killings but just as quickly we simmer down and go back to our every days lives, demanding no change, continuing to defend an individual rights but stopping just short of defending their right to kill.

I read an article today by D. L. Hughley in HuffPost:  It's Mourning in America where he brings up the fact we are a violence obsessed society,  and I will throw in my two cents worth - a society that cares little about correcting the situation. We have allowed almost every facet of our lives to be at the whim of politics, from healthcare to violence and back again.

He brings up an incident that occurred the '80's that I had almost forgotten about and then went on to mention the campaign and work against drunk driving.

"Some of us are old enough to remember when a madman poisoned packages of Tylenol in 1982. Seven people died, and the reaction was immediate: the entire run of the product was recalled. Packaging was changed so that the buyer would know it's safe and wasn't tampered with. Liberal or conservative had nothing to do with it. It was not treated as a political issue. No one claimed that making it marginally harder to get at those headache pills was the first step toward dictatorship. 
 Drunk driving was a similar scenario. No one argued whether it was the alcohol that was the problem, or the car. No one advocated for prohibition or for some sort of nationwide bus system in lieu of the automobile. We did not hear that drunk driving is a right enshrined in the Constitution by our founding fathers. People just got sick of losing their friends and family members due to tragic circumstances that were entirely avoidable. Ad campaigns were launched, the police cracked down, and a nationwide stigma developed."
Why is it that we continue to tolerate violence and killing in our society and are happy to let it be a political football that is passed back and forth between political parties almost at whim?

I think that is a fair question to ask. Read D. L. Hughley's article, he makes some good points.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jay Nixon: Spokesperson for Ameren or the People of Missouri?

Missouri's governor, Jay Nixon, has been offering up a lot of Kool-Aid for the people of Missouri lately. I know its been hot, but beware of the public relations blitz that is coming out of the governor's office.

While we all love baby kittens and puppies, 'cus they are so gosh darn cute, beware of these cute little mini-reactors that are being offered up as the savior to Missouri economic dilemma. They are still nuclear reactors with the same old-let's-not-talk-about-this-problem -- spent nuclear fuel.

These new small reactors would produce about 225 megawatts of electricity, but wait...Ameren-Westinghouse says their plans are to build FIVE of these cute little kittens, by my math that equals 1125 MWe. The current Callaway Plant #1 is 1236 MWe, voila Ameren has just accomplished the "second" power plant that it has been trying to get the ratepayers to pay for all this time.

I love this from Rudi Keller's article in The Columbia Daily Tribune today: "With the federal government ready to invest $452 million in the development of the reactors, taxpayers will subsidize much of the cost of the first reactors. Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse have made a joint application for a share of that money to develop the reactors for installation in Callaway County."

Many of the same people screaming about the bailout of the auto industry and Wall Street are quite silent on this subject but we need to remember this is going to be funded by taxpayers. 

But I digress - let's get back to the same old thing I keep harping about and that is: What is going to be done about the permanent storage of spent fuel? Do we want to talk to the residents of Missouri about how they feel about being the long-term storage site for Callaway's spent fuel?

The Department of Energy tried to get Nevada to be home of all this spent fuel and someone said, "HALT." So the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States are becoming 104 long-term spent fuel storage sites. Don't scream "NOT IN MY BACKYARD" because that is exactly where the spent fuel is being stored, for now and evermore, quoth the raven.

"Care for another refreshing glass of Kool-Air my dear?" No thanks, governor, I think I will just stick to water.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Missouri's Economic Development Summit

Hmm, on the surface it all seems innocent enough, but my invitation didn't read "Black Tie Optional" it definitely was an "all white" affair.

The Governor has his big guns working overtime in his efforts to convince anyone within ear shot that Missouri in on the brink of being home to a "new global industry", that new industry being the manufacturing of SMR's. Small nuclear reactors that are more affordable, easier to build (translate that into faster to build), they are the sliced bread of reactors.

A couple of issues however, getting this project off the ground for Ameren-Westinghouse  will still take taxpayer money to fund this project and what concerns me and what nobody is talking about, is that they still generate spent fuel.

Address this issue first. Show me that you can supply long-term permanent storage for spent nuclear fuel and then call me, I will happy to listen to your proposal. In the meantime stop with the bull-shit, stop jerking us around telling tall tales about how this unproven technology is going to define Missouri.

If the American people knew what was going on and how their money was being spent I think they would be up in arms. I mean look how they reacted to the president's Affordable Health Care bill and that was done with the intent of helping people not potentially harming them.

Clearly this "public-private partnership" is a sham. Take taxpayers dollars so Ameren-Westinghouse can green up their bottom line. If it is such a sparkling great idea I would think they could also find private funding for this.

Let the Department of Energy concentrate instead what they are going to do with all the nuclear poo that has no permanent home.

Link to full story: Reactor Project Could Define Missouri

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nuclear Power Team - Meet the Players

Meet the Players

Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon,  on the left and University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe on the right.

These are two key players on the Nuclear Power Team headed up by two of the best super coaches of all-time Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric.

The reason Coach Ameren and Coach Wes like these two players is that they are fighters. Missouri President Tim Wolfe is fighting to save the University's nuclear science program and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon wants to see a secure economic future for the State. And Ameren and Westinghouse are always pleased as punch when they can post a profitable year on their financial books.

The prize in all this recent Small Modular Reactors (SMR) blitz isn't the Lombardi Trophy but instead a sizable $452 million funding from the Department of Energy. Oh, wait the DOE is a governmental organization, so I guess that YOU the taxpayers are the ones making this all possible. Nice, WE give Ameren-Westinghouse our money so they, a private company can return a dividend to their investors.

And Ameren has also filed revised tariff sheets, that's fancy-speak for 'rate increase', with the Missouri Public Service Commission. They want to beef up their service revenues by about $376 million, which trickles down to about a 14% per month increase for residential consumers.

They did the same thing last year and while Ameren didn't received all of what they asked for from the Missouri Public Service Commission they did get enough to post a nice profit and dividend for their shareholders. Mission accomplished.

So why do I care? Because in all of this I heard zero, zip, zilch in the way of discussions about what we plan to do with our existing and our future piles of spent nuclear waste. Doesn't seem to be a concern of Governor Nixon or UM President Wolfe or for that matter even Ameren or Westinghouse. And first and foremost the Department of Energy whose job it is to properly store in a permanent fashion spent fuel continues to Run Silent on this subject.

The Elephant in the Room continues to graze and grow fat. If someone doesn't take control and stop him, he will one day just explode from this over-consumption. And my friends when that day happens it will not be a pretty sight.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunday Rants - Revised to JUST RANTS

Here are some things in the news that contribute to my over-all mental instability and draw me closer to the day I will move to some far, far away island and spend my time harvesting coconuts and smoking dope.

BSA Reaffirm Gay BanSee Huffingtonpost Full Story

Imagine over-hearing these words being whispered from the boardroom of the Boy Scouts of America "After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays."

The New Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent and definitely NOT GAY.

I have spent many years in the Scouting program; as a Brownie and Girl Scout and then later as a parent fulfilling my role of both Girl Scout Leader and Boy Scout Den Mother. Back then I wore my little green uniforms proudly but today I would organize a protest and burn that sucker.

What are the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America saying here? That gays are NOT trustworthy or loyal or helpful or friendly. No, not even courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful and thrifty. Forget brave, clean and reverent - never traits seen in gays.

Not to mention that gay boys are entitled to advantages and experiences of boys in general; growing up developing friendships, camping experiences and the various challenges put forth in the merit badge programs. Gays are not sub-human life forms, they are viable contributing members of our society and this archaic view that permeates a portion of our society today needs to be done away with. And the sooner the better.


Sandusky Investigation Shows Break-down in University-Trustee Relationship

Big "duh" on this story as powers that be scramble to save their own assess by penalizing future students of Penn State.

The problem that exists at Penn State is a problem that is exists a most major universities in this country, money, the big buck funding of their sports programs, mainly college football.

An investigation at all schools would probably turn up varied and unwanted news of all forms of abuses, not limited to the abuse of children. What surprises me is that people seemed shocked by the Penn State initial cover-up and whitewash of the Sandusky sexual-abuse case when it first saw light.

Come on people, really, you don't bite the hand that feeds you!

Issue #1 - Sandusky. He has been tried and found guilty.

Issue #2 - Co-conspirators. Pulling the Penn State football program does not address the issue. There should be a general purging of all administrative level members. The university's president, the Penn State board of trustees and all football coaches on staff during the periods of Sandusky's child abuses.

Then they can think about rebuilding again. It will be a long, hard road back, but then again, being an abused child isn't exactly a cake walk.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Piling On: Penalty - 15 yards

News from the Department of (In) Justice: There is strength in numbers, as if having the 'big' bucks isn't enough, yet another alliance is formed and succeeds. Read this from the DOJ, interesting there is no specific mention of long-term storage of nuclear waste. Then again I guess you don't want to talk about things you don't have a solution for.

People, even if you support nuclear energy the very least you should ask for is proper waste disposal, this includes taking care of spent fuel for the long-term. We can't continue to create waste and let it pile up unprotected.

~ ~ ~
WASHINGTON, D.C. (7/4/12) - The Department of Justice today announced that it will not challenge a proposal by seven nuclear power plant operators to share resources and coordinate best practices and other operational activities through a proposed venture to be named the STARS Alliance LLC. The members of the proposed STARS Alliance each operate single nuclear electric generation plants of a similar design – pressurized water reactors – and vintage.

The department’s position was stated in a business review letter to counsel for the STARS Alliance, from Joseph Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

STARS members propose to share best practices and resources such as personnel, parts and equipment, as well as coordinate contingency planning, including coordinated responses to new Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements adopted in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. None of the proposed activities involve the procurement of goods and services or the sale or purchase of electric power. Membership and participation in all of the activities of the proposed STARS joint venture is voluntary.

In issuing the letter, Acting Assistant Attorney General Wayland stated, “To the extent that the proposed cooperative activities increase efficiencies that result in lower costs, increased output or increased safety, the proposed conduct could have a procompetitive effect.”

The department noted that the cooperative activities STARS proposes to undertake should not have any adverse effect on competition. STARS members would represent 13 of the 69 operating commercial nuclear pressurized water reactors in the United States and 13 of the 104 operating commercial nuclear reactors in the United States. The STARS members, for the most part, are in separate geographic areas and do not compete against each other for the sale of electricity. In the two instances where members both have reactors in the same electricity transmission organization, the members’ nuclear units are not likely to have an impact on price. The members will be prohibited from sharing competitively-sensitive pricing or marketing information.

The STARS Alliance participants are: Union Electric Co., with its Callaway plant in Missouri; Arizona Public Service Co., with its Palo Verde plant in Arizona; Luminant Generation Company LLC, with its Comanche Peak plant in Texas; Pacific Gas and Electric Co., with its Diablo Canyon plant in California; Southern California Edison Co., with its San Onofre plant in California; STP Nuclear Operating Co., with its STP plant in Texas; and Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Co., with its Wolf Creek plant in Kansas. 
Under the department’s business review procedure, an organization may submit a proposed action to the Antitrust Division and receive a statement as to whether the division currently intends to challenge the action under the antitrust laws based on the information provided. The department reserves the right to challenge the proposed action under the antitrust laws if it produces anticompetitive effects.

A file containing the business review request and the department’s response may be examined in the Antitrust Documents Group of the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 1010, Washington, D.C. 20530. After a 30-day waiting period, the documents supporting the business review will be added to the file, unless a basis for their exclusion for reasons of confidentiality has been established under the Business Review Procedure.

SurfKY News
Information provided by the Dept. of Justice
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Celebrate America by getting involved...

An Open Letter from Starbucks President.


An Open Letter: How Can America Win This Election?

"On Independence Day, our country celebrates the promise of America.

It’s a day to remember that the principles that bind us together vastly outweigh what keeps us apart. The freedom to dream and the opportunity to create a better life – not just for ourselves, but for each other – has always defined our great nation.

I am a product of that American Dream. As a kid who grew up in public housing, went on to get an education at a state university and build a business, I am grateful for what this country has made possible for me. In turn, at Starbucks, we have always tried our best to honor our responsibility to the communities we serve.

And on this Fourth of July, our communities need all of us.

Across the country, millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this. America’s history has showed that we have accomplished extraordinary things when we act collectively, with courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit—especially during trying times.

As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.

Let’s tell our government leaders to put partisanship aside and to speak truthfully about the challenges we face. Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy. And as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems. We can’t wait for Washington.

At Starbucks, we are trying to live up to our responsibility by increasing our local community service and helping to finance small-business job creation with Create Jobs for USA. Our company is far from perfect, and we know we can do more for America. But we need your help. We need your voice.

Join the national conversation with #INDIVISIBLE. Starting today, I invite you to share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship. On Instagram, post a photo of the America we all need to see. On Twitter, provide a link to an innovative idea. Blog about who’s making a difference in your community; or on YouTube, share how you made your American Dream come true. No matter where you post, if you use the tag #indivisible, Starbucks will do its part to collect and amplify your voices.

To spark the conversation in our stores, your local Starbucks will proudly serve everyone a free tall hot brewed coffee on the Fourth of July.

Together, we can set a new tone in America. We hope you agree that doing so is a powerful way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

In 2012, America needs to win the election more than either party does. It is time now to join together as Americans. It is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation – indivisible."