Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stop Homophobia


Putin has been working (sort of) to repair his image before the Winter Olympics come to town. Since I haven't seen much U.S. news over the holidays I don't know if much is being said on this. But I did read this Al Jazeera America article that I thought I would pass on to you  Russia's Olympics losing game over gays, human rights.

As a related article in the Dallas Morning News Shades of 1936 Olympics as Sochi games approach notes "So far, much of the pushback from the international community has been tepid, diplomatically framed."




Friday, December 27, 2013

The End (of 2013) is Near




“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Year End Not News Worthy Notes

"To subsist on air and light alone."

Valeria Lukyanova, known as the "Human Barbie" ~ her quest to become this 'perfect' doll is documented by Shine Senior Writer Sarah B. Weir. A creepy feeling went through me when Valeria was quoted as saying, "In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all; I'm hoping it's the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone."


Defending Duck Dynasty
This Sunday's News Entertainment shows spending time defending Duck Dynasty star and patriarch Phil Robertson's right to freedom of speech and slamming AMC  A & E** for dropping the show. Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin weighing in to remind us how our 'freedom of speech is an endangered species'.


Phil doll complete with this spiffy football uniform

Hmm, maybe we should turn Phil Robertson into a human Ken doll where he will be safe in the hands of children that can in turn speak for him, while he too will be able to subsist of air and light alone.

** Mea culpa for attributing Duck Dynasty to AMC, really a wonderful network.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Let's Make Some Noise



It's not quite New Year's Eve but let's make some noise for the whistleblowers that roam this earth. They play a love/hate role but without them so many things would go unnoticed and unchanged.

Edward Snowden fled the U.S. and was given asylum in Russia for leaking information about what the NSA was doing. That was months ago and I suppose there are still may people who want to send Snowden up before a firing squad but ironically today the news is reporting that perhaps the NSA has gone a step too far with its unwarranted snooping on American citizens. I doubt without the information leaked by Edward Snowden there would be any changes being considered to what the NSA is doing.

Another story coming out now is one involving 51 U.S. Navy sailors aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan that have become ill after their exposure to radiation while helping out with the Fukushima disaster. Those of us that follow the nuclear topic are not surprised by this news. There are many stories out there, but they are just not being reported on in the mainstream news outlets.

The  Daily Kos and Aljazeera have these reports. This news really needs to be reported on.






Friday, December 13, 2013

I Got An Early Xmas Present


Sometimes the best gifts do come in small packages. Yesterday the Department of Energy passed over for the second time the Ameren-Westinghouse request for a federal grant for their SMR development.  Story link

Instead the funding will head west to NuScale Power of Portland, Oregon. Now maybe Ameren of Missouri can focus on the problem closer at hand, that being what to do with the spent fuel pools when they reach maximum capacity in just a few years.

I am so pleased with this recent development I am going to pass it forward with donations to Toys for Tots and my local St. Louis Food Bank.

Wish I could match the DOE's use of the $452 million of taxpayers funds they used in this SMR funding program. Wow, that would be a lot of toys and food this Christmas Season!

Happy Holidays Everyone!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Holiday Break


I'm going to take a little holiday break while I venture off into the forest in search of the perfect tree.  If anything of an earth shattering nature occurs I might be lured out of my mini-retirement. Take care of yourselves, be kind to each other and think of and do something for those less fortunate.

It is sad that we have a hunger problem here in this country while at the same time the Black Friday ventures leave so many black and blue from their commercial sale frenzy. Guess that is what we are all about.

Best wishes to all, however you celebrate the holiday I hope you enjoy the special time with family and friends. The scent of fresh pine and spicy cinnamon and maybe the look of new fallen snow... perfect fresh landscape upon which to make your own tracks.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving America




The Harvest Moon


It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
  And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
  And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
  Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
  And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
  Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
  With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
  Of Nature have their image in the mind,
  As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
  Only the empty nests are left behind,
  And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lost My Head


Sometime during the past seventy-five years I must have lost my head. I think it just slipped off my neck and fell to the floor. I remember a brief blank period, but it didn't last very long.

But when I reached down to pick it up and reattach it I think I did something wrong. What is that saying "righty tighty, lefty loosey"? Dear, oh, dear I've attached it all wrong.

But this is the only way I can explain why I see and process things the way I do. My head is just not screwed on properly.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

All Hail the Royals


There has been a mighty uproar over the Danish Royal Family portrait. Going as far as to say it was Addams family-like.

I love it. I see a little open space below Queen Margrethe II where I can photoshop my own image for my Christmas card this year.

It will be a Happy Holiday for sure.

Source Material: Danish Royal Family Goes Goth


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Program, No Funding. So Say the Court



Well my job just got a whole lot easier. I guess it is time to book another cruise. Today the Department of Energy was told by the federal appeals court to stop the collection of fees for the storage of nuclear waste. The reason being the court said was because there was no program in place for the permanent storage of nuclear waste and therefore it was not proper to be collecting fees.

Here is the link to the New York Times article.
"In a decision written by Judge Laurence H. Silberman, the court ruled that “until the department comes to some conclusion as to how nuclear wastes are to be deposited permanently, it seems quite unfair to force petitioners to pay fees for a hypothetical option.” What they have already paid might cover that cost, Judge Silberman wrote, adding, “the government apparently has no idea.”
I wonder if the DOE plans to return all the funds that they have been collecting over the past years? I doubt it and I doubt there will ever be a central repository for the storage of nuclear waste. There will be extra money collected as in time each of our existing nuclear plants will eventually have to come up with a plan for permanent on-site storage.

Talk about a Catch 22, wow!




Monday, November 18, 2013

Fukushima Fuel Rod Removal Postponned

Update from Euronews:
"The operators of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have postponed the extremely complicated and difficult task of removing damaged atomic rods.
New video footage from a robot has revealed new leaks within the damaged reactors meaning the rods now can’t be taken out as planned.
 
One of the fuel assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982 when it was mishandled during a transfer and is bent out of shape. 
Kazuaki Matsui, the executive director of Japan’s Institute of Applied Energy said: “It’s very difficult to remove a spent rod because parts of the wall and the bottom of the reactor are all melted. We’ve never had to deal with this before so that adds to the complication.” 
Meanwhile, decontamination workers say mismanagement is to blame for the delay of radiation removal work. 
The inital plan called for the clean-up in the affected towns to be finished by March this year but the government now says the work will be delayed by as much as three years."
Copyright © 2013 euronews

Friday, November 15, 2013

TEPCO's Spent Fuel Rod Removal



Fairewinds Energy Education has released a new podcast in response to  TEPCO Spent Fuel Removal plans. The program is being presented by Arnie Gundersen. It is worth a few minutes of your time to help you understand the enormity of the task ahead at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility.






Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stimmig - Hey Why Not


Today's New York Times ran this interesting article Switzerland's Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive by Annie Lowrey. It's all about that country's plan to provide their citizens with a guaranteed income. It wouldn't matter if you were rich or poor every person would get a fixed sum of money. It is their plan to wipe out poverty and to boost the economy.

Now before you poo-poo the idea think about it. Here in the United States we have a lot of different programs aimed at helping lower income families and each is run by a different department of government. We have food stamps and housing vouchers and Social Security Aid to Dependents and who knows how many other programs.

Imagine if all of these programs were replaced by a guarenteed annual payment of $10,000 to every person over twenty-one years and out of jail. It would be chump-change in the pocket of a millionaire but very possibly they would put it to good use. For the millions that work for minimum wage and can barely survive it would make a nice supplement.

There probably be a few slackers that would abuse the benefit, that sadly is a fact of life but I bet there would be far better outcomes if people know they could count on this.

Excerpt from Annie Lowrey's article:
"The proposal is, in part, the brainchild of a German-born artist named Enno Schmidt, a leader in the basic-income movement. He knows it sounds a bit crazy. He thought the same when someone first described the policy to him, too. “I tell people not to think about it for others, but think about it for themselves,” Schmidt told me. “What would you do if you had that income? What if you were taking care of a child or an elderly person?” Schmidt said that the basic income would provide some dignity and security to the poor, especially Europe’s underemployed and unemployed. It would also, he said, help unleash creativity and entrepreneurialism: Switzerland’s workers would feel empowered to work the way they wanted to, rather than the way they had to just to get by. He even went so far as to compare it to a civil rights movement, like women’s suffrage or ending slavery."
"When we spoke, Schmidt repeatedly described the policy as “stimmig.” Like many German words, it has no English equivalent, but it means something like “coherent and harmonious,” with a dash of “beauty” thrown in. It is an idea whose time has come, he was saying. And basic-income schemes are having something of a moment, even if they are hardly new. (Thomas Paine was an advocate.) But their renewed popularity says something troubling about the state of rich-world economies."
I bet some could take an easy breath and think to themselves that now they could take a few courses at the junior college or maybe enroll a young child in dance classes. Small little things that could end up making a huge difference in someone's life.

I don't know but why don't we give it a try. Bringing dignity to mankind, offering a hand up, these are good things. Things to be proud of. People having to sleep in cardboard boxes under freeway overpasses, not so much.

America's tough guy bravado is as the kids say "so yesterday". We have moved on in so many ways socially, I think this might be the next step to conquer on the roadway to the future.


Monday, November 11, 2013

EcoWatch presents Pandora's Atomic Box Score

Pandora, you know that curiosity killed the cat. Be careful, girl.

Yesterday EcoWatch published Pandora's Atomic Box Score as follow up to the airing of the 'documentary' by CNN the other night. One of the questions that emerged from the other night was who financed the production of this film? EcoWatch reports that two major backers were Paul Allen and Bill Gates both emergents from the Microsoft campus.

it seems Bill Gates is a big believer in the new generation reactors. Here in Missouri they are call SMR - Small Modular Reactors and very much seem to have the support of local politicians as being something that is good for Missouri's economy.

I like it when they can use 'small' and 'modular' for the new generation of nuclear reactors, it makes everything seem so much more acceptable and sees less dangerous. They even go as far to describe them as a "plug and play" operation

Ameren and Westinghouse teamed up in 2012 to produce these new age Cabbage Patch Kids but didn't finish in first place and lost out to the Tennessee project from Babcock & Wilcox. Ameren announced that they will try again.

In the meantime in a separate offering from the Department of Commerce this time and not the Department of Energy, Missouri came out a winner - with this October 2013 announcement:

"Universities in Missouri will help develop the supply chain for Westinghouse's small modular reactor with help from a $1.84 million grant from the Department of Commerce.

Rendering of a Westinghouse SMR plant. Source: WestinghouseAnnounced Tuesday, the award is part of the $20.5 million Make it in America Challenge. According to the DOC, "This project will help Missouri manufacturers become part of a supply chain for SMR production. The project will advance a comprehensive training strategy to develop a high-skill, high-quality workforce for manufacturers in the nuclear power industry while assessing the education, training and certification needed to support the SMR effort."

In July, the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, the University of Missouri, Ameren and Westinghouse formed a consortium to conduct research supporting the Westinghouse SMR's development and to train future nuclear engineers. Ameren, which operates Missouri's Callaway nuclear plant, is working with Westinghouse as it applies for funding from the Department of Energy to support the licensing of SMR technology." ~ Nuclear Power Industry News

Both Gov. Jay Nixon and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill are strong supporters of the SMR project and in the past have cited it was beneficial to Missouri's economy.

Read the Atomic Box Score - I know it get confusing especially with all this switching going on between Department of Commerce and Department of Energy, property the next place these little SMR's will show up will be under the Department of Education.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Page 17 - Nuclear Waste

Here is Page 17 from Pandora's False Promise a rebuttal to Pandora's Promise by Beyond Nuclear. Think about it.






WASTE

“There is no magic bullet for solving the problems of long-lived nuclear waste.” Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
  • The first step to solving the problem of nuclear waste is to stop making it.

  • Assertions that the IFR “once loaded with nuclear waste, can, in principle, keep recycling it until only a small fraction remains,”52 ignore some inconvenient realities. Although the National Academy of Sciences acknowledges in a 1996 study that the waste inventory could be reduced, it also points out that such an effort would have very high costs and marginal benefits and would take hundreds of years.53

  • The IFR does not eliminate the nuclear waste that has piled up so much as theoretically transmute it. Transmutation describes the process of reducing the proportion of long-lived isotopes contained in the waste. While the proportion of elements such as plutonium, americium and curium may be reduced, radioactive fission products would remain, including cesium, krypton-87 and strontium-90. Management of these radioactive wastes would still be necessary for several hundred years at least. Transmutation also creates huge volumes of “low level” and transuranic waste.54

  • Therefore, even with a fleet of such fast reactors, nations would still require a final permanent “disposal” facility for radioactive waste.55

  • How much space radioactive waste takes up is not the issue. It is the duration and concentration of the lethality of its content that is relevant. Depending on its isotopic content, radioactive waste can remain deadly even longer than a million years.

    ❒❒❒❒❒
    52 http://www.monbiot.com/2012/02/02/nuclear-vs-nuclear-vs-nuclear/. Nuclear vs Nuclear vs Nuclear. By George Monbiot. Monbiot.com. February 2, 2012.
    53 http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309052262 Nuclear Wastes: Technologies for Separations and Transmutation. National Academy of Sciences. National Academy Press. 1996.
    54 Transuranic waste is waste contaminated with alpha-emitting transuranic radionuclides with half-lives longer than 20 years and in concentrations greater than 3.7MBq/kg. Transuranic elements have atomic numbers greater than uranium (92) and are typically man-made.
    55 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fast-reactors-to-consume-plutonium-and-nuclear- waste&page=3 Can Fast Reactors Speedily Solve Plutonium Problems? By David Biello. Scientific American. March 21, 2012.
page17image19256 page17image19416 page17image19576 page17image19736 page17image19896

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Atomic States of America

Last day to view free online - The Atomic States of America


The film raises profound questions about the safety, viability and future of nuclear power in the United States -- casting substantial doubt that more promises about the potential for nuclear power, as raised in "Pandora's Promise", are largely unrealistic fantasies.
A film by Don Argott and Sheena Joyce

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Artichoke Annie's Promise

Did you see Pandora's Promise on CNN tonight? What were your feelings? Do you feel you were given all the facts? Did you come away thinking that if environmentalists have changed their views on nuclear energy then it must be OK?

I think Director Robert Stone offered up to us tonight a seductive myth aptly named after our beloved Pandora.

Artichoke Annie's promise to you is that I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can to see that our government - the Department of Energy - finds a viable solution for permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel.

We simply cannot ignore the fact that the United States had at one time 104 operating nuclear plants that were producing spent fuel. That fuel must find a permanent home somewhere. Until this problem is addressed there should be no nuclear facilities built.

It is a massive problem.

Where to store the spent fuel?  Your backyard or mine.
How to get it there?  Planes, trains or automobiles.

In the next couple of weeks TEPCO will be attempting to move the spent fuel rods from their damaged Fukushima facility just a short distance to a permanent storage facility. We need to watch carefully how this goes. At the very least this is what it will take in the U.S. if permanent storage were to be created onsite at the current facilities.





"Nuclear waste is not an environmental issue." ~ Mark Lynas


Fast Breeder Reactors: Want to know more?  How do fast breeder reactors differ from regular nuclear plants? A 2006 article in Scientific American

Here is an excerpt from that article:
"Creating extra fuel in nuclear reactors, however, is not without its concerns: One is that the plutonium produced can be removed and used in nuclear weapons. Another is that, to extract the plutonium, the fuel must be reprocessed, creating radioactive waste and potentially high radiation exposures. For these reasons, in the U.S., President Carter halted such spent fuel reprocessing, making the use of breeder reactors problematic."
Fast Breeder Reactors and Plutonium Concerns: Today in the News ~ Japan Nuclear Facility Cited for Security Failures 

Fast Breeder Reactors Use Spent Fuel to Create Power: Are fast breeder reactors a nuclear power panacea?

Here is an excerpt from that article:
"Spent fuel, while less of an immediate proliferation risk, remains a major radiological hazard for thousands of years. The plutonium — the most ubiquitous and troublesome radioactive material inside spent fuel from nuclear reactors — has a half-life of 24,100 years. A typical 1,000-megawatt reactor produces 27 tons of spent fuel a year."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Curiouser and Curiouser

Now it's a Who Done It?

“Yasser Arafat died of polonium poisoning,” he said. “We found the smoking gun that caused his death. What we don’t know is who’s holding the gun at the time. ~ AlJazeera America - Swiss Study Revealed

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kids Do the Darndest Things


Elon Musk : Hyperloop


Described as the Fifth Mode of Transportation the Hyperloop prototype, brain-burst of young entrepreneur Elon Musk, may see the light of day by the end of 2014.

It just gives me thrill chills to be on the very edge of a real Jetson's world. Wow, my bucket list is getting longer. Imagine making the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco in thirty minutes. In LA it usually takes you that long to back out of your driveway.

This from the Christian Science Monitor article  Hyperloop Gets New Company:
"Musk's brainchild uses long, slim pods to whisk passengers along at up to 800 mph on nothing but a cushion of air--drawn in through the front and propelled from the back of each pod. The network would have lower costs than California's proposed high-speed rail system, as the route would follow existing freeways on a pylon system. That also cuts down the cost of acquiring new land."
Elon Musk is a 42 year old engineer from South Africa. You may have heard of him in association with SpaceX a company where he serves as CEO and CTO. He is also CEO and Chief Product Architect of Tesia Motors. Musk won't be involved in the development of the Hyperloop but he was heard to say he wishes the team well.

I do too. Up, up and away Hyperloop!




TEPCO Approved to Move Fuel Rods

"HANDLING SPENT FUELS INVOLVES HUGE RISKS."

The Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan has authorized TEPCO to move 1,300 spent fuel rods and 200 new fuel rods that are currently being stored in pools at the Fukushima Daiichi power facility.

In the Wall Street Journal article  Mr. Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, stressed that the upmost care needs to be taken:
“Handling spent fuels involves huge risks. It would be a disaster if radioactive materials comes out of the metal rods during the work,” he said, noting that with the pool containing debris from the original explosion, the rods could be damaged as pulled out. “They must be handled one by one,” he said.
We don't hear a lot about it but TEPO has been working with the United States's Department of Energy in their attempt to come up with correct and viable solutions to take in the decommission of this facility.

TEPCO representatives will be coming to Washington to meet with the DOE before proceeding with the next phase scheduled for the month.

In the U.S. four of the 104 nuclear power plants have been shut down. But the DOE has yet to develop a plan for the permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel. Hopefully there are lessons being learned in our efforts to assist Japan.

I hope we do not drag our feet in coming up with a solution and end up having to make a decision on what to do in pressure cooker environment. It really is a situation that cannot be ignored much longer as most of our own fleet of nuclear power facilities are operating beyond their original 40-year license period.

This article Uneven enforcement suspected at nuclear plants by AP national writer Jeff Donn points out further problems that occur with safety enforcements. It is very disconcerting when you read the "NRC cannot ensure that oversight efforts are objective and consistent" if there is one thing we should demand from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission it would be exactly that; objective and consistent oversight efforts.

And when the nuclear industry voices concern about the inconsistencies we should be very concerned as well. There is so much that needs to be and very little time to make sure it is done properly.


Friday, November 1, 2013

PSA - Attention Pet Bird Owners



I just bought a new non-stick fry pan today. I wanted to know if the handle was safe to put in the oven so I was reading the label that came with the pan. To my surprise I read this instead.

Caution:  For safety, please keep pet birds out of the kitchen. Birds' respiratory systems are sensitive to many household fumes, including the fumes from extremely overheated non-stick pans.

Makes you kind of think twice, yikes!


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Ultimate Horror - Spent Nuclear Fuel

"Fear is a cloaked enemy that whispers negative thoughts into your mind, body and soul.  It tries to convince you that you will not succeed and that you cannot achieve your full potential." ~ Marc Chernoff, Scared to Death
I have posted many blogs on our urgent need to address the issue of spent nuclear fuel and with each post I suppose I might have at least implied there might be a conspiracy that exists between governmental agencies and the nuclear power industry.

Perhaps I was wrong making this implication. Perhaps the reality is that what to do with nuclear waste is so scary and such a horror that scientists themselves are scared stiff. The ultimate horror so awful it is impossible to speak of.

A cone of silence has been lowered of Fukushima soon after the terrible disaster occurred. Worldwide news media was quick on the scene when it they were covering the earthquake-tsumni event. Then the horror occurred with the meltdown of the Fukushima-Diachi nuclear facilities. It went from bad to worse to an unknown situation.

We try to raise our children on the belief to always tell the truth. But sometimes the truth is so horrific and devestating that a little white lie has to be told instead. And then that little white lie gets so covered with dirt and soot that it becomes a terrible big black lie.

Terrible events are occurring right this minute at Fukushima, you probably won't find it being covered on CNN or your local news but the stories are out there if you dig for them. The latest is so scary it is hard to even write about.
"There are three major problems at Fukushima: 
(1) Three reactor cores are missing
(2) Radiated water has been leaking from the plant in mass quantities for 2.5 years; and 
(3) Eleven thousand spent nuclear fuel rods, perhaps the most dangerous things ever created by humans, are stored at the plant and need to be removed, 1,533 of those are in a very precarious and dangerous position." ~  Source: 3 reactor cores melt into the earth
For those interested in reading more about what is going on a Fukushima here is a link for more information:  Risky Repairs At Fukushima.

My heart goes out to the people of Japan, they are living this horror. And my heart is with the rest of the world as we sit in wait for the next shoe to drop. I am convinced that here in the United States we will do nothing until a disaster occurs. We come close to it but these little signals don't have the same motivation as death itself.

The nuclear power industry loves to boast of how safe nuclear power is and that we have never had a death here. But it is only a matter of time and they know it. I think everyone just hopes it is not on their watch. And even if you could put down a bet in Vegas, I wouldn't want to do it.

But I can see why we are doing nothing, because spent nuclear fuel is the ultimate horror. And when you think about it there is nothing you can do but hold your breath and stay very still. And wait.




Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sound Off Sunday

Social media have their Throwback Thursdays so why not Sound Off Sunday. I know I express my opinion a lot but you should hear all the stuff I don't say. Hang on to your laptops friends I may never do this again.



All those selfie shots with the girls wrangling their tongues cyrus-style.... stop it, it is disgusting.







People shouldn't feel compelled to apologize for their Halloween costumes - get over it people, it's HALLOWEEN, one day to be able to dress up stupid without repercussions.




I'm not an animal lover, not an activist for their causes.  Hate it when dogs poop on my lawn! But I did see Blackfish and agree that whales belong free in the sea and not locked up in aquariums to amuse us. Not a fan of zoos either.





Singers who perform the National Anthem at sporting events and treat it like a exercise of their vocal range should stick to singing in the shower and save us the auditory pain.




Corporations with management teams that approve really stupid and offensive commercials from ad-agencies should automatically be put on the 'don't buy from' list.





Sunday, October 20, 2013

Invisible and Unheard





"To be invisible in your distress, unheard in your terror — that is a disaster indeed and one that, in much of the world, requires no imagination at all."  ~  A. O. Scott, NY Times

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Slavery



"12 Years A Slave" is a new movie by director Steve McQueen. It tells the true story of Solomon Northup a freeman who in 1841 was snatched off the streets of Washington and sold into slavery.

It is a powerful story and one worth telling. As a reminder we need to know also that slavery still exists in this world today, it has been estimated that 30 million people around the globe are living in conditions termed as modern-day slavery.

Half of this number, 13 to 14 million people, are in the country of India alone and China comes is second with an estimated 3 million people living in slavery. For the Global Slavery Index published by the Australian Walk Free Foundation the term slavery is used to mean:
"The index says the term "slavery" is used mean a variety of conditions, such as forced labor, human trafficking, the sale and exploitation of children, and forced marriage."
In a New York Times movie review of "12 Years A Slave" writer Manohla Dargis notes:
"The genius of “12 Years a Slave” is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price."
I would add to use the present tense when discussing slavery. The Global Slavery Index ranked 162 countries using three factors: "estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, levels of child marriage, and levels of human trafficking into and out of the country". The United States came in 134th.

There is still much work to be done to abolish slavery off the face of the earth.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fukushima Dodging Wipha's Wrath


Typhoon Wipha blew through Japan causing havoc and leaving 17 dead. There just doesn't seem to be any let up to the devastation caused by nature for the island nation of Japan.

Already hurting and severely damaged Fukushima nuclear plant seemed to get past this latest challenge with only minimal impact.

Links to more stories on Wipha can be found below:

Once-in-a-decade typhoon heads toward Japan nuclear plant

Typhoon Wipha hits Tokyo killing at least 17

Typhoon Wipha Threatens Japan, Fukushima Nuclear Plant Prepares


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It isn't about Tea any more...


Those Tea Party wackos are still out there and still spewing forth their snake oil venom. What gets me is the fact they don't go away. They are this small populous and as irritating as a tiny stone that gets caught in your shoe.

Just when I am getting used to saying "Sarah who?" ~ Miss Wasilla rears her beautifully coiffed locks yet again. The woman has no shame, she would diaper her grandson in the American Flag if she thought it would garner her some attention. Don't the Veterans ever get tired of her ability to use them for her own gain?

I hate to be a quitter but there is only one 'lost cause' I continue to hold at hope for and that is that the world will wake up in time when it comes to nuclear waste. This other stuff I give up. I can't stomach what the extreme right-wing wackos have done and continue to this country.

In the not too distant future I will be relinquishing my citizenship and find a saner corner of the world to live out the few years I have left. I will leave the fight to the young people of this land to reclaim what was once theirs.

Oddly enough I don't think they care. There was a time when young people were politically involved, not so much today. I think they feel more a citizen of the world. The disrupters; the Cruz's, the Palin's, the wild-eye claimant from "pray away the gay" fame - are not what the young kids think about today.

Go to the Tea Party website and you will see some interesting pictures posted there. A shot of President Obama behind bars to attract you to their story 'Obamacare navigator has outstanding arrest warrant' and below that photo a photo of Cruz and Palin with hands over heart 'join protestors at World War II memorial'.

It's not an easy read but if you want to know what the looney tunes are up to you really have to take the time and read the crap they toss out there, everything from the petition to impeach President Obama to working on their Youth Firearm Training Initiative with this catchy little slogan:

LET’S DEFEND THE  CONSTITUTION AND HELP OUR CHILDREN ENJOY THEIR GUN RIGHTS! 


Let's see now... how does that old adage go? Praise the Lord and pass the barf bag.


Monday, October 14, 2013

And the winner is?


Three Americans awarded the Nobel Prize in economics while at the same time the U. S. Government is shut down because Congress can't figure out how to fund the government.

How ironic is that.

Here is a teaser, you can read the full story here Nobel Prize in Economics

"The three men, who worked independently and whose findings are contradictory in some respects, together painted a picture of stock and bond markets moved by a mix of rational and irrational considerations."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good News to Report

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Passenger Spurs Rescue Operation


(7:00 a.m. EDT) -- A Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescued three sailors from their capsized speedboat after a passenger heard their cries for help from her balcony.

Jewel of the Seas was on its way to Saint Martin from San Juan on the first night of a week-long Caribbean cruise when Kendra Nagy woke up at 4 a.m., opened her balcony door and heard the men's cries for help.

She immediately called the ship's main desk who passed her concerns along to the captain. He took the reports seriously, turned the ship around, issued the alarm signal for a person overboard and searched the area with floodlights. After about an hour, they found a white spot in the ocean. 

“When it finally hit on something that was clearly sticking out of the water a little bit, that was a rush,” her husband Roy told a local TV station. As the ship got closer, we saw the guy there waving. That's when we really got goose bumps.”

The three rescued men had been in the water for about 10 hours, after capsizing their speedboat en route to St Croix from St Thomas. Once onboard they received food, water and medical treatment, before being dropped off at St. Martin the next day. 

"We are just glad that we were at the right place at the right time to help them," a statement from Royal Caribbean said.

The couple, who are from Massachusetts, became minor celebrities for the rest of the cruise, posing for photos with the rescued sailors and receiving praise and gifts from the captain, crew and fellow passengers. 

--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor  ~ Cruise Critic


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chief Heckawi and the Chicago Cubs


Chief Heckawi is scanning the horizon looking for a team he can help out. I think the Cubs should take the Chief up on his offer before Jake Peavy get his voodoo hands on him, or Billy Weier for that matter.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Let's Get Rid of the Alphabet


Oh, hell, let's just get rid of the damn alphabet. That way we rid ourselves of the A-word, the B-word, the C-word, the D-word, the E-word, the F-word, the G-word, the H-word, the I-word, the J-word, the K-word, the L-word, the M-word, the N-word, the O-word, the P-word, the Q-word, the R-word, the S-word, the T-word, the U-word, the V-word, the W-word, the X-word, the Y-word and the dreaded Z-word.

Without letters there are no words and without words we can all go into the forest and live in peace. As for all you writers out there, you will just have to come up with a new approach to writing or maybe an old approach.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Library of Congress - Does it come into play in your daily life?



I am a big Twitter fan and I noticed a Tweet the other day by  that said due to the government shutdown he would lose access to some the Library of Congress photos that he uses a lot in his Tweets.

I kind of dismissed this all to the Twitter-world, no big deal, right?

Then today I read this from a friend of mine, Casey Shain, whose livelihood involves the publishing industry, where he posted this on his Facebook page:

"The government shutdown is affecting so many areas of life people don't normally think about. I'm working on several books that won't be able to be published on time because we can't access the Library of Congress for images and image permissions, and several other books are delayed because we can't get the CIP data for the copyright page (Cataloguing-in-Publication data). This is conceivably hundreds of thousands of dollars in delays for a publisher that is struggling as it is." ~ Casey Shain, Facebook
I wonder why this type of story doesn't make the nightly news. This is the real impact of the shutdown, something that goes far beyond what is being discussed each night on the evening news.

On the surface it doesn't seem like such a big deal. Then you get a first hand story and all of a sudden your ears perk up and you take notice.

Hello Congress, if you want to play games how 'bout starting a Bunko Party on Friday night and get some work done and stop this game playing.