Friday, March 17, 2006

Other Items

With power cleaner than coal and cheaper than natural gas, the nuclear industry, 20 years past its last meltdown, thinks it is ready for its second act: its first new reactor orders since the 1970's.
But there is a catch. The public's acceptance of new reactors depends in part on the performance of the old ones, and lately several of those have been discovered to be leaking radioactive water into the ground.
In a survey of all 10 of its nuclear plants, Exelon found tritium in the ground at two others. On Tuesday, it said it had had another spill at Braidwood, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, and on Thursday, the attorney general of Illinois announced she was filing a lawsuit against the company over that leak and five earlier ones, dating to 1996. The suit demands among other things that the utility provide substitute water supplies to residents.

The above is from Matthew L. Wald's "Nuclear Reactors Found to Be Leaking Radioactive Water" in this morning's New York Times. As nuclear power plants have licenses about to expire this year or next, and while Bully Boy pushes this "clean, safe" "alternative," this is an issue to watch.

You may not be able to watch the reality of the discussions between Bully Boy and Blair. Cindy notes Richard Norton-Taylor's "Legal Gag on Bush-Blair War Row" (The Guardian of London via Common Dreams):

The attorney general last night threatened newspapers with the Official Secrets Act if they revealed the contents of a document allegedly relating to a dispute between Tony Blair and George Bush over the conduct of military operations in Iraq.
It is believed to be the first time the Blair government has threatened newspapers in this way. Though it has obtained court injunctions against newspapers, the government has never prosecuted editors for publishing the contents of leaked documents, including highly sensitive ones about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, last night referred editors to newspaper reports yesterday that described the contents of a memo purporting to be at the centre of charges against two men under the secrets act.
Under the front-page headline "Bush plot to bomb his ally", the Daily Mirror reported that the US president last year planned to attack the Arabic television station al-Jazeera, which has its headquarters in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where US and British bombers were based.
Richard Wallace, editor of the Daily Mirror, said last night: "We made No 10 fully aware of the intention to publish and were given 'no comment' officially or unofficially. Suddenly 24 hours later we are threatened under section 5 [of the secrets act]".
Under section 5 it is an offence to have come into the possession of government information, or a document from a crown servant, if that person discloses it without lawful authority. The prosecution has to prove the disclosure was damaging.

The things we hide out come back to haunt us. On that topic, Keesha notes Margret Kimberly's "Civil War in America" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

Every year the Sons of Confederate Veterans use the North Carolina statehouse to celebrate their annual confederate flag day ceremony. It has become more common in recent years for some white southerners to openly wax nostalgic for the days when their ancestors fought and died to preserve slavery.
It is easy to see a connection between present day yearnings for a return to Dixieland and renewed efforts to threaten voting rights. It is less obvious to see similar connections with trends elsewhere in the country. South Dakota is a long way from South Carolina, but that state recently joined the battle to turn back the clock on civil rights and return to the bad old days when white men ruled and everyone else was subservient.
The legislature in South Dakota voted to outlaw abortion except in cases where the mother’s life was endangered. Even rape, incest, and fetal abnormality will no longer be legally justified reasons for abortion. Republican State Senator Bill Napoli
described the only instance when he thought abortion would be justifiable.
"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."
Napoli has some very strange fantasies. Hide your daughter if you see him coming. In South Dakota, rape victims who aren’t pious or saving themselves for marriage are just out of luck.

Lastly, Brady notes Norman Solomons' "War-Loving Pundits" (Common Dreams) which Brady thinks should be called "Remembering the Gas Bag Dupes." From the column:

The third anniversary of the Iraq invasion is bound to attract a lot of media coverage, but scant recognition will go to the pundits who helped to make it all possible.
Continuing with long service to the Bush administration’s agenda-setting for war, prominent media commentators were very busy in the weeks before the invasion. At the Washington Post, the op-ed page's fervor hit a new peak on Feb. 6, 2003, the day after Colin Powell’s mendacious speech to the U.N. Security Council.
Post columnist Richard Cohen explained that Powell was utterly convincing. "The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them," Cohen wrote. "Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise."
Meanwhile, another one of the Post's syndicated savants, Jim Hoagland, led with this declaration: "Colin Powell did more than present the world with a convincing and detailed X-ray of Iraq's secret weapons and terrorism programs yesterday. He also exposed the enduring bad faith of several key members of the U.N. Security Council when it comes to Iraq and its 'web of lies,' in Powell's phrase." Hoagland's closing words banished doubt: "To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don't believe that. Today, neither should you."
Impatience grew among pundits who depicted the U.N.'s inspection process as a charade because Saddam Hussein's regime obviously possessed weapons of mass destruction. In an essay appearing on Feb. 13, 2003, Christopher Hitchens wrote: "Those who are calling for more time in this process should be aware that they are calling for more time for Saddam's people to complete their humiliation and subversion of the inspectors."

Remember the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now! is:

Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent for The New York Times, and Bernard Trainor, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, join us to talk about their new book "Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq."

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