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Archive for August 10th, 2008

Alec Baldwin: The Misconception Of Nuclear Power

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:30 PM MST

The Misconception of Nuclear Power

Posted August 10, 2008 | 09:58 PM (EST)

Huffington Post- By Alec Baldwin

On a Connecticut public radio program I listened to recently, two guests discussed their views of the growing energy problem overwhelming the US economy. Both pundits, who are political columnists for national magazines, agreed that in addition to conservation measures and an increase in renewable sources, nuclear power is a card that the US must hold in its hand in order to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and our consumption of fossil fuels. Both speakers agreed that nuclear was a good investment, as it was “clean and had almost no carbon footprint.”

The contractors who build nuclear power plants, the energy companies who operate them and the banks that underwrite the bonds that fund them are hoping to take that misconception straight to the bank.

Nuclear power is viewed as problematic typically due to issues involving public health and safety. Grave concerns linger to this day about how to safely dispose of nuclear waste. Since 9/11, security issues dominate much of the debate. Many who are more in tune with the realities of how nuclear power is actually produced in the US currently worry about catastrophic breaches of reactors. They also state, with real evidence on their side, that no level of exposure to ambient radiation produced every day at utility sites is healthy for humans, particularly pregnant women and young children. However, many are now willing to ignore, or at the very least table, serious action on these issues because of the false notion that nuclear power is clean.

Even opponents of nuclear power get it wrong on this issue. At a forum held at the Time Warner offices in New York, Chairman Richard Parsons hosted then Democratic candidate John Edwards in a conversation that included Edwards’ opposition to expanding America’s nuclear capacity. But even Edwards failed to address the question of “how dirty is the mining and processing of uranium?”

The answer is very dirty. The mining of uranium, like the excavation of any other resource that must be discovered, torn out of the ground and carted away, along with the handling of excess rubble, by heavy equipment, could not be any more polluting. The precious uranium must be taken, by truck, to facilities that themselves require enormous amounts of power in order to process and enrich the radioactive ore into the fissionable material that is used in the reactor that is operated by a utility as a “clean” source of power. The retrieval of any energy resources, whether it be oil, coal or natural gas, requires enormous amounts of energy itself. Even gasoline itself is delivered by trucks that are powered by gasoline. But, along with coal, nothing compares to the mining and processing of uranium. It is an overwhelmingly dirty process on a carbon footprint basis.

Energy companies that are investing in nuclear power by seeking the renewal of the licenses of some of America’s aging reactors are counting on the current economic downturn and War-for-Oil fatigue to make the case not only for status quo nuclear capacity, but also for a major expansion of utility reactors across the country. The claim that nuclear power is clean is a lie. And not only due to the carbon-heavy mining and refinement processes, but also due to the complete and incomprehensible avoidance of what to do with the ever-increasing stockpile of its deadly radioactive waste.

In my next post on this subject, I want to share with you some of the work I have been involved with, since 1996, in closing specific reactors, utility and otherwise, and the politics involved with opposing the nuclear industry and their allies in Washington and state houses across the country. In particular, I would like to tell you about Tom’s River, New Jersey, the home of Excelon’s Oyster Creek reactor, one of the most compromised and dangerous nuclear facilities in the US and what Governor Jon Corzine is doing, and is not doing, to protect the health and safety of the residents of his state.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 4:10 PM MST

No immunity for security contractors in Iraq

Think Progress- By Amanda at 5:16 pm

One of the most contentious issues surrounding a long-term U.S.-Iraq security agreement is whether private security contractors should receive blanket legal immunity from Iraqi laws. However, buried today in a Washington Post article, reporter Karen DeYoung reveals that negotiators have agreed that security contractors “would be subject to Iraqi law,” a setback for the Bush administration. Negotiators are still working out the dates for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. (HT: The Crypt)

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Isaac Hayes, Deep-Voiced Soul Icon, Is Dead at 65

anthony @ 22:45 BST

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless ”Theme From Shaft” won Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said. He was 65.

A family member found him unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff’s office. The cause of death was not immediately known.

In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap.

His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show ”South Park.”

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said authorities received a 911 call after Hayes’ wife and young son and his wife’s cousin returned home from the grocery store and found him collapsed in a downstairs bedroom. A sheriff’s deputy administered CPR until paramedics arrived.

”The treadmill was running but he was unresponsive lying on the floor,” Shular said. (more…)

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KABOOM! Toronto Fireball Evacuates Thousands…

GEF @ 5:27 PM ET

Propane Fireball Result From Explosion In Toronto

Explosions at a propane facility forced thousands of people to evacuate early Sunday, and witnesses described the sky lighting up in the glow of an enormous fireball before turning black with billowing smoke.

Police said there were only minor injuries, but firefighters were battling blazes at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases facility hours later. The series of explosions around 3:50 a.m. EDT also shut down the city’s busiest highways, snarling traffic for thousands of travelers.

Some residents said the blast was so forceful they felt their homes rock as though they had been struck by an earthquake.

“It was just a tremendous explosion and blew all the windows out of the house, just blew the house up, and I just managed to get out of there in time,” said Robert Helman, who was covered in cuts and bruises as he fled his home.

Residents within a one-mile radius were ordered to evacuate immediately, and police brought in buses to take residents out of the area.

About a dozen terrified residents _ some clad in pajamas and housecoats _ found their way on foot to nearby Yorkdale shopping mall, where security offered them water and a place to rest.

While police couldn’t immediately identify how many people would be affected by the evacuation request, census data of that part of Toronto suggests that there could be as many 12,500 people and 5,300 private dwellings in the one-mile area around the explosion.

Toronto fire services division commander Bob O’Hallarn said he saw at least five heavily damaged homes and said it could he hours before residents are allowed back into the neighborhood.

The remaining burning propane tanks at Toronto plant were almost out, he said.

“There was a very large of amount of fire when we arrived,” O’Hallarn said. “It could have been much more serious.”

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Dog Days Of Summer And Executive Privilege…

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:35 PM MST

Murray Waas: How the President’s claims of executive privilege for the U.S. attorney probe could prove to be cataclysmic for his own party.

Crooks and Liars- By: John Amato on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 at 11:20 AM – PDT

Murray Waas goes into great detail why the Bush administration is making a big mistake using executive privilege and not letting Rove and Harriet testify about the US Attorney Firing scandal.

The dog days of summer, a Summer Olympics, a presidential election– and even other administration scandals have largely drowned out the issue of the firing of the nine U.S. attorneys.

But either this fall, or even before, all of that is almost certain to dramatically change.

And claims of executive privilege by the President of the United States to disallow his top aides to testify on Capitol Hill could prove devastating to his own political party. Republican House and Senate candidates are no doubt going to be damaged by the executive privilege claims becoming a front and center issue just prior to the election. In the end, the President’s continuing claim of executive privilege– whether made for high minded reasons of constitutional law, obstinacy, or for political calculation– could prove to be a last unwanted legacy that George Bush leaves behind for his own political party…read on

As Murray notes earlier in his piece—The Bushies were even overruled by a former Ken Starr and George Bush appointed judge named John Bates on this issue…

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Afternoon Jukebox… Unbelievable

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:30 PM MST

EMF- UNBELIEVABLE

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MIA McCane Iraq Anthrax

by Geezer Power…12:00 pm High Noon G:

Well folks, Olbermann is pretty much laying it on the line here, but as you might notice, part of the video was cut out about the apparent suicide of Bruce E. Ivins, a scientist who helped the FBI investigate the 2001 mail attacks. Here is what the L A Times has to say about the suicide of Bruce Ivens.

There is also an excellent artical by Glen Greenwald on this. Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News

Yet this unqualified extension of Bu$h & Co. is still a viable candidate for president of the United States. Worse yet, there is a possibility that Lieberman, the other BuSh hugger could be his running mate. For some reason this reminds me of David Kelly, and I’m beggining to wonder if history even enters into the equasion with these corporate sons of she dogs…G:

History Channel Admits Anthrax Attacks were an Inside Job

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