Because the right to Viagra equals the right to vote!

March 18, 2011

AFL-CIO Top Thug head Richard Trumka and his colleagues in the (shrinking) labor movement must live in a really good echo chamber, because only in a world isolated from reality could one claim that the struggle for African-American civil rights is the same as the tantrums being thrown by well-compensated public employees:

Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights

“Madison is just the beginning!” AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka told a union rally in Annapolis on Monday. “Like that old song goes, ‘You ain’t seen n-n-n-n-nothing yet!’ “

Fresh from defeat in Wisconsin, union leaders are planning a new campaign not just to head off future challenges to their collective bargaining powers but also to make the case that organized labor’s benefits and prerogatives — wages, health care, and pensions that are more generous than those of comparable workers in the private sector — are the moral equivalent of rights won by black Americans during the civil rights movement.

To make the point, the AFL-CIO is planning a series of nationwide events on April 4, the 43rd anniversary of the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated after speaking in Memphis, Tenn., on behalf of striking black garbage collectors. The message: King’s cause, and that of angry schoolteachers in Madison, are one.

“April 4 [is] the day on which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for the cause of public collective bargaining,” Trumka said in another speech, in Washington, on Wednesday. And on the AFL-CIO blog, there is this notice: “Join us to make April 4, 2011, a day to stand in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for.”

Yep, you read that right.

“Shameless” and “chutzpah” don’t begin to describe it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If it was a secret meeting, why is Lindsey Graham blabbing?

March 18, 2011

I think it was Ben Franklin who once said “Three people can keep a secret if two are dead.” After reading this news in Foreign Policy regarding a secret strategy meeting, we may have to coin another: “Telegraph, telephone, tell Lindsey:”

Several senators emerged from the briefing convinced that the administration was intent on beginning military action against the forces of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi within the next few days and that such action would include both a no-fly zone as well as a “no-drive zone” to prevent Qaddafi from crushing the rebel forces, especially those now concentrated in Benghazi.

“It looks like we have Arab countries ready to participate in a no-fly and no-drive endeavor,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters after the briefing.

Asked what he learned from the briefing, Graham said, “I learned that it’s not too late, that the opposition forces are under siege but they are holding, and that with a timely intervention, a no-fly zone and no-drive zone, we can turn this thing around.”

Asked exactly what the first wave of attacks would look like, Graham said, “We ground his aircraft and some tanks start getting blown up that are headed toward the opposition forces.”

As for when the attacks would start, he said “We’re talking days, not weeks, and I’m hoping hours, not days,” adding that he was told the U.N. Security Council resolution would be crafted to give the international community the authority to be “outcome determinant” and “do whatever’s necessary.”

I’m surprised he didn’t live-Tweet it.

Of course, he wasn’t the only “Ooh! Ooh! Guess what I know!” senator seeking to impress the press. Freshman Mark Kirk (R-IL) also apparently never heard that other wise aphorism, “Shut the Hell up.”

Yeesh.

via Real Clear World


The future of US nuclear power after Japan

March 18, 2011

Reason Magazine has a good article online looking at the the implications for the just-reviving nuclear power industry in the wake of the Sendai earthquake and tidal wave. After reviewing the damage at the Fukushima plants (they actually withstood the temblor surprisingly well, but the tidal wave that killed power to the cooling systems was the back-breaker) and the situations of nuclear plants in the seismically active American West (including California’s San Onofre), Ron Bailey examines newer technology that would make for safer reactors, even in the event of a huge natural disaster:

One hopeful possibility is that the Japanese crisis will spark the development and deployment of new and even safer nuclear power plants. Already, the Westinghouse division of Toshiba has developed and sold its passively safe AP1000 pressurized water reactor. The reactor is designed with safety systems that would cool down the reactor after an accident without the need for human intervention and operate using natural forces like gravity instead of relying on diesel generators and electric pumps. Until the recent events in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was expected to give final approval to the design by this fall despite opposition by some anti-nuclear groups.

One innovative approach to using nuclear energy to produce electricity safely is to develop thorium reactors. Thorium is a naturally occurring radioactive element, which, unlike certain isotopes of uranium, cannot sustain a nuclear chain reaction. However, thorium can be doped with enough uranium or plutonium to sustain such a reaction. Liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTR) have a lot to recommend them with regard to safety. Fueled by a molten mixture of thorium and uranium dissolved in fluoride salts of lithium and beryllium at atmospheric pressure, LFTRs cannot melt down (strictly speaking the fuel is already melted).

Because LFTRs operate at atmospheric pressure, they are less likely than conventional pressurized reactors to spew radioactive elements if an accident occurs. In addition, an increase in operating temperature slows down the nuclear chain reaction, inherently stabilizing the reactor. And LFTRs are designed with a salt plug at the bottom that melts if reactor temperatures somehow do rise too high, draining reactor fluid into a containment vessel where it essentially freezes.

While recent research shows that the United States has far greater reserves of coal, oil, and gas than previously thought, nuclear is still the cleanest economical alternative energy source around and has to be a crucial part of any coherent* national energy strategy. Rather than react in panic (as we did after Three mile Island) and again cripple the development of nuclear power, we must recognize that there is no risk-free magic solution and should instead draw the appropriate technological, engineering, and disaster-planning lessons from Japan’s trauma, apply them to our own situation, and keep on a rational path toward energy self-sufficiency.

Our future prosperity and national security depend on it.

*While I give Obama props for sticking by nuclear power, his energy policy is anything but coherent or rational.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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