Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Four FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Wikileaks: Japan Was Warned About Fukushima
Photo of the Day
Snappy Answers
Worst Persons
Wikileaks: Japan Was Warned About Fukushima

We are now at this stage in the life of our country and our world: WikiLeaks revealed that the Japanese Government was warned three years ago that earthquake preparedness at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant was dangerously insufficient.

Naturally, the leaders of the world are – or wish to start – prosecuting WikiLeaks, and not the Japanese Government.

The IAEA was saying in 2008 that Japan's nuclear safety guidelines were dangerously out of date. A government whistleblower in that country was quoted in a cable to Washington the same year that a Japanese ministry was "covering up nuclear accidents, and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry."

And our government, in our name, continues both to seek ways to prosecute WikiLeaks, and to stick by the President's ludicrous 2009 suggestion that we accelerate our national Nuclear Power program. The uncensored real oversight, and the truth about Japan's irresponsibility, are both buried because the illusion of Japan as a successful safe nuclear nation is necessary to President Obama's pitch, and President Obama's pitch is necessary to some labyrinthine political calculation, and to the bottom lines of sundry international corporations.

We could say that the worsening news from Japan is coming by drips, except that the latest information from our own Nuclear Regulatory Commission suggests that there's nothing to drip; that the water in the cooling system for Dai-Ichi Reactor 4 has evaporated and NHK broadcasts, late night our time, were filled with images of helicopters trying to douse the facility with seawater, as if it were a forest fire.

Most ominously are reports that read like the worst days of the dark, sick humor of the Bush Administration, when Americans were told to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect their homes from radiation (and memorably one poor soul in Connecticut put it up on the wrong side of his windows). Why, truly, do you think people around Fukushima are being told to stay in their homes and offices? Because going outside somehow significantly reduces the chances they will be exposed to radiation? Because they're safer indoors in the event the worst-case scenario develops and the thing spews out a kind of nuclear holocaust? Or is it because it'll be easier to keep track of the victims of a best-case scenario if they stay where they are and don't try to flee the area, and thus no effort will be required to see where they go and if they have taken radiation with them?

And the saddest story of them all: Gregory Jaczko, the head of our NRA stating this, bluntly, matter-of-factly, and even blandly:

We believe that around the reactor site there are high levels of radiation. It would be very difficult for emergency workers to get near the reactors. The doses they could experience would potentially be lethal doses in a very short period of time. This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives. It's very difficult for me to contemplate that, but it may have reached that point.

As you think of Japan, and you think of the aging nuclear plants in this country, and their nearness to our major metropolitan areas, remember that there are 180 human beings – our brothers and sisters – working around this Doomsday Machine that their government was warned about at least three years ago, about which it did nothing!

180 men and women, the same as any Americans, and very possibly the forerunners of any Americans, who are facing this reality: "This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives."
Snappy Answers For March 16 2011

Former ESPN anchor and MSNBC news host Keith Olbermann is a longtime friend of Francona, and was milling around the Joker Marchant Stadium area prior to the game. He walked over by the Sox dugout during the Sox skipper's pregame media availability, and Francona perked up with: "There's my bench coach!"

I appreciate Terry's joke and Mr. Haggerty of Comcast's genial reporting of it but I must gently complain that he missed something good when I literally gave Francona a snappy answer, namely: "'Coach'? No. Just 'Bench.'"
Photo Of The Day For March 16 2011

This would be me taking a picture of Andy Kindler taking a picture of me:

Andy and the usual alert, uniformed Late Show With David Letterman camera crew and staff, visited George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to gather material for a baseball season-starting bit on the program. Trust me, Andy did a lot more than this. I saw his crew leaving the hotel at about 10 AM and they were still there after the game started at 7 PM. Supposedly they'll be back today.
Worst Persons For March 16 2011
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The bronze goes to the Huffington Post. For a change, this is not about Arianna selling out for $315,000,000. It's about what's happened in the wake of the AOL purchase: a post by the notoriously shamed anger mismanagement goober, Andrew Breitbart that references Little Jimmy O'Keefe's "success" and trumpeting NPR as "collateral damage." I really don't know what I would do if AOL offered me $315,000,000 for this blog (or $315, for that matter), but I would be prepared to see it turned into almost anything including a site devoted to the best of Carl Palladino's emailed photos. And I would be prepared to hear booing. Breitbart?

Silver: who else but the impossibly perfectly named Kansas state legislator Virgil Peck. He got worldwide attention by prefacing remarks to the State House with what you could call 'Conservative Humor':

"It looks like to me as if shooting these emigrating barrel hogs works, maybe we have found a solution to our illegal immigration problem."

And how do they shoot emigrating barrel hogs? Marksmen fire at them from helicopters, Palin-style. And if you don't believe even the state representative from Tyro, Kansas could say anything that stupid, it's on tape.

Peck says he's not apologizing, and is only talking the way people do in his neck of the woods (now he owes them an apology, too). Of the controversy, he added "I think it's over."

You might want to give that a second think, Representative Goober.

But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. This gives me the opportunity to explain why I call him "Lonesome Rhodes." I refer you to the Elia Kazan 1957 classic "A Face In The Crowd" in which Andy Griffith gives a bone-chilling performance as a clever vagrant who rises to the top of the television ladder and suddenly becomes a political influence, and then power-crazy. It's a kind of cornpone version of Arthur Godfrey's success matched with his abuse of his employees, with the homespun qualities of Will Rogers or maybe an evil John Henry Faulk. The movie is nicely summarized on Wikipedia. It is disturbingly predictive of Beck's success.

Well, his success until now. His radio show has been canceled in New York, Philly, and other major markets, his tv ratings are dropping, and more than 200 advertisers have bailed out. But it's worse than that.

What's the old rental car ad slogan? "Ever get the feeling some people just stopped trying?" Beck has now dismissed the lethal threat presented by the deteriorating nuclear plants in Japan by counting as victims of the Chernobyl disaster only those killed during the first release of radiation:

The UN says the worst nuclear disaster in human history is Chernobyl. The UN says 4,000 people died because of that. That's the "I hate nukes" people that have adjusted that number. Stu, what are the confirmed dead in, from Chernobyl? Was it 40?

Beck grudgingly later ups the total to around 70, including those who went in to try to contain the disaster. The number of nuclear-related cancers, which leads to the 4,000 figure – those he leaves out. Not even most conservative morons think only 40 or 70 were killed at Chernobyl.

This, of course, was on top of what Beck had said Monday about the Japanese nukes, which is where the old Avis commercial comes in. He said it was a message from God. Then this man who produces conspiracy theories the way Charlie Sheen produces self-rationalizations didn't even bother to guess what kind of message it was:

We can't see the connections here. I'm not saying God is causing earthquakes – well I'm not not saying that either! What God does is God's business. But I'll tell you this – there's a message being sent. And that is, 'Hey you know that stuff we're doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.' I'm just saying...

Later, Lonesome Rhodes started working Pat Robertson's side of the street by claiming the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan because we all weren't abiding by what he called "The 10 Rules of Thumb" – meaning, "The 10 Commandments":

What do you say we start doing those things? Because the things we are doing really suck. And they're not getting better.

Lonesome? Did you ever think maybe the thing "we" are doing that really sucks, is your show? Or that if there is an inscrutable message from some deity translated via earthquake, tsunami, and really bad nuclear power plant construction, the message is: "Glenn Beck Needs To Stop Doing His Nitwitted Show"?