Home

accountability

Another, Older Mess: Hanford Nuclear Reservation

The ongoing nuclear issues in Japan have sparked renewed domestic concerns about our own nuclear power plants and their relative safety. One site, in particular, recently came back into the spotlight when Der Spiegel posted an article about it entitled America's Atomic Time Bomb: Hanford Nuclear Waste Still Poses Serious Risks, By Marc Pitzke in New York. From the article:

Fifty-two buildings at Hanford are contaminated, and 240 square miles are uninhabitable due to the radioactivity that has seeped into the soil and ground water: uranium, cesium, strontium, plutonium and other deadly radionuclides. Altogether, more than 204,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive waste remain on site -- two-thirds of the total for the entire US.

In one area, discharges of more than 216 million liters of radioactive, liquid waste and cooling water have flowed out of leaky tanks. More than 100,000 spent fuel rods -- 2,300 tons of them -- still sit in leaky basins close to the Columbia River.

The cooling water for the facilities came from that river. Until 1971, it was secretly pumped right back into it after only a minimum amount of treatment. High radiation levels were measured 250 miles (402 kilometers) further west, where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific. It was mostly Native Americans who ate the poisoned fish.

Note the last line: It was mostly Native Americans who ate the poisoned fish. That would make it yet another issue in a potentially long line of issues that Native Americans have with our government's manner of handling important issues. [See also: Klamath fish kill and New Orleans for additional examples of government oversight falling down on the job.]

Anywho...again, from Der Spiegel:

On December 3, 1949, Hanford physicists released a highly radioactive cloud through the smokestack of the so-called T-Plant, the world's largest plutonium factory at the time. The radiation was almost 1,000 times more than what was released during the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, the worst nuclear accident in American history. Fallout from the experiment, which was called "Green Run," drifted all the way to California. People wondered why they suddenly got sick.

Studies would eventually show that some babies at Hanford were radiated twice as much as the children of Chernobyl. Before the "Green Run," Tom Bailie, the 2-year-old son of a farmer loved to play in the fields. But then he suffered an inexplicable paralysis; later, he wouldn't be able to father children. His entire family died of cancer.

But it wasn't until 1986 that Bailie, with the help of a dogged reporter from the Spokesman Review, a regional newspaper, began to figure out why. It was the beginning of what would turn out to be a decades-long fight between the radiation victims and the US government. The victims sued the government and forced it to open its secret files. Some of the lawsuits have been consolidated into class-action suits and are still ongoing today.

[...Read more...]

Lovely, and quite telling about where our nation's priorities are - at least, from the perspective of the power brokers.

  Make the jump»

The Need For And Role of Journalistic Integrity: Thwarting Breitbart Bias And Propaganda

More manipulation, propaganda and incitement stir the airwaves and reverberate through the internet as the Shirley Sherrod controversy unfolds before us. This marks yet another time that a heavily edited, doctored and flagrantly erroneous video was successfully used to smear and tear down a target of the right-wing. And yet again, the source was found to be lacking integrity; the story told by the video a complete fabrication. But the public and officials still choose to react to such trash without question, even after repeatedly finding that the source has intentionally deceived and mislead in order to affect negative change.

How can we stop this mad dash toward insanity and push for a greater degree of accountabilty, if not from the sources of such misdirection then at least in some form or capacity that prevents a knee-jerk reactionary response to such trash without a pre-requisite pause to question and verify?

Perhaps we can't. Then again, perhaps by driving home the growing facts regarding the importance of personal due-diligence, it may be possible to at least provide some underlying guidelines to protect against further future misdirections. In the spirit of optimism that such efforts would prove useful, here's a list of documented distortions made by Breitbart, taken from Big Falsehoods: An updated guide to Andrew Breitbart's lies, smears, and distortions over on Media Matters. Each link goes to the appropriate entry on that site, where there's more information about each event:

Updated July 21, 2010 3:24 pm ET

Following the dissolution of Andrew Breitbart's smear of former Obama administration official Shirley Sherrod, Media Matters provides an updated look at how his sensationalist stories have been based on speculation, gross distortions, and outright falsehoods.

Over the jump, I'm concluding this piece by quoting selected excerpts from Holding America To Her Principles from the USPatriotsUnited blog, with permission. The excerpts focus on the importance of a free and independent media, and provide some hints to the role that such a media should play in our society today. I selected them in particular because they provide some insight about the "how" and "why" the rise of the blogosphere and citizen journalism in prominence is a result of the failure of the traditional media to faithfully discharge its role.

If you find this post useful, please talk it up and send links to it far and wide. We must, as a nation of concerned citizens seeking a better & brighter future, start encouraging others like us to do our part to quell the fires of incitement.

Make the jump»

Are Concurrent Disasters Fueling Debate For Safer Alternatives?

And we shouldn't forget the deja-vu inducing Ixtoc I disaster from June 3, 1979 or the Exxon Valdez incident off the coast of Alaska from March 24, 1989.

There are others, but these help illustrate some of the primary factors -- and unwelcome, unexpected and unplanned costs -- that fossil fuel dependency incurs.

There are other options. There are significant changes we can make in policies and procedures that impact energy, transportation, manufacturing and construction that would drastically alter our dependency on fossil fuels while strengthening our economy and reducing waste. Before we can make these adjustments, however, we must accept that we are accountable for the decisions that we make and the policies we pursue, not only as individuals but as a nation and as a civilization.

The question is, are we mature enough as a species to make the commitment to growing up and making the difficult adjustments required to review, alter and adjust our current consumption and utilization toward sustainable alternatives?

And if not now, then when?

How much damage do we need to do, how scared or large the negative impact must we witness before we decide that there are options we must explore, develop and adopt? Make the jump»

The Role Of A Free and Open Media: Accountability in Action

YouTube: 

Hat-tip Lordrag of DelphiForums.

Quoting Lordrag's seeder post,

Jon Stewart spent a segment blasting Keith Olbermann Thursday night. And right wingers had a ball getting ready to enjoy the fireworks as Olbermann was sure to respond to the skewering.

Well, Olbermann responded all right.

He played Jon Stewart's ENTIRE segment on his show Friday night.

And then, he loosed his rhetorical cannons on Stewart. Surely, the big liberal ego of Keith Olbermann was going to blast back with both barrels, and a full-scale war would be on.

And here's what Keith Olbermann said, after playing Stewart's whole segment:

"You know what, you're right. I have been a
little over the top lately. Point taken. Sorry."

...nicely played. In the original forum thread, I added -- and here reassert -- the following:

That was well done, and a great example of each at their best -- by showing their capacity to criticize and hold accountable among their own, and admit culpability when wrong.

Great example for both the news media as well as politicians and their pet punditry.

...too bad it'll be lost on all but those wild and crazy liberal progressives.

It's nice to see at least some aspect of our media as capable of self-analysis and accepting of accountability, even if it's not a predominant habit in the traditional media at this time.

Lies and Videotape: Indict Bush Administration Officials For Their Lies and Crimes

This is a reminder of what the former Administration said -- just look around and see where that got us, and the size of the mess it created for the current Administration, for the nation and for the world:

Isn't it time for a little accountability, some legal investigation and some accountability?

The “grab yer guns and destroy Obama” meme is now an internet game!

The wingnuts have set up an online “overthrow Obama” game. According to the backstory, Obama takes over in a coup (which we call an “election” in the real world), kills Glenn Beck, and puts all the other rightwing pundits in concentration camps – Rush, Sean, Billo etc. A revolution ensues, the military refuses to fight to defend Obama, and Sarah Palin takes command of the revolutionaries. The game encourages the players to “invade” and “conquer” their neighbors (presumably the nasty little brown ones).

http://crooksandliars.com/node/32078

So now mass insanity is now a web game like Sudoku or crosswords.

Fun fun fun for the whole family!

LQD: Matt Taibbi shreds Goldman Sachs excuses

LQD = Lazy Quote Diary

Matt Taibbi has been wading through the objections to his Rolling Stone article a few weeks ago detailing how Goldman Sachs has profited obscenely by using its political influence to help create, then prick, a series of financial bubbles over the past century. Taibbi's reply is very much worth reading, to see the depths to which defenders of the financial status quo will stoop, such as hurling the "anti-semitic" charge. But, here is the conclusion, which I consider the best part: Make the jump»

"HE KEPT US SAFE"

THE DECLINE OF AMERICAN CHARACTER

THE "CRINGING WIMP" GENERATION


For years we hear little else, "But he kept us safe." The "but" refers to bankrupting the country, stealing elections, suspending Constitutional Rights, poisoning the air and water and turning the country over to racketeers from oil, drug, insurance and crooked financial services..........

Global War on Terror: How Long, at What Cost?

War Without End?

Is this Global War on Terror going to last forever? Has it already changed our nation from an historically defensive Athens to an offensive Sparta whose military looks everywhere for trouble and finds it? Who is calculating the cost-to-benefit ratio of sending Green Berets and other Special Operations troopers into remote corners of the world to assassinate suspected terrorists? Ever since the Vietnam War, our presidents have ushered members of Congress into the grandstand where they can boo or cheer military decisions but not make them, despite what the Constitution says right there in Article 1, Section 8: "The Congress shall have power to provide for the common defense."

Make the jump»

UN to Investigate Bush Torture

Hasn't happened here in the USA because our politicians are too afraid of what they would find out about themselves.

(h/t Buzzflash) Make the jump»

Domestic Drilling Pollution Pictures

This is the same sludge pond I posted about HERE. (More pictures and back-story at that link)

It still has a strong stench of sewage from where the drilling company dumped their sewage. It also has a strong chemical and hydrocarbon smell.

Make the jump»

"I don't swim in your toilet, so don't pee in my..."

-- originally posted 2008-02-17 05:09:16 - bumped

On January 12, 2008, I posted a piece titled Smarter Parts: Improving Efficient Energy Use and Demand? that touched upon an experimental program sponsored out of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The essence of the program was to create a home energy system that could respond to changing prices and peak demand loads by dialing back energy consumption. The system would be accessible via the internet so homeowners could make changes in absentia. An update to the story included another article indicating that in 2009, California regulators may have direct access to homeowner thermostats via radio-controlled devices in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages -- a plan cooked up by the California Energy Commission (CEC).

I opened a discussion thread for the piece in a few places, including several Delphi forums. In one thread,1 some energy and water efficiency ideas came up. One in particular spawned the short poll that you're about to see. Please read on, and take the poll; results will be published at the end of next week and included in another piece that I will cross-post in all areas where this appears. Make the jump»

"What Dreams May Come..."

promoted - cho

November 2007: Artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese created the exhibit "Line Up" depicting doctored photographs of George W. Bush and members of his administration. The exhibit, being shown at the New York City Public Library, is critical of the war in Iraq. "It is simply inappropriate to have political attack art, in the form of egregious doctored photographs of the President and other high-ranking officials who have dedicated their lives to public service, in a taxpayer-funded building frequented by schoolchildren and the general public," said Matthew Walter, director of communications for the state GOP. In response, Roberta Waddell, curator of the library's print collection, said the exhibit was in keeping with a historical tradition, calling the exhibit a relevant example of political commentary.

Via Dartmouth University's page Photo Tampering Throughout History.

It's a great accompanying animated picture to have up in one window while reading either (or both) of the following pieces:

Chris Floyd ties Bush and BCCI to Sibel Edmonds bombshell by Inky99 on DailyKos

or

Bush Ordered by Judge to Reveal if Copies of Emails Exist by marktheshark, also on DailyKos.