Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Private Manning's 10th month

President Obama is assured. Why is he not disgusted? Or even brave? Or even lawyerly? Better watch what you say in the land of the free.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Totalitarian Democracy--Richard Lichtman

Here, I think, it what we ought to be thinking about. However incomplete, the essay explores the most urgent questions of our time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nuclear safety and other oxymorons

Clipped from

Tokyo Electric to Build US Nuclear Plants: The No BS Info on Japan's Disastrous Nuclear Operators

I need to speak to you, not as a reporter, but in my former capacity as lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations.

I don't know the law in Japan, so I can't tell you if Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.

But what will Obama plead? The administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas - by TEPCO and local partners. As if the Gulf hasn't suffered enough. Here are the facts about TEPCO and the industry you haven't heard on CNN:

The failure of emergency systems at Japan's nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.

Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called "SQ" or "Seismic Qualification." That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from al-Qaeda.

The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York. Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from "failed" to "passed."

The company that put in the false safety report? Stone & Webster, now the nuclear unit of Shaw Construction, which will work with TEPCO to build the Texas plant. Lord help us.