"Two months after an earthquake-caused tsunami caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials have confirmed that the situation in one of the four affected reactors is worse than previously claimed. The fuel rods that powered the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are fully exposed and have melted or fallen into the bottom of the steel containment vessel. That vessel is now believed to be far more damaged than previously admitted by TEPCO. In fact, it contains several holes through which water being poured onto the reactor is leaking into the environment."
"Tepco says that the fuel rods at Fukushima reactor 1 are exposed. As Bloomberg notes:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said fuel rods are fully exposed in the No. 1 reactor at its stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, setting back the utility’s plan to resolve the crisis.
"The water level is 1 meter (3.3 feet) below the base of the fuel assembly, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility known as Tepco, told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo. Melted fuel has dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is still being cooled, Matsumoto said. The company doesn’t know how long the rods have been exposed, he said.
It’s unlikely the situation has worsened with the discovery the rods are exposed because they’ve probably been out of the water since shortly after the crisis started, Narabayashi said."
It gets worse.
the death of education in america
The DeVos Family: Meet the Super-Wealthy Right-Wingers Working With the Religious Right to Kill Public Education
"Since the 2010 elections, voucher bills have popped up in legislatures around the nation. From Pennsylvania to Indiana to Florida, state governments across the country have introduced bills that would take money from public schools and use it to send students to private and religious institutions.
"Vouchers have always been a staple of the right-wing agenda. Like previous efforts, this most recent push for vouchers is led by a network of conservative think tanks, PACs, Religious Right groups and wealthy conservative donors. But "school choice," as they euphemistically paint vouchers, is merely a means to an end. Their ultimate goal is the total elimination of our public education system.
"The decades-long campaign to end public education is propelled by the super-wealthy, right-wing DeVos family. Betsy Prince DeVos is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the notorious private military contractor Blackwater USA (now Xe), and wife of Dick DeVos, son of the co-founder of Amway, the multi-tiered home products business.
"By now, you've surely heard of the Koch brothers, whose behind-the-scenes financing of right-wing causes has been widely documented in the past year. The DeVoses have remained largely under the radar, despite the fact that their stealth assault on America's schools has the potential to do away with public education as we know it."
"The real scandal around the endowment by the Koch brothers of two chairs at Florida State University is that state universities now have to seek such outside money and accept strings. The reason they have to do so is that many state legislatures have chosen not to have state universities any more. At many ‘state universities’ the state contribution to the general operating fund is less than 20 percent, falling toward 10 percent.
"This abandonment of their responsibilities to higher education on the part of the states hurts students in the first instance. Institutions that used to be affordable to students from working and lower middle class backgrounds are now increasingly out of reach for them. State universities are becoming the new Ivies, a good bargain still for the upper middle class and the wealthy, but a distant dream for the daughter or son of a worker in a fast food restaurant.
"This development is also scary because it promotes the corruption of academia. In fact, as Charles Ferguson showed in his film, “Inside Job,” some academic economists are already hopelessly corrupt. The barracuda capitalist system in contemporary America provides many incentives for economists to promote laissez-faire, anti-regulatory ideas of the sort that led to the 2008 collapse of our economy. Endowments with strings attached are just one more."
The People vs. Goldman Sachs
"They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.
"Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial."
We aren't hearing anything about Fukishima so everything must be alright. What else could we think?
"I received the following email a few days ago from a Russian nuclear physicist friend who is an expert on the kinds of gases being released at Fukushima. Here is what he wrote:
america the beautiful
The Song of Spring
"This is a nervous country. I'm not sure that hanging Osama Bin Laden on the White House wall like a coonskin really helps that much. Already, a familiar darkness sets back in, a loss of purpose of the kind that Lindsay Lohan must feel when she gets out of rehab. This is exactly the situation that empty rhetoric was designed for, so we got a week of talk about "bringing our nation together" when the truth is that Fox News would like to send Team Six into the oval office with guns blazing and helmet cams on "record."
"We have no idea what we're going to do as a people and absolutely no credible thought on this emanates from the upper echelons. Leadership is more than telling people what they want to hear. In the middle ranks of society, a sullen docility rules, no matter how many affronts to reality we witness. You ride this wreck until the wheels come off and think of what to do next when you're sitting in the drainage ditch by the side of the road. There's no period in US history that matches this for lassitude.
"I had a strange experience, driving north about fifty miles along Route 22 in eastern upstate New York, from Canaan to Cambridge, a very rural stretch that roughly parallels the Massachusetts and Vermont lines. Aside from a few convenience stores serving up gasoline, slim-jims, and pepsi, there was no visible economic activity in any of the towns along the way. The little town of Berlin, NY, was especially striking. A "for sale" sign stood forlornly in the parking lot of the lumber yard, the inventory sheds plainly empty of stock. The Seagroatt wholesale flower company - where, years ago, I picked up roses as the delivery guy for a Saratoga retailer - was shut down, with rows of empty greenhouses standing vacantly in the late day spring sunshine. The little downtown on a street one hundred feet off the highway was not only empty of businesses, but the old wooden buildings themselves had gone lopsided from a lack of regular caretaking, while the paint was all but gone. A number of old houses were still occupied - cars in the driveways - but they looked battered and worn, one bad winter from roof failure, and often with front yards strewn with plastic detritus."