Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Westinghouse Will Not Continue With Nuclear Projects--Great News!

The best news I've heard all week involves Toshiba-owned
Westinghouse, which has declared bankruptcy after years of
error and criminal accounting asset overstating woes. The firm
looks to be backing out of the southern U.S. nuclear projects
in Georgia and South Carolina, both of which are mired in
huge cost overruns and completion delays.

The new nukes, however, aren't exactly dead yet, as Southern
Co. and Scana Corporation are in embattled negotiations with
Westinghouse over the uncompleted nuclear reactors. Suggested
solutions range anywhere from converting the nuclear technology
to gas,  to abandoning  the projects entirely. Westinghouse
wanted out of their agreements with Southern and Scana via their
bankruptcy filing; some decisions are expected early in June.

This world needs more nuclear reactors about as much as we
need more wars; anything that delays or ends more nuclear
construction should be hailed as very good news for the
planet, excepting those interests profiting from said technology.

Sadly, small contractors and employees may well be hurt in
the ongoing kerfuffle, but they are defending themselves
through legal means...

Here's hoping THEY get good news!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Re: Comey: Obama, Trump and a Missed Opportunity

Timing is important, never more so when controversial
decisions are taken at the national level. Trump once
again appears tone deaf, with respect to his firing of FBI
Director James Comey at the height of investigations into
allegations of  the Trump Campaign's colluding with the
Russians. The Don's timing seems suspicious indeed.

President Obama missed an opportunity in October 2016,
when Director Comey publicly shared his decision to reopen
the Clinton personal email case. I would have fired Mr.
Comey right there and then, because of his public,
ill-timed announcement, against all previous protocols
at the FBI. Comey himself had implied he realized his
reopening the Clinton investigation might affect the
election; but subsequently, no charges were filed.

Both presidents, by not acting and acting too tardily,
missed an opportunity and showed poor judgement...

As Mr. Trump recently remarked, the job of U.S.
president isn't as easy as it looks.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The New World According to Trump: You're on Your Own

Dismantling environmental regulations; changing the corporate
tax from 35% down to 15%; eviscerating the National
Monuments Act; wrecking health care law for the elderly and
those with previously existing  conditions--

Exactly how many more examples should I list before the
inescapable conclusion can be drawn?  We are on our own
out here from now on; a more benevolent society we have
enjoyed for many decades is quickly disappearing in the
interests of the rich and corporate America. Clean air
becomes a privilege, not a right; open natural areas, the
national parks and monuments, the envy of many another
nation, can slowly be converted to development. Good
access to good healthcare will become the rich's right,
God help you if you've had heart trouble or cancer --or--
are simply old.

Well, hear ye, Trump et al., we are not going down easy,
no indeed. We will fight, especially looking toward the
upcoming elections of 2018. If anyone has been watching,
Republicans in the U.S. House are awakening, albeit very
sluggishly, to the realistic threat that they may well lose their
current hegemony there. Some of this has filtered over to
the White House, where somewhat more conciliatory PR
and temporizing on previously  inflexible goals (the Wall and
healthcare) has been heard...

But be ever vigilant: realize we are on our own out here.
It behooves us to study, to be effortful in objecting to the
stripping away of our humane and aesthetic rights and
privileges...

While we still can.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Outed by The AARP: Backroom Deals Threaten the Elderly and the Poor

Yesterday on Chicago's CBS AM Radio, an ad paid for by
the AARP broadcast a concern of great moment to anyone
not blessed by unlimited wealth, health coverage rollbacks
and much higher expenses for the elderly and the needy--
which would mean no health insurance for precisely those
who really require it. Particularly stinging proposals involve
thousands of dollars more to be paid by anyone with a pre-
existing condition, or had reached a certain age. I believe
I heard the figure of $13,000/year mentioned, and an increase
of $8,000/year levied against certain demographic groups,
including low income 64 year-olds.

I am tempted to suspect many of these new-school right-
wingers have so little regard for those not rich that they
are attempting to kill them off by legislating impossible
to meet insurance cost and qualification demands. Today
(04/21/'17) a final version of the new health care bill will
(purportedly) be ready. Interestingly, GOP legislators
have asked for changes that won't alienate Democrats,
realizing their U.S. Republican Senate boasts a slim four
vote majority, not enough to pass certain legislation
requiring 60 votes, not a simple majority.

I predict the dreams of  the uncaring, soulless rich will
not all be realized, although sadly, some shall. AARP's
ad strongly urged voters to contact Congress with
a resounding NO, objecting to the hurtful provisions of
these right-wing backroom deals.

--TSK, tsk, outed by the ever-vigilant AARP again.
Notice that they have enough spending power to buy
time on venues such as CBS...keep up the good
work; keep us in the know, bless you, AARP.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump Wins One With Syria Missile Strike

Surprisingly, President Trump gets my support for his targeted
missile strike at an airbase in Syria last week. Assad's attack
on his own civilians with chemical weapons included children
among the fatalities, universally condemned.  The U.S. airstrike
hasn't completely immobilized Assad's airstrike capability, but
it did reduce his effectiveness while sending a signal that the
USA will not idly stand by, will not permit such atrocities to
continue.

Generally, foreign intervention is a bad idea, but genocide
and/or mass murder of ordinary citizens must not be ignored,
must be halted. Thank God President Clinton stopped the
Slavic genocide of the 1990s; he's said he regrets not also
doing so in Rwanda.

As long as the U.S. judiciously limits its military interventions
to situations like last week's, it merits strong support.

Trump wins one for a change. (-!)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Boycott Unfriendly United Airlines' Skies

The shady but permitted practice of overbooking flights
has hit a new low, according to the New York Times,
April 10, 2017. Yesterday, flight #3411 had overbooked;
officials asked for four volunteers to exit the plane so
that airline employees could embark. One man was injured
by United's private police in an attempt to forcibly remove
him. Hey, airline execs, do you not realize the PAYING
CUSTOMERS must be put first ahead of employees who
ride for free??  Put your people on other flights, dummies.
Memo to Charlie Hobart, United spokesperson: I don't
care how "politely" you all asked people to leave the
plane--your PR statement, policy and practice are as trashy
as they are indefensible.

There are, at minimum, several serious concerns
here:

(1) How is it legal to sell the same seat twice?
(2) Why would employee convenience trump that
of  paying passengers?
(3) What sort of "major" corporation hires police
to remove passengers who have done nothing
wrong?
(4) Why has Congress ignored this problem?
(5)  United Airlines, are you so tone deaf regarding
your image that you will continue to pursue this wrong-
headed policy?

Dear readers, why not teach United Airlines a
telling, bottom-line lesson--boycott their
dangerously unfriendly skies. If sufficiently
outraged, why not call your U.S. Senator and
House Rep requesting this practice be outlawed?

You can bet I will.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Clean Air: Filling Our Lungs Has Priority Over Filling Our Gas Tanks

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It's no mystery--the egg,
for millions of years before birds, the way reptiles reproduce.
Similarly, breathing has existed long before automobiles, is still
obviously a more pressing urgency than our desire to cheaply
fill our gas tanks.

--Still laughing? No joke, the Don has just signed another hair-
brained executive order, knocking out clean air/coal
regulations. Trump, trying to fulfill a campaign promise, thinks
swatting away the EPA's pesky anti-pollution regs will magically
bring back thousands of non-existent mine and factory jobs...

But once again, the president is woefully uninformed. Technology
and economics are the real drivers dooming a return to the  old
days, far more than anything the EPA has done over decades.
Energy independence, a conservative mantra, is actually
becoming a reality with U.S. natural gas supplies and renewables
increasingly available-- we now export energy resources. All this
new policy brings us is dirty air, an unwelcome slide back to bad
old days, but not new (old)  jobs.

The president and his advisers ought to look at our 21st
century realities rather than attempting to resuscitate the 20th--
such an outdated outlook will fail.

Meanwhile, filling our lungs with clean air is more important
and immediate than filling our gas tanks--when will the
Donald get that?