Friday, November 29, 2013

Bunga Bunga

Renato Giuseppe Bertelli, Continuous Profile 
(Head of Mussolini) (1933).
I've been back in France almost a month after my little Italian voyage. I don't speak very much Italian, but the linguistic similarities between French and Italian and my curiosity about word etymology made it a lot easier for me to get by...I love the language, now I want to be able to speak it. We arrived in Rome and were met by our very old friend, Enzo at the airport. That made it so much easier to get on a train and get into Rome at night and then get a cab to take us to the incredible pallazo  where the apartment we would be staying in was located. Enzo is totally Italian, he lives in Manhattan, but he grew up in Perugia, in Umbria where he has an incredible little home in a building on a stairway that follows the 2500 year old Etruscan Aqueduct along the Etruscan wall that girds the old city. Enzo is a totally political Italian animal...he was a communist labor organizer at the Perugina Chocolate Factory and ran for public office in Perugia quite a few times. So in the cab, he engaged the driver in a very animated conversation, which I could hardly follow, but it seemed to center around the subject of Silvio Berlusconi. The last time Berlusconi staggered out of the gutter and into the cosmetic surgery center and then emerged to be re elected as President of Italy again, I remember very clearly, Enzo snarling in disgust, "I am not Italian, anymore...." To hear him say that is an exercise in redundancy, because I have never met any one more Italian than Enzo.
The conversation in the cab got pretty animated and after we got out and paid the fare, they shook hands and the guy drove off with Enzo snarling " Typical Asshole!"
In the week or so I was there, I realized that Berlusconi enjoyed the same kind of populist support as your typical Teabrained Congressman might enjoy in the district he represented. It makes sense, because, he controlled the media in Italy for years. He was a phenomena that could only have occured in a small country like Italy. As if someone like say, Rupert Murdoch could have molded his public image. But Murdoch could never be Berlusconi. Berlusconi enjoyed the chipped decadent fading aura of Mussolini Fascism. A small but still vibrant country still divided by ancient cultural prejudices. This country is divided by region and carries it over to the way they view the rest of Europe.

Okay, a bit of a generalization, but the little map of Italy on the left is a not so exaggerated view of the way the lumpen Italian common people view their country. And what's so bizarre about that? Look at the way a big country full of ignorant idiots, like say, Fox News viewing Americans view the rest of the country and the world from the relatively secure familiar confines of their trailer courts in their particular region. Look, Italian politics are a study in controlled anarchy. Berlusconi first came to power in Italy in 1994. He used his position as a the CEO of Italian Media to create his Forza Italia Party and hone his image as a strong Mussolini unifying national leader. He became his own historical semi regency...he rose to power as a savior and then rode out the ups and downs of economic reality with his media and cosmetic surgically enhanced PR mastery. His personal life mirrored the decline of the Roman Empire. Drugs, Sex, Corruption Scandals...he is a 77 year old surgically enhanced Viagra dependent despot desperately trying to hold the reins of the nationalistic, fascist racist monster he created. Rob Ford of Toronto is a two bit amateur compared to the Bunga Bunga Coke fueled Under aged prostitute Orgy world of Berlusconi. He was the fuckin President and he he didn't give a fuck...and for a lot of the machismo envy of a lot of the common worker Italian men, this was the gateway to a fantasy land they could never even imagine.

So, Silvio Berlusconi's scandal-haunted political career has suffered a potentially killing blow: following his conviction for tax fraud, the upper house of the Italian parliament has tossed him out, stripping him of his seat. Berlusconi insists that he will be exonerated by new evidence, and has called upon the president of Italy to pardon him (though he will not formally petition for a pardon, insisting that it should be forthcoming as a matter of course). Assuming the pardon is not forthcoming, he will go to prison in 2014. It will be a strong, if fractured opposition against a weak government. Italians are used to governments which fall faster than the political caste can assemble them. Faction leaders don't have to be elected officials to carry out Machiavellian deals behind the screen. Mere governments change rapidly in Italy, while the political status quo pretends to change so that everything can stay the same.
It took twenty years to remove Berlusconi from the ranks of government, although his noisome politics of corruption and media monopoly were obvious from the first day. His populist Italianism still has strong appeal among the poor and ignorant, the very people Berlusconi did most to bring into that condition. Elderly housewives and retired men still swoon over the charm of this gallant, headlong TV impresario, who presented himself as a true Italian man, a self-made tycoon who knew what he wanted and knew how to get it. When he finally lost power -- as a patron of underage prostitutes -- the women from Berlusconi's splintering party dressed themselves in black to mourn the "death of Italian democracy."
A study in contrasts, France's President, Francois Hollande has a much more positive economic record and has done all he has could to protect France from austerity economic measure. We still enjoy the best health care system in the world, but he is totally null when it comes to his image and PR. His government is very inclusive, a black woman is the minister of justice, a Spanish born citizen is Minister of the fact, Manuel Valls is perhaps the farthest "right" member of the government.  Young, glib and reeking charisma, Valls could be Prime Minister now if he was asked. He has the highest approval rating of any French political figure. But Hollande seems to be losing luster by the hour. thought he rejects far right nationalism but because of his tragic lack of PR skills, he is facing the lowest approval ratings of any recent French President! 

It might be that Berlusconi's fandom was overestimated, thanks to his long-time control of Italian newspapers and television.
Berlusconi can be stopped and searched! Policewomen, give him what he deserves!
Berlusconi's voters deserve their share of blame for putting up with him. His devotees were numerous, active, vigorous and still are. He may have been purged from political life on a disgusting morals charge, but a counter-purge awaits around the corner from the horde of cronies who fully share his politics and his tycoon wealth-machine. It is only a matter of time: somebody from Berlusconi's numerous family and his crew of bunga bunga friends will strike back at the Italian parliament that humiliated him.
In the meantime, those honest people and voters who fought against dark times in Italy must find some path back toward the daylight. With or without Berlusconi, the citizens of Italy still face Austerity policy at work: cuts in the social welfare, childcare, education, research, pensions, and the mutilation of one of the best health care systems in the world. So the news is good: but it would be better news if democracy and civilization were back on their feet again

Meanwhile, Berlusconi's 28 year old "girlfriend" Francesca Pascale went public yesterday with her plea for a public audience with Pope Francis to plead for forgiveness and explain his part of the story....for the record, Berlusconi is one year younger than Pope Francis....Uhh, this might have been a serious tactical error, but religion? politics? stranger things have happened.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crime And Dissonance

Composed by Ennio Morricone. Conducted by Nicola Samale. From the Crime and Dissonance (Compilation, 2005). Originally from the soundtrack of A Man to Respect (1972)
 A composition from the master of Italian cinema music.
I hope all of my American followers and anyone who stops by here today is having a great Thanksgiving. I didn't have turkey, but I did have a huge slice of my wife's incredible banana cream pie with caramel sauce!
Tomorrow, another post on Italy and the punch line of the bad joke that was Berlusconi.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Artist: Sonic youth 
Album: The eternal 
Song: Gas station 
Malibu gas station 
Pumps up the nation 
A tough cross to bear 
Oops no underwear 

continued after the break

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Real Django

The poster for the 1966 Italian classic, Django by Sergio Corbucci. 
This is the greatest "spaghetti western" ever made and the soundtrack by Luis Bacalov is what Sergio Leone aspired to. The film was deemed too violent at the time. You don't even want to know what Django is hauling around on foot through the desert in that coffin, but the style is incredible, the best acting is by the director, Sergio Corbucci just in his facial shots. Any later movie with the name Django in it is just a pale imitation, but to be fair, Sergio did make a sequel in 1987 starring Franco Nero called Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno. Nero did a cameo in Tarantino's 2012 Django Unchained, but Tarantino can be forgiven, for there was never a more true and ardent cinematic fanboy than Quenton Tarantino
Here's the original title song from the soundtrack in Italian:
And for you viewing pleasure, here is the entire film dubbed into English:
And here is a great spaghetti recipe to enjoy while you are watching Django:
Tomato, Bacon and Spinach Pasta
For the recipe, click after the break:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

C'est Le Bourru, Babe!

I took this picture in a little shop that sells local produce in Hautefort yesterday. I cannot resist bourru. I bought two bottles. It's must, fermenting grape juice. It's very fizzy and and very sweet. It's a very seasonal, ephemeral substance. It does not keep and it's so tasty that it would be impossible to keep anyway...Best served cold, like cider. It's dangerous stuff, because it is so good that it is too easy to drink too much... and I think I just did...

Ooops, did I do that?

The only surprising part of this aggressive statement by this conservative hawks of the Israeli government  is that they finally admitted they have the Nuclear Weapons to attack Iran themselves after years of US Presidential candidates saying the US would do it for them. Israel must hate President Carter who exposed the information that Israel had over 400 Nuclear Weapons. McCain and Romney promised if they won the election they would bomb Iran. Well Israel is blowing smoke out their butt as Iran is now protected by the United Nations and Israel will do nothing. Well it always takes a great President to bring about Peace. Look for the US history books to say Bush made the deal. I'm sure one of the main reasons for the unseemly Israeli outburst is the fact that they found out they had been in the dark about the hush hush negotiations that the Obama Administration has been having with the Iranian government since the beginning of the year. The deal was reportedly cinched in a Geneva hotel where a huge bash was being held in the neighboring ballroom and a country and western band was playing appropriately enough Johnny Cash's Classic, Ring Of Fire.
Reports here in France on todays afternoon news indicate that the Israeli public is relieved supports the deal. 
The next most predictable chain of events will be the Republicans will try to derail the agreement to further their agenda of obstructionism and sabotage of the Obama administration by demanding that America impose new and harsher sanctions against Iran. This of course would scuttle a Democrat administration major diplomatic success. Maybe they imagine that they can keep playing this game and when if ever they regain power, they can be the ones who make the deal and do it in a way to keep their buddies, the Israelis happy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

All I want for Christmas #4

Two Tons O'Fun

Why is Rob Ford still mayor of Toronto? Why is Rush Limbaugh still on the air? Obviously, Ford is still has support in Toronto because a number of brain dead conservative racists would elect a demented gerbil if they thought it would save them a buck and protect them from the massing hordes of the multi ethnic non white femi-Nazi youth threat that wants to take their stuff that they have spent so much energy on stealing from every one else...or something like that...same logic goes for Rush...Obvioulsy he has enough support of the brain dead unconscious dumb downed drugged and drunken aging semi masculine masses of flab who listen and identify with him as they burn uncontrolled amounts of fossil fuels and emit hydrocarbonic pollution into the atmosphere as they tool about on the highways of America free from the annoying static of having to deal with their personal lives.  Personally, I think he's been back sliding and doing those viagra/oxycontin highballs again: Limbaugh Compares Filibuster Reform To Vote "Allow[ing] Women To Be Raped" :
From the November 22 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Let's forget the Senate for a minute. Let's say, let's take 10 people in a room and they're a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women. OK? The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes, of the 10, to change the rule. Every now and then, some lunatic in the group proposes to change the rule to allow women to be raped. But they never were able to get six votes for it. There were always the four women voting against it and they always found two guys.
Well, the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it, and he was in the majority and he was one that [said], 'You know what? We're going to change the rule. Now all we need is five." And well, 'you can't do that.' 'Yes we are. We're the majority. We're changing the rule.' And then they vote. Can the women be raped? Well, all it would take then is half of the room. You can change the rule to say three. You can change the rule to say three people want it, it's going to happen. There's no rule. When the majority can change the rules there aren't any.

Rush really only wanted an excuse to talk about raping women. I found these comments
 from Steve Benen quite enlightening:
I know he isn't on Fox anymore, but I couldn't resist reposting
this little photoshop piece from a few years back

OK, let’s calmly review some basic truths that are worth remembering.
First, while Limbaugh now believes only a “lunatic” would propose changing Senate rules on a majority vote, Limbaugh
believed the exact opposite when the Senate was controlled by Republicans in the Bush era.
Second, as a factual matter, before this week, the Senate changed the chamber’s rules with a simple majority-rule vote
18 times. It’s unusual, but it’s not that unusual. Besides, in this case, the change only restored the previous norm that existed for generations.
And finally, if you’re the type of person who feels comfortable comparing Senate confirmation votes on non-controversial judicial nominees to rape, perhaps communicating regularly with the public is a poor career choice.

That would be the understatement of the year when it comes to this clown.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Can Smell The Future

Here it is, in all of it mighty Magnificence, The 2013 Youabian Puma! Proudly unveiled at the LA Auto show this week, this mega machine can be yours for the basic starting price or 1.1 Million Dollars! Notice the tiny human in the background of the video which only serves to underline the massive muscled might of this monster. The "Larger Than Life" Puma was designed by LA Plastic surgeon, Dr. K. Youabian who might have been influenced by some of the silicone implants he built his dreams on. Sort of like what you might expect if a Corvette had a naughty little one night stand in a back alley with a Hummer. You want specs? Oh babe, we got Your specs right here!

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but we certainly can't imagine someone liking this four-seat cabrio which has a whopping overall length of 242 inches with a 163.5-inch long wheelbase. The vehicle is 93 inches wide and 72 inches tall so it takes up a lot of space at the motor show and for no good reason whatsoever since it seems the "Puma" has been hit with the ugly stick numerous times.
It sits on massive 20-inch chrome tacky alloys shod in 44-inch tires and comes with Volvo-like headlamps and taillights taken from a Buick Enclave. The "Puma" was built by a local automaker and is apparently created for "those individuals who dare to be different than the ordinary." Its hideous body is allegedly made from aluminum and fiberglass components and comes with a folding hard top.
Under the curvy hood is a V8 7.0-liter LS7 engine from General Motors delivering 505 bhp (377 kW) and 470 lb-ft (636 Nm) via a 6-speed automatic gearbox. This hardware arrangement is good enough for a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint in 5.9 seconds and enables the thirsty "Puma" to return 14 mpg US (16 mpg UK or 16.8 liters / 100 km) in the city and 22 mpg US (26.4 mpg UK or 10.6 liters / 100 km) on the highway.
The Youabian Puma (described as a "pleasure vehicle") can be yours for a mere costs 1.1M USD.

This only proves the futility of satire, because what ever ridiculous fantasy you once imagined in the past is most certainly going to become real once you let the idea run wild in the fertile fields of a reality more ridiculous than anything you could ever dream up! Haven' I seen this some where before?
Ahem, this is a scene from the 1969 film, The Magic Christian which was adapted from the book of the same name by Terry Southern. The film starred Peter Sellers as the richest man in the world, Sir Guy Grand and Ringo Starr as a homeless guy sleeping in a park who Sellers adopts as his son and heir. Guy Grand has made it his purpose in life to prove that money can buy anything and that he can make any one do anything for a buck. In the scene from the film, you might recognize a young Graham Chapman who along with John Cleese were co writers of the screen play. Cleese has a great cameo in the film as well as Raquel Welch...Some of the songs are performed by the British band, Badfinger and the hit, Come And Get it was written by Sir Paul McCartney...but even though the concept Automobile, The British Zeus seems to have become reality almost 45 years later, I'm still waiting for the final scene to finally take shape..though, I am beginning to think I can actually smell the future:
The song is Something In The Air by Thunderclap Newman. Magnificent!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Poor People Helping Poor People

Here's a little film explaining a bit of what ACHR is doing

I want to preface this comes from a rather round about process. My nephew, Thomas Andrew Kerr has been working with an organization, ACHR, The Asian Coalition For Housing Rights, in Bangkok Thailand for many years. He is an architect who is dedicated to creating ways for people to have affordable housing and legally retain their traditional lands. They design housing solutions, provide the legal and financial framework for the poorest communities in South East Asia to retain their land. They fight very hard for funding, but they have always been able to provide the fastest most efficient solutions to help communities rebuild after disasters. They have rebuilt communities after the 2003 Tsunami in Thailand and Indonesia. They have even been able to connect poor people in New Orleans with Indonesians in a series of workshops that have empowered Louisiana communities to find the solutions to their housing and land rights crisis after Katrina! They are over whelmed now dealing with the aftermath of the Typhoon in the Philippines, but they are already on the cutting edge of creating people powered and financed solutions to this catastrophe. ACHR has had one success story after another. It's all about people helping themselves and creating the means to let them design, imagine and realize their own future. I've written about them and their work a few times in the past few years. Visit their website and read the newsletter to see what they do and what you can do to help. This is one NGO that has virtually no over head and will make every cent you donate reach those who they are helping in the most direct positive manner.

Tom is publishing this particular piece in his next news letter. But, it was sent to him by my wife who has been following this particular European story for years.Tom was so moved by it, that he is using it. In his own words,

"This little story comes from way outside ACHR's usual sphere of attention - from a tiny village in the poorest region of southern Italy, where a remarkable community-initiated and community-managed program for dealing with the huge influx of refugees from Africa and the middle east is showing new light. The story provides a big boost to those of us who spend a lot of time arguing that the poor are not a problem but a resource for the cities they live in, and that when they are treated like human beings, they can bring about great and unexpected things for everyone. The story also shows us how much local communities - even very poor ones - can do to solve big, complicated problems that their governments can't."

Lampedusa is a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea, about half way between the island of Sicily and the African coast of Tunisia. Because it is part of Italy, Lampedusa has become one of the primary destinations for tens of thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Asia trying to enter Europe. Most of them are fleeing unspeakable things: civil war, torture, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and worse. And most must sell everything they have to pay smugglers to transport them to Lampedusa, in rickety boats so overcrowded that more than 7,000 people have drowned or died of exposure and dehydration during the journey. Just last month, a boat carrying 500 migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, sank off the coast of Lampedusa and at least 300 people died.
Now the Italian coast guard has a mission by the EU to rescue these people. The ones who survive are then handed over to the police and then to the health authorities (in that order) and locked up in a huge "temporary holding camp" in Lampedusa, behind barbed wire, where they languish in terrible conditions for months and months. Little by little, as their papers move through the EU bureaucracy, they are let out. Many are lured into bonded labor syndicates controlled by the mafia. Some make it to the more prosperous cities in northern Italy or to other parts of Europe. But almost everywhere they go, they face suspicion, fear, discrimination and outright hatred in countries where immigration has become a political hot potato: these are the people nobody wants. In Rome and Perugia, we saw so many of them selling flowers and trinkets to tourists - they all had such an air of desperation, I kept wondering where they sleep and how they eat?
But I just saw a documentary about a village in the impoverished Calabria Region of southern Italy, which is one of a growing number of communities in southern Italy that have been doing remarkable things for these people who nobody wants, nobody welcomes. Acquaformosa was itself an extremely poor village, in a region of Italy that has always been poor, and even now is a place where more people run away than stay. Many of Calabria's villages are dying: so depopulated that the schools are being shut down for lack of students, the shops are closing for lack of customers and the
fields are going unfarmed for lack of laborers. In Acquaformosa, for generations, the men have had to go to other countries to find work to support their families, so they have great empathy for these new refugees, and decided to take them in.
All the new children are enrolled in school, and so schools are able to stay open and the local teachers keep their jobs. It is great to see all these different colors and nationalities all in school, learning Italian. The EU provides the refugees with a small living subsidy of 20 Euros a day,
which comes in the form of coupons which they can spend at the local bakeries, butchers and green grocers, and then the trades people take the coupons to the Mayor and are reimbursed. As a result, businesses that were failing are being given new life. And houses that were abandoned or for sale are being occupied and renewed, while local trades that were dying out are being revived with this new influx of workers. The Mayor was saying that they had had a huge feast, with cooking from all these different cultures, with the best desserts ever, and that the local people in Acquaformosa were having their own culture broadened as a result of this influx. It moved me to tears to see what people with empathy, compassion and a little plain good sense can do.
This resettlement program is being run entirely by the village itself, and it turns out to be a win-win prospect for everybody. They have pulled off an extraordinary trick: managing simultaneously to create employment, to stop a mass exodus from their village and to find a solution to the controversial issue of asylum seekers. And here is the cherry on the cake: it costs the EU just 20 Euros a day to support a refugee in Acquaformosa has set up, as opposed to 70 Euros a day to keep them in the camp in Lampedusa. Now the mayors in several other dying villages in the region are doing the same thing. For a copy of some articles about this initiative contact ACHR. Here is a link to the documentary about Acquaformosa.


On a clear, remarkably Godzilla free day a little island was born, near the little island chain where Monster Island is located.  A major geological and seisemically significant event occurred just 640 miles from Fukushima, Japan, where nervous technicians are entering their 3rd day of the rather sensitive and never before attempted removal of the majestically mangled fuel rod assemblies from the radioactive carcass of the ticking time bomb that was once a nuclear power plant. If they fuck up, they lose a joint of a finger, because their over seers are management personnel employed by the Japanese Yakuza Mafia...but in reality, if they fuck up, we lose, at the very least, the West Coast of the USA.  Well, I guess we just have to trust the Japanese. They have been dealing with his kind of stuff a lot longer than we have!

A dramatic volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean has created a tiny new islet in Japan’s territorial waters, officials said Thursday, the first time in decades the nation has seen the phenomenon.
The navy spotted smoke about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Tokyo on Wednesday and Japan’s coastguard later verified the birth of the islet around the Ogasawara island chain.
Video footage showed plumes of smoke and ash billowing from the 200-metre island, and Japan’s coastguard said it was warning vessels to use caution in the area until the eruption cools off.
“Smoke is still rising from the volcanic island, and we issued a navigation warning to say that this island has emerged with ash falling in the area,” said a spokesman for the maritime agency.
He added that the islet may not last long due to erosion, but if enough volcanic lava surfaces and solidifies it could mark a new entry on the map. Similar eruptions in the early 1970s and mid-80s created tiny islets in Japan’s territory that have since been partially or completely eaten up by the ocean. Japan’s top government spokesman joked that he hoped the outcrop would mark an expansion of Tokyo’s maritime territory — a reference to diplomatic rows with China and South Korea over ownership of other islands far from the tiny islet. 

“If this becomes a solid island, our country’s territorial waters will expand,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga quipped in response to questions about the new addition.
In September Pakistan also witnessed the birth of a new island — a mound of mud and rock 20 metres (70 feet) high and 90 metres wide created by a huge earthquake that hit the country’s southwest.
The phenomenon on the coastline near the port of Gwadar caused astonishment when it emerged from the Arabian Sea but experts also said it was unlikely to last long. I have to say that when I was very young, I was fascinated by the creation of the island of Surtsey, off the
coat of Iceland in 1963. I became obsessed with geology and it led to a life long passion!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Doing It To Detroit

We gonna do it to Detroit
 and this time we gonna get it right,
even if it takes all night!
 C'mon, c'mon! All Night!
 Let's do it! All night long!
Let's do it, we gonna do it!
All night long!
 We gonna do it to Detroit

That's right, I'm writing the lyrics and the arrangements for the next Daft Punk smash hit with Rince Priebus singing lead to cash in on his new clever plan to spearhead the GOP outreach to the black population of Detroit. My first reaction was,“Are my eyes deceiving me with a practical joke?”
Not at all, Detroit is the focal point, ground zero so to speak of the the Republican National Committee’s latest minority “outreach” plan.
The RNC recently announced a clever plan to increase their inroads into the African-American community. Ground zero of this effort is The Motor City of Detroit, Michigan.
No, really....
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus traveled to Detroit to meet with business and community leaders about expanding their efforts with black voters. Priebus appointed Wayne Bradley, a radio show host, as the director of African-American Engagement for the state of Michigan.
Let me try to say something nice. I should applaud the RNC for its efforts because they have to start somewhere. Only six percent of black voters cast a ballot for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Black people historically supported the Democratic party — and probably even more in the past few years. The numbers at the national level show that Republicans have a strong disconnect and mistrust with black voters.
The RNC’s black outreach has become problematic for me because it’s all smoke and mirrors. As a black voter, I feel Republican leadership is completely disingenuous about wanting my vote. Their words say one thing, but their actions are totally from another planet.
The following are a few of the recent reasons why I feel Republicans have failed to connect with black voters:
1. Black unemployment: This is the silent killer that no one seems to discuss in the Republican Party. Black unemployment has been nearly twice that of whites for much of the Obama presidency. Not only has the GOP not led on black joblessness, but they have failed much of the country on the same issues. Fights over Obamacare, entitlements, the debt ceiling, immigration, and other issues have taken the ball off of what Americans care about the most — jobs! Without work, African-Americans cannot take care of their families. If Republicans aren’t plugged into kitchen table issues, they will continue to lose black voters at nearly every other turn.
2. Government shutdown: Black voters, like much of the nation, hated the government shutdown. For some, it supported the long-held notion among African-Americans that Republicans want to block much of President Obama’s agenda simply because he is black. The shutdown antics were yet another example to add to a long list of times when Republicans were unwilling to compromise with the president.
3. Members increasingly alienate perfectly good voters from their side: Remember the North Carolina GOP official who referred to “lazy blacks” in his interview on The Daily Show? Or, how about Rick Santorum’s “Blahhh people” comment on the campaign trail in 2012? Well, those examples, though extreme, are remembered by black people. They are dragged back into the spotlight just at the convenient times when Republicans think people have forgotten .. like now.
4. No expanded Medicaid in 25 states: Even though Michigan is participating, 25 states have chosen not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The expansion would be of great benefit to blacks — particularly in the Deep South where not one of those states decided to expand the program. The move leaves millions of qualified Americans with no health insurance options because they are not poor enough for standard Medicaid and don’t make enough to afford traditional plans on the healthcare exchange.
5. Attack on healthcare: Looking beyond Medicaid, black voters (such a myself) are at a loss as to why Republicans would not want to reform our healthcare system. Under President Bush, healthcare premiums went up yearly. Republicans have offered no real plan to cover the (at one point) nearly 50 million uninsured. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, real people have lost jobs and coverage in the Great Recession. Some have even had to file bankruptcy to relieve themselves of debt related to medical bills. The Republican Party has shown no leadership to fix this crisis.

6. Lack of viable black candidates that connect with the community: In the past three years, the Republican Party has been overtaken by the Tea Party. Black people who have served as the presidential candidate and Congressmen during that time (i.e., Herman Cain, Sen. Tim Scott, and former Rep. Allen West) have not connected well with black audiences. For example, West would be the most extreme of the three. He aligned himself with Sarah Palin at several points and never supports President Obama. Scott is not a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, though that might not be an entirely bad thing. And Cain was a fringe candidate from the beginning of his bid for the presidency. Black people just don’t see many Republicans of color at a national level that connect with their interests.
It's gonna be tough coming up with more lyrics for Rince...I got a killer bass riff, but I somehow I don't think that's gonna cut it here.
I could go on, but there aren’t enough hours in the day.
For the Republicans, I wish them well in the inner-city of Detroit. Maybe being in the Democratic bastion will help them see some tough truths about why their messages are not connecting. I can only wish them:
Welcome to Detroit!
This time we gonna do it right!
We gonna do it to Detroit
even if it takes all night
C'mon, c'mon, let's do it!
We gonna do it!
We gonna do it to Detroit
All night long!
Let's do it, 
C'mon, let's do it
We gonna do it to Detroit
Even it takes all night
All night, we gonna do it!
We gonna do it to Detroit
All night long...

Le Comte de Money

Of course you know that Paul Ryan never had to work a real job. Okay, alright so he was out there in the real world for a few weeks working in a MacDonalds, so he knows about all about the common folks and how life works, right? Oops, to be fair, I forgot that he earned some summer beer bucks driving the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile.  Aside from that, he interned at a Congressional cafeteria and got Social Security Survivor benefits after his father died. It was tough...but he got some grants and went to college and slipped right into the Congressional Intern System and then "worked" his way up to actually being elected at age 27. Since then, we have been paying for his health care even though his wife inherited 5 million dollars and he had a trust fund worth over 1 million and he is getting his ass greased liberally by lobbyists to the point where this poor semi orphan is worth over 7 million bucks today.He has never had to buy his own health care and he has never had to work for a living. Being a congress man is the only job he has ever had. Just another self entitled teabrat, like his potential rival for the TeaBrained 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, Teddy, (The Anointed One) Cruz. Cruz in worth over 4 million dollars and came from the elitist background of the mega church empire founded by his daddy, who really did anoint him. He has never had to work in his life. His wife, Heidi is an executive at Goldman Sachs. The golden tea brain was able (thanks to his poppa and in spite of his mediocre party boyacademic  record) to buy his way into Harvard where he excelled in the consumption of Everclear grain alcohol. The high point of his academic career was when he drunkenly disrupted a play put on by the Harvard LawDrama Society. By the way, Cruz has had to be reminded to report the money he has in a Jamaican investment firm by the Senate Ethics Committee...He said he forgot about the $75,000. Sort of reminds you of the rise to infamy of another scion of a family of self appointed American aristocracy, George Bush, Jr....
My version of the addled fictional fantasy
that passes for economic theory
in the land of the Tea Brains
Neither of these guys know what it is like to be laid off of a job and the desperation of having to make ends meet, let alone support a family on unemployment compensation. To these guys and the other uber wealthy Tea brained, corporate controlled psychotic assholes pretending to be politicians, real people are  just numbers in a spreadsheet. Paul Ryan is representative of the many idiots in Congress passing themselves off as deep thinking economic realist intellectuals (Cruz, Issa, Rand Paul for example) because they read the drug addled fictional fantasies The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and walked off the deep end thinking that they never had to read another book again. As far as I'm concerned, this is the level of immature and lazy intellectual rationalization that allows people to accept the bible as the final word on evolution. A fantasy that gives simplistic and childish solutions presented as absolute fact, so they never have to read another book again!Why read tedious real science when creationists can quote the bible? "nuff said! 
So many people living in quiet despair now, ashamed to even talk about it when other people have jobs. And the few things that give them some sense of hope and dignity -- food stamps, unemployment benefits -- are just pieces on a political chess board. You can be damned sure that if they're extended, it will only be at the expense of some other vulnerable group and we'll call it a "success."

Well, most revolutions start with hungry people:
(Read the entire Nov.17, 2013 NY Times article here.)
Unless Congress acts, during the last week of December an estimated 1.3 million people will lose access to an emergency program providing them with additional weeks of jobless benefits. A further 850,000 will be denied benefits in the first quarter of 2014.
Congressional Democrats and the White House, pointing to the sluggish recovery and the still-high jobless rate, are pushing once again to extend the period covered by the unemployment insurance program. But with Congress still far from a budget deal and still struggling to find alternatives to the $1 trillion in long-term cuts known as sequestration, lawmakers say the chances of an extension before Congress adjourns in two weeks are slim.
“Why would you not extend now, when you’re dealing with the nearly unprecedented levels of long-term unemployment coming off such a historic recession?" -- Gene Sperling, White House economic advisor.
As a result, one of the largest stimulus measures passed during the recession is likely to come to an end, and jobless workers in many states are likely to receive considerably fewer weeks of benefits.
In all, as many as 4.8 million people could be affected by expiring unemployment benefits through 2014, estimated Gene Sperling, President Obama’s top economic adviser.
“Historically, there has not been a time where the unemployment rate has been this high where you have not extended it,” Mr. Sperling said in an interview. “Why would you not extend now, when you’re dealing with the nearly unprecedented levels of long-term unemployment coming off such a historic recession? This would be the wrong time to do it.”
Democrats are pushing for an extension of the emergency insurance program as part of the broader budget talks designed to avert a repeat of the government shutdown in October. But negotiators in the House and Senate are discussing a relatively small deal focused on replacing or altering the sequestration cuts, which would probably not include an extension of the jobless program.
Both Republicans and Democrats are skeptical that even such a small deal is possible given how divided the parties are.
Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington and chairwoman of the Budget Committee, “clearly supports the policy, is interested in doing it and is hopeful there will be a path in this budget conference,” said a senior Democratic aide with knowledge of the discussions. “She will continue to work with Republicans to see if it’s possible in this deal.”
Republican aides declined to discuss the talks. But Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget chairman, “is committed to finding common ground,” said William Allison, a spokesman. “He hopes both parties can work together to cut spending in a smarter way."

Ryan is back in spin control and image refurbishing after the havoc and damage he and his psychotic tea brained geniuses wreaked on the America economy with their little congressional shutdown variety show. He has a new plan! Kinder and gentler and he claims it will help the neediest in 7 ways, but in reality, his clever plan is going to only enrich Le Comte de Money and inflict even more hardships on those who can least afford it. Here's a link that proves how his clever plan will only hurt those who need help the most and guarantee ;there will be more hungry angry and needy people in America. But who's paying attention to those messy tedious details when you've got yer Jeezus?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Things We Like....

Here is just a small portion of my bumper Radis Noir (that's raphanus sativus, var. niger) crop this year. Most of them are still in the ground, getting bigger! I never saw black radishes in the USA, but here in rural France, they are eaten and enjoyed as a raw root vegetable. They can get pretty big...some of mine so far are over 10 inches long. They are nick named, The Poor Man's Sausage, because they grow to the size of a Saucisson. Commonly, we take off  the tough black skin and slice them thin and eat them with salt, butter and bread. They taste like radishes, but sweeter and the heat varies. One of my favorite ways to eat them is to grate them with some raw carrots and dress them simply with a little salt and lemon juice.  I love this, but I have been experimenting with them...cut into strips and added to stir fries! Then the real winner: black radish chips! peeled, cut thin, then you can see the interesting pattern of the slices, I put the slices into a bowl with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some crunchy fleur de sel...then after they were coated, I put them on a baking sheet in a 200 degree centigrade oven for about 20 or so minutes, depending as to how crispy you want your chips. Really great junk health food!
Pattern in the radis noir slice

But, interestingly enough, once I had developed a taste and hankering for these winter root vegetables, I started noticing Radis Noir in the organic medicine section of the local pharmacies. You can buy it in liquid form or in capsules. Then as I dwelved deeper into the local wisdom here, I saw dried cubes of radis noir being sold in markets as a folk medicine. What is it good for? People here swear by them as a digestive aid. They promote gall bladder and liver health by their action in the elimination of toxins from the system. If you know anything about French folk medicine, almost every problem originates with the liver.... la foie! They are used to alleviate the symptoms of food allergies and constipation. The juice is used to promote respiratory health. They are a very good source of vitamins B and C.  The slices are used to remove blemishes from the skin. They are pretty big and  ugly but I have had exceptional luck in growing them and I really like them! I seem to end up having them for lunch almost every day, one way or another! I'm going to try drying them in cubes like I see in the little farmer markets here. It was great to discover that something I really liked was so good for me!

Proof? Sure, we gots yez proof right'char....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You Can't Be Too Careful...Am I Right?

No, really, Am I right? Evan "treefort" Booth, an "independent self described security researcher" who has a website called Terminal Cornucopia takes common items found in most airport terminals at retail kiosks and creates an explosive from them.
In this video, he uses a stainless steel coffee mug, a Li-ion AA battery, a small canister of Axe Body Spray, a condom, and a bottle of water and creates a “Fragguccino” that explodes when thrown. Water contained in the condom breaks, allowing the battery to heat up enough inside the mug to ignite the pressurized body spray canister. He claims that all of these findings have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security (TSA) to help them better detect these types of threats,”

Cheezopeeza, I always knew the Axe Body Spray was deadly, but this puts it into an entirely different context. 
You can't be too careful, am I right? I was flying from Rome to Bordeaux two weeks ago and I changed planes in Marseille. I was smart enough to realize the very cool crossbow I bought in Gubbio would never make it on the plane in my carry on luggage, but I did have a few bars of chocolate and 2 kilos of different varieties of Pecorino cheese...In Italy, the cheese went through the scanner with no problem, but in Marseille? I had to open my luggage and allow the very polite and I must say quite cute security agent to check out my cheese! Luckily, there was no problem with hard cheese, like Pecorino, but they were on the look out for soft cheeses, the very thing to hide plastic explosives in! In other words, Camemberts are a true terrorist threat! 
I had a strange, surreal experience 4 years ago flying from Bordeaux to NYC...I had to change planes in Frankfort, Germany and as I was racing up a flight of stairs to make the connection, I was stopped by a trio of very threatening massive female German security guards who ran a sensor of some kind over my person, then demanded that I unzip my jeans....well, alright, what ever you girls want...I was in the process of fishing out my wedding tackle from my chili pepper patterned boxers when the one in the middle, I think she was the lead singer, told me to stop and pull my pants back up. I think I was actually a bit disappointed....I mean, you can't be too careful! Am I right?????

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tous les memes

An incredible performance by the Belgian Hip Hop genius, Stromae, who shows us how to do everything yourself.
 Crossing a state line
while driving when you're blind
in a sedan that's lost in time
like the Edsel of your mind

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bunkers Of The Rich And Famous

Here's a lovely computer generated simulation of an luxury underground bunker that is secretly built under a family house. If the structure is destroyed by any threat event , your family will survive in the style, or a facsimile or something like that in this designer bunker buried deep underground for an unspecified period of time or when ever the warranty runs out.... but hey? who you gonna sue when the septic tanks back up
The Koch brothers got one, heck, from what I hear, they have an entire mall! All of the rich Scientologists are jumpin on the bunker bandwagon...Tom Cruise and John Travolta have them so they can relax in style while they are waiting for L. Ron Hubbard to come back and rescue them in his luxury Space Yacht!...that's what they paid for, right?
Sure, every one believes that the world is coming to an end and it's not going to very pleasant after the flodds, tornadoes, fraking effect earthquakes, climate change superstorms, floods, nuclear attacks or well, the rapture, for instance or what ever as the zombie hoards come a'knockin at your door, but for a few hundred thousand dollars, there are a few visionary entrepreneurs who can fix you up, because, hey, if you plan ahead, what could possibly go wrong? Hey, Even Michael Jackson had one
A madman in Norway murders scores of innocent boys and girls. Japan loses thousands in a gigantic tsunami. Earthquakes churn the earth. Violent tornadoes sweep America; massive floods, fires and dust storms are a constant menace worldwide. And Iceland’s volcanic eruptions limit international air traffic...
It's not as if the rich and famous have exactly "lost hope", they're banking on it. And score one more for good old American ingenuity and the power of capitalism and greed! For the rich and powerful, a secretive American shelter company provides life-saving reassurance they are looking for.

“They all have a threat event scenario. Whether it is weapons of mass destruction, terrorist attack, nuclear bomb attack, the Mayan Apocalypse of 2012 or Nostradamus; it really doesn’t matter.”
The words of Brian Camden, an owner of Hardened Structures (HS) of Virginia Beach, a US government regulated construction management firm which builds schools, courthouses, prisons, treatment plants and large public capital projects. Customers include NATO which buys fortified aircraft hangers and earth covered ammunition magazines.
What else they do is covered in secrecy.
HS is one of the largest providers of ‘survival shelters” with satellite offices around the globe. Among its owners, says Brian Camden, are two ex US Navy Seals, one of them, known as the ‘Super Seal’. He is US Navy Commander James G. Liddy, son of Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy.
Commander Liddy is one of America’s top experts on counter- terrorism and critical infrastructure protection. He was attached to the Chief of Naval Operations and lead Seal Team secret operations. Other owners are not known.
Camden reveals, “The US government is the largest shelter builder in the world. It’s been on a shelter building binge for the last 15 years. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been buying up all dehydrated food. Last week alone it purchased five million meals. They are gearing up like you wouldn’t believe.”
Underground bunkers are believed to be everywhere; below the streets of Washington and New York, under Red Square in Moscow. Even Northern Ireland, population 1.7 million has a 223 person nuclear bunker at Ballymena in County Antrim. And the much threatened Wiki-leaks server is located in an old nuclear bunker in Sweden.
Brian Camden says he's received inquiries from South Africa about private bunkers and from the Japanese government following the tsunami disaster and the projected catastrophe facing Japan in the wake of the botched Fukushima clean up operation.
The present bunkers are built under top secrecy with the names of their owners not revealed. There have been rumors that Michael Jackson had a bunker under his Never Land estate and that a bunker exists beneath Buckingham Palace. HS's man in London revealed they are building large and expensive bunkers in Eastern Canada but,like everything else, their owner's identities are secret.
Unlike those of the Second World War and cold war today’s bunkers are designed for the long term and do not provide just shelter during air raids. The most famous bunker of all time belonged to Adolph Hitler but it was like a Bin Laden cave compared to bunkers of today.
The biggest mansion can be destroyed quickly. But the expensive bunker beneath it can save the lives of its owner and his family even if the home is under water.
Who buys modern shelters? People like the King of Jordan, politicians, movie stars and billionaires in capitols around the world. The construction contract keeps their names and locations secret but Camden admits HS has signed technical assistance agreements with the Turks and Saudis.
Some bunkers even contain prison cells or private torture chambers such as were found in Moammar Gadaffi's private shelters.
Camden said, “People can survive in our shelters for as long as five years without coming out. There are all types of structures: fortified homes are designed to withstand attacks from assault weapons. Such houses cost about $250 per square foot,” That’s about one million dollars for a 4,000 square foot house.
An underground reinforced bunker depends on wall thickness, thickness of the ceiling and its ability to withstand blast overpressure. Designers must know if they will cut through rock or build underwater, if they must make their own concrete or build an access road.
There’s also another modern threat. The shelter must withstand attack by the feared EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse Bomb) which fries everything running on electricity. “It could be just one EMP fortified room or maybe all rooms depending on whether the client wears a pace-maker,” explains Camden.
Some clients believe, even if they’re on top of a mountain, that the shelter must be designed to function completely under water. “They will need fast acting valves, carbon dioxide scrubbers and oxygen making machines,” says Camden.
He believes he could save lives in a tsunami using underwater shelters.
Most bunkers built recently range from 1,800 to 40,000 square feet. But the bunker itself can become a threat to its users. Humidity is a big problem because of moisture that builds up.
Camden explains, “We use a water generator. It looks like an office water fountain. It takes water out of the air and turns into pure drinking water.

Another problem, says Camden, “is a prolonged stay. Studies show people go mad eating stores of dehydrated food and doing nothing. To prevent violence we provide exercise equipment and other shelter dynamics such as movies to keep people healthy. They can always keep busy recharging batteries by pedaling stationary bicycles." Perhaps counting their gold bars would make them feel better.
He admitted, “I find shelters claustrophobic. When I’m in them all day long I like to go up on the surface for about an hour.”
Camden says US Army experts considers about 25 percent loss of life in a prolonged shelter stay and that his clients fully expect to endure a prolonged stay.
It’s not easy to have a survival bunker built,says Camden. “You’ve got to have money, not be part of a criminal enterprise or in the wrong country. We can’t sell to China, Cuba, Iran, Syria, Indonesia, Russia and many other nations.”
Clients must pass strict US Government scrutiny. The HS have a US license that allows them to work on bunkers and projects overseas. The bunkers are regulated under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation.
No local labor is used in the secret construction. Workers are imported temporarily from other countries and sign serious non disclosure papers.
Hardened Structures is licensed by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowing it to import biological, chemical and radiation filters into the United States.
“We have to be certified by the US Government so the material will not be used illegally. The State Department is very serious about this. One US professor was jailed for two years because his Chinese research assistant got access to some new laser technology,” he told me.
“Foreign governments want to use American engineers because they are the best. They strictly follow Department of Defense standards when building bunkers,” said Camden. “US regulations are like a Bible to customers abroad.”
Is there any hope for the common man, who also wants to live through a catastrophe along with the wealthy of the world?
Now the last secret and good news too. You may live after all. There's a bargain version, just for you which can be modified to your personal design specs, within reason of course, as long as it's stuff you can get from IKEA.
The company's biggest seller is a disc-like shelter that can hold six people. It is a sealed, prefabricated bunker containing a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical filtering system. And it sells for $38,000.
This is not a new idea, of course, here's a version of the idea that dates back to the late 1930' Michael Jackson might well have asked, "What could go wrong?"

Remove TEPCO Before You Remove The Fuel Rods!

Fairewinds has fielded a number of questions regarding the removal of the fuel rods from the spent fuel pool in Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi. Today’s video shows Arnie debunking TEPCO’s animated film point by point, and highlights the issues TEPCO will have removing the fuel rods. TEPCO needs to be removed as the organization overseeing the cleanup of the site prior to the removal of the fuel rods.
In case the last post was too complex for you, I have the latest video from Arnie Gundersen and the link to the latest MoveOn Petition to be presented to the UN.
Here is the text of the MoveOn Petition...Please asign it!
The hot radioactive fuel rods at Fukushima Unit Four must be removed to a safer place as soon as possible. But the Tokyo Electric Power Company does not have the financial, scientific or engineering capability to do that and the other critical work there. We ask the government of Japan to remove Tepco and find a more capable team to take control of the Fukushima site. Please look at the letter sent UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon ( ). There can be no higher priority than bringing the Fukushima disaster under control. See and for updated information.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Where, Oh Where Could Those Pesky Reactor Cores Have Gone?

Instead of sitting your basement bunker worrying about imaginary zombie invasions...wake up and start worrying about the Yakuza managed day to day clean up of the Fukushima reactor. Oh where , Oh Where could those pesky rector cores have gone? America is already feeling the effects of their inability to implement practical cost efficient solutions to the groundwater radiation pollution problem. They turned down an international reality based inexpensive solution and installed their own which was almost 30 times as expensive and failed the first day it was put into operation. Sign every petition you can including this latest Moveon petition to urge that the world recognize that this is a planetary threat and needs to be managed by a planetary authority. The removal of the fuel rods was to have started last week, but we have been granted a grace period due to "technical" difficulties. I have been trying to write this post for a few weeks, but disorganized as it is, I haven't put enough into it! I can only communicate my feelings and what I've learned.....
The Fukushima animation below is TEPCO-produced, so beware the spin and the feel-good “nothing to see here” certainty.(Also beware the nice American offering guarantees at the end; he has the sound of a paid shill, who exist in great and secret numbers. I am beginning to research who he is, his connections, but if you get the goods on him first, please let me know in the comments. His name is Dr. Dale Klein, chairman of the “Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee.”)
But the video below will give you a great working view of what the site and the spent fuel containment pool looks like in a total fantasy pristine condition mode. I found it an invaluable aid to understanding other Fukushima discussions.
This is what TEPCO wants you to think about the spent fuel pool 
 Some notes on this official TEPCO video:
Early on you can see the orientation of the spent fuel pool relative to the building and the reactor. The room with the spent fuel is indeed high off the ground (about 100 feet) and filled with water.
▪ You can also see the mechanized operation of the cranes that move fuel rod “bundles” to containment casks, prior to the removal of the casks from the building.
▪ At 1:29 you can see a number of workers looking at a fuel rod “bundle.” This gives you a sense of the scale of each one. The individual rods themselves are, as Arnie Gundersen describes below, about the diameter of your finger, and about 12 feet long. The bundles appear to be either 9×9 or 8×8 packages of rods, again about 12 feet long.
▪ At 2:00 in the video, the crane hooks a bundle by a kind of handle. But look at the whole room. What’s shown is a water-filled space with multiple “racks,” each containing 30 bundles of rods. At least 15 “racks” are visible in the animation. If the room contains only these, that implies 450 bundles. It appears certain that the term “fuel rods” refers both to the bundles and as well as to the individual thin rods.

This is confirmed by the Gundersen video below, at about 7:05. The room at Reactor 4 must contain about 50 of these racks.
▪ There are perhaps 1500 bundles in the room, which implies over 1500 individual removal operations.
▪ At 2:30, the room is shown with a 5-by-9 array of these containers, each containing 30 bundles. That multiplies out to 1350 bundles or about the right number of spent fuel rods in the room. There are also about 200 unspent fuel rod bundles in the same chamber (Gundersen says 300 below).
▪ Note also how like a pack of cigarettes each “rack” or container of 30 bundles appears to be.
▪ And of course, according to the video, no worker will ever be harmed or put in danger anywhere on the site by any cleanup operation. That’s been proved a lie, but that’s a separate discussion.
A “crumpled pack of cigarette:
This is the problem today. There are about 1500 fuel rods [bundles] stored in that room [about 1300 spent and 200 "live"], packed together vertically in racks. Think of a pack of cigarettes standing upright with the top of the pack removed. Normally, the movement of fuel rods [bundles] is done by a computer-driven machine that reaches into the room from above and removes or replaces a fuel rod [bundle] by drawing it upward or lowering it downward.
The machine knows to the millimeter where each [bundle] is located. Also, the rods are undamaged — perfectly straight. The problem is that this pack of cigarettes is crumpled, and the process must done manually. Therefore, the likelihood that some of the fuel rods will break is hig
You can now see why that “pack of cigarettes” metaphor is accurate. The scene at 2:00 is a very close parallel to the above description (You can thank Arnie Gundersen here). You can also see why “crumpled pack of cigarettes” could easily describe the groups of fuel rods in their present condition.
Obviously, in the comforting TEPCO animation, none of the rods, bundles, or racks are crumpled, broken or distorted in any way.
What’s really going on with the spent fuel pool
For comparison, check out the real-life camera view inside the pool at 3:20 in the video below. It shows an underwater room filled with a number of tightly packed 3×10 racks, or “cigarette packs.” But notice the condition of the room — far from pristine.
Please do watch the whole thing. It shows Arnie Gundersen, an industry engineer and Fukushima critic, explaining what’s going on at Reactor 4, and what could go wrong, as far as he knew, as of the time he made the video, about a year ago.
Pay attention also as he discusses the importance of the presence of an unspent nuclear core in the spent fuel rod room.
Note that this video was uploaded in August 2012. Some information, such as the exact count of fuel rod bundles, could have been updated since then. Also, when he says “in early July” the water cooling system failed (8:10), he’s likely referring to July 2012.
Gundersen has since said that he’s very concerned that the fuel rods in the pool are damaged — per the “crumpled pack of cigarettes” comment — and that the odds of getting the rods out without them touching each other and starting a fire are fairly high (though he doesn’t put a number on it).
The absolute worst-case scenario, though, is still another earthquake of significant magnitude, and an accompanying tsunami. Just in the last two weeks, we’ve had multiple earthquakes in the area, though lower in magnitude than the 2011 earthquake, and no tsunamis. So far. Needless to say, after the record breaking typhoon which just hit the Philippines, there is another level of urgency in the fantasy based time frame of Tepco's attempt at feel good fiction.
I’ll stay on this story. We’re told that the period for TEPCO to test the removal of a containment cask (presumably empty) from the spent fuel pool — see the start of the first video for what that operation looks like — is no longer than two weeks, or sometime on or before November 22. Assuming that test goes successfully — or assuming we’re told the truth about whether it went successfully or not — the real work will then begin.
Please sign this petition and every petition you can to urge the world to step in and take the management of the Tepco Fukushima disaster out of the hands of a corrupt and inept corporate bureaucracy that has made the worst possible decisions from the onset! The Japanese Yakuza Mafia is very involved in the recruitment and management of the clean up operation. The world scientific community offered assistance at the onset of the disaster to prevent radioactive groundwater contamination with a few very common sense and low cost plans...the Japanese authorities turned a deaf ear and gave the contracts to their corporate buddies who installed a system at over 30 times the cost of the world community plan....The Japanese plan failed in less than 24 hours and that was over 2 years the world is feeling the effects as the radiation levels on Americas Pacific coast are reaching unacceptable levels. I have so much faith in human ingenuity to solve problems, but humans? corruption? Listen, you are being lied to over and over again by the authorities in charge...Nothing to look at here, move on.... If we remain so naive as to trust corporate profit driven corrupt bureaucracies to solve our problems, then we are truly , in the immortal words of Ed Grimly, DOOMED AS DOOMED CAN BE!