Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friday update (after the red velvet cake)

Today's Multicultural Festival was fabulous. Red velvet cake! Imani dancers! A special shout-out and copious compliments to Traci Fant for her hard work and terrific organizational skills.

It was especially fun because it was at McAlister Square, which is also the location of the WOLI radio studios, where we broadcast Occupy the Microphone. Today's show is up, as well as yesterday's, wherein we discussed various events in the ongoing trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. We discussed the racist trashing of young Rachel Jeantel (prosecution witness) at length, on both shows. (NOTE: I will be writing about the Zimmerman trial at length after the verdict, as I will also be writing about the Jodi Arias trial after her sentencing.)

And speaking of trials, my deepest apologies for omitting a link to Gregg's great interview with Alexa O'Brien, one of very few reporters covering the trial of Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. Extensive daily coverage of Bradley Manning's trial is available at her website.

Today, we wondered why some trials get daily televised coverage, and yet Manning's has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media. One might even come to the conclusion that the government and media don't want us to hear the details.

Ya think?


OTHER RANDOM STUFF you might find interesting:

[] Paula Cooper, who made big news as a teenager sentenced to death row, was released from prison on June 17th. She was only 16 when she was sentenced to death for the grisly killing of 78-year-old Bible teacher Ruth Pelke, and in 1986 was the youngest death row inmate in the USA.

The Gary, Indiana, murder was quite famous throughout the Midwest, and often cited by various pundits of the day as proof that the world was going to hell in a handbasket. Cooper stabbed Pelke 33 times, and with three of her friends, took off with Pelke's car and a whopping $10. Due to her age and (lack of) social status, there was an international outcry over her death sentence, including an intervention from none other than Pope John Paul II. Her death sentence was set aside in 1988, and it has since been found unconstitutional to execute inmates under 18.

[] Me and a horror-movie actor get in a Twitter argument after the announcement of the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee tweets "Jesus wept" and gets a torrential (and sometimes hilarious) response.

[] Charlotte, a local progressive, crafts strategies for electing Democrats/liberals here in South Carolina--and by extension, other conservative southern states. Contains an excellent analysis of the political psychology of the South, by a Greenville County native (and one of our regular radio show listeners).

[] I wrote about the documentary "Project Nim" over on Facebook.

[] Obama's War on Journalism (Salon) and Seven Myths about Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower (The Nation)

[] Sweet three-year-old Jameson Kessler is eager to save his baby sister's life with his bone marrow; he calls himself "Marrow Man"... yes, we all want to be superheroes, don't we?

And little Jameson will become a superhero for real. :)


Your official DEAD FROM CUTENESS video for this month features adorable Jumbo Pillow (he is only 6-months-old but looks older since he is, well, JUMBO PILLOW) meeting his new housemate Cooper. OMG!!! ((((faints from the cute))))

PS: This is called "Friday update" because I will not be online tomorrow, and this will have to do until after the weekend.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FDR Memorial on Swamp Rabbit Trail

Greenville's Swamp Rabbit Trail was first a railroad bed before it was recycled for use as a recreational trail. This modest stone memorial to President Roosevelt is on the trail, and I wanted to share it.

It's one of those charming, amazing little snapshots of history.

The marker reads:


1882 - 1945

While serving as the 32nd president of the United States, Roosevelt led our country through the Great Depression and World War II. He died while in office on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Near this site on April 13, 1945 the funeral train carrying the body of Franklin Delano Roosevelt stopped at the Greenville station on its way to Washington, DC. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was aboard the train along with FDR's beloved Scottish Terrier Fala.

A crowd of more than 15,000 mourners gathered in final tribute and to show respect to Mrs Roosevelt. Soldiers lined the tracks for a mile north and south of the station. A telegram listing the names of family, friends and dignitaries who would attend FDR's funeral in Hyde Park, NY, was sent from the station.

Mayor C. Fred McCollough presented two floral wreaths to Presidential Secretary Steve Early. The wreaths were put inside the funeral car, one placed on top of the flag-draped casket.

Children began singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and the large crowd quickly joined in as the train slowly pulled away from the station.


At that time, the population of the city of Greenville was only around 35,000; Greenville County's entire population was approx 140,000.

In light of that, 15,000 mourners is an astronomical number.

DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS

As we say here in Carolina, HAIL YEAH!!!

Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act, paves way for gay marriage to resume in California
By Pete Williams and Erin McClam, NBC News

In a landmark ruling for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

The decision was 5-4, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. It said that the law amounted to the “deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” In a separate case, the court ruled that it could not take up a challenge to Proposition 8, the California law that banned gay marriage in that state. That decision means that gay marriage will once again be legal in California.

That decision was also 5-4, written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act means that the federal government must recognize the gay marriages deemed legal by the states — 12 plus the District of Columbia, before the California case was decided. The law helps determine who is covered by more than 1,100 federal laws, programs and benefits, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave.

“DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others,” the ruling said. It added that the law was invalid because there was no legitimate purpose for disparaging those whom states “sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”

President Barack Obama, in a post on Twitter, said that the ruling was a “historic step forward for #MarriageEquality.”

Kennedy was joined in the majority by the four members of the court’s liberal wing, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Dissenting were Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Scalia, in his dissent, wrote: “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.”

Cheers went up outside the Supreme Court, where supporters of gay marriage waved signs, rainbow banners and flags with equality symbols.
The ruling comes as states are authorizing gay marriage with increasing speed and with public opinion having turned narrowly in favor of gay marriage. Under the law, gay couples who are legally married in their states were not considered married in the eyes of the federal government, and were ineligible for the federal benefits that come with marriage.

The case before the Supreme Court, U.S. v. Windsor, concerned Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, a lesbian couple who lived together in New York for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor was hit with $363,000 in federal estate taxes. Had the couple been considered by the federal government to be married, Windsor would not have incurred those taxes. Kennedy, in the ruling, said that New York’s decision to authorize gay marriage was a proper exercise of its authority, and reflected “the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality.”

President Bill Clinton signed the act into law in September 1996. A court ruling in Hawaii had raised the prospect that that state might become the first to authorize gay marriage.

At the time, some members of Congress believed that the Defense of Marriage Act might be a compromise that would take the air out of a movement to amend the Constitution to block gay marriage.
LOLGOP just Tweeted: "Life would be so much better if Antonin Scalia just had a blog."

Ain't it the truth. Today, however, he just has to stand aside and DEAL WITH IT. Let the preachers all go cover themselves in ashes and sackcloth and REPENT--because their grandchildren will be as ashamed of them as southern white kids are now ashamed of their racist segregationist grandparents.

We will be covering this on our radio show today, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Name that car!

Another old car, for you antique-car fans who sometimes drop by (((waves at car-photo lurkers))) ... and I profusely apologize that I don't know what kind of Ford this is. Falling down on the job. (ashamed)

My late father, proud UAW-member and GM-assembly-line worker, would chuckle at that and say Fords are not worth remembering, so don't sweat it. (However, he WOULD know the make and model just the same, which makes me jealous.)

He would then add that Ford stands for "Found On Road Dead."

I did dutifully read the name of the car when I first spotted it on Laurens Rd (and you can SEE the name next to "500"--but so hard to read, even when you click to enlarge) ... and I told myself that of course, I would remember it when it came time to blog it. Weeks later, having forgotten totally about the cool car, I also forgot the name of it. (embarrassed)

I have done some random sleuthing, to no avail. Although it would certainly help if I knew the year too! I have NO idea what it is, but if you do, speak up! I love CHERRY RED and I love this vehicle, although it was not in the best condition, I still enjoyed the ancient steering wheel, radio, and general AMERICAN GRAFFITIesque interior.


We have been doing a bunch of radio shows about the NSA and Edward Snowden, in case anyone thought I had been noticeably delinquent on the subject. I assure you, I have been doing my share of fulminating, and probably your share too. Other recent radio shows:

[] The trial of our radio consigliere Gregg Jocoy, for carrying a sign that was officially TOO BIG (really). Yes, he was found guilty in a jury trial and had to pay $55.

[] An interview with Richard McIntyre, the US Trade Representative for the Green Shadow Cabinet, discussing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

[] An interview with the redoubtable Rev. Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping. Great inspiration for activism and street theatre, you can find the Church HERE.

YALL TUNE IN, we are on every day, LIVE AT FIVE ... you can listen to us on the radio-livestream HERE. (Podcasts are HERE.) Yesterday, I had to do without my usual opening music and I sailed through it like a pro. Only a few months ago, I would have had a nervous breakdown. (There IS something to be said for 'practice makes perfect' and getting fairly good at it... that 10,000 hour rule and alla that.) As we get better, we cut down on DEAD AIR lapses (we all think its pretty damn funny that my blog was named this YEARS before I started in radio); have almost stopped interrupting each other... and have nearly eliminated the dreaded brain-fart, during which *whatever* you were thinking (and had planned to say) just EVAPORATES into the ether... as you stare at the radio mike in front of you: DUH!

We are also getting fairly good at rescuing each other when this happens.


In a couple of weeks, I am having finger surgery, which I realize sounds mildly ridiculous. But really.

I figure something incredibly blog-worthy will happen around that time, and I will want to type and find it impossible. So, I am making up for it now and apologizing for not using my fingers for GOOD whilst I have the chance.

I briefly mentioned HERE (another car post!) that I had this thing on my finger, which turns out to be a mucous cyst ganglion. As time goes on, it gets angrier and angrier, and has started rupturing with regularity. GROSS STUFF (which looks remarkably like vaseline) pops out, which at least makes the nasty swelling go down. For awhile. And then it starts all over again. (sigh)

At the current rate, its been popping open (spewing its gross vaselinesque material) every week or so. Although I have had this thing for years now, it is only currently causing problems beyond the general warping of my fingernail. Since it stays 'open' (sorry for the TMI, yall), it is an active infection risk... and this could quickly morph into a JOINT infection, not just a lil ole fingernail/cuticle infection. Apparently, it has something to do with having osteoarthritis. (sigh again)

Ah, aging, the fun just never ends. From Web MD:
Mucous cyst ganglions usually occur when osteoarthritis symptoms develop, at middle age or older. This type of ganglion is more common in women than men.

Mucous cyst ganglions are found at the joint nearest the fingernail (distal interphalangeal [DIP] joint). The ganglion is firm and does not easily move under the skin. These ganglions may be painful and may break open, increasing the risk of infection. The fingernail may grow irregularly or be misshapen because the ganglion is near the growth cells for the fingernail.

Because of the risk of infection, a mucous cyst ganglion should not be broken open on purpose. Occasionally a ganglion opens on its own. Home treatment may be all that is needed.

Treatment measures include removing the ganglion fluid with a needle (aspiration) to temporarily shrink the cyst, injecting the cyst with hydrocortisone to reduce inflammation and possibly lower the chance that it will return, or removing the ganglion with surgery. The ganglion may return after treatment. Bone spurs (small, bony growths that form along a joint) are often present in the joint next to a mucous cyst, and removing the bone spurs makes it less likely that the cyst will return.
I've had the cortisone shot into my finger already (certainly not pleasant, but not nearly as bad as the thing itself, if you can believe it) which did shrink it for awhile, but it regrouped and planned its next massive assault with a real vengeance.

I'd even suggest it got MAD that it got a shot and decided it would show me whose boss. And so it has.

I am soon getting the joint and bone spurs scraped, as well as the cyst removed. I'm sure it sounds like lots more fun that it is!

I will keep you posted. (For those of you who have missed my periodic gross TMI posts, you should be in for a real treat, whenever it heals enough for me to type!)


One of my ALL TIME favorite trees is currently blooming! It is called Calliandra surinamensis and is also known as Surinamese Stickpea, Pink Tassel-Flower and Pink Powderpuff. I used to call them "bottle brush trees" because the bloom looks just like an old-style bottle-brush. My daughter finally looked it up at the library (long before there was the internet) and found the name for me. (Thus, I also associate it with her childhood.)

These beautiful trees are all over the upstate, and I took the photos below while hiking the Swamp Rabbit Trail. (you can click to enlarge)

So purty!


I now have a very lax and anemic TUMBLR of my own. I mostly did it to keep up with the various SJW-wars that have broken out online, and to lend my name to the truth-tellers who are sick of dopey, politically-correct excesses (as well as the attempted wholesale silencing of opinion). After dealing with THIS LATEST DEBACLE (see comments for gory details) -- I wanted to vent with others of a like mind, and decided to START A TUMBLR, God help me, even after declaring the place a total sewer. NOTE: I still think it is, but then, I used to contribute to DIGG and other sewers, so I am not above mucking about in the sewer... I mean, I'M BLOGGING, right? (I have declared Reddit a bridge too far, and although I've looked at it from time to time, try not to make a habit of it.)

The gangpiling, which I used to put up with as the price of admission to Blogdonia, has lately reached the level of patent insanity. In fact, TUMBLR would seem to be ONE LONG EXERCISE in gangpiling and dumping verbal abuse on people you simply disagree with... and usually the disagreements are not very serious or profound. Nonetheless, the stakes are raised immediately by issuing countless fatwas and edicts declaring that various bloggers are evil/genocidal/fascist and what-all. Thus, when something truly IS evil/genocidal/fascist and what-all (i.e. the prison-torture of Bradley Manning, the calls for the prosecution of Edward Snowden for being a saint, the shooting of Trayvon Martin by a vigilante-wannabe, etc etc) the 'social justice warriors' (not) are already bored by their own overwrought-language-feuds and therefore... DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

In fact, they don't even seem to have any opinions about these incidents, they are too busy honing their victim status and obsessing about themselves and their 'otherkin'. Real activism (even just writing about it), local political issues that need addressing and in general, real life, does not enter into their little just-so stories.

For this reason, I often find myself wondering if they are real or just decided to take on certain 'oppressed identities' to have something to whine about.

I would like to collectively paddle all of their spoiled asses and send them to Time-Out. I can't, so I have climbed onto the Tumblr soapbox to join the choruses making fun of them instead.

I mean, what else can you do?


In happy news, our beautiful FALLS PARK here in Greenville, was just voted one of the top 10 parks in the country (includes the big cities, peeps! WOO HOO!) by TripAdvisor, whatever that is.

We already knew that. :)

Duke Energy public hearing

... last night at County Square in Greenville, SC. The South Carolina Public Service Commission listened to community testimonies regarding the impact of Duke's latest proposed utility rate hike. Various politicians and local activists also attended, including your humble narrator.

At left, Les Gardner, development director for the Greenville Tech Foundation, claimed Duke contributed over $4.3 million to the school through its AdvanceSC program. His was the only pro-Duke voice I heard during the brief time I was at the hearing, although apparently a few other capitalist hacks showed up to appropriately genuflect to their big-money patrons.

These few were easily drowned out, but I sincerely doubt the Forces of Good will prevail over Duke Energy greed and their desire to suck money into building even more destructive nukes... as well as the all-important distribution of $45 million golden parachutes to their corporate shills/parasites. (Meanwhile, Duke can't even make sure its EXISTING local nukes are safe.)

From the Greenville News:
Upstate residents revolted against Duke Energy’s latest plans for a rate hike during a public hearing Monday night with state regulators in Greenville.

Hundreds of residents attended the night meeting at County Square for a chance to protest Duke’s request, which would raise home power bills another 16.3 percent by Sept. 18.

If approved, the rate hike would be Duke’s third since 2010 for about 540,000 South Carolina retail customers, including residences and businesses, most of them in the Upstate.

Duke says it has spent $3.3 billion for capital improvements to its electricity system in the Carolinas since its last rate hike in 2012.

As a result of that and other factors, the company says it no longer collects enough from its Upstate customers to recover what it spends to operate and maintain the system that serves them.
Members of the Public Service Commission, which will rule on Duke’s request, listened to numerous complaints during the hearing in Greenville County Council chambers, and not just about the proposed rate hike.

They also heard complaints about what residents called unreasonable late fees and heavy-handed treatment over delinquent bill payment.

Barbara Keeton of Taylors told commissioners that Duke executives were still getting their raises and bonuses. “When was the last time these people got raises and bonuses?” she asked, pointing to the crowd.

The leader of the homeowner’s association at Bear Grass Townhomes, a development for senior citizens south of Greenville, said Duke’s plan would force an increase in the association’s fees, because of seven street lights in the development, as well as raise residents’ bills.

“Residents living on fixed incomes do not need this burden,” she said, drawing applause.

Seth Powell, president of the Greenville County Taxpayers Association, turned in 600 signatures on a petition and asked that the Public Service Commission “put the public first.”

If approved, Duke’s proposal would add $17.83 to a residential bill for 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. That would bring the total monthly bill to $118.28 and represent a yearly increase of nearly $214.

The Charlotte-based power company is proposing less of an average increase for factories, 14.4 percent, and a 14 percent average hike for retailers and other commercial customers.

Jeff Stewart, a contractor from Easley, asked why South Carolina hasn’t deregulated the electricity business as other states have. That way, “We don’t have to be stuck with Duke,” he said.
Now, there's a good idea.

At left: local folks listen intently during the Duke Public Hearing.

State Sen. Karl Allen, a Greenville Democrat, asked commissioners to balance Duke’s needs with “the needs of the people.”

State Reps. Mike Burns of Taylors and Leola Robinson-Simpson of Greenville also attended.

A representative of state Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville read a statement saying the proposed rate hike would put “undue stress” on residents, especially those on fixed incomes.

Duke hadn’t implemented a general price hike for 19 years until 2010, when it raised residential rates more than 9 percent while decreasing industrial rates nearly 5 percent. In 2012, the company was allowed another overall rate increase of 6 percent.
And from WYFF:
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Duke Energy is seeking to raise rates for the third time in four years -- and as hundreds of people file complaints, there is now a chance for residents to voice their opinion on the increase.

Monday night, a public meeting was held at Greenville County Council Chambers.

Dozens testified to the Public Service Commission regarding a proposed rate increase.

Duke Energy Carolinas has filed a request with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) for an increase that averages 15.11 percent.

Residential customers would see a 16.3 percent increase. The commercial increase would be 14 percent, industrial would be 14.4 percent and lighting would be 15.9 percent.

In 2009, Duke Energy asked for a 9.26 percent increase and settled on a 5.16 percent increase.

In 2012, the utility asked for a 14.61 percent increase and settled on a 5.98 percent rise.

"In the current economic situation, I think this rate is the most crass thing Duke Energy could do," said a citizen.

Duke Energy, the corporate parent of both Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress, said the new increase would boost the utility's revenue by $220 million.

Duke cites capital investments including fleet modernization, upgrades and new power plants as necessitating the increase.
Let's start with taking back that $45 million given to the CEO for working a whole 20 minutes. Do you think he's the only Duke boss making that kind of cash? I want to see ALL of their salaries, and then WE can make up an appropriate (and suitably frugal) budget for them. If they are a utility serving the people (without our consent or choice), they need to be managed by the people (without their consent or choice). Its obvious they can't run their own company, so maybe we should run it for them.

After all, when Oconee melts down, it will be US paying the price, not the CEOs with pricey co-ops in Malibu and Manhattan.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Latest in Nuke News

Last week, we interviewed Mary Olsen (of Nuclear Information and Resource Service) on Occupy the Microphone. (For the best in recent nuke news, check out

Some of the news Mary shared with us:

[] In March, the NRC denied a third reactor to Calvert Cliffs nuke in Maryland:
The five-member commission [that oversees the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission] upheld an earlier Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruling on the Calvert Cliffs 3 new nuclear reactor application, which had denied UniStar Nuclear Energy LLC’s application because of its failure to meet NRC foreign ownership requirements for US power reactors.

On Aug. 31, the three-judge ASLB denied a license for the proposed Calvert Cliffs unit 3 project because UniStar was bought out by Electricite de France in November 2010, resulting in 100-percent French ownership of UniStar.
[] In April, the Crystal River nuke in Florida was permanently shut down due to cracks in the containment dome and other problems; it has been offline since 2009 and has been a long-term headache for Duke Energy ever since:
The Crystal River plant in Citrus County, Florida, is operated by Progress Energy Florida. A failed repair to its thick reactor containment building led to repeated problems with cracking concrete in the structure.

Duke cited differences with merger partner Progress Energy last year over Crystal River’s condition. Progress CEO Bill Johnson, who was fired as chief executive of the combined companies, had favored repairing the 36-year-old plant.

But a Duke-commissioned engineering report late last year concluded that, while repairs were feasible, they could cost up to $3.4 billion in a worst-case scenario.
[] In May, the Kewaunee nuke in Wisconsin was permanently shut down:
The Kewaunee plant, which opened in 1974, was sold in 2005 to Dominion, based in Richmond, Va., by its owners, the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Wisconsin Power and Light. In the past, the lengthy decommissioning process that nuclear power requires was in the hands of local companies, which have had the option to go to a public service commission and ask for a rate increase to pay for the job if it proved unexpectedly difficult.

But Kewaunee was a “merchant” plant, a sort of free agent on the grid, selling its electricity on contract, at a price set by the market, not by the government.
Earlier this year, [Rep. Edward Markey] pointed out, the owners of the Crystal River 3 plant in Florida decided to retire it rather than repair its containment structure, because of unfavorable economics. Industry experts say that several reactors are operating at a loss while their owners wait for the glut of natural gas to disappear. How long that will be, and how many will last, is not clear.

“Once these old nuclear reactors shut down — as we’re seeing now — it will take 60 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to decontaminate them,” Mr. Markey said in a statement. “Taxpayers should have assurances that these nuclear relics don’t outlive their corporate owners and their ability to fund nuclear cleanup costs, leaving ordinary Americans to foot the bill.”
[] The NRC denied a license to Nuclear Innovation North America LLC for their proposed South Texas 3 & 4 Project (a joint venture between NRG Energy and Toshiba) because Toshiba owns a controlling interest in the nuclear reactors, in violation of US law:
The federal regulator denied the application of Nuclear Innovation North America LLC for a license to build the reactors, noting that Toshiba’s ownership stake in and “overwhelming financial contributions” to the project afford it a degree of control over the nuclear power plant that exceeds the limits of the Atomic Energy Act.

“The staff has determined that Toshiba, a Japanese corporation, through Toshiba American Nuclear Energy Corp. … its American subsidiary, is the sole source of financing for NINA,” the commission said in a letter denying the license.
[] Nuclear plant San Onofre 2 & 3 in California, has been shut down permanently, due to one disaster after another:
[The] nuke plant’s two operating reactors had already been shut down since January 2012. Southern California Edison’s decision to give up the ghost can be traced to its pattern of extreme mismanagement of plant operations, consequent huge financial losses, and the tenacious opposition that rallied local communities to take action to keep the unsafe plant shut down.

San Onofre is the largest nuclear power plant to be shut down in the US. One reactor was retired in 1992. The other two, just cut loose, formerly generated 2200 Megawatts of electricity to 1.5 million households. Located between San Diego and Los Angeles, the plant supplied power to 1.5 million households. 8.7 million people live within 50 miles of it. The two reactors at San Onofre had been scheduled to operate until 2022.
Long before Fukushima, San Onofre had already been having its own problems.
Reactor Unit 1, started up in 1968, had to be shut down in 1992 after problems with equipment that came back to haunt Edison with a vengeance in recent years at its other reactors.

In 2006 workers found radioactive water under Unit 1 that was 16 times more radioactive than EPA permitted levels for its presence in drinking water. And this was 14 years after that reactor had been shut down.
In August 2008 the Los Angeles Times reported “Injury rates at San Onofre put it dead last among US nuclear plants when it comes to industrial safety.” Later that year it emerged that a battery system, key to providing backup power to pump water to flood Unit 2’s reactor in case of a potential meltdown “was inoperable between 2004 and 2008 because of loose electrical connection,” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported.

And also in 2008, the Radiation and Public Health Project reported, in the European Journal of Cancer Care, that the counties nearest San Onofre, had the highest child leukemia mortality rates, of counties near nuclear power plants studied for the years 1974-2004.
All this led to 2009 and 2010, when Edison found it necessary to replace the four massive steam generators in San Onofre’s units 2 and 3. The original steam generators lasted over a quarter century, though they were supposed to last for the life of the reactors, 40 years. Steam generators facilitate the creation of steam to turn turbines to generate electricity in the type of nuclear plants most common in the US. Water pipes run through reactors and are heated by nuclear fuel. But this water also picks up lots of radioactivity. The steam generators have tubes that pass on the heat to another set up pipes that make the steam, while not passing on the radioactivity, which otherwise would escape into the environment and contaminate it. Thus the steam generators are key to keeping these nuclear plants running safely. Edison reportedly spent $680 million on the replacement steam generators. Since the plant was not originally designed to need replacements, the utility had to cut huge holes in buildings to get them inside.

And then they turned to junk in just a few years.

In a March 2012 report , Arne Grundersen, of Vermont’s Fairewind’s Associates, a former nuclear industry engineer, described the decisive moments when San Onofre’s shut down began in January 2012: “Unit 3 was operating at full power and experienced a complete perforation of one [steam generator] tube that allowed highly radioactive water from inside the reactor to mix with non-radioactive water that was turning the turbine. As a consequence, an uncontrolled release of radiation ensued, and San Onofre was forced to shut down due to steam generator failure.”
[] And finally, Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy has shelved all plans for a nuclear reactor in Iowa, opting for wind turbines instead:
MidAmerican Energy has scrapped plans for Iowa’s second nuclear plant and will refund $8.8 million ratepayers paid for a now-finished feasibility study, utility officials said Monday.

The utility has decided against building any major power plant: “We opted for what was in the best interest of our customers,” MidAmerican vice president for regulatory affairs Dean Crist told The Des Moines Register.

Mid­American will focus on its plan to build up to 656 wind turbines in a $1.9 billion project across Iowa, which also will trim power bills by saving fuel costs.

Thanks to Mary for coming on our show; she will be revisiting us soon.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

HeroesCon 2013

... this weekend at the Charlotte Convention Center. Oodles of fabulous photos below!

Somebody with a truly twisted sense of humor scheduled HeroesCon the same day as the North Carolina Republican Convention. It certainly wasn't hard to figure out who was going to which convention! The dumbfounded/confused expressions on the faces of the GOP attendees as they gaped at various superheroes, was reminiscent of the days conservatives stared at hippies in abject amazement. I enjoyed it FAR TOO MUCH!


First up: artists, writers and illustrators.... with a particular emphasis on those marvelous beings known as LADY COMIC BOOK ARTISTS. Every year, there are more women artists, and I am just SO PROUD of them. (One of those activities that so many of us dreamed of when we were girls, but had never even heard of any woman attempting, much less actually doing.) I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

You can click all photos to enlarge. I tried to get their names in the shot, and if I couldn't, at least attempted to get the names of their comics so you can look em up.


Cosplay time. (Starting with Waldo; you've been wondering WHERE he was, right?)


Crowds, t-shirts, batmobiles, etc.

And a splendid time was had by all.