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Learning the Obvious, Again

Military helicopters dropping water on crippled nuclear power plant in Japan

One of these days we’re gonna finally understand that corporations exist to make money by “any means necessary.” For many Americans this comes as a surprise. Some of us want to believe that corporations exist to live in harmony with their environment. We want to believe the hype. We want to believe that British Petroleum cares about the environment. We want to believe that cute dancing elephants are truly happy that GE is using their imagination to create jet engines that are eco-friendly. We desperately want to believe. We want to believe that corporations are good and not evil. This isn’t about good and evil. This is not about right and wrong. This is about making money and capitalism and Americans living with big business.

If we want capitalism to work we have to provide it the appropriate framework. We found out in the 1880s and 1890s that unbridled capitalism corrupts our government and subjects our population to ridiculously low wages and no hope of opportunity. It is well documented how corporations simply bought politicians. Now, the buying of politicians is more subtle. It’s called campaign contributions. It’s called cushy executive posts when you retire from Congress. Smart, enforceable regulations are required to keep business working for us. We cannot have disasters in the Gulf. We cannot have nuclear reactors melting down, for any reason. We cannot have our environment destroyed because business tried to cut corners.

From Robert Reich:

The New York Times reports that G.E. marketed the Mark 1 boiling water reactors, used in TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, as cheaper to build than other reactors because they used a comparatively smaller and less expensive containment structure.

Yet American safety officials have long thought the smaller design more vulnerable to explosion and rupture in emergencies than competing designs. (By the way, the same design is used in 23 American nuclear reactors at 16 plants.)

In the mid-1980s, Harold Denton, then an official with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said Mark 1 reactors had a 90 percent probability of bursting should the fuel rods overheat and melt in an accident. A follow-up report from a study group convened by the Commission concluded that “Mark 1 failure within the first few hours following core melt would appear rather likely.”

Sound familiar? (more…)

By |2011-03-17T07:15:13-04:00March 17th, 2011|Business, Economy|Comments Off on Learning the Obvious, Again

Olbermann’s statement

Keith Olbermann will be back on the air tonight. He isn’t the second coming. He is a good commentator. That’s it.

Keith’s statement:

A STATEMENT TO THE VIEWERS OF COUNTDOWN
by Keith Olbermann

I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their support.

I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media.

You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and loyalty that is truly mutual.

–K.O.

By |2010-11-09T15:36:23-04:00November 9th, 2010|Media|1 Comment

Grab Bag Wednesday morning (Update)

Running late as usual this morning.

Rangers Win

  • I can’t describe how jubilant Dallas-Fort Worth is today. For more than 40 years the Dallas Cowboys have been the dominant team in the Metroplex. Finally, the Texas Rangers have won a playoff game… Playoff series! Congratulations to the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan and his amazing organization.
  • After what seems like a year, miners are being rescued in Chile. (CNN has a live feed.) Update: 21 rescued and 12 more still underground.
  • Judge blocks military from enforcing DADT
  • Bobby Cox, the long time manager of the Atlanta Braves, is retiring after this year. The Braves lost to the Giants in a great series. After the game, in what was one of the classiest moves I have seen in a long, long time, the Giants stopped their own celebration and tipped their hats to Bobby Cox.

Great move

From Political Animal:

  • Lifting the drilling ban: “The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deepwater exploratory oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — provided companies follow new safety rules…. One of those new rules is that the CEO of a company responsible for a well must certify it has complied with all regulations. That could make the person at the top of the company liable for any future accidents.”
  • Waiting for the Fed to intervene: “A critical mass of officials at the Federal Reserve appear to favor taking new actions to reinvigorate the lagging recovery in the absence of clear signs of improvement in the economy, according to minutes of the central bank’s last policy meeting.”
  • In Afghanistan, the plan to accelerate training of Afghan security forces is going reasonably well, but “the question now is whether these new forces will allow NATO and the Afghan government to reverse the insurgency’s momentum and begin reducing the Western presence in the country.”
  • As the debate over undisclosed campaign contributions rages on, wouldn’t it be nice if major news outlets care more about the fact that Karl Rove seems to be constantly lying?
  • As the Washington Post‘s On Faith section publishes a hateful screed from Tony Perkins on National Coming Out Day, it’s easy to imagine Katharine Graham weeping.
  • Health Care For America Now has a new video out featuring Jack Black as a professional “Mis-Informant.” It’s pretty funny, and worth checking out.
  • Do college dropouts cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars? Well, sort of.

You got anything to add?

By |2010-10-13T06:58:29-04:00October 13th, 2010|Afghanistan, Congress, Economy, Obama administration, Party Politics, Sports|Comments Off on Grab Bag Wednesday morning (Update)
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