|Progressive Calendar 03.25.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 05:59:39 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.25.09 1. Choice/Capitol 3.25 8:45am 2. Poverty/KFAI 3.25 11am 3. People's bailout 3.25 12:15pm 4. Vote count 3.25 6pm 5. Civil rights dept 3.25 6pm 6. Nuke nuke power 3.25 6:30pm 7. IOUSA/debt film 3.25 8. Kilowatt Ours/f 3.25 8pm 9. Second chance 3.26 8:30am 10. Mexico/MN/law 3.26 4pm 11. Eagan peace vigil 3.26 4:30pm 12. Northtown vigil 3.26 5pm 13. Airport madness 3.26 6:30pm [ed head] 14. Kip/single payer 3.26 6:45pm 15. AI benefit 3.26 7pm 16. StP schools 3.26 7pm 17. Harvey Wasserman - The crash of France's nuclear poster child 18. Harvey Wasserman - People died at Three Mile Island; 30 years & on.. 19. M Shadid Alam - Capitalism from the standpoint of its victims 20. ed - Sham poo (helpful household hint) --------1 of 20-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Choice/Capitol 3.25 8:45am March 25: NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Pro-Choice Lobby Day at the State Capitol. 8:45 AM - 2:30 PM. Register. --------2 of 20-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Poverty/KFAI 3.25 11am TRUTH TO TELL NOW 900 WATTS STRONG: FM 90.3/Minneapolis-106.7/St. Paul and STREAMING LIVE AT KFAI.org WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2511:00AM MAJORA CARTER and LOCAL GREEN JOBS POVERTY-KILLERS Part of KFAI'S STRIVE TO THRIVE SERIES on POVERTY in MINNESOTA Poverty's ugly head continues to pester a culture claiming to be equal in all respects. Many Minnesotans believe "we're not as bad as other places." But thousands of Minnesota's children and families wallow in unnecessary poverty, hundreds homeless, unable to find work, to eat properly and to learn; Poverty's effects have been and can be even more devastating for all of us...if we look back and down and not ahead. But huge coalitions are forming nationally and locally toward lifting whole communities out of the mire and create sustainable and livable communities at the same time. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with one national and several Twin City movers and inspirations for building and rebuilding poverty-stricken communities with jobs and foresight. GUESTS: ALEX TITTLE Education Direcor, Summit Academy OIC, H.I.R.E. (Healthcare, Infrastructure, and Renewable Energy) Minnesota Green Jobs Initiative KAREN MONAHAN Community Organizer, EJAM (Environmental Justice Advocates of MN) JOHN HOTTINGER former State Senate Majority Leader; Sierra Club and Blue/Green Alliance MAJORA CARTER - Founder, Sustainable South Bronx AND YOU! COMMENTS? QUESTIONS? CALL IN: 612-341-0980. --------3 of 20-------- From: Steff Yorek <yosteff [at] gmail.com> Subject: People's bailout 3.25 12:15pm Legislation that would protect low-income and working people: Senate Committee to hold hearing on Minnesota People's Bail Out Act Press Conference: March 25, 12:15 In front of room 123, MN State Capitol The first senate hearing on the Minnesota People's Bail Out Act (Senate File 542) will be held in the Minnesota Senate Business Industry and Jobs Committee on Wednesday, March 25, at 12:30 am in room 123 of the MN State Capitol in St. Paul. The People's Bail Out Act is a legislative initiative calling on state government to take steps to protect low-income and working people from the worst effects of the current economic crisis. Public testimony is expected from supporters of the People's Bail Out Act at the Wednesday hearing. The act would put a moratorium on housing foreclosures and it would force banks and mortgage companies that foreclose on rental property to honor existing leases, thus preventing tenants from becoming homeless. Many of the touted programs to help homeowners and tenants have not yet taken effect on the ground, so MN needs a moratorium. The act also would extend and expand eligibility for unemployment benefits, create a new public works program to put people to work, and place a moratorium on the five-year lifetime limit for public assistance. The act would prevent layoffs of public sector workers, including workers at the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout, a group of community, labor and other organizations, has been working with a broad range of community organizations to win support for the legislation. "We are in the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the great depression. Legislators need to pass protections for working Minnesotans that have real teeth. The act will provide protection from the most damaging affects of unemployment: mortgage foreclosures and evictions," said Phyllis Walker, President of AFSCME Local 3800, one of the organizations supporting the Peoples Bailout Act. "Families on welfare are facing a very bleak situation unless there is an extension of the 5-year limit on receiving public assistance," said Deb Konechne of MN People's Bailout Coalition and the Welfare Rights Committee. Konechne continued "It is not realistic to expect these families to recover in the limited time currently available to them." The act would protect tenants in rental properties that are foreclosed. Currently, tenants in foreclosed properties can be given as little as a 60-day notice to vacate their rental homes once the bank or mortgage company reclaims the property. "Tenants should not be made homeless when their landlord loses the property. Tenants have paid their rent and that rent was supposed to go to pay the landlords' mortgages," said Mick Kelly of the MN Peoples' Bailout Coalition. The act would also put in place a moratorium on foreclosures for homeowners. With an unemployment rate of 8.1% and rising means foreclosures will increase exponentially," Kelly continued. A broad range of organizations have signed on to support the Bail Out Act, including the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, representing union households in the east metro area; AFSCME Council 5, Council on Black Minnesotans; AFSCME Local 3800; Elim Transitional Housing, Inc; Welfare Rights Committee and many others. --------4 of 20-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Vote count 3.25 6pm The League of Women Voters Minneapolis and others presents the Census Counts: Why a Complete Count is Crucial for Minnesota. Join them for a lively community discussion where you will discover how Minnesota could be affected by an undercount in the next census, and learn what you can do to help. 6 - 8 PM at Minneapolis Central Library. --------5 of 20-------- From: Todd Heintz <proud2liveinjordan [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Mpls civil rights dept 3.25 6pm Learn more about recent recommendations to transfer the Complaint Investigations Unit of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department to the State Human Rights Department. Join Community members, advocates, attorneys & elected officials to address this Critical Issue. Wednesday March 25th, 2009, 6-8 pm Minneapolis Urban League 2100 Plymouth Ave North Minneapolis, Mn 55411 --------6 of 20-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Nuke nuke power 3.25 6:30pm Attend Nuclear Energy Hearing and Give the Message "No to More Nuclear Power in Minnesota!" Wednesday, March 25, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. State Office Building (across the street from the State Capitol), Room 200, 100 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. Some legislators are proposing to repeal Minnesota's ban on construction of new nuclear power plants. The joint House-Senate Legislative Energy Commission has invited people from both sides to testify at the hearing, including Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, who will report on evidence of the technical and economic feasibility for a carbon-free, nuclear-free U.S. energy system by mid-century. The hearing is open to the public. Attend all or part. We need a public show of support. Legislators need to know how their constituents feel about proposals that would open the door to new nuclear power plants in Minnesota. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit http://www.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/lec/members.htm. --------7 of 20-------- From: Elizabeth Dickinson <eadickinson [at] mindspring.com> Subject: IOUSA/debt film 3.25 7pm Free Sustainability Film Series - Spring 2009 Wed, March 25 - 7 pm - I.O.U.S.A. www.iousathemovie.com "To the U.S. economy what 'An Inconvenient Truth' was to the environment." Boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions. Directed by Patrick Creadon. --------8 of 20-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Kilowatt Ours/film 3.25 8pm Our next Casket Cinema screening is the documentary, "Kilowatt Hours". We will screen it Wednesday, March 25th at 8pm. A TBA Special Guest from Minnesota Clean Water Action will be part of the Q&A after the movie. The film is an important look at our energy use and the enviroment. A $5 donation will benefit the filmmaker. From the film's website) Award-winning film Kilowatt Ours: A Plan to Re-Energize America is a timely, solutions-oriented look at one of America's most pressing environmental challenges: energy. Filmmaker Jeff Barrie offers hope as he turns the camera on himself and asks, "How can I make a difference?" In his journey Barrie explores the source of our electricity and the problems caused by energy production including mountain top removal, childhood asthma and global warming. Along the way he encounters individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities who are leading the way, using energy conservation, efficiency and renewable, green power all while saving money and the environment. Today, more than 50% of our nation's electricity is generated from coal. In the southeast U.S., where household electricity use is highest, this amounts to more than 12,000 pounds of coal burned per home per year. Buildings in America consume nearly 2/3 of all the energy we use. The typical American home emits twice the annual global warming emissions compared the typical car. So, if we can make our buildings Net Zero buildings, the benefits to the environment and our quality of life will be profound. A Net Zero building is one that generates all the energy it needs with renewable power (like wind power or solar energy), either on-site or through the electricity grid. Using technologies available in retail stores today, most homeowners can do this affordably. If done right, a Net-Zero home will save you hundreds of dollars annually. Kilowatt Ours is creating a network of homeowners and renters dedicated to striving for Net-Zero energy usage in their homes and apartments. March 25th, Doors at 7:30, films at 8pm, please BYOB and proceeds from your $5 donation will go to the the filmmaker. Casket Arts Building Studio 145, 681 17th AVE NE (parking lot above 17th AVE to the left, off Monroe) As always, please BYOB and enter thru the NE loading dock door, under the big RED arrow! Sponsored by Casket Cinema, Mark Wojahn & Tobin Russell Photography <http://tobinrussell.com/>: Also Join the "Casket Cinema Group" on Facebook for timely updates and easy scheduling. Casket Cinema is located inside Studio 145. It is a "living" art space for the collaboration of ideas and solutions for our local and global community. We encourage you to participate here with your thoughts and concerns. We hope to be expanding this vision with your involvement. ---------9 of 20-------- From: David Strand <lavgrn [at] gmail.com> Subject: Second chance 6.26 8:30am SECOND CHANCE Voting Rights Notification HOUSE HEARING WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! A hearing has been scheduled in the Minnesota House on the Second Chance bill which strengthens the laws requiring the notification to previously incarcerated people of the restoration of their voting rights when they have completed probation or parole. House File 545: Civil rights restoration notice required. Thursday, March 26th 8:30 am Room 200 in the State Office Building Government Operations Committee This bill is sponsored by Representative Champion , and is a companion to one being sponsored in the MN Senate by Senator Moua. The other House authors are: Hayden ; Simon ; Hornstein ; Lesch ; Reinert ; Hilty ; Davnie ; Persell ; and Mullery. My understanding from Rep. Champion's aide, DJ Danielson, is that HF 545 is first on the agenda. So it should be heard right at 8:30 am. If you are able to attend please RSVP to: Pamela Twiss Program & Organizing Director Pamela [at] takeactionminnesota.org --------10 of 20-------- From: Human Rights Center/Lauren Merritt <humanrts [at] umn.edu> Subject: Mexico/MN/law 3.26 4pm Mexico - Minnesota: Intersecting Criminal Justice Reforms and the Promotion of Human Rights Criminal justice reforms in Mexico promise more transparency and effectiveness -- will they live up to their promise? Dialogue: Past, Present, Future Panel: Barbara A. Frey Director of the Human Rights Program, University of Minnesota, Juan Carlos Arjona EstÚvez NGO consultant on topics related to sexual and reproductive rights, freedom of expression and genocides March 26, 2009 4:00 pm Lindquist & Vennum Room, 385 University of Minnesota Law School Free and open to the public, refreshments will be served. Organized by the Institute for Advanced Study's collaborative on Mexico-Minnesota --------11 of 20-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 3.26 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------12 of 20-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.26 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------13 of 20-------- From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net> Subject: Airport madness 3.26 6:30pm [ed head] Organizational Meeting Notice Concerned Citizens of the North Metro Thursday March 26, at 6:30 PM Northtown Branch Anoka County Libraries 711 County Road 10 NE, Blaine 763-717-3267 We want to get serious and work on many aspects of this airport expansion fight and we need your help. Please bring your ideas, enthusiasm and energy. It's time to organize! Any Questions, comments contact us at rrholch [at] attg.net , trubador2 [at] msn.com, Riceb72 [at] comca <mailto:Riceb72 [at] comcast.net> st.net Here is an article that appeared in today's Pioneer Press (March 5, 2009) regarding the MetroNorth Chamber's meeting yesterday and the fact that they are considering endorsing 6,000 foot runways for the Anoka County-Blaine Airport (AC/B). To all of the doubters out there, ask them to read this article and tell them that the Metropolitan Council is also looking into expanding our runways to 6,000 feet in length under the heading of being a "Minor II" Airport. The THREAT is REAL !!! [ie our rich parasites want it] ------ MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce may back runway extension at Anoka County-Blaine Airport Group weighing resident concerns, economic benefits By Brady Gervais bgervais [at] pioneerpress.com The MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce is considering backing the contentious runway expansion at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport. While a decision could be months away, the chamber has supported past improvements at the reliever airport, notes Executive Director Tom Snell. The organization includes business leaders from across Anoka County. Airport officials want to extend a runway to improve safety for aircraft taking off and landing in bad weather. But nearby residents have banded together to fight the plan, fearing a busier and louder airport. The chamber, though, will look into the economic benefits. If the group backs an expansion, Snell hopes its support would carry some weight. "The airport is important to business in our area," he said. "You want it to be a venture that's going to drive business growth." The Pioneer Press is a member of the chamber. The Metropolitan Airports Commission is studying expanding the airport's 5,000-foot east-west runway to 6,000 feet, Gary Schmidt, the commission's director of reliever airports, told chamber members Wednesday. Key Air, an executive charter service at the airport, requested Anoka County's support this past fall for a longer runway. If warranted, the longer runway could be included in the commission's comprehensive plan, Schmidt said. The 20-year plan is now being updated. Schmidt said: "We're not proposing anything at this point." But the MAC is looking at investing in its reliever airports, he said. There's an increased demand during business hours at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Lengthening the Anoka County-Blaine Airport's runway beyond 5,000 feet would need to be approved by the state Legislature. Nearby residents already have expressed their displeasure. They fear the expansion would open the way for larger aircraft, more-frequent flights and around-the-clock takeoffs and landings. They also worry property values would fall. And they are concerned nothing would stop the MAC from expanding the airport again. It was just a few years ago the runway was extended to 5,000 feet for safety needs, they note. "Are we going to come back again in a few years and say 8,000 feet is for safety?" Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah asked at Wednesday's meeting. The airport likely couldn't accommodate a runway longer than 6,000 feet because of space, Schmidt said. The chamber respects residents' concerns but has a responsibility to determine the economic impact of expanding the airport, said Leonard Gandel, who serves on the chamber board. [Them and their fine "responsibility" talk. The chamber of commerce can be trusted to have the wrong position on every issue. -ed] Brady Gervais can be reached at 651-228-2171. --------14 of 20-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: Kip/single payer 3.26 6:45pm Kip Sullivan, Health Systems Analyst for the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition and author of the book, "The health Care Mess", will speak March 26th, 6:45 P.M., at Valley Community Presbyterian Church. Mr. Sullivan will discuss the American health care reform debate from the perspective of a single-payer advocate. Three schools of thought have dominated the health care debate: single-payer, managed care, and very high-deductible policies. He will explain these three approaches and examine both state and federal legislation that is currently being discussed. Valley Community Presbyterian Church is located at 3100 Lilac Drive North, Golden Valley. Travel east from Highway 100 on 36th Ave N, then south on Regent, following the signs to the church. This program is sponsored by NW Neighbors for Peace and is free and open to all. For more information contact: NWN4P [at] yahoo.com <mailto:NWN4P [at] yahoo.com> --------15 of 20-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI benefit 3.26 7pm Special announcement from Amnesty International USA Group 37 "Heroes & Villains" - Paintings by Louisa Greenstock Exhibit and Silent Auction to benefit Amnesty International Thursday, March 26th, 7:00 p.m. Brit's Pub 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis Presented by Brit's Pub, with live music featuring Steve Noonan Join Brit artist Louisa Greenstock and local Amnesty International members for this exhibit of a new collection of paintings showcasing some of the United Kingdom's more recent Heroes and Villains. Subjects include David Beckham and Oasis's infamous Gallagher brothers! One of the paintings on display will be sold in a silent auction, with proceeds to benefit the human rights work of Amnesty International. Local singer/song writer Steve Noonan will be playing from 8.00 p.m. and there will be $2 beer and wine specials throughout the evening! The event takes place in Brit's wood paneled Club House. Map & directions: http://www.britspub.com/about/index.php?strWebAction=map Louisa Greenstock's web site: http://www.louisagreenstock.com --------16 of 20-------- From: Anne R. Carroll <carrfran [at] qwest.net> Subject: StP schools 3.26 7pm Saint Paul Public Schools Board of Education invites community to upcoming Listening Session The Saint Paul Public Schools Board of Education will hold the next Listening Session Thursday, March 26, 2009 from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary. The Listening Session, part of the Board's community engagement, is designed to allow participants the opportunity to speak with Board members in an open forum with no pre-determined topics. The session is similar to town hall meetings held by state legislators to connect with constituents. At least two Board of Education members will participate in the session to listen and talk about topics and issues participants choose to address. The Listening Session is in addition to, and less formal than, public comment session held each month during regular Board of Education meetings. They are not Board meetings, but will be hosted and facilitated by Board members who are looking forward to hearing what people have to say. Board members participating in the Listening Session will share discussion from the session with Board colleagues at the earliest opportunity following the listening session. For more information about the Listening Session, please call 651-767-8149. To request a Hmong, Spanish, or Somali interpreter for the session, please call 651-767-8320 by Monday, March 23. John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary is located at 740 York Avenue in Saint Paul. --------17 of 20-------- Areva's Money Meltdown The Crash of France's Nuclear Poster Child By HARVEY WASSERMAN March 19, 2009 CounterPunch The myth of a successful nuclear power industry in France has melted into financial chaos. With it dies the corporate-hyped poster child for a "nuclear renaissance" of new reactor construction that is drowning in red ink and radioactive waste. Areva, France's nationally-owned corporate atomic faade, has plunged into a deep financial crisis led by a devastating shortage of cash. Electricite de France, the French national utility, has been raided by European Union officials charging that its price-fixing may be undermining competition throughout the continent. Delays and cost overruns continue to escalate at Areva's catastrophic Olkiluoto reactor construction project in Finland. Areva has admitted to a $2.2 billion, or 55%, cost increase in the Finnish building site after three and a half years. The Flamanville project - the only one now being built in France - is already over $1 billion more expensive than projected after a single year under construction. In 2008, France's nuclear power output dropped 0.1%, while wind generation rose more than 37%. Attempts to build new French reactors in the US are meeting stiffened resistance. And the definitive failure of America's Yucca Mountain nuke waste dump mirrors France's parallel inability to deal with its own radioactive trash. Widely portrayed as the model of corporate success, reactor-builder Areva is desperately short of money. As it begs a bailout from its dominant owner, the French government, Areva's mismanagement and overextension in promoting and building new reactors has wrecked its image in worldwide capital markets. According to Mycle Schneider, Paris-based author of "Nuclear Power in France - Beyond the Myth," Areva shares have plunged by over 60% since June 2008, twice as much as the CAC40, the standard indicator of the 40 largest French companies on the stock market. Areva's hyper-active public relations department has made much of recent orders to build two new reactors in China. But it's now begging France's taxpayers for some $4 billion in short term bailout money, and may need still another $6 billion more to pay for investments in uranium mines, fuel production and heavy manufacturing ventures. Areva will also need more than 2 billion Euros (about US$3 billion) to buy back shares in its nuke reactor unit after Germany's Siemens pulled out of a joint venture. There have been significant, highly-publicized bumps in the Chinese transaction. And Areva may now be forced to pony up billions more in penalties from delays and overruns at its reactor construction fiasco in Finland. The Finnish government will also have to meet additional costs from trading in carbon emissions because it had firmly counted on the new reactor to supply "green" power as of this year. Olkiluoto is now not expected to deliver electricity before 2012. Areva's woes have caused French President Nicolas Sarkozy to face possible job cuts and asset sales at the government-controlled energy giant, which was formed in 2001. China's two-reactor order includes a promise from Areva to supply up to 20 years worth of nuclear fuel. Areva also hopes to sell at least seven reactors in the US, but these plans are meeting stiff resistance. Complex ownership and licensing battles have erupted at Constellation Energy, meant to be the conduit for two new reactors in Maryland. Ratepayer revolts in Florida and Missouri have arisen over plans to force the public to pay for new reactors as they are being built. Electric rates in the Sunshine State have already begun to soar due to proposed nuke construction, prompting an angry grassroots upheaval. The potential American reactor market has also been bloodied by the definitive disposal of the proposed high level dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. After decades as the centerpiece of America's "solution" to the nuke waste problem, with at least $10 billion spent on it, Yucca's failure underscores France's own waste dilemma. The French reprocessing center at La Hague has come under widespread attack for its massive radiation discharges into the English Channel and surrounding atmosphere. The plant has produced over nine thousand containers of extremely high level wastes with no safe place to go. Its by-product of plutonium has complicated global attempts to curb the spread of radioactive materials capable of being turned into nuclear bombs. In addition to the reprocessing wastes, without a permanent repository of its own, France's 58 reactors have also accumulated over ten thousand tons of spent fuel rods, as the 104 units in the US constantly generate. Areva says it hopes to raise cash by selling part of a uranium enrichment plant under construction in southern France to Japan's Kansai Electric. Other asset sales may be hampered by slumping market values. Areva also hopes to partner with US weapons builder Northrop Grumman to build heavy reactor equipment in Virginia. But on March 11, European Union regulators raided EdF offices because "suspected illegal conduct may include actions to raise prices on the French wholesale electricity market." The stunning action against the massive conglomerate, which is 84.8% owned by the French government, could result in huge fines. The EU says EdF may have manipulated prices and redrawn contracts for some 60 key corporate users. Nuke backers constantly tout that close to 80% of France's electricity comes from reactors whose power flows through EdF. But Areva's cash shortage and EdF's price-fixing scandal underscore the huge financial imbalances imposed by building and operating atomic reactors. According to Schneider, "EDF's shares dropped by over 40% during the last six months alone. When management in February 2009 announced that larger than expected charges had corroded profits, share value dropped by 7% overnight and continued to fall since. The EDF share now stands 12% below the value when it was first introduced to the stock market in November 2005. Not really a brilliant investment." EdF and Areva are at the core of what has been labeled as the global "nuclear renaissance." Their escalating money problems underscore an epic failure that has been a significant factor in the current global economic crisis. After a half-century of massive government subsidies in the US, UK, France and elsewhere, atomic energy still staggers under an unsustainable load of high construction costs and uncompetitive prices for the electricity it generates. EdF's recent $17.5 billion takeover of nuke utility British Energy came with a warning from EdF officials that England's commitment to wind turbines could undermine the future of nuclear power. The statement evoked widespread astonishment and scorn from the environmental community. In the financial community, concerns still linger over the half-trillion-dollar (and still climbing) cost of the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl. The instant $900 million conversion of the "asset" at Three Mile Island into an epic liability occurred 30 years ago this month. (The conversion of Michigan's Fermi I reactor at Monroe into a $100 million molten mess happened October 5, 1966). The costs from the earthquake last year that crippled seven reactors at Japan's Kashiwazaki are still rising. The failure of Yucca Mountain has converted billions of dollars in utility and taxpayer investments into pure waste. Growing grassroots movements in Vermont and elsewhere threaten to cut off license extensions and shut American reactors at which decommissioning funds have been slashed by the collapse of US investment funds. The argument that atomic energy provides an answer for global warming turned to a deep embarrassment in France when reactors were forced to shut during the summer heat because they were raising river temperatures far beyond legal limits. In another case, a reactor containment had to be sprayed in order to cool it back to operational temperatures. Similar shutdowns came at a reactor in Alabama. But as massive cost overruns and delays continue to escalate at Areva's showpiece reactor construction fiasco in Finland, the industry clamors for unlimited access to taxpayer funds. The surging stream of atomic failure continues to guarantee that private investors will favor green technologies like solar, wind and efficiency. Thus in France, as elsewhere, the "nuclear renaissance" may be still-born. In 2007, world nuclear electricity generation dropped by an unprecedented 2%. According to Schneider, in 2008, for the first time in nuclear power history, no new reactor was connected to the grid anywhere on Earth. As Schneider's "Nuclear Power in France - Beyond the Myth" points out, after 35 years of nuclear power development, the French "nuclear dreamland" gets only 16% of its final energy from nuclear power. Commissioned by the Greens-EFA Group in the European Parliament (Brussels, December, 2008), Schneider's report shows that despite its huge nuclear commitment, almost half of France's energy consumption still comes from oil. In fact, says Schneider, "the wasteful nature of the French economy and households leads to a higher per capita consumption of oil than in Germany, Italy, the UK or even the EU on average. "Those who think that nuclear power would be a cheap and clean way to render the US less dependent on oil should have a close look at the French record." At the French heart of its "renaissance," the nuclear clock is winding down, not up. Time is running out for a radioactive technology that, after fifty years, remains unable to muster a sustainable level of private financing, shows no real promise of ever paying for itself, and has now plunged into deepening financial chaos. Harvey Wasserman, a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw [at] aol.com --------18 of 20--------- 30 Years and Counting People Died at Three Mile Island By HARVEY WASSERMAN March 24, 2009 CounterPunch People died - and are still dying - at Three Mile Island. As the thirtieth anniversary of America's most infamous industrial accident approaches, we mourn the deaths that accompanied the biggest string of lies ever told in US industrial history. As news of the accident poured into the global media, the public was assured there were no radiation releases. That quickly proved to be false. The public was then told the releases were controlled and done purposely to alleviate pressure on the core. Both those assertions were false. The public was told the releases were "insignificant." But stack monitors were saturated and unusable, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later told Congress it did not know - and STILL does not know - how much radiation was released at Three Mile Island, or where it went. Using unsubstantiated estimates of how much radiation was released, the government issued average doses allegedly received by people in the region, which it assured the public were safe. But the estimates were utterly meaningless, among other things ignoring the likelihood that high doses of concentrated fallout could come down heavily on specific areas. Official estimates said a uniform dose to all persons in the region was equivalent to a single chest x-ray. But pregnant women are no longer x-rayed because it has long been known a single dose can do catastrophic damage to an embryo or fetus in utero. The public was told there was no melting of fuel inside the core. But robotic cameras later showed a very substantial portion of the fuel did melt. The public was told there was no danger of an explosion. But there was, as there had been at Michigan's Fermi reactor in 1966. In 1986, Chernobyl Unit Four did explode. The public was told there was no need to evacuate anyone from the area. But Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh then evacuated pregnant women and small children. Unfortunately, many were sent to nearby Hershey, which was showered with fallout. In fact, the entire region should have been immediately evacuated. It is standard wisdom in the health physics community that - due in part to the extreme vulnerability of human embryos, fetuses and small children, as well as the weaknesses of old age - there is no safe dose of radiation, and none will ever be found. The public was assured the government would follow up with meticulous studies of the health impacts of the accident. In fact, the state of Pennsylvania hid the health impacts, including deletion of cancers from the public record, abolition of the state's tumor registry, misrepresentation of the impacts it could not hide (including an apparent tripling of the infant death rate in nearby Harrisburg) and much more. The federal government did nothing to track the health histories of the region's residents. In fact, the most reliable studies were conducted by local residents like Jane Lee and Mary Osborne, who went door-to-door in neighborhoods where the fallout was thought to be worst. Their surveys showed very substantial plagues of cancer, leukemia, birth defects, respiratory problems, hair loss, rashes, lesions and much more. A study by Columbia University claimed there were no significant health impacts, but its data by some interpretations points in the opposite direction. Investigations by epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Wing of the University of North Carolina, and others, led Wing to warn that the official studies on the health impacts of the accident suffered from "logical and methodological problems". Studies by Wing and by Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry official, being announced this week at Harrisburg, significantly challenge official pronouncements on both radiation releases and health impacts. Gundersen, a leading technical expert on nuclear engineering, says: "When I correctly interpreted the containment pressure spike and the doses measured in the environment after the TMI accident, I proved that TMI's releases were about one hundred times higher than the industry and the NRC claim, in part because the containment leaked. This new data supports the epidemiology of Dr. Steve Wing and proves that there really were injuries from the accident. New reactor designs are also effected, as the NRC is using its low assumed release rates to justify decreases in emergency planning and containment design." Data unearthed by radiologist Dr. Ernest Sternglass of the University of Pittsburgh, and statisticians Jay Gould (now deceased) and Joe Mangano of New York have led to strong assertions of major public health impacts. On-going work by Sternglass and Mangano clearly indicates that "normal" reactor radiation releases of far less magnitude that those at TMI continue to have catastrophic impacts on local populations. Anecdotal evidence among the local human population has been devastating. Large numbers of central Pennsylvanians suffered skin sores and lesions that erupted while they were out of doors as the fallout rained down on them. Many quickly developed large, visible tumors, breathing problems, and a metallic taste in their mouths that matched that experienced by some of the men who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, and who were exposed to nuclear tests in the south Pacific and Nevada. A series of interviews conducted by Robbie Leppzer and compiled in a two-hour public radio documentary VOICES FROM THREE MILE ISLAND give some indication of the horrors experienced by the people of central Pennsylvania. They are further underscored by harrowing broadcasts from then-CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite warning that "the world has never known a day quite like today. It faced the considerable uncertainties and dangers of the worst nuclear power plant accident of the atomic age. And the horror tonight is that it could get much worse". In March of 1980, I went into the region and compiled a range of interviews clearly indicating widespread health damage done by radiation from the accident. The survey led to the book KILLING OUR OWN, co-authored with Norman Solomon, Robert Alvarez and Eleanor Walters which correlated the damage done at TMI with that suffered during nuclear bomb tests, atomic weapons production, mis-use of medical x-rays, the painting of radium watch dials, uranium mining and milling, radioactive fuel production, failed attempts at waste disposal, and more. My research at TMI also uncovered a plague of death and disease among the area's wild animals and farm livestock. Entire bee hives expired immediately after the accident, along with a disappearance of birds, many of whom were found scattered dead on the ground. A rash of malformed pets were born and stillborn, including kittens that could not walk and a dog with no eyes. Reproductive rates among the region's cows and horses plummeted. Much of this was documented by a three-person investigative team from the Baltimore News-American, which made it clear that the problems could only have been caused by radiation. Statistics from Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture confirmed the plague, but the state denied its existence, and said that if it did exist, it could not have been caused by TMI. In the mid-1980s the citizens of the three counties surrounding Three Mile Island voted by a margin of 3:1 to permanently retire TMI Unit One, which had been shut when Unit Two melted. The Reagan Administration trashed the vote and re-opened the reactor, which still operates. Its owners now seek a license renewal. Some 2400 area residents have long-since filed a class action lawsuit demanding compensation for the plague of death and disease visited upon their families. In the past quarter-century they have been denied access to the federal court system, which claims there was not enough radiation released to do such harm. TMI's owners did quietly pay out millions in damages to area residents whose children were born with genetic damage, among other things. The payments came in exchange for silence among those receiving them. But for all the global attention focused on the accident and its health effects, there has never been a binding public trial to test the assertion by thousands of conservative central Pennsylvanians that radiation from TMI destroyed their lives. So while the nuclear power industry continues to assert that "no one died at Three Mile Island," it refuses to allow an open judicial hearing on the hundreds of cases still pending. As the pushers of the "nuclear renaissance" demand massive tax- and rate-payer subsidies to build yet another generation of reactors, they cynically stonewall the obvious death toll that continues to mount at the site of an accident that happened thirty years ago. The "see no evil" mantra continues to define all official approaches to the victims of this horrific disaster. Ironically, like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island Unit Two was a state-of-the-art reactor. Its official opening came on December 28, 1978, and it melted exactly three months later. Had it operated longer, the accumulated radiation spewing from its core almost certainly would have been far greater. Every reactor now operating in the US is much older - nearly all fully three decades older - than TMI-2 when it melted. Their potential fallout that could dwarf what came down in 1979. But the Big Lie remains officially in tact. Expect to hear all week that TMI was "a success story" because "no one was killed." But in mere moments that brand new reactor morphed from a $900 million asset to a multi-billion-dollar liability. It could happen to any atomic power plant, now, tomorrow and into the future. Meanwhile, the death toll from America's worst industrial catastrophe continues to rise. More than ever, it is shrouded in official lies and desecrated by a reactor-pushing "renaissance" hell-bent on repeating the nightmare on an even larger scale. Harvey Wasserman has been writing about atomic energy and the green alternatives since 1973. His 1982 assertion to Bryant Gumbel on NBC's TODAY Show that people were killed at TMI sparked a national mailing from the reactor industry demanding a retraction. NBC was later bought by Westinghouse, still a major force pushing atomic power. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw [at] aol.com [You don't have to be sociopathic to be rich, but it helps. -ed] --------19 of 20-------- The Fall of the Towers of Wall Street Capitalism From the Standpoint of Its Victims By M. SHAHID ALAM counterPunch March 23, 2009 It has never been easy offering a critique of capitalism or markets to my undergraduate students. Most have never heard an unkind word about these bedrock institutions, which they know to be the foundations of American power and prosperity. These are hallowed institutions. The power of private capital to produce jobs, wealth and freedom is one of the central dogmas that many Americans absorb with their mother's milk. To hear this dogma challenged - in any context - is unsettling. I sometimes suspect that this bitter pill is harder to swallow because it emanates from someone who, so transparently, is not a native-born American. As the weeks pass, however, my students appear to settle down. In the past, they have been reassured to learn that markets have done a good job at delivering prosperity to a few centers of global capitalism. They do work for us, even if they have not worked for most Asians, Africans and Latin Americans. Nevertheless, the thesis that "free" markets have rarely worked for economies lagging far behind the economic leaders, does not quite take root. The fault could not lie with markets. For too long, the West has believed that Asians, Africans and Latin Americans failed because they were lazy, spendthrift, venal and unimaginative. My students - like most Americans _ have been conditioned to look at capitalism from the standpoint of the winners in global capitalism. Because of the accident of birth, they have been the beneficiaries of the wealth and power that global capitalism concentrates at the nodes of the system. They cannot conceive how a system that has worked so well for them could produce misery for others in Asia, Africa and Latin America. I have been away from my teaching duties as the United States has led the world into a deepening recession. Within a few months, the titans of Wall Street have been laid low, rescued from extinction by tax-financed bailouts. Teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, the auto giants have been placed on life-support also by taxpayers, their future still uncertain. In this maelstrom, there steps forward Bernard L. Madoff, the Einstein of Ponzi schemes, who operated his colossal con for twenty years without notice from regulators. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs; millions are threatened with loss of their homes; millions have seen their retirement funds melt before their eyes; millions are threatened with loss of health care. As Americans on Main Street were being devastated, executives of bailed out banks continued to receive millions in bonuses. That straw now threatens to break the back of the fabled American tolerance for the foibles of the capitalist system. Ordinarily, American democracy directs its venom against writers and activists on the left, foolish enough to want to defend the underprivileged. For a change, Americans are threatening captains of finance, venerable bankers, with dire consequences - even death threats. I was on sabbatical when Al-Qaida brought down the Twin Towers on September 11. Then, I was relieved to be away from my students, afraid that some of them might want to lump me with those who had perpetrated these attacks. I am on sabbatical, again, as the towers on Wall Street were being toppled by greed, recklessness and fraud; by a free-market ideology that has no regard for human life; by capitalist elites and their partners in the White House and Congress, who had turned the financial sector into a giant Ponzi scheme. Americans have been subjected to acts of "terrorism" whose final human toll will make September 11 look like a tea party. The perpetrators of this terror are all homegrown; they were trained not in the mountains of Afghanistan but at Harvard, Yale and Stanford; the bankers, executives and legislators who preyed on Americans are the creme de la creme of American society. When I return to teach in Fall of this year, I expect to meet students chastened by their experience. Nothing undermines capitalist ideologies faster and more effectively than capitalist crises. No critique of capitalism can be more penetrating than the depredations of unemployment, immiseration, homelessness that it inflicts on its victims. So recently victimized - at the very center of global capitalism - perhaps, Americans might learn to empathize with victims elsewhere - in Africa, Asia and Latin America - who have been ravaged by this system for centuries. Capitalist ideologues will be working overtime to deflect American anger away from the system to a few villains, to a few rotten apples. Congressional hearings will identify scapegoats; they will hang a few "witches". A few capitalist barons will be sacrificed. As public anger subsides, attempts will be made to shift the blame to feckless homebuyers and compulsive consumers. At all costs, the system must be saved. The capitalist show must go on, with as little change as possible. Quite apart from this crisis, however, new technologies, in combination with the irreversible shift of sovereignty to some segments of the capitalist periphery, have been changing the dynamics of unequal development. The high-wage workers - the so-called middle classes in the developed countries - have been losing the protection they have long enjoyed against competition from low-wage workers in China and India. More and more global capitalism will enrich some workers in the "periphery" at the cost of workers in the "centers" of capitalism. In the years ahead, the great alliance that was forged between capitalists and workers in the centers of capitalism will come under greater strain. More and more, the interests of these two classes will diverge. Powerful corporations will still insist on openness, while growing ranks of workers will press for protectionism. This revival of class conflict in the old capitalist centers will strain existing political arrangements. After a co-optation that has lasted for more than a century, the demos will begin to threaten the corporate elites. New demands will be placed on intellectual mercenaries in the media and academia to use new, more effective tools to dumb down the demos. As growing segments of high-wage workers in the rich countries become the new victims of capitalism, will they slowly learn to see capitalism from the standpoint of its victims? In this new emerging reality, will orthodox economics migrate from its old centers in London, Cambridge and Chicago to new centers in Bangalore and Beijing? A curious world this will be when seen from the old centers. In truth, this will only be a long-delayed correction to two centuries of unequal development, dominated by Western centers. Sadly, the correction will not go far enough: it will leave much of the world mired in poverty and disease. M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. This essay is excerpted from his forthcoming book, Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave Macmillan: November 2009).He is author of Challenging the New Orientalism (2007). Send comments to alqalam02760 [at] yahoo.com. Visit his website at: http://aslama.org. --------20 of 20-------- Fido won't do his poo? Tip: on his best brown lawn spot, sprinkle shampoo. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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