Progressive Calendar 03.15.11
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 15:58:07 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.15.11

1. Labor rallies 3.15 5:30pm
2. Salon rating  3.15 6:30pm
3. Sustain/films 3.15 7pm
4. Cuba          3.15 7pm

5. Greg Palast - Tokyo Electric to build us nuclear plants

--------1 of 5--------

From: kim defranco <kimdefranco [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Labor rallies 3.15 5:30pm

The War on Labor is spreading to Minnesota!  Attend a rally near you.
Support worker's rights!

Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011, 5:30 PM Minneapolis Defend the Dream Rally
Hennepin County Government Center
300 South 6th St
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Directions: Hennepin Cnty Govt Cntr
300 S. 6th St
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Map: http://mapq.st/emncgN
Hosted by Patrick T. Murphy, betty Dokken, sandy ahlstrom, Henry Wiggs
Description Let's turnout to Defend the American Dream against the budget
slashing corporate lackeys. Corporations and the 2% keep piling up bonuses, tax
breaks, and crony capitalist plunder while the Other 98% watch our jobs, homes
and pensions vanish.
Hennepin Cnty Govt Cntr
300 S. 6th St
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Map: http://mapq.st/emncgN
Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011, 5:30 PM Defend the Dream - St Paul rally
Rice Park St. Paul

90 W. 4th St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Directions: Bookmark this page; the map will be there for you!
Hosted by Carole Heffernan, Dave Callaway, shelagh connolly
Description  Anti- labor groups  inCongress are holding the middle class
hostage, proposing a federal budget that would would cut 700,000 to 1 million
jobs from our communities and slash funding to support preschool and college
students, pregnant women, unemployed workers, and much more. This isn't a
budget, it's a slap in the face to the public workers, services, and
institutions making the American Dream possible. We have until the March 18
budget deadline to push Congress in another direction.

Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011, 5:30 PM Defend the American Dream - Savage, Mn
Savage Library off McColl Road

13090 Alabama Ave
Savage, MN 55378
Directions: Savage Library off McColl Road
Hosted by Sharon Schmidt
Description Come stand for funding of our library, schools, libraries, fire
stations and hospitals.

Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011, 5:30 PM Rally to Defend the Dream - Souix Falls, SD
rally
In Front Labor Temple
6 registered participant(s) (350 maximum)
101 S. Fairfax Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57103
Hosted by Mark Anderson
Description We will have a rally outside Labor Temple.


--------2 of 5--------

From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Salon rating 3.15 6:30pm

HI, This Tuesday, March 15, is an evaluation night.  Sometimes when there
are 5 Fridays in a month we use one of them for a little evaluation so we
can continue to do things well.

The last Tuesday is the discussion of the book The Transition Handbook for
Little Book of the Odd Month Club. (bring your suggestion for the next
Little Book Club which will be the last Tues of May.  Maybe a good fiction
book.)

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.


--------3 of 5--------

From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at] UMN.EDU>
Subject: Sustain/films 3.15 7pm

Please join us next Tues. at MCAD for a showing of
Gary Hirshberg of Stony Field Yoghurt
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/10/bioneers-2010-gary-hirshberg-explains-how-to-scale-up-sustainability.php

Peter Warshall on Dreaming New Mexico
http://www.dreamingnewmexico.org/

MCAD
2501 Stevens Ave S.
Mpls. MN

Tues. Mar. 15th, 7 p.m. in Auditorium 140


--------4 of 5--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Cuba 3.15 7pm

"Cuba: Past, Present and Future"
Tuesday March 15, 7:00 p.m. Parish Community of St. Joseph. 8701 36th
Avenue North, New Hope.

Presenters will be August Nimtz, professor of Political Science at the
University of Minnesota, and Greg Klave, member of the Minnesota Cuban
film Festival. Nimtz teaches classes on Cuba and its International
Relations and travels to Cuba for academic conferences 3-4 times a year.
He is currently doing research on the Underground Urban Resistance to the
Batista Regime, 1952-1958. Klave is curator of the Cuban Film Festival and
a participant in the Pastors for Peace travel challenges to Cuba. This
program is free and open to the public. Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors
for Peace. FFI: Call Carole Rydberg, 763-546-5368.


--------5 of 5--------

Tokyo Electric To Build Us Nuclear Plants
The no-BS info on Japan's disastrous nuclear operators
By Greg Palast
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
ZSpace

I need to speak to you, not as a reporter, but in my former capacity as
lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and
racketeering investigations.

I don't know the law in Japan, so I can't tell you if Tokyo Electric Power
Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.

But what will Obama plead?  The Administration, just months ago, asked
Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear
reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas - by Tokyo
Electric Power and local partners.  As if the Gulf hasn't suffered enough.

Here are the facts about Tokyo Electric and the industry you haven't heard
on CNN:

The failure of emergency systems at Japan's nuclear plants comes as no
surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.

Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called "SQ" or
"Seismic Qualification."  That is, the owners swear that all components
are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an
earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from Al Qaeda.

The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie.  The industry does it
all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988,
at the Shoreham plant in New York.  Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham
would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests
from 'failed' to 'passed.'

The company that put in the false safety report?  Stone & Webster, now the
nuclear unit of Shaw Construction which will work with Tokyo Electric to
build the Texas plant, Lord help us.

There's more.

Last night I heard CNN reporters repeat the official line that the tsunami
disabled the pumps needed to cool the reactors, implying that water
unexpectedly got into the diesel generators that run the pumps.

These safety back-up systems are the 'EDGs' in nuke-speak: Emergency
Diesel Generators.  That they didn't work in an emergency is like a fire
department telling us they couldn't save a building because "it was on
fire."

What dim bulbs designed this system?  One of the reactors dancing with
death at Fukushima Station 1 was built by Toshiba.  Toshiba was also an
architect of the emergency diesel system.

Now be afraid. Obama's $4 billion bail-out-in-the-making is called the
South Texas Project.  It's been sold as a red-white-and-blue way to make
power domestically with a reactor from Westinghouse, a great American
brand.  However, the reactor will be made substantially in Japan by the
company that bought the US brand name, Westinghouse - Toshiba.

I once had a Toshiba computer.  I only had to send it in once for warranty
work.  However, it's kind of hard to mail back a reactor with the warranty
slip inside the box if the fuel rods are melted and sinking halfway to the
earth's core.

TEPCO and Toshiba don't know what my son learned in 8th grade science
class: tsunamis follow Pacific Rim earthquakes. So these companies are
real stupid, eh?  Maybe.  More likely is that the diesels and related
systems wouldn't have worked on a fine, dry afternoon.

Back in the day, when we checked the emergency back-up diesels in America,
a mind-blowing number flunked.  At the New York nuke, for example, the
builders swore under oath that their three diesel engines were ready for
an emergency. They'd been tested.  The tests were faked, the diesels run
for just a short time at low speed.  When the diesels were put through a
real test under emergency-like conditions, the crankshaft on the first one
snapped in about an hour, then the second and third.  We nicknamed the
diesels, "Snap, Crackle and Pop."

(Note:  Moments after I wrote that sentence, word came that two of three
diesels failed at the Tokai Station as well.)

In the US, we supposedly fixed our diesels after much complaining by the
industry. But in Japan, no one tells Tokyo Electric to do anything the
Emperor of Electricity doesn't want to do.

I get lots of confidential notes from nuclear industry insiders.  One
engineer, a big name in the field, is especially concerned that Obama
waved the come-hither check to Toshiba and Tokyo Electric to lure them to
America.  The US has a long history of whistleblowers willing to put
themselves on the line to save the public. In our racketeering case in New
York, the government only found out about the seismic test fraud because
two courageous engineers, Gordon Dick and John Daly, gave our team the
documentary evidence.

In Japan, it's simply not done.  The culture does not allow the
salary-men, who work all their their lives for one company, to drop the
dime.

Not that US law is a wondrous shield:  both engineers in the New York case
were fired and blacklisted by the industry.  Nevertheless, the government
(local, state, federal) brought civil racketeering charges against the
builders. The jury didn't buy the corporation's excuses and, in the end,
the plant was, thankfully, dismantled.

Am I on some kind of xenophobic anti-Nippon crusade?  No.  In fact, I'm
far more frightened by the American operators in the South Texas nuclear
project, especially Shaw. Stone & Webster, now the Shaw nuclear division,
was also the firm that conspired to fake the EDG tests in New York. (The
company's other exploits have been exposed by their former consultant,
John Perkins, in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.)
If the planet wants to shiver, consider this:  Toshiba and Shaw have
recently signed a deal to become world-wide partners in the construction
of nuclear stations.

The other characters involved at the South Texas Plant that Obama is
backing should also give you the willies.  But as I'm in the middle of
investigating the American partners, I'll save that for another day.

So, if we turned to America's own nuclear contractors, would we be safe?
Well, two of the melting Japanese reactors, including the one whose
building blew sky high, were built by General Electric of the Good Old US
of A.

After Texas, you're next.  The Obama Administration is planning a total of
$56 billion in loans for nuclear reactors all over America.

And now, the homicides:

CNN is only interested in body counts, how many workers burnt by
radiation, swept away or lost in the explosion.  These plants are now
releasing radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Be skeptical about the
statements that the "levels are not dangerous."  These are the same people
who said these meltdowns could never happen.  Over years, not days, there
may be a thousand people, two thousand, ten thousand who will suffer from
cancers induced by this radiation.

In my New York investigation, I had the unhappy job of totaling up
post-meltdown "morbidity" rates for the county government.   It would be
irresponsible for me to estimate the number of cancer deaths that will
occur from these releases without further information; but it is just
plain criminal for the Tokyo Electric shoguns to say that these releases
are not dangerous.  Indeed, the fact that residents near the Japanese
nuclear plants were not issued iodine pills to keep at the ready shows
TEPCO doesn't care who lives and who dies whether in Japan or the USA. The
carcinogenic isotopes that are released at Fukushima are already floating
to Seattle with effects we simply cannot measure.

Heaven help us.  Because Obama won't.

***
For Truthout/Buzzflash

Greg Palast is the co-author of Democracy and Regulation, the United
Nations ILO guide for public service regulators, with Jerrold Oppenheim
and Theo MacGregor. Palast has advised regulators in 26 states and in 12
nations on the regulation of the utility industry.


Palast, whose reports can be seen on BBC Television Newsnight, is a Puffin
Foundation Writing Fellow for investigative reporting.


[I am taking suggestions for completions to
  "Obama is as useful as ________" (from one to ten words).
 Your name will be included unless you request anonymity. -ed]


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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