Thursday, March 31, 2016

On Opioids, Both Sides in Congress Are Wrong

Yes, Kentucky is ground zero for the prescription and illegal drug crisis.  But Longman doesn't understand why:  It's because KASPER forces doctors to deny painkilling drugs to their patients in chronic pain, who thus in desperation turn to heroin.  The heroin epidemic exploded in direct response to KASPER.
Trying to stop the heroin epidemic by denying prescription painkillers is like trying to fix dehydration by denying liquids.

Back on March 10th, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 in a 94-1 roll call. (I wrote about the effort to pass that bill here).

You would think that a bill that can get 94 votes in the Senate (with only Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska dissenting) should be able to pass in the House. But it’s not a sure thing for the precise reason you might guess.


Still, other largely partisan differences could complicate passage of any House-altered version of the Senate’s bill.
That’s because Republicans and Democrats agree that the country’s opioid drug abuse epidemic affects most states and districts, but a House hearing just before the recess period began exposed partisan rifts over key factors driving the addiction epidemic problem.
Democrats largely link the uptick in prescription painkiller-related deaths to a lack of access to treatment and drugs designed to prevent overdoses. But House Oversight and Government Reform Republicans see the root problems as subpar efforts to stop drug traffickers, laws making marijuana illegal, and fewer drug-related prosecutions.
 Like I said, they're both wrong.  Stop threatening doctors, stop demonizing drugs and stop denying relief to people in pain. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Matt Bevin Doesn't Know What the Fuck He's Doing, Part 20

Unless, of course, his goal is to reduce the state employee workforce by driving enraged Kentuckians to massacre state workers.

Because nothing screams Fuckhead Incompetence and Billionaire Arrogance like firing the person who is calling the lethal consequences of your incompetence to your attention.

The top official in charge of complaints at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services was fired one business day after he said he warned his bosses that people were so angry over problems with a new public benefits system that he feared some might become violent, endangering state workers.

Hundreds of callers have grown increasingly frustrated over the abrupt loss of benefits such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, said Norman "Chip" Ward, the former executive director of the cabinet's ombudsman's office.

Many are furious they can't reach anyone on a state hotline to handle questions about benefits they said were wrongly canceled under the new system know as Benefind.
"I expressed my concern that something bad was going to happen," Ward said in an interview Monday, adding he was worried an angry client might visit a local state benefit office and become violent. "It was really reaching a boiling point."

Among the cabinet officials Ward said he notified of his concerns on March 18 were Secretary Vickie Yates Glisson; Tim Feeley, deputy secretary; Adria Johnson, the commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, which handles public benefits; and Steve Davis, the cabinet's chief of staff.
If you won't solve the problem - especially when said solving involves admitting you were fucking wrong and Steve Beshear was fucking right - then kill the messenger. 

I figure the over-under on how soon after engineers warn Bevin of the danger that a massive infrastructure collapse kills hundreds of Kentuckians is six months.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How Abortion Saves Lives

One life that could have been saved by abortion, and another that may still be.

First, a Louisville teen so denied the facts about sexuality, contraception and abortion that she gave birth in a toilet and was so terrified someone would find out that she killed the infant.

The teenage mother who police say killed her newborn girl last summer told police in an interview she gave birth to the child unexpectedly and then smothered her.

Visiting her grandmother who was ill at Jewish Hospital on July 22, then-15-year-old Jasmine Wade felt something in her stomach. She went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and gave a slight push, she said.

“Something just came out, and I had looked down and … it was a baby,” she tells them and begins to cry.

She picked her up and held the child in her hands.

“I didn’t believe it was happening,” she told the two Louisville Metro Police detectives interviewing her from her hospital bed later that day, as detailed in police evidence recently filed in Jefferson Circuit Court by prosecutors.

“Why did u kill her” the friend asked.
“I had to. i had no choice.”
Precisely.  Governor Lying Coward closed the only place in Kentucky that offered education, contraception and early abortion to low-income teenage girls. Planned Parenthood would have saved her by helping her avoid pregnancy or by ending it by removing a microscopic clump of cells.

Instead, we have a dead infant and and might-as-well-be-dead-teenager, who will be spending the rest of her life in prison.

Meanwhile, a Kentucky woman with a much-wanted and cherished pregnancy is faced with the likelihood of giving birth to a microcephalic "infant," which has no chance at a remotely human life.

The Kentucky Department of Health says it has confirmed the state's third case of the Zika virus in a pregnant woman.

A statement from the agency on Friday said the woman, who is from the Louisville area, tested positive for the disease after traveling to Central America in recent months. She has recovered from the illness.

The mosquito-borne virus, which is spreading in Latin America and the Caribbean, normally causes only mild symptoms.

Health officials are investigating whether there is a link between Zika infections in pregnant women and a rare birth defect called microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.
That means profound permanent retardation rendering them unable to ever feed, clothe or clean themselves, much less communicate.

Unless that woman has private insurance and a rational, non-freakazoid doctor, she's in for a lifetime nightmare.

Yes, there is an alternative to these horrors.  Encourage more new doctors like this one, who is determined to fulfill her Hippocratic Oath by providing abortions.
We live in a country where roughly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, so there are, unsurprisingly, many women who become pregnant and choose not to give birth. We know that about one in three women will have an abortion by age 45. Is this number, as some have argued, too high? In the 1990s, the Clinton administration popularized the notion that abortion ought to be "safe, legal, and rare." I understand this sentiment, but I think this misses the point. There are a great number of ways to reduce abortion rates. Some of which, as I would argue we have seen in the past couple of decades, do not promote the health and reproductive autonomy of women.
Moreover, insisting single-mindedly that abortion should be "rare" further stigmatizes the one in three women who will make this decision. From a public health perspective, the end-all objective should not be to reduce abortion rates, but instead to further empower more women to make informed reproductive choices.

This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it is the difference between an agenda that conforms women's health to socially accepted standards and an agenda that truly promotes the health of women.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Worthy of Worship

Freethought Is Not Free Speech

Don't confuse them.

PZ Myers:

Freethought is “a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma”, and as I’ve said repeatedly, it is not a pointless label for thinking whatever you want (everyone gets to do that, whether you’re a hidebound Catholic or Islamist, or an atheist scientist). So I’m a little skeptical when someone confuses freethought with freedom to think any damn thing.

Cry Babies

Divine Irony:


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Don't Fall For Fracking Lies

Genuine renewable energy - solar and wind especially - is already cheap and efficient enough to beat out coal and natural gas for electricity generation.
But the desperate fossil fuel dead-enders are still spreading lies about how we can't have renewables unless we use natural gas, which is so kind to the environment.
Motherfucking liars lying about fucking their mothers, like they always do.
Fracking is not good for the climate. Or, to put it a tad more scientifically, “By The Time Natural Gas Has A Net Climate Benefit You’ll Likely Be Dead And The Climate Ruined,” as I wrote two years ago.

New satellite data and surface observations analyzed by Harvard researchers confirm previous data and observations: U.S. methane emissions are considerably higher than the official numbers from the EPA. Significantly, the EPA numbers are mostly based on industry-provided estimates, not actual measurements.

While this new study doesn’t attribute a specific source to the remarkable 30 percent increase in U.S. methane emissions from 2002–2014, many other studies have identified the source of those emissions as leakage of methane from the natural gas production and delivery system.

The central problem for the climate is that natural gas is mostly methane (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. That’s why many studies find that even a very small leakage rate can have a large climate impact — enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas for a long, long time.

Even worse, other studies find — surprise, surprise — natural gas plants don’t replace only high-carbon coal plants. They often replace very low carbon power sources like solar, wind, nuclear, and even energy efficiency. That means even a very low leakage rate wipes out the climate benefit of fracking.

Indeed, researchers confirmed in 2014 that — even if methane leakage were zero percent — “increased natural gas use for electricity will not substantially reduce US GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, and by delaying deployment of renewable energy technologies, may actually exacerbate the climate change problem in the long term.” Exactly. In fact, a study just last month found that natural gas and renewables are competing directly with each other to replace coal plants in this country.

All of these findings taken together vindicate the concerns of high leakage rates raised by Cornell professors Howarth, Santoro and Ingraffea, which I reported on back in 2011. Howarth told Climate Central this week that the increase in methane emissions “almost certainly must be coming from the fracking and from the increase in use of natural gas.” Howarth notes that even with deep CO2 cuts, we’re headed toward dangerous 2°C warming by mid-century.

“But the planet responds much more rapidly to methane, so a reduction in methane emissions now would slow the rate of global warming immediately,” he said.

The good news is that renewables are ready to handle the job of running a modern economy, so we don’t need to rely on natural gas as a “bridge” to a carbon-free future. The bad news is that many people still tout the supposed climate benefits of the fracking revolution — despite a paucity of observations and analysis to support that view and a plethora of data and research undermining it.

Tell the Truth in Treason in Defense of Slavery Month

Sherman should have hanged the motherfuckers. And by motherfuckers, I mean my ancestors, the traitors.

I know that we here all know that the cause of the Civil War was 1) slavery, 2) slavery, and 3) slavery. But Confederate apologists still love to try and dodge that question through promoting the secondary issues over which slavery caused tension to the forefront. Of course, all you have to do to know the Civil War was about slavery is to read almost anything written by Confederate elites between mid-1860 and April 1865. Heather Cox Richardson on Confederate VP Alexander Stephens:
Once and for all, Stephens was going to explain the difference between the United States and the Confederacy. That difference, he said, was slavery. The American Constitution had a crucial defect at its heart, he said. That defect was that it based the government on the principle that humans were inherently equal. Confederate leaders had fixed that problem. They had constructed a perfect government because they had corrected the Founding Fathers’ error. The “cornerstone” on which the Confederate government rested was racial slavery.
Stephens explained that Thomas Jefferson himself had warned that slavery would ultimately split the Union. But, he said, Jefferson had blundered. Like other statesmen of his era, the Virginia president had believed that slavery was evil, that it was “wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically.” The Founding Fathers believed that, while the nation was temporarily stuck with slavery, the institution would not last. In their minds, human equality was an eternal truth, and they assumed that this principle would eventually triumph, somehow, even if they could not themselves see how it would happen. This fundamental principle, Stephens claimed, was wrong, and their error had made them create a dangerously shaky government. It was an error the Confederacy had addressed.
Stephens explained. In contrast to the government the Founding Fathers had created, the Confederacy rested on the “great truth” that
the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
The Confederacy, Stephens said, was a pioneer nation, the first ever to make a government that strictly conformed to God’s racial laws. Other nations would certainly follow, for eventually all would have to acknowledge “the truths upon which our system rests.”
The United States of Abraham Lincoln’s era, he said, in contrast, continued to suffer from the errors of the past. Northerners clung to the outdated idea that “the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man.” But that foundational principle of human equality was simply wrong. God had made racial inequality an eternal truth. Trying to build a government without slavery flew in the face of “the ordinance of the Creator.”
Stephens was convinced that the United States, with its quaint ideas about human equality, was antiquated, while the Confederacy stood on the side of Providence and progress. Theirs was not a vision of an agrarian world rapidly passing away as western countries modernized, but of the future. Stephens dismissed the naysayers who warned that the “civilized world” would stand against a nation based on racial slavery. “When we stand upon the eternal principles of truth,” he said, “if we are true to ourselves and the principles for which we contend, we are obliged to, and must triumph.”
Why did the South quickly turn to not talking about slavery after 1865? Because, as Richardson points out, the political needs of Reconstruction dictated a rhetorical shift.
When the officers of the Freedmen’s Bureau—as it was dubbed—decided in favor of former slaves about 68% of the time, angry white southerners howled. This was precisely what they had gone to war to prevent, they said. The Freedmen’s Bureau was a federal bureau administered by the military, and its officers were intruding directly into their communities and siding with former slaves. If this wasn’t the overreach of tyrants intending to destroy liberty, what was? With slavery gone, former Confederates turned to the politics of the moment. They harnessed nostalgia for the fallen Confederacy to try to end the power of Republicans in Congress to dictate the terms of Reconstruction.
But in Savannah in March 1861, Alexander Stephens had told a different story. “The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution,” he said. And then he clarified: “This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”
Good post, as it is still necessary to push these points over and over again with Mississippi announcing Confederate Heritage Month and the like. Personally, I’m ready for a vigorous month of tweeting and blogging about Treason in Defense of Slavery Month.

Coolest Fucking Thing EVER

Hundreds of thousands of people?  Has to be the biggest audience the boys have ever seen.

A few days after President BarackObama’s historic visit to Cuba, an arguably bigger rock star played Havana.

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans flocked to a massive sports complex in central Havana on Friday night for a free Rolling Stones concert that some compared to Woodstock.

A festival atmosphere prevailed at the show, with thousands sprawling on blankets in the grass and some stripping off layers of clothing in the humid Havana night. Many climbed fences and crowded onto nearby rooftops to get a better view of Mick Jagger and his bandmates, who kicked off the show with a booming version of “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” one of the band’s earliest hits.

“We all wanted to be at Woodstock,” said Nilda Dominguez, 60, who said that as a teenager she struggled to get her hands on music by the Stones and other bands because Cuba’s revolutionary leaders looked down on rock music. “Tonight is the best.”

Jagger, who wore a sparkly pink jacket over a tight black T-shirt, alluded repeatedly to the historical significance of the concert, at one point looking out at the roaring crowd during a break in the music and pulling the microphone up to his pillowy lips.

“We know in the past it wasn’t easy to hear our music in Cuba,” Jagger said in halting Spanish tinged with a cockney accent. “I think that finally the times are changing.”
Shut up. It's allergies.

Read more here:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Matt Bevin Doesn't Know What the Fuck He Is Doing, Part 18

This is what you get when you let people who made billions in "business" ripping off consumers and investors into public office: they think they can just fire public employees as if they were personal servants.

Gov. Matt Bevin cannot remove members of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission but must allow them to serve out defined terms, according to an opinion released Monday by Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office.

The opinion, which spells out the commission’s independence, would indicate that Bevin apparently cannot remove former chairwoman Alston Kerr from the board, as he has done.
As usual, Bevin's response ranges from toddler "can so!" through asshole arrogant "I'm rich I can do what I want" through legal lying "the Attorney General is wrong."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

European Terrorism vs American Terrorism

Yes, gun fetishists and 2nd Amendment extremists are terrorists. By far the most effective ones on the planet.

Estimated number of deaths in Paris and Brussels attacks combined: 158
Estimated number of deaths due to gun violence in the United States so far in 2016: 2,788.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Judge Slaps Down Bevin On Abortion Case

"Abortion is legal, you motherfucker, and women are human beings. Now fuck off and die in a fire."

Or words to that effect.

Linda Blackford at the Herald:

A judge has denied a request by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration to temporarily close a Lexington abortion clinic that the state claims is operating illegally.

Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone ruled Friday against the state’s request for an injunction to close EMW Women’s Clinic on Burt Road. He said the Cabinet for Health and Family Services failed to present adequate evidence during a hearing Wednesday that it will eventually prevail in the lawsuit or that allowing the clinic to remain open as the lawsuit proceeds would cause “irreparable injury.”

“In addition to the evidence indicating that EMW is operating legally and in conformity with the most important regulations of a licensed abortion facility, closing the clinic is against the public interest,” Scorsone wrote. “EMW is the only physician’s office that routinely provides abortion services in the Eastern half of the state, and both parties agree that a right to an abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy is constitutionally protected. Closing EMW would have a severe, adverse impact on the women in the Eastern part of the state.”

The state sued the clinic two weeks ago, alleging that it lacked a required state license. The clinic stopped performing abortions on March 9 pending a judge’s ruling.
Scott White, an attorney representing the clinic, said it would reopen next week.
Judge Scorsone, who spent decades in the General Assembly being routinely disrespected for his liberal principles before coming out as gay in 2003, knows from motherfuckers who try to deny human rights to people who aren't white and male and straight.

Read more here:

Friday, March 18, 2016

With SCOTUS Pick, Women Getting Fucked Over Again. Still. Always.

 Kevin Drum asks:
Why doesn't Merrick Garland figure out a way to quietly leak the notion that he's opposed to abortion and thinks Roe v. Wade is bad law? He has no track record on abortion, so it would seem perfectly plausible. That would really put Republicans in a tough spot, wouldn't it?
No, Kevin, it would only prove once again that women's health and women's rights mean absolutely nothing to anybody with political power. 

And what the fuck Garland has no track record on abortion?  He's been on the MOST IMPORTANT appellate court in the nation for TWENTY FUCKING YEARS.  You can't tell me that he's never had an abortion case come up. Something stinks.
Martin Longman has a lot of good points here, but he completely missed the boat on the strange silence about Garland's position on abortion. 

I've been politically aware for more than 43 years, since before Roe v. Wade, and I am sick and fucking tired of Democratic presidents running in terror away from any potential Supreme Court Justice who thinks women are sentient human beings who should have control over their own bodies. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks some restrictions are OK, when any restriction at all denies that women are adults who can make their own decisions.

Just fucking once I'd like a president to nominate for the Supreme Court someone who loudly and proudly insists that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide free, no-questions-asked, no-restrictions, available-on-every-corner Abortion On Demand for every woman who wants one. Or several dozen.

And no, that president is not Hillary Clinton.  But it might be Bernie Sanders.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Charter School Scam Will Make KY Children Dumber and Poorer

KY senate repugs are busy choosing which charter school scam artists get to divvy up the Commonwealth's scarce public education dollars while failing to actually provide, you know, education.


You may not be surprised that privatizing education is not actually a solution to the problems of racism and poverty that are the root causes of poor public education. Instead, those charter schools face the same issues and resort to the same “solutions” as public goods, with the added benefit of undermining public education and moving money into the pockets of the wealthy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

CDC to Doctors: Send Your Patients Directly to Heroin Dealers

Yes, that is exactly the consequence of this unbelievably stupid policy.  
We have a heroin epidemic in this country for one reason and one reason only: doctors have been violating their Hippocratic Oaths by refusing to prescribe effective painkillers to patients in chronic pain.  Those desperate patients go to the only place left to find pain relief: heroin dealers.

With opioid painkiller addiction now at epidemic levels, the CDC has finally issued new guidelines for primary care doctors:
The guidelines recommend what many addiction experts have long called for — that doctors first try ibuprofen and aspirin to treat pain, and that opioid treatment for short-term pain last for three days, and rarely longer than seven. That is far less than current practice, in which patients are often given two weeks or a month worth of pills.
The guidelines are meant for primary care doctors, who prescribe about half of all opioids but often have little training in how to use them. They call for patients to be urine tested before getting prescriptions and for doctors to check prescription drug tracking systems to make sure patients are not secretly getting medicine somewhere else. Currently, 49 states have such systems, but only 16 require that doctors use them, according to experts at Brandeis University.
Denying pain relief to people in pain is the one and only thing that created the heroin epidemic. Stopping the torture of people in pain is the only thing that will end it. 

KY Dems Reject Austerity, Prove Bevin's Budget is Bullshit

Democrats in the Kentucky House aren't falling for the old "shared sacrifice" budget con; they know that repugs always mean the poor and working class sacrifice while the rich pocket yet more profits.

Kentucky House Democrats used their reinforced majority to reject nearly half of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's budget cuts Tuesday while still managing to fully fund required contributions to the state's struggling public pension systems without borrowing money.

The House Appropriations and Revenue committee approved a two-year state spending plan Tuesday, with the full House scheduled to vote on the plan Wednesday. Most Republicans on the committee voted "pass," meaning they did not vote for or against the bill. Rep. Jim Stewart of Flat Lick was the only Republican to vote "yes."

Bevin, the state's second Republican governor in four decades, quickly declared the state was in a financial disaster less than two months after taking office and called for $650 million in spending cuts in his first budget proposal. The reductions included a 4.5 percent cut this year and 9 percent cuts in each of the next two years, with a lot of that money coming from the state's public colleges and universities.

College presidents revolted, calling the cuts "draconian" and warning about massive tuition increases, program cuts and, in one instance, possible closure if the cuts were approved. Bevin did not relent, telling a crowd of community college supporters in the Capitol rotunda that "the cuts have to come from somewhere" and declaring as recently as last week he would not sign a budget that did not include the cuts.

But Democrats ran against Bevin's budget cuts in a series of special elections last week, winning three of the four seats to give them a 53-47 majority in the House. It takes 51 votes to pass a budget. Tuesday, they rejected all of Bevin's cuts to colleges and universities.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

KY Takes Small Step to EXPAND Voting

Weird, right?  Kentucky already has one of the most restrictive voting rulebooks in the country: no early voting, no weekend or evening voting hours, ID required, etc.

But now this.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Kentuckians can now register to vote online.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes touted the state’s new online registration system,, Monday at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

Grimes, the state's chief election official, said Kentucky voters also can use the system to change their existing registration information, such as political party affiliation.

Before, Kentuckians had to register to vote or change voting information by mail or in person using voter registration cards.

The new system will be more convenient, said Grimes, noting that 30 states already have online registration.

The system was activated March 1.

“Already, a 93-year-old went online to update her registration,” Grimes said.

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw, who attended the news conference, said about 100,000 voters in Jefferson County have used the new system in the last 10 days to either register or to update their registration.
Bevin to file a lawsuit against online registrants in 3, 2 ....

Good job, Alison.  Now let's establish vote-by-mail and turn this state blue again.

Read more here:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Nuclear Power Still the Worst

Nuclear power is one of the few things - along with smallpox and climate change - that really is even worse than its most hysterical opponents claim.


As I mentioned this morning, today is the anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, which resulted in tens of thousands dead, tens of thousands more displaced, and a nuclear plant meltdown that will continue to cause detrimental environmental effects for generations.

Reactor number one at Fukushima Daiichi is still so hot that five years later, robots still can't enter.
The robots sent in to find highly radioactive fuel at Fukushima's nuclear reactors have “died”; a subterranean "ice wall" around the crippled plant meant to stop groundwater from becoming contaminated has yet to be finished. And authorities still don’t know how to dispose of highly radioactive water stored in an ever mounting number of tanks around the site. 
Five years ago, one of the worst earthquakes in history triggered a 10-meter high tsunami that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station causing multiple meltdowns. Nearly 19,000 people were killed or left missing and 160,000 lost their homes and livelihoods in the quake and tsunami. 
Today, the radiation at the Fukushima plant is still so powerful it has proven impossible to get into its bowels to find and remove the extremely dangerous blobs of melted fuel rods, weighing hundreds of tonnes. Five robots sent into the reactors have failed to return. 
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco)  has made some progress, such as removing hundreds of spent fuel roads in one damaged building. But the technology needed to establish the location of the melted fuel rods in the other three reactors at the plant has not been developed. 
“It is extremely difficult to access the inside of the nuclear plant," Naohiro Masuda, Tepco's head of decommissioning said in an interview. "The biggest obstacle is the radiation.” 
The fuel rods melted through their containment vessels in the reactors, and no one knows exactly where they are now. This part of the plant is so dangerous to humans, Tepco has been developing robots, which can swim under water and negotiate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods. 
But as soon as they get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring and renders them useless, causing long delays, Masuda said. 
Each robot has to be custom-built for each building.“It takes two years to develop a single-function robot,” Masuda said.
And so the cleanup will continue, probably for the rest of the lives of the people there working to decontaminate the site now.  It's a massive environmental disaster that should have been the end, worldwide, of nuclear power technology.  It's not.  And there are hundreds more potential Fukushima meltdowns waiting to happen.  We do this to ourselves and see the results, and we still do it.

We only get one planet, and we've killed it multiple times over.
But wait!  Nuclear power gets worse.  As has been  true from the birth of nuclear power, nuke plants are never, ever, EVER cost-effective.  They always cost more and charge their customers more than any other kind of electricity generation - even solar and wind in the infancy of those technologies when they cost a mint, but nuclear cost a dozen mints.

But don't be relieved - there's one way to make nuclear energy economical: make the government - that would be you and me as taxpayers, but not the profit-taking nuke industry - subsidize it.

Joe Romm at Think Progress:
In the modern era, nuclear power plants have almost always become more and more expensive over time. They have a “negative learning curve” — along with massive delays and cost overruns in market economies. This is confirmed both by recent studies and by the ongoing cost escalations of nuclear plants around the world, as I’ll detail in this post.

The cost escalation curse of nuclear power

“Ever since the completion of the first wave of nuclear reactors in 1970, and continuing with the ongoing construction of new reactors in Europe, nuclear power seems to be doomed with the curse of cost escalation,” read one 2015 journal article, “Revisiting the Cost Escalation Curse of Nuclear Power.”
In the United States, the cost of Georgia Power’s newest twin Vogtle reactors may top initial estimates of $14 billion and reach $21 billion, according to recent Georgia Public Service Commission testimony. Of course, the first two Vogtle Units begun in 1971 took 18 years to build (a decade over schedule) at a final price of $9 billion — ten times the original price tag. BloombergBusiness wrote last fall, “Even as sympathetic an observer as John Rowe [former chair of the U.S.’s largest nuclear utility] warns that the new units at Vogtle will be uneconomical when — or if — they’re completed.”
 Nuclear power: worse than coal, worse than fracking, worse than Saudi oil, worse than anything.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Political Correctness

The Rude Pundit:

The (republican presidential) candidates all seem to think that "being politically incorrect" is that same as "I get to be an asshole without consequences." That is an  idiot's understanding of political correctness, which really means, "Act  like we live in a civilized society where people are genuinely equal."

It always comes down to torches and pitchforks

Quote of the week from Steve M:

If we really are facing a massive loss of jobs in the future, the only way we're going to get anything from the people taking those jobs away is if we're threatening to burn their mansions to the ground. We shouldn't assume they have any common decency. If that future comes, they'll be happy to let us die in the streets -- as long as they don't have to see us doing it.

KY Senate Repugs Out to Kill Remaining Coal Miners

Literally kill them. This isn't reducing paperwork.  This is taking oxygen tanks and fire-resistant clothes away from firefighters.  Safety inspections are the only thing standing between miners and death.

On Wednesday, the 40th anniversary of the Scotia coal mine explosions in Letcher County that killed 26 people, a Senate committee passed two bills to roll back the state’s mine-safety laws.

Senate Bill 297 would end state safety inspections of coal mines, leaving the task to federal inspectors. Senate Bill 224 would end mandatory state safety training for mine foremen, giving coal companies the option of offering their own training for foremen to save money.
The votes came 40 years to the hour after an explosion caused by the build-up of coal dust and methane rocked the Scotia mine near the Oven Fork community. Two days after the blast, a second explosion occurred. The death toll was 26 miners and mine inspectors; faulty equipment and inadequate ventilation were blamed.


Only one lawmaker, Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, voted against Girdler’s bill. Jones said the language would leave state mine safety analysts without legal authority to issue citations, shut down a mine or file a report with their superiors if they witnessed dangerous problems while in a mine. State mine inspectors tend to be more knowledgeable and thorough than their federal counterparts, Jones said.

Mine safety analysts should not have to remain passive, simply offering recommendations, in the face of serious violations, Jones said.

“There would be no enforcement mechanism,” Jones said. “I think this bill may go a little bit too far on the safety issue.”
 Jones isn't the only state senator representing coal miners, just the only one willing to stand up to the industry and the repug nihilists.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Matt Bevin Doesn't Know What the Fuck He's Doing, Part 17

What's the opposite of coattails in an election? That's what Matt Bevin's filming-the-empty-House-chamber did for Tuesday's special elections.  Instead of handing control of the state House to repugs for the first time in 90 years, his stunt managed to give three of four seats to the dems, increasing their majority to six.

Funny how voters don't respond to billionaire bullying the way exploited workers do.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Make KY Dems Use Their Majority to Put a Stop to This Shit

Motherfuckers gonna fuck mothers. That's what they do.

Bruce Schreiner at the AP:

Keeping up its coordinated offensive aimed at abortion providers, the Kentucky Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would put new restrictions on abortion clinics.

The measure is part of a series of bills passed in recent weeks by the Republican-led Senate that would add conditions on providers before abortions are performed and strengthen oversight of clinics.


Derek Selznick, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said in a statement Wednesday that the bill was "another attempt to shut down access to safe and legal abortions in the commonwealth."

Selznick said the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a case involving a similar law.
"It is unfortunate the Senate decided to move legislation forward that is already under question by our nation's highest court," he said.
As Notorious RBG made clear in eviscerating the Forced Birth forces during those arguments, these TRAP laws have nothing to do with health and safety and everything to do with old male perverts getting their rocks off regulating female sexuality.

Or in video form:

KY Dems Avoid Armageddon; Pick Up One Seat in House

Breathe a sigh of relief that they didn't hand the state over to Voldemort in special elections Tuesday, but don't count on them saving their majority in the fall.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Democrats won three of four House seats up for grabs in Tuesday’s special election, increasing their majority status in the House chamber by one for the rest of the 2016 General Assembly, including the all-important process of writing the next state budget.

The House will have 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans through the fall elections. It is the final state legislative chamber in the South to remain in Democratic control, and it is the last bastion of Democratic Party power in Kentucky, which otherwise has been trending Republican in state and federal elections.


Kentucky Democratic Party chairwoman Sannie Overly, a state representative from Paris, said the Democratic victories Tuesday were “a repudiation of Gov. Bevin’s efforts to dismantle public education and health care.

“Trying to dismantle Kynect, which has helped more than half a million Kentuckians obtain health insurance, is a perfect example of the bad decisions Bevin is making that will hurt the people of the commonwealth,” Overly said. “These Democrats won because they are all good leaders — and they will serve Kentucky well. Tonight is not just a victory for them, but it is a victory for every Kentuckian.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Democrats won because they stood up “for education, health care, for protecting senior citizens.”

He added: “These elections tonight clearly show the House Democratic agenda, especially protecting public education and making kids work-ready for the 21st century, is accepted by voters in Kentucky in the east, in the west and Central Kentucky.”

Read more here:

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bevin's War on Kentucky's Women

Shame on you, Herald-Leader. You've just lost your right to claim First Amendment for anything, after refusing to defend your Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist's completely accurate and fair depiction of how Governor Lying Coward is destroying the commonwealth.


Pulitzer Prize-winning Lexington Herald-Leader cartoonist Joel Pett takes on Planned Parenthood's fate in Bevinstan:

The LHL pulled the cartoon before it went to print.  Can't piss off the Gov, even if he has let women in Kentucky have it.  Pett posted it anyway.  And yes, Pett has run afoul of Governor Bevin before.

I wonder if Bevin will lay down any more unconstitutional and open threats against Pett like he did back in November, despite the First Amendment clearly being on Pett's side here.

We'll see.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Responsible Gun Ownership Strikes Again in Kentucky

One dead body and three almost dead.  Granted, the first may turn out to be "justified," but given that the one who survived is a "constable," which in Kentucky is an elected official empowered to serve warrants but not required to undergo any type of education or training, I'd be amazed if it were genuinely unavoidable.

First, the three non-fatals, all in Lexington:

Two men were injured in separate shootings in Lexington Saturday.

Their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

The first shooting occurred outside Camelot West on Alexandria Drive early Saturday, police Lt. Albert Johnson said.

He said officers who were called to the strip club on a report that shots had been fired arrived to find shell casings and vehicles damaged by gunfire.

The victim was taken to a local hospital in a private vehicle and was then transferred to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.

Johnson said there was no information about the suspects or vehicles involved.

The second shooting, at about 1:15 p.m. at a home on Shaker Run Road, was thought to be a domestic incident.

An adult man was injured. Johnson said later Saturday that he did not yet know whether charges would be filed.

Read more here:
Lexington Police say it appears a man accidentally shot his friend while cleaning a gun.

It happened around 7:30 p.m. Friday in an apartment on Trent Boulevard, according to investigators. Police say the man who was shot was taken to UK Hospital with serious injuries. Police say the victim was able to communicate with investigators. No names were released.

The shooter was questioned by police. Investigators say preliminarily, the shooting appears to be an accident. The incident remains under investigation.
Finally, the constable-induced homicide:
Authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a man by a constable in Laurel County.

In a news release, Laurel County Sheriff John Root says Constable Bobby Joe Smith was attempting to serve a warrant on a man at a business when the shooting took place on Friday night.

The sheriff's office says the man, identified as 30-year-old Brandon Stanley of Manchester, died at the scene. No further details about the shooting were available Saturday.
An autopsy will be performed on Stanley.

The sheriff's office says detectives are investigating the shooting. A presentation on the case will be made before the next term of the Laurel County grand jury

Read more here:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

"Progessives of Faith" Can't Stop Trump

Oh, DR Tucker, wake up.  "Liberal Christians" have been enabling racist, misogynisitic, homophobioc, Dominionist freakazoids for decades. They are cowardly motherfuckers and always have been.

Progressives of faith will declare, firmly and forcefully, that Donald Trump in the White House means more for those that already have and less for those who barely have anything, more discrimination on the basis of race and religion, more women being harassed and harangued by misogynist men who see Trump as their role model. It means more injustice, more ignorance, more intolerance. It means America abandoning its best values…which is why progressives of faith cannot and will not let Donald Trump destroy America’s melting-pot legacy. 
Yes, they will. "Progressives of faith" will do what they have always done, which is wring their hands and whine and moan and stand aside while the forces of hate run roughshod over American Democracy.

"Progressives of Faith" are the biggest supporters Donald Trump has.

Sorting It Out

No Refunds

(Source: bearpapi)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

And The Winner of Perfect VP for Any of the Final Fucking Four Is ....

None other than the man who put "poison the ni**ers" at the top of the GOP agenda.

DR Tucker at Political Animal:

May I suggest the ideal Republican vice-presidential candidate for whichever wingnut secures the GOP nomination this year: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Is there any doubt that America’s worst governor would be the perfect partner for the 2016 Republican nominee? Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis succinctly symbolizes the GOP’s vision of government: penny-pinching, cold, scornful of the weak and vulnerable, operating with reckless disregard for future generations. The Republican base wants a truly conservative ticket: a Trump-Snyder or Cruz-Snyder pairing would deliver that dream.

Ever notice that Snyder doesn’t seem to have any real remorse or sorrow for his actions towards Flint’s residents? His “apology” in his January 19 State of the State address was a pathetic joke, one that failed to convince any sentient American. Snyder never gave a damn about the residents of Flint, and still doesn’t. The Snyder vision—the Republican vision—is that if you don’t have money, you’re not really a citizen.

Eight years ago, in an interview with Thomas Frank about President George W. Bush’s failures, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow observed:

[T]his is a problem of conservatism. This is a problem of letting people run government when they believe that government can’t work and ought not work.
No wonder Maddow has been so outraged by Snyder’s human-rights abuses, as we all should be. Maddow understands that Snyder is conservatism. He is continuing the dark tradition Ronald Reagan gave birth to 35 years ago when he declared, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Yet government is not the problem per se. Government run by people who hate government is the problem. Government run by people who regard certain citizens as worthless moochers undeserving of the basic necessities of life is the problem.

We hear so much about the compassion so many Americans feel for the victimized residents of Flint. Yet we must acknowledge the sad reality that there are far too many Americans who simply don’t give a damn about the residents of Flint…who couldn’t care less that they’re drinking contaminated water…who turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and a cold heart to those whose health has been damaged for life as a result of Snyder’s deranged decision-making.

Those are the very same Americans who are embracing the hate-filled messages of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Those are the very same Americans who probably think Snyder is the real victim in the Flint crisis—the victim, of course, of “political correctness,” “race hustlers” and the “liberal media.”

Recall the repulsive running mates Republicans have selected over the decades. Richard Nixon in 1952. Spiro Agnew in 1968. Dan Quayle in 1988. Dick Cheney in 2000. Sarah Palin in 2008. Paul Ryan in 2012. Considering this track record, would Snyder really be that far-fetched of a choice?

Think about what animates the right today: Contempt for the mainstream media. Contempt for racial minorities. Contempt for government. Contempt for those outside of the right-wing tribe. Snyder would appeal to all of the right’s darkest impulses: selecting him as VP would be the ultimate bleep-you to progressives, the “political establishment” and the Fourth Estate. I wouldn’t put the selection of Snyder past this radicalized and reckless Republican Party. Would you?
It's about racism, because everything in this country is about racism.  Always has been, always will be. (pace Charlie Pierce.)

Why Racism, Misogyny and Homophobia are Delusions

Friday, March 4, 2016

Matt Bevin's War on Women and Fuck You, Kentucky One Health

Just three months into Governor Lying Coward's administration, Kentucky's Nuremburg Laws are clear:  only rich, white, republican, straight, xian men have rights.

And women birth vessels aren't even human.

Jack Brammer at the Herald

Lexington has an unlicensed abortion clinic that should be closed until it receives a license from the state, the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Fayette Circuit Court.

Read more here:


ACLU of Kentucky executive director Michael Aldridge said he was “deeply concerned about the increasingly hostile climate around access to abortion in our commonwealth.”

“Safe and legal abortions are already difficult for many Kentucky women to access, with only two clinics in Louisville and Lexington,” he said. “Through lawsuits and a string of anti-abortion bills this legislative session constitutional rights are being eroded under the guise of ‘women’s safety.’”
 Meanwhile, the Commonwealth's largest hospital chain has caved to Nazi repug pressure.
KentuckyOne Health, which operates the University of Louisville Hospital, has backed out of an agreement to provide Planned Parenthood patients emergency care in case complications arise during an abortion.

Planned Parenthood attorney Thomas Clay said that the organization was told Tuesday by hospital officials that they were under pressure to terminate the agreement, and that the hospital's state funding was threatened. Clay said the hospital declined to say exactly where the pressure came from.
Funny how Governor Faux Libertarian is perfectly fine with Big Gubmint stomping its jackboots all over private business when it fits his freakazoid agenda.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Bring Back Skilled Trades

Tried to find a plumber lately? An electrician?  How about a carpenter or a mason?  Forget wanting one who's affordable; they're so scarce these days you can't get one for any amount of money.

PZ Myers:

You know, I’m a professor at four-year liberal arts college, and I think Mike Rowe is on to something here. The kind of education we deliver is not for every one.

Now, eight years later, unemployment is down, interest rates are under control, and inflation is in check. But the overall labor participation rate is very low, and the skills gap is wider than ever. In fact, the latest numbers are out, and they are astonishing. According to the Department of Labor, America now has 5.6 million job openings.
Forget your politics for a moment, and consider the enormity of what’s happening here. Millions of people who have stopped looking for work, are ignoring 5.6 million genuine opportunities. That’s not a polemic, or a judgment, or an opinion. It’s a fact. And so is this: most of those 5.6 million opportunities don’t require a diploma – they require require a skill.
Unfortunately, the skilled trades are no longer aspirational in these United States. In a society that’s convinced a four-year degree is the best path for the most people, a whole category of good jobs have been relegated to some sort of “vocational consolation prize.” Is it any wonder we have 1.3 trillion dollars in outstanding student loans? Is it really a surprise that vocational education has pretty much evaporated from high schools? Obviously, the number of available jobs and the number of unemployed people are not nearly as correlated as most people assume.
I’m no economist, but the skills gap doesn’t seem all that mysterious – it seems like a reflection of what we value. Five and half million unfilled jobs is clearly a terrible drag on the economy and a sad commentary of what many people consider to be a “good job,” but it also represents a tremendous opportunity for anyone willing to learn a trade and apply themselves.
Part of the problem is also that the licensing agencies for plumbers and electricians set rules to ensure that there is always a shortage of licensed plumbers and electricians, thus keeping prices high.

I think skilled workers of all kinds should be paid commensurate with their skills, and licensing agencies should stop distorting the market with protectionist rules.

And I think no one, regardless of education or wealth, should look down on anyone who does a needed job well.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Repug Bills to Eliminate Public Education in Kentucky

Just a reminder that charter schools have one of two purposes, neither of which has anything to do with educating children or using tax dollars wisely: Fundamentalist Indoctrination and/or Corporate Indoctrination.

In both cases, the freakazoids and the privatization pirates are out to line their pockets by stealing tax dollars from public schools.

In both cases, anti-government conservatards in the general assembly are out to destroy public education.

In both cases, Governor Lying Coward is happy to sign any bills that make his billionaire buddies even more obscenely rich.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Killer Cop Might Be Held Accountable in Kentucky

Don't get too excited; the decision is from a federal judge, who does not have to play nice with local cops the way state judges do.  But still - baby steps!

From the AP:

A federal judge has found that a Kentucky police officer used unreasonable force when he shot an unarmed, intoxicated man with cognitive disabilities as he staggered along a railroad track, refusing to take his hand out of his pants and disobeying officers' orders.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph H. McKinley's ruling came in a civil case filed by the man's family against the city of Bowling Green and several officers involved. His finding that Officer Keith Casada's decision to shoot 46-year-old Gregory Harrison was "objectively unreasonable" means the lawsuit can move forward toward trial.

An attorney for Harrison's family hailed the ruling as a symbol that judges and juries, for decades hesitant to blame officers for killing civilians, are no longer willing to ignore brutality after a string of high-profile cases across the country. The city's attorney criticized it as "a 20/20 hindsight" decision that failed to factor in the split-second decisions officers often must make. Both the officer and the man killed were white.
So, Mr. Bowling Green City Attorney, a cop can shoot and kill anyone for any reason as long as the cop does so in a "split-second."

Stay out of Bowling Green Kentucky, people: it's a fucking free-fire zone.

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

KY Senate Perverts Jerking Off to New Abortion Stupidity

Don't touch anything in the Kentucky state legislative chambers.  There is jizz everywhere.

Because the only possible justification for requiring medically unnecessary ultrasounds - that would be a plastic probe shoved up a woman's vagina against her will, also known as object rape* - is as an excuse for public masturbation by the misogynistic freakazoids Kentucky elected to office.

From the AP:

Abortion opponents notched another victory Monday when the Kentucky Senate passed a bill requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds prior to abortions and to describe what's seen to the pregnant woman.

It's part of a series of measures being pushed by abortion foes to impose conditions before abortions.
Because women aren't sentient human beings with rights; they're just birth vessels.

And masturbation aids.

* Interesting term, "object rape." It describes both the act - using an object to commit rape - and the justification - women are just things to be used.

Notice there is nothing in the bill acknowledging that it legalizes a violent felony.

Read more here: