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Tuesday: Once again, Americans have made it all about US

I’m fairly disgusted by the reaction of Americans and yes, particularly Californians, to the events at the nuclear power plants in Japan. No, no, don’t even *try* to make excuses for your behavior. The events are serious but the idea that millions of Americans are imminently threatened with exceedingly high levels of non dispersed cancer causing radiation is “ridiculous and stupid”.

The situation in Japan is serious. But I don’t expect anything like the mega catastrophe that some of my favorite writers are hyperventilating over.

And let’s not forget that the atmosphere knows no international boundaries. This is not just about US. There’s no special exemption for us and we wouldn’t be the only country affected. Air patterns are not just straight and linear. And dont forget that we are part of the rest of the world and have to share in the good and the bad. Isn’t that what the whole idea is behind Global Warming? Or is that just another abstraction that only the spoiled West can indulge in? Don’t make me feel badly about that too.

Meanwhile, please turn your attention to the survivors in Japan and donate a ten spot or so to your favorite international relief effort. Ten bucks here and there- before you know it, you’re talking about real money. It will take your mind off the radiation problem in Japan, which at this point, is growing bigger in the imagination than it deserves.

Get a grip, people.

67 Responses

  1. I like you. But when you castigate un-named people it doesn’t go down well.

    WHO should “get a grip?” WHO is “hyperventilating?” WHO is “making it all about US?”

    Is there any reason not to name names?

    My experience of the last few days has apparently been different: what I have seen is people stumbling over themselves to pass along reassurances that the reactors really can’t melt down and that if we understood “how things really work” we’d get that.

    And yes, I too haven’t named names — but I’m just an anonymous commentor. I think if you’re going to use your weblogs-award-winning platform to tar people you have some obligation to say who you’re railing against. It sounds so at odds with my own experience, at least.

    • No one is forcing you to read this blog.
      Have a nice day.

    • Who?? Haven’t you been paying attention to the media since Saturday? There are thousands of missing people and a section of Japan that is literally wiped off the map and all I’ve been reading about is this damn reactor and how it will affect California. You really need to update your twitter feed and read some comments at various mainstream media websites.

      BTW, this blog is not mandatory reading. I don’t ask for money and I’m not obliged to write for your tastes.

      • Ok, we’re off on the wrong foot.

        I’ve been reading continuously since the quake. I’ve read innumberable pleas to aid Japan financially, to pray for the those affected, etc.

        I can certainly show you where those sites are, but I don’t assume (as you seem do do of me) that you don’t actually know this.

        But again, yes, I have a criticism. You can take it, tough riverdaughter.

        The criticism is: if you say someone is “making it all about the US,” identify them. Like ABC news commentor X said blah, blah.”

        Sorry you’re so riled over this — it seems pretty fundamental. “No one is forcing you to read this” is hardly a response though.

        • Sorry, we went through that routine in 2008. I’m not citing every comment and linking every media report. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you haven’t been paying attention.
          I’m not playing.

          • Yes, you are, merely playing. As in, the opposite of being serious.

            Frankly, it seems to be all about *you.*

            Did I ask for every cite? *ANY* cite would be very cool. I never even said I disbelieve you!

            I’ve been a long-time reader and appreciator of your insights. If I ask for some cites, it’s only because I’ve respected you in the past. (And I don’t yet have any reason to expect I won’t continue to appreciate your thoughts in the future.)

            My request for some, any, cites does not imply I don’t believe you. You are being extraordinarily touchy.

            I have no idea what the reference to 2008 is — was there only one thing happening in 2008, so I should get it right away? In any case, what would it have to do with today? Am I some annoying person you remember from the past who wouldn’t lay off on requests for cites? No, I’ve never posted until today.

            Either you can cite something, anything, or you can’t. Or, as you seem to say now, you just won’t. Out of spite? Or just because?

            You don’t need to lose the respect of people who might care to see even one single cite (and, really, it’s not a personal thing — I’m not special — I know you don’t *need* me to read here so let’s not keep going there) — but you seem to be working hard to lose it anyway.

          • This blog started as a political blog covering the 2008 election. I post when I have time.

          • Well, this brings back memories. It’s been a while since any trolls popped up on the Confluence.

      • RD: “Who?? Haven’t you been paying attention to the media since Saturday?”

        Didn’t you say to turn the TV off?

        • Do you read?

          • Apparently not. As silly as it is just now, there are those who are turning this to some “debate” about nuclear energy in the US.

            You’re correct, we are the spoiled brats of the world.

    • “your weblogs-award-winning platform”

      Actually, the Confluence was a finalist. I think Wonkette actually won.

      Just FYI.

  2. My local media makes it about “us” no matter what the story is….in some cases it’s nothing more than a relative of a relative once lived here 30 years ago. That’s frustrating, and I never have gotten used to it. But, them laying the foundation for what we could expect should those reactors all melt down doesn’t bother me so much. We know about air currents here…the volcanic ash from Mt St Helens, etc taught much about just how far and wide things can spread.

  3. Spam alert on aisle 5!

    Thank you for this post RD. My gawd, the media has been, with a few exceptions, horrible about this. Add that to the nonsense I’m getting from friends in my inbox, and I’m about to go ballistic.

    That being said, about the best coverage I’ve seen so far has been Rachel Maddow’s. Fact driven. No panic. Good stuff.

    My 2¢ today at Blue Lyon.

  4. I’d love to hear one of those long-dry lectures about what happens leading up to and during an actual Meltdown.

    The disasters of Three Mile Island & Chernobyl were so long ago — I just don’t remember what it means.

    From the news today, I think everyone learned nuclear physics from The China Syndrome ….

    • It would be hillarious if the facts on the ground werent so heartbreaking. Americans really need to get over themselves.

      • This is the same complaint that I have had. Also, I get real disgusted watching self promoting asshats on CNN go on and on and on with their fear mongering and making the story about themselves. Walter Cronkite these people are not.

  5. Aren’t news organizations supposed to highlight how world events will affect us? Otherwise, the news is just some sort of perverse voyeurism.
    People can be both concerned for the plight of others and interested in how things affect them all at the same time.

    • Ah, but they mostly AREN’T telling us how this stuff could affect us. Mostly they’re shouting fearful warnings without any details about the situation.

      Where are the scientists — rather than corporate mouthpieces?

      • Saw Wolf basically call a director of a nuclear plant in California a liar when he explained why his plant could withstand a large earthquake and tsunami. Wolf clearly didn’t know anything about what he was talking about and was trying to incite panic. Later on another expert came on and basically repeated what the 1st guy said verbatim. Our journalists are disgraceful in that they have the rare combination of being both stupid and uninformed yet believe they know everything.

        • The situation is serious but no one in the US is going to die as a result. I dont think we’re even in danger of getting sick.
          As I said before, you cant keep radiation levels a secret for long. The truth will come out and a lot of American journalists are going to look stupid.

  6. I too noticed, RD how so many people seemingly have forgotten the people of Japan – the first thing they talk about is “the affect on the US” we need to help those close to it and stem the “bleeding” first.
    Yes, a ten spot from each of us would help a great deal.

  7. surprised bo hasn’t asked Bill and Bush to fund raise.
    too busy golfing probably 😦

  8. Local media always looks for the “local connection” in every story.
    Whether YOU care or not, California is an earthquake prone region of the US which also contains nuclear power plants. To not consider what the Japanese catastrophe tells us about our own risks would be stupid. I have already given generously to the Red Cross and pray every day for the Japanese – but I’m also interested in what we can learn here in California that might prevent a catastrophe that endangers the atmosphere that we ALL depend upon. Because the atmosphere knows no boundaries.
    So FU, from an Californian.

    • The californians I’m reading are worried about their own personal safety due to fallout when in actuality, the risk is very low.
      And yes, I think a lot of the US is being very self centered. It reminds me of the parents at a school board meeting who thought it was a personal tragedy if their kids had to walk on public sidewalks between schools and were willing to cost the district millions of dollars in courtesy busing costs while screwing much needed teachers and other people’s kids.
      Never underestimate an American’s ability to look at an unfolding tragedy and ask, “and this affects me HOW exactly?”
      As for the nuclear industry, maybe building plants in an earthquake zone isn’t such a hot idea but it’s a miracle the site in question didn’t suffer a more catastrophic accident. If anything, this shows that 40 year old reactors maintained at very high standards are safer than we think.
      Californians can go ahead and burn fuel if it makes them feel safer but someday, I hope we can return to nuclear power and safer reactors.
      So there.

      • Everyone needs to go watch Rachel Maddow’s program from last night. Very informative, no hair on fire reporting. It was refreshing. Links at my place.

        • Yeah? Since when do we listen to Rachel Maddow???

          • Don’t you have to study for your driver’s test or something?

          • Are you referring to yourself as an editor, a sufferer of multiple personality, or a tapeworm host?

          • Cate: you can do as you please. I have been as pissed off as any one else over some of the stuff that RM has done in the past, but her coverage of Wisconsin has been fabulous, and her coverage of the nuclear plant story has also been good. I wrote about it this morning at my blog, with links to her broadcast. I was appreciative how she, unlike most tv journalists, appears to have made an effort to understand the technology and the problem and then tried to make it understandable for physics challenged people like me. She calls in non-industry experts, verifies her facts and then lets them talk. Very refreshing.

            Take it or leave it, I guess.

      • Strangely, it does seem that some people would rather any leaked radioactive materials go South rather than east. Personally, if any gets leaked I want it blown out to sea and towards the USA where it can disperse and not be a threat.

  9. Oh! Ha Ha Ha…my post has been moderated! I could not care less as it is either Katiebird (who should
    ‘fly away’ to avoid being tarnished by her association with this blog) or it is YOU, bitch. Either way, YOU are getting the message. Are you watching me type right now? I’ll bet you are. No wonder they fired you…always on the computer monitoring your blog. . I am sure all your former front pagers are talking about your latest meltdown….and laughing…saying ‘see, I told you RD is a bitch’ Oh, that avatar of you is ridiculous.

    • You know, that’s funny. I can’t get much signal on my phone at work and WordPress blogs are off limits at my site.
      This happens to be my lunchbreak.
      I will pass on to my colleagues that they were fired. They’ll be amused.
      Why don’t you go play on military highway?

      • Yeah, right. Glad you aren’t planning on making a living from this blog….good luck finding a job BTW…if I see an ad for someone looking for a smartass bitch, I’ll give them your name.

        • And deprive you of a living?
          I’ve got my plan worked out and will land on my feet.
          You? Ehhhhh… Not so much.

    • HaHa! I’m happy right where I am.

      It sounds like you’re probably pretty miserable no matter where you are.

  10. I have never been an observer of a Nuclear Plant’s total failure (Chernobly was a largely censured event) nor had reason to understand it’s potential atmospheric impact on other parts, based upon severity of such a failure.

    ..much less witness a country under the siege of continuous earthquakes, capable of moving the entire earth’s axis and significant land masses more than mere inches.

    Historical, educating, heartbreaking over those human beings directly impacted.

    I thought such comprehensive coverage, on some blogs, of the events as they have unfolded has not only been informative of the events unfolding, but educational on what we can expect, weighing various sources of the information being communicated – while being quite inspiring to do what one can, however small, to help those people.

    I think California and Pacific Coast regions should be nervous. 60 million + in damage from what has already happened over in JAPAN isn’t exactly a non-event in this country.

    But, the fact that SOMETHING is happening that is further destabilizing the earth’s crust – while certainly Japan is bearing the brunt – is disconcerting at the very least, and makes attention on their Nuclear Plant’s failure a bit more captivating, I would say.

    Feeling “powerless” is only compounded by successive events that initially leave me feeling that way, and it takes a lot of fortitude to transcend it in times like these. imho.

  11. Thanks for leaving up those comments by “Cate”. (Who btw only a couple of days ago wrote: “Another excellent post RD…and another reason I come here every day. Thank you.” What is happening to people? Is it “Trash Riverdaughter Week” or something?)

    Very enlightening. And very sad. Sometimes it’s good to see what you, as moderators, are up against but please don’t make it a habit, ok. Don’t think I can take it as well as you seem to do.

    • “Cate” is undoubtedly a member of the little clique that stormed off because RD wouldn’t let them ratfuck the blog. But somehow they just can’t let go.

      • Well yes, it does seem like some kind of concerted effort to “tarnish” this blog … and in extension anyone who comments here, doesn’t it now. “Cate”‘s “… to avoid being tarnished by […] association with this blog …” is a sure giveaway that this is the(/her/their) designated goal. But, given you’re right, why the obsession? Why the hate? Why the need for revenge? It sure is neither healthy nor sound.

        But I’m confident that RD and kb know all there is to know about this, and I hope they have a good laugh over it. 😉

        • Someone was thwarted in her attempt to become queen bee at TC.

        • Frankly, I’m confused by the whole thing. I don’t get either the storming off or the irregular visits. The whole thing made me sick.

          But, I’m over it now.

    • Yes, it is necessary to leave it up. It is perfectly safe to be unpopular.

  12. Exactly, RD. I’m glad i’m not the only one feeling this way.

    It’s been disturbing me deeply. A lot of things over the last 15+ years have really disappointed me/pissed me off about the United States, but this is – i think – the worst.

    I’m even beginning to wonder if a lot of people are secretly hoping for the worst to happen at the nuclear plants. Sometimes it sounds like it, even at normally insightful, thoughtful blogs.

    • I’m beginning to think that

      1. Some people are addicte to schadenfreude; and

      2. Somehow it’s being on TV reduces tragedy to the level of Survivor or some such supposed “survival” show. So when a real-life disaster comes round, it registers as just another game with no real consequences.

  13. We should all take lessons from the Russians who, it is reported:

    “The news portal Lenta said that in addition to potassium iodide and instruments used to measure radiation, people in the Far East also were stocking up on red wine and seaweed, which they believed would offer protection from radiation.”

    Red wine is, indeed, the cure to all that ails us. Seaweed…I’m not so sure. Anyway – I’m off to put some red wine in my body.

    • Not to make light of a serious situation but I suspect that drinking a nice coastal Cabernet would be better for California

      • `I did my part (with regard to a coastal Cabernet this evening….and I am serious and heartbroken at the situation in Japan.

  14. CNN’s Don Lemon had a very learned guy on over the week-end, from Georgia Tech, I think, and he was explaining that the radiation doses they were reporting were equal to those received from one or two CT scans, and Lemon cut him off abruptly, like “Hey, that information doesn’t fit our narrative, buzz off”. Scumbags.

    • I’m going to guess it;s more than that at the site right now. Whatever it is, you can be sure that the truth will come out. There’s no point in lying about it so the Japanese government might as well tell the public everything it knows.
      I think the plant operators should have asked for international assistance and for all we know, they have. Crowdsource the problem, figure out a set of solutions and do them. The Japanese have a lot on their plates right now and there are so many people living in devastation. If you can afford it, send $10 to Japan by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
      $10 might not seem like a lot but multiply that by hundreds of thousands of people with cell phones and it all adds up. Clean drinking water and warm blankets are invaluable at times like these. So, give if you can. Most of us can chip in 10 bucks, even those of us who are about to face the unemployment line.
      Even a little bit can make a difference.

  15. RD,

    Thank you for this and your recent (and sobering) posts. I have lived and worked in Tokyo for close to 12 years so I may know a bit more than the average person living out of Japan. The Japanese are handling this crisis in such a dignified manner. I am sure you well appreciate that the Japanese are trying to return to normalcy not only for the sake of Japan but also for the world economy. Most trains are running again and on time. We are experiencing rolling blackouts of 3-4 hours but it is absolutely nothing compared to what those up north have to endure. Many people have lost their loved ones and their homes, and children have also become orphans. People should also remember the Japanese workers who remain on site trying all that they can to prevent a catastrophe. I understand that the Japanese are also relying on international experts. The government has even asked us to help them disseminate information abroad because obviously there is a lot of misinformation going on and in my personal opinion it has to do with big businesses’ interests (nuclear vs. non-nuclear). We only get CNN here but I don’t watch it anymore not after I heard Dr. Gupta (he was with Anderson Cooper in Sendai) say the Japanese officials are either lying or they just don’t know what they are doing. Where would those living within the 30 km radius go now that danger is lurking?

    So again thank you RD and everyone else for your kind thoughts and for those who have also offered prayers, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • We’re with you, Corty, in spirit if not physically.

      Please let us know what we can do to help.

  16. Another Red Cross donation site, for which you don’t need to know how to text, as I don’t.


    I’ve had my only cell phone ever for nearly 4 years now, a simple pay-as-you-go type. It does have text capability, but I’ve never bothered to study the manual to learn how to use it. 😛

    I am NOT an “early adopter”. I didn’t buy a CD player until 2000, and I didn’t buy an up-to-date PC and get on the Web regularly until Aug. 2004. :mrgreen:

  17. Re nuclear power- I can think of no other power source that can destroy the surrounding environment for hundreds of years, and sicken and possibly cause death for hundreds of thousands of people in a relatively short time. The waste from spent fuel rods , after less than a decade, cannot safely be disposed of, and no one wants it anywhere near them.

    From my view, there is no safe form of nuclear power. Even when you turn it off, and don’t use it directly, it must be cared for by someone, ad infinitum. What is the half life of uranium? plutonium? It ain’t short folks……

    • “No other”? BP did a pretty fair job of destruction; we still have no idea of the magnitude of damage the spill has done.

  18. There are definite perils to the environment in BP’s incompetence. It remains to be seen what and for how long is the lasting effect. Would you. Say 4.7 billion years? How about 80 million years (half-life pf Plutonium).

  19. The half life of plutonium is nowhere near 80 million years! Different isotopes of it have different half lives but here is a table of the isotopes and their half lives:


    That said, I really think we should be looking into safer forms of energy such as solar and wind. Who knows what the long term effects of radioactive contamination of the food chain are.

  20. plutonium 244

    half life 80 million

  21. Plutonium 244 is an isotope whose hale life is 80 million years.

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