Arnie Gundersen is that rare breed — someone technically savvy but not blinded by what he knows. He is a severe critic of the nuclear industry — and he knows what he is talking about, because the came out of that industry.

Knowing what he knows, he says here, in typically low-pressure, rational style, that the time has come to put out the yellow flag, and put a moratorium on new nuclear construction. His yellow flag analogy is to car races, where there has been a pile-up. I think the yellow flag is a good analogy, but I would related in not to car wrecks, but to the flag ships used to fly to warn other ships that they were carrying the plague.


CELAC, the US, and Spain

April 30, 2011

I think it’s safe to read this backwards, as saying, “Of course CELAC has been created to exclude the US or Spain!” Not necessarily a bad thing, either. From Mercosur, which is becoming an invaluable source.

CELAC has not been created to exclude the US or Spain, says Iglesias

The head of the Ibero-American Secretariat Enrique Iglesias denied that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, to be created next July pretends to take distance from the United States or Spain.

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I think you will be interested in this, which I found at It is extraordinary how well deTocqueville’s analysis  stands up today. More important, though, is that it can help us get beyond the sterile blame-setting that passes for analysis today, as we try to understand why the wheels are coming off.

History’s Long Road to Tyranny:

Tocqueville and the End of Equality


Devon, PA. I have just finished teaching Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America with my freshmen students.  In a way I have not witnessed before, they were compelled by his account of American culture and society, and they saw in his words what so many before them have: a prophetic element that commands attention.  We concluded our study with a discussion of the following choice paragraphs from the concluding pages of the book.  Their prescience strikes me as so great, that I thought I would share them with our readers to provide grist for reflection.

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Not everything that can be measured is meaningful, and not everything meaningful can be measured, as this from Mises Daily reminds us.

The Myth of Japan’s Lost Decades

by Kel Kelly on April 15, 2011

The earthquake, tsunami, and lingering nuclear crisis in Japan have devastated that country’s people and their place in the global economy. Can the island nation recover? To see where Japan might go next, we have to look at one of the persistent myths about its recent past — the myth of the lost decades.

It is widely thought that Japan is in the 21st year of a recession, or at least of a muddle-through sluggish economy. Part of this poor performance, economists and the financial press habitually state, is that Japan has experienced a terrible deflation. Nevertheless, I claim that Japan’s economic state for the past two decades, up until the recent disasters, has in fact been comparable to that of most developed nations.

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Space tourism nears

April 10, 2011

I have mixed feelings about this story. OT1H I am fascinated by Scaled Composits and most things they do. I have been following Burt Rutan’s company since  Voyage’s 10-day non-stop non-refueled trip around the world in 1986. OTOH — and it is not the fault of those dreaming of  space flight — I find it deeply disturbing  that some people can afford to spend $200,000 for a quick hop just to see what the earth looks like from space.

30 March 2011 Last updated at 19:18 ET

Richard Scott

By Richard ScottTransport correspondent, BBC News, in the Mojave Desert

The BBC’s Richard Scott is the first journalist to be allowed inside the Virgin Galactic spaceship

Barak Obama, having already won the Nobel Prize for not being George W. Bush (nearly sufficient grounds, true enough) is now a candidate for Greatest Disappointment in Office. Like so many others, and much later than most, I have given up hoping that his performance was actually better than his press. But then, I don’t know why I still act as if I believe that “representative government” represented anyone but the ones who own it — which is not the people! It’s owned by those who bought it, as the news keeps making clear.

Ventura — as is his gift — spells it out using the public record.

Letters at 3AM

Obama, Nukes, and Us

President Barack Obama fudges the truth of his nuclear policies


While campaigning in the primaries in December 2007, then Sen. Barack Obama told an Iowa audience about “the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.” His Illinois constituents had raised hell when they discovered Exelon Corp. routinely did not disclose leaks at an Illinois nuclear plant. Obama said he got right on it, chastised Exelon publicly, then wrote and passed a bill that required nuclear plants to notify states and localities of any leak, be it ever so small. Said Obama to Iowa, “I just did that last year.”

This puzzled journalists at The New York Times. They recalled no such bill, because there was no such bill.

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