This is purely a precautionary measure. So far, we haven’t received any requests for state assistance—but we know weather conditions are rapidly changing. I want to make sure we have every resource available to ensure our communities are safe. This proclamation would allow us to activate the National Guard if we need to. It also allows state agencies to respond quickly to any storm-related requests from cities and counties for state assistance. A brief waiver of the restrictions on dairy truck drivers’ work hours is needed now to avoid shipment delays that could mean the loss of nearly $1 million a day for the state’s dairy industry.
The bottom line is that there is a serious threat on Wednesday of 8-15 inches of snow over the region, with a minimal turn over to rain. The biggest snowstorm in years. Anyway, before anyone goes out and buys a snowblower, lets see what tonight's runs show. If they continue this trend then Slushmageddon might be replaced by Snowmageddon. In almost any conceivable case, Wednesday morning is going to be very problematic for travel...I suspect there will be a lot of school cancellations and the like.
An airport security officer confiscated a frosted cupcake amid fears its icing could be a security risk, according to reports.
Rebecca Hains said the Transportation Security Administration agent at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas took her cupcake Wednesday. According to Hains, he told her its frosting was enough like a gel to violate TSA restrictions on allowing liquids and gels onto flights to prevent them from being used as explosives.
Hains said the agent didn't seem concerned that the red velvet cupcake, which was packaged in an 8-ounce mason jar, could actually be explosive, just that it fit some bureaucratic definition about what was prohibited.
"Once he had identified it as a security threat it was no longer mine and I couldn't have it back," Hains told NBC station WHDH.
Of course, as Hains points out, "It's not really about the cupcake." It's about our willingness to tolerate ever greater encroachments on our civil liberties, no matter how fucking absurd.
Right-wing blogs and pseudo-media outlets are working themselves into a frenzy over a job posting for SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the Washington state union that represents thousands of home healthcare workers. The posting for "Senior/Lead Internal Organizer, Home Care" comes with a job description that includes among other things:
· Train and lead members in non-violent civil disobedience, such as occupying state buildings and banks, and peaceful resistance.
· Plan and execute strategic direct action field plans including banner drops, bank takeovers, and capitol occupations with membership, other local unions, and coalition partners.
Since the SEIU has already shown it has no respect for private property, the question that lingers is: Will 2013 be the year when a real attorney general finally begins to look at the entire SEIU structure with RICO in mind?
That's right, the stupid, fucking, crazy, paranoid, right-wing morons apparently view this job listing as reason to prosecute SEIU under racketeering laws devised to combat organized crime. What a bunch of stupid, fucking, crazy, paranoid, right-wing morons.
I'm pretty damn conscientious about only using my phone with a hands-free device when driving, and have been since before it became law in Washington state. Having driven stick-shift for years, I'm used to holding the wheel with one hand, but I've read the studies, and there's no question regarding the safety hazards. That said, I'm a little mixed on the recent National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations that use of cell phones while driving be banned entirely—with or without hands-free devices.
Again, I don't doubt the data on "distracted driving," but it's not like folks don't have conversations in cars without cell phones. And if you really want to talk about distractions, the NTSB should do something about all those people driving with screaming babies or quarrelsome children in their cars.
“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.
Really? If that were true, wouldn't we also halve the legal blood alcohol limit, or go to zero tolerance entirely? Because I'm damn sure there are many, many accidents caused by the diminished capabilities of drivers with a legal .07 percent. In fact, just getting behind the wheel of a car endangers both the driver and others. Maybe we should just ban driving while driving?
I don't mean to dis the NTSB recommendations entirely, but as a generally cautious and conscientious driver, I'd think we'd see more of a benefit from enforcing the laws we already have (like maybe, ticketing people for not using their turn signal while shifting lanes), than by launching into a long and controversial fight to ban cell phones.
Air Force officials say an airman armed with a pistol has barricaded himself in a building at a Colorado Air Force base that controls all GPS satellites, but operations haven’t been disrupted.
How is that even possible? One location is the center for all GPS satellites? And a madman currently controls this one and only center? It seems we are always just one step away from the end of our world.
I never forget my phone, but somehow I did, and it's surprising how anxious I feel without it. It's not even like I'm expecting an important call or anything, and I have a perfectly good land line phone sitting right here on my desk. (Well, not perfectly good. It's got a quarter inch of accumulated Stranger filth on it, and it's held together with Scotch tape. But it works.)
A late adopter (well, cheapskate), I didn't get my first cell phone until a decade ago, when I was almost 38, so it's not like I grew up with one. So I'm surprised at how incomplete I feel without one. It's totally irrational. Amazing how technology can sink it's taproots so deeply into our psyches.
Gubernatorial wannabe and anti-health-care crusader Rob McKenna is holding a campaign kick-off breakfast tomorrow morning, but The Stranger, if you can believe it, is not allowed inside. After I emailed the campaign to RSVP, I got a call back from McKenna-protector Adam Faber explaining, "Tomorrow's event is for invited press only, and we didn't invite The Stranger."
"This is very simple and it is all I intend to say," Fabar intentionally said. "The Stranger's editorial director has made a $500 donation to our opponent and political blogger, Mr. Goldstein, is listed on the PDC reports as the head of a political action committee called the No Rob PAC. I think that speaks for itself."
Well, Adam, it's actually called the No Reversing Our Benefits PAC. But—speaking of things that speak for themselves—if you think that a PAC to preserve health care benefits is the same as a PAC against Rob, then that confirms Rob is the exact same thing as reversing benefits.
Just so everybody's clear on this one matter: According to the McKenna campaign, Rob McKenna = repealing health care benefits.
Nearly eight months after the onset of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, plant operators still aren't exactly sure what the fuck is going on inside its damaged reactors:
Nuclear workers at the crippled Fukushima power plant raced to inject boric acid into the plant’s No. 2 reactor early Wednesday after telltale radioactive elements were detected there, and the plant’s owner admitted for the first time that fuel deep inside three stricken plants was probably continuing to experience bursts of fission.
The unexpected bursts — something akin to flare-ups after a major fire — are extremely unlikely to presage a large-scale nuclear reaction with the resulting large-scale production of heat and radiation. But they threaten to increase the amount of dangerous radioactive elements leaking from the complex and complicate cleanup efforts, raising startling questions about how much remains uncertain at the plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Plant operators detected xenon 135, a fission product with a half-life of just nine hours, hence the rush to inject boric acid into the reactor. Boron atoms absorb neutrons, thus interfering with a chain reaction.
The Upper East Side “More blue-hairs around as zombie fodder. And older zombies are slower zombies.” —Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, screenwriters, Zombieland
So where's the best place to survive in Seattle? I'll admit I'm inclined to follow my friends with relatives in fly-over country east of here... I hear tell of well-stocked ranches and lots of firearms.
Which reminds me: if you want to practice killing zombies, Tacoma Tactical airsoft has Zombie Hunter Training all Halloween weekend.
(The part where the pit bull gets ahold of the guy on the counter's ankle is pretty much the beginning of my worst nightmare. Yes, it makes me a breed profiler, but every time a pit bull is walked past me on the street, I see its jaws and their proximity to my ankle and think about the horrible clamping...)
Via Joe Szilagyi via Boing Boing. Thanks, kind of, Joe.
Those irresponsible fear mongers at the New York Times are at it again:
Government officials on Saturday ordered more tests after detecting elevated levels of radiation in rice crops near the crippled nuclear power plant at Fukushima.
Radioactive substances have already been discovered in beef, milk, spinach and tea leaves, leading to recalls and bans on shipments. But officials have been especially worried about rice, a staple that makes up a significant part of the Japanese diet. Japan grows most of the rice that it consumes.
Five hundred becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium have been detected in rice grown 35 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the highest permissible level under Japan's recently revised food safety standards. I guess that means that legally, it's safe to eat. But I sure as hell wouldn't feed it to my daughter.
The fact that Japan economically contorts itself in its effort to be self-sufficient in rice, tells you everything you need to know about the central role of this staple in Japanese culture. That many Japanese must now question if Japanese-grown rice is safe to eat, can't help but be a blow to the national psyche.
Even as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to leak radiation, independent scientists claim to have found "hotspots" in Tokyo where radiation levels are as high as those in the Chernobyl evacuation zone. Sound improbable? Maybe. But whether it's the radiation itself that presents the biggest threat to Japanese health, or the anxiety over it, this is Japan's new normal.
Nonetheless, the accident is likely to amplify emerging concerns over the safety of nuclear power after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan. Though French public opinion has remained largely favourable to nuclear power, which provides 78 per cent of the country’s electricity, polls showed a growing proportion of people questioning the role of nuclear power after the Japanese catastrophe. The accident follows another incident three years ago when 75kgs of natural uranium was leaked into the environment after maintenance at the Tricastin waste treatment site, also in the south of France.
The government has begun to examine possible scenarios to reduce the country’s dependence on atomic energy, while the opposition Socialist Party has even suggested the possibility of an eventual withdrawal.
It hasn't been a good year for the nuclear industry, and those advocating its dramatic expansion.
According to a recent poll, 70 percent of Japanese respondents oppose restarting the nation's shuttered nuclear power plants, despite the threat of summertime blackouts and higher utility bills. 78 percent of the nation's 54 nuclear reactors are currently shut down for maintenance, inspections and meltdowns.
Before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, nuclear power had provided nearly a third of the nation's electricity; it now provides less than 20 percent. The Japanese government recently dropped plans to double the nation's nuclear power generating capacity, and pursue an aggressive strategy of wind, solar, biomass energy in its place.
For those who insist I've made too much of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster:
TOMIOKA, Japan (AP) — Vines creep across Tomioka's empty streets, its prim gardens overgrown with waist-high weeds and meadow flowers. Dead cows rot where they were left to starve in their pens. Chicken coops writhe with maggots, a sickening stench hanging in the air.
This once-thriving community of 16,000 people now has a population of one.
It's all very well to argue that Fukushima wasn't as bad as Chernobyl, and that when you look at the big picture, nuclear power is still a helluva lot safer than coal... unless you're one of the 100,000 Fukushima prefecture residents who have been permanently displace.
Avian flu shows signs of a resurgence, while a mutant strain - able to sidestep vaccines - could be spreading in Asia, the United Nations has warned.
The variant appeared in Vietnam and China and its risk to humans cannot be predicted, veterinary officials said.
Remember 2005? Remember what happened? Yes, like then, this is not a good time to drink raw duck blood:
Nguyen Huu Viet must have thought the worst was over when he buried his two-year-old son on Dec. 25. The boy had drowned two days before in a fishpond near their home in northern Vietnam's Thai Binh province, and Viet was undone by the death. At the funeral the family served raw duck blood and porridge-rural comfort food. Although they had heard that the avian influenza that swept Southeast Asia last year had returned, they thought the disease was confined to the south. The day after the funeral, Viet fell sick with flulike symptoms. He was hospitalized on Dec. 31, and tested negative for the H5N1 virus that causes avian flu. Viet deteriorated rapidly and died on Jan. 9. The next day, his younger brother Nguyen Thanh Hung, who had taken care of Viet in the hospital, became ill. When Thanh Hung's blood test came back positive for H5N1, doctors retested Viet's blood and found that he'd also had bird flu. "The whole family was paralyzed," says Thanh Hung, who has recovered from the disease. "Everyone was stunned."
I know it's terribly, terribly wrong of me, and I absolutely shouldn't do it, but I'm a horrible person, so...
A Dominion Resources Inc. nuclear power plant in Virginia may have been subjected to ground motion greater than it was designed to withstand in last week’s earthquake, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
Dominion notified the agency that a review determined shaking from the 5.8-magnitude temblor “may have exceeded” design limits of the North Anna Power Station, the agency said today in an e-mailed statement. The NRC sent additional inspectors to the plant to assist agency officials in their investigation, the agency said.
Yes, I know it is awfully irresponsible of me to even dare to suggest in the wake of Fukushima that, as our nation considers a dramatic expansion in nuclear power generation, we might also want to reconsider the potential seismic hazards these plants are built to withstand. How terribly unsciency of me. I should just stick to something I know—like lying about Republicans—and leave the real debate entirely in the hands of the nuclear industry spokespeople who know what they're talking about. Bad Goldy.
Cantor raised some eyebrows on Wednesday when, in the aftermath of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast and originated in his district, he said Congress will help those hurt by the earthquake but will require finding offsets for any federal aid.
The GOP is now making a habit of this hostage business. They have become the Mexican gangsters of American politics. In the words of that beautiful song that opens The Rescuers: "Who will rescue us?"
Tropical Storm Irene's swipe at the Big Apple proved Sunday that New Yorkers can be a tough crowd to impress. "I slept through the whole thing," said James Trager, a writer who said he was nonplussed by nature's display of fury that took place outside his windows overlooking 58th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown. "Nothing. It's exaggerated."
Boring! Nothin to see here concerned friends and family. It's a weak ending to all the hype. My state of emergency sleepover cohorts are sorely disappointed. Our survival skills were not tested. The skies are grey - in our unheroic hearts
New Yorkers were, however, very impressed with what we in Seattle could only see as a joke of an earthquake.
by Dan Savage
on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM
New York legalizes same-sex marriage AND THEN THE CITY OF NEW YORK GETS HIT BY A MASSIVE HURRICANE!!! Something that has never happened before!!! Coincidence? I DON'T THINK SO!!!! THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS!!!!!! GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED!!!!!!! (This, however, is just a dry spell, nothing that a little prayer can't fix. And we shouldn't read anything into this, of course, because it's entirely possible that God meant for that lightning to hit the porn shop directly across the interstate—I mean, we should all know by now what terrible aim God has when he's feeling wrathful.)
The amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan's nuclear agency said Friday. ... NISA has said the radiation leaked from Fukushima was about one-sixth of what the Chernobyl disaster released in 1986.
A separate government report released Thursday said that 22 percent of Cesium-137 and 13 percent of Iodine-131 released from the plant during the crisis have fallen on the ground, with the remaining either fell into the ocean or outside the area of simulation.
If it's not on the ground and not in ocean, I assume "outside the area of simulation" means everywhere else on the planet earth.