The Big Dipper and big moon formed a triangle with big Mars pointing to big-topped Waialeale when Koko and I went walking on this brisk, clear morning.
As we neared the end of the road, I saw a pack of dogs, which was unusual, although sometimes pig hunters do go out on moonlit nights, even though it's illegal, and as they began trotting toward us, Koko whined and pressed against my legs, which was also unusual, since she's typically a little tita.
I picked her up, and as the dogs approached, I knew I had to be firm and show no fear. “Chhha,” I said in a loud, deep voice, stomping my foot, and the lead dog whimpered, tucked his tail and ran mauka, as the rest of the pack followed.
Ah, if only we could so easily banish far more serious threats, like the way the nation is hurtling toward an expansion of nuclear power as Obama continues to suck up to conservative Republicans who will never be satisfied no matter how many concessions he grants.
He’s seeking $54 billion in loan guarantees for construction of nuke plants, with talk of an additional 180 reactors being built by 2050. As the Associated Press reported:
The nuclear energy industry is waiting to see what else the administration will deliver. Its wish list includes more financing for loan guarantees, as well as tax incentives for nuclear energy manufacturing and production facilities.
Equally disturbing is the rhetorical spin that’s being put on this toxic technology to help sell it to a justifiably wary public. We've got Obama talking about “a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants,” as if such a feat is truly possible, and AP reporting:
The 104 nuclear reactors in operation in 31 states provide only 20 percent of the nation's electricity. But they are responsible for 70 percent of the power from pollution-free sources, including wind, solar and hydroelectric dams.
Ummm, since when did nuclear reactors become “pollution-free” power sources? We still haven’t figured out that thorny disposal problem, other than to “store” it on sacred lands.
As an aside, our own Sen. Gary Hooser has introduced a bill that would require a two-thirds vote of the Lege for the construction of new fossil fuel power plants, as is currently required before building nuclear reactors.
Obama also wants to increase spending on the US nuclear arsenal by more than $5 billion over the next five years, as if we don't have enough nukes to destroy everything and everyone already, and is asking for a $44 billion increase in the Pentagon’s budget — all while cutting domestic spending. As Democracy Now! reports:
Obama is seeking the extra money despite a pledge to cut the US arsenal and seek a nuclear weapons-free world.
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration attorneys who came up with the legal justification for torture won’t even get a slap on the wrist. Ethics investigators initially concluded they had “violated their professional obligations as lawyers,” according to a report in USA Today, which could have resulted in sanctions.
But in keeping with the Obama policy of concession, that was softened by one of his Justice Department appointees to they simply showed “poor judgment.” So John Yoo and Jay Bybee can continue to exercise that poor judgment, unchastened, in their current positions as UC Berkeley law professor and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, respectively.
I guess that’s what we get for having the audacity to hope that things might be any way other than business as usual, even with a new guy on the job.