crisis in japan is still dire, but at least it's not deteriorating as quickly as it was a few days ago.
but what would you expect after an unprecedented magnitude 9.0 earthquake, a horrific tsunami, and an ensuing nuclear disaster?
you might reasonably expect the united states to learn from japan's tragic experience.
but, you know, ha.
california, the epicenter of instability (geology-wise and otherwise), is home to two nuclear plants in areas of "severe seismic risk."
there is significant concern about the safety of those facilities in the event of a "larger than expected" earthquake. probably for good reason:
"...the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which sits less than a mile from an offshore fault line, was not required to include earthquakes in its emergency response plan as a condition of being granted its license more than a quarter of a century ago. Though experts warned from the beginning that the plant would be vulnerable to an earthquake, asserting 25 years ago that it required an emergency plan as a condition of its license, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission fought against making such a provision mandatory as it allowed the facility to be built."
no earthquake plan. that's nice. isn't that nice? but mitch mcconnell (R-corporate whore) says we shouldn't get all worked up about nukes and earthquakes. "I don't think right after a major environmental catastrophe is a very good time to be making American domestic policy," he said. “My thought is we ought not to make American domestic policy based on an event that happened in Japan.”
excellent points. we should wait a couple weeks, until the story is out of the news and americans have forgotten all about the major environmental catastrophe. that's a much better time. and it happened in japan, after all! that's, like, another planet! it has nothing to do with anything here.
but enough earthquake-precipitated nuclear talk. let's ignore tsunamis for awhile, instead.
the 2011 budget proposed by the house gop cuts funding to NOAA, effectively leaving the u.s. coast vulnerable to approaching tsunamis. "I think we often over-react to emergencies, especially natural disasters, before we assess the limit of the damage, and particularly with the nuclear part of this," said rep. steve king (R-far-from-any-coast).
yes, of course. no need to get all in a tizzy over emergencies and disasters. instead, let's step back, take a deep breath, and undercut our ability to respond to them at all.
it almost makes you long for the days of gop fear-mongering during the bush administration, getting all frothy about threats to "the homeland" and national security. back then billions could disappear into the sand and deficits didn't matter, because the safety of americans was job #1.
now, apparently, the opposite is true. the deficit is the only thing that matters.
and in the face of disasters of every kind--from unemployment to foreclosures and earthquakes to oil spills--americans are on their own.