Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bill 'Em, Dano

The bar fight trial of John Ryan Mason, accused of beating the crap out of his friend Jory Brigham in the men's room of Pappy McGregor's Bar & Grill in SLOTown ended in a mistrial.  8-4 in favor of an acquittal for Mason, which is a complete miscarriage of justice since both men are guilty of Walking While Drunk & Stupid and should have been punished accordingly.

On the other hand, maybe justice was served after all.  There they were, forced to go public with their ridiculous cranks, their petty squabbles, their messy sex lives and infidelities and childish behaviors spilling into the courtroom and splashed all over the headlines day after day. Complete fools, one of whom -- a SLO firefighter, no less -- clearly has serious alcohol, self-control and anger management issues. (Anybody what that guy on the line in a crisis situation when your house is burning down?)

All of which has cost the taxpayers of this fair burg a bundle.  It's not known if the DA will refile or let the verdict stand.  What I do know needs to be done is that both men should be billed for all the court costs of this trial, fired from their day jobs (You want those guys working for ya?) and sent on their merry way.


There's a Word for That

For years, first in stealth mode, carefully planned, then loudly public, Republicans have been pushing through legislation in states throughout the US that were disguised as "secure, Voter ID registration laws" in order to stop massive voter fraud!! that nobody could find when they bothered to look. It was a solution in search of a nonexistent problem, but did, in practice, end up having the (intended) result of disenfranchising the poor, the young and people of color. You know, "democrats."

Slowly, some of the back-room beans were leaked out and people started to pay attention to what was going on and many of the new Voter ID laws were derailed into the courts for the the smell test, which many of them are failing to pass.  Then, not content with the laws they had put into place, some folks took it to another level.  A group of tea party members calling itself the Ohio Voter Integrity Project started actively removing 2,100 names from voter rolls in that swing state. Including one woman who had lived at the same residence for seven years.  They yanked her off the rolls because her home was listed as a commercial property, not a residential building.  I guess to tea party officials, living in a commercial property now disenfranchises one?  Especially if one is black and might vote Democratic?

And then, the Republican National Committee abruptly dropped their ties to a get-out-the-vote company in Florida which has been repeatedly suspected in all kinds of  voter fraud in the past.  Sproul & Associates has had a long smelly history, yet the RNC keeps hiring the company -- a company which has been operating under different shell-corp names so people wouldn't get suspicious until the damage had been done.

All the while hollering at the top of their lungs, Voter Fraud!  

There's a word for that kind of behavior:  Projection. It's Karl Rove's signature political tactic.  And so far it doesn't seem to be working too well in these cases, though it's not for want of trying.  Poor Karl and the GOP; when you're bankrupt of both morals and ideas, I guess projection, misdirection and flat-out stealing the vote is about all that's left.  We'll see if it works like it did last time.

Uh, Ya Wanna 'Splain That To Me Again?

O.K, so PG&E is going to conduct high-energy seismic studies off our coast which is supposed to find unknown earthquake faults and damage an unknown amount of marine life while doing it. I get that.  But what I don't get is this:  Nuclear power plants are basically insured, past a certain point, by the taxpayer.  I mean, if there's a minor problem (a small melt-down, let say) the PG&E stock holders will get the bill.  But if there's a major problem (a big melt-down and tsunami and a meteor strike all at once) then the taxpayer is left to clean up the mess.  So nuclear power plants are never required to be built to absolute fail-safe standards, only fail-sorta-safe.  Which Diablo Canyon is.  Sorta-fail safe.

But now, for some reason, PG&E is getting antsy about its liability and it's fail-safeness and apparently suspects that maybe it's not up to snuff against an unknown fault that could cause X amount of damage.  So it's going to blast a lot of critters out of the water to see if it can get better risk-assessment info, after which it will do . . . . what?

Is Diablo seriously considering shutting down?  Why should it?  Even if they find some one-in-a-gazillion fault, I find it improbable that that would cause a shut down.  After all, NO nuke is 100% fail-safe, so why should Diablo be?

If PG&E thinks they could add some things to the plant to buffer the effects of some unknown one-in-a-gazillion fault, they can do that now without testing, since nukes need only be sorta-fail safe.  And Diablo can be made that right now.  No need to test. 

So, tell me again why a bunch of sea critters have to die or be terrorized or harmed when the end result will be zip or something that can be done now without the sonic blasting?