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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





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A Radioactive Conflict of Interest Your Government is Trying to Keep from You

OTHER WORDS - The US government is going out of its way to downplay radiation hazards in the aftermath of one of the world's worst nuclear accidents.

Last month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) heralded an Energy Department-funded study indicating that evacuation zones around nuclear power stations might not be needed after a major nuclear accident.

The study, which exposed mice to radiation levels comparable to those near the Fukushima nuclear disaster, found no evidence of genetic harm.

"There are no data that say that's a dangerous level," says Jacquelyn Yanch, a leader of the study.

"Current US regulations require that residents of any area that reaches radiation levels eight times higher than background should be evacuated," according to MIT's press release.

"However, the financial and emotional cost of such relocation may not be worthwhile, the researchers say."

It's quite a leap to claim that evacuation zones around nuclear power plants might not be needed based on the chromosomes of 112 irradiated mice.

In a devastating critique, blogger Ian Goddard points out [[http://www.youtube.com/user/GoddardsJournal ]]    that the MIT study excluded extensive evidence of genetic damage to humans living in a radiation-contaminated environment.

Although doses in a peer-reviewed study of 19 groups of children living near Chernobyl were consistently lower than the MIT mouse study, most showed lasting genetic damage.

"MIT's presentation of its study as the first scientific examination of the genetic risks of living in a nuclear disaster zone is pure science fiction, not fact," Goddard concludes.

Even more troubling, the Obama administration reduced emergency preparedness in case of a major nuclear accident in a quiet announcement made six months ago, right before Christmas — virtually guaranteeing minimal media attention.

Given that the number of people living near nuclear stations has grown four-and-a-half times larger since 1980, a move in the opposite direction would make more sense.

What's going on? The United States remains a major pillar of nuclear support here and around the world.

About 70 percent of the Energy Department's $26.3-billion budget covers nuclear activities — and that's not including $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors that are slated for construction in South Carolina and Georgia.

Japan's failing nuclear industry is supposed to build them.

The Energy Department is also the main source of funding for radiation health research. That's like having the tobacco industry determine if smoking is bad for your health.

And this conflict of interest is nothing new. Several prominent scientists on the nuclear payroll in the 1950s and 60s vigorously claimed that radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests was harmless.

Some went so far as to claim that fallout might be beneficial because increased radiation-induced genetic mutations could weed out the weak.

This problem was not lost on congressional investigators over the past 35 years. They revealed the government's suppression of incriminating data,  blacklisting of uncooperative researchers, unethical human experiments, and  submission of fraudulent research in federal court.

By the late 1980s, the agency was forced to move funding for radiation research to public health agencies.

This all changed a decade later, when the Republican-controlled Congress restored the Energy Department's monopoly over radiation health research.

Things have gotten so bad that the agency gave MIT a $1.7-million grant last month to research, among other things, the "difficulties in gaining the broad social acceptance" of nuclear power.

MIT also receives millions of dollars from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

This conflict of interest has tragic dimensions.

The government and nuclear industry still have yet to deal with the costly disposal of enormous amounts of radioactive waste and profoundly contaminated "sacrifice zones" at the Energy Department's nuclear sites.

Or to resolve the issue of the tens of thousands of sick nuclear workers, uranium miners, military veterans, experiment victims, and nuclear test "down-winders," who are receiving billions of dollars in compensation after being put in harm's way on behalf of splitting the atom.

(Robert Alvarez, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration. He authored the report Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage .   This article was provided CityWatch by OtherWords, a  project of the Institute for Policy Studies … otherwords.org)  
-cw

Tags: Robert Alvarez, energy, energy department, radioactive, conflict of interest, nuclear, nuclear plant, radiation, MIT, Fukushima, nuclear disaster





CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 52
Pub: June 29, 2012

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