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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arrogance and stupdity -- a perfect match

I can't believe my eyes. I just saw a corporate ad on TV for General Electric. This, of course, is the behemoth company that built the nuclear power plants that have gone haywire and are killing people in Japan. In the ad, we're shown all sorts of products with the GE logo, and workers in various technical industries literally dancing, merrily, around them.

One breathtaking segment of the commercial shows a conga line of scientists wearing surgical masks. At one point, the music is interrupted by scary-sounding static that sounds like a Geiger counter. They all stop jigging around and look terribly worried. Then some guy adjusts the antenna on a transistor radio and the music resumes.

Ha! Ha! GE, you are so farookin' funny. You can kiss your nuclear power plant business goodbye for another 40 years, and it's not hard to see why.

Whoever's in charge of marketing at that company should be fired first thing in the morning. That ad should have been pulled, on an emergency basis, two days ago. You wonder how long it will take the idiots in suits to figure it out.

Comments (24)

Not to quibble, but it seems a little unfair to act as though GE did something bad on purpose. There was the 5th largest earthquake in history over there, right? Point to malfeasance, if you can, but I would bet all the plants were built to government specs. If the government specs are inadequate, just who should take the blame?

The people who designed the plant.

That'd be General Electric.

It doesn't matter if the wind blows down the power lines like here and now!
There are currently 50,000 of us sitting in the twilight soon to be dark.

Make that 120,000 with no power tonight according to KATU on line.

I would question having the backup generators be vulnerable to tsunamis. It sounds like the pump stations in New Orleans.
And what is MOX fuel? Is there a greater plutonium risk for the public? I've never heard of MOX fuel before but I bet it's cheaper and more dangerous. Just a guess. Fortunately, there are some energy experts here who can pontificate about how great it is.
I've actually been dealing with Vermont Yankee for years since my parents lived close by. They even had an alarm in their house - that's how close.
One thing I've learned - despite the happy talk from the corporate suck-ups - is that you can't trust these energy companies to tell the truth about anything.
For example, it was easier for GE to put a hurt on the people around Hanford and then just spend the money telling us that they bring good things to life.
Good PR is cheaper than doing it right and corporations value the bottom line over human life.

Oh, please don't make me stick up for GE! I really didn't make the static noise to Geiger counter connection, but that you -- or anyone -- did should have been anticipated by the PR geniuses. But, yes, that any one of their products was in a high profile failure should have initiated a complete media advertising blackout company-wide.

Long ago a local agency was running a sneaker company ad campaign on TeeVee and one of the commercials ended with a close-up on a panting athlete's face when she says, "And it wouldn't hurt to quit eatin' like a pig, either." That spot was supposed to run on the CBS program 60 Minutes. That Sunday Karen Carpenter died from her eating disorder.

An exec from the agency found out about her passing a few hours before the ad was supposed to air and went over the top trying to get the ad pulled. Luckily the rank and file at CBS network traffic already figured out that the ad would not be a good idea and pulled it from rotation.

I guess all the automation and firing of people to save a buck has consequences: machines have neither hearts nor sensibilities. Sadly, too many suits have the same deficiencies.

(BTW, I'm an engineer, not a flak.)

Another factor that no one is talking about is that wonderful issue that they keep trying to shove down our throats - high density living/housing. So when a natural disaster like this one, or a manmade one like the twin towers occurs it ensures that more damage and more deaths will occur because people are encouraged to jam more people into smaller and smaller areas.

As for GE - I'm not sure anyone could design a facility that would stand up to this disaster. That includes concrete damns on rivers and coal burning plants. We design to some pretty worst case scenarios, but most buildings/plants are NOT designed for a disaster of this magnitude.

GE built the reactors 40 years ago. The architectural design was done by Ebasco. All construction was done by Kajima. And they were owned and operated by TEP ever since. It doesn't sound like GE is the villain here, any more than Corp of Engineers were responsible for Katrina.

Maybe these reactors should have been retired by TEP earlier? Certainly, the technology has advanced since then. Maybe we've learned something about earthquakes since then?

Certainly, BP's oil leak in the Gulf is small potatoes by comparison, right?

If you want to use this NATURAL disaster as an argument against nuclear power, can we please open up ANWR (and all the other off limit oil reserves in the U.S.) to modern drilling?

Just a word here about GE. The same people that operate and produce stuff at NBC also likely do GE's commercials.

GE is one of the biggest pushers of nuclear power -- lying through their teeth about safety and waste disposal issues for 50 years. They are very much the villains.

That was no conga line. Those people were clearly boot-scootin'.

Now that my power is restored I can watch.
Very bad taste at best and just unbelievably stupid. Especially all the folks in the little white clean suits and masks!
Yikes what 12 year old thought up that scene?
And if you think fossil fuels are going to be scarce and expensive...try water in 10 years or less!

Bill, MOX is mixed oxide fuel, part of the recycling effort, so, yes cheaper. Also a harder fuel to manage because the cross-section ... Think, chance of fissioning ... Peaks at a higher neutRon energy level, meaning there is less mean time between fissions, meaning the reactor is more of a sports car and less of a truck. The faster the reactor, the less margin between a perturbation and the result of that perturbation.

But, Jack, GE owns the video production company and creative talent that makes the spot, and GE 'owns' (by investment or by extortion for future business) the agency(s) that pilots the campaign flight and buys the placements, and GE owns the TV network that airs the ads, and GE owns the congress votes that exempt from standards, regulation, and oversight of whatever are or may be 'unforeseen' nuke fluke design flaws. It is GE's ball, ballgame, ballfield, concessions and broadcast rights. You can't make them take their ball and go home.

Maybe it's the revenge (power) of the Creative Class.

It's called 'vertical integrated business' and it's better this way for the public ... step along, right this way, step in. Info supplied in advertisements is egalitarian, fair for everyone to have access to the same knowledge to work with (to reach 'solutions'), and everyone knows that the facts 'documented' in TV advertising comprise the only real and true facts that there be ... and so only foofy 'elitist' types go getting all science-y and technical-y about it. Everyone knows so-called 'Science' is only a theory anyway and doesn't prove anything; only Image proves what's right.

[sarcasm alert, retroactive]

The whole series of 'Ecomagination' in circulation now to make GE's 'eco' Image: the entire concept of them should be scrapped. (I've seen 4 different ones.) The 'Dancing Elephant' is the worst ... elephant equals Republican -- get it? ElephantRepublicans are dancing after the election, on top of all the pathetic 'little people', and past the graveyard of humankind. This is GE's world, GE owns it, we're either with 'em or against 'em and whoever is against GE is dust, has-been, squished, and history. Don't you get it? (For fuller explanation, read and contact Lorraine Bolsinger, VP-Ecomagination at General Electric Co.)

Jack, the only effective attack on the CorpoVernment TVmirage advertising is to close the purses, chop the household budget, stop the buyers whose money pays for the propaganda. That means the Pay TV (cable or dish) subscribers -- every monthly check to the cable TV company goes partly in dollars to GE's network and channels which air the ads, and it does NOT matter whether the TV'subscriber' watched the ad or not, likes it or doesn't like it, complains or disputes.

Cable TV monthly payments finances the TV channels, NOT ad sales revenue. Whether ads are good or bad, true or false, doesn't matter to CorpoVernment. Even boycotting the business that runs the ads doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is if a million Homes Using TV cancel their cable subscriptions because they dislike the ads. ... or refuse to listen to any more propagads about nuke power plant builders and sellers.

Arguing about design flaws of behemoth Central Electricity Generating mills is a moot point, (whether fuelded by nuke, oil, coal, hydro dams, or brobdingnaggian wind farms), is a wasted discussion when, hey, everyone generate their own homemade electricity. Or a generating facility on every block, in each neighborhood. Expend the labor to build and operate a local generator and then get your electricity for free -- no cash expense, only labor expense. Nevermind 'sustainable', future survival means distributed power generation. No more Central Generation plants and then no one cares how GE's flukey nuke boxes work or how old they are. eh?

Maybe we're looking at this all wrong. The last explosion was heard 25 miles away from the plant, yet officials say the containment vessel is still intact. So all we need to do now is make a second bigger containment vessel and put the whole plant inside. Presto: Safe nuclear power!

native oregonian: On the flip side, denser cities means there's a higher chance some localized phenomena will strike out in the boondocks where most people aren't. There's probably some calculations you could do if you had good enough incidence data to figure out the optimal distribution. This may have been worse had Japan been more homogenous, with their largest cities faring OK.

The effect would be even more pronounced in the US, with a small population relative to the land area.

Here's less than half of what Wayne Madsen Report.COM briefed his peeps (subscription required) in advance:

Mar 13, 2011 With a growing media curtain coming down on information about the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan, and quite probably, well beyond, WMR is publishing our March 14 edition early for benefit of our readers in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

March 14, 2011 -- EARLY EDITION. When it comes to major disasters, Obama's priority is the same: protect the corporate interests

President Obama, as he displayed so ignominiously in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, has, once again, demonstrated that his first priority in the face of major disasters is the protection of corporate interests. Obama's reaction to the post-quake nuclear power plant disasters in Japan complements what amounts to a cover-up of the danger posed by nuclear power plants in quake-prone areas. Obama has good reason to be protective of the nuclear power industry: he is in their pockets as much as he was in the pockets of BP and other oil companies after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion and subsequent oil deluge in the Gulf.

The nearly 40 year-old nuclear reactor that experienced a core meltdown and explosion, Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 1, was manufactured by General Electric and built in Japan at a time when memories of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in the minds of many Japanese. Of course, thanks to slick public relations and the support of both the U.S. and Japanese governments, the fear of the Japanese public about nuclear power plants was assuaged by guarantees that the safety of the plants was guaranteed, even during an earthquake in seismically-active Japan.

Nuclear power generation has been a good business for the United States and Japan. In 2007, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, was formed as a U.S.-Japanese global joint company to advance nuclear power plant construction around the world. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy had some 80 employees and contractors working at the Fukushima 1 plant at the time of the nuclear disaster.


Obama's close relationship with GE chief executive officer Jeffrey Immelt, who the president named as chairman of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, is a top Obama corporate cheerleader and a major campaign donor.


GE and its nuclear arm, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, are not Obama's only friends and donors in the nuclear power industry. Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, which operates nuclear power plants in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, [who knew?] was the fourth-largest donor to Obama's presidential campaign in 2008. Thanks to its $269,000 in campaign cash, Obama has responded favorably to the needs of Exelon. Exelon was created in 2000 with the merger of Commonwealth Edison's parent corporation, Unicom of Chicago, and PECO Energy of Philadelphia. Representing Unicom in the merger was Rahm Emanuel, later Obama's White House chief of staff and newly-elected mayor of Chicago. Unicom was also advised by Goldman Sachs, the firm that has supplied many of the Obama administration's top officials, including current White House chief of staff, William Daley, also from Chicago. Former White House political adviser David Axelrod also acted as a consultant for Exelon.

In addition to his connections to GE Hitachi, Obama's now-imprisoned fundraiser, Tony Rezko was involved in shady deals with GE Capital Corporation.


And in a major tip of the hat to the nuclear industry, Obama asked for $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States. In his 2012 budget, Obama has asked for $36 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants, and he has the support of the Republicans in Congress even though there are opponents and skeptic in his own Democratic Party.

Obama's attempt to put a smiley face on the nuclear disaster in Japan is coupled by charges that the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who has admitted to accepting campaign donations from foreign sources, illegal in Japan, has dragged his feet on publicly admitting the true nature of the nuclear disaster in Japan. The mayor of Tsuruga City has questioned whether the Japanese government is telling all about the situation at Fukushima.

It appears that Kan was taking a page from Obama's disaster response playbook in delaying the announcement that the evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant had been extended from a radius of 6 to 12 miles around the stricken complex. The Japanese government, after admitting a meltdown had occurred at Fukushima Unit 1, revealed a similar meltdown had occurred a Unit 3. A hydrogen explosion occurred at Unit 3 on March 14 at 11:08 am (Tokyo time), resulting in the collapse of a building wall. Fukushima Units 2 and 6 are also experiencing critical safety problems but TEPCO and GE Hitachi officials are revealing little in the way of details. Some Japanese officials have leaked information that the level of radiation near the Fukushima reactors are at a strength that results in uncontrolled vomiting, immediate hair loss, and the onset of fast-acting cancer. However, Obama and Kan, more interested in placating the needs of corporations, continue to downplay the seriousness of the nuclear catastrophe.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima reactors, appeared more interested in public relations than in informing the public about the true nature of the disaster. Kan followed TEPCO's lead in much the same way as Obama followed the lead of BP after the Gulf of Mexico disaster. And for good measure, TEPCO lined up its primary lobbyist, D L A Piper, in Washington, to ensure the U.S. media remained relatively sanguine in its reporting on the unfolding disaster at Fukushima.

The media spin on behalf of the powerful nuclear industry is underway at full force. Fukushima is being downplayed by corporate media shills who are stating that the disaster is not at the level of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Nuclear Regulatory Commission statements that radiation from Japan poses no threat to the United States are being hyped by such neocon publications as the Wall Street Journal and the newly neocon-leaning Christian Science Monitor, which is neither "Christian" nor "scientific" in its reporting on a major disaster-in-the-making.


Meanwhile, Obama's information czar, the Fagin-like plotter of disinformation campaigns, Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information Regulatory Affairs, is seeing his "cognitive infiltration" of the Internet playing out in full force. Automated "personae" and "sock puppets," funded by the US Air Force and endorsed by the Department of Justice, are ensuring that pro-nuclear energy comments are being posted on web site comment sections, discussion groups, and blogs worldwide.

When it comes to the suffering of the people of Japan and potential disastrous health effects for Americans living in Hawaii, Alaska, the West Coast, and the Rockies, Obama is content to defer to the interests of the nuclear power industry and ignore the interests of the people of the United States, Japan, Canada, and other nations that will be impacted by the nuclear disaster that is continuing to unfold in Japan.

I fairly butchered it for my hurry to relay it here. But probably we get the point WMR is making ....

Jack, some (insider) folks are saying the storied image is NEITHER 'arrogance' NOR 'stupidity.'

It's simply run-of-the-mill corrupt politics and Authority-knows-best corrupted politicians, blowing it out their a$$es.

And all the while -- not stupid -- they fully know exactly what they are doing.

Don't forget the anti-nuclear lobby is also in full spin mode.

Who knows the truth at this point, but time will tell.


I'm having trouble keeping up. Does Tenksey hate Obama now?

Dear Tenksey,
Now I really really glad I did not reup the TV service when we got home!
Thanks for the info.

Yeah, Mister Tee, in my view the Democratic Party and the Republican Party collude together-as-one against humankind; Democrats and Republicans are the same thing: powerlusters whose lust begets corruption (of their ethics).

Obama is as bad as Bush (Jughead) ... who was as bad as Clinton, who was the same as Bush (Sinister) who directed mass murder atrocities by his powerlust, (and Bush Sinister presided, was president, during Reagan's 8 years because Reagan was NOT).

See George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography.

The make-believe 'difference' between Dems and Reps is a distinction without a difference. Either one in office might end your life or my life in order to plump, profit, and pleasure their own.

My 'solution' against them is to disempower them by taking matters into our own hands, viz: Write a new US Consti2tion, and draft people to serve terms in political office and public employment modeled in the manner we draft people for jury duty -- because it's Civic Duty.

My 'solution' is non-violent. I'd like to hear alternatives and other solutions. The sense I've found so far that closest matches my own thinking is world socialism. In which a fundamental tenet is to abolish central intelligence (autocrat secrecy) and establish distributed intelligence (public education) by which every person understands humankind's situation on Earth and knows what's going on ... which requires a lot of effort for learning and for keeping up with information, which is a Civic Duty.

See World Socialist Web Site -

My opposition against (powerlusting) Liars Larson is that he lies and spreads false information.

Yeah, Mister Tee, Obama too should face international trial for conducting war crimes, torture murder, and violations of human rights.

Am I missing something here?

The version of the commercial that I've seen repeatedly has nothing to do with nuclear power; the workers in the factory are building jet engines. The kinds suspended underneath the wings of a Boeing 737. (Hence, the conga line continues to an airport with the airline's pilots and flight crew.)

In the past, GE would also have commercials on other business segments - including appliances and diesel locomotives. But I can't say I've seen a single commercial that features their nuclear reactors (a relatively small part of GE's empire - after all, they also build wind turbines, and things as mundane as utility meters and utility transformers. Oh, and light bulbs.)


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Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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