Showing posts from April 7, 2015

Times: “The worst possible result” revealed at Fukushima

Click here to view the original article.
[Plant Chief: Centuries may pass before humans find a way to deal with molten cores — Top Official: “We have no idea” what to do, “the technology simply doesn’t exist… I can’t say it’s possible” (VIDEOS) See also (small amounts of) Radiation from 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan detected on B.C. coast. *RON*]

By ENE Energy News, 1 April 2015

NHK ‘Nuclear Watch’ transcript, Mar 31, 2015 (emphasis added): NHK: The people trying to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been hit by setback after setback… and faced accusations of misconduct. It’s lost them a lot of public trust… [Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco's decommissioning company] revealed he’s not sure if he can comply with the government set plan [for] removing the fuel…

Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Company: We have no idea about the debris. We don’t know its shape or strength. We have to remove it remotely from 30 meter…

Breast cancer overtreatment costs U.S. $4 billion a year

Click here to view the original article.

[Another volley in the mammogram wars. This is an example of the general issue of the financial and health costs of false positives when screening entire populations for low base-rate diseases. *RON*]

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, PBS News, 6 April 2015
WASHINGTON — Sharpening a medical debate about the costs and benefits of cancer screening, a new report estimates that the U.S. spends $4 billion a year on unnecessary medical costs due to mammograms that generate false alarms, and on treatment of certain breast tumors unlikely to cause problems.

The study published Monday in the journal Health Affairs breaks the cost down as follows: $2.8 billion resulting from false-positive mammograms and another $1.2 billion attributed to breast cancer overdiagnosis. That’s the treatment of tumors that grow slowly or not at all, and are unlikely to develop into life-threatening disease during a woman’s lifetime.

The cost estimates cover women age…

Obama's Surveillance Reform Promises, One Year Later

Click here to view the original article.
[Window-dressing plus hot air. "The report makes clear that the big picture has not changed. One year after President Obama promised to end the bulk collection of Americans' phone records, the administration continues to apply for a FISA court order every three months directing American phone companies to turn all of their phone records over to the NSA. It also continues to exploit a surveillance program nominally targeted at foreigners to listen to Americans' phone calls and read their e-mails without a warrant. Overseas, the administration collects communications that involve Americans on a truly massive scale with no judicial oversight or legislative restrictions." *RON*]
By Elizabeth (Liza) Goitein, Brennan Center for Justice, Truthout, 07 April 2015

In February, the Director of National Intelligence issued a report summarizing the changes that President Obama has implemented since pledging major surveillance reforms in Janua…

Provinces Should Put A Price On Carbon, Blue-Chip Panel Urges

Click here to view the original article.
[New report say forget Harper, the Provinces are the way forward for greenhouse gas reduction. *RON*]
By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 7 April 2015

OTTAWA - The least costly, most efficient and effective way to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions is by putting a price on carbon — and the provinces are best situated to make the move, says a blue-chip panel of Canadian economists.

In fact, provincial leadership is "the way forward," according to the inaugural report of the same name from Canada's Ecofiscal Commission, an independent, privately funded, non-partisan think-tank.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the study's economic modelling determined that federal co-ordination, including a common carbon price across the country, is actually the least important piece of the policy puzzle and can be negotiated down the road.

"Provinces don't have to wait for anybody, and they're not," Chris Ragan, …

IMF says governments need to do more to stimulate economic growth

Click here to view the original article.

[Washington-based organisation said policy reforms and investment are the only means of raising growth to pre-crisis levels, while "highlighting Germany, Canada and Japan as three of the worst-affected countries." *RON*]
Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 7 April 2015
The International Monetary Fund has warned that the world’s major economies risk a long period of low growth unless governments do more to overcome the after-effects of the financial crisis and the longer-term problem of ageing populations.

The Washington-based organisation, best known for acting as lender of last resort to Greece, Ireland and Portugal, said without a switch to policies that spur growth, governments would struggle to shift excessive debts and cut long-term unemployment.

Highlighting Germany, Canada and Japan as three of the worst-affected countries, the IMF said that only by adopting a list of policy reforms that include greater spending on research and developmen…

Jim Prentice's budget: The not-so-subtle language of money

Click here to view the original article.
[Well written. Alberta continues to cling, beyond all reason, and at everybody else's expense, to the dinosaur juice. Hopefully voters will 'get it.' *RON*]
By Susan Wright,, 6 April 2015

"There is no fortress so strong that money cannot take it." -- Cicero

On March 24, 2015 Jim Prentice sent Albertans a message of such heartless cynicism that only the most naïve amongst us would fail to understand.

Money talks.

Here's what Jim Prentice's Budget 2015 told Albertans.

Corporations matter, you don't

When asked why the government did not raise corporate taxes, Finance Minister Robin Campbell replied "The corporate sector is going to do their part, but we have to do our part also."

This is utter nonsense.

The corporate sector did its part for its shareholders when it laid off 14,000 Albertans in the month of February alone. It protected its balance sheet and kept its shareholders happy.

The government faile…

Kinder Morgan would profit from oil spills. Really.

Click here to view the original article.
[A Kinder Morgan subsidiary "owns 50.9 per cent of the corporation that would respond to a marine oil spill in British Columbia.... The Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation has four other shareholders: Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, Chevron and Suncor.... 'It is an interesting indicator of how Kinder Morgan feels about the likelihood of a spill if they're hedging so that they profit off [an oil spill] as well,' said Eugene Kung, a lawyer at West Coast Environmental law." *RON*]
By Tyson Kelsall,, 7 April 2015

Kinder Morgan subsidiary Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMP) owns 50.9 per cent of the corporation that would respond to a marine oil spill in British Columbia, according to TMP's response to an information request.

The Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) has four other shareholders: Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, Chevron and Suncor.

A spill would certainly mean business and revenue for the WCMR…

State Tax Systems Aren’t Helping to Close Income Inequality Gap, Study Finds

Click here to view the original article.

[You can't run a government for nothing. Low taxes = low corporate taxes. "States regarded as low-tax often are high-tax for low- to middle-income earners.... on average, the lowest-paid 20 percent of taxpayers pay more than double (10.9 percent) the effective tax rate than the highest-paid 1 percent do (5.4 percent).... That’s because states rely more on sales taxes to raise revenues and less on personal income taxes." *RON*]

by Terry Sheridan, Accounting Web, 6 April 2015

Busy season is drawing to a close, but taxes are forever. And so, some might say, is the disparity in how high- and low-income earners are taxed.

A new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) indicates that state tax systems are indirectly contributing to increasing income inequality. How? Low- and middle-income earners are taxed at much higher rates than the wealthy, according to ITEP, a bipartisan think tank based in Washington, DC.

“In rece…