That Plutonium In San Antonio And Live Stream Putin-Trump Press Conference

A couple of reporters who take their job to be spreading maximum fear about nuclear radiation have found a story in San Antonio, Texas.

Staff from Idaho National Laboratory were picking up cesium and plutonium sources from a laboratory and left them in their rental car overnight. The car was broken into and the sources and other equipment stolen.

That was carelessness and should be looked at in the light of other careless incidents in the DOE system. When I’m traveling, I always bring in anything from the car that looks like it might be worth stealing. Even the stuff that is worth stealing but doesn’t look that way.

But the sources probably contain a few milligrams of cesium and plutonium. I haven’t done the calculations, but it probably would take a couple hundred years to accumulate enough plutonium for a fission bomb and cesium for a “dirty bomb” at that rate.

But the article goes on at length about bombs and such, as these reporters often do. It’s a strategy of fear for clicks, or perhaps these two really are terrified of anything to do with radiation. They also hyperventilate at the thought of terrorists taking the long view and waiting a couple of hundred years to get that TERROR BOMB.



There’s not enough happening today, so here is the live stream of the two-president press conference.

Soccer referee instead of a baseball umpire

A fellow jackel, Matthew Reid Krell has a recent law review article that looks at judges through the lens of a soccer referee instead of as an umpire.

The rules of soccer, as well, like the rules of baseball, allow for significant leeway on the part of the referee. To take just one example that turns up in nearly every game, the rule for declaring a player offsides states
that a player commits an offside offense by

a) being in an offsides position, and b) “if, at the moment the ball is touched or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: 1)interfering with play; 2) interfering with an opponent; or 3) gaining an advantage by being in that position.”

While this is a relatively straight-forward call when the player in offsides position receives a pass, it becomes much less clear when an offsides player is away from the active play around the ball. For example, if the offsides player has “crashed the box,” or moved close to the goal, are they interfering with the keeper? If the offsides player is available as a pass recipient from the player in possession, and the keeper has been drawn off the attacker’s angle, in order to position themselves to deal with a pass to the offsides player, has the offsides player gained an advantage, even if the play never actually runs through them? ….
When considering whether to send off a player (a “red card”) for denying an obvious goal-scoring
opportunity, FIFA directs referees to consider a five-part test. While this is not as complicated as baseball’s “triskaedeka-partite test” for determining whether a pitcher has committed a balk, referees evaluating this
must do so at a sprint, in a split second, and may be forty to fifty yards away if play has moved down the field quickly. In the same manner, judges must sometimes make decisions they do not feel prepared to

I think the umpire analogy has stronger roles at the non-Supreme Court level. There is discretion but a fairly well defined rule book. At the Supreme Court level, the judges have far more discretion within the confines of their field. Precedent is informative to some degree but not absolute and consistency between decisions is a quasi-random variable that can be distinguished away.

So when we see the deployment of the umpire just calling balls and strikes quotes, think about the referee working towards facilitating a fair and safe game.

No One Is Going to Save You, There is No God, and Your Parents Were the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus

Over the last 24 hours since Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, a popular form of political fan fiction has sprung up and is racing across the intertubes. Here’s an example:

Narrator Voice: “It doesn’t.”

Murkowski, Collins, Capito- they might all say they support Roe, but none of them are going to need an abortion any time soon and that’s just shit they say to give them a thin veneer of moderation. I mean, it works enough to fool Chris Cilizza and other idiots in the media, but if they gave a flying fuck about abortion rights they’d have voted against Gorsuch. They didn’t. They’d have voted against Alito. They didn’t.

But what about Jeff Flake, who has already been stalling judicial nominees over tariffs? Maybe this is his time, people speculated. Maybe he and McCain will finally have the courage of their convictions?

How about no?

“My goal here is not to block judges. My goal is to get a vote on tariffs, and I have all the leverage I need with circuit court nominees,” he said. The Supreme Court “is unaffected. I have all the leverage I need. I certainly wasn’t anticipating a Supreme Court vacancy, but it’s unaffected.”

Has there ever been a US Senator with a more apt name?

But, but, the Democrats can fight. And stand together. And not give in. And really stick together and not give in and fight.

A.) They won’t. Heitkamp or Manchin or one of the blue dogs will vote with Trump, nullifying any Republican holdouts (of which there won’t be any, anyway).

B.) Even if they did stick together, they are in the minority, AND THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO.

The simple fact of the matter is we are WELL AND TRULY FUCKED and THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE. The damage to the country caused by the Supreme Court appointees will not be even addressed most likely until long after you and I are dead. This is going to take generations to undo. As will all the rest of the crap being done under Trump. The gutting of the EPA and State and virtually every other agency is not something that can just be fixed overnight if a Democrat wins in December. Expertise and experience don’t grow on trees.

So basically, all the good shit you like about this country? You might as well pretend it does not exist anymore. IN at least half the states in the country, abortion is going to be illegal. LGBTQ rights will be removed. As we saw in NIFLA v. Becarra, some religious groups (WHITE CHRISTOFACISTS) will have extra free speech privileges and protections. And on an on.

It’s fucking gone and there ain’t nothing you can do about it in the short term. With the greenlight from SCOTUS this week, we should expect a full on assault on voting rights, expect unions to be killed off in short order, and christ it’s so depressing I’m done listing shit BUT IT IS ALL FUCKING GONE.

The only solution is long term. And that means we need to act accordingly, and expect setbacks and failures, and not expect things to be fixed overnight. Hell yes, you should still be in the streets protesting. Yes, you should be calling, writing, emailing your congressman. But most of all, what you need to do is vote. In every election. This shit needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. And it is going to take a long, long, time. States won’t purge their voter rolls or gerrymander their districts if the legislature and the Governor are in the right hands.

There is no quick fix. There is no fucking savior. There is no fucking Santa Claus. All you have is each other, a righteous anger, and for now, the vote. Use it. Deal with the current reality, but don’t give up. Never give up. Make the motherfuckers kill you. But don’t give them an inch.

Another set of amazingly expected indictments

This is about as surprising as finding out that North Carolina is a bit humid in the summer.

Open Thread

North Korea Replies

I said before the weekend, I think in a comment, that I expected North Korea to respond to Trump’s threat of nuclear war over the weekend. I was off by a few days.

Another all-tweet post, sorry. There should be a more readable form of the statement in a bit.

And now for some more news

Via the World Health Organization:

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro in Equateur Province today (8 May). The outbreak declaration occurred after laboratory results confirmed two cases of EVD.

The Ministry of Health of Democratic of the Congo (DRC) informed WHO that two out of five samples collected from five patients tested positive for EVD at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa. More specimens are being collected for testing.

Right now this is a local outbreak. If it becomes a regional outbreak, the response requires nuance, international collaboration, expertise and the ability to plan and act under pressure.

In other words, nothing that the United States government can do at the highest levels any more.

He is out

Continue talking