A Little More Stacey Abrams For You: 1993 Edition

Here you go:

Open thread!



My Views On Nuclear Power

Last night we learned that Cory Booker feels that nuclear power will be important in our response to global warning.

So let me give a short summary of my feelings about nuclear power. They haven’t changed since I wrote this in August 2017.

We need nuclear power. I think that we can make it work. But there are a lot of reasons we might not. The fear of radioactivity is a big one. It’s irrational, it comes from a lack of education, the media fan it, and it seems impervious to any sort of persuasion.

The belief that there is no way to deal with the wastes is related, but separate. The repository at Yucca Mountain would be just fine except for politics. Nevada has decided that it won’t take other states’ radioactive garbage. So there. I can sorta sympathize, but not really. We do have a lot of empty space out here in the west, and not many people.

The time it takes to build a new reactor and the cost overruns, as they exist now, are disqualifying. This seems to be a problem in all sorts of areas, though. The solution may have more to do with contracting practices and bad incentives than anything else.

The new, smaller reactors that are being developed may be part of the solution. But it will take time to have them ready to go. Older reactors should not be shut down simply because natural gas is now cheap. Booker is right about that.

Overall, don’t give up on nuclear power. Learn about what radioactivity is. The nuclear industry and its proponents at DOE have to do a better job.



Monday Morning Open Thread: Bread & Roses

I still hope I won’t have to give up my senior Senator. But as a childhood survivor of the ‘duck’n’cover’ era (the nuns at our primary school didn’t bother, since — as they pointed out — Manhattan was most assuredly one of the primary Soviet targets, so the only preparation we needed was to keep our souls in a perpetual state of grace), I think Warren’s already found some damned good talking points. Per NYMag:

In a bold and controversial move, Elizabeth Warren introduced legislation this week that would revoke Donald Trump’s existing authority to trigger a nuclear holocaust whenever he feels like it. The “No First Use Act,” which Warren co-authored with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, would legally establish that it is the policy of the United States to never be the first power to use nuclear weapons in an armed conflict…

Advocates of “no first use” believe the adoption of such a measure could spur more concrete changes in atomic policy, like putting our nuclear arsenal into a lower state of readiness (and thus reducing the probability of an accidental world war).

But leading Republicans believe that maintaining “calculated ambiguity” about whether America is a rogue, terrorist state that just might wipe a city off the face of the Earth at any moment is cool and good. Nebraska senator Deb Fischer said of Warren’s bill Wednesday, “With Russia and China increasingly attempting to intimidate their neighbors — some of whom are U.S. allies — this is the wrong message to send. It betrays a naïve and disturbed world view.”

Thank God our current leaders have a worldview that is sophisticated and sane.

Yeah, about that…



Ralph Northam Press Conference Live Feed

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is scheduled to give a press conference today at 2:30 PM. The live feed is at the bottom of the post.

As late yesterday afternoon turned to night and then morning, Governor Northam has apparently decided he won’t resign. From the reporting, Northam no longer believes, despite yesterday’s apology by video, that he is in the offensive picture. Specifically, he doesn’t remember the photo, nor does he believe that he is the man in blackface, nor the man in the Klan costume. And he has been contacting his former classmates to ask if they know who the two men are who are in the picture.*

All of this may be true: that it is not Northam in the picture and that the picture was put on the wrong page. It doesn’t matter. He’s had that yearbook for almost 34 years. So have others who were in medical school with him at the time. Had he come out, during his first run for office or even his run for governor when the Virginian Republican Party and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillispie who went all in on xenophobia, accused him of turning his back on his own family’s history with the Confederacy, disclosed the picture, explained that it was coming to an understanding that going to a costume party in blackface and/or in a Klan costume was both wrong and morally unacceptable, and that is why he’s denounced his forebears service to and support of the Confederacy, there would be a very different discussion about the photo, the yearbook, and whether Northam should remain in office. This is, however, not what happened.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s in the photo or not. It doesn’t matter if it was put on the right yearbook page or not. It doesn’t matter if this accurately represents who Northam is in 2019. Right now America, both state and society, are subjected to a non-stop barrage of bigotry, prejudice, and lying from the President of the United States. Every time he gives remarks, off the cuff or prepared, whether from the Oval Office, the Roosevelt Room, the Cabinet Room, the Rose Garden, the White House lawn, one of his rallies, or, as I fully expect to happen, from the dais of the House of Representatives next Tuesday, Americans are confronted with a President who lies about his own bigotry and prejudice, then makes more bigoted and prejudiced statements, and then delivers more lies on a wide variety of topics. Right now one political party, the Republican Party, goes out of its way to cozy up to, play footsie with, and tolerate bigots. It’s why Senator McConnell can condemn Congressman Steve King’s remarks, while never being held to account for his own longstanding relationship with neo-Confederate organizations. It’s why Congressman Scalise can do the same thing despite campaigning for Congress as “David Duke without the baggage”. And that’s before we get to the President’s political appointees, such as Stephen Miller and Kirstjen Nielsen, who are just as bad if not worse.

Right now there is a need in the US for both formal and informal leaders, and this includes Northam, to stand up, tell the truth, and do the right thing. American state and society are in desperate need for more of this, not less. And Northam can do America a great service today if he stands up at his press conference and provides one last act of formal leadership and resign. He needs to resign not because he or anyone else may be sure that he is actually either the man in black face or the man in the Klan costume or that the picture is on the right page, but because American needs to see examples of leaders who take responsibility, even if they’re not 100% sure that they are the responsible party, when something bad happens, and then take the hard and important first steps to fix the problem. Which, in this case, would be to resign. The real question about whether Northam is a real leader, and is even morally fit to be a leader, is less about the picture in his yearbook from 1985. It is really about whether he leads today by giving up power and seeing it peacefully and efficiently transferred to his lieutenant governor or whether he tries to petulantly cling to power in the hope that an explanation for the photo surfaces that exonerates him and allows him to brazen this out. You can’t teach character, despite what the knuckleheads at the Combined Arms Center think. You can identify it, you can nurture it. You can mentor it. You can reinforce it. But you either have it or you don’t. At 2:30 today we will learn if Governor Northam has character and is actually fit to lead, even as he gives up formal leadership, or if he doesn’t.

Update at 3:55 PM EDT

Governor Northam has announced that he won’t be resigning. Here’s the response from the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus:

 

Open thread.

* It is possible, though not probable, given what we know of them, that this is PJ and Squi in the picture after brewskis at Timmy’s with Brett, Judge, Tom, and Bernie because they were all black out drunks in high school at Georgetown Prep and this is the type of things they would do. But I think this is highly unlikely.



My Tiers of the Candidates

Thought I would share my early thoughts on who I like to be President based on what I think they stand for- not all of these people have announced (denoted by an *):

Tier 1:
Sherrod Brown*
Stacy Abrams*
Andrew Gillum*
Amy Klobuchar*
Pete Buttigieg

Tier 2:
Castro
Harris
Gillibrand
Elizabeth Warren

Tier 3:
Sanders*
Beto*
Biden
Booker

Tier 4:
John Delaney

Tier Just Fuck Right Off:
Gabbard
Schultz

There is no real deep thought put into this, there is not much information on the candidate pages and it is way early. Just my general feelings. Tier 1 are obviously the people I would crawl over broken glass to vote for (Buttigieg is young and will probably go nowhere but I like the cut of his gib jib). Passion wanes the lower the tiers go. I really like Harris a lot, but I just don’t like the progressive prosecutor positioning you weren’t, really- just be who you are, which is pretty awesome! Warren is a touch old even though she looks 50, and I worry about Gillibrand being too moderate.

Beto, Sanders, and Biden are weird- obviously I would vote for them, but Beto just seems out there and I’m not sure what he is up to, Biden is too old and too compromised and too moderate, and Sanders is too damned old and I don’t want to live through 2016 and then the general campaign red-baiting and I don’t think the AA community has bought into him still, so what’s the point.

Again, these are just rough opinions based on not much but the gut, and as you all know, give me an hour and I’ll change them.

*** Update ***

I forgot Booker. I fear he may be too beholden to corporate interests.