A Different Time

After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories on both sides quickly got together in early 1992 to work on securing nuclear weapons and the materials they are made from. They were supported by their governments. NATO helped. The cooperation was a marvelous thing to see and to experience. I had a small part in dealing with leftover Soviet nuclear problems.

In 1998, I traveled to Estonia to help deal with a former Soviet uranium-processing plant. I’ve written up my experience. Siegfried Hecker, the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a primary mover in the lab-to-lab cooperation, has collected the experiences of many participants in a two-volume set, Doomed to Cooperate. He has also set up a website for more information, which is where my story appears.

Check it out. Here are before and after photos of one part of the site.

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Never Stop Fighting Back

A few more photos of the Women’s March in DC, courtesy of commentor ET.

And an excellent reminder from Buzzfeed‘s Bim Adewunmi, “The Road Women Marched On This Weekend Was Paved By Black Resistance“:

In the Culture galleries at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, there is a whole section on style. Written on a museum sign is a quote attributed to Tony Award-winning playwright George C. Wolfe, which reads: “God created black people and black people created style.” On the eve of the Trump inauguration, black people came out in style, and gathered at the NMAAHC, nicknamed the Blacksonian, to attend the inaugural Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance, a “gathering to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of the past four years and the vow to continue to be the change we want to see in the world”…

… It felt fortifying, like an enriching blood tonic. “This is not a game. This is not reality TV,” actor Danny Glover said to the crowd. Writer and activist Naomi Klein laughingly called the night “the eve of the apocalypse” before adding, more seriously, “Tomorrow is not a peaceful transition of power – it’s a corporate coup d’état.” Children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman led a fiery prayer (“God, forgive and transform our rich nation and us…”) and urged the assembled guests to “go out there and cause a movement”. Playwright Eve Ensler led the crowd in a series of pledges, to “resist, disrupt, love deeper, to rise”.

“We will not compromise, we will not negotiate. We will not go backwards,” Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter declared. “Are you with me?”…

I had come [to the Women’s March] to talk specifically to black girls and women about why they were at the march. Statistically speaking, black women already got in formation at the election (and beyond), and if more white women had followed in their footsteps, perhaps this particular march might not had occurred?

I saw so many black women at the Women’s March, and each one I spoke to gave me a variant of the same answer: They were here because they had to be. To have sat it out would’ve been to cede to a feminist movement that was all too willing to discard them, when they had been the silent workhorses of the collective for so long. It was evident in the number of placards and signs I saw, happily quoting from the rich and grand tradition of black feminist theory and thought: Angela Davis, a speaker at the march, popped up often via her words, as did Maya Angelou. The most quoted was Audre Lorde, whose abundant written legacy is a treasure trove of march-friendly quotables. It was about representation, a group of African women told me. They were here, representatives of African women a continent away from this march, each with their own feminist histories, currently living their own feminist realities. This is for us too, all the black women I spoke to were saying. Putting ourselves back into the narrative, where we have always been. So I approached multigenerational groups of black women and asked to take their photo, and I looked out for groups of multiracial teenage girls, eyes wide and almost overwhelmed by the crowd. We are physical manifestations of our parents’ dreams, and I saw so many parents with a proud gleam in their eyes on Saturday afternoon…
Read more



Two great philosophers for the next four years

Okay, now it’s real so let us rely on two great philospophers for the next four years:

And it looks like America agrees with Ron Burgundy


CBS News:

It has been 10 weeks since Donald Trump was elected president, and more Americans disapprove (48 percent) than approve (37 percent) of the way he has handled his presidential transition. They are split on his cabinet picks. Views divide heavily along party lines.

Just days before his inauguration, Donald Trump’s favorable rating (32 percent) is the lowest of any president-elect in CBS News polling going back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, when CBS News began taking this measure.

Well we’ll have to survive being “governed” by the Brietbart comment section so we can either laugh or cry while we bang our heads into our desks today.



Uncle Joe!

Our wonderful President just pulled a fast one on the Veep he calls his brother.  Class honoring class:

If you want to cut to the chase, go here:

I’m so going to miss both these guys. Or rather, come January 21, they can each take, oh, say, two weeks. Then I’m gonna need them back, full steam ahead.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Walter Says Happy Holidays

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Sure, there are some dogs (hi, Ellie) who hold their dignity too high to willingly participate in these ridiculous human rituals. Walter says there’s worse ways to spend one’s days than with a full belly, a soft warm bed, and a household of welcoming companions.

(And if you send me a jpg of your holiday-celebrating household companions, yes I will front-page them, too also.)

Apart from happy rescue updates, what’s on the agenda for the day?

***********
I owe a couple commentors a hat tip for this — If you are looking to make a year-end tax-deductible contribution to a very worth cause, consider throwing a few bucks or bitcoins at the people responsible for the Wayback Machine site:

You have come to the Internet Archive in search of knowledge, or perhaps to find a part of the Web you may have lost.For 20 years through the Wayback Machine, we’ve backed you up. Now we ask for your help in return.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library with a huge mission: to give everyone access to all knowledge. By making a tax-deductible donation today, you can ensure that everyone has free and open access to information, forever.

The history of libraries is one of loss. Libraries like ours are susceptible to different fault lines: earthquakes, legal regimes, institutional failure.

So this year, we have set a new goal: to create a copy of Internet Archive’s digital collections in another country. We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because lots of copies keeps stuff safe. To achieve our goal, we aim to raise $5 million by January 20, and we need your help to get there.

Right now a generous supporter will match your donation 1‑to‑1. So you can double your impact! For every dollar you donate right now, the Internet Archive will receive $2!…

Gosh, I wonder if there’s any significance to that “January 20” deadline, she said piously.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Begin As You Mean to Go On

trump-unperson-of-the-year-sheneman

(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)
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I endorse Catherine Rampell’s proposal in the Washington Post:

Officers wielding gigantic guns guard Trump Tower, where President-elect Donald Trump conducts all transition business, and soon lots of presidential business, too. Shoppers patronizing the stores, cafes or public gardens inside must endure layers of security screening. Streets and sidewalks are barricaded; traffic is snarled; and costumed buskers milk money from the looky-loos obstructing the entrances to Gucci and Tiffany.

The challenges of securing this 58-story building in a high-density neighborhood will, by Inauguration Day alone, drain $35 million of local taxpayer money. Who knows the additional costs to commerce and property values?

The feds have thus far been stingy about footing the bill. Fortunately, I’ve come up with a solution that should warm the cockles of the president-elect’s heart: New York should use eminent domain to seize Trump Tower.

Eminent domain — the constitutionally enshrined government power to take private property in exchange for just compensation — was traditionally reserved for road-and-school-style public projects. But thanks to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, perpetuating a line of earlier decisions, governments may now use this power to condemn property if they can devise virtually any use that better promotes “economic development” — kicking out poor people and building luxury condos, for example.

Trump loves eminent domain, especially this ruling. He thinks it’s wonderful. And there’s no question why: Throughout his career, Trump has lobbied governments to seize properties from those who refuse to sell when he wants to build amusement parks, golf courses, office buildings and parking lots on their land. He believes expansive use of eminent domain is necessary to promote economic growth and “beautification,” and that it’s even a good deal for property owners who don’t want to sell.

“When eminent domain is used on somebody’s property, that person gets a fortune,” he has declared…

New York officials probably won’t take my advice, since seizing Trump’s property might appear partisan. (Manhattanites voted against Trump by about 10 to 1.) But, according to almost every eminent-domain scholar and land-use lawyer I consulted, if the city tried my strategy, courts would probably uphold it…



Quick Language Help Needed!

So, I’m hoping to put some fliers up at some of the local haunts I frequent that are full of immigrants. Here in Ashburn, Virginia, a large number of folks are of foreign origin. Many work for the government directly or for contractors, but many others work for technology companies in non-defense areas.

I am scared to go do my normal Friday shopping at two large international supermarkets. It’s usually a festive day of sorts, with many Muslims from a number of countries coming by after attending Friday prayers, and in good cheer. I encounter many Hindus and Sikhs, Chinese, Korean, Persians, Japanese, Thai, African, and a smattering of Western and Eastern Europeans. I prefer to go Friday for the mix of people, fresh seafood and produce, and because on the rest of the weekend, there are too many people!

Both stores have a nice bulletin board up with information in a multitude of languages. I’ve been planning to put together some kind of “Friends Who Cook” poster to see if I can make some new cooking friends from far away cultures so we can share what we know. But this week has accelerated what I feel I must do, and that is, make friends and let people know that I love, respect, and appreciate them, as I know most Americans do.

So I’m going to print up this sign in the next little bit and would love any advice from native Spanish or Arabic speakers. I’ve used Google’s translate feature and though I took a bit of Spanish and Arabic when I was young, I am trusting the machine.

So – please, any helpful editing would be great! I’ve posted the doc as a PDF here for your reference. I stuck to Spanish and Arabic as those are the two communities that need the most reassurance.

Flier for posting

ETA: sorry to bigfoot John’s Veteran’s Day post. I’ll put this beneath it.