April 13th, 2010

engaging in democracy

Today, I got email from Mom's Rising asking me to call my Senators to ask them to sign on to a member to member letter written by Dodd that "asks the Senate Appropriations Committee to support full funding of a State Paid Leave Fund. This fund, proposed by President Obama, would provide $50 million in competitive grants to help states launch paid leave programs." I like one of my senators, but I called both. I had to wait through a lot of rings and then wait on hold, but both the women answering were nice altho only Kerry's office asked for a zipcode. Both women indicated they'd already been hearing about this. I can't know for certain that's why I got stuck in line on the phone, but I'd certainly urge anyone else who feels all democratic today and would like our country to be one of the ones that offers paid family leave to call their senator in support of this effort. Deadline is today.


ETA: Thinking paid family leave is a women's issue? A liberal issue? Here's what a guy who identifies right of center has to say about what the administration has done so far on life/work issues:


chile's nuclear materials

Last night on TRMS, a big section was devoted to the excitement of packaging up nuclear materials in Chile shortly before the big earthquake struck in late February, and then transporting it in the wake of all the damage to infrastructure including roads, power and port facilities. And doing it all very, very quietly. It was part of her coverage of the big nuclear meet-and-greet and Ukraine's announcement and so forth.

I had not seen any other coverage of this, but I've been busy lately. Here's an article, that covers how Chile got the nuclear materials in the first place:


"Like many countries, Chile acquired its uranium through a strategy aimed at preventing proliferation.

Over several decades under the so-called Atoms for Peace programme, states already in the nuclear club offered a deal to those eyeing membership: they would distribute highly enriched uranium provided it was used only for research and not weapons.

About 44,000lb of uranium was distributed to 50 countries from Jamaica to Vietnam."

I like this anti-proliferation effort better than that anti-proliferation effort, altho I respect them both in the context of their times. The prospect of dealing with all this stuff is daunting if not horrifying, but we _did_ start this particular game.

ETA: Additional coverage:


The site hosting this article is a big operation focused on nuclear security issues. Needless to say, it is Their Week in the Sun.

what to replace indian point with? how about some of these?


Waste to energy, aka, incinerators, have a checkered history, but according to this article, those few Danes with enough spend to live in suburbia like having them behind their houses (where their carports face) because it reduces heating costs and is otherwise a silent, odor-free, inoffensive neighbor (complaints about a light on the chimney being the worst of it, if this article is to be believed). How is this possible? Well, let's not lose track of the cultural context: these people recycle 2/3rds of their waste stream and will fine the crap out of you for putting a recyclable in the garbage. And they recycle food waste. If the food is out of the waste stream, the rats and insects will be minimal; if you filter your chimney and carefully handle what you capture, the rest of the problems are dealt with.

From my perspective, I'd _much_ rather fill our world with these than more nuclear reactors. If we decide this didn't work out so good, we're back to our trash-in-landfills problem. If we decide the nukes didn't work out...