Daily Archives: July 16, 2009

New Canadian nuclear power plant cancelled: prohibitively expensive

The initial and ongoing cost of nuclear power is very high, the effect on the water supply is sobering, and we still have no plan for dealing with “waste.”

The Ontario government put its nuclear power plans on hold last month because the bid from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the only “compliant” one received, was more than three times higher than what the province expected to pay, the Star has learned.

Sources close to the bidding, one involved directly in one of the bids, said that adding two next-generation Candu reactors at Darlington generating station would have cost around $26 billion.

It means a single project would have wiped out the province’s nuclear-power expansion budget for the next 20 years, leaving no money for at least two more multibillion-dollar refurbishment projects.

“It’s shockingly high,” said Wesley Stevens, an energy analyst at Navigant Consulting in Toronto.

So nuclear bombshells have now been dropped on Canada, Finland, Turkey (see “Turkey’s only bidder for first nuclear plant offers a price of 21 cents per kilowatt-hour“) and this country (see “What do you get when you buy a nuke? You get a lot of delays and rate increases….”).

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UPDATED John Yoo: He would be pathetic, but for all the damage he caused.

yooOf course, the Wall Street Journal gives him a forum to spout more lies about his malpractice. This time, it’s the illegal wiretaps.


It is absurd to think that a law like FISA should restrict live military operations against potential attacks on the United States. Congress enacted FISA during the waning days of the Cold War. As the 9/11 Commission found, FISA’s wall between domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence proved dysfunctional and contributed to our government’s failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks. . . .

In FISA, President Bush and his advisers faced an obsolete law not written with live war with an international terrorist organization in mind.

It is difficult to overstate how absurdly dishonest this argument is. The “wall” Yoo is referring to was removed by the Patriot Act, which amended FISA. The Patriot Act was signed into law by President Bush on October 26, 2001, a full week before Yoo submitted his now infamous memo authorizing the NSA program. That day, when the President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law, he said:

Surveillance of communications is another essential tool to pursue and stop terrorists. The existing law [FISA] was written in the era of rotary telephones. This new law I sign today will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists, including e-mails, the Internet, and cell phones. As of today, we’ll be able to better meet the technological challenges posed by this proliferation of communications technology.

Yoo is a terrible lawyer, a disgrace to the profession, and should be disbarred.
UPDATE August 18, 2009

BERKELEY, Calif. — Anti-war activists protested Monday at the University of California, Berkeley to call for the firing of a law professor who co-wrote legal memos that critics say were used to justify the torture of suspected terrorists.

Campus police arrested at least four people who refused to leave the university’s law school building.

The demonstrators said John Yoo should be dismissed, disbarred and prosecuted for war crimes for his work as a Bush administration attorney from 2001 to 2003, when he helped craft legal theories for waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques.

Shouting “war criminal,” the protesters confronted Yoo as he entered a lecture hall on the first day of class at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, where the tenured professor is teaching a civil law course this semester.

Yoo mostly ignored the demonstrators and waited for police to remove them from the classroom before he began teaching. Several officers then stood outside the lecture hall to prevent protesters and journalists from entering.

Demonstrators also staged a mock arrest of Yoo. Some dressed in black hoods and orange prisoner suits similar to ones seen in infamous photos of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which was closed in 2006 following reports of detainee abuse.

“There is little doubt that John Yoo is a war criminal,” said civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, speaking outside Boalt Hall. “John Yoo went to Washington and created the ideological, political and legal basis for the torture of innocent people.”

Yoo, who returned to UC Berkeley after spending the spring semester at Chapman University School of Law in Orange County, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday


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George W. Bush’s Mars-travaganza and global warming

Tim F. at Balloon Juice notes one of the less noticed idiocies of George W. Bush:

the manned Mars program is worse than pointless. It also starved other programs that NASA has picked up over the years with real human value like monitoring global warming. I know guys doing fantastic work with real human value who lost their funding four years ago because Bush’s Moon/Mars glory projects soaked it all up.

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Clinton shows some sanity on Afghanistan

Secretary of State Clinton acknowledges that the Taliban is not al Qaeda. Maybe someday the Obama administration will find a way to suggest that we can’t win a war in an enormous broken country riddled with corruption.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has held out an olive branch to Taliban militants willing to lay down their arms, adding her support to an offer of talks from Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

“Today we and our Afghan allies stand ready to welcome anyone supporting the Taliban, who renounces Al Qaeda, lays down their arms, and is willing to participate in the free and open society that is enshrined in the Afghan constitution,” she said.

“We and our allies fight in Afghanistan because the Taliban protects Al Qaeda and depends on it for support, sometimes coordinating activities,” she said.

“In other words, to eliminate Al Qaeda, we must also fight the Taliban.”

But in a major foreign policy speech to the Council of Foreign Relations, she added: “We understand that not all those who fight with the Taliban support Al Qaeda, or believe in the extremist policies the Taliban pursued when in power.”

Ms Clinton is not the first US official to extend a hand to Taliban militants who renounce violence.

In March in an interview with The New York Times, President Barack Obama suggested Washington could be interested in talks with some Taliban militants.

Highlighting the success of the US strategy of bringing some Sunni Iraqi insurgents to the negotiating table and away from Al Qaeda, Mr Obama said “there may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region.”

The strategy in Iraq had been developed by General David Petraeus, then commander of US forces in the country.

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