Klein2 comments

Posted in: Gingrich's campaign in tatters as top aides resign See in context

No really. I have a GOP friend who told me in all honesty a couple of years ago that Newt is a GREAT MAN. A visionary. Basically, a prophet (he did not actually say prophet, but...). I laughed out loud.

It does not matter how far you go back, you find philandering, hypocrisy, deceit, etc. with this guy. Despite that, he has spouted off like Pat Buchanan whenever he got a chance.

It would have been a fun campaign with lots of fireworks. Too bad.

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Posted in: Gingrich's campaign in tatters as top aides resign See in context

My early take on this was that Newt told them he wanted to take it easy and have fun, and everyone bolted. It kind of fits with his little Tiffany deal.

Is that how it played out? Anyone know?

Oh well. Newt was the brains of the GOP (LOL!), so now it's just a beauty contest or something. I predicted GOP implosion because of the tea party dagger to their heart. They kept moving right and Obama took the center. I think everyone realizes that now. Even the GOP can't get serious. The tea party never was serious.

Bonus News: Trump has apparently stated for the record that "Republicans are stupid." Not just because they don't like him, but because he just thinks they are generally dumb. So...

Is it Bachman and Palin and Perry? The GOP is going to have to dig deep to find somebody who can just state the party platform correctly.

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Posted in: What do you think of the idea of a grand coalition between the ruling DPJ and opposition parties? See in context

GW, kudos. I agree wholly that it is far more depressing watching the sloth and greed of human beings (in high places) than facing down the devastation of 3.11 with my neighbors.

I hope people do not take this the wrong way, but if the national government would just write a check now for HALF of what they planned to give Tohoku (and Fukushima, particularly) and just left it up to us to handle the mess, it would be enough. We have effective decision makers here and we can deal with our own people and problems.

But no. What is likely to happen is that things will get bogged down. Opportunities will be lost. Fukushima will wind up on the government teat forever, and fingerpointing will ensue. International committees. Environmentalists. Carpet baggers. Processes will stop. Costs will triple. Displaced people will be left in limbo.

When that happens, don't everybody go blaming Tohoku. People here are champing at the bit to get this all over with now. We really need to move on and we are ready.

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Posted in: What do you think of the idea of a grand coalition between the ruling DPJ and opposition parties? See in context

"It's a stupid, bungling, let-me-at-those-construction-contracts idea."

Slow clapping.

More slow clapping.

Almost THREE MONTHS after the big quake, we are now looking at a DPJ trick to PASS THE BUCK even longer. You know, the biggest contribution the national political leaders have made to Tohoku has been an admission of what we already knew: Fukushima Daiichi had some problems. It was worse than good, but better than it might have been. Well... Yeah! Let the bureaucracy take it from there.

In Tohoku's local paper this morning was a photo of dump trucks in Kessenuma: stretching to the horizon. Starting a new day. Waiting to be filled with debris.

I shook my head when I saw it. Pretty soon now, we in Tohoku are going to have all of this mess picked up. We are doing it by ourselves. If history is in the making, could it be showing that Tohoku does not need the rest of Japan after all? What do we get but nuclear waste anyway?

Where is this superfluous Nagata cho I read about? Where is a GRAND party of anything? Dithering. Blithering. Withering. Tokyo builds its skyscrapers (3000 yen!), and ivory towers, apparently, while cowering in panic from imaginary clouds of radiation. Meetings. Proclamations. Promises. Empty store shelves. Meanwhile, people from Ibaragi to Aomori put on their hard hats and get to work.

Master plans from almost all affected areas will be drafted by mid September. Sure hope Nagata cho can get its act together by then. How would the nation react knowing that the devastated and overwhelmed governments of these areas are more effective than the status quo in Nagata cho?

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Posted in: Young people sign up as SDF's image soars in disaster aftermath See in context


Cannot think of a better thing for NEETs than this.

It would mean a lot less people to worry about, and a lot more people who care. (TM "Up with People", 1973)

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Posted in: Tokyo bar busted for hiring earthquake victims as prostitutes See in context

Gee. I hope this is not off topic ("Tokyo bar" and "hiring earthquake victims" ok?), but I was thinking that hiring HOSTESSES from affected areas would be a great idea. They have some compelling stories to tell, and salarymen would tip really big to hear them.

I won't say a word about prostitution, but as far as bar entertainment goes, and we know how it goes, the "I'm a poor victim" is a strong emotional hook and an ace-in-the-hole. So to speak. Here is another one: "I am working temporarily as a hostess so my husband does not have to work an extra shift at Fukushima Daiichi."

Who needs to resort to prostitution when you can use stories like that to sell a bottle of Jack Daniels for 1000 dollars?

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Posted in: Fukushima's No. 1 reactor building radiation level rises See in context

"And, given TEPCO's and the government's track record to-date, it is foolish to assume anything will go as well as hoped."

Funny you should bring that up. Saw a great blog recently on the levels of anxious messages used on Japanese Twitter. There were huge spikes showing fear and worry near each event following 3.11, and most were related to radiation. MOST.

That surprises the heck out of me because not a single person has died from radiation there. Nobody will either, I believe. So it could be said that most of the fear and worry following 3.11 has been entirely pointless. Groundless. Baseless. Foolish. Of zero merit or consequence.

If someone had told me on 3.16 that things in Fukushima were going to work out ok, I would have believed them. I did. Others, in fact ALL the foreigners I knew, fled in panic based on blind fear. A sobering display of mass foolishness.

Almost all have come back. You are saying they are making the foolish decision NOW by coming back. Is that right? Or did they make the foolish decision then? They have made their own choices, showing that your statement is foolish.

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Posted in: Fukushima's No. 1 reactor building radiation level rises See in context

I hope someone is working on changing the control areas. The evacuees should be getting back to their homes, and many of the evacuated and controlled areas are safe.

I am much much more concerned about the government than TEPCO at this stage. TEPCO has shown an excellent track record at working this problem. The gov is dropping the ball by not revising its policy of "get everybody out" to something more like "give people their lives back along with reasonable levels of risk". Cordon off the really hot areas and let everyone else get back to work.

If I had been evacuated, I would be champing at the bit to get back to my home, and if it were in an area with anything up to 30 mSv per year or so, I would probably just go back and tell the government to go fly. My view is that the gov did the right thing by evacuating people. Now they are just being lazy and passing the buck. They should be working actively to get these people home and get these communities working again.

I have not heard ZIP about an "exit strategy". Kan is just dragging this out even though MEXT data show it is not as bad as most people think. If he "trusts MEXT" and demands Hamaoka's shut down, the should "trust MEXT" and get these people back to their homes.

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Posted in: Fukushima's No. 1 reactor building radiation level rises See in context

So we are down to weekly updates of horror and gloom... on weekends, just like all the rest of Japan's "important" news.

Look. The radiation INSIDE of the reactor buildings will go up, or the radiation OUTSIDE the reactor buildings will go up. Guess which one is good news.

The article really does its best to surprise me, but it fails. There is more radioactive water, but they are going to use it for cooling, or they can process it to take out radionuclides. Rains are coming? Well, that means more water might be released, but it is also more diluted.

I don't know. This is all going to take awhile. I am pretty sure that all of this could be resolved faster, but why? The longer they wait, the better it gets. They won't bring in heavy equipment to move rods and fuel and all the rest until it has all cooled down. They won't want to expose workers any more than they have to.

Somewhere along the line, most of the doomsayers here are going to decide that their greatest health risk is from cell phones or acetominophen or mercury in their fish. Or 0157 E. coli. Just make sure that you tell the press which way the winds are blowing so they can keep up.

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Posted in: Employees reveal absurd company regulations See in context


If you are working for a company with stupid rules like this, quit immediately. There is work to be done in this world, and situations like this where people are staring at their navels are strictly welfare positions. Get a real job and don't look back.

The boss is the problem? Then it will NEVER get better. Co-workers are the problem? Why work with losers?

20 times sadder than the dumb rules is that people apparently shrug and go along with them.

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Posted in: 68-year-old Sendai woman stabbed to death; son missing See in context

"Sendai... This should probably be counted as one more death resulting from the earthquake/tsunami disaster. One more family destroyed by the stress."

Although, one wonders, what is Fukuoka's excuse?

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Posted in: Japanese version of 'Saturday Night Live' to debut in June See in context

Just HOW?

Somebody please tell me, just for instance, how you do a Japanese version of the GET OFF THE SHED sketch? or even something that is sight-gaggy like BASS O MATIC? or do THE CONEHEADS without drug and sex references?

Pamelot raises an interesting point. Mr. Bill was tried and true, but it has been done. How do you top Mr. Bill? Can you imitate it?

The only way to do it is to take huge risks, and those risk taking people are finding what they want on the internet, why would they want to get involved with Japan's big entertainment machine? After all, once they create a character (Ed Garvin -- male prostitute, land shark, the Wydettes, the Coneheads, Nuclear family, the Blues Brothers, Emily Litella, Rozanne Rozanadana, Father Sarducci, Eddie Murphy's Gumby, SCTV Great White North), it will belong to somebody else. ZERO career development there. Japanese companies suck intellectual property from artists. SNL cultivates intellectual property and lets performers profit from it.

The Simpsons started as short films on (what is her name?) a pretty minor sketch show. How does that happen in Japan?

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Posted in: Japanese version of 'Saturday Night Live' to debut in June See in context

I will miss this. I cannot imagine any success coming to this enterprise.

I miss SNL.

SNL was edgy when it first came out. Does anyone remember Fridays, which I think was an ABC knockoff? It was decent, but it still lacked the right mix. I thought SNL was dead when Belushi and Aykroyd left, but then there was the Murphy Piscopo revival, Charles Rocket, Franken and Davis. So many others.

It stayed edgy. Japan can't even begin to do edgy.

And SNL had great music. Weird stuff. New stuff. Older stuff. But all good. Bowie, Devo, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Peter Tosh, Joe Cocker, Phoebe Snow, even the Stones (I still remember when Mick licked Keith on live TV. It created "much confusion."). When Mick Jagger just showed up to do a duet with Peter Tosh, it REALLY WAS a surprise.

How is Japan going to even find that?

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Posted in: Does Fukushima show a split in philosophy between Asia and Europe? See in context

For better or worse, liberals in Germany and Switzerland are taking a huge gamble here. They seized on this issue as a rallying cry and are being exposed as impractical, intransigent, and unrealistic. They need to present an alternative to conservatives that people can trust, and vilifying an industry like this is a terrible start.

The "outright ban" stance and "immediate halt" was just way overboard. It emboldened Kan to just gut Chubu electric on a whim. Both decisions will be shown, in time, to have been irresponsible. These governments have weakened their nations out of fear. Pure irrational fear.

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Posted in: Does Fukushima show a split in philosophy between Asia and Europe? See in context

The author makes the HUGE error of saying that Germany and Switzerland are making their policies in the same way as Asian nations do.

Those two countries fully expect to buy their energy from other countries to make up their shortfalls. They can rely on a unified EU grid. France will sell them nuclear power. Germany will pay and become dependent on others.

Real countries (every other country named in the article) have their own decisions to make for their own national grids.

So. Duh. Split in philosophy? Suffice it to say that Germany can be proud and idealistic because someone else will be practical in their place. The "philosophical split" is more of a Morlock/Eloi split.

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Posted in: Roswell UFO was Russian craft: new book See in context

I am really torn by this stuff. Part of me feels sorry for people who believe, even the slightest little bit, this really really stupid nonsense.

Then the other half tells me that if I don't find some way to take their money, somebody else will very soon. It seems like such a waste that this "investigative journalist" should walk away from the table a little bit richer based on such a lame attempt. Seriously. We really need to raise the bar on conspiracy theories. If gullible people are going to fall for silly stories, they might as well be stories that lead to something sensible.

OK. Now I put on my debunking hat:

Why would Mengele do that? He was so busy with other things that he would not have bothered mass producing midgets. And if Stalin knew where Mengele was, he could have extorted more out of him, or just turned him over to the Isrealis for ... favors. Such as nuclear secrets.

Why would the USSR do that? Show off its best technology, have it shot down, and then do nothing with such great technology... ever? The country that produced a stealth fighter/bomber in the late forties had trouble dealing with U-2's? Really?

How could the USSR do that? They were killing cosmonauts in space decades later... how would they have made such an early leap and then have such setbacks in the 60s and 70s?

I will also call attention to the egregious name dropping. Stalin, Mengele. Yeah right. Not minor party functionaries and nameless, faceless, X-file people, but major historical figures.

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Posted in: Japan quake could raise concerns elsewhere See in context

Here is what realmind is thinking....

OK. 9/11 happened in the US in the morning. Then 3/11 happened in the afternoon. So 6/11 is coming right up, and it will be in the evening... in the US or Asia.

I have probably hit the nail on the head there. But considering time zones and dates, and the 10 year gap between the first two events and a three month gap between the second two. Why does that make sense? I don't see a model there. I see...."magic."

Realmind should be congratulated though. Isn't the prediction just as likely to be true as that of someone who put a lot more effort into developing a model incorporating religion or some kind of numerology or something? Realmind is just going full whimsy. Nothing wrong with that.

Hey, 11 11 11 is coming up. Where is the love for that auspicious date? I predict that people will make a big deal about that starting in about a month or so.

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Posted in: Japan quake could raise concerns elsewhere See in context

“There are many regions for which the history of earthquake occurrence is very poorly documented,” he said. “We have a long record for Japan relative to most regions, but even there we got surprised.”

Oh brother. The subtext here seems to say that earthquake prediction is some kind of exact science, and that if we just had better documentation for 1000 years or so, we could piece it all together. Uh uh.

When he says "even there we got surprised" it makes it sound as though he should not have been or that they were "fooled" somehow.

No. Scientists are still in the guessing stage. Don't let anybody tell you different. Smorkjan ridicules the charlatans properly. Look a couple of posts up. The 'predictions' look like something you would hear from stockbrokers or rapture fanatics. Oh sure, somebody will be right about predicting something sometime, but there is no accurate model and there probably won't be for some time.

One thing the article just ricochets from might not be obvious to most readers. Japan has huge amounts of data, but it is also the world's most complex system of plate tectonics.. most probably. So finding one model that works for all of Japan is extremely unlikely. Then finding one guy who has all the answers? Forget about it. This is not an Einstein thing, this is a "cure cancer" thing that will require the efforts of thousands of people over generations.

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Posted in: Hollywood tailoring movies for overseas audiences See in context

They "shade" comedy to foreign audiences.

This is just plain sad. Good comedy is disappearing because it is all going local. Except for Eddie Murphy and Jack Black. Everyone likes them, right? Especially Eddie Murphy. Pretty well aside from them, you can't count on finding much in the comedy section. I have not seen ONE of those fat Eddie Murphy movies, but it seems as though he has made seven.

Anyone familiar with the physics concept of "heat death"? Well, this is what is happening with Hollywood. Movies were designed by committee, then picked apart by accountants and lawyers. Now international committees will change movies according to audience polls in Osaka.

Between this and the 3D trend, it means fewer movies in theaters, and more and more watered down and localized films. What will I have to do to see "American films" five years from now? Who will be "choosing" my culture? I suspect culture will be determined by region coding and IP address rather than one's mother tongue.

I do not like where this is heading one bit.

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Posted in: Government red tape, cock-ups slow disaster recovery, aggravate victims See in context

"and it eloquently expresses the aggravation of the victims"

That is poo. How is that for eloquent? "The victims" were somewhere in the region of 500,000 people two months ago. Now they are, I would guess, about 50,000.

Process that. How many cities in Tohoku have that kind of population? Two? How many in Canada? And that 500,000 only counts those who went to shelters. I would guess 5 or 6 times that were without basic utilities for a week. HEY! I should be complaining! So why am I not complaining?

In the past two months, that has all been fixed up by a bunch of workaday bureaucrats and volunteers and we are down to about 50,000 difficult cases. Do you think that those people are going to have a rosy outlook? Na. They are going to complain "eloquently" to anyone who will listen about how messed up things are. Of course they deserve their free food and shelter and medical care and security, but you know, during that time, I have had to work for mine. But I am a "victim", truth be told. 95% of the "victims" are not aggravated and are not even in shelters. They are out paying taxes.

DMAT and other NGOs are likewise going to be complaining because nobody will care about improving preparedness in 6 months. They have done their "hanseikai" and now they have their wish lists. No surprise there.

People are getting a distorted view of this whole thing through a Fukushima funhouse mirror. Local governments have done an excellent job in dealing with unbelievably bad circumstances. If getting people back to a normal life was the goal, then they have earned a 95% satisfaction rate.

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Posted in: Government red tape, cock-ups slow disaster recovery, aggravate victims See in context

Anyway, gee. A Playboy laundry list of what somebody has not done right. Wow. Hey. News flash. 9.0 quake and huge tsunami. They call them disasters for a reason, you know. Tkoind2 admires glass half full people but can't be optimistic.

Well, I live here.

Imagine that your entire neighborhood is wiped out. Every building. Now imagine that every neighborhood adjacent to it has had all of its commercial base and half of its residential base utterly destroyed. Basically what is left is a pile of garbage and many many refugees. Oh. And don't forget dead bodies and rumors of dead bodies. Knock out roads, rail, electricity, water, cell phones, land phone lines, and gas lines regionally.

Got it? Now build a functioning Japanese society from the ground up in four to six weeks. Good luck. Don't forget the universal health care, which many "developed" countries can't manage on their BEST days. And make sure to do it all AT THE SAME TIME while you take care of every refugee's needs.

The performance of local governments has been stellar. Excellent. What possible yardstick could someone use to call them failures? Glass half full? Two months ago, there was no glass! People are taking the initiative and doing the best they can. You won't find a bunch of bums with nothing to do. They are all in Nagata cho. I could easily think of 10 things that local governments have done that are probably not "by the book" but which have been inspired policy and execution.

Could things be better? Sure. Obviously. Have others helped? Yep. Thanks. Will planning make things better in the future? I hope so. But don't believe all of this doom-saying from people who think everything must be bad here. National leadership and national commitment is something people in Tohoku have been waiting on for two months. Solve that problem and then complain.

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Posted in: If Hamaoka is potentially deadly, what about all the other nuclear reactors? See in context

What an excellent question the headline asks. Here is my answer:

Slippery slope, meet hasty decision. Enjoy yourselves.

Kan made a dumb decision based on very little evidence to tell Chubu to shut Hamaoka, which begs the question above. Well Kan... what's the answer? Come on smart guy. If it is all dangerous, then let's all stop using electricity. Let's shut down the economy. It is the only safe thing to do, right? Safety first?

Or maybe we are all not in so much danger as some are herding us into believing.

Let me ask everybody, and be honest. Do you feel safer now than you felt on 3.12? Why or why not? I tell you one thing. If you live in Tohoku, you are probably wondering what the heck is wrong with the rest of the country. We are the chicken which got the axe, but you all are running around with your heads cut off.

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Posted in: Tired teddy See in context

Thanks for saying it Harry. A lot of this stuff is staged. You can't sell a photo to news services unless it shows something heart-wrenching. A few weeks ago, I visited a local dump in Sendai and saw 5 of 6 of these things. The really big ones are Sodai Gomi, so people are using this chance to get rid of them. Once one gets wet, yeccch. Nobody wants it.

Except a photographer.

AERA filled its little memorial magazine with this kind of unhappy pap. They showed the Statue of Liberty in Higashi Matsushima or wherever and applied this caption.

"Only the god of death glowers over this rainy lawless land"

or some such prurience.

My view of journalists has taken more of a beating than my house in the last two months, and that is saying something.

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Posted in: Amazon says e-book sales surpass printed books See in context

"For example, what is the e-book/real book ratio for works of philosophy? For engineering texts? Art books? i would guess 1/10 or less"

Yeah. The latter no doubt. And remember free books are excluded, which means that we might have a world population downloading Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe and Darwin, but .. not likely.

"Popular" books will be bought through a "popular" medium, so this was sure to happen. I don't see the revolution, though. McLuhan told us the medium is the message, and he was right. Why read a book when you can just tell people you downloaded it? With all of the great books on Gutenberg, I cannot understand why people are getting so excited about paying through the nose to get an electronic copy of Palin's rants or whatever pop-psychobabble or diet book has been featured on Oprah this week. I smell a rat. I have heard a lot of people bragging about their kindles, but I have yet to see a person actually using one.

Wait. And advertisements too?

If you believe that the best books were written more than 50 years ago, then you could read for free and still not kill trees. I have been doing it for about two decades now.

Oh, and this is priceless:

Here is Amazon's best seller list for books.

Go the F()k to sleep. Heaven and back. An American Family in Hitler's Berlin Area 51 ESPN George Martin collection and Tina Fey, WWII, and diets...

Hoo boy. E-books are not going to solve that problem. A kindle is like a window into a wasteland.

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Posted in: Republican race about who's out, not in See in context

Divisive Republican rhetoric comes home to roost.

Get together a religion coalition. Try to rile up the tea party types based on a very tepid budget attempt this go round. Yammer incessantly about abortion maybe? Hope for a worse economy or a war?

The Reps know the momentum is against them. Palin and Trump and Beck cannot find anything but quicksand.

With Osama gone, birthers routed, and no really bad news, I say Obama holds the center, and the GOP is in NO position to assail the center.

I remember people saying that Newt is the brains of the GOP. Vision, verve, and more dumped wives in hospitals than John McCain. He can't make it.

I think it is over. Corporate America got what it wanted. No reason to rock the boat now. Obama can coast.

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Posted in: 'Titanic' to be re-released in 3D next year See in context

Ooooh. I am going to enjoy missing this.

Anyone who says they would like to see this should just go sit through the original again. Go ahead. I dare you.

I am not going to have that much time to waste in a long time.

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Posted in: China, S Korea leaders tour devastated Tohoku region See in context

"Really Miyagi was also hard hit? uh didnt know (sic)... basically it was by magnitudes worse off compared to Fukushima."

Kudos. 15000 people confirmed dead up the coast and all anyone cares about is a guy having a heart attack in Fukushima. It is a travesty of the press.

I have been blown away by the terrible terrible sensationalism of the coverage of this for the last two months. The domestic press have taken their cues from foreign news and foreign agendas. The lowly Kahoku Shimpo has provided by far the best coverage of this whole disaster. If anyone wants to do real research and use a real timeline with factual information, that little local paper towers above any national or international coverage I have seen.

And, uh... I thought that the Aussie PM was here weeks ago, right? Did she not count or something. Someone set me straight there.

Have to say it was great that they visited the shelters too. Viewed the most cynical way possible, I think they figured "better late than never". As far as I can see, all that is left is politics and social workers. All the crisis and desperation is gone. Things got boring long ago.

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Posted in: China, S Korea leaders tour devastated Tohoku region See in context

"Sad to say this, but ironically I walked past one of the right-wing vans this afternoon (in Fukushima city mind you), spewing out hatred and bile toward Korea and China."

What irony? One lie is as good as another when you choose to live in fear and ignorance, right?

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Posted in: How one Japanese village defied the tsunami See in context

3.56 billion yen invested in 1972 at 5% would be 26.20 billion in 40 years. At 7% it would be 58 billion.

So let's see what this genius did. Rather than just making a law 40 years ago saying that all new construction should be in the hills rather than in the valley, he takes government funds and makes a wall and a gate over a period of 12 years. I guess he had a lot of money lying around because he could have invested it and had somewhere between 26 and 58 billion yen for his town today.

580 million dollars.

200 thousand dollars for every man woman and child who lives there now. You have a family of five? You would be an instant millionaire if it weren't for this guy squandering public funds.

So instead of building an early warning system and discouraging people from building in harm's way, he erects this boondoggle and takes this wealth from his community. And he is a hero? A genius?

He could have just said, "Hey everybody. Take this money and go build a house someplace else. Here. Free money." And he could have done greater good for everyone. And it would have been a great deed even WITHOUT a tsunami! He could have built a huge concrete statue of a buddha like Sendai did, with enough space inside for thousands of people, and still could have had a few hundred million to play with.

It is a great article. It shows that spending the treasure of a nation to prepare for disasters that will probably not happen within one's lifetime is foolish. Better policy to guide growth is better than tilting at windmills.

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Posted in: Do you think Prime Minister Naoto Kan made the right decision when he asked Chubu Electric to shut down the Hamaoka nuclear plant which stands in an area where a magnitude-8 earthquake is strongly pro See in context

Of course it is a popular decision. The mob cheers. But whenever one man can seize on some lame opinion of a committee of scientists gazing at their navels and shut down a billion dollar operation that is SAFE, then we should all be afraid. OF HIM!

Next time a plane crashes and kills 400 times as many people as have died in Fukushima, will he shut down the airports nationwide and declare a state of national emergency? Who will stop him? Logic and precedent will be on HIS side, after all.

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