Hanford Nuclear Waste

I spent a year of my childhood in Goldendale Washington, downwind from Hanford Nuclear Plant. Like many people raised in that area, I got thyroid cancer at an extremely young age and still suffer from the side effects of it.

I spent another 35 years of my life downriver in Vancouver Washington. Needless to say I was pretty upset why I read that the DOE plans on start shipping large amounts of nuclear waste their again, despite reports that the wastes already there, the same ones that were supposed to be cleaned up long ago, are steadily creeping closer and closer to the Columbia River.

If you’re as upset by this as I am, you might consider going sending this to the DOE.

Dear Friend,

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is already one of the most polluted sites on the planet. Farmers in the region regularly report the birth of three-legged chicks and two-headed calves.

But a new proposal from the Department of Energy would lift the 30-year moratorium on shipping radioactive waste to Hanford from other DOE sites. If this moratorium is lifted, Hanford will become the nation’s radioactive waste dump.

We have until Friday to speak out. The government is accepting public comment until then on the proposal to lift the moratorium. Speak out today and submit your comment opposing the plan to make Hanford America’s radioactive waste dump. Click the link below to submit your comment.


UPDATE: Here’s an interestingSeattle Times background article on Hanford and the ongoing cleanup costs.

This Ain’t No Stinking War Blog

A vistor to this site today labeled this site an “anti-war” blog.

Because it was an off-hand remark in a comment that contained a link to an article I found quite interesting, as a well as leading to a site I’ll probably be following in the near future, I didn’t think about that term too much at first.

However, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the term. This ain’t no stinking war-blog, that’s for sure, but neither do I consider myself an anti-war blog.

If I had to put any label on this site, I would probably refer to it as a “poetry blog” because my favorite entries, and the great majority of them, focus on various poets. Because of my bias, I suppose you could also call it a “liberal” blog or even an “environmental blog” because I’ve written more articles in that vein than I have about the war with Iraq.

I originally considered calling this blog “Don’t Fence Me In” because I don’t like to be labeled. Ocassionaly in jest I will call myself a “liberal,” as an act of defiance, particularly when conservatives were using it like a liberal was a pariah. Like most people, though, I hate to be labeled.

Actually, I’m probably socially conservative being quite traditional in my personal life, but I’m politically liberal because I believe in a government that helps the poor and disadvantaged to lift themselves up.

I’m afraid, though, that it says something about our divisive times when expressing unpopular views about a vital issue of the day gets you immediately labeled.

Hopefully with the first rush of the tax season coming to an end, I will find more time to read poems and comment on them. Until then, I’m afraid I will continue to stall by expressing my opinion on various issues that interest me but don’t require a single focus, but that still doesn’t make me an anti-war blog.

Christian Scientist Monitor offers Perspective on Events

In times like this I find myself turning more and more to the Christian Science Monitor as a new source. It’s tough not to love a paper that can run a cartoon like this the same day it is running an article like Americans and a Dangerous World, which offers a reasonable perspective on the current “crisis.”

The subheading, “Despite missile and terror threats, experts urge vigilance and alertness, not panic” offers the sanest approach to recent events and government announcements. While not directly criticizing the Bush administration, the article does offer advice that will help counter the current hysteria that threatens to little besides enriching Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot.

The article points out that while Central Intelligence director George Tenet’s warning that North Korean missiles may be able to reach the West Coast puts a “vivid face on that danger,” what he didn’t say is that “the US reaction to North Korea’s actions might in itself boost that trend” because the “US is angrily confronting an apparently nonnuclear Iraq” while “treating an apparently nuclear-armed Pyongyang with great care.”

While the article does not directly attack the administration’s urging citizens to rush out and buy duct tape, it does note that “Experts debated whether the plastic would do any good,” while suggesting that “the main purpose of the warning might have been to ready the nation mentally for coming challenges.”

Unlike most of today’s media, the Christian Scientist Monitor continues to offer a relatively objective view of the world.

Well, I’ll be Duct

I wonder if all the people rushing out to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting are the children and grandchildren of those folks who paid thousands of dollars to build bomb shelters in their backyards in the 50’s.

As a former CBR officer trained in Fort McClellan, I think that trying to protect yourself from chemical or biological attacks with duct tape is one of the most ridiculous ideas I’ve heard lately, and there are plenty of ridiculous ideas coming out of Washington DC these days.

Do you think there could be any connection between the increased beating of war drums trying to generate enthusiasm for America’s upcoming invasion of Iraq and the high alert the Bush administration has placed the nation on?

When people are scared enough that there is a run on plastic sheeting and duct tape, you know they’re scared enough to want to go after Sadam and Bin Laden, don’t you? What better way to drum up support for a war than to tell people that they’re in imminent danger.

While it’s probably prudent to always have an emergency kit available, I would argue that you are in less danger from a terrorist attack than you are from a possible chemical spill from an industrial plant, a derailed train, or an over-turned truck.