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Progressive Idiocy: Did You Know That Mitt Romney’s Really Rich?

By: Cujo359 Tuesday February 28, 2012 12:55 am

Caption: Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. You may not have been aware of this, but he’s way richer than I am.

Image credit: Jessica Rinaldi/Wikimedia

Can we talk? I mean, really. Put down that glass of whatever, and try to find something to lean on, because I don’t want you to lose your equilibrium. There, that’s better.

I don’t give a crap how rich Mitt Romney is.

There, I said it. Pretty shocking, isn’t it? But there it is. I don’t care. Well, OK, I care a little. There are days when I think it would be just wonderful if the person in the White House had some earthly idea what most of us go through in our lives. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s been the case for a long, long time. I think the last time there was a President who actually had some idea what it was like to be a working stiff was when Ulysses Grant was in office.

Presidents are rich people. If for no other reason, we know that because they can afford to take off two years or more from whatever they are supposedly doing to run for office. They have to know a lot of rich folks so they can start advertising and setting up a campaign. Every President of modern times has done this, including the current one.

So I don’t care how rich Romney is. Every President is way richer than I am. They’re all way richer than you are. Do you think it really matters that Romney is richer than Barack Obama? Until they moved to DC, the Obamas lived in a house that almost none of us could afford.

Being rich doesn’t have to mean that you aren’t concerned about how everyone else lives. Teddy Roosevelt was rich; so was his cousin Franklin. Jack Kennedy was rich. Somehow, they all acquired some idea what it was like for everyday people, at least enough to implement policies that made our lives better. Being rich, or even talking about it a lot, doesn’t make you unable to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

It’s just more difficult.

Once you’re rich enough that you don’t have to work ever again, there’s really not much more that can separate you from the common man, except maybe being so rich that you can buy absolutely anything you want. I suppose Romney’s that rich, but it really doesn’t matter. His opponents, no matter if it’s Mister “I’m From A Steel Town” or Mister “I’m From A Big City With A Corrupt Government”, don’t have any idea what it’s like to have to worry about bills or whether the kids get those braces they need. They certainly have no idea what it’s like to wonder what happens when you get sick and can’t afford medical care.

Even Mister “Man From Hope” had to learn most of that from someone else.

So, I don’t care how rich Mitt Romney is. I don’t care how many times he talks about how many NASCAR team owners he knows, or why the Missuz needs two Cadillac SUVs, or why he can’t seem to stop reminding us how rich he is. Because, folks, they’re all rich. Most of them have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be you or me. That’s why they’re where they are. At least there’s one thing we can honestly tell ourselves that Mitt Romney has never lied about.

What I care about is that Romney’s economic policies look an awful lot like President Obama’s, as do his health care policies, his foreign policies, and his policies about just about anything else worth mentioning. That, and that they all suck at least as much as Obama’s policies.

Now you know the dark secret of my soul. I hope you can forgive me someday, even if you’ll never be able to respect me.


Brutality Or Stupidity?

By: Cujo359 Thursday December 1, 2011 10:30 pm

For me, it’s hard to tell which in this video. It’s of last night’s Occupy Philadelphia protests, with police horses injuring a reporter who is in the crowd. Kevin Gosztola referred to it in a Twitter message as being a deliberate attack, but if you watch the video carefully, it doesn’t look that way:

I don’t see the police officers who are on foot making offensive moves. The most assertive they get is when one of them urges the protesters to get back on the sidewalk. The horses, particularly the dark one with the white streak on his face that appears to be the one that hit reporter Vanessa Maria, seem to be very nervous, thanks to all the noise, the large number of people who are shouting and looking cross, and perhaps confusion on the part of their riders. Whatever the reason, they all look to be nervous and twitchy.

My experience with riding horses is extremely limited, but it has left me with one overriding impression – it’s not like driving a car. A horse has a mind of its own, which it can lose all too easily. If it loses its mind, the rider transitions from being the driver to being a passenger.

Here’s a screenshot I took from that video of the horse after it hit Ms. Maria. It still looks agitated:

Here’s a picture of another horse rearing up, with the nearest demonstrator at least ten yards away:

I don’t see why its rider would have had the horse do that.

Experienced horse people are encouraged to comment…

I remember the Philadelphia Police Department from the old Frank Rizzo days, when in any given month the cops could have killed more people than the criminals did. I’m not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Still, I think this particular incident is more a result of foolishness than deliberate brutality. The foolishness was bringing these animals so close to so many agitated people and losing control of them. The force they represent doesn’t seem to be needed, and I hope the lesson they’ve learned is not to bring them next time.

When they’ve made that decision, or failed to make it, perhaps we’ll see whether Kevin is right or I am.

Cross posted from Slobber And Spittle (where embedding video works ;) )

The Price Of Freedom: Religious Expression

By: Cujo359 Thursday November 3, 2011 5:30 pm

Over at her new home at Free Thought Blogs, Maryam Namazie wrote this:

Today, the [French] weekly [Charlie Hebdo] was firebombed for publishing a special edition on the Arab Spring and calling itself Charia (Sharia) Hebdo for the occasion. Mohammad was featured as the ‘guest editor.’

In solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, Mohammad is being featured here as a guest blogger though I can’t really publish anything he’s written because it violates every anti-discrimination code in existence (to say the least!).

A photo will have to do.

A photo of Mohammad will have to do! (In support of Charlie Hebdo’s firebombing)

Ms. Namazie is no doubt right that there will be folks out there explaining how Charlie Hebdo brought this on themselves. Horse hockey. No one has the right to burn down a building because its occupants wrote something they don’t like about them, unless they’re burning down their own building. Even then, they’d better have a permit.

As I explained earlier, this numskull has the right to burn a Koran, just as I have the right to burn a Bible if I want, and this moron can burn a copy of The God Delusion if his reading skills are up to finding it. We all get to make fun of each others’ beliefs, too. That’s part of the price of freedom – seeing something you love or value mocked or ridiculed.

I’m not sure of the value of mocking someone’s religion, although I’m perfectly happy to point out the parts of it I think are silly or senseless. I am absolutely sure, though, that anyone who hurts others or destroys their property because he is offended by what they say is utterly wrong.

Charlie Hebdo had the right to publish those cartoons without being threatened or assaulted. Anyone who lives in a free society who doesn’t think that’s true has no idea what freedom is.

The Rich And The Power To Demand

By: Cujo359 Saturday October 29, 2011 4:59 pm

Caption: A rich kid who gets it. If there were more like her, we wouldn’t need protests.

Image credit: Buzz Feed

Two weeks or so ago, Expat, someone who often leaves interesting comments at my blog, wrote this regarding an article I’d written on the Occupy Wall Street protests:

The lower photo probably is the best depiction of the greater part of the upper class elite that I have ever met; conscientious, caring, secure in their person and most often generous in some form or another. These qualities are not those of the MOTU corporate CEO type pathologically driven psychopaths endeavoring to accumulate dynastic levels of wealth from their privileged positions of management.

Unfortunately the word wealth doesn’t distinguish between these types, and neither do those who rage against the rich.

Quote Of The Day [Oct. 12, 2011]: Comment by Expat

He was referring to the photo that leads this article, which is of an apparently wealthy young woman speaking out against the injustices that the Occupy people are protesting. That’s the original caption, and I daresay I still think it’s an accurate one. Whatever they may feel about this, I don’t see a great many of her fellow “one percenters” joining in on this.

“We got them [Republicans] cornered on Medicare”

By: Cujo359 Sunday June 12, 2011 9:47 pm

Caption: Just waiting for the sleigh to pass by again.

Image credit: Arrr!.

This, according to Robert Reich, is one of the excuses offered by DC Democrats for their shameful inaction on the economy. That inaction is clearly a deliberate policy, as this statement from Austan Goolsbee, President Obama’s advisor on economics, said early last week:

“We do not have a sense of panic from one month’s jobs numbers, nor should we be having a sense of panic in general,” Goolsbee said, speaking to a gathering of personal finance writers and editors at the White House on Wednesday. “Over the last six months, we have had added a million jobs in the private sector, which the president’s the first to say ‘That’s not enough. We’ve got to do more, and get that higher.’ But I really do not think that you take a variable series like the monthly job numbers, you don’t want to overreact to one month’s numbers that are different from what has been the trend.”

Austan Goolsbee: No Economic Crisis

Now, Goolsbee is an economist, which tells me that the man is either a lunatic, a liar, a complete incompetent, or far too feckless to be in the job he’s in. Let’s examine why, shall we?

First, there haven’t been a net of a million jobs in the last six months. Here are the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) numbers for unemployment for the last six months, which is December through May:

BLS Job Growth Month by Month, Dec. 2010 thru May, 2011
Month Job growth
December, 2010 103,000
January, 2011 36,000
Februrary, 2011 192,000
March, 2011 216,000
April, 2011 244,000
May, 2011 54,000

Which adds up to the economy adding about 845,000 jobs more than what it lost in the last six months. So, this number isn’t even a million before you note that the workforce has grown by more than that in that time.

In addition, according to this BLS table, in 2010 employment shrank by a net of 813,000 jobs, while the employable population grew by roughly two million people (NOTE 1). If you assume that we’ve added another million in the first half of this year, the Obama Administration has lost another 2.9 million net jobs since it took office, on top of the millions of net jobs (roughly ten million, if one compares the workforce size in 2001 vs. 2009 (NOTE 2)to the net growth in jobs during that time) the Bush Administration lost while it was in office. The only reason the official unemployment rate isn’t through the roof right now is that there are so many people either employed part time, or completely off the unemployment rolls thanks to having been out of work for more than 100 weeks.

We in the Land of Not DC have been living with diminished expectations and the imminent threat of economic collapse for almost four years now. I’m hard pressed to imagine how anyone other than a barking mad, brain-dead worthless excuse for an economist wouldn’t think this is a serious issue. Yet this clown has been Obama’s chief economic advisor.

As I wrote more than two years ago, you can tell a lot about a potential government executive by who he chooses for his advisors. Read that link and tell me we couldn’t have seen Libya and the continued operation of the black sites coming.

To return to the quote that is the title of this article, and the source for it, I’ll quote Reich’s conclusion:

Americans are scared, with reason. We’re in a vicious cycle in which lower wages and net job losses and high debt are causing consumers to cut their spending — which is causing businesses to cut back on hiring and reduce pay. There’s no way out of this morass without bold leadership from Washington to rekindle consumer demand.

If the Democrats remain silent, the vacuum will be filled by the Republican snake oil of federal spending cuts and cut taxes on big corporations and the wealthy. Democrats — starting with the President — must have the courage and conviction to tell the nation the recovery is stalling, and what must be done.

The Swamp of Washington and the Morass of the Economy

Reich wrote this after having interviewed a few Democratic “leaders” over the last few days. That’s where this article’s title comes from, which Reich says is what one or more of those “leaders” said to him when he asked why they weren’t doing anything to create jobs. They clearly feel no need.

And here is, once again, where I differ with Prof. Reich. This isn’t a case of Democrats being afraid to tell us what’s going on. They simply feel no need. They figure that we, labor and progressives, will continue to support them no matter what. I have little reason to think they’re wrong. Given the large number of people out there who still think that criticizing Obama is tantamount to racism, or at the very least, a sign that one is not a serious progressive, why should I? The Democrats are right – as long as the Republicans look all scary and whatnot, they can just pretend to be protecting Medicare and Social Security, and plenty of those allegedly serious people will gladly carry their water. They’ve been doing it for years, and they clearly don’t see the need to change what they’re doing.

Heck, even Ariana Huffington has caught on, if only slightly:

[T]he president, even on the heels of the latest round of depressing numbers, is oddly passive. “This economy took a big hit,” he said Friday. “It is just like if you had a bad illness, if you got hit by a truck, it’s going to take a while for you to mend.”

Being hit by a truck is not a bad metaphor — but he left something out. If you get hit by a truck, you are taken to a hospital for major interventions. When you are wheeled through the emergency room doors on a gurney, people react; they move purposefully and quickly; machines are brought out; desperate measures are taken. But that’s not at all what happened with the economy. Instead, the economy got hit by a truck, was wheeled into the ER, and those in charge largely left the patient to heal on his own while they went into a back room to talk about the long-term building plan for the hospital. And, every now and again, they come out to tell the patient: “Remember, you were hit by a truck. It’s going to take a while to mend.”

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg recently released a report in which he warned the administration that, as HuffPost’s Mark Blumenthal put it, “backward-looking campaign messages about who is to blame for the recession or whether the recovery efforts are succeeding are doomed to failure.” What voters want, according to Greenberg, are real solutions that “ask the richest to pay their fair share of taxes,” invest in “education and innovation” and “confront the power of money and the lobbyists.” As he puts it: “There is a real economy out there that’s not changing.”

Something We Can Say With Certitude: The Economy Stinks!

[links from original]

I say “only slightly”, because she goes on to call the Obama Administration’s policy “surrendering” to Republicans. It’s not surrendering. Obama’s choice of advisors demonstrates that clearly. It’s what the President believes in.

That’s where we are at the mid-point of 2011. We’re no closer to getting the real economy in gear than we were in late 2008. This is clearly just fine with the folks who run the Democratic Party. I’ve gotten a chuckle whenever someone describes the Republican Party as “the Party of Hoover” lately. It should be abundantly clear that the Democrats are the ones doing nothing useful to help the economy, just as Hoover refused to do anything useful to help ordinary Americans after Black Thursday. They became the party of Hoover in 2009, when they spent an entire year making sure that the health care “reform” bill didn’t improve health care, or even make it more accessible for the average American (NOTE 3).

What the Republicans are these days, I’m not sure. The “Party of Nero” might be the closest I can come to an actual political figure. Unless you prefer the Party of Homer. Any metaphor for lunacy or pig-ignorance will probably suffice.

Until progressives and labor finally decide that they’ve had enough of this, and will be willing to put up with Republican leadership long enough to demonstrate that they will not blindly support the Democratic Party no matter how much it screws us, nothing will change. And by “nothing”, I mean the slow-motion train wreck that is our economy, the continued slide into government lawlessness, and the slow erosion of our ability to educate and defend ourselves.

For anyone who has or is tempted to say that this makes me irresponsible, crazy, or otherwise unfit to have an opinion on this matter, then you are welcome to do one of two things:

* Suggest an alternative plan, with at least some comprehension of the difficulties and how you would deal with them, or

* get lost.

Really, it’s that simple. I am open to suggestions, because I don’t like the prospect of even two years of Republican rule any more than you do. But I am mortally tired of the schoolyard name-calling posing as serious commentary from the Democrats’ useful idiots. There are few options, and near as I can tell, none of them are happy ones. What we’re really discussing is which path holds any hope at all.

And if you don’t see that, go somewhere else. You’re getting the kind of government you deserve, and that would be just fine if you weren’t also inflicting it on me.

NOTE 1: I’m using the “non-institutionalized” population growth here rather than the growth of the BLS’s idea of how big the work force is. The reason is the long-term unemployed. If you look at the BLS stats, you’ll note that in 2010, the work force was actually smaller than it was in 2009, even though the eligible population grew by two million. In the face of such obvious dishonesty, the eligible population growth is the most viable number. Hell, no one’s just retiring early these days.

[UPDATE:Changed "was in 2008" to "was in 2009" in this note. "2008" was a typo.]

NOTE 2: This is based on the growth in the size of the work force, as determined by the BLS, though basing it on the size of the eligible population yields a similar number.

NOTE 3: If you don’t know why I write this by now, let me just sum it up this way: Being forced to buy insurance that you can’t afford to use isn’t the same as having access to health care. That’s particularly true when none of the new insurance regulations have an agency with a budget to enforce them. Someone will have to handle and adjudicate millions of complaints annually, and that someone most certainly will not be the United States Department of Justice. Anyone who thinks otherwise is welcome to point out where in the budget there are several billion dollars set aside to do this.

Free Advice For Website Designers

By: Cujo359 Tuesday June 7, 2011 11:04 pm

Here’s some free advice to website designers:

If you’re going to define the color of your website’s background, define the default text color, as well.

Now, free advice is often worth what you pay for it, but in this case, I’ll offer an example why I say this, and how to fix it. Here’s how a page at Firedoglake looks on my computer screen at the moment:

Image credit: Screenshot of FireDogLake page by Cujo359

See how the text of my comment is washed out? That’s because I’m using a reversed desktop color theme for on my computer. People who have a bright screen with limited contrast sometimes like to do this. Unfortunately, it makes the default text color a very light gray or white. Not good if someone defines the background color on a website to be white, but doesn’t bother to define the default text color. This is just bad programming technique, as far as I’m concerned. What this practice does is define the background color at the website, but leave the choice of text color up to the visitor’s web browser.

To fix this, I downloaded that FDL page, and changed Cascaded Style Sheet style_003.css from this:

Firedoglake Ajax Commenting Theme
*/ /* Tags */
body {
        font: normal 13px Arial;
        background: #F2F1EC;

To this:

Firedoglake Ajax Commenting Theme
*/ /* Tags */
body {
        font: normal 13px Arial;
        background: #F2F1EC;
        color: black;

With the result that the page now looks like this:

(And no, the blue lines didn’t disappear because of the change I made. That’s to do with the difference between the downloaded page and the one loaded from the website.)

Just to short-circuit some return free advice:

* Yes, I know I can tell my browser to use its own colors, rather than the website’s. This is almost invariably a bad idea.
* Yes, I know that I can tell my browser to use a different default text color (like black), instead of the desktop theme’s. Unfortunately that doesn’t work properly in Firefox.

I like the look of a reverse desktop color theme, and I wish I could use one as the default in my web browser. Plus, as I said, not defining one thing while defining the other is bad practice. Letting one bit of software determine one part of the look of one’s website, and another, completely different bit of software determine the rest, is also an invariably bad idea.

Cross-posted from Slobber And Spittle

Note to FDL readers: While I wouldn’t normally post an article like this here, it does have some relevance.

No Static Military Action For The Wicked

By: Cujo359 Friday March 25, 2011 6:03 pm

Caption: Here’s some kinetic military action for ya, Baby:

U.S. Marine Corps tanks leave plumes of dust as they race towards their primary objective during a Combined Arms Exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2000. Marines from the 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd Tank Battalion took part in the exercise which is designed to involve all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force in a live fire, desert training environment.

Image credit: DoD photo by Pfc. Andrew A. Thornton, U.S. Marine Corps.

The Obama Administrations description of the military actions we’re taking in Libya as “kinetic military action” caused James Ala to wonder:

Kinetic Military Action, are you serious Mr. Rhodes? As opposed to what, Inertial Civilian Rest? Sweet Baby Jesus on a Pogo Stick, these people can not be serious.

How “blowing shit up” became “kinetic military action” is a mystery best left to the PR flack that went there. Granted the possibilities are endless. The Lusitania was not sunk by a German sub, it was provided a submersive water experience. China did not suffer “The Rape Of Nanjing” it underwent a rapid urban clearing and renewal program. Pearl Harbor did not suffer a sneak attack, that was unannounced aggressive diplomatic messaging.

Mangled Wordsmithing

Having watched every presidential administration since Nixon’s mangle the English language to obscure what they were really doing, I’d say that they really are serious. Of course, it does beg the question of what an opposite would be. Other possibilities that occurred to me:

Caption: An FA-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier. It doesn’t get much more kinetic than that, now does it? Wonder how many miles per gallon that bad boy gets?

Image credit: John Gay/Wikipedia

  • static military action: This could be a good thing. All that driving and flying around certainly burns up fuel, and isn’t that what got us into this mess?
  • isometric military action: For when there’s just no room for jazzersize.

I’m sure there are many other possibilities for a phrase this deliberately vague.

They’ve certainly set the bar at a new low when it comes to obfuscatory phrasing, but if I know our White House press corps, they’ll still be able to bump into it. We’ll be hearing about “kinetic military action” for months, if not years.

What A Disaster Really Means

By: Cujo359 Friday March 18, 2011 3:28 pm

The BBC has a Flash graphic of the recent earthquake near Sendai, Japan, and the aftershocks over the past week. This is a screenshot of one hour on the following day:

Image credit: Screenshot of this BBC video by Cujo359

[click on the graphic to enlarge]

That’s two aftershocks of more than magnitude six on the Richter scale. Any earthquake above six is likely to be a bad day. The Nisqually Quake, which happened here in the Puget Sound region, was a 6.8, and it managed to do a lot of damage to old buildings despite being more than ten miles from the nearest city.

Don’t forget, this is just one hour of one day. The blobs that look like nicotine stains are afterimages of previous quakes. By the end of the week, the graphic looks like an ancient chain smoker’s ceiling.

Disaster management on this scale is rather like being an invading army, minus most of the weaponry. To be successful, an invader has to assume that there will be nothing of use in whatever territory it conquers. The U.S. Army has a whole command dedicated to figuring out the logistics of such things, because, as they put it, prior planning prevents poor performance. They literally figure things down to how much to give a soldier to take with him each day. They have to.

When you don’t do that you can find yourself on the Russian front without your coat.

After a disaster like this, nothing much works. Roads and rail lines are broken, which means that even if an airport survives the shock, it will soon run out of fuel and other things it needs to operate. Electricity and fresh water are almost entirely gone in many areas, which means that there are lots of survivors whose long term chances aren’t good. Because electricity is gone, nearly all forms of modern communication will be gone. Communication, if it can be done at all, will likely have to be done by messenger at first, at least until folks can set up radios or re-establish phone lines.

Many places will have backup power supplies – generators, uninterruptible power supplies, and the like, but after a time the fuel will be gone and the batteries will be dead. Until transportation is restored, the fuel can’t be replaced, and the batteries can’t be recharged until either that happens or electrical service is restored.

Caption: [From the picture site.] The Japanese city of Ishinomaki was one of the hardest hit when a powerful tsunami swept ashore on March 11, 2011. When the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the bottom image three days later, on March 14, water still inundated the city. The top image, from August 8, 2008, shows water levels under normal circumstances.

Water is dark blue in this false-color image. Plant-covered land is red, exposed earth is tan, and the city is silver. Standing water is most evident in the flat, open places that were once fields. The most extensive flooding is around the Matsushima Air Base in the lower left corner of the image. According to news reports, several airplanes were damaged in the tsunami. The neighborhoods immediately around the airstrip are also flooded.

Dark blue fills in the spaces between buildings in sections of Ishinomaki near the harbor in the center of the image and by the river in the upper right. These areas are probably flooded. Survivors in parts of Ishinomaki were being rescued in boats, reported CNN. The large image shows additional flooding near Ishinomaki and farther south in Sendai.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team (via Flickr)

Caption: An M1097 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) carrying a shelter for electronic equipment. The US Army places these all over the battlefield to provide communications between the various headquarters and logistical units. They also may contain systems that are used to analyze and organize army assets, and the status of a battle and the friendly and enemy units involved.

Disaster relief efforts can often have similar communications needs, at least in the short term.

Image credit: Harold Hansen/Wikimedia

Invading armies bring their own communications systems these days. They do that because, even assuming they’ve brought enough supplies, without communications you can’t get them where they need to be. Even dropping supplies by air, as limited a help as that is in practice, requires that you know where they are needed most. That requires both communications, analysis, and coordination. In a disaster, that means that there have to be disaster management specialists who can, and do, communicate with the appropriate experts in the technologies and systems affected, and with the people who need what those systems normally provide.

Another thing that most modern armies are used to is the idea that they will lose some of their support assets, whether through accident, disaster, or hostile action. That’s another thing that Japanese emergency workers are having to deal with, thanks to all those aftershocks.

That’s a small taste of what it can be like in such a situation. The Japanese have a reputation for being methodical, but as we’ve seen, that isn’t always true in practice. If they haven’t thought things through down to a level similar to what the Army has, then they’re making some of it up as they go along.

We’re used to a world where you can talk just about anywhere on a cell phone. If that doesn’t work, there’s a land line or the Internet. The electricity works, or it’s out for just a short time, and we can just hop in the car and go down to the store to get what we need. In and around Sendai right now, none of that is true.

Just something to keep in mind while you think about those people trying to deal with the reactor problems, and rescue people. I’ve encountered accusations of coverups and such about the reactor problems already. It’s possible there really have been some, but it’s also possible that a lot of the confusion, particularly in the early going, had to do with lack of communications and lack of planning.

Considering the scale of this disaster, they could be spending a long time catching up.