Climate change discussion by politicians. Brought to you by BP.


  1. Rod

    Great summary so that I don’t have to actually spend my time listening to Nader. Your link to Charles Barton’s review of Nader’s life was also very interesting.

    Nader’s “quarter million people homeless or refugees” is the typical nuclear opponent willingness to take ALL damage from the tsunami and ascribe it to the power plants. In this link from November 2013at Japan Today, we learn that

    290,000 people are living in shelters. Of these, 52,000 can be ascribed to the power plant evacuation.

    Corrice’s numbers are power-plant focused and up-to-date. But the numbers from Japan times show two things:

    1) The relative number of the power plant refugees compared to the entire refugee situation (approx 5/6 tsunami, 1/6 power plant)
    2) The willingness of people like Nader to latch on to a number and use it, no matter what the number actually represents. It’s a number, right? Opponents love to use numbers: it looks so scientific. What the number means…well, some nuclear advocate will have to dig into the data and find out.

    1. @Meredith

      Truth be known, it was your fault that I listened to Nader yesterday. 🙂

      I got so distracted by his rant and my decision to write about it that I have not yet listened to the segment of the show I was actually tuned in to hear. I’ll go do that now.

        1. She was great. I recommended that an acquaintance who hosts one of the most popular podcasts on the web clip that last few minutes for his podcast. We’ll see.

          1. 😀

            By the way, we are talking about my daughter Julia Angwin’s appearance on Democracy Today. She spoke about her book “Dragnet Nation”. The book is about relentless surveillance on the Internet.

            Hundreds of data trackers have an internet file on you which is more complete than a Stasi file. (Julia went to Berlin and obtained some typical Stasi files.) This tracker file information is available to the government, or to anyone who wants to sell you something. In most cases, the trackers will not show you this file. But someone who is trying to sell you something will quickly have more information on you than you have on them. In a negotiation, information is power…

            Watch the video or read the transcript

            or read the book

          2. This is the reason that any third-party site that adds cookies to my browser gets put on a block list that I maintain.  My computer simply won’t talk to them.  Data they don’t have cannot be sold, mined or used against me.

  2. While we probably don’t need a huge political machine with scientists in the halls of DC everyday, we do need more involvement of normal people in the political process. Currently only the loudest people are the ones that go out of their way to engage with Representatives and Senators. Communicating with government on issues important to you should not be seen as a right or a burden, it is a responsibility.

  3. I meant “Democracy Now!” not “Democracy Today” of course.
    My excuse is that it simply snows too much around here. 😉

  4. The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.
    – – – Thomas Jefferson

    Speaking of truth, I honestly enjoy seeing Nader on stage again. The last time I heard about him, he was getting thrown out of a Congressional Black Caucus meeting. They said, and I quote, “..Get your arrogant white a_s out of here and stop telling us what to do!”

    So he demanded an apology. Because he does not think he is arrogant. He was angry about the “…racist…..vituperative. . tawdry, anatomical comment yelled loud enough so the press could hear it outside. . . ”

    And it is the press, again, that is at fault here. They are, mostly, every bit as exhibitionist, opportunistic, cynical, self-satisfied and uninformed as the pompous airheads that they continue to parade in front of their cameras like trained seals. And because the liberals and conservatives both do it, mass media has become irrelevancy squared.

    To my mind, though, Nader helps serve Nuclear’s larger purpose — he is a virtual liberal pinata – a papier maché caricature of the fundamentalist tree-hugger that conservatives love to beat up on.

    But I don’t believe progressives still take Nader seriously, and I know many who won’t forgive him for Gore’s loss. Still, every time he gets to a microphone, and says he hates Nuclear, a thousand more conservatives turn pro-nuke.

    I know that’s not the most honest way to win, but like the man said, honesty is in the advertisements.

  5. I have never paid idiots like Ralph Nader any attention. They deserve zero publicity.

    1. @Paul W Primavera

      With all due respect, your act of ignoring Nader does not seem to have reduced the amount of publicity he receives.

      I’m going to try a different tactic.

    2. “I have never paid idiots like Ralph Nader any attention”

      But I betcha Backman gets more than her fair share….

  6. Rod, I think Ralph actually has a smart lifestyle, why do you criticize it? I mean:

    No car: If you can get away with no car (I know, hard in the US) you save a ton of money.

    Small apartment: Again, save a ton of money

    Not married: Again, save a ton of money when half of all married people get divorced and best of all, divorce lawyers don’t get any of it.

    No Kids: Save tons and tons of money. Also, he can change the world because he is not too busy chaning diapers.

    Meanwhile, isn’t having 19 kids (the Duggars) weird too?

    And what about spending 6 months at at time for several years in a steel tube in the middle of the ocean with 120 other guys on what is essentially a death machine for the entire world?

    1. @BobinPhg

      I find Nader’s attitude toward nuclear energy naive and delusional. It has been said that radiation can be dangerous, but so can ignorance.

      One would think that with all that money and time he has saved over his life that he would have had the resources to educate himself about fission energy systems, radiation science and risk assessment. And about the limitations of solar and wind energy systems. Instead we witness the fading of an American icon.

      It seems that these misguided “beliefs” about nuclear science held by the likes of Nader, Kaku, Lovens, et. al. are not subject to penetration by any science or facts. Just too much “face” to lose by admitting their error.

      And, on another subject:
      I resent your insult to our host; it was uncalled for and out of place.
      Rod is to be commended for his service.

      1. For some advocacy tasks nuance doesn’t sell well. Therefore for some goals, education is not only unnecessary, but counterproductive.

      1. I just think the forceful, exclusive terminology is funny. Like “no safe dose,” or “most deadly substance.” “Unsafe at Any Speed” – Not really ever true in any and all cases and comparisons but a meaningless absolute commonly used and accepted in argument for dramatic effect.

    1. But thanks to Ralph, cars starting back then and today are much safer than before. Sure, some people like Corvairs and we lost them but Chevy had a lot of other cars back then that people could buy so where is the loss? If Ralph had kids I doubt if he would have created as much change. Because of saying: Your parents couldn’t change the world, they were too busy changing diapers!

      1. Man – The Corvair was an air cooled six cylinder car. It was rare. It was like an American Porsche.

        Ralph and other lawyers may have helped safety features but it was the influence of the Japanese and others chipping away at the US auto market that added quality and features to today’s cars. The US auto industry has had to respond to stay in business. Their attitude at the time of Nader’s book was one developed by Robert McNamara of planned obsolescence. Cars were only built to last 3 years. You don’t hear about that any more.

        Ralph is a lawyer. In my opinion, he is a roadblock to many things including nuclear energy. Some lawyers are good and some get in the way of helping people. The word anachronism somehow comes to mind when I think about him.

        1. “Man – The Corvair was an air cooled six cylinder car. It was rare. It was like an American Porsche”

          RARE???? HUH???

          Hardly, they were all over the place. And Porsche? You gotta be kidding me. Not even close. It was a Karman Ghia clone, basically, but without the charisma. But hey, I’d still like to find a mint condition Corvair Spyder.

          1. Nah – The Ghia had the VW type one engine. The Corvair was a six and you could get it with a turbo. You were right though. It was a production car. I should have clarified that it was rare because it was air cooled. Sorry to stray from the core subject.

  7. Nuclear to Gas:

    State clears way for Carlsbad power plant

    Well officially Gas is replacing at least a third of San Onofre’s capacity long term so far. I saw this looking for updates on WIPP. This is “the other Carlsbad” in calf.

    State utility regulators paved the way Thursday for contract negotiations on a new, natural gas power plant at Carlsbad to ensure adequate power supplies in response to the early retirement of the San Onofre nuclear plant.( )

    With the plant shut down, the portion of San Diego’s electricity derived from natural gas jumped from 43 percent in 2011 to 63 percent in 2012.

  8. The “aging” Indian Point is practically in my yard. You can always tell when it’s a slow news day because the local rag (good for training puppies, pesky engine oil leaks, and not much else) will break out the apocalypse typeface and remind us we have Chernobyl on the Hudson just waiting to go off. Even basic research would prove their “facts” dead wrong.

    Still, when you come down to it, that’s the same tactic Nader employs. Hysteria, doom, and cherry-picked facts to make a case. Why? Because it works. At one point I think he was actually out to help make the world a better place. Now I think he just exists in an echo chamber of his own making, reinforcing his own idea of how the world ought to be.

    I asked my father once if the Corvair was as bad as Nader made it out to be (it’d come and gone before I was born) and he said that one of our relatives had one and that it was no worse than any other car of the time in all but the most extreme of situations where it could, potentially, under the right circumstances, be more dangerous. All cars of that era were lousy by modern standards, the family car we had when I was young he described as “a nightmare.” It was just that the Corvair had that flaw that could be used to make his point. Considering Nader’s stance nuclear energy and the tactic he uses in the interview that all sounds familiar, somehow.

    1. “I asked my father once if the Corvair was as bad as Nader made it out to be (it’d come and gone before I was born) and he said that one of our relatives had one and that it was no worse than any other car of the time in all but the most extreme of situations where it could, potentially, under the right circumstances, be more dangerous”

      Well, your dad was wrong. I had a teenage friend decapitated when his Corvair hydroplaned and flipped after hitting 2 inch deep surface water on the Ventura Freeway. The unibody construction and the configuration of the belly pan definitely made the car prone to hydronplaning. The standard “body bolted to chassis” configuration of American automobiles of that era were far safer. The VW Karman Ghia was also prone to hyrdroplaning for the same reasons as the Corvair.

      Nader didn’t fabricate his concerns about the Corvair out of thin air. He had testing and statistics on his side, (and on the side of the consumer). You don’t take on GM and successfully get them to discontinue a model if you’re just blowing hot air.

      1. @POA

        I’m a little confused. I thought the issue that Nader identified had something to do with the Corvair’s rear axle and the way the wheels cambered in during a hard turn.

        How does the car’s construction (unibody or body bolted to chassis) affect “hydroplaning?” Isn’t that when tires lose contact with the road because the tread doesn’t properly channel the water?

        As Nader himself admitted during the controversy, the issue he publicized had already been fixed by a redesign by the time he publicized it.

        1. It was my understanding that water coming off the wheels on impact with standing water supplied lift to the overly light front section of the car, conbributing tio the suspension and control problems you cite. Not a wet pavement issue as much as a moderately deep standing water problem. My friend Scott hydroplaned his Monza after hitting two inches of standing water on the Ventura Freeway. Witnesses claimed the car seemed to completely lose steering and spun “as if on ice”. When he hit dryer pavement the car rolled, tearing the roof off the car and killing him instantly.

          However, upon looking for internet collaboration just now about the alleged hydroplaning being reason for the Corvair’s demise, I find a bit of insinuation and casual mention, but nothing I’m willing to introduce as solid sourcing. It could well be I am the victim of a long held misconception formed as a result of my buddy’s death. My apologies if I have passed on a misconception. I’ll look into it further and see what I can find.

        2. BTW, thanks for the “curbside” link. That was a fun and informative find. Even the comments were informative and amusing.

  9. Nader’s biggest, positive claim to fame is the mandatory inclusion of seat belts in every car sold in the U.S. This has saved likely 100s of thousands of lives and save the same in health care costs. For that i’m grateful. Often people are not consistent. They can be dead right on one thing and dead wrong on another. Nader was right on seat belts and car safety, and not on energy. Oh well. Batting .500 in life is what a lot of us do.

    1. Hardly a .500 average. His handicapping of nuclear electricity generation has likely killed millions and certainly condemned billions to more poverty than necessary. Held up against a few hundred thousand saved, at most, I’d saying his average is well below .100.

  10. “Those actions do not provide absolute guarantees, but the chances of failure are quite small”

    Trouble is, Paul, thats what we’re always told prior to these kinds of events.

    “Can’t happen” seems to happen.

    Nader, however, can only be described as shrill and yesterday. Personally, I wish he’d buy himself a Corvair and find a puddle to drive through.

    1. Oops…picking on Paul today, I guess.

      I meant….

      “Trouble is, ROD, thats what we’re always told prior to these kinds of events”

      1. @POA

        There is a difference between “can’t happen” and “the chances of failure are quite small.”

        Heck, when I was a teenager and Mom worried about me driving somewhere, I did not say “I’m a safe driver; I can’t have an accident.” I said I would be careful and not take any wild risks.

        1. “I said I would be careful and not take any wild risks”

          Well, when it comes to nuclear power plants, its the “wild risks” part that gets a little hairy. Like planning for a moderate tsunami when history tells you that sooner or later you’re gonna get a goliath.

  11. Any idiot reading my posts knows that I am a tremendously distrustful of the pro-nuclear narrative proclaiming the harmlessness of the Fukushima event.

    But here’s an amazingly despicable EGADS from the very kind of scumballs that are discussed daily here. This kind of sensational BS, ( see following link) should really be exposed for what it is; pure utter sensationalized crap. There are two sides to the debate, and, as is usually the case, I suspect the truth will be somewhat in the middle, and not exactly what both sides would have us believe. But I see garbage like the following, and it leads me to believe the truth is gonna lean a bit towards the pro side of the squabble….


    “The news from Japan three years after Fukushima began its eruptions is simple: it’s anything but over.”

    “Three molten radioactive cores are still missing, four explosions have wracked the infrastracture, 300 tons of radioactive water pour daily into the sea, the improvised tank farm leaks and is running out of space, tens of thousands of spent fuel rods are strewn around the site, the mafia permeates the work force, tens of thousands of refugees grow more desperate every day, radioactive cesium is about to arrive on the west coast … and much much more”

    “Blahblahblah….and so on.”

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