Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

29 Aug 2011 17:42


Politics: House Republicans plot major deregulatory push

  • Deregulation = jobs: A memo obtained by ShortFormBlog contains details of an upcoming Republican effort to push massive deregulatory legislation through the House of Representatives, in hopes of unshackling “costly bureaucratic handcuffs” faced by businesses. The letter, sent today by Eric Cantor to the House Republican caucus, details the “Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations,” and how Republicans plan to address them. “By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations,” Cantor wrote, “we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers.” Some key proposals:
  • Weakened emission limits  The TRAIN (Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation) Act, along with the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, would delay implementation of EPA standards intended to limit air pollution.
  • Limiting union power The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act would limit the National Labor Relations Board’s power, rescinding its ability to influence relocation of manufacturing plants.
  • Farm dust for all The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act would, as expected, restrict the federal government’s ability to regulate farm dust, allowing it to do so only within state and local regulations. source
  • » In keeping with Republican orthodoxy, Cantor also proposes to two tax cuts (one for government contractors, another for small businesses), and the repeal of unspecified provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What do you all think of Cantor’s plan? Read the whole thing at the link. (AP Photo)

24 Mar 2011 13:59


U.S.: NRC findings on nuclear regulation is stomach churning

  • 28% of nuclear plants don’t report equipment defect source
  • » Loopholes in all the wrong places: So, here’s the deal. A report by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission landed on that rather startling percentage you see above. The reason, it seems, is that the law relating to nuclear regulation states both that they need to report defects that can cause a loss of safety function, and that they need only to report actual losses of safety function. The NRC didn’t downplay the implications of this, saying “a substantial safety hazard” could arise as a result of these failures in disclosure. As it seems to bear mentioning, we’ll reiterate a humble plea: quit skimping on nuclear safety, and yes, regulation. The industry’s great job in recent years polishing up their image is being betrayed by what we’re now learning about some of the rot that lies beneath.

21 Mar 2011 13:47


U.S.: Diablo Canyon nuclear plant called a “near-miss”

  • 18 months until staff found a safety flaw in a CA nuclear plant source
  • » So, here’s the deal: The Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor in California is situated in what’s widely known as a rather earthquake prone area (as we illustrated a few days ago — Diablo Canyon is the reactor closest to the edge of the Pacific Ocean). Which is why it comes as such an unwelcome surprise that their emergency valves, designed to automatically pump water into the reactor core if systems fail, were flawed and would have done no such thing in such a crisis. This deficiency went undetected for eighteen months before being discovered, a lapse in the plant’s emergency response capabilities that, we imagine, the people of the surrounding area are none too pleased with.

17 Mar 2011 14:41


World: Some uninspiring anecdotes on Japan’s nuclear record

  • one A Japanese nuclear plant had its workers mix uranium by hand in buckets, instead of using machines as it was supposed to. This somewhat predictably exposed hundreds to increased radiation, and two later died.
  • two Kei Sugaoka, now in California, used to be a plant engineer. He recalls being told to cut out video of the plant’s steam-leaking pipes before sending it for review. He told this to TEPCO, but no action was taken until he went public. source

02 Feb 2011 13:30


U.S.: EPA seeks new regulatory limits on perchlorate in drinking water

  • 26 states had the toxic rocket fuel chemical in their tap water source

22 Dec 2010 09:50


Politics: Mitch McConnell is a jerk who’s clouding the net neutrality issue

  • This would harm investment, stifle innovation, and lead to job losses. As Americans become more aware of what’s happening here, I suspect many will be as alarmed as I am at the government’s intrusion.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch “I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about” McConnell • Talking about net neutrality, which proves that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. If only Ted Stevens were still alive to remind Mitch that the ‘net is a series of tubes. What happens to your own personal Internet when an obstructionist jerk like McConnell tries to favor large corporations over consumers? It won’t be like a dump truck. It’ll be like your own busted series of tubes that you’re paying out of the wazoo for. All because McConnell wants you to think that all government regulation is bad, even when it’s not bad. While this net neutrality policy is kinda weaksauce, it’s better than letting AT&T and Comcast regulate usage. source

20 Dec 2010 10:40


Tech: FCC could compromise on net neutrality policy this week

  • In case you’re concerned about this net neutrality mess, you might want to keep an eye out this week. See, the FCC is about to decide on a compromise proposal which would force network providers to accept all traffic, while conceding that it’s OK for them to manage network congestion and charge users more based on their usage. This policy would have the support of the three Democratic members on the FCC’s board, but the two Republican members would prefer that the Internet remain free of regulation. Which we, by the way, seriously don’t understand. This is one of those cases where, if the government doesn’t step in, consumers will seriously get trampled on. source

30 Nov 2010 11:08


U.S.: Lame-duck Senate passes food-safety bill with bipartisan love

  • good A food-safety regulation bill, made necessary in the wake of multiple salmonella crises, passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
  • bad The bill may not benefit organic or small-scale farmers, who could be treated to similar levels of scrutiny to the agricultural giants.
  • worse The bill was held up for months by GOP Senator Tom Coburn, who apparently thinks you should eat contaminated peanut butter. source

01 Aug 2010 11:37


U.S.: Michigan’s oil spill: Do oil-industry regulators lack teeth?

  • 800k gallons of oil flooded Michigan’s Kalamazoo River this week
  • yes regulators had warned the owner of the leaky pipe to fix it
  • yes the owner of the pipe just ignored the regulator (great job!) source

15 Jul 2010 22:17


U.S.: Financial reform bill? Many people didn’t know there was one

  • 38% of Americans didn’t even know that the landmark legislation even existed
  • 33% of Americans have heard about it, but don’t know what it is
  • 29% know at least a little bit about it; only 3 percent know the bill well source