Amitabh Pal

Fukushima shows us how a nuclear disaster can continue forever.

More than two years after the catastrophe, Japanese officialdom has raised the severity of the calamity from one to three (on a scale of seven). The threat elevation is due to massive amounts of radioactive water leaking out of the site.

"The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic," nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider told the BBC. "It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse."


With journalists like Time magazine's Michael Grunwald, the Pentagon doesn't need a social media p.r. team.

Over the weekend, the weekly's senior national correspondent tweeted: "I can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange."

The bloodthirstiness of the message is as shocking as the spectacle of a journalist fantasizing about celebrating the execution of a whistleblower.


Republican stalwarts are outdoing one another in their basic scientific ignorance.

California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher recently weaved an intricate theory to explain global warming.


The Obama Administration seems to be going more forcefully after big banks, but this is little more than a charade.

The United States is asking Scotland Yard to arrest two London-based JPMorgan Chase traders who were involved in the multibillion-dollar trading loss that caused waves last year. It is also wanting a confession from the bank itself, a move that is seen by some as a departure from its lenient treatment so far of the financial sector for the mess it left us all in.

There is no ending to the suffering of Greeks under the austerity regimen, and yet President Obama doesn't seem to get it.

"The unemployment rate in Greece was 27.6 percent in May, marking yet another record high for the country," ThinkProgress reported on Thursday. "The country's rate is more than double the average rate across the Eurozone."

Yet, the very same day Obama was meeting with the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, at the White House to urge him not to flinch from applying more of the same poison that has caused his countrymen so much misery.

Pope Francis has gotten off to a surprisingly good start. After the stultifying conservatism of Pope Benedict XVI, the new pope is a breath of fresh air.

Francis's ascension was marred by accusations that he had collaborated as a church official in Argentina with the murderous junta that ruled the country in the late '70s and early '80s. So, it's great that his first few months have been marked by encouraging signs.


One year after the Sikh temple massacre in Oak Creek, Wis., we still aren't grappling seriously enough with intolerance.

The gunman who shot down six worshippers on Aug. 5, 2012, before turning his pistol on himself, was motivated by bigotry. Wade Michael Page had a dubious history.

As if the Anthony Weiner saga was already not painful enough, Islamophobia had to be inserted.

Maureen Dowd, for instance, gave us this bit of sociological insight: "When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet."

How, then, does Dowd puzzle out why Hillary Clinton stood by her man? Last I checked, Hillary wasn't raised in Saudi Arabia.


The scuttlebutt is that President Obama is predisposed to picking Larry Summers as the next Fed Reserve chair when Ben Bernanke's term expires at the end of January. For the sake of all of us, let's hope the rumor mill is wrong.

Ezra Klein in the Washington Post lists the reasons that Obama is inclined toward Summers, none of them convincing: They're buddies; Summers is trusted by the financial sector; and he is a sound manager.


Rolling Stone's decision to put a handsome-looking photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover has turned everyone into a media critic -- not necessarily in a good way.


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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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