Patterico's Pontifications


Friday Night Music

Filed under: Music — Patterico @ 11:06 pm

Something to take your mind off the stuff happening in Japan.

Got a fever today called rodeo.

Go on and pin another number to the back of my shirt.

I saw Foster and Lloyd back in the day at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, when they looked like this. Snagged the playlist and got it signed after the show. Still have it.

It wasn’t too much later that they went their separate ways, like most bands I have ever liked.

Turns out they’re getting back together for another album — the first in 21 years. (Am I that old?) If you’re interested, the details are at Radney’s site. I just preordered it myself.

UPDATE: As a bonus, here is this absolutely lovely acoustic performance of “Two Hearts” by the Jayhawks:

They too are making their first album in ages — the first collaboration of Mark Olson and Gary Louris to bear the name “Jayhawks” since 1995’s landmark “Tomorrow the Green Grass.” They say they’re picking up right where they left off, and what a great place to pick up that is. Look for the new album in late spring or early summer. And you can listen to more like the above at this link for a show they did on . . . well, NPR.

Even More on the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami and the Increasingly Scary Nuclear Issue (Update: Explosion!)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:43 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Yes, we have had one, two, three posts already on this, and this is the fourth.  Sorry if that seems too focused but the story keeps going, so I keep posting.

Update: This New York Times article and this Reuters article both suggest that the Daini plant, not the Daiichi plant, is the one where they have “lost control over pressure in the reactors.”  They are both in Fukushima, separated by about ten miles.

Update (II): The New York Times is reporting that they are evacuating the area around both reactors now.  And Msnbc reports that five reactors at these two different locations are in serious trouble.

Update (III): This blog, All Things Nuclear, has some very cogent analysis of the problem, here and here.

Update (IV): “Mobile electricity supplies have arrived at the site.” That is a big deal, because if was the power dying to the pumps that has been creating this problem. Hat tip: Allahpundit.

Update (V): Finally someone is asking the important question: what do celebrities think about the disaster? It reminds me a big of this classic piece in the Onion just after 9-11. Hell, the ABC story manages to work in a reference to Charlie Sheen. Winning!

Then again, the tsunami did interrupt production on the latest Twilight movie, so at least some good came out of this.

Update (VI): Got this flash from Reuters’ twitter (via @andylevy):

FLASH: #Japan nuclear authorities say high possibility of meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 reactor – Jiji

Update (VII): Twitter feeds are suggesting that we have begun meltdown in at least one reactor. Waiting for verification. I will remind you that breaking news events often contain erroneous information. For instance, during the Giffords shooting people were being reported alive, and then dead. Follow my twitter @AaronWorthing, and we can keep track of these things together.

Update (IX): Hot Air is covering the story. They have mild verification. Now it is important to note that this is not the same as breaching containment, etc. Three Mile Island, for instance, had a partial meltdown, and no one died, the core didn’t leak.

Update (X): The story seems to be that they have very strong indicators that we are in meltdown, but by the nature of the beast they can’t really be sure. Its not like they can step inside of it, right? From Reuters:

Japanese nuclear authorities said that there was a high possibility that nuclear fuel rods at a reactor at Tokyo Electric Power’s Daiichi plant may be melting or have melted, Jiji news agency reported.

Experts have said that if the fuel rods have been damaged, it means that it could develop into a breach of the nuclear reactor vessel and the question then becomes one of how strong the containment structure around the vessel is and whether it has been undermined by the earthquake.

And NFK is reporting that the radiation has gotten so severe they have stopped venting.

Update (XI): And the rods were briefly exposed to the air as they pumped in water from a fire engine.

Update (XII): AFP/Breitbart news verifies.

Update (XIII): According to this report, there has been an explosion at the nuclear plant. Four people were injured. Hopefully not seriously. This will probably be the last update this evening.


A second reactor a the same facility that has been failing all day is in trouble.  The Washington Post has details:

Japanese officials called Saturday for further evacuations from the area surrounding a nuclear power plant where radiation levels inside have surged to 1,000 times their normal levels after the cooling system failed.

The nuclear safety agency expanded the evacuation area after some radiation had also seeped outside the plant, the Associated Press also reported.

The cooling system for a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant was crippled after power was lost in the wake of a deadly earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on Friday afternoon.

The loss of electricity has also delayed the planned release of vapor from inside the reactor to ease pressure, AP said. Pressure inside one of the reactors had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal.

Japanese authorities on Saturday were racing to find ways to deliver new backup generators or batteries to the plant.

The reactor, owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co., is drawing on battery power that may last only a few hours. Without electricity, the reactor will not be able to pump water to cool its hot reactor core, possibly leading to a meltdown or some other release of radioactive material.

Japanese authorities ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 residents within a 1.9-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and told people within a 16.2-mile radius to remain indoors, according to the Web site of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Incident and Emergency Centre.

Read the whole thing.

Via Hot Air, we learn of this Time Magazine piece, which taps the expertise of nuclear scientist Ron Chesser:

Sockpuppet Friday—the Superman Come Back (With Dinosaur!) Edition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:00 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

With all this death and destruction, volcanoes erupting, 7,500 square mile ruptures in the Earth’s crust and I think a plague of frogs, we need a break.  In fact we probably need to make a lot of really inappropriate jokes about today’s events.  There is no longer any need to resist the urge to crack jokes about Mr. Miyagi or Godzilla.  But do try to do something creative with it…

So as usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sock puppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself, a lot.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.


And for a little more Friday afternoon fun, we have via some crazy knock off toys, such as the “Superman Come Back” playset (I would guess that was a bad attempt by a foreigner to say “Superman Returns”), who rides a dinosaur:

Sure, it makes absolutely no sense for Superman to ride a dinosaur.  But it is so cool it’s hard to care.  I mean its Superman, riding a dinosaur. The only way to make it better is if the dinosaur had a rocket launcher.

But for sheer craziness, it’s really hard to top the robot that transforms into…  the Titanic.

I mean if the Titanic was a sentient robot from Cybertron, couldn’t he have transformed and avoided that iceberg?  Or at least flicked Leo DiCaprio off his body?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

More Video on the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami (Update: “quake ruptured a patch of the earth’s crust 150 miles long and 50 miles across”; More Bad Signs at the Nuke Plant)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:10 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update (VI): Well, you knew this was coming. Its all the fault of “climate change.” Bwahahahahaha!!!

If only our climate stood precisely still, then we would never have natural disasters!

Update (III): How “holy crap” massive was this Earthquake? This massive:

A massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan Friday was the strongest quake in the area in nearly 1,200 years.

David Applegate, a senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards for the U.S. Geological Survey, said the 8.9-magnitude quake ruptured a patch of the earth’s crust 150 miles long and 50 miles across.


Update (V): And even more how how it jarred the surface of the Earth, here.

Update (VII): And it turns out we didn’t give them coolant, after all:

Speaking at the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said U.S. Air Force planes were carrying “some really important coolant” to the site, but administration officials later said she misspoke. The U.S. offered to send Japan coolant to help with the reactor but the Japanese declined, saying they already had the necessary supplies, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Update (VIII): Drudge says things are getting worse at the nuke plant. On the site (no link):

Radiation levels at damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuke plant are continuing to rise… levels are 8X above normal. Ministry official: ‘Possibility of radioactive leak’…

And at this link there is a breaking news item that reads: “Radiation levels in Fukushima Daiichi plant central control unit is 1,000 times normal, Kyodo says.”

Update (IX): Interactive map of the aftershocks, here. Non interactive version, here:

Update (IV): And we have an Indionesian volcano erupting, now. And a Japanese dam broke. No word on any plague of locusts, yet.

Update (II): Look at the end of the post for even more video.

Update: If you can’t get to a TV, here’s a live Cnn feed:

Watch live video from CNN LIVE NEWS STREAM on

Update (II): They are getting ready to release slightly radioactive steam from that nuclear reactor. Which means that the story is officially continuing to get worse.


It got to be too many updates for one post, again, so here’s another post with some more wild video.  So be sure to check out other stories here and here.  This shows the flood waters coming in the Miyagi Prefecture.

I am going to put most of this below the fold because a lot of these video players play automatically. Be ready for that if you hit the “more” button.


Predictable: No Mention of Death Threats in L.A. Times Wisconsin Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:42 am

What’s missing from this L.A. Times story about the Wisconsin situation?

Stoking Republican efforts to check union power across the country, Wisconsin’s state Assembly sent Gov. Scott Walker a bill he has sought to limit the collective bargaining rights of government workers.

The vote, coming after another emotional day at the Capitol, is expected to intensify bitter fights in legislatures from Idaho to Indiana, emboldening other budget-cutting Republican governors to press ahead with anti-union legislation.

But it also is likely to galvanize unions and their Democratic allies. Since Republican senators in Wisconsin approved the bill Wednesday night, the state’s Democratic Party took in more than $300,000 in donations.

Opponents of the bill packed the balconies in the Assembly and began jeering as soon as representatives started voting, making it almost impossible to hear the result. Boos and chants of “shame!” broke out as the bill passed, 53 to 42, with one abstention, culminating weeks of heated debate that has brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol in Madison and sent Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state to try to prevent the bill’s passage.

You guessed it: any mention of the death threats Republican Wisconsin Senators have received, as I chronicled here last night.


P.S. I have said it before and I will say it again. When you have this situation:

Opponents of the Wisconsin legislation are taking their fight to court, contending that Republicans violated the state’s open-meetings act in the vote, a charge that Republicans dispute.

Why not just pass the bill you wanted to pass in the first place, Wisconsin Republicans — fiscal provisions and all — now that the fleeing Democrats have returned?

P.P.S. The story confirms that recall efforts are underway for Senators from both parties. Which does the paper highlight?


Updates on Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami (Update: Evacuations Near Nuke Plant? And 88K Missing?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:32 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: I started a third post on this, mostly right now containing video from the disaster. And don’t forget the original post, which is here.

BIG UPDATE: Via Business Insider, we learn that around 88,000 people are missing.

Update: I forgot to link to this video allegedly of a whirlpool formed near Japan. I say “allegedly” because it is not loading on my computer.

Update (II): Um, this is looking worse.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And the report this came from says that residents were ordered to evacuate. And is it just me or does the guy in the video look worried? (Hat Tip: Hot Air.)

Update (III): Here‘s a collection of photos from the Tsunami.

Update (VI): Another major update. The Tsunami hit Hawaii, and west coast. Little sign of major damage. Read it all, here.

Update (V): Hilllary just answered the 3 a.m. call:

The United States has transported coolant to a Japanese nuclear plant affected by a massive earthquake and will continue to assist Japan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday.

“We just had our Air Force assets in Japan transport some really important coolant to one of the nuclear plants,” Clinton said at a meeting of the President’s Export Council.

“You know Japan is very reliant on nuclear power and they have very high engineering standards but one of their plants came under a lot of stress with the earthquake and didn’t have enough coolant,” Clinton said.

Update (VI): More on the concerns with that nuclear plant.


I am up to five updates on a very long post on the Tsunami/Earthquake that hit Japan, so I figured I would start a new post.

First, I am on Twitter now.  Very reluctantly, but apparently my username is @AaronWorthing and I will at least tweet when I have a new post.  And occasionally be sarcastic in 140 characters or less.  So feel free to tweet me if you hear anything important.  Just bear in mind I am a bit of a twitter noob and I might make newbie mistakes.

Second, via Hot Air, we get this “holy crap” video of the day, of a refinery explosion caused by all of this.  I heard about this on WTOP (a local news radio station), from a Bloomberg reporter and he said he saw this from his hotel in Tokyo:

Yike.  I wonder what survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki thought when they saw that?  I mean whether you think dropping those nukes were justified or not, at best you can only classify it as a “necessary evil” and you hate to imagine some old man or old woman getting flashbacks to a traumatic experience.

Meanwhile, as messed up as this is, this whole mess sent oil prices plummeting:

Stock futures are falling as investors try to assess the economic fallout from the largest earthquake in Japan’s history.

The quake struck toward the end of the Asian trading session. Tsunami alerts were issued for areas as far away as Hawaii and the mainland U.S. West coast.

Oil prices dipped below $100 for the first time this month. The quake is likely to cut short-term demand for crude from Japan, which is the world’s third biggest oil consumer.

Yeah, so if your prices fall at the pump, this is why.  Try not to be too happy about that.  Think of it like being in need of a heart transplant and finding out a donor is available.  It’s good news for you, but bad news for someone else.

Of course in Hawaii, gas consumption is rising in the short term as officials tell people to gas up.  Thus we get this clip from the mayor of Honalulu. [Update: Sorry, but the video won’t embed right. Go here to see it.]

Roadways and beaches were empty as the tsunamis struck the state, which had hours to prepare. Residents in coastal areas of Hawaii were sent to refuge areas at community centers and schools while tourists in Waikiki were moved to higher floors of their high-rise hotels. People waited in long lines stocking up on gas, bottled water, canned food and generators, and officials told residents to stock up on water and fill their cars with gas.

(Source.)  Must…  resist…  urge… to make joke about Obama’s birth certificate being washed out to sea…

Non-joking joking aside, this is NBC news covering the quake in Japan:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And needless to say we will see many updates throughout the day.  At this point, it would be surprising if this ended up being as bad as the one that hit all those years ago.  But it’s bad enough and we should pray for everyone over there.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Major Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Japan

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:56 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: Just got breaking news email from Cnn: “Between 200 to 300 bodies found in Japanese coastal city of Sendai, the Kyodo news agency reports.”

Update (II): Live BBC video, here, if you can’t get to a regular TV.

Update (III): For those in California, this seems to be a very recent update on the situation.

Update (IV): Thanks to Dana in the comments, this site seems to be covering the California concerns.  I indicate below I am cautiously optimistic things will be okay, but it’s not like I am a scientist or something.  And this page says that the waves could reach 6 ft. in Cali.  I recommend playing it safe and believing the worst, and responding accordingly.

Update (V): And don’t think you are off the hook if you are outside of Cali.  Evacuation warnings in Oregon, too. I won’t be able to provide comprehensive coverage of the warnings, so definitely seek out  information yourself.

Update (VI): All new updates will be at this post.

There was an extremely massive earthquake off the coast of Japan overnight resulting in a tsunami (a.k.a. tidal wave):

A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, killing at least 60 people as it swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Tsunami warnings blanketed the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.

The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.

Police said at least 60 people were killed and 56 were missing. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of the disaster.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter.

And there was a brief scare involving their nuclear power plants:

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Japan had closed four nuclear power plants as a precaution. A state of emergency was declared at one of the plants after its cooling system had a mechanical failure.

Must… resist… urge… to make Godzilla joke…*

Trouble was reported at two other nuclear plants as well, but there was no radiation leak at any.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the emergency measure at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima was a precaution and that the facility was not in immediate danger.

There is a concern that the wave could also hit Hawaii (and potentially the west coast, in Patrick’s neighborhood).  But Googling around to check on my wife’s family in the Philippines, I found this:

Taiwan roads reopened and guests at a Philippines resort reported no unusual waves after Japan’s strongest earthquake in at least a century triggered tsunami warnings across the Pacific, including the U.S. west coast.

Sirens sounded in Hawaii and low-lying areas were evacuated after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center raised an alert following the 8.9-magnitude temblor off Japan’s northeast, the Associated Press reported. The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center extended the warning to the U.S. west seaboard.

I won’t pretend to be some kind of geologist, but logically if Taiwan and the Philippines didn’t get much of a whack, I would guess Hawaii will be okay, too.  But let’s see what will happen.

Now I believe I have mentioned that my wife was a Filipina before, but I don’t believe I said that in fact what she really is, is a mostly Asian mutt (with me being a mostly European mutt).  She is mostly Filipina, but also has Chinese and Japanese blood, as well as a drop of Spanish and Italian.  And she does still have family in Japan, in a place called Atami.  I tried Googling around on the subject, but there are no reports specifically about that town.

You can use google maps to see where Atami is, here.

And here’s a picture of the origin and predicted path of the Tsunami (source):

Also, via Andrew Sullivan I learned of a Google victim finder, which you can access here.  The problem being, however, that even my wife is not 100% clear on how to spell their family name.  I tried several educated guesses, and so far heard no news.  Judging by the map above and comparing it to the Google map information, I think there is a reasonable chance they have been spared the worst of it.  But I would rather know than guess, obviously.

Incidentally, my wife’s Japanese side contains “noble” blood.  Her paternal grandmother had to choose between a noble Japanese man, and a common Filipino (the common man won) and during WWII her life read like one of those crappy Civil War dramas about brothers fighting brothers, with one uncle being a major figure in the Filipino resistance and another being a commander in the Japanese army with jurisdiction over the same zone.  Family tradition maintains that one of my wife’s ancestors was famous for creating the original version of a very famous Japanese painting:

Which if true is is kind of ironic, even if obviously a tsunami doesn’t look like that.


* If that joking non-joke offends you, you have to understand that humor is as much a coping tool as anything else with me.  When I was in the hospital with appendicitis last year, for instance, a lot of people were shocked to hear me joking as I suffered.  I told them, “if I stop making jokes, then you should start worrying.”

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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