About this Blog

The Loose Nukes is an attempt (by people who should probably be under 24 hour supervised psychiatric care) to bring attention to somewhat serious issues like nuclear weapons, militarism and other seemingly random, unrelated issues through vain attempts at social satire and other futile gestures of total contempt for a fading empire that continues to employ nuclear weapons, the ultimate instruments of an erectile dysfunctional national security state, as instruments of foreign policy. OK, you probably get the idea by now. We are obsessed by run-on sentences, peace and justice, having fun, and don't know when to quit. At any rate, we don't think nuclear weapons are a very good idea, and are most definitely unhealthy for living things. We also think the folks running this Empire should just get over it.

And now the NOT SO FINE PRINT: Read further at your own risk... and remember, DON'T PANIC; this is all SATIRE at its worst (or best, depending on one's mental state)! And some of the stuff in here is even true!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pizza delivery blamed for nuclear safety violations

US Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to long-range nuclear missiles have been caught twice this year leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post, Air Force officials said.

The blast doors are never to be left open if one of the crew members inside is asleep – as was the case in both these instances – out of concern for the trouble an intruder could cause, including the compromising of secret launch codes.

An investigative report by the Associated Press found that the most recent violations involving the blast doors were caused by the chronic cravings of launch control crews for delivery pizza.  A launch control officer who wished to remain anonymous told AP that Domino's Pizza, which has a contract with Global Strike Command as its sole pizza supplier, requires that the blast doors remain open whenever an order is called in so that the company can fulfill its "30-minutes or it's free" guarantee.

The blast door violations are another sign of trouble in the handling of the nation's nuclear arsenal. The AP has discovered a series of problems within the ICBM force, including a failed safety inspection, the temporary sidelining of launch officers deemed unfit for duty and the abrupt firing last week of the two-star general in charge. They also discovered that delivery personnel for Domino's Pizza, the official pizza supplier for the Global Strike Command, are not required to receive security clearances prior to entering the top-security launch complexes.

The problems, including low morale, underscore the challenges of feeding personnel and keeping safe such a deadly force that is constantly on alert but is unlikely ever to be used.

The willingness of some launch officers to leave the blast door open at times reflects a mindset far removed from Cold War days when the US lived in fear of a nuclear strike by the Soviet Union. It was that fear that provided the original rationale for placing ICBMs in reinforced underground silos and the launch control officers in buried capsules – so that in the event of an attack the officers might survive to launch a counterattack.

Today the fear of such an attack has all but disappeared and, with it, the appeal of strictly following the blast door rule.  

The crews who operate the missiles are still expected to follow rules without fail, including the prohibition against having the blast door open when only one crew member is awake or when expecting a pizza delivery.

An unnamed missileer told AP that launch control officers often order multiple pizzas at a time and freeze them for later consumption in the event of a nuclear war after which they would be stuck underground for an indefinite time period.  The officer said that, "There's nothing more comforting than the aroma of re-heated pizza after Armageddon."

A spokesperson for Global Strike Command said that the agency is reconsidering its relationship with Domino's, and is considering changing suppliers to Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza in order to avoid the problem with blast doors.


Editor's Postscript: Material that was plagiarized and embellished in this post was stolen from an article in The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/23/us-air-force-nuclear-missiles-blast-door).

Friday, October 18, 2013

How the government shutdown really happened

Here's one from the "a picture is worth a thousand words" category. Finally, in simple, graphic detail, we present the best explanation yet for the real inner workings of the recent US Government shutdown. So now you know. With thanks to Jason Patterson and The New Yorker (Oct 21, 2013 issue, Page 36).

If only it were so easy to turn off the destructive antics of those scallywags in Congress who pull down not only nice salaries and perks (courtesy of our tax dollars), but also the endless stream of $$$$$$$$$$ from their corporate masters constituents (courtesy of the seemingly endless tax breaks, subsidies and special treatment they command).

Editor's Note:  Definition of "scallywag" from the Urban Dictionary
1. A person who is known to be a treacherous lying son-of-a-bitch, and usually smells bad. 2. A term of endearment used by pirates.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Congress still working out... even though they aren't working

Despite the U.S. Government shutdown's thousands of closings, curtailments and furloughed employees, the members-only House of Representatives gym or "wellness center"- complete with pool, sauna, steam, basketball and paddleball courts, TVs and associated cleaning and maintenance costs - has stayed open, reportedly on direct orders from John Boehner, who (of course) caused the shutdown in the first place.

House Republicans applaud Boehner for keeping the gym open.
The Senate gym is evidently still open as well, though the gym for lowly staffers is closed.

And most legislators, minus about 130, are still getting paid (for doing nothing of any value).

Meanwhile, Democrats are busy crafting legislation known as the SPA Act (Shutdown Prioritization Act). This bill would prohibit the Architect of the Capitol from operating the Member gym during a government shutdown.

Tuesday evening, Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) and Patrick E. Murphy (D-Fla.) sent an email with the subject "Tell Speaker Boehner: No Government, No Congressional Spa" to Democratic legislative directors.

The email was intercepted by House Republicans.  An angry Boehner responded, "Don't mess with my gym. If the Democrats bring the SPA Act to the floor I will personally see to it that this shutdown goes into overtime!"

The shutdown has furloughed roughly 800,000 federal employees, cut back Head Start and workplace safety, and denied death benefits and burial expenses to the families of four soldiers killed this weekend in Afghanistan.  On the positive side, the Utah National Guard is thrilled to be getting its new $47,174 mechanical bull on Monday, as previously ordered, to help attract recruits at fairs.

When all is said and done - whatever it is that gets done in a place like Washed Up Deceit - We the People can be thankful that our elected officials are taking such good care of THEMSELVES?!?!?!


Editor's Note: Thanks to Abby Zimmet at CommonDreams.org for being on top of this major news item(http://www.commondreams.org/further/2013/10/08-0) Other source: http://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/House-Gym-Remains-Open-Despite-Shutdown-226972671.html.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nukes Ready to Launch Despite Government Shutdown

Hard working (at least those who still have jobs) Americans want to know that their nation's nuclear forces are unaffected by the partial government shutdown.  They need to feel the security that comes with knowing that the thermonuclear-armed missiles ready to launch at those pesky North Koreans (or perhaps Iranians or some other country we haven't yet turned into a pariah state) are being maintained, protected and kept in a state of readiness for that magical moment of nuclear holocaust.

Well, have no fear (or perhaps you should): "Strategic nuclear missiles, submarines, and bombers remain ready despite the U.S. government shutdown and the furloughing of some nuclear force workers, according to the U.S. Strategic Command." That's the official word from an article in The Washington Free Beacon. Here's more from that article.

The federal shutdown caused some civilian nuclear force employees to go on emergency furlough, but operational military forces are unaffected by government closures, a Command spokeswoman said. [Phew!!!]  

“I can say with full confidence that the U.S. nuclear force remains safe, secure, and effective and, at this point, we are not standing down any operational assets,” Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, director of Stratcom public affairs said. [Hmmm... At what "point" might they stand down some operational assets???]
(scene from the film Dr. Strangelove)
The Omaha-based Strategic Command is in charge of all nuclear deterrence and war fighting forces, including 450 Minuteman III land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs); 14 strategic nuclear missile submarines, each armed with 24 Trident missiles; and 20 B-2 and 78 B-52 nuclear bombers. [Wow, that's a whole lotta "deterrence"!!!]

Most of the ICBMs are on high-alert status that allows them to be launched almost immediately on warning of an imminent nuclear attack on the United States, or after an attack. [Let's hope it's not a false warning!!!]

The missiles are under tight controls and security and require two people to fire them after orders from the national command authority. [Isn't that a relief?!?!?!]

After a 2007 incident when active nuclear missiles were carried by mistake on bombers from Minot, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, security and handling procedures were improved, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report published in June. [You have to wonder why NO ONE followed the procedures already in place (and why they needed to be "improved")!!!]

Government studies after the mishap found that nuclear forces “had been allowed to atrophy, with evident declines in morale, cohesion, and capability,” the CRS report said. [That certainly instills confidence!!!]  
(more from Dr. Strangelove)

As recently as May, press reports revealed “new concerns about the capabilities and morale of ICBM launch officers,” the report said, noting that the Air Force removed 17 launch officers from duty and sent them for new training. [And now the second in command at STRATCOM gets busted for using counterfeit poker chips at the local casino!!!]

Naval strategic nuclear forces also are systems that can fire nuclear missiles rapidly and normally eight to 10 missile submarines remain on regular patrols in both the Atlantic and Pacific. [Let's hope they don't fire them too "rapidly"!!!]

U.S. strategic bombers also are ready for fast deployment. Two B-52s conducted simulated nuclear strikes near North Korea during exercises in March in response to heightened threats and rhetoric by the communist regime in Pyongyang. [Speaking of poker, we'll see you Kim Jong-un and raise the ante!!!]

According to Stratcom commander Gen. C. Robert Kehler, 60 percent of Stratcom’s force is made up of civilians. [So, all those civilian jobs are non-essential???]

Details on the impact of the shutdown on strategic nuclear force personnel were not immediately available. [As if "details" will ever be available.]

(Read the rest of the article at http://freebeacon.com/nukes-deemed-essential/)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Did we really vote for these (fill in the blank)____________ in Congress?!?!?!

Yes, both houses of Congress passed the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act... the President signed it into law... all done by the book... and that was over three (3) years ago. So, did I miss something???  Obviously a whole bunch of people in Congress missed a whole lot!!! Thanks for clearing it up for us John.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anti-nuclear jellyfish shut down Swedish nuke plant

It wasn't a tsunami but it had the same effect: A huge cluster of jellyfish forced one of the world's largest nuclear reactors to shut down - a phenomenon that marine biologists say could become more common. Operators of the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden had to scramble reactor number three on Sunday after tons of jellyfish clogged the pipes that bring in cool water to the plant's turbines. By Tuesday, the pipes had been cleaned of the jellyfish and engineers were preparing to restart the reactor, which at 1,400 megawatts of output is the largest boiling-water reactor in the world, said Anders Osterberg, a spokesman for OKG, the plant operator.

All three Oskharshamn reactors are boiling-water types, the same technology at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant that suffered a catastrophic failure in 2011 after a tsunami breached the facility's walls and flooded its equipment.

Jellyfish are not a new problem for nuclear power plants. Last year the California-based Diablo Canyon facility had to shut its reactor two after gobs of sea salp - a gelatinous, jellyfish-like organism - clogged intake pipes. In 2005, the first unit at Oskarshamn was temporarily turned off due to a sudden jellyfish influx.

Nuclear power plants need a constant flow of water to cool their reactor and turbine systems, which is why many such plants are built near large bodies of water.

Marine biologists, meanwhile, say they would not be surprised if more jellyfish shutdowns occur in the future.

"It's true that there seems to be more and more of these extreme cases of blooming jellyfish," said Lene Moller, a researcher at the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment. "But it's very difficult to say if there are more jellyfish, because there is no historical data."

The species that caused the Oskarshamn shutdown is known as the common moon jellyfish.

"It's one of the species that can bloom in extreme areas that . . . are overfished or have bad conditions," said Moller. "The moon jelly likes these types of waters. They don't care if there are algae blooms, they don't care if the oxygen concentration is low. The fish leave . . . and (the moon jelly) can really take over the ecosystem."

Moller said the biggest problem was that there's no monitoring of jellyfish in the Baltic Sea to produce the data that scientists need to figure out how to tackle the issue.

Thanks to the Associated Press for this news item. Source URL: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268781/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=mv4AbzSn

Editor's Note:  Global warming = changes in temperature, food and currents = jellyfish migration = potential big trouble for nuclear power plants!!!